COLOGNE, N.J. -- Blue Heron Pines Golf Club might be the best of Ron Jaworski's budding four-course golf empire.
Jaworski, a former NFL quarterback and current TV football analyst, bought the 6,810-yard course in 2012. His commitment to excellent conditions and fast greens has re-energized this Jersey Shore favorite.
Blue Heron Pines' West Course opened in 1993 just 15 miles inland from Atlantic City, setting off a high-end golf boom that over-saturated the market with "country-club-for-a-day" public golf courses. A strong Steve Smyers design called the East Course was added in 2000 to complement the original Stephen Kay design before eventually closing for redevelopment in 2007.
Kay, who lives along his design, did a masterful job building a compelling layout that eases players into and out of the round. The shortest par 4 on the course, the 315-yard first hole, allows the chance to score right away. The easiest par 5, the 530-yard 18th hole, sends them home with a smile. Six ponds impact more than half the holes in between, none more forcefully than the 15th hole, a no. 1 handicap that stretches to 421 yards.
Kay's more forgiving front nine turns up the volume starting at no. 10, where a trio of bunkers and a pond guard the front of the green. The 130-yard tee shot of the 11th hole wouldn't be so difficult if that same pond didn't wrap around such a shallow green.
All in all, this Jaworski gem is a quarterback's keeper.