Clementon Amusement Park in South Jersey is not exactly a place brimming over with good cheer. Although it is celebrating its hundredth anniversary this year, Clementon carries a distinct aura of hard luck—all faded paint and sharp edges and arcane dangers.In a strange coincidence, a Links profile by the late, great Pam Emory was posted over at CBSSports.com.
But once a year, usually on the last Sunday afternoon in September, the park becomes a portal to another world. A yellow school bus idles in its parking lot; the driver collects ten dollars from those who board. The bus heads down a nondescript lane and then, minutes later, pulls up at the end of a gravel road, where local kids sell burgers and hot dogs off a grill and soft drinks from a cooler. Nearby, a small green-and-white building serves as both town hall and police station and hints that the territory beyond is a separate and sovereign place, far removed from the strip-mall tedium of the surrounding burbs.
A man in a blazer waits near a guardhouse and hands the visitor a scorecard. "Have a nice time," he says. And just like that, one steps, blinking in disbelief, inside the sylvan fold and onto the grounds of what's commonly regarded as the greatest golf course in the world: Pine Valley.
The desirable length for a good course is from 6,000 to 6,400 yards. But bear in mind that it is quality, not quantity, that counts. In my work I repeatedly have had trouble making committees see the force of this. They seem possessed with the idea that length is the main desideratum. It is beyond all argument that many a long course is noticeably uninteresting, in contrast to shorter ones that are well thought-out and skillfully constructed. DONALD ROSS