Full Guide for Pine Valley Golf Club, Pine Hill, New Jersey

Pine Valley Golf Club in Pine Hill, New Jersey, is renowned as one of the world's most exclusive and challenging golf courses.

Founded in 1913 by George Crump, this course combines natural beauty with strategic design to offer a unique golfing experience.

Keep reading for a more detailed explanation of what makes Pine Valley so special.

History and Design

Pine Valley Golf Club boasts a rich history and meticulous design that contribute to its legendary status in the golfing world.

From its founding by George Crump to the thoughtful collaboration with renowned architects, the club's creation story is as fascinating as the course itself.

Founding of Pine Valley

George Crump, a hotelier from Philadelphia, envisioned creating the ultimate golf course after being inspired during his travels through southern New Jersey.

In 1912, he purchased a large tract of sandy, pine-covered land in Pine Hill, New Jersey.

Determined to bring his vision to life, Crump moved to the site and dedicated the next six years to developing the course.

His dedication was so intense that he lived on the property to personally oversee every detail of its construction.

Crump’s vision was not just about building a golf course but crafting a masterpiece that isolated each hole, ensuring no two consecutive holes ran in the same direction.

Course Architects

Although Crump was the driving force behind Pine Valley, he did not work alone.

He sought the expertise of several prominent golf architects to refine and perfect his design.

The team included Harry Colt, known for his work on Sunningdale and Royal Portrush; A.W. Tillinghast, the mind behind Winged Foot and Baltusrol; George Thomas, who designed Riviera and Los Angeles Country Club; and Walter Travis, a three-time U.S. Amateur champion and designer of Garden City Golf Club.

Unfortunately, Crump passed away before the course was fully completed.

However, his detailed plans were faithfully executed by Hugh Wilson and William Flynn, who ensured that the final holes matched Crump’s original vision.

Design Philosophy

Crump’s design philosophy for Pine Valley was centered on creating a challenging yet fair course that demanded precision and strategic thinking from golfers.

He aimed to avoid the monotony of parallel holes, ensuring that each hole provided a unique challenge and experience.

The layout was designed to punish poor shots severely, a concept that has contributed significantly to Pine Valley's reputation as one of the toughest courses in the world.

One of the standout features of Pine Valley is the isolation of each hole.

Crump meticulously planned the course so that no two holes run parallel, and no more than two consecutive holes run in the same direction.

This design choice not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the course but also demands a wide variety of shots and strategies from golfers.

The course itself comprises 18 holes, including four par threes, four par fives, and ten par fours.

Each hole is designed with a mix of penal, heroic, and strategic elements, requiring players to carefully plan and execute their shots.

Large sand hazards and significant elevation changes are integrated throughout the course, further adding to its complexity and challenge.

Pine Valley’s landscape plays a crucial role in its design.

Set among sandy pinelands, the course features vast expanses of sand and scrub, tall pines, and a river that winds through the property.

These natural elements are seamlessly incorporated into the course, enhancing both its beauty and difficulty.

Course Details

Pine Valley Golf Club is renowned not only for its history and design but also for its intricate and challenging course layout.

Every aspect of the course has been meticulously crafted to provide a comprehensive test of a golfer’s skills, making it one of the most revered courses in the world.

Layout Overview

The course at Pine Valley consists of 18 holes that include a mix of four par threes, four par fives, and ten par fours.

This mix ensures a diverse and challenging golfing experience, where players must demonstrate proficiency across different types of holes.

The design of the course incorporates penal, heroic, and strategic elements, each demanding precise shot-making and careful planning.

  • Par Threes: These holes are designed to test accuracy and precision. They require golfers to place their shots carefully to avoid hazards and position themselves well for the next stroke.
  • Par Fives: Known for their length, these holes challenge players to balance power and control. Strategic shot placement is crucial to navigate the long fairways and reach the green efficiently.
  • Par Fours: These holes provide a balanced test of a golfer's skills, requiring a mix of distance and accuracy. Each par four at Pine Valley presents unique challenges that require thoughtful shot selection and execution.

The course layout emphasizes variety, ensuring that no two holes feel the same.

Each hole presents its own set of challenges and requires different strategies, keeping golfers on their toes throughout the round.

Natural Landscape

Pine Valley’s natural landscape plays a significant role in its design and difficulty.

The course is set among sandy pinelands, giving it a distinct character that is both beautiful and challenging.

The sandy terrain is interspersed with scrub and tall pines, creating natural obstacles that add to the complexity of the game.

Elevation changes are a prominent feature of the course, adding another layer of difficulty.

These changes in elevation require golfers to adjust their strategies and shot selection to account for the uphill and downhill lies.

Additionally, large sand hazards are strategically placed throughout the course, punishing wayward shots and demanding precision from players.

One of the most notable features of the Pine Valley landscape is the river that winds through the property.

