Financially speaking, golfers just nailed a birdie.
McCullough's Emerald Golf Links offers two strong new value packages for 2015. One is golf instruction. Long-time PGA pro Bob Herman holds clinics 4:30 p.m. Sundays and 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Players can obtain instruction for about half an hour, followed by nine holes of golf for $25. Besides the friendly price tag, this plan endorses the concept of players practicing what they just learned, encouraging good results.
The second special concerns mid-week rates at this Egg Harbor Township facility. A $39 greens fee is applied after 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays for everyone until July 1. It then shifts to $49 in the afternoons for the rest of the summer. Included in this deal designed to drive mid-week traffic are green fees, a cart and a sleeve of balls.
As for the course, it has something for everyone. McCullough's plays 6,535 yards from the back set of four tees, 6132 from the mid tees most people use and 4,962 from the most forward set. The terrain features elevation changes, breezes and layouts primarily resembling famous holes from Scotland, the birthplace of golf. Ireland, England and France are also represented in the design.
“This course is interesting and it is memorable,” says Tom Sullivan, the general manager for the 13-year-old property. “What makes it interesting is that this is the typical links experience. You won't find many trees, but you will have rolling hills, fescue (comparable to deep rough) and breezes most of the time during the summer.
“What makes it memorable is the beauty you will find with the elevation changes. We have some that are about 100 feet high. The view looking down at the hole is absolutely terrific.”
McCullough's offers an interesting style of play. Most of the greens are not protected by bunkers in front. Players have the option, even the occasional necessity, of keeping approach shots low and rolling them toward the green.
The 12th is listed as the toughest hole. It is a picturesque and difficult par-4 featuring an elevated tee and measuring 434 yards from the mid tees. A player needs two fairly long, well-placed shots to reach the putting surface. The fairway slopes from left to right and will force some shots into the right-side bunkers. The tee shot is best placed in the left-center section of the fairway, but rough also sits on the left. The best drive will have to flirt with trouble on the left in order to deliver a good position for the approach. This hole is patterned after Ireland’s Royal County Down’s hole 3.
The 10th may be as difficult as the 12th, Sullivan says. It is a 437-yard par 4 highlighting berms surrounding the hole and a steep slope behind the green. Two long, accurate shots are needed to reach the green in regulation. This hole is designed after Royal Dornoch’s number 14, in Scotland.
Best birdie opportunity? It may be the fourth, a short par-4 at 323 yards with few gimmicks or tricks. A good drive will lead to a 9 iron or wedge into the hole for many. It replicates the third hole at Scotland’s Nairn.
Want a taste of the 2015 British Open? Observe the 14th at McCullough's. It is designed after the 14th at fabled St. Andrews in Scotland, site of this year's event. The 14th here resembles one of the world's most famous holes, playing 458 yards and displaying “Hell's Bunker” 80 yards in front of the green. The fairway rises and falls with hollows.
TAP-INS: Scotland is most represented in this layout, with 13 holes... Egg Harbor Twp residents always receive the best rates available. No card is needed, just show a driver's license. McCullough's is named after Egg Harbor Twp. Mayor Sonny McCullough.