Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club concludes a century of distinction. The Galloway Twp. facility, designed in 1914, has high-level notoriety. It showcases the world’s best female golfers every year via the ShopRite LPGA Classic. It also hosted the 1942 PGA championship where Sam Snead won his first major.
There are actually two layouts here — the Bay and the Pines — along with a brand new miniature-golf-style Turtle course. Seaview offers variety and a strong golf package to both the public and hotel guests.
“We have two very distinct courses, which gives us an advantage in that we can provide two rounds of golf for customers,” says Brian Rashley, its head golf professional. “The Bay course is the Links style layout and the Pines represents the more traditional style of golf. They are two different types of challenges.”
The Bay course is not imposing from the standpoint of length — 6,247 from the back tees and 6,011 from the next forward set — but the answer to scoring is, literally, blowing in the wind. The layout runs along Reeds Bay and features stiff breezes, classic mounding, deep-pot and high-faced bunkers and small greens. Wind gusts are prominent enough to create big decisions in club selection and shot direction.
“The wind is really the course’s best defense,” says Kevin DeDonato, Seaview’s director of golf. “When it is windy this course is as difficult as anything you can play. The winning score this year in the LPGA tournament for 54 holes was 4-under-par, in windy conditions. In past years, that number has been 15 or 16 under.”
Windy indeed. The Bay course had 35 mile-per-hour winds on the final day of its June tournament. Karrie Webb became the sixth LPGA Hall-of-Famer to win the competition.
If the pros have to adjust, so must everyone else. Stiff breezes here can add up to two clubs per shot and make some holes quite difficult to par.
The second hole on the Bay course is its most famous. It is 434 yards from the back tees, 421 from the next set and requires a tremendous drive and fairway wood to reach. A hazard pinches in form the left, protruding out into the fairway, narrowing one’s target for the approach shot.
Wind plays a psychological role as well. There is a tendency to overswing on the drive in an attempt to gain more yardage. That can create a flubbed tee shot and an uphill battle the rest of the way. This hole forces many players to view bogey as a good score. Par is exceptional.
Seventeen is a tricky par-3, 115 yards from the back tees. It is guarded by bunkers and in effect becomes an island green. This is a target shot, with fescue mounding in back of the green reminding players not to take too much club.
The Pines course is tree-lined, narrow and longer. It plays 6,731 yards from the back tees, 6,211 from the middle. Water is prevalent only on the ninth hole. One of DeDonato’s favorites is the 17th, a 468-yard par-4 from the back tees and 429 from the mid tees. It is a dogleg left and the back-tee player would need 285 yards to carry the bunker on the corner and gain the best view of the approach shot. It takes two strong shots to reach the green.
TAP-INS....The Turtle course is fun. Each hole is a sloping real putting surface and will teach young players about uphill and downhill putts. The holes are good sized, perhaps 50 feet or so, and a hole-in-one would be a huge accomplishment.This is the final installment of the golf column for this year. Enjoy the rest of the season in this area’s rich golf playground. We’ll see you again next summer.