Meadows Golf Club – Lincoln Park, New Jersey Guru's Rating: 4.1
Non-Resident Weekend Rate (with cart): $50
I stepped onto the 8th tee at Meadows Golf Club and planned my line of attack, taking note of my surroundings. Large pond on the left. Swirling wind in my face. Uneven ground under my feet. But what…was…that…smell?
As if the course’s shabby conditions weren’t enough, an offensive odor coming from an industrial plant on the other side of the trees was making me dizzy.
“That place makes formaldehyde,” our playing partner snickered. He then shared with us a touching story of his buddy vomiting on this very tee box. Lovely.
There’s one word to describe the experience at Meadows in Lincoln Park: unpleasant. Unsavory aromas and pesky mosquitoes will chase you through “meadows” of open drainage pipes, mucky ponds, and abandoned buildings. By the time we saw a family of four picking up trash on the tee box at seven (“Swamp people,” as our entertaining playing partner described them), we were soured.
I feel just a touch bad about killing Meadows, given that it’s been the continued victim of severe flooding, most recently due to Hurricane Irene this past August (remember the photo of a deer swimming across an intersection? Yeah, that was in Lincoln Park). The picture above should give you a sense of the repair that Meadows, smack dab in the middle of New Jersey wetlands, has had to undergo.
The floods explain a lot about the conditions of the course: clean lies rarely exist, even in the fairway. But did the waters somehow move the yardage markers and re-write the scorecard? Good thing I brought my laser finder because virtually none of the distances at Meadows were marked correctly. And I’m not talking about a few moved pin placements or tee boxes: some holes were at least twenty yards shorter than yardage sticks indicated. I’d guess that the actual distances from the tips – listed at 6345- are more like 6100.
To add insult to injury: no driving range (we opted for Willowbrook Golf Center, about ten minutes away), a disappearing beverage cart, no putting green (being “re-sodded”), and a run-down clubhouse.
Does the golf course itself make up for the poor atmosphere? In some cases, yes, but overall you’ll experience nothing unusual. Meadows’ layout does not feature many elevation changes or give you a chance to ponder strategy. You will face a couple of challenges, but those are mostly due to sheer yardage.
Most Memorable Hole: The back nine at Meadows is way more interesting than the front – and I particularly enjoyed hole #13, a 455 yard par 5 – not a long hole by any stretch, but one with a number of monkey wrenches thrown in. First, your tee shot: a fade (which I don’t own), under dangerously hanging branches, staring at two large fairway bunkers on the left. Approach is to an elevated green, surrounded by more sand. Nicest view on the golf course from the middle of the green.
Most Challenging Hole: How could the ninth hole not be Meadows’ number one handicap? A 249-yard completely flat par 3 is absurd to the point that my friend (somewhat seriously) suggested laying up. Always fun to watch below average golfers try to “finesse” a driver. Inexplicably, Meadows lists the fifth hole as its number one handicap (a hole listed as a 422 yard par 4 – in actuality more like 350 yards).
The Bottom Line: OK, I’ve been cruel with this review, so here’s one positive about Meadows: the price. Just $50 on weekends, including a cart, and word is you can find even better deals on GroupOn and Golf Now. Not a bad deal, but the trade off is experiencing the ten plagues on a golf course.
Guru’s Tip: Things to bring for your field trip to Meadows Golf Club: Laser finder, insect repellent, surgical mask, snacks for swamp people, and finally, cash – Meadows does not accept credit cards.