View of the bunkered 15th green at Ballyowen Golf Club
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4.2
237 Reviews (237)
5 Stars
142
4 Stars
67
3 Stars
14
2 Stars
8
1 Stars
6
Conditions
4.3
Value
3.7
Layout
4.6
Friendliness
4.2
Pace
3.6
Amenities
4.0
82.9%
Recommend this course
210 out of 237 reviews
Read Reviews
Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.5
2 Reviews (2)
5 Stars
1
4 Stars
1
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.5
Value
4.0
Layout
4.5
Pace
4.0
Amenities
4.5
StaffFriendliness
5.0
100.0%
Recommend this course
2 out of 2 reviews
Read Reviews
Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.2
21 Reviews (21)
5 Stars
10
4 Stars
8
3 Stars
2
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
1
Conditions
4.3
Value
3.8
Layout
4.6
Pace
3.8
Amenities
3.9
StaffFriendliness
4.3
81.0%
Recommend this course
17 out of 21 reviews
Read Reviews

About

Holes 18
Type Semi-Private/Resort
Style Links
Par 72
Length 7094 yards
Slope 134
Rating 74.1

Ballyowen Golf Club is an homage to the great Scottish links courses, the place where golf originated. The course sprawls across 250 acres of rolling farmland that overlooks the Walkill River. The layout tumbles through valleys and hills, staying as true as possible to the natural contours of the land. Much like a traditional links golf course, the virtually treeless landscape is accented with craggy knolls. The challenging layout features lush green fairways that contrast beautifully with the pristine white sand bunkers and golden patches of rough that border the greensides. There are also water hazards that come into play on five holes. Ballyowen has earned the title of New Jersey's top public course and Golfweek has even ranked it as one of the top 50 courses in the country.

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Ballyowen Golf Club
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Course Details

Year Built 1998
Fairways Bentgrass
Greens Bentgrass
Golf Season Year round
Architect Roger Rulewich (1998)

Rentals/Services

Carts Yes - included in green fees
Clubs Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving Range Yes
Caddies Yes
Golf School Academy Yes
Teaching Pro Yes
Pitching/Chipping Area Yes
Putting Green Yes

Policies

Credit Cards Accepted VISA, MasterCard, Amex Welcomed
Metal Spikes Allowed No

Food & Beverage

Bar, Snacks, Restaurant, Beverage Carts

Lodging

Lodging Available

Available Facilities

Clubhouse, Spa, Showers, Lockers

Accolades

Reviews

4.2
237 Reviews (237)

What Golfers Are Saying

The 19th Hole is Great For:
Drinks 24
19th Hole Scenic Views 21
Dinner 13
Course Challenges Include:
Thick Rough 43
Bunkers 42
Undulating Greens 36
This course/club is great for:
Advanced Golfers 42
Wildlife/ Scenic Views 32
A Bucket list/Top 100 Pick 29
This Course's Location is:
Worth the Drive 47
In the 'Burbs 17
At a Resort 15

Numbers based on reviews tagged with attribute.

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Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender
Played On
Reviews 5
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing

Great Course

Ballyowen is a very nice course. Conditioning was good and the design was well thought out with a variety of challenging and diverse holes. Some good risk reward opportunities and nice green complexes. It is a great public course. If you are a public golfer in the New York area who enjoys a real test this is a must-play.

Someone below said it one of the top 3 public courses in the NY metro area. I don’t agree with that, and would put this behind Bethpage Black, Pound Ridge, and Ferry Point. It probably is in the top 5 or certainly top 10 though, which says a lot in a place like New York.

Which brings us to the negative. Pace of play can be slow, and sometimes even brutally slow. Let’s spend a few sentences talking about why this is.

One of the fundamental problems with public golf is that most golfers just aren’t that good. I say this as one of them. They also don’t tend to be very accurate.

With the “average” American public course, if you hit the ball well off line you just drive over to the next fairway and hit it. With harder courses maybe your ball goes into the woods. Most people know that their ball is gone when you hit it into the woods and don’t spend much time looking for it.

Which brings us to links golf. A type of golf which puts a great premium on accuracy and is incredibly difficult if you tend to spray the ball off line. If you hit it offline your ball goes into fescue. Now, even if the average golfer won’t be able to hit it out of there, because the grass is only knee high they think they can find their ball. Which means they look for their ball. For what seems like hours. every. single. hole.

We need to be fair here. Bethpage and Ferry Point can both be very slow as well, along with just about every other public in the New York area. This is a major issue across all of public golf.

So what can Ballyowen due? Just about nothing. They could have their rangers be aggressive, which will anger golfers and give the course a reputation for being only for good golfers or an unfriendly/intimidating place. This isn’t Whistling Straits or the Ocean Course... that reputation would hurt them. They could spread out tee times more. That would help, but golf course economics aren’t great anyways, and they would probably have to raise the price to do this, which would also drive golfers away.

