This is the latest in a multi-part series where our writers and editors wax poetic about their all-time favorite golf hole. Look for more entries throughout the holiday season. Enjoy!
Let’s be clear from the start: I’m not a good golfer. I first started playing about six years ago, and progress has been slow. The last time I hit the range, most of my shots either sliced off to the right or failed to get airborne. My only future in golf is behind my keyboard.
Despite my status as a subpar golfer (pun intended) I still love the sport. Even though I’m the high man in most of my foursomes, I still appreciate the experience of getting out with friends and family to play a round.
That brings me to the hole I’m thankful for: No. 1 at Beacon Hill Country Club in Atlantic Highlands, NJ. Located about 50 miles south of New York City along the Jersey Shore, Beacon Hill features 18 gorgeous holes. The course is over 100 years old and recently underwent a $5 million redesign by Stephen Kay.
It’s where I played my first full round of golf. And I hit my first-ever shot on that opening tee.
The hole, a par 4, has three different tee boxes, and it plays 403 yards from the tips (I tend to play from one of the forward markers.) It’s also tree-lined, and No. 2 runs parallel to the first fairway, so if you send one off to the right, as I’ve done many times, you could get an early look at your next hole. You might also find yourself interrupting another foursome. The stakes are high.
No. 1 has a narrow fairway, and you pretty much have to find the short grass to have any hope at a par. Sometimes I hit an iron off the tee just to stay in play. The green is one of the largest on the course, and it’s flanked by two sand traps.
But look, I’m no expert in course strategy. What I love most about this hole is the view. The tee box is at the crest of a hill. You can see the rolling Sandy Hook Bay and, on a clear day, the New York City skyline. At dusk you can also see the city’s lights.
I’m not going to set any scoring records, although an occasional par would be nice. Mostly, when I think about what I love about golf, I think of that view. Can’t wait to see it again soon.