Pine Valley Golf Club has 18 unique holes set in the pine barrens of southern New Jersey. Every hole could be on this list for me. Personally, I love five pars and the strategies needed to navigate them successfully. Aesthetics, playability, challenge and shot value are the pieces of the puzzle that make a hole great for me and the 15th at Pine Valley Golf Club. It starts with a tee shot over some water to a fairly generous landing area. Be careful, if you stray left or right the second shot, which is nervy even from the middle of the short grass, becomes a real sphincter tightener. Once you’ve found the fairway off the tee you have choices. Should I go for the small well guarded green that is protected by elevation and the famous Crump style of bunkering or do I lay up somewhere in the narrowing slit of fairway as the hole elevates toward the green complex. For me this is always a three shot hole and each shot needs your full focus and attention. It is easy to get trapped in the past of the previous holes or get enamored by the future looking at the amazing 16th headed down the hill you are currently ascending.
The 15th hits all the marks for me. It is incredibly beautiful no matter what season you are fortunate enough to be playing. It is playable for long, medium or short hitters. It challenges all skill sets and makes you think about the best strategy to walk away with par whilst demanding you execute your shot of choice. Golf is such an amazing game as it stimulates so many of your senses and forces you to transcend your ego. I hope you get the chance to play it one day.