Sunset Valley Golf Course – Pompton Plains, New Jersey Guru's Rating: 4.2
Non-Resident Weekend Rate (w/cart): $77
This Morris County public course has plenty of Kodak…ahem…Instagram moments, but sloppy conditions and snippy employees outweigh the scenery. Rolling mountains greet you at Sunset Valley and the initial panorama is breathtaking. Unfortunately we were also welcomed by a rude starter, who rolled his eyes when we told him we were not residents and barely looked up when we asked if there was any sort of practice range (there isn’t). Sorry for putting you out, Buddy. The course takes you up-and-down, across gaping elevation changes and Hal C. Purdy’s layout is actually halfway decent with some interesting tight tee shots and decision-making. But in a midseason round, we found too many bumps and slashes in fairways and greens, too many mucky swamps, and not enough redeeming qualities to bring us back. Plus what’s up with some of greens being as big as the state of Wyoming? You hit a green in regulation and you feel like you still need a driver to get to the hole. We did enjoy the extensive fixin’s bar at the restaurant at the turn with its tomatoes, pickles, and onions…but apparently we enjoyed it a bit too much as we were scolded by our friendly starter for taking too long.
Most Memorable Hole: Sunset Valley takes pride in its final three holes and to be fair, those are the best on the course. The par-5 16th is a beast – 555 yards uphill. You begin your ascent at one of the lowest points on the property and finish at the parking lot. Getting home in two requires a bomb of a shot to a green that’s well-guarded by bunkers. 18 is a pretty tree-lined 404-yard dogleg left finishing hole with a narrow fairway and an elevated green. 17 meanwhile…
Most Challenging Hole: …is the course’s most difficult. A par-4 clocking-in at 433-yards, the tee box on 17 is elevated and requires a precise 200-220 yard drive to a fairway that narrows towards a vicious pond on the left and trees on the right. If the pin is in front, you’ll have a tight window with a long iron on your approach. Tough hole to par.
Guru’s Tip: If you’re a walker, this course – with its undulations and steep tee boxes – will be a stout challenge on your legs. At the same time, electric carts are $17 a player, meaning the overall price jumps to an overpriced $77 for a non-resident weekend round. Until Morris County decides to spend some of its own money and clean this place up a bit, save your dollars and instagrams for higher quality tracks.