GALLOWAY, N.J. -- Please excuse the dust while the Bay Course at the Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club gets a facelift this fall.
Crews are hard at work adding four new tees and introducing more fairway width and several new bunkers between the fourth and fifth holes. All this is geared toward protecting par on the 6,247-yard historic host of the LPGA Tour's ShopRite LPGA Classic. The course will reopen next spring after work is completed.
What the course lacks in length, it makes up for with terrifying greens and gorgeous views of Reeds Bay. The winds off the water send scores soaring higher than the yardage might indicate. The LPGA Tour has been coming to Seaview since 1986 (although the event had a three-year hiatus from 2007-09).
"Reading the greens is tough," said Inbee Park during the 2013 ShopRite LPGA Classic, which was won by Karrie Webb. "They have a lot of small ridges here and there that you really have to pay attention to."
The Bay Course remains the draw, but there's much more to love at Seaview, home to an inland course called the Pines Course and a fine historic hotel (a former Marriott) across the street. The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey bought Seaview in 2010, hiring Dolce Hotels and Resorts to run it. Seaview now educates guests about subjects rarely taught in college -- golf and the good life.
Seaview: A tremendous golf history
There's plenty of golf history at Seaview beyond the ladies tour. Sam Snead holed a dramatic 60-foot chip shot on the 35th hole to beat Jim Turnesa and win the 1942 PGA Championship, back when the format was match play. Today, Troon Golf manages Seaview's golf operations to provide an upscale experience.
The par-71 Bay Course often gets called a Donald Ross design, but that's only a half-truth. Ross added the sand traps roughly one year after Hugh Wilson completed the routing in 1914. Wilson also did work at the famed Merion Golf Club, but he certainly doesn't hold the fame of Ross. Bob Cupp Jr. completed restoration efforts on the Bay in 1998.
The highlights on the Bay come courtesy of the three holes that run directly toward the shore and the spectacular backdrop of the Atlantic City skyline in the distance. The second, sixth and 14th holes are all eerily similar long par 4s that play into the wind toward greens surrounded by the tall reeds of the tidal marshes. Hence, they're the three hardest handicap holes.
The Pines couldn't be more different. Architects William Flynn, Howard Toomey and William Gordon pieced together the 6,731-yard, par-72 course over the years. Flynn's original nine dates to 1929. Swaths of trees squeeze the fairways tight.
"The Pines Course is our secret course," Seaview Golf Sales Manager Mike Schulz said. "Our members and locals play the Pines more. They like it, maybe because it's more of a challenge."
Seaview: A traditional resort vacation
Golfers who stay at Seaview will get a much more traditional resort vacation than staying at one of Atlantic City's 13 casinos. Just steps inside the front door is a great lobby bar, where guests lounge in big cushy chairs and couches while being served by friendly staff.
The brick interior of the Grille Room across the lobby harkens back to the days when Seaview was a farmhouse. Seaview is probably best known as a wedding and conference venue, but the 270 rooms and 16 suites certainly suit everybody's needs. The Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa repairs sore muscles aching from too much golf. That's a good problem to have, right?