On Monday local and national media lit up with news of Millville’s Mike Trout developing a premier golf course in Vineland NJ, to be called Trout National – The Reserve.
The course will be designed by Tiger Wood’s architecture firm, TGR Design. Expected opening in 2025
Well your little 42 freeway.com website did not get the press release yesterday, so I am a little late on this one, but you know I’m going to provide you more information than just rehashing the press release!
Late yesterday afternoon after the rain passed I drove down to Vineland to check out the location, and put the drone up to get my own view at what’s happening at the course.
Seriously, what other South Jersey news outlet goes this far for the latest commercial news stories?
Plans today are for a premier 18-hole golf facility with state-of- the art features including a clubhouse, restaurant, lodging, and wedding chapel!
But the original plans started with John Ruga of Vineland’s Northeast Precast firm, who just a few years ago was granted approval for a smaller 9 hole course.
That approval and subsequent start of the golf course project made it’s way to Mike Trout, and a partnership was formed to develop a larger course on the property.
While the larger “Trout/Woods” press release was just sent out Monday, it seems because of that earlier Ruga course approval, work had already started on the course.
It’s actually already picked up on some of the online satellite imagery sites such as Bing.com! (although construction has progressed further from that captured image)
Mike Trout and the Vineland Golf Course
First off if you aren’t familiar with who Mike Trout is, he is a Major League Baseball Superstar for the Los Angeles Angels and currently has the largest contract in baseball at $426 million dollars!
And Mike Trout is a graduate of Millville High School! He was born in Vineland, but grew up in Millville and graduated from Millville High School.
While he has a home in Los Angeles now, considering the amount of time he spends there playing for the baseball team, Mike is still 100% South Jersey.
Mike met his wife Jessica while they were both at Millville High School, and they still make South Jersey their home in the off-season!
He is regularly seen at Philadelphia events, and is a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan
Si.com had a chance to speak with Mike for this announcement and probably provides the most details on the project… well other than your 42 freeway.com of course! 🙂
Mike tells SI.com that he had plans for several years to open a golf course in South Jersey, and was close to making a deal previously for another project, and then the pandemic hit and that deal fell apart.
Around the same time, local business owner John Ruga (Northeast Precast) had won approval to build a small 9-hole course off of Route 55, and had already started on some of the early course build.
Trout explains in the si.com article that a local friend sent him information on the plans for the small golf course, as well as drone imagery.
Mike was intrigued by what he saw and sent the information over to his brother and asked him, “hey can you look into this for me?”
Soon Mike Trout was meeting with John Ruga and his wife regarding a partnership on the golf course.
What started out as initial plans for a small nine-hole Golf Course and Clubhouse has now evolved into a full 18 hole course, with larger Clubhouse which will support weddings and other functions.
And its being designed by the Tiger Woods team, who has already put up a design page for the course.
Trout National – The Reserve: Property And Course
Trout National – The Reserve will be highly strategic in nature as sprawling fairways will offer multiple routes from tee to green. Undulating green complexes with low-cut surrounds will further emphasize the challenging, yet fun-focused design where risk-reward opportunities will be presented throughout the round to create an ideal match play environment. The unique nature of the course will promote creative shot making and optionality, qualities will be underscored with a striking par three match hole inspired by the club co-founder and MLB All-Star, Mike Trout, featuring multiple tee and green options.TGR Design Website – Describing the course for the planned “Trout National – The Reserve” Golf Course in Vineland NJ
The course is being built on a sandy site which used to be a silica sand mine. Well us South Jersey folks already know that basically everywhere in Vineland in Millville is a sandy site!
The location is about 45 minutes from Philadelphia, just off Route 55 at Exit 26.
It’s somewhat halfway between Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore towns which today feature expensive homes (which have significant Pennsylvania ownership), so the course will be readily accessible to the higher income clientele it’s likely targeting.
While this may change, from the original Golf Course planning documents submitted to Vineland, the main entrance was targeted to be on Lincoln Avenue, which is the road which wraps around to the right of the Heritage store.
It’s only a half mile from the Route 55 exit. As mentioned, very convenient to the Delaware Valley.
At the time of the original planning board meeting, the golf course property only had a small access road strip to Lincoln Ave, but the summary write up did reference a larger plot of land on Lincoln Ave that they were targeting, to expand the road frontage.
The mentioned Dun-Rite property was actually a privately owned sports and athletic field!
Even today, everything about the property suggests it is a town-owned athletic field, when in fact it was previously owned by the Dun-Rite company.
I say “previously” because in 2021 a Redevelopment Company (affiliated with Ruga) took ownership of the 10 acre Dun-Rite field.
While I am not certain at this point of what the full plans are for the Mike Trout Golf Course is, considering Lincoln Avenue is a half mile to the Route 55 exit, this could be a prime candidate for an entrance point to the Trout National – The Reserve Golf Course.
So as I mentioned work has already been taking place to develop the golf course as part of the original approval.
Bing Maps has updated their satellite imagery from not too long ago, and you can already see one hole taking shape, with what appears to be the green area on the imagery
In my visit yesterday I could see that for the most part it looks like the core aspects of the entire hole are now completed, including the tee box area and fairway!
Looking around the property on satellite imagery you can start making out strips of clearings in the trees, obviously for other golf holes.
And a signature element for this course will be an island centered in a large lake on the property!
Mike Trout calls it out in the SI.com article saying it will include various tee boxes called “Mike’s Choice”
“It’s pretty incredible, having a chance to own your own golf course,” Trout says. “And partnering with good friends and family and getting Tiger to design it is amazing.”From SI.com: Mike Trout on plans for his Trout National – The Reserve Golf Course in Vineland NJ
While work is proceeding on the course, it appears that the new plans have not been fully put through the planning board process yet. Courier-Post reporter Joe Smith calls this out also in his coverage of the story, seemingly checking with the town on any newly submitted plans.
Just from my experience in covering commercial development in South Jersey I wonder if the timing of this announcement is ahead of an upcoming planning board meeting announcement.
News outlets like 42Freeway and the Courier-Post regularly look at planning board meeting notices, and many times developers want to get their official release out before before the media sees the meeting agenda and beats them to their own story.
So factor in that some work is already progressing on the course, and the news is officially out regarding the project… I wonder if we soon will be seeing a Planning Board meeting scheduled.
I’ll have more coverage and images and the projects progresses. Yesterday when I learned of the story I had a short window to get out to the property to check things out… and when I got back home I was able to see additional aspects of the property… so I look forward to returning to get more information for 42Freeway readers.
Links and Location
Trout National – The Reserve Golf Club (under development)
Vineland New Jersey
TGR Designs Course Page