So in short, there’s just about nothing they can do about pace. Pace-sensitive golfers should be careful about when they play, and be prepared that this might take a little while longer than average. Ballyowen is not a course to rush through while trying to get to a dinner reservation. So take your time, enjoy the views, and recognize that at busy times your round might take a little longer than normal.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 3
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Walked

Still early season conditions but will be pefect by June. Styrofoam in cups make it a must-play

I have previously reviewed this course, so I'll limit this to two key points:

Conditions - They seemed to have delayed greens aeration until they were sure the lockdown was over (likely to due to inability to get crews working). As of 5/22 the greens still showed some aeration marks, but were 90% of the way there. In another week with some nice weather, they will be perfect as usual. Fairways were top notch. Rough still has to grow in a bit, but typical of mid May.

2) They don't use raised cups, but instead put styrofoam inside which stops the ball from falling more than 1/2" down (everyone knows coronavirus lives in the bottom of golf cups). This has no impact on play and is much much much more enjoyable than raised cups. It's an hour drive for me, but worth it and I have a hard time imagining playing anywhere else until we're back to normal.

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 33
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
Incentivized Review
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

Ballyowen

This course has a fabulous layout, very generous fairways, some blind shots, and huge greens, super elevation changes, which makes club selections at times difficult, i would highly recommend playing here if you have $100 to play it, well worth that price in season, but $100 in the winter!!! Cmon man!

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 5
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
Incentivized Review
5.0
Previously Played
Cold weather
Used cart

Wearing a kilt in New Jersey?

Ballyowen has a distinct Irish feel to it (except maybe the use of buggies), great layout, fescue-lined fairways and unmistakenly links-style features. Playing late November, the conditions were still awesome + a bit easier as the fescue was cut down for the off-season. The layout offers some great golf holes, with tough challenges but also some awesome risk-reward opportunities, e.g. with a strong drawn drive, you have only a short iron into the green on your second shot on the Par 5 #10. Miss the drive and you'll drop your knickers in disgust.
No wonder Ballyowen is ranked the #1 public course in NJ.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 2
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Previously Played
Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 31
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

ALWAYS GOOD TO PLAY HERE

The course layout is amazing, and it comes with very good conditions. Perfect tee boxes, perfect fairways. The greens were rolling nice too. The sand traps could be better, but they weren't awful. Some had a gravel like material, some were basically dirt, and some had the pure white sand with hardly any rocks in them. They need to update their golf carts, but the place overall is amazing as always.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 9
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
4.0
Previously Played

Restaurant embarrassment

Let me start by saying the course itself was great. Outstanding conditions. The pro shop was very helpful. My issue is with the restaurant. I walked in after warming up expecting to grab a quick bite. There was a few guys around the bar and a table of 4 as soon as you walk in. The bar staff and waiter (4of them) at various times looked at me but never waited on me. Then a large group [more than 8] was seated and a 2nd table of 4. Still, noone waited on me. Finally a young lady came over and asked if I was helped, but I had no menu. She brought me an iced tea and apologized because they ran out of menus. So, not only was I not waited on but a minimum of 12 people behind me got menus. The manager came over with an armful of copied menus. She apologized for me being ignored and asked if I wanted something to go?? Really. I was sitting, waiting to order a meal for 1hr 20 mins and now I'm relegated to a to go order? Even the table of 4 behind me was shocked. This was to say the least appalling

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Poor
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

Links-like

Great conditions, challenging but not ridiculous. really pretty given the mountain setting. Not as far away as it seemed. Really happy I played.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 4
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
3.0
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

Slowest Pace of Play I've Ever Experienced

Definitely one of the best public courses in the state. I'd put it in the same top tier as Seaview Bay, AC CC, Heron Glenn, and Architects as my favorite public courses in the state.

The layout is great, the conditions just as good. The course itself is pristine.

HOWEVER - no course is worth a round being 6 HOURS.

We tee'd off at noon on a Sunday. And we waited on every single shot, on every single hole.
The starter told us "we try very hard to keep everyone playing a 4.5 hour round". And there were 2-3 rangers out on the course, but they did absolutely nothing to enforce the pace of play.

I'd recommend playing the course if you never have before, because the course really is that nice. But try and do it during the week, and expect the round to not be less than 5 hours.

Conditions Excellent
Value Average
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Average
Pace Poor
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 77
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
I Recommend This Course
4.0
N Y N J Advisor
Top 250 Contributor

High quality course that doesn't disappoint

Ballyowen is a very good golf course that does not disappoint. It plays over varied terrain with nice elevations. A number of holes on the flatter part of the course play around two ponds, so it has a bit of a sterile feel but it looks nice and it isn't penal. Some of the holes pinch the landing areas on both sides with bunkers, which I don't really care for. The greens are large with broad slopes and ridges. The fairways are fairly wide. There is a good mix of long and short holes. The elevations and mounding cause some blind shots throughout. The course is nicely walkable except for many long green to tee walks. The course is well conditioned and in a pretty environment, although the greens had lots of ball marks when I played. Not sure why players here don't fix them more often. The par-3s are too similar- broad, shallow greens over water. A number of holes force good decision making off the tee with cape holes or risk-reward carry choices. Overall this is a high quality course.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Fair
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
Incentivized Review
5.0
First Time Playing

Outstanding

This has been the best course I have played in all the years I have played. The water plus the bunkers and it being a links course was just a phenomenal site and it was a joy to play. Not to mention I shot my best round there as well. It was a fun experience and the staff and all the employees were as friendly as there could be. I would love to play this course again if I find sometime throughout the summer. It’s unfortunate that it’s not a full year course but the course to me was awesome and would love to play it again!

