“The Natural” – Cape May National Golf Club

Cape May National Golf Club Erma, NJ

Cape May National Golf Club, nicknamed “The Natural”, is a most  natural, and very wonderful, choice to play a round of 18 anytime, and all year round. With a “turn of the century”, or 1930s-1940s, look very reminiscent of the time of the great Robert Redford movie of the same name, The Natural, Cape May National is a family built, family run, and family, and golfer, friendly golf course that is, without-a-doubt, a must-play in the southern New Jersey golfing community.

Co-designed by President Robert E. Mullock, and run by his son, Director of Golf Zack Mullock, and other members of the Mullock family, Cape May National is a pretty and picturesque par 71 uniquely golf course built around a fifty-acre bird sanctuary in beautiful Erma, N.J., just south of historic Cape May Courthouse.

The par 35 front nine measures 3,305 yards from the championship tees and just under 3,000 from the white tees(2,929) and begins with a dogleg left par 4 followed by a straightaway, and long, par 4 and then moving on to a short shot-makers’ par 3 that, also, plays more than 180 yards to almost 200 yards, and over water, from the blue and black tees. Water comes into play on each of the next three holes as well, beginning with the dogleg par 5 4th. Holes have names named for many of the local, and protected, bird species, like the herons and ducks that the course surrounds, that can be often, and easily, observed during your round. Ornate painted hole signs with pictures of the birds the holes are named for, and styled after signs of the early 1900’s, adds to the old-timey flavor that Cape May National is, and is most famous, for making the course seem about a hundred years older than it is to the times when Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen, and before them Harry Vardon, roamed the fairways of the links of the world. Cape May National’s rare and old fashioned layout other-worldly transports golfers to the beginnings of golf in the United States with a feeling like playing a round in the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance right alongside Hagen and Jones and Matt Damon and Will Smith.

“We’re basically a links style golf course,” said Cape May Director of Golf Zack Mullock. “ Our sustainability and natural aspects are one-of-a-kind. There are no houses. We’re just a golf course.

“Playing our course can make you feel like you’re playing golf more than a hundred years ago, and that’s what we’re going for. We’re a classic turn-of-the-century golf course.”

One of the course’s more memorable holes, and one of Cape May National’s most scenic, and classically-inspired, is the par 4 11th. Playing only about 360 yards, the 11th calls for a short, or fading, drive, or fairway wood tee shot over Linda Lake, which runs all the way down the left, and cuts back in before the green, to a wedge or short iron second shot that plays right back over the water.

The par 3 17th is another fan favorite. Playing entirely over water, and just beyond the 11th green, 17 is a short to middle iron to a drastically sloping green.

Cape May National’s final, and home, hole, the par 4 18th, is yet another natural, and shot-making, masterpiece that boasts a spectacular second shot playing to a Pete Dye TPC Sawgrass-inspired bulk-headed peninsular green.

It isn’t often that you get a chance, or even the opportunity, to play a round of golf that is as enjoyable, and gives you the strange, but pleasurable, feeling of playing in a different, and earlier, time in the game’s history, but that’s exactly what you get, and should expect, when playing Cape May National. One of the best designed, playable, natural and unique grounds in New Jersey golf, Cape May National Golf Club is a great place to tee it up and let it fly.