Top 10 Courses: New Jersey

Heres our list of the top 10 courses in New Jersey, also known as the Garden State

1. PINE VALLEY, Pine Valley

The consensus number one in the state, the U.S., and the world. Set on a magnificent stretch of sandy, pine-clad terrain, it remains the unrelenting test of both shotmaking and courage that it was at birth more than a century ago.

2. BALTUSROL (LOWER), Springfield

A recent renovation by Gil Hanse has brought a dramatic new look to the state’s most storied championship course, the site of numerous major events including two U.S. Open wins by Jack Nicklaus.

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Baltusrol (Lower) (photo by Evan Schiller)

3. SOMERSET HILLS, Bernardsville

Tucked cozily into New Jersey horse country, the A. W. Tillinghast routing takes full advantage of the varied, constantly changing terrain, and the green complexes are both beguiling and bedeviling.

Somerset Hills (photo by L.C. Lambrecht)


Neither plain nor a field, this Donald Ross design, updated by Hanse, rises, dips, and winds through generally hilly terrain, its holes culminating in expansive, fiercely contoured, and always slippery greens.

Plainfield (photo by L.C. Lambrecht)

5. BALTUSROL (UPPER), Springfield

Set on steeply sloped terrain just above its big sister, it invariably steals the hearts of those who play both, whether in one day or as members. Coping with the slopes is the key, whether in planning the tee shots and approaches or putting the steeply canted greens.


Three A.W. Tillinghast nines grace this club, which hosted the 1935 Ryder Cup and has continued to test the pros and its members for nearly a century. Towering trees line the fairways, calling for care in the execution of shots.

Ridgewood (West) (photo by L.C. Lambrecht)


Set on sandy/marshy land near the Jersey Shore (with the Atlantic City skyline in full view), this is one of Tom Fazio’s finest, a succession of visually striking holes that are both challenging and fun to play.

Galloway National (photo by L.C. Lambrecht)

8. MOUNTAIN RIDGE, West Caldwell

A Ross treasure restored and enhanced expertly by Ron Prichard. The nines unfurl in a pair of loops, no two consecutive holes playing in the same direction, and Ross’s undulating greens are the stars.

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Mountain Ridge (photo by L.C. Lambrecht)


In 2014, Tom Doak restored this 1917 design just blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, removing 1,200 trees and highlighting the dramatic “volcano” bunkers.

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Hollywood (photo by L.C. Lambrecht)

10. ESSEX COUNTY, West Orange

A Tillinghast course redone by Seth Raynor and Charles Banks that saw a major renovation and lengthening by Hanse, it’s distinguished by its four strong par threes and an inward nine that many believe is the best in the state.



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