This water feature not only adds to the aesthetic appeal of the course but also serves as a natural hazard that golfers must navigate.

The river and surrounding wetlands create challenging environments for several holes, requiring careful planning and execution to avoid penalties.

Membership and Access

Pine Valley Golf Club is famed not just for its exceptional course but also for its exclusivity.

Membership is highly coveted and strictly limited, making it a prestigious and private enclave for its select members.

Understanding the membership and access details provides insight into the club's elite status.


Pine Valley Golf Club has approximately 930 members, a number that reflects the club's commitment to exclusivity.

Membership is by invitation only, and the club maintains strict privacy about its member list.

This high level of privacy ensures that the club remains a sanctuary for its members, free from the prying eyes of the public and media.

Among its members, Pine Valley has boasted notable figures such as former President George H.W. Bush, legendary actor Sean Connery, and golf icon Arnold Palmer.

These distinguished members highlight the caliber of individuals who are invited to join the club.

The process of becoming a member is shrouded in secrecy, adding to the allure and prestige of the club.

Potential members are typically nominated by current members and then must undergo a rigorous vetting process.

This process ensures that only those who align with the club's values and ethos are granted membership.

Public Access

While Pine Valley is predominantly a private club, it does allow limited public access during a specific event each year: the final round of the Crump Cup.

The Crump Cup is an invitational amateur tournament held annually in late September.

This event is the only time when the general public can experience Pine Valley firsthand.

To attend the Crump Cup, visitors must park at the nearby Clementon Amusement Park, from where they are shuttled to the course.

This arrangement helps manage the flow of visitors and maintains the club's secluded atmosphere.

Once on the property, strict rules are enforced to preserve the integrity of the event and the privacy of the club.

Cameras and cell phones are prohibited, ensuring that the focus remains on the golf and the experience rather than on capturing the event.

This limited public access provides a rare glimpse into the world of Pine Valley, allowing golf enthusiasts to witness the tournament and experience the renowned course, even if just for a day.

Tournaments and Recognition

Pine Valley Golf Club is not only renowned for its challenging course and exclusivity but also for the prestigious tournaments it hosts and the recognition it consistently receives.

These elements solidify its reputation as a premier destination in the golfing world.

Crump Cup

The Crump Cup is Pine Valley's most famous tournament, named in honor of the club's founder, George Crump.

Established in 1922, this annual amateur invitational tournament has become a significant event in the amateur golf scene.

The tournament format combines stroke play and match play, adding variety and excitement to the competition.

The early rounds are played as stroke play to determine the match play brackets, with the final rounds conducted as match play to decide the champion.

The Crump Cup holds immense importance in amateur golf, attracting top amateur players from around the world.

It is one of the few times the public can experience Pine Valley, as the final round is open to spectators.

This access, albeit limited, allows golf enthusiasts a rare opportunity to witness high-level amateur golf on one of the most exclusive courses globally.

Other Major Events

In addition to the Crump Cup, Pine Valley has hosted other significant golfing events.

Notably, the club has been the venue for the Walker Cup twice, in 1936 and 1985.

The Walker Cup, a prestigious amateur team competition between the United States and Great Britain & Ireland, brought international attention to Pine Valley.

Hosting such a prominent event further cemented the club's status in the golfing community.

Looking ahead, Pine Valley is scheduled to host the Curtis Cup in 2034.

The Curtis Cup, another prestigious amateur competition, features teams of female golfers from the United States and Great Britain & Ireland.

This upcoming event highlights Pine Valley's continued relevance and esteem in the world of golf.

Rankings and Recognition

Pine Valley Golf Club consistently ranks as one of the top golf courses in the United States and globally.

Various golf publications, including Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, have repeatedly placed Pine Valley at the pinnacle of their rankings.

These accolades are a testament to the course's exceptional design, challenging layout, and overall golfing experience.

Golf Digest has frequently ranked Pine Valley as the number one course in the United States, praising its unique combination of beauty, difficulty, and strategic complexity.

Golf Magazine has also highlighted Pine Valley's outstanding attributes, reinforcing its reputation as a world-class golfing destination.

The consistent recognition from these esteemed publications underscores the club's enduring legacy and influence in the golfing world.

Pine Valley's ability to maintain its top-ranking status over the years speaks to the quality and timeless appeal of the course.

Notable Features

Pine Valley Golf Club is famous not only for its history and design but also for its unique and challenging features.

These elements make the club stand out even among the most elite golf courses worldwide, offering golfers a truly unparalleled experience.

Course Difficulty

Pine Valley Golf Club is widely regarded as one of the most challenging golf courses in the world.

This reputation is built on a combination of its demanding layout, strategic design, and natural obstacles.

Every hole presents a unique set of challenges that test a golfer's skill, precision, and mental toughness.

The course's difficulty begins with its layout, which avoids parallel holes and ensures no more than two consecutive holes run in the same direction.

