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New Jersey's Scotland Run Golf Club: A Recipe For Greatness

By Jay Mankus, Contributor

In the little town of Williamstown, N.J., lies one of the most aesthetically pleasing golf courses you might ever see. While most upscale public courses contain a few breath-taking holes, Scotland Run is like a theme park filled with signature golf holes. Once you finish a hole, you can't wait to play the next. In fact, twelve of Scotland Run's eighteen holes could stand alone on a calendar as America's greatest golf holes.

Do you think these words are a little too strong? Am I going slightly overboard? Well, maybe I am, but once you play this Stephen Kay design, you will be convinced that Scotland Run Golf Club will become one of the elite public facilities along the East Coast!

Located 45 minutes from Philadelphia International and Greater Wilmington Airports, Scotland Run is a quarter of a mile north of Highway 322 on Fries Mill Road. Anyone with business ties in the Tri-State area, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, will be dying to impress their clients here.

Scotland Run opened June 21st of this year with the inaugural foursome of course designer Stephen Kay, owner Chip Ottinger Jr, Ron Hextall, and John LeClair of the Philadelphia Flyers. Nearly four months later, Scotland Run has become the official golf course of the Sony Music E-Centre, the main concert arena in Camden, New Jersey.

Land Rover of North America was so impressed with the waste areas and quarry cliffs of Scotland Run that they filmed a recent television commercial on site. If this wasn't enough, many golf journalists have compared Scotland Run's layout with Pine Valley.

The secret behind Scotland Run's design is the abandoned sand quarry which it was built upon. While southern New Jersey is usually known for its flatlands, dense forests, and abundance of water, 11 of 18 holes run along, around, and through this sand quarry.

Meanwhile, the topography above this quarry is heavily wooded with gentle rolling hills. Add 10 acres of water, an abandoned crane, and two detached crane buckets scattered upon this already magnificent landscape and Stephen Kay has created a recipe for greatness!

Currently, Scotland Run's first class practice facility is set to open April 1st of 2000 with the permanent clubhouse opening sometime during the 2001 golf season. If you don't have time to play a round, Scotland Run's practice facility will have a great atmosphere.

Head PGA professional Damon Klepczynski will be carrying four assistants to help golfers on over 200 yards of bent grass tees, 6 target greens, a heated teeing area, and matted area for those old fashion golfers. Damon looks forward to having a Summer Golf School next season, setting the tone for a fabulous teaching environment.

While Scotland Run's staff is faced with the challenge of entertaining guests with a beverage cart and grill until their clubhouse is complete, it will be worth the wait!

S. Vic Jones & Associates of Dallas, Texas, known for their specialization of finer golf and country club facilities, will break ground on a 25,000 square foot clubhouse in mid-November. This elegant design, currently on display in the existing proshop, will include a 250 seat banquet facility to accommodate weddings, corporate meetings, and golf outings.

Scotland Run's clubhouse will overlook the 223 yard par 3 9th hole. At 191 yards from the middle tees, this hole has a sand quarry to the left, a ravine with water to the right, and an elevated green with severe undulations.

Besides watching several golfers walk off this green with at least 3 putts, the real eyecatcher will be watching carts drive down into the desert like floor of the quarry and appear moments later as compacted sand gives way to blacktop. This is just a taste of what you will experience on Scotland Run's 6,810 yard par 71 layout.

The northwest wing of Scotland Run's Golf Club will overlook the first tee, a 525 yard par 5 that will set the tone for the fine manicured bent grass tees, fairways, and greens found at Scotland Run. With 5 sets of tees, ranging from 5,010 to 6,810 yards, Scotland Run can be enjoyed by every level of golfer.

However, just because the course is only 6,138 yards from the white or middle tees, does not mean it will be easy. Sloping fairways, deep and exotic bunkers, vast waste areas, intimidating cliffs, and large undulating greens are just a few of the obstacles which will make your round at Scotland Run, one you will never forget.

As for the overall feel of Scotland Run, 6 of the first 9 holes resemble a traditional wooded course with tree-lined fairway. However, as you approach the back nine, 9 of the last 11 holes give you more of a Scottish links feel, thus the name Scotland Run.

A professional tour player might shoot 29 in the front on Scotland Run's amazingly true greens and short distance, just 3,282 yards from the tips. However, they will struggle to break 40 on a back that measures 3,528 yards, with 2 par 4's, 12 and 17 playing over 465 yards.

With the yardage difference between both nines, 100 to 250 yards depending on what tees you are playing, Scotland Run Golf Club's design allows players to warm up to their round. The first hole eases you into the flow of the course with a fifty yard wide fairway short of this green. With ample room to lay-up on this par 5 or go for the green in two, starting off with a par or better is likely.

As you leave the first green, surrounded by trees of three sides, you enter the heavily wooded section of the course. Holes 2-7, except for par 3 4th, have fairways that are generous in places, yet are enclosed by a wall of trees. The 4th tee, just outside these woods, is set on a hillside that overlooks an amphitheater of fescue, rolling mounds, and sand.

After the longest and shortest par 4's on the front, 5 and 6, the par 4 7th serves as a transitional hole with natural waste areas and mound of sand filled with fescue, all within a tree lined setting.

As you leave the heavily wooded section of Scotland Run, the par 4 8th acts as a the gateway to the sand quarry. While a dense treeline runs along the right rough, you see your first glimpse of a quarry filled with natural water to your left. Don't miss the signature 10th green behind you to the left and the quarry crane, sitting just above the quarry to the left of the 8th fairway.

