Ramblewood Country Club

6,498 yards, 128 slope from the Whites (Red/White)

6,213 yards, 126 slope from the Whites (White/Blue)

6,289 yards, 129 slope from the Whites (Blue/Red)

Course:  In Mt. Laurel, NJ, you will find Ramblewood Country Club, a public club in South New Jersey with 27 holes.  Edmund Ault designed all 27, originally building the Red and White nines, then adding the Blue nine in 1971.  Ault has designed a number of courses in the region, including Center Square, Juniata, Quail Brook and Spooky Brook (even Las Vegas Country Club out West).  The Red and White are set on relatively flat land dispersed with water hazards and features fairly wide corridors to the greens with a few forced carried while the Blue is much narrower, set throughout a woodsy area, demanding a lot more accuracy than the Red or White.

Ramblewood is a course I used to play frequently several years ago when I was starting to golf.  I returned a couple years ago to deplorable conditions and a bizarre ranger, but since then Ron Jaworski acquired the course as part of his growing portfolio.  Based on the improvements I’ve seen at the other courses Jaws now operates, I was interested to see if there were any changes since the last time I visited.  The conditions of the course were the biggest change and have improved dramatically.  It also appears the bar and grill have been upgraded.  The staff seems friendlier and the cart girls were out in full force.  So things seem to be on the upswing.  The course enjoys a larger devoted crowd that will keep playing there regardless and the course is accessible to every skill level.

This review will focus on the Red and White nines and when I’m able to get back and play the Blue, will supplement.  As far as I can tell, the starter essentially tells you which nines you are playing, but I have no idea how a request to play a certain combination is handled.  As for the Red and White, they play very similar.  Both feature lots of width and greens with just enough subtlety to keep it interesting.  I’m not sure how much the course would stand up to repeat play as the design is straightforward and fairly basic.  Its not bland or repetitive, however, the holes have variety; it’s just not a design that holds as much interest or challenge with repeat play.  As some where for a round every now and then, for beginners who don’t want to be overwhelmed starting out, or for those that are fine with an enjoyable round without being riveted by the architecture, Ramblewood is worth a look.

THE RED

The First is a 375 yard par 4 (from the Whites).  From an elevated tee, the fairway fluctuates in width with bunkers along the left and a small creek bisecting the fairway that is within range of longer hitters from the tee.  Bunkers continue to pop out near the green, which is of moderate size and subtle slope.

The First

Approach shot territory

The Second is a 354 yard par 4.  The fairway ascends to a ridgeline, then goes down slightly, which creates a blind shot from the tee for the most part.  The fairway is wide yet trees lines each side of it.  The green is elevated and is wide and a little shallow.  There’s a good bit of movement and subtlety to this green.  The pin position off to the left back gave us all fits.

The Second

Approach shot territory

The Third is a 526 yard par 5.  A dog leg right around water to the right of the fairway, which also has trees and a bunker on that side.  So yeah, stay left.  The green is uphill to the fairway after the dog leg, with a greenside bunker on the right.  This hole is very concerned about you trying to cut the dog leg.  The green has a nice shape to it and moves from back to front.

The Third

Approach shot territory

The Fourth is a 457 yard par 4.  A straight hole with a few greenside bunkers, just not much else to it.

The Fourth

Approach shot territory

The Fifth is a 176 yard par 3.  Water encroaches from the right to this green with a good bit of movement to it.  The green receives all shot shapes, which is nice considering its shape.

The Fifth

The Sixth is a 464 yard par 4.  This longer par 4 has water lurking on the right side off the tee and a small creek that comes into range on the second shot.  Second shots will be on longer side for most and this green is tucked in to the left well protected by bunkers.  The green is also one of the smaller on the course, so there’s plenty of challenge to this hole.

The Sixth

Approach shot territory

The Seventh is a 382 yard par 4.  A dog leg right that has another blind tee shot as the fairway turns and starts going downhill to the green.  Follow the tree line to figure out tee shot placement, but there is some risk/reward here since carrying the trees and cutting the dog leg means a short shot into the green, whereas the contours of the left side could mean ending up in the rough on that side.  The green has bunkers on each side and is on the smaller side, making for a tougher approach shot.

The Seventh

Approach shot territory

The Eighth is a 409 yard par 4.  The fairway dog legs slightly to the right and the break in the fairway should be thought of from the tee, as some guys will be able to hit driver into it.  The approach shot is uphill and over the creek to a green that runs from back to front.  There’s not a whole lot of forgiveness off fairway, so two solid shots are necessary for a chance at par.

