Pine Valley Golf Club is one of golf's famous "fortresses," but there are ways to get on as a non-member.

How to Get on Pine Valley Golf Course...Yes, THAT Pine Valley

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Pine Valley Golf Club is one of golf's famous "fortresses," but there are ways to get on as a non-member.

This is a big week for golf, and I'm not talking about the Ryder Cup.

I'm talking about the rare opportunity for you to get on New Jersey's Pine Valley Golf Course, widely regarded as the best golf course on the planet.

And you don't even have to grovel.

That's the good news.

The bad news?

This isn't a chance to "play" Pine Valley, but rather a chance to get inside the gates and onto the golf course.

"Argh, too good to be true," you're probably thinking.

You're right. Nothing beats playing Pine Valley.

But this experience is still very cool.

Here's the deal: each year, Pine Valley hosts the premier amateur golf tournament in America, the Crump Cup (in honor of the club's founder, George Crump), and the public is invited to watch the final round.

This year, it's Sunday, September 30.

Unlike pro tournaments, where you only see the golf course from outside the ropes, in this intimate event, you can walk Pine Valley's fairways right alongside the players.

And make no mistake: these guys are "players;" elite amateurs from across America (often including some former members of the PGA and/or Champions tours).

That said, if you're simply interested in seeing Pine Valley "up close and personal," and at your own pace, it's often possible to walk certain holes all by yourself. As you can imagine, the "galleries" are thin because few people know this opportunity exists.

If you'd like to go, here are the details:

What: The 2012 Crump Cup (final round, match play)

Where: Pine Valley Golf Club (Clementon, NJ 08021)

When: Sunday, September 30 (opens to public at 1pm)

Price: $20

Details: Park at the nearby Clementon Amusement Park (144 Berlin Road, Clementon, NJ 08021; where a shuttle bus will take you to and from the course. No cameras or cell phones are allowed, so, if you want to memorialize your visit, um, be discreet about it. You may want to bring your own snacks, too, as there's no food or beverage service.

Sep 25, 2012

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Joe Cleary's avatar
Joe Cleary wrote at 2016-11-07 21:25:05+00:00:

When I was in high school in 1965/66, I was a caddie there. What a great place and opportunity to get paid to exercise! Got $12 a bag and usually carried doubles! Often got additional tips to! The caddie master back then was Tom Elder. We used to fore caddy to keep things moving along. And yes, we "may" have given the players some better lies from tome to time! It was a one mile walk from my house. (Grandview Dr.) I asked what the population of Pine Valley was once. I was told 18 million. "How is that possible?" I asked. I was told actually it is 18 millionaires! Some corporations like IBM and the automakers kept cottages to wine and dine their clients. I'm 69 tomorrow (11/8/2016) and I miss those times.

Tom's avatar
Tom wrote at 2016-07-13 01:11:47+00:00:

I loved it!!

PV Inside the Ropes's avatar
PV Inside the Ropes wrote at 2016-03-28 03:13:02+00:00:

I think the great lore is not being able to play the course, or how hard it is to get an invite. But truth be told it is like a high end public course. Everyday it is a member and 3 guests who play the course. Only two times a year it is for members only, Members weekend in May and the Canada Cup in the fall. The condition is not that of Augusta, heck the bunkers are not even raked. Sometimes the grass gets burned out and in the summer and the greens are slower than normal. To keep a real score is just about impossible. Any tee time early has to be done under 4 hours, later tee times you must play in 4 hour and 10 minutes. Granted this rule doesn't always get obeyed. For example the Senior member guest the rounds are 5 hours plus. You must take a caddie, the rate is around $110 per player, however not all the caddies follow the rules of the game, kicking balls out of bushes, out of bunkers and everything unethical to try to kept the game moving and trying to score an extra tip. The advise and green reading depends on the caddie you are given, some are good and some not so good. If you are over a 10 handicap, just know you are not trying to keep a real score. Sometimes the mindset is to do that but when you lose 2 balls and hit 20 bunker shots you pick up and move on. The course plays its best in the fall, in the summer they are trying to save the course. From the Tips you need to carry the ball about 280 yards to have a chance. From the normal tees it is not long, but it will paper cut you to death. You need to hit fairways and greens. Than the green complexes are very difficult to play. Very rare to get a flat putt. Birdies are rare, to make 5 or 6, you need to knock out flags or get the shorts holes, 8,10,12 & 17. Only two Par 5's both are the real deal. Like hole 4 or 16 from the tips you need to carry at least 270 in the air just to have a long shot in to those greens, you can add 13 & 18 to that list as well. 18 is fair, but any greenside bunker your done. To go around with no doubles or higher you have done well. You can play a great round on the course and play it again an be off a bit and shoot a big number. Because of the pace of play, the course has become a lot easier to the better player. Lots of bushes, scrub brushes and other wild stuff have been removed. Some talk has been in the works for adding in a new tee on 6, taking out the house and a new tee on 17. The guy who wrote about the caddie watching him on the range is a lie, the caddies meet the players by the club house and walk with them to the 1st tee.

Tommy Williams's avatar
Tommy Williams wrote at 2014-06-15 22:01:44+00:00:

I was fortunate enough to be able to play Pine Valley a few years ago, and loved it. I played the Short Course on Monday and the regular course on Tuesday. It is the round of golf that I am the most proud of that I have ever played because of where it was. I shot 75 with three 3-putts. The caddie was very helpful with the putts, but over clubbed me on every shot. So after the first couple of holes I used one club less than he said. Great experience!

