Course Name: Seaview Resort & Spa – The Bay Course
Designer: Hugh Wilson (1914), Donald Ross (1916, added bunkers), Bob Cupp Jr. (Redesign, 1998)
Location: Galloway, New Jersey
History: Like Atlantic City Country Club, The Bay Course at Seaview has a rich golfing history. Designed by Hugh Wilson (Merion’s architect) and Donald Ross (Seminole) in 1916, numerous Presidents have stayed at this resort. Most notably, this course hosted the 1942 PGA Championship, in which Sam Snead won after a chip-in on 16. Since 1986, The Bay Course has hosted the LPGA Tour in what is currently known as the Shoprite Classic. The resort also has another 18-hole gem, The Pines Course, which has a much different feel than The Bay Course. The Bay is generally regarded as superior and is ranked #9 in Golf.com’s 2014 New Jersey Public Course Ranking.
Conditions: 8/10, this course was in immaculate shape. With lightning quick greens and lush rough, there are no complaints in this domain.
Value: 7/10, although you can expect to pay over $100 on the weekends, weekday and twilight rates at the Bay Course are actually fairly reasonable at $60. For a course in this condition and location, it’s certainly not overpriced.
Tee Par Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 71 6247 69.5 120
White 71 6011 68.4 117
Gold 71 5017 70.4 124
Best Score: 79 (White Tees), 8/5/2014 with Dad, Jim, and Jack
Front 9 Best: 45 (White Tees), 8/5/2014 with Dad, Jim, and Jack
Back 9 Best: 34 (White Tees), 8/5/2014 with Dad, Jim, and Jack
Hole Highlights: My playing partners and I all agreed that the best way to describe this course is “fun.” Not overly long or difficult, this course offers the views and design perfect for a resort course. With that being said, the first hole was a bit intimidating. A 360 yard par 4, out of bounds lines the right hand side and bunkers were abundant. The speed of the greens was also extremely impressive, making them fairly difficult to read. The second hole is meant to be a difficult hole. At over 430 yards, this long par 4 is most notable for its beautifully sloped green surrounded by marshland. The view of the Atlantic City skyline is tremendous from this green. The third hole is a great short par 5. Just under 500 yards, this hole is reachable but mounds and bunkers make this approach shot a risky one. Another well-bunkered hole, the 380 yard par 4 was also memorable for its raised green. This narrow green is surrounded on all sides by sloped tight fairway.
A weaker hole, the 300 yard par 4 5th has a wide cross bunker about 275 yards from the tee making going for the green not a reality. The 6th hole mirrors hole 2 in many ways. A long par 4, this straightaway hole also crosses a path and gully. The first and only par 3 on the front, the 195 yard 7th hole has a visually intimidating pond covering the first half of the hole. Another short par 4, the 8th has marshland on the right and bunkers surrounding this elevated green. The 9th hole is an interesting par 5 finishing hole. At just 475 yards, it’s certainly reachable. A trio of heart-shaped bunkers cross this fairway at 350 yards, but I can’t tell how these would come into play.
The back 9 was the superior side in my opinion. Hole 10 is a strong opening hole. At 370 yards, this green turns sharply to the left and a bunker right before it makes the approach shot somewhat blind. While the par fours on this course are relatively short, the par threes are not. Hole 11 was a brute of a par 3 at over 230 yards and a tiny green. I was a big fan of the 12th hole. This 330 dogleg right is guarded by trees on the right side and bunkers catching long left drives. Also interesting was the fact that this green was bunkerless. It was very sloped and narrow however, making any chip exceedingly difficult. The 13th hole was a very pretty hole. This straightaway 400 yard par 4’s green was straight uphill, demonstrating a surprising amount of elevation changes for the Jersey Shore.
Hole 14 is a longer par 4 that goes back downhill and back towards the marshland. Another long par 3, the 200 yard 15th played uphill and had an extremely sloped green. Any balls right of the green are dead. I think the 16th might have been my favorite hole on the course. At 370 yards, this slight dogleg right was intimidating off the tee. A long bunker and dunes lined the direction of the hole. I hit my drive very well on this hole, but pushed it thinking it would be in deep trouble. To my delight it had carried everything. Hole 17 is a very short par 3 that very much reminded me of Ross’s 3rd at Wannamoisett. A back-to-front sloped green is guarded on all sides by bunkers making GIR a necessity. The 18th is a 500 yard par 5 and certainly a birdie chance. The fairway narrows at 400 yards with two terrifying bunkers, making going for the green possibly even the smart play.
General Comments: With a large, fast putting green and a PGA inspired range, the practice facilities at Seaview are top-notch. Pace of play was also surprisingly quick when I played. I will also say the resort itself is beautiful and full of history – definitely worth a look inside. One complaint I did have was with the green-headed flies, which were relentless near the marshes.
Verdict: Great conditioning, history, and views make this an affordable must-play in the Atlantic City area!