Pine Valley Golf Club

Coordinates: 39°47′20″N 74°58′19″W / 39.789°N 74.972°W / 39.789; -74.972
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Pine Valley Golf Club
The par-four 17th
Club information
LocationPine Valley, New Jersey, U.S.
Total holes18
Events hostedWalker Cup (1936, 1985)
Designed byGeorge Arthur Crump, Harry Colt, Charles Hugh Alison, A. W. Tillinghast, Perry Maxwell
Length7181 (championship tees)
Course rating76.6

Pine Valley Golf Club is a golf course in Pine Valley, Camden County, in southern New Jersey. It was ranked the number one course in Golf Magazine's 100 Top Courses in the U.S. and the World in 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2020.[1][2] It is a private club, and non-members can play only if invited and accompanied by a member. Pine Valley is currently ranked number one in Golf Digest's America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses.[3][4][5]


The second hole in 1921, featuring a carry over wasteland to the green.

Pine Valley was founded in 1913 by a group of amateur golfers from Philadelphia. They purchased 184 acres (0.7 km²) of rolling, sandy ground deep in the pinelands of southern New Jersey, and gave George Arthur Crump, who knew the area from hunting expeditions, the opportunity to design the course.

The site was challenging and the project became something of an obsession for Crump, who sold his hotel in Philadelphia and plowed his money into the course. Marshlands had to be drained and 22,000 tree stumps had to be pulled with special steam-winches and horse-drawn cables. This was all done at a time when many golf courses were still built with minimal earth moving, and the course was called "Crump's Folly" by some.

This was Crump's first and only golf course design, but he brought together celebrated architects such as A.W. Tillinghast, Hugh Wilson, George C. Thomas Jr., Walter Travis, and H.S. Colt to help him create the course.[6] Crump set himself some idiosyncratic principles: no hole should be laid out parallel to the next; no more than two consecutive holes should play in the same direction; and players should not be able to see any hole other than the one they were playing. He also felt that a round of golf on his course should require a player to use every club in the bag.

The first eleven holes opened unofficially in 1914. In 1918, when Crump died (reportedly penniless), four holes – #12, #13, #14, and #15 – were incomplete; they were finished in 1922.[7]

Pine Valley later spread to 623 acres (2.5 km²), of which 416 acres (1.7 km²) remain virgin woodland. Since Crump's death, alterations have been made by several other leading golf course designers. The club also has a ten-hole short course designed by Tom Fazio and Ernest Ransome III.

The Course[edit]

Pine Valley Slope, Rating, and Yardage as of 2023

Tee Slope Rating Yardage Par
Championship 155 76.6 7201 70
Regular 153 73.6 6557 70

In "The Complete Golfer", course architect Robert Trent Jones wrote that Pine Valley "is frequently alluded to as the most difficult course in the world, and this reputation is justified. To my way of thinking, it also possesses more classic holes than any other course in the world."[8] Johnny Miller wrote that "There are no weak holes. Every single one is a masterpiece. There is a surprise around every corner, 18 unique and beautiful challenges."[9]


Pine Valley Golf Club is a highly exclusive club. Membership is by invitation only from the board of directors. The only way a guest is allowed into the club is if they are invited and accompanied by a member, and they must have low handicaps to play the course.[10]

The club voted on April 30, 2021 to remove all gender-restricted language from their bylaws. Prior to this women were only permitted to play the course on Sunday afternoons.[11]

There are about 930 members spread throughout the world, and the list is a closely guarded secret.[10] Notable members of the club have included George H. W. Bush, Sean Connery, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Fazio, Robert Trent Jones Jr., Connie Mack, Bob McNair, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Dan Quayle, Brian L. Roberts, Jay Sigel, George C. Thomas Jr., and A. W. Tillinghast.[12]

Tournaments at Pine Valley[edit]

Entrance to Pine Valley

Pine Valley hosted the Walker Cup, an amateur competition between teams from the United States and Great Britain & Ireland, in 1936 and 1985.

In 1962, Pine Valley was the venue for an edition of Shell's Wonderful World of Golf, a match between Gene Littler and Byron Nelson.

