For the first time since 1962, Pine Valley Golf Club‘s 18-hole routing—consistently recognized as the No. 1 golf course in the country—has been captured on video. Golf Digest has the exclusive footage of the rugged, sand-capped beauty that is a study in Golden Age golf course architecture.
There is good reason why Pine Valley Golf Club has been ranked as the No. 1 course in the United States in every America’s 100 Greatest ranking except in four cases since 1985 (2000, when Pebble Beach unseated it and 2009, 2011 and 2015 when Augusta National was ranked No. 1). Some of the best Golden Age architects — H.S. Colt, A.W. Tillinghast, George C. Thomas Jr. and Walter Travis — joined founder George Crump in routing what is referred to as the most unique 18-hole collection in the world. Hugh Wilson, architect of Merion, and his brother, Alan, finished the job just a couple years later.
Studying the design features of Pine Valley is usually reserved for those lucky enough to receive an invite to play as a guest. The club only opens its doors to the public once a year for the Crump Cup, played by elite amateur golfers in September, so other than that event, and the Walker Cup in 1985, this is the first extended look at Pine Valley (Pine Valley was also featured in the first-ever Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf in 1962, in case you have that tape lying around).
As our Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde describes in his narration of this video, the scale of the rolling dunescape at Pine Valley is most impressive — sitting on more than 600 acres of land in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Located in the sleepy town of Clementon, N.J., Crump happened upon this area en route to Atlantic City.
Tom Fazio, and his design team, has been the consulting architect at Pine Valley since 1989. And some recent updates to the course have further cemented its place as the No. 1 ranked course on our 100 Greatest, as determined by our 1,200 course-ranking panelists.
And what now exists just might be the best golf course in the world.