Ted Wenner is unique among industry golf professionals. He has been at one facility — Avalon Golf Club — since 1981.
That journey is almost unheard of for someone starting today. Yet Wenner, the director of golf operations for the Cape May Court House facility, has enjoyed the club’s consistent branding as a fun, player-friendly course over his long tenure.
“We hear the same thing from customers year in and year out about being well-priced, in good shape and that the players walk off with a good experience,” Wenner says. “This is a great place to play.”
Avalon enhanced its amenities lineup with a new deck, which holds approximately 100 people, a couple of years back. It has received increased foot traffic with longer operating hours, expanding the club’s brand to non-golfers and providing a post-round accent to its players.
“It is getting more and more popular as the people realize it is here and that it’s open year-round,” Wenner asserts. “It has a beautiful view overlooking the 18th hole. The deck is a good place to have a drink after your round and it can be nice for group after outings. We also see it used for cocktail parties, banquets and baby showers. People are reserving it more often. We are also seeing more people come to use the deck who aren’t even golfing that day.”
Those who do golf experience a course that maximizes its layout. The absence of fairway bunkers and hazards either in the tee-shot landing area or in front of the green enable a pace of play that can accommodate heavy summer shore traffic. The terrain is open, there are no heavy woods for balls to get lost in and there is a good bit of scenery.
Avalon has four tee boxes, ranging from 6325-4924 yards. It accommodates all levels of skill.
The sixth, a challenging par-4, has always been a favorite for players.
Although it appears fairly straight, it must be approached as a dogleg right because right-side trees prompt the player to stay down the left side and angle in to the green from left to right. It plays 393 yards from the mid tees.
A creek runs across the fairway. A tee shot that is short or right will result in a follow-up positioning shot to get a good view of the green on a subsequent stroke.
The left side of the fairway is thus an excellent place to deliver the tee shot.
“To me, the sixth captures everything,” Wenner indicates. “It shows the beauty of the course, a challenge as a hole and the strategy you need to place the ball.”
Four is considered the toughest hole, with good reason. It plays 529 yards from the mid-tees, requiring a strong drive to clear the creek running across the fairway and a strong second shot along the right side of the fairway, but not so far right that it disappears into the rough. The third shot must avoid a bunker blocking the left side of the green. This is an interesting example of how a greenside bunker not only affects the shot heading into the green, but the one preceding it. Avoiding the bunker prompts players to go to the right on their second shot.
A back-nine challenge sits at the 13th. It looks innocent at 340 yards, but the fairway funnels as it gets closer to the green. A tee shot that does not hit the fairway will make the green difficult to hit in two.
Seventeen is a scenic assignment. Elevated tees produce a tee shot that is all carry over water to a short green. The elevation and wind prompt an interesting club selection for a hole that plays about 150 yards. Too short? Find a ball retriever for the water. Too long? It’s on Route 9.