Three prominent South Jersey golf clubs, Sand Barrens Golf Club, Linwood Country Club and Wildwood Golf and Country Club have come under new ownership for 2018.

First to change hands was Sand Barrens Golf Club. Acquired by The Union League of Philadelphia in October, the Swainton-based 27-hole track is the second foray into golf management in as many years for the venerable Union League, following its extensive and impressive modernizing of the Donald Ross-designed Frankford-Torresdale Golf Club in northern Philadelphia which reopened in spring 2016 as The Union League Golf Club at Torresdale.

With the addition of The Sand Barrens - to be known as The Union League National Golf Club - The Union League joins the century old and proud south Jersey Shore golfing community.

The Union League, which was founded in 1862 to support President Abraham Lincoln and preserve The Union, and its army in the Civil War, and is headquartered in Center City, Philadelphia, also runs The Bungalow in Stone Harbor, formerly the Backyard Restaurant. The Sand Barrens club and the golf course figure to be a Shore “home away from home” for The Union League’s hundreds of South Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Main Line members for years and years to come.

Renovations to the course and upgrades to the clubhouse and other facilities are scheduled to be completed for a summer of 2018 grand reopening.

Brothers Frank and Joe Dougherty, owners of the iconic Atlantic City restaurants, The Knife and Fork Inn, Dock’s Oyster House and Harry’s Oyster Bar, completed their acquisition of beautiful Linwood Country Club in December.

The nearly 100-year old Linwood C.C., founded in 1921 and designed by Herbert Strong, is a traditional bayside, and fun and playable golf course with stunning views of Atlantic City’s world famous skyline. And with the direction of the Dougherty family and their unrivaled culinary capability leading the way, LCC hopes to grow its membership while expanding with new, and greater, social opportunities including weddings and proms and other large family, school and corporate-type occasions with a recently remodeled, rebuilt, and rejuvenated club house and ball room.

Jeffrey Bonicky, PGA, takes over as Linwood’s Director of Golf.

“We wanted the club to remain as it is where everybody is somebody at Linwood Country Club,” said David Gardner, president of Linwood C.C.’s board of directors. “Now it is going to be even better with a premier restaurant. This is where people will want to come and golf and enjoy a great meal.”

The third Shore course to gain new ownership in this year is historic Wildwood Country Club. Opened in 1916, and the former home course of America’s greatest, and most loved, golfer, Arnold Palmer. Before turning pro in 1954, Palmer served in the United States Coast Guard at neighboring the Cape May Coast Guard Station from 1951 to 1953 and used Wilwood as a home base.

Wildwood, which will become “The Shore Club” this spring, was purchased by existing members in The Cape May Shore Club, LLC. Princeton-based management group, Morningstar Golf and Hospitality, LLC, will work with the existing management and staff to lead the club’s operations. Hoping to change with the changing times and add young professionals and children and families as new members, The Shore Club, a classic links-style course is, along with Northfield’s Atlantic City Country Club (1897) and Galloway’s Seaview Golf Course (1914), without-a-doubt one of the most celebrated, and significantly notable, golf courses in all of the East Coast.

-Sean Fawcett

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