The Links at Brigantine Beach accurately reflects its billing. Flat, devoid of woods and windy, it utilizes the marshland and sandy soil that produce the universally known golfing term "links." Built in 1927, Brigantine remains loyal to the Scottish roots of golf.
The club considers itself the only true New Jersey links course. Why? It is the only one built on links land, says head golf professional Jason Wiegand.
"The term originated back in Scotland as a way to describe unusable land," he says. "This land actually linked the sea to the towns, and many courses were built upon it."
Building-code changes throughout the world made more links land fit for housing development, but the term now immediately identifies a flat golf course on marsh land. Brigantine's layout, coupled with stiff breezes, creates a formidable challenge. It is 6,525 yards from the back tees, 6,214 from the middle and substantially shorter or longer when wind conditions kick up.
"You might play a difference of three clubs over what you normally might hit," Wiegand says. "What you want to remember, especially when you are going into the wind, is not to be afraid to take a lot of extra club and really hit the ball. The wind is going to knock it down."
Players face significant challenges, which make good scores well earned. Wiegand's favorite is the 11th.
"It's a shorty, 316 yards, but the green is fantastic," he says. "It is on a peninsula, covered by water short, left and long. It undulates severely from the back left to the front right. Three putts are fairly common. It's a challenging little hole. It is short, but (it) can beat you up."
Players first observe an optical illusion with a bunker that juts into play from the right side. A good drive of 175 yards will clear the hazard, setting up the second shot. The approach shot will only require a short iron, but accuracy is demanded.
Brigantine's signature hole is No. 17, a 410-yard, slight dogleg left from the middle tees. Water makes the hole play longer, however. It comes into play from between 235 and 265 yards from the middle tees. Most golfers must hit short of the water and then hit a long iron into the green. The good news is you can run the ball up on this green, because the front of it is not guarded. Bunkers near the green penalize shots that drift left or right.
Hole No. 3 is a difficult, 198-yard par 3, especially with wind conditions. A stiff breeze in the face may prompt players to select their driver, an unpleasant task on a par 3. Water sits in front of the green. Bunkers are left and right. If the green can't be reached on the tee shot, short and straight is a safe place to land, setting up a chip shot and a chance to steal par.
Nearby streets are named after legends such as Walter Hagen and Harry Vardon. Local legend says they played here as a warm-up to the British Open.
at Brigantine Beach
Where: 1075 N. Shore
Rates: Mondays to
Thursdays - $75 before
1 p.m., $56 after 1 p.m., $37 after 4 p.m.; Fridays to Sundays - $85 before
1 p.m., $42 after 4 p.m.
All rates include cart.
Tee times: Accepted up to 14 days in advance.
Amenities: Clubhouse, restaurant, putting green, warm-up next to the first tee box.