Shore Gate Golf Club’s 18-hole course lies on the Jersey Shore between Atlantic City and Cape May. There’s a pleasing mix of parkland and links-style holes on the layout and a fair amount of water to avoid as fairways wind around seven lakes on the property. A David Dale and Ron Fream of Golfplan production, the course was the first East Coast design for the company, opening for play in 2002.
In the book Golf’s Best New Destinations by Brian McCallen, the author gives this insight into the construction of the course: “In 2001, Ron Fream made a detour to Ocean View, a small community 30 minutes south of Atlantic City, where the Turner family, owners of a nearby campground, asked him to have a look at their 245-acre parcel. Won over by the designer’s enthusiasm, they quickly hired Fream to build Shore Gate Golf Club on land that was beach and dunes eons ago.
“After massaging the site, one of the highest points in Cape May County, with bulldozers to displace 450,000 cubic yards of sand – this after noting sun angles and shadow patterns – Fream produced the boldest and most extroverted layout imaginable, a dynamic, visually intimidating world-beater. Fream flashed sand up the sides of tall vertical mounds at several holes to create the impression of incoming sea waves. There are eighty-eight formal bunkers on the course, plus seven ponds, but it’s the fescue-fringed waste areas and sand-flashed mounds that scream Watch out!”.
Feature holes include a couple of lengthy par fives on the front nine at the 589-yard 6th and 648-yard 9th: the former sweeps slightly right towards the green with the latter doglegging left, around a sizeable water hazard.On the back nine, “The Trilogy” of holes begins at the par five 13th, with the fairway kinking left past large sandy waste areas to the target. It’s followed by a 144-yard par three, where seven large bunkers circle the green. The par four 15th then concludes this little tough stretch of holes as the fairways veers right towards the green, water running along the inside of the dogleg.
The course conditioning has deteriorated over the last few years. Crab grass has overtaken many spots in the rough if there is rough. The greens, fairways and tees are in decent shape for a public course but the cup liners on a few holes weren’t sunken into the ground more than 1cm. There many bunkers and bunker edges that have been neglected for quite some time. I would not recommend this course at all to anyone due to the conditioning and difficulty of the course. You are better off going elsewhere for a more enjoyable round IMO.
The first hole at Shoregate is a slight dogleg left with a bunker protecting the front of the green. It's a solid starter. The 2nd is a substantially challenging hole which is a slight dogleg left requiring a carry over a pond which based on your angle will determine your 2nd shot length. A large green is protected well with bunkers and has much slope. Big numbers are common. 3 is another hole similar to 2 but with less drama. You must carry the pond while avoiding the many fairway bunkers to the right side also. 4 is a straight away par 4 with most of the challenge short and left green side bunkers. The hole is somewhat tight also. The green is one of the flattest on the course. 5 is a nice par 3. Make sure you cover the massive bunker short. The green is shaped with a bowl on the left side and a flat area on the right. Proper length is more important than aim. 6 is the first par 5 and is a monster. There are many fairway bunkers, substantial length and a piano shaped green protected by bunkers. Take your par and run. 7 is an excellent hole to view. A massive bunker creates a visual dilemma. How far right can I go. It is a dogleg right with this bunker going from tee to green with a substantial wall to cover to get to the fairway left and over it. The green is seemingly easy but has more slope than appears. 8 is a big par 3. A deep bunker short right. bunker left and bunker right with a large green sitting between these bunkers. It's a long iron/hybrid requiring precision. 9 finishes the front and wow what a finish. This hole is a play it once and take it to your grave. Tees range from 525 to 675...There is a lake which you must deal with on your drive and 2nd. The green is deep and fraught with hazardous bunkers left and right. Par is a great score here.
10 starts the back with a bag. It is predominantly straight covering a few fairway bunkers and a few bunkers short and then a green with bunkers protecting it. It is of good length. A challenging start to the back. 11 is a gentle dog leg left defined by bunkers you must avoid on the left. The green is perched in an alcove with trees defining it. A bunker short and left. A relatively flat green. 12 is a tough par 4. The tee ball must avoid the heather left and trees right. In the distance is the elevated green with a pond to the right and bunkers short and left. The hole typically plays into the wind too. It is a challenge. 13 is another monster par 5. The tee ball is somewhat blind. The hole has mounds and bunkers left has a slight dogleg left goes over a slight drop and climbs to a green protected with bunkers left and right with deep drops. This makes the 3rd par 5 by which I refer to as monster. This course may very well have the best collection of difficult par 5's anywhere. 14 is a short 3. A very deep bunker protects the left and center. The green has a huge false front which can deliver your ball back a good 20 yards or so. a precise shot is needed. 15 is another great par 4. A pond sits out in sight which you must avoid with your tee ball and then cross to the protected green with bunkers long. The fairway rolls out to the pond so a devilish lie can occur. The hope is to garner a slight uphill lie. There are many fairway bunkers out to the left also to define this slight dogleg right. 16 is the black sheep par 5. Relatively straight. Cover the pond in front. Stay out of a few fairway bunkers and get on the bunker protected green which is quite large. 17 is an excellent par 3. A flat spot circular spot green which then redans and forms another green. A bunker sits short right and goes deep into the green. This hole presents several difficulties which don't jump out at you. It's all about where the pin is. 18 is a fabulous finisher. The par 4 meanders right and comes back left. Almost straight yet can cause difficulty if you stray too far either side. A deep well protected green.
Shoregate is an excellent course. Every hole is special to the whole. It is always in good shape and will challenge you immensely. There are many tees. Choose wisely.