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 26
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

One of the best in NJ

Ranks up there with the top 10, if not top 3, public courses in NJ. Pricey at peak times but deals can be found. Play the right tees and it can be a really fun day.

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 3
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Consistently great course

Ballyowen is a beautiful and fun course that is consistently in great shape. I played on a warm humid day when there hadn't been significant rain in the past several days. My experience is that they are liberal with the water in the summer to keep the grass healthy in the heat and that seems to still be the case. Conditions were very very good. Fairways were lush and in great shape. Greens were a little spongy but rolled true and at a nice pace (maybe 10-11 on stimp if I guessed) and when you have a downhill, downgrain putt it's easy to run by 10-15 feet.

The holes are generally surrounded by tall fescue that starts usually about 10 yards outside of the primary rough. It looks like they are having some issues getting this to grow as thick as I remember, which isn't a bad thing. When it's healthy, it's basically a lost ball, which is not fun. On the side of holes 12, 13 and 14 it looks like they had to totally replant it as the mounds there are almost barren. I'm sure this will grow in by the fall. I'd be fine if the fescue never gets to the point where it's impossible to find a ball. That's not how Scottish links courses are, and honestly, anyone who misses a 50-yard wide fairway and 10 yards of rough doesn't needs to be penalized by a lost ball. Let's just let that golfer find their ball and keep moving. The course record isn't in danger.

The design of the course makes it the most fun when the fairways and greens are fast and the ball can take the ample contours and undulations that are everywhere. Probably need to wait until post-Labor Day (and fall aeration) to see that.

It's not really a links design, and it's silly that they make the starter (typically NJ-bred thru and thru) wear a kilt. Don't worry about that, there are plenty of links-like mounds and hills that make for a really fun round for any skill level. Fairways are wide, and greens are large but usually with defined sections that reward hitting it close. Long putts tend to have multiple breaks over mounds and through swales.

Practice facilities are good with a nice grass driving range and huge putting green that allows for chipping. The putting green was paced similar to the greens on the course. The only complaint I have is that for $133 they should upgrade the range balls which were in pretty rough shape (as in Tin-Cup-driving-range-scene type of bad).

Overally it's a great experience. The course was prob 75% full and pace of place was great (4hrs on a 9:30 Thursday AM tee time). It's hard to believe you're only 1hr 15min from NYC. Beautiful views of NJ mountains and I'm sure are spectaculr during foliage season. In terms of bang for buck with a $133 weekday price tag, the value is average for the area. Worth a visit.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Average
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 1
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Conditions Good
Value Fair
Layout Average
Friendliness Good
Pace Fair
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 1
1.0
First Time Playing

Never Even Got to Play

I booked a tee time for 7 Am this morning (Aug 4th). I arrived at the course at 6 AM and hit balls at the range and putted until about 6:45. I walked to the starter and gave him my name. I was informed that he sent the other 3 people out early and that I would be given a ride to meet them at the 3rd hole.
My tee time was at 7 AM so I was very disappointed that he sent the other 3 people out beforehand. Like I said I was there at 6 AM (60 mins before my tee time) and checked in with him 15 minutes beforehand. I don't understand how this could happen. I was very much looking forward to playing the course and I got up at 430 this morning and drove from Brooklyn, paying many tolls along the way.

Amenities Poor
Played On
Reviews 8
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Previously Played

Nice but a bit overrated

I think this is a very nice and challenging course overall.

I can't understand how it is the #1 public course in NJ though- many of the sand traps are rock hard and have hundreds of rocks!! Lots of the fescue is dead and just plain dirt.

Some of the greens are really beat up but maybe that is just due to the fact that it is August.

Overall it is very nice and worth playing at least once but just a bit disappointed for the hype and cost.

Conditions Good
Value Fair
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Average
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 3
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing

Overall nice course

Nice course and fairly challenging. Staff could have been friendlier in pro shop and restaurant. Sand traps were also very rocky.

Conditions Average
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Average
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 2
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Pace of play

About 30 minutes prior to my time. I saw 6-7 carts going off on the first tee. I proceeded to play a 3.5 hour 9 holes. They were very accommodating in the pro shop and gave me a 9 hole rain check as I left after 9. Absolutely awful.

Conditions Good
Value Poor
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Poor
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 26
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Another great day at Ballyowen

Early April weather. A bit wet in the morning and temps around 40. Slowly warmed up to a beautiful day around 55-60. Some wind but nothing too crazy. Greens were in very good shape, rolled well and speed was decent. Not as fast as prime time summer but much faster than other courses this time of year. Pace was great, never pushed or waited on anyone.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 4
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

great time at ballyowen

we had a great time. weather was great. they paired us with a nice couple of young guys. lots of small talk.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
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