Barbara Shelly Corrigan's avatar
Barbara Shelly Corrigan wrote at 2013-10-11 09:33:56+00:00:

I am the niece of Warner Shelly who lived on Pine Valley, Author of Pine Valley the Chronicle. . Visited often. Have a lot of Pine Valley trophies and memorabilia which I inherited from my uncle. Nice to see people value the course, however after leaving my uncles home about 15 years ago we stopped at the pro shop to buy something for his brother (my Dad) and the guard stopped me before my foot hit the parking lot because i was a woman.

PAUL SIMPKINS wrote at 2013-09-30 22:26:14+00:00:

Very first time at Pine Valley the best golf course on the planet We had the privilage to attend the Crump Cup finals on Sept 29 2013.We would like to thank all invoved that made our day a most me morable experience. Hopefully they will contiunue this tradition to enable us to attend this event another time .Thank You again

Bill Yandle's avatar
Bill Yandle wrote at 2013-05-04 19:35:29+00:00:

The Date was November 5th 2005 when I was invited to play this historic course. The weather was in the 60's just perfect for that November day. What a experience of a life time. I doubled bogeyed the 18th to shoot 90. I will never forget that day.

The next year I was able to play Pebble Beach and Spyglass while staying at The Lodge. Another wonderful experience. I shot 90 there aswell.

I have been blessed.

vaughn's avatar
vaughn wrote at 2012-11-18 01:16:50+00:00:

If you're a golfer, do yourself a favour, #1 go to Scotland, travel to Musselburgh, rent some hickories and play the Old Course Links, #2 Go to see the Crump Cup at Pine Valley. Look it up on line, it takes place on the last week of Sept. and, although you cannot play the course, walk it! It's truly one of the most beautiful courses in the world.............Seriously!

George Kitchens's avatar
George Kitchens wrote at 2012-10-09 20:42:44+00:00:

I have had the pleasure of playing PV once. I want to thank Golf Vacation Insider for making the info. available that the course was open last Sun.

As my wife & I were visiting NYC we went down & walked the course. It was a marvelous experience.

The comment about PV being arrogant is way off base. People $2,000./day to walk Augusta National during a practice round or 1st day of the tournament.

Fran's avatar
Fran wrote at 2012-09-25 18:59:37+00:00:

I live in Philadelphia just a twenty minute drive to the course. I've wanted to go to the Crump Cup to see with my own eyes the wonder that is Pine Valley for years now but for one reason or another i never got there.. This Sunday I'm going! You have to park at Clementon Amusement park where you make a "donation" of around $12.00 for a bus ride to the course. There is no admittance to the clubhouse but Boy Scouts will be out selling refresments. You can follow the competition without the annoyance of ropes, just follow the golfers up the fairway. You can follow the competition or wander the course on your own. It's a rare opportunity that I'm finally going to take advantage of.

Jack k.'s avatar
Jack k. wrote at 2012-09-25 17:15:32+00:00:

I went to the crump cup last year and will be going again on Sunday. It was one of the most beautiful sites my eyes have ever seen. I described it as one big waste area with some tees, fairways and greens sprinkled in. You're either in the fairway or in a waste area. There is little to no rough.

I worked the USGA men's team championship at Galloway National last week and I thought that was the most difficult golf course I had ever seen. Looked tougher than PVCC. get to play it next week, well see how I do.

Erik Daniels's avatar
Erik Daniels wrote at 2012-09-25 15:12:07+00:00:

I would encourage everyone to take advantage of seeing these great players on this great golf course. I have played this wonderful course a few times and walking the fairways or playing is a special treat. Hole 5 is worth the price of admission.

Unnamed to protect myself!'s avatar
Unnamed to protect myself! wrote at 2012-09-25 15:07:16+00:00:

I have played PV 3 times. I think it is a very interesting golf course but not my favorite. It was the original target golf course. If you don't know the course, you will probably not shoot a very good score. While it is definitely a great course and part of my 'top ten', I would take Shinnecock Hills every day over PV. Also, I found the caddies annoying. My caddie watched me hit a couple of shots on the range and then started telling me which clubs to hit without telling me the actual yardage. Foolishly, I went along with his recommendation and I hit my next shot 25 yards over the green, into the woods and made a triple bogey! From then on, I asked the actual yardage and he seemed insulted. The course requires more local knowledge than most, to play it well. There is more room off the tee than it appears, but the approach shots are quite challenging because the greens are so severe. At the close of our round, our host had to leave shortly after we sat down to have a drink in the bar, . We were informed that after we finished our drink, we would have to leave the premises because our host had left. They have an interesting take on hospitality. I believe part of their mystique is their rudeness to guests. Even the members I know seem legitimately concerned about getting thrown out by the powers that be for any slight infraction of etiquette. I hear that it is run rather tyranically. But playing it is definitely a bucket list event.

Allen Greenberg's avatar
Allen Greenberg wrote at 2012-09-25 14:52:49+00:00:

So arrogant. I can get to walk the course for $20..........Big deal!

Brian Baylis's avatar
Brian Baylis wrote at 2012-09-25 14:50:45+00:00:

i have never been to the Crump Cup but did have the absolute honor of staying and playing at PV for 3 days this last May and it was an unreal exper. ! The whole place was better than I expected. Give away your first born if you have to do so to get a chance to play there! I turned to some friends 2 or 3 times during our stay, looked at them and said 'is this heaven?' lol.

Craig Better

Staff Writer

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine,, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.