In some ways the Atlantic Golf Club kick-started the modern golf boom on the eastern side of New York’s Long Island, Rees Jones’s early 1990s creation the first course of note on the island for several decades and followed by a number of subsequent stunners.
What Jones initially created here was a fairly manufactured layout that has thankfully been altered substantially in recent years. The holes were initially defined by large, symmetrical mounding, mostly down the side of the fairways, with bunkers dug into circular pits but unfortunately built without much character and giving the layout a really contrived feel. Thanks to the input and dedication of superintendant Bob Ranum and head professional Rick Hartmann, the course has changed considerably in recent years due to an aggressive program of bunker and mounding redesign. The pair decided the design features were dated and hurting the image of the club, so the bunker style was gradually altered to a more natural, irregular appearance and the mounding was mostly eliminated. They also added fescue areas to provide definition to the holes, while from a design standpoint important alterations include expanded chase-in areas to the greens, the removal of strange bluegrass strips across the narrow fairways and the loss of some silly central bunkers.
The result of the recent changes is a vastly superior golf course to the original, though Atlantic CC is still a long way from being regarded as one of the elite layouts in this neighborhood.