Atlantic City Country Club

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One of the USGA's Oldest Clubs

A view across Atlantic City Country Club with the city skyline in the background.
Bill McCay/WireImage/Getty Images

Atlantic City Country Club (website) is located in Northfield, N.J., just outside of the tourist hotspot for which it is named. The course offers up panoramic views of the Atlantic City skyline from many holes.

Atlantic City Country Club (or ACCC) was founded in 1897 and is one of the oldest members of the United States Golf Association. Private for much of its history, ACCC is now open to the public.

The club has been the site of the U.S. Women's Open three times, 1948, 1965 and 1975. The champions were Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Carol Mann and Sandra Palmer, respectively.

Page through the images on the following slides, which include more information about the Atlantic City Country Club's history and course - such as its place in the creation of the term "birdie."

02
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Designers and Bells

Atlantic City Country Club Hole 13
The 13th hole at Atlantic City Country Club. Courtesy of Charles Fahy/Director of Golf Operations, ACCC

Atlantic City Country Club's history dates to the 19th Century; the club was founded in 1897. Some famous designers have tweaked the course over its history, including Willie Park Jr., William Flynn and Tom Doak. John Reid was the original designer.

On the grounds of the club you'll find the Atlantic City Country Club Bell. According to the club's website, the bell was first "used in the early 1900s to remind golfers that the last trolley was about to leave for Atlantic City." The bell still rings today at the end of each day.

Photo: The sun sets over the fairway and a large bunker of the 13th hole.

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ACCC's Famous Pros and Players

Atlantic City Country Club Hole 15
The 15th hole at Atlantic City Country Club. Courtesy of Charles Fahy/Director of Golf Operations, ACCC

Atlantic City Country Club has an association with several famous golfers through its history. Arnold Palmer was a regular player of the course when he was in the Coast Guard (1951-52). Today, a testimonial from Palmer appears on the club's website.

Babe Didrikson Zaharias won the 1948 U.S. Women's Open at ACCC. And Johnny McDermott was the club's pro when he won the 1911 U.S. Open and 1912 U.S. Open. McDermott is not that well-known today, but he was a towering figure in the early history of championship golf in the United States. He was runner-up at the 1910 U.S. Open, before his back-to-back wins in 1911-12. He was the first native-born American to win the U.S. Open, and one of the first to travel to Britain and play in a British Open (he finished fifth in 1913).

Photo: A view of the 15th hole. The Atlantic City skyline is in the background.

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Atlantic City Country Club and the Birth of 'Birdie'

Atlantic City Country Club Birdie Plaque
The "birdie rock" on the 12th hole of Atlantic City Country Club. Courtesy of Charles Fahy/Director of Golf Operations, ACCC

As noted in our golf history FAQ, "What is the origin of the terms 'birdie' and 'eagle'?", most sources point to Atlantic City Country Club as the place where the term "birdie" was coined.

A birdie, of course, is a score of 1-under par on a golf hole. The term was in widespread use on golf courses by 1910, but its origin was only a handful of years earlier.

That origin has to do with the slang use of the word "bird" at the time to describe something cool, something keen, something outstanding. In 1903, a group of golfers were playing at ACCC when one of them struck a shot that landed right next to the hole. It was "a bird of a shot" - a great shot - one of the group said.

And there you have it: "a bird of a shot" became birdie, and from those golfers the term spread from Atlantic City Country Club, to the northeast United States, to the rest of the world.

Photo: The "birdie rock" at ACCC is on the 12th hole, where that "bird of a shot" occurred in 1903.

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'Trolley Back' to the Clubhouse

Atlantic City Country Club 18th Hole and Clubhouse
Courtesy of Charles Fahy/Director of Golf Operations, ACCC

The Atlantic City Country Club course's 18th hole leads the golfer back to the clubhouse. The home hole is named "Trolley Back," is a par-4, and plays 432 yards from the back tees.

The ACCC layout is a par-70 that from the back tees measures 6,577 yards. All the holes are named, and those names include Yea Begin, Major's Favorite, Punchbowl, Adirondack, Traverse, Salt Marsh and Tidewater.

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19th Hole

Atlantic City Country Club Patio 19th Hole
Courtesy of Charles Fahy/Director of Golf Operations, ACCC

This is a photo looking out onto the course from the back patio of the The Tap Room Bar & Grille. Be sure to visit the 19th hole before or after the round; Atlantic City Country Club's Tap Room has been rated one of the 50 best 19th Holes by Golf Digest.

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Your Citation
Kelley, Brent. "Atlantic City Country Club." ThoughtCo, Aug. 2, 2016, thoughtco.com/atlantic-city-country-club-4068957. Kelley, Brent. (2016, August 2). Atlantic City Country Club. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/atlantic-city-country-club-4068957 Kelley, Brent. "Atlantic City Country Club." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/atlantic-city-country-club-4068957 (accessed September 21, 2017).