November 30, 2020 - When the New Jersey State Golf Association’s 2021 championship campaign begins next spring, it will do so in grand fashion. Galloway National Golf Club, one of the state’s most acclaimed venues, will host the 89th Four-Ball Championship May 18-20.

Designed by Tom Fazio, Galloway National Golf Club opened in 1995. Since then, it has perennially been ranked among New Jersey’s best courses. In Golfweek’s most recent rankings, Galloway National Golf Club was rated at No. 32 in the country among modern courses (those built after 1960), and at No. 4 in New Jersey behind only Pine Valley Golf Club, Somerset Hills Country Club and Plainfield Country Club. It combines a stern test of golf with pristine conditions, magnificent vistas, and first-class amenities.

“Galloway National is a high-caliber championship golf course. It is the perfect venue for a team championship, such as the NJSGA Four-Ball,” said Brad Bardon, NJSGA Director, Championships.

“Because it is so difficult and demanding, it is likely that only one of the two partners will be ‘in’ many of the holes. There will be a lot of teams relying on just one guy to win or halve the hole.”

The course is unforgettable. Built along Reeds Bay, it boasts 5,000 feet of water frontage offering outstanding views of the Atlantic City skyline and Brigantine Island. It is also noted for its dramatic contours as well as its lush and wooded holes located away from the water.

“The course is a mixture of shore and pines. There are six holes along the bay, but much of the course is inland. It is serene, quiet and peaceful. You rarely see another hole than the one you are playing,” said Jason Lamp, the club’s General Manager and Director of Golf.

“First time visitors often say it is more spectacular than they were led to believe.”

Galloway National has been a frequent host for NJSGA events, including the 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2012 Mid-Amateur Championships, the 2013 Best-Ball-of-Four Championship, and the 2014 Senior Four-Ball Championship. On the national level, the club hosted the 2012 U.S. Men’s State Team Championship. Additionally, Galloway National has been the site of various USGA qualifying tournaments, and a variety of collegiate and professional events.

It also annually co-hosts the LPGA’s ShopRite Classic Pro-Am rounds with neighboring Seaview Country Club.

“I would say the easiest part of the golf course is Holes 1 through 7. They give you the opportunity to get off to a good start. The front nine is two to three shots easier than the back nine,” Lamp acknowledged.

The journey begins at the par-4 No. 1, an uphill, 400-yard dogleg right. It features a long, narrow green which slopes from back to front and a large bunker right of the green. Next is the dramatic 146-yard, par-3. Golfers need to aim right and play the wind that comes off the bay, while also avoiding sand to the left of the green.

At only 375 yards, No. 3, which heads back inland, has a character all its own. It is the highest in scoring average of any of the par fours.

Golfers should take precautions with the two other par-3 holes on the front, the 189-yard No. 5 and the 196-yard No. 8.

No. 5 plays over sand and a marsh – usually into a stiff, southerly breeze. No. 8 features water coming into play along the left side, and many times demands an accurate tee shot over the water.

The back nine starts with the long 475-yard, par-4, No. 10. Beginning with the 501-yard, par-5, 11th hole, golfers cut across Route 9, which bisects the course. No. 11 is considered by many as one of the best par-five holes in the state. Power hitters can choose to fly over the pond on their second shot for a chance at eagle.

“The key to succeeding here is really managing your game until you come to Holes 13 through 18, which is really a difficult stretch. The team that wins the championship will have played these holes well,” Lamp noted.

“The final six holes on the back nine are a brutal stretch. If you play from the tips, No. 13, a par-4, plays at 470 yards; No. 14, a par 3, is 220 yards; No. 15, a par 4, is 448 yards; No. 16, a par 5, is 590 yards, No. 17, a par 3, is 240 yards, and No. 18, a par 4, is 470 yards. It’s a tremendous test,” he stated.

Of those holes, the uphill 16th offers a challenge with water on the left for the tee shot and second shots. The distinctive 18th features the bay on the right as the hole works its way back to the clubhouse.

Other than annual maintenance of the entire course, not a lot of major renovation has taken place at the club. Over a three-year period ending in 2017, all of the greens were revamped. Also, in 2010, new tees were added at Holes 16 and 18, stretching them to 590 yards on 16 and 470 yards on 18.

In addition to the challenges presented by the course itself, the elements will also play a large role in deciding the champion. Wind speed and direction will have a clear impact each day on course management.

“This tournament will be contested in May. Wind will definitely be a factor. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a golf course play as difficult when the winds blow at Galloway National. The wind makes it so much more challenging. And, depending on the setup, Galloway National can play as tough as any course in the country,” Lamp added.

“The team that wins will be the team on which each player has a good look at half the holes, which is extremely hard to do at Galloway National.”

Entries for the 89th Four-Ball Championship will open later this winter. Be sure to check NJSGA.org for entry information and instructions.

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