The Eighth

Approach shot territory

The Ninth is a 14 yard par 3.  Ending on a par 3, this shorter par 3 provides a nice opportunity to end things with a birdie.  The green is wide and is surrounded by large bunkers, so mis hits will likely end up in them, requiring a chance at recovery.  It’s a good par 3 that requires a level of accuracy from a shorter distance.

The Ninth

The Red course gives you a fairly forgiving set of holes with some variety on flatter terrain with a standard design.  I’d rank them 3, 1, 6, 8, 7, 5, 9, 2, 4.

THE WHITE 

The First is a 384 yard par 4.  It parallels the First of the Red course, but features less fairway bunkers  and the creek is a little further out.  The green is more pitched here and the green shape is a little more interesting, with it sloping deep and to the left.  It’s a better opening hole in my opinion.

The First

Approach shot territory

The Second is a 353 yard par 4.  The fairway runs at a 7:00 – 2:00 angle from the tee, all the way to the green, which is pretty subtle.  The angle from the tee makes all the difference here.

The Second

Approach shot territory

The Third is a 168 yard par 3.  The tee is set off to the right of the green, with a group of trees forcing you to hit left, almost fading into the green.  Water is off to the left but really shouldn’t come into play.  The green is large enough to receive a lot of shots.  It’s a fun par 3.

The Fourth is a 503 yard par 5.  Similar to the Second, the fairway is set at an angle, this time running left to right and calling upon a draw off the tee.  The fairway then curls right nearer to the green while trees block out a lot of the right side from reaching the green on that side.  It’s a nice subtle par 5.

The Fourth

Approach shot territory

The Fifth is a 385 yard par 4.  A slight dog leg left with a fairway bunker on the inside of the turn to wide and receptive green with bunkers on either side to collect the really bad shots.  A good chance to birdie.

The Fifth

Approach shot territory

The Sixth is a 196 yard par 3.  Perhaps the easier Fifth sets up the Sixth, which while visually not all that intimidating, can be quite the challenge.  The green is enormous and runs from back to front, which makes it longer than its stated yardage.  Miss hits aren’t tolerated very much, unless you’re short of the green.  Otherwise, trees on either side can make things very difficult to recover.

The Sixth

The Seventh is a 502 yard par 5.  A slight dogleg right that is tree lined on either side that opens up after the tee shot, so a nice strike off the tee is more than half the challenge.  Going up the left side if preferable to get the best angle into the green, which is of a smaller size compared to others on the course.

The Seventh

Second shot territory

The Eighth is a 365 yard par 4.  It’s another slight dogleg, this time to the left.  The narrow fairway and trees along the hole are its biggest challenge, while I enjoyed the green, which is also surrounded by trees.

The Eighth

Approach shot territory

The Ninth is a 355 yard par 4.  This nine ends with a nice par 4 that narrows as you get closer to the green and really provides no relief off the fairway.  There’s a generous false front and deep green, with larger bunkers on the right that seem to come into play more than they should.  It’s a nice finishing hole, with a good deal of challenge, and options, for the final hole.

The Ninth

Approach shot territory

The White nine is more enjoyable to the Red for me, mainly because there’s a lot more riding on the tee shots and the angles make things a little more unique.  I’d rank them 9, 4, 6, 1, 2, 7, 3, 8, 5.

In general, Ramblewood, at least the White and Red courses, are simplistic in design yet provide enjoyment and challenge by avoiding too much redundancy.  The wider fairways were fun, allowing me to swing away with driver without much hesitancy, and going for the pins was never a chore of sainthood, yet I was never restless or waiting for the round to end, so I imagine it’s an accessible track  and engages on one level or another for most.  With that said, there’s not much strategy involved here so not a whole lot of thinking is necessary and I’d tire of playing here frequently.  Maybe the third nine would help with that.

Gripes:  It’s a popular course, so expect crowds and a longer round most of the time.  There’s no driving range.  I’m wondering if you have any choice on which nines you could play and in what order?  If you don’t, it’s a gripe.  If you do, then I think that gives the course a huge boost.

Bar/grill:  Jaws knows where to improve and he knows that for many, socializing is just as important as golfing at a course.  The bar is larger, has a great staff and lots of tv’s.  The diehards here must be happy.

Clubhouse/pro shop:  Ok only.

Practice area:  A larger putting green where chipping is allowed.

Nearby:  The course is in Mt. Laurel, NJ, which has countless restaurants, stores, etc.  For my money, PJ Whelihan’s is worth a look and it takes a lot of willpower not to stop for a slice at King of Pizza.

2 thoughts on “Ramblewood Country Club

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