Renault's Deceptive Difficulty: Egg Harbor City course plays smoothly until you hit its quick greens
Jack Midgley, of Boca Raton, Fla., and Bob Smith, of Springfield, Pa., tee off on the 7th hole at Vineyard Golf at Renault Resort in Egg Harbor City. Being surrounded by grape vines as you play adds an interesting new dimension to a round.

Because of its six-year-old golf course, Renault Winery offers players a unique triple package - wine, dine and whine.

The wine segment concerns its historic vineyards, a destination stop by itself in Egg Harbor City. Dining unfolds in the property restaurants. And the whining? It could happen on the tricky greens, when players realize they haven't scored as well as they expected.

Some will be surprised by the course named Vineyard Golf at Renault Resort. It looks long and innocent, but plays tougher. Sure, the fairways are wide open and the absence of hazards will spike one's confidence and the size of the swing. And, yes, the demanding yardage of 7,213 from the back tees, 6,746 from the middle and 6,358 from the whites should not be discouraging on this wide-open layout. Long-ball hitters may regard this as a party without a bill.

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But then come the greens. That's where the course tries to get even.

"Our course is player friendly from tee to green," says Brian Crompton, head pro at Vineyard Golf. "But once you get on the greens, all bets are off. They are quick and there are some nice undulations in them. We have the best greens in South Jersey. They are fast and they are true. You may leave with a few three-putts, but you'll also leave impressed by the course conditions."

The golf course holds its own as a challenging test of the game, while driving players to the other side of its operation - the Historic Renault Winery and the Tuscany House Hotel. For those who stay at the hotel, for instance, the golf round comes with a free wine tour.

Renault's signature hole is the seventh. It is a dog leg left with a tee shot that starts over the vineyards. (If the tee shot winds up in the vineyards, you may not want to come out). Crompton advises players to find the right side of the fairway for the clearest shot to the green. On the approach, aim for the left-center of the green to stay out of the green-side bunkers on the right.

The picturesque 12th hole features an elevated tee with a tremendous view of the course and the hotel. Players can swing aggressively and often be left with nothing more than a short iron or wedge to the green. Be careful, though, as bunkers and water hazards guard the green.

Crompton's tip about playing the green has a Catch-22 component.

"If you mange to get to the putting surface, this is one hole where you might be aggressive with your birdie putt," he says. "But like on all of our greens, don't be too aggressive or you will be shaking your head wondering how you just made a bogey with only a wedge into the green."


Throughout October, the course offers

"4 play, 3 play" with coupon, essentially

25 percent off per person. For those with flexibility, the $40 rate after 3:30 p.m. daily

is an excellent value.

Vineyard Golf at Renault Resort

72 Bremen Ave., Egg Harbor City

Rates: Through Nov. 1 - Monday to Thursday: $74, $59 after 2 p.m. Friday to Sunday: $89, $74 after 2 p.m. After Nov. 1 - Monday to Thursday: $49, $39 after noon. Friday to Sunday: $59, $49 after noon.

Reservations: Accepted up to eight days in advance.

Amenities: Putting and chipping green, restaurant, winery, hotel

Phone: 609-965-2111


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