Harbor Pines authored some significant innovations over the past golf season.

The 22-year-old establishment has expanded beyond its original role of a high-end daily-fee course, offering the country-club experience for roughly $100 at a public course. It added brand new carts equipped with USB charging ports, leagues, twilight rates, special-event facilities, and made some alterations to speed play. And they have embraced the mobile age. The club’s app enables patrons to access e-specials, join the rewards program, and keep score electronically.

Like its competitors in this golf-rich area, Harbor Pines looks to speed up play and has chosen to do so with some course alterations.

“Our pace of play is fantastic for a public course, at under four and a half hours,” says Debbie Stevenson, the club’s director of sales and marketing. “To ensure that pace remains steady with the growing demand in the summer months, we have made a few changes on the golf course that include the removal, replacement, and resizing of critical bunkers. These changes will reward a good golf shot and also enhance the aesthetics to highlight the all-around impeccable conditions of this parkland-style course.”

Harbor Pines plays 6,827 from the back tees, 6,296 from the mid tees most people use and 5,101 from the most forward set. It has 12 ponds, 17 acres of water and a reclusive feel amid 520 acres. The bunkers are distinctive, particularly the 170-foot-long half-acre bunker that guards the par-4 17th and a long ribbon-like bunker players cross by bridge approaching the seventh hole.

The greens are a major strength of this facility. They are generally large, meaning they are not difficult to hit, but easy to three-putt. They also roll true, break sharply and are fast.

There are a number of significant challenges on this course. The ninth is a long par 4, the toughest hole in the layout. A long, right-side drive sets up a low-iron or fairway wood to the green, with water on the left and woods on the right.

Ten is a twisting, sophisticated par-5. It takes three shots to reach the putting surface and players attempting to get close to the green in two may flirt with water creeping in behind the fairway bunker. Allan Greenman, the club’s general manager, calls it “tension on every shot” because there is little room for error throughout the hole.

The club touts its finishing combination, “the loop”, holes 15-18. Hole 15 is a short par 3 often impacted by a swirling wind around a protected, fast-breaking green. Taking an extra club off the tee often works here.

Positioning is important on the 16th, as three greenside bunkers on the right encourage playing up the left side. A large serpentine fairway bunker commands the attention of hole 17. A long drive and good second shot will bring players to the green in two shots. An average, or bad drive, will bring a decision into play about whether to play short of the bunker and concede a bogey, or try to clear it and go for the green, while risking a potential double bogey.

The 18th is a bonafide scoring chance. It’s a baby par-5 long hitters can reach in two shots, enabling them to putt for eagle. Two good straight shots and a chip to the green can accomplish.

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Associate Editor, At The Shore/ACWeekly

Freelance reporter for At The Shore/Atlantic City Insiders from 2011-2015; Editor in Chief, MainStreetMarlboro.com,2014-2015; Writer for Zagat, 2013

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