We are heading ‘down the shore’. Time for some birdies, bogeys, beaches, beer, and The Boss. As Springsteen would say, “Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ” as we start the birdies and bogeys part of the day at William F. Larkin Golf Course.
Hole #1 has a nice wide fairway to accept your opening tee shot. There is a waste area to the right, but it is a reasonably easy par 4 to start your round. Hole #2 is a par 4 of 352 yards from the white tees. The course has three sets of tee boxes (red, white, and blue); however, on the scorecard only the red and blue are listed. There is plenty of trouble left at this hole with dense trees down that side, and a bunker and pond that could pose an issue if you are long by the green. The small turtle-back green requires a precise second shot.
The par 3 third hole requires a shot that will clear the water and native grasses that front this green. Another long, straight fairway with dense trees down the left side greets you at the par 5 fourth hole. How much risk are you willing to take at Hole #5? This par 3 is defended on the left by dense trees, a large bunker, and a harsh slope just off the putting surface. Hole #6 – Ditto! To be more specific, just like many of the previous holes, most of the trouble on this par 4 is to the portside of the hole. This course sets up nicely for all golfers who fade (or slice) the ball as the right side of the fairways afford less trouble, plus allows for a better angle to the small greens.
Hole #7 is very similar to the prior hole except it is a par 5 and you don’t have a good bailout area to the right. This is a good hole to finally find that straight drive! Hole #8 is a par 3 with plenty of bunkers and waste areas to capture any short shot at this flat green. Hole #9 is a very nice closing hole. A par 4 with the obligatory woods down the left, but they threw in some trees and bunkers to the right. Twin bunkers squeeze the area in front of the green, so your approach shots needs to be high and land softly to hold the putting surface. Any shot running along the ground will not find the green.
Rating – Birdie (43 out of 60): We completed the “birdies and bogeys” portion of the day with too few birdies and too many bogeys. The greens were small and in fantastic shape. There are an abundance of hazards to keep your course management and club selection finely tuned. We had the pleasure of playing with two fine young men who played high school golf. They hit the ball a long way, but rarely found the fairway. Let me correct myself, they usually found “a” fairway but not the correct one! So this is a course where if you are wild off the tee to the right you will always have an approach shot to the correct green. When John and Joey found out Armchair Piper served in the Navy, they thanked him for his service. A big thanks to their parents for bringing up these fine kids!
We spent the rest of the day on the Asbury Park boardwalk taking in the beach and grabbing a beer at Robinson Ale House. The Boss wrote a song Growin’ Up on his 1973 album Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ. Even though these two Jersey old men could not relate to the lyrics, we did “grow up” on the Jersey Shore and always love going ‘down the shore’ and returning to the towns of our youth.
1003 Wickapecko Dr., Wanamassa, NJ 07712; 732-775-3636; www.colonialterracegolf.com