First opened for play in 1992, the ten holes of the Pine Valley Short Course were designed by Tom Fazio and Ernie Ransome to take some pressure off the popular 18-hole Pine Valley course and to emulate some of the approach shot situations that golfers will find when playing the main layout.
Ransome, the club’s former president, remarked: “I always said I would never build a second course at Pine Valley to compete with the original, but I did get the idea of doing this, and thought it would be nice to duplicate some of the original holes. Tom took it from there and did a wonderful job.”
Only a few of the copied holes are identical and one of those is the 1st hole on the Short course, which is modelled on the 10th hole of main course. The elevation change from tee to green on this replica is within a foot of the other hole.
“It’s an excellent solution for the club,” wrote
Tom Doak in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, “because no original
design was going to be good enough to get regular use; but it’s hard to know
how to grade something so derivative.”
A very wise decision was made to add golf to the legendary club and doing so via a short course rather than a second regulation one. The mixture of holes is quite fun to play but, keep in mind, anything created was always likely be in the shadows when held against the majesty of the original.
The ten holes are a good combination -- you can tee it up at whatever distance you feel compelled. The turf quality is also quite good
The Short Course was built in 1992 and it consists of 10 holes, eight based off holes on the big course (2, 3, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17) are copied. These holes replicate approach shots golfers find on the big course. The other two holes are original designs, one done by Tom Fazio and the other done by former Pine Valley president Ernie Ransome, who developed the idea for the Short Course. There’s plenty of fun for those looking for the added diversion.
However, if one wishes to play a short course of vintage quality you can remain in New Jersey and head north to Gladstone's Hamilton Farm GC. The Hickory 18-hole course is exceptional and frankly even beyond the likes of what is found at Augusta National. Just be sure to know a member to access either.
M. James Ward