As you make your way to the back nine, the heart of the course will leave you in awe. TEN, ELEVEN, TWELVE, and the deep reverse carpet bunker on 13 will make you think it can't get any better. If you are wondering if reverse carpet bunker was a typo, you are wrong!

A reverse carpet bunker is a new technology that enables golf course architects to create deep sand bunkers without erosion or sudden collapse of the lips over time. Get used to this terminology, once you see one, you will be amazed how well reversed carpet can be used to shape one of these bunkers.

The fourteen and fifteen holes take a brief trip back into a dense area of trees before resurfacing on the par 4 16th. Take the cliffs of the Monterey peninsula, transplant Pine Valley's best par 4 and you create Scotland's Run signature hole. A hole that will appear over time in every golf magazine after their journalists play this course. Then 17 and 18 continue through, around, and above the remaining quarry at Scotland Run Golf Club. A 3 hole stretch that one day may be remembered as the best 3 finishing holes in all of golf!

As the Christmas season approaches, along with all the free calendars you will receive, here are twelve mental pictures of Scotland Run Golf Club that will remain forever sketched in your mind.

Number 1: The two greens on the second hole, forty yards apart, separated by a massive greenside bunker could be a signature hole on any course.

Second: The 6 foot deep reverse carpet bunker that strategically guards the third green is one place you would rather view from above than from within.

Third: You will leave the sixth green scratching your head, how could a hole this short be so hard? A false front on the right and severe sloping green, will make you feel like you are putting on a Pinehurst #2 green.

Fourth: The 372 yard, par 4 7th is a Pine Valley classic, the best designed hole on the course. Beware of a sand dune which makes your approach shot deceivingly short.

Five: Two quarries, a green hanging above the cliffs, and the back right section of the 8th green makes you feel like you are playing golf in the Badlands of South Dakota, not New Jersey.

Six: The best par 3 on the course will be the backdrop for a first class clubhouse. The only thing missing are stands and a major championship.

Seven: A 150 carry over a quarry set the tone for this hole. Yet, the 75 yard long railroad tie sand bunker which frames the elevated 10th green is the most impressive man-made sight on the course.

Eight: The blind fairway from the tee of the 11th hole has more waste area than actual fairway. This is the most unique hole I have ever played.

Nine: Set upon the highest point of the course, no tee shot will put more fear into a player than that of 12th at Scotland Run. Unless of course you enjoy hitting over water to a fairway surrounded on both sides by sand.

Ten: A tee shot for the ages, over a quarry which must carry between 175 yards to the far left or 245 yards to carry completely. A visit to the quarry floor on the 16th hole will enhance your appreciation of a good drive.

Eleven: From an elevated tee, the par 4 17th hole looks like a mile long, 486 yards from the tips. Enjoy your trip down into the quarry floor.

Twelve: Two lakes, almost a dozen bunkers, a narrowing fairway, and a final view of a massive quarry cliff will make the 18th hole at Scotland Run one of the most scenic finishing holes you will ever play!

While most courses across the continental United States have closed for the season, you still have time to visit one of America's hottest new course this year. Through November 30th, offseason rates are $68, which includes a cart. Starting December 1st through March 11th of 2000, daily fees are $55 per person.

For further rates, course information, or directions go to www.scotlandrun.com. With daily temperatures still in the fifties and sixties, make your reservations now. Call 1-609-863-3737 today!

Scotland Run Golf Club

Rt. 322 & Fries Mill Rd.
Williamstown, NJ 08094

Jay Mankus, Contributor

A former golf standout at Concord High School in Wilmington, Del., Jay Mankus graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Recreation & Parks Administration. Before graduating, Jay spent time as an intern at a golf club in the east suburbs of Cleveland specializing in golf course maintenance and design.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Scotland Run

    Joe D wrote on: Aug 29, 2006

    Expensive.... very expensive. Yeah it's a nice course but that still doesn't make it right to rip people off to play the thing.



    Joby wrote on: Nov 29, 2004

    A Must Play's Must Play! Some may call it gimmicky, but this is probably the 2nd funnest and most unique course I've ever played, just flat out outstanding. Dug out of an old sand and gravel quarry, very imaginative and varied layout, some great views. More video game than traditional links, Scotland Run features pot bunkers, railroad tie walls, nasty carries over old sand pits (the chasms on #'s 16, 3, & 5 jump to mind), hitting shots next to rusted-out steamshovels, lots of doglegs, fescue everywhere, and acres of flashed-up waste bunkers with cart paths running right through them. A visual experience, and gamblers will love the risk/reward style. This thing leaves no room for error. Short from the Whites, long from the Blues. Good maintenance, lots of sandy lies, quick greens. #18 is one of the tougher risk/reward finishing holes you'll find. Value is questionable, I have yet to find a course that's truly worth $105 of my dollars without a stripper being involved. Still, in my opinion, better than a similar layout at Golf Magazine Top 100 You Can Play #9 ranked @ World Woods (Pine Barrens) in Brooksville, FL. You'll never forget it. Rating: 10
    Best Bar Nearby: Huge new clubhouse features The Highlander Pub & Grill with good food and outdoor tables overlooking the course. Soups are good, wings are passable. Decent upper-class middle-aged crowd on weekends. Also, great bar nearby per Vogey: PJ Wheelins- Right out of lot, next left at light, 1 mi. on right (past hospital is too far).


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