Set out within what was once a 4,000-acre cattle ranch called the Panther Ledge Farm, the course at Panther Valley Golf & Country Club is a Robert Trent Jones design that was brought into play in the late 1960s.
The assessment by Anthony is spot on. However, unlike him, I could not give the course a rating of four golf balls because the sum total of the design elements is a bit lacking when held against the array of classical designed courses throughout New Jersey that truly merit a four-rating number.
Panther Valley is a good Robert Trent Jones design. The course benefits from having a site that has plenty of early movement and the sweeping vistas one gets of northwestern NJ do come into view on a number of the holes.
The opening hole is superb. A risk/reward par-5 that turns left and heads downhill. Players can opt for either a conservative or aggressive line of attack. The hole is also reinforced with out-of-bounds that hugs the right side and it doesn't take much of a mistake to lose a shot to that side. There is a fronting pond to consider for those looking to reach the green in two shots. Having such a hole at the outset gets the golf juices flowing for sure.
Both the 2nd and 3rd holes are also fine counterpoints -- the former a quality par-3 and the latter a testing par-4.
The rest of the front side is a good mix of testing holes in the style Robert Trent Jones was fond in providing for his efforts. Large size bunkers with sprawling greens. There's also an assortment of tuning points in the drive zone which calls upon players to be especially vigilant in getting to the optimum locations to bolster their opportunities with approach shots.
The issue for Panther Valley is that the inward half drops down in terms of overall hole diversity. Part of that issue stems from a land site that's fairly limited and a bit cramped. The holes are just not as interesting; however, the par-4 18th does offer a fine conclusion given the close proximity of a pond that hugs the right of the green.
M. James Ward
Closer to 3.75 - really tests your shot making ability. Not a long course but position off the tee is crucial here. The toughest and most memorable thing about the course besides the view of the mountains in the valley would be the greens. Come July/August they roll clean, true, and quick!