Wind and resilience, two words players need to grasp at Brigantine Golf Links, also define its character.
Gabriel DeLiberty, completing his 10th year working for the property, recalls Brigantine displaying its own resilience in the post-Sandy era.
“We were under 4 1/2 feet of water,” its head PGA professional says of the 2012 Superstorm. “The most pleasant surprise I’ve seen in all my years here is how quickly the course was able to rebound. We had a great maintenance staff led by Tom Dale, the course superintendent. They saved the course. In five months we were almost at full strength.”
Junior Watson will perform with Dean Shot & The Solid Senders and Johnny Childs 7:30 p.m…
Characteristic No. 2 remains to this day. Wind is the dominant feature on a course that does not play long. Brigantine Golf Links, built in 1927, has multiple personalities. It sports four tee boxes, with the two most commonly used set in the range of 6,152 yards. Yet the breezes are a significant wild card.
“You come here to play and think that it’s flat, there are no blind shots, and you may not catch a lot of rough,” DeLiberty says. “But the wind can legitimately add half a dozen to a dozen strokes to your score on a particular day. On a completely calm day, you might be looking at a 150-yard shot. That same shot later on, into a head-wind, is a 190-yard shot, maybe a three-club difference. These different conditions make this course great. It’s the closest thing you can get to a British Open style of play.”
That, according to local legend, was on the mind of icon Walter Hagen, who played here to practice for the British Open in the late 1920s. True to its Scottish roots, the links-style layout offers a bay view and winds through native marsh and nearly treeless terrain. The prevailing ocean wind that characterizes links golf, making holes play differently from one day to another, gave him a taste of what would follow in Great Britain.
Brigantine attracts a nice summer crowd, standing in close proximity to the casino industry. It has not been forced to make any major course changes, but did perform routine maintenance like re-sodding several tee boxes.
“Because we have a sand base, built on an island, you get undulations that pop into the tee boxes,” DeLiberty says. “It causes a bit of settlement and makes some of the tee boxes uneven. Every few years, it’s a good idea to rip that up, level it and re-sod.”
The layout sports a blend of challenges, even before one considers the wind. DeLiberty is a big fan of the 11th, a short par 4 that demands two precise shots. The tee shot can be complicated by a fairway bunker that juts out from the right, occupying about 60 percent of the terrain. There is enough safe ground on the left for a landing area, but a big decision should be made prior to the tee shot.
The two-tiered green slopes severely and is surrounded by water. The pin placement will affect what angle one approaches the green from, and thus impact the positioning of the tee shot. When the pin is top left, for example, water comes more prominently into play. That can be risky. If you want more room to work with, playing it safe and trying for the middle of the green may be the strategy. That means the tee shot may have to flirt with, and clear, the right-side fairway trap to establish the best angle for approach.
The majority of those who open restaurants in resort towns likely come from other areas, bringing their business to the shore because of the p…
“It looks like a simple enough hole,” DeLiberty says. “But there is also a lot of trouble you can get tangled up in. You can also tend to look past it in a way. It just followed a long par-5, the par-3 is next (both are good scoring opportunities) and before you know it, you just double-bogeyed 11.”
Two of its best holes are lengthy par 3s. The 15th plays 167 yards from the mid tees. A body of water approximately 50 yards long makes this a boom-or-bust hole for many. If the tee shot is short, it is likely wet. The third is 198 yards, usually into the wind.