The club admits spectators for one day in late September every year to watch the Crump Cup, a nationally recognized tournament featuring elite mid-amateur players.[13]

The club will host the 2034 Curtis Cup.[14]

Crump Cup[edit]

The Crump Cup is an invitational golf tournament for amateurs. The first tournament was held in 1922.[15] It is named for George Arthur Crump, and is played on the grounds of Pine Valley Golf Club, which Crump founded.[16] The format for the four days is two rounds of stroke play, qualifying, followed by two rounds of match play.[17] The final round has traditionally held on the last Sunday in September. Jay Sigel has won the event the most times, with nine victories between 1975 and 1993.[17]

Since at least the 1970s, the public can, on the day of the final round, tour the golf course and view tournament play.[18] This is the only day each year on which the public has access to the grounds of the club.[19] Visitors park at the nearby Clementon Amusement Park, where a local youth athletic association charges $25 per car.[20] Yellow school buses then take fans on a five-minute ride down a secluded side road, away from amusement park, and unload in a gravel parking lot in the woods.[16] Visitors are not allowed to bring in cameras, video recorders, or cell phones. Admission is for the afternoon only.[21]

Awards and rankings[edit]

Pine Valley Awards and Rankings[22]

Year Source Award
1985–2000 Golf Digest #1 - America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses
2003–2008 Golf Digest #1 - America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses
2003-2022 Golf Magazine Best Golf Course in the United States
2005-2022 USA Today Golfweek Magazine Best (pre-1960) Golf Course in the United States
2005-2021 Golf Magazine Best Golf Course in the World
2013–2014 Golf Digest #1 - America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses
2015–2016 Golf Digest #2 - America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses
2017–2020 Golf Digest #1 - America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses


  1. ^ "Top 100 Golf Courses in the U.S. and the World". Golf Magazine. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  2. ^ "GOLF's 2020-21 ranking of the Top 100 Courses in the U.S." {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  3. ^ "Top 100 US Golf Courses 2019-20". Golf Digest. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  4. ^ "N.J. Golf course named best in U.S. For 3rd straight year; 5 Garden State courses in top 100". 5 May 2021.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Matuszewski, Erik (14 September 2017). "Attention, Golfers: Here's Your Chance To Visit Pine Valley". Forbes. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  7. ^ Steinhardt, Avid (19 July 2012). "You'll Never Play Golf Here". -. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  8. ^ D'Amato, Gary (4 June 2013). "Fairways and dreams: Pine Valley Course a duffer's paradise". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  9. ^ Miller, Johnny; Yocom, Guy (11 May 2004). I Call the Shots. Penguin. p. 120. ISBN 9781101216606.
  10. ^ a b Weinberg, David (31 October 2009). "No course on a par with Pine Valley". Atlantic City Press.
  11. ^ Sens, Josh (30 April 2021). "Pine Valley to allow women members, loosen playing restrictions". Golf.
  12. ^ Fensom, Michael J. (25 May 2012). "You'll Never Play Golf Here." Inside Jersey.
  13. ^ "Tom Ramsey's comments". Archived from the original on 21 June 2005. Retrieved 16 August 2005.
  14. ^ "Pine Valley, the No. 1 course in the U.S., to host an elite competition for just the third time in its history". Retrieved 5 July 2023.
  15. ^ Sens, Josh (18 February 2015). "This Weekend Anyone Can Tour the World's No. 1 Course". Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  16. ^ a b Matuszewski, Erik (18 September 2009). "Pine Valley, Golf's 'Slice of Heaven,' Opens Gates to Public".
  17. ^ a b Shaner, Todd (26 August 2010). "Crump Cup: Walk the Valley Sept. 12". Courier-Post.
  18. ^ Giordano, Paul (September 2000). "Pine Valley opens gates to public". Courier-Post.
  19. ^ Matuszewski, Erik (21 September 2009). "Pine Valley Lures New Jersey's Weekend Golfers to No. 1 Course".
  20. ^ Matuszewski, Erik (1 September 2018). "Pine Valley Opens Gates To Public Again: Get The 2018 Crump Cup Details". Forbes. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  21. ^ "Is the Crump Cup the Best Tournament in Amateur Golf?". 18 September 2017. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  22. ^ "Pine Valley Golf Club".

External links[edit]

39°47′20″N 74°58′19″W / 39.789°N 74.972°W / 39.789; -74.972