Harbor Pines unfurls a fishing analogy for golfers. Lure them in with wide fairways, large greens and beautiful lakes that rarely come into play. Provide the glimpse of a good score.
And then get even on the greens. There's the hook.
"You can think you have it made, but then these greens are tricky and undulating," says Bob Ewing, the second-year general manager at the Egg Harbor Township facility. "You leave the ball on the front of a large green and you may four-putt."
The course statistics bear out his point. Harbor Pines is not long - 6,142 yards - from the white tees most people use. It won't throw up woods to gobble errant drives and only one body of water - the 12th - is a true forced carry. But strategically-placed bunkers and the quick sloping greens enhance the difficulty.
They also underscore the beauty of the course. Harbor Pines opened in 1996 and was designed by renowned architect Steven Kay, who also set up Blue Heron Pines. This course was one of the first high-end, daily-fee establishments set up to give customers a country club feel for one day. Bag drops, lockers, showers and a host of other amenities accompany the price tag - $89 during the week, $109 on weekends.
Establishments such as this complemented public courses, expanding the golf menu for local residents. They also helped make this golf-rich area a strong destination resort to out-of-state players.
"What we want to give you for that is an excellent experience from the time you pull up to the time you finish up," Ewing asserts. "That goes for everything - the great course conditions, the quality of the food, the way our employees know your name, etc. We are also a perfect place for a golf outing."
While the course provides the lush fairways and fast greens one expects from high-end establishments, it offers an exceptional super twilight special. It's a $30 greens fee any weekday after 4 p.m. Customers can easily complete a full round for that price throughout June and most of July.
One of the course's best holes is the seventh, a par-5 measuring 474 yards from the white tees and 526 from the back. A normal drive will give players the option of trying to reach the green in two. Yet a bunker passes 30-40 yards in front of the putting surface. Here is the risk-reward scenario: Clear the trap and putt for an eagle or fall short, get buried in it and struggle for par or bogey. A smart move is to play short of the traps on the second shot and pitch over it on the third.
Ewing says most players should treat it as a three-shot hole, but the temptation to reach in two is tantalizing.
The finishing hole is an interesting 419-yard par-4. It has bunkers on the right and left side and in the center of the fairway. It takes two strong shots to reach the green in regulation.
The 12th, which looks easy, is one of the club's most aesthetically pleasing holes. Players must clear a huge body of water on the left or avoid it with a narrow landing area to the right. The temptation here is to push the ball too far right. That forces some players to wind up pitching back to the fairway from Steelmanville Road.
Memberships begin at $250, allowing a discount on golf rounds and merchandise. The club has 17 acres of water, but it won't affect most shots. The greens average 6,500 feet, about 50 percent more than the average putting surface.
Harbor Pines Golf Club
WHERE: 500 St. Andrews Drive, Egg Harbor Township.
HOW MUCH: $89 during the week, $109 on weekends. Prices drop throughout day. Super twilight rate is $30 every day after 4 p.m. Memberships start at $250, level of membership affects rates.
AMENITIES: Pro shop, driving range, putting green, chipping area with bunker, bar and grill, locker rooms, showers, bar and grill, banquet facility for 225 people.
TEE TIMES: Available to public 14 days out, to members 30 days in advance
MORE INFO: Call 609-927-0006, ext., 10, or go to