Ballamor makes the grade for golf-course acclaim: it was named among the Top 10 New Jersey public courses in 2012, according to Golfweek magazine. It joined Atlantic City Country Club, Twisted Dunes, Sand Barrens and its sister property Scotland Run in Williamstown for that distinction.
This Egg Harbor Twp. facility also makes the grade for aesthetics. It has five tee boxes, fashions a 7,098 yard layout from the back tees and 6,681 from the middle. Ballamor contains plush fairways, the general absence of woods, fast, two-tiered putting greens and a peaceful, picturesque setting.
How do you make the grade here? Survive holes 8 to 11 - the Ballamor Four. Yes, the third and 18th holes often gain distinction here, but one's round hangs in the balance in this four-hole snapshot.
"If you can shoot even par or even a little higher for these holes, you are probably going to shoot a strong round," says Mike Tucci, Ballamor general manager and PGA head professional. "All four of these holes are difficult. You can get a big number on any of them."
Hole eight starts the four-hole mini-round as a 223-yard par-3. That's a driver for some and a 3-wood for many. The shot must be controlled enough to sneak between traps that jut out from either side. Assuming one hits the green, a ridge runs through the putting surface. The green promises to break sharply here.
The ninth is a potentially punitive par 4. From the back it is 466 yards, practically a par-5. Tee shots must carry 180 to 220 yards to clear a large body of water. Overswinging is customary here, as players look to ensure they have enough muscle to clear the water. While entrance to the green is no problem, this hole boils down to the tee shot. That will determine the chance for success. The approach shot must be taken on faith; players can only see the top of the flag, not the entire green. Aim for the flag, there is nothing else to cause problems in front of the green.
The 10th is a 578-yard test from the back tees, 557 from the next set forward. One should forget the abundance of sand traps and try to hit three shots down the middle. Even a tee shot of 220 yards and an approach of 180 would leave the player almost 200 yards to the green.
Eleven is the least penalizing in terms of yardage. It is a 418-yard par-4 which requires a long straight drive and an approach shot that must clear a hook-shaped bunker in front of the green.
Ballamor is also known for its picturesque third and its teasing finishing hole. The third is a short par-4, with tee-shot placement, rather than distance, becoming significant. Traps on the right and left come into play, as does a major body of water on the right. The choice is: when do you want to clear an important sand trap? A deep drive along the left edge of the fairway, over a bunker, sets up a wide-open shot to the two-tiered green. A safe shot in the center of the fairway requires an approach shot over a bunker and stack stone wall.
Eighteen invites players to cut yardage off this dogleg right by hugging the right side fairway. That also means flirting with rough, water and traps. A huge bunker in front of the green denies easy access. This hole is about tee-shot position and approach-shot execution.
Memberships are the best deal here. Join Ballamor and enjoy the same privileges at Scotland Run, in Williamstown.
Ballamor Golf Club
WHERE: English Creek Ave., Egg Harbor Twp.
HOW MUCH: General public: $95 Mondays to Thursdays, $105 Fridays to Sundays, $89 Saturdays through Thursdays after noon to Sept. 9; $89 Sept. 9 to Oct. 13. $70 twilight rate also available every day after 3 p.m. Members: $65 to $80. Members can play after 4:30 p.m. for $40. Member-
ship starts at $495.
AMENITIES: Driving range, putting green, chipping area with bunker, four teaching pros, lockers, showers, banquet facility.
TEE TIMES: Available to public seven days in advance, to members 30 days in advance.
MORE INFO: Call 601-6220 or go to