New South Jersey Golf Course Has Mega Star Power Behind It
VINELAND — Grab your five iron because things are about to heat up in South Jersey.
A new golf course and a country club being built in Vineland are expected to open either in late 2026 or early 2027.
Who is behind the golf course?
Two of the biggest names in professional sports are teaming up to open Trout National — three-time American League MVP winner for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Millville native, Mike Trout and pro-golfer Tiger Woods.
Vineland Mayor Anthony Fanucci, who is super excited about this, said the land on which the golf course will be built, is owned by John and Lorie Ruga. It is situated just off the Route 55 interchange on the south end of Lincoln Avenue.
He said Ruga had always had a passion for golf.
“He really wanted to start designing a golf course, something that could be a give back to the community, as far as redevelopment, operating some green space, something he was passionate for, and would be an economic engine for the community,” Fanucci said.
Trout, who plays center field for the Angels, grew up just a few miles from where the golf course is slated to be built had a huge interest in the construction of the course from the beginning, Fanucci said. So, Trout and the Rugas connected and this business marriage took off.
There was some speculation on who might be the final designer. Next thing you know, it’s the Tiger Woods-backed TGR Design Golf, Fanucci said.
How will the golf course help Vineland?
When Fanucci was a councilman, he wanted this area to be redeveloped because it once operated as a sand mining site and the topography was awful. He said he knew this property had some value to it and wanted to help take it to its full potential.
Never did he imagine this golf course, backed by two of the biggest names in professional sports to happen, but no doubt, it’s a win for Vineland, Fanucci said.
“Now that they’re bringing in this golf course that is going to be incredible, plus they’re going to have a small public course that will be available to the general public, plus they’re looking at buildings for a business center, a professional office space, and restaurants, is going to be a complete game changer for that end of town and for that entire city, and having that access off Route 55 is incredible because it’s going to be a destination,” Fanucci said.
It's hard to enumerate the dollars of economic impact this golf course is going to have on Vineland just yet, he said.
“I can just see all the dollar signs floating in the air that it will be for the businesses that are there, the quality of life that it will provide, and of course the overall impact and development for the city and the state tax revenue that will come from it,” Fanucci said.
What are some cool features of the golf course?
The golf course will be world-class, Fanucci said. The design and the difficulty will be incredible. The designers have taken into consideration the private portion of this, but they’ve also taken into consideration a public area for golf. This will be a much smaller course but the general public is invited to play on it.
The course will also feature a state-of-the-art golf club, a putting course, a high-end practice facility, a performance center, five-star lodging, and a wedding chapel, just to name a few other additional perks.
For those wishing to hold a wedding, a banquet, or a gala of some sort at the country club, you’re in for a treat. Fanucci said the facility overlooks the golf course and the natural landscape of the area.
“That land was wooded so it has incredible, good bones to that section of the city, where you’ll have views of beautiful land, some water, and beautiful pine trees,” he said.
What is the takeaway?
Fanucci said he’s super excited that the Rugas decided to take on this venture and that Trout jumped in to give it some real star power. Woods is the cherry on top.
“You now have arguably one of the best, if not the best golfer in the world designing this with everything that he knows and his team knows about the challenges of golf courses, the difficulty of the courses, and its competitive nature,” Fanucci said.
Grand opening and ribbon-cutting plans have not yet been announced, and of course, Fanucci hinted that would love to have Woods and Trout visit the golf course when it’s complete.
He also made a prediction that at some point this course will serve as a location for a qualifying golf tournament. It is Fanucci’s understanding that this course is being designed to that competitive level.
When will the golf course open?
While construction on the course has already begun, Fanucci said he expects it to open either by late 2026 or early 2027.