Sand is king at Shore Gate Golf Club in Cape May County near Atlantic City

OCEAN VIEW, N.J. -- Contrary to the name of the town and the club, there are no ocean views or coastal holes at Shore Gate Golf Club.

But there are certainly plenty of beaches. Winding waste bunkers and cavernous sand traps make the 7,227-yard Shore Gate a compelling place to play in the heart of Cape May County just a half-hour's drive from Atlantic City. Golfweek rates Shore Gate seventh among New Jersey's top public courses for 2013.

Shore Gate, which opened in 2002, roams through 245 acres of pristine forest. Navigating a minefield of seven ponds and 88 bunkers requires cautious precision. Architects Ron Fream and David Dale created a task so daunting that everybody except the best players (handicaps of six or below) should "tee it forward" to the 6,391-yard white tees.

Sand tends to define the safest path up the twisting fairways. The par-4 third hole and par-5 13th hole are each pockmarked with more than 15 bunkers. Even the shortest hole, the 144-yard 14th hole, comes with a caveat: Hit the green or get buried alive in one of the seven greenside traps.

Shore Gate, which gives off a private club vibe, can humble you. But for those who conquer it, the reward is endless satisfaction.

Oct 14, 2013

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Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.