This design choice forces golfers to constantly adjust their strategies and shot selections, preventing them from settling into a predictable rhythm.

The isolation of each hole means that players face different wind directions and environmental factors throughout their round, adding to the complexity.

One of the key elements contributing to the course's difficulty is the presence of large sand hazards.

These bunkers are strategically placed to penalize inaccurate shots severely.

Golfers must carefully navigate these hazards, requiring precise shot-making and thoughtful course management.

The sand hazards are not just limited to bunkers near the greens; they are also found in fairways and around landing areas, ensuring that every shot must be well-planned.

Elevation changes throughout the course add another layer of challenge.

Golfers must account for uphill and downhill lies, which affect the distance and trajectory of their shots.

These elevation changes, combined with the natural undulations of the terrain, require players to have a keen understanding of how to adapt their swings and club selections.

In addition to the physical challenges, Pine Valley demands strategic thinking.

Each hole is designed with a mix of penal, heroic, and strategic elements, meaning that golfers must choose between riskier, high-reward shots and safer, more conservative plays.

This balance of risk and reward is a hallmark of Pine Valley, making it a true test of a golfer's decision-making skills.

Clubhouse and Amenities

While the primary focus of Pine Valley Golf Club is undoubtedly its world-class course, the clubhouse and amenities also contribute to the overall experience.

The clubhouse at Pine Valley is designed to offer a comfortable and welcoming environment for its members, reflecting the club's prestigious status without being overly opulent.

The clubhouse features a range of facilities designed to cater to the needs of its members.

These include dining areas where members can enjoy meals and socialize, as well as lounges and common areas for relaxation.

The atmosphere within the clubhouse is one of understated elegance, emphasizing comfort and exclusivity rather than extravagance.

Compared to other elite golf clubs, Pine Valley's clubhouse may appear more modest, but this aligns with the club's philosophy of focusing on the quality of the golfing experience.

The emphasis is on providing a space where members can unwind and enjoy camaraderie after a challenging round on the course.

Insider Tips for Golfers

Playing at Pine Valley Golf Club is a dream for many golfers.

To make the most of this exclusive experience, it’s crucial to prepare thoroughly and understand the nuances of gaining access to and playing on this prestigious course.

Here’s everything you need to know to elevate your game and navigate the club’s exclusivity.

Preparing for the Course

Pine Valley is known for its challenging layout and demanding conditions, so preparation is key.

Here are some essential skills and techniques to focus on:

  1. Precision and Accuracy: Pine Valley’s narrow fairways and strategically placed hazards require precise shot-making. Practicing your accuracy, especially with your irons, will help you navigate the course’s numerous obstacles.
  2. Short Game Mastery: Given the course's large and deep bunkers, as well as its undulating greens, a solid short game is crucial. Spend extra time honing your chipping, pitching, and bunker play to save strokes around the green.
  3. Course Management: Understanding when to play aggressively and when to opt for a more conservative shot can make a significant difference in your score. Study the course layout in advance and develop a strategy for each hole, considering factors like wind direction and elevation changes.
  4. Physical Fitness: The course’s hilly terrain and lengthy walks between holes can be physically demanding. Maintaining good physical fitness will help you stay focused and perform consistently throughout your round.

Advice from experienced golfers who have played Pine Valley can also be invaluable.

Many recommend focusing on the mental aspect of the game, as the course can be as mentally taxing as it is physically challenging.

Staying calm under pressure and maintaining a positive attitude, even when faced with difficult shots, can help you score better.

Navigating the Exclusivity

Securing an invitation to play at Pine Valley is no small feat, given its exclusive membership and private nature.

Here’s how you can improve your chances and what to expect:

  1. Building Connections: Networking is essential. Making connections with current members or participating in high-level amateur golf tournaments can increase your chances of being invited. Membership at Pine Valley is often about who you know as much as it is about your golfing prowess.
  2. Invitation Etiquette: If you are fortunate enough to receive an invitation, it’s important to understand the club’s expectations. Adhere to the dress code, arrive on time, and demonstrate respect for the club’s rules and traditions. Remember that Pine Valley places a high value on decorum and etiquette.
  3. Understanding Expectations: Guests are expected to conduct themselves with a high level of sportsmanship and respect for the course. This includes repairing divots, raking bunkers, and maintaining the pace of play. Being aware of these expectations will help you blend in seamlessly and leave a positive impression.
  4. Preparing for the Day: On the day of your visit, make sure you are well-prepared. Bring all necessary equipment, arrive early to warm up, and familiarize yourself with the clubhouse and course facilities. Being prepared will help you focus on your game and enjoy the experience fully.


Playing at Pine Valley Golf Club is a rare and exceptional experience, combining history, challenge, and exclusivity.

Proper preparation and understanding the club’s unique environment can help you make the most of this opportunity.

Embrace the challenge, respect the traditions, and enjoy every moment on one of the world's finest golf courses.