Galloway National Golf Club
|Golf Professional||Robert T Tudor||(609) 748-1000|
|General Manager||Jason Lamp||(609) 748-1000|
|Superintendent||Scott McBane||(609) 748-2993|
|Tee Sheet||Front 9||Back 9||Course|
On May 27,1995, the Greater Philadelphia area got its first full-fledged, Tom Fazio-from-scratch eighteen. Galloway National. And five days later—amusingly enough, after all these years—came a second Fazio eighteen here, the splendid Hartefeld National, a high-end daily-fee course in the southern reaches of Chester County. The celebrated architect had, it seems, made up for lost time.
Galloway National Golf Club was founded by a four-man partnership of local businessmen headed by Vernon W. Hill II. The other three are John Silvestri, Steve Lewis, and Ken Lowther. Mr. Hill was named chairman.
The Galloway founders had a lofty goal: to provide their members with a golf experience to rival that of the best clubs in the world. They were fortunate to find a rare tract along Reeds Bay in Galloway Township, New Jersey, that offered some honest elevation changes, mature trees, sandy soil for good drainage, and a whiff of the distant sea. Soon afterward, Fazio was commissioned to take this 200 acres and design a course that would be fair, challenging, thoroughly enjoyable, and, yes—it was ardently hoped— memorable.
Construction began in the spring of 1993. By summer of 1994 ten holes were open for play (1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18). The following spring, on Memorial Day weekend, the official opening of the full eighteen took place.
Par is 71, and the attractive mix of holes—four par 5s, five par 3s, nine par 4s—virtually guarantees plenty of variety. The course measures 6,885 yards from the back tees, 6,369 from the regular markers. It is extremely testing from all the way back, particularly in a fresh breeze off the bay. And it is scarcely a pushover from the shorter tees.
The blend here is one of woods, wetlands, lakes, sand (often vast waste bunkers, what the scorecard refers to as “native Bunkers,” where the club may be grounded without penalty), generous fairways, and complex greens that are generally swift. On the face of it, it sounds like a lot to deal with. And it is. But the point is—and this is a truism with Fazio—we can deal with it, and have a wonderful time in so doing.
The course is harder than what most of us are accustomed to. At times it is quite intimidating. There is danger and there is drama in the very look of some holes. Again and again we are confronted with forced carries, but from the regular tees they are not excessive. We can negotiate them successfully. Moreover, there is room to stay clear of that lake on 7 and 8 and another one on 11 (a par 5 here of 481 yards that will tempt the big basher to go for the green in two). Admittedly, at Galloway the pulse races a bit, a sure sign of pleasurable excitement.
The visitor will perhaps be surprised by the occasional ups and downs, none of them extreme, beginning with the elevated green on the 1st, where the steep falloffs on both sides and in the back are uncomfortably—and deliberately—reminiscent of similar circumstances on the opening hole at Pine Valley. Several other holes also provide welcome elevation changes. The long two-shotter 4th slopes down from tee to green. The par-5 9th finds the drive climbing, the second shot falling, and the short pitch rising to an elevated green. The 14th, 190 yards, is a dyed-in-the-wool downhill par 3. So the game is not confined to level ground.
If no hole is less than worthy, it is the ones that skirt the tidelands of Reeds Bay that we look back on with particular affection. Like the 1st, where the green perches on a plateau overlooking the marshes, and the view to the distant Atlantic City skyline is enormously appealing. Or the 2nd (138 yards) and 5th (175 yards), a pair of lovely one-shotters where the play is uncompromisingly across the marshes on forced carries.
Just as the game commences with the bay, so does it end there. Strictly speaking, 16 is not a tidelands hole, but this 500-yarder is emblematic of the course as a whole. Here, on one superb par 5, which plays from an elevated tee, we can fully appreciate the naturalness of the waste bunkers, the exhilarating openess across a large lake on the left to the nearby wetlands, and the beautiful old trees that define the entire right side of the hole. The 17th, a stout 212-yard one-shotter, brings the marshes squarely under our nose again, and the 418-yard 18th doglegs smoothly right along the protected wetlands, a long waste bunker on the right often a blessing in disguise as it saves the pushed drive from vanishing.
Tom Fazio has put the natural surroundings to excellent use here along Reeds Bay. One reason he personally enjoyed the project so much was because he was able to build the golf course right into the ground rather than on top of it. Very little earth was moved, with most of it coming out of the three man-made lakes and going into the construction of tees and greens. The course was ranked fifth in Golf Digest’s “Best New Private Courses” for 1995. Fazio has called it one of his “best courses—ever.”
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