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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Winston’Salem

    Fore! The Golf Course Review Thread

    I know there are a number of golfers here on DBR. A recent exchange with ricks68 in Ymm, Beer made me think this could be a fun thread for discussing golf courses, and a nice repository of information about golf courses that people like, or don't like, and why. So, even if I refrained from using the title "Ymm, Golf," feel free to use this thread to review courses you have played/seen/experienced (recently or otherwise). I'll drop a first review very shortly.
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Winston’Salem

    Meadowlands Golf Club: Wallburg, NC

    This is my home course; I live within a well-struck five-wood of the third green. It is a Hale Irwin design (one of the few of which I am aware), which opened in 1996 (contemporaneously with the Palmer-designed Oak Valley in Advance and the Glenn Day/Jack Nicklaus-designed Salem Glen). When it opened, it was remote, but the residential development has come along quickly in the last 10 years.

    A par 72 that plays 6900 from the tips, it is not a particularly difficult course *except* when they left the Bermuda rough really grow during the summer. Then it gets some real teeth to it. Water comes into play, in some fashion, on the 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 10th, and 14th holes. #10 is probably the signature hole, with a long tee shot over water from the back set of tees, then a long iron in to a protected green. #11 & #12 are pretty tight holes, making for a rather challenging three-hole set.

    It's not the world's best course, but a solid one and we call it home.
    Last edited by Tripping William; 10-29-2016 at 12:37 PM.
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Winston’Salem

    Dormie Club (West End, NC)

    I'll toss out another one I really enjoyed recently. Dormie Club is located just north of Pinehurst, in what feels like a super-remote location. Designed by Bill Core and Ben Crenshaw (the guys who renovated Pinehurst No. 2 in advance of the 2014 US Open, and have a number of others to their credit, including Streamsong in central Florida).

    Lots of wiregrass and a number of other optical illusions. A par 72 that plays just shy of 6900 yards from the tips (note: I no longer have nearly enough length to play the back tees anywhere. Between 6000 and 6300 is my personal sweet spot). I thought the 14th and 15th were the most interesting holes (both short'ish par 4's), but the 10th is a beast of a par 5.

    One of the most "fun" courses I have played recently. Not "tricked up" (like, say, Tot Hill Farm in Asheboro), but just a really intriguing track.
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Tripping William View Post
    I'll toss out another one I really enjoyed recently. Dormie Club is located just north of Pinehurst, in what feels like a super-remote location. Designed by Bill Core and Ben Crenshaw (the guys who renovated Pinehurst No. 2 in advance of the 2014 US Open, and have a number of others to their credit, including Streamsong in central Florida).

    Lots of wiregrass and a number of other optical illusions. A par 72 that plays just shy of 6900 yards from the tips (note: I no longer have nearly enough length to play the back tees anywhere. Between 6000 and 6300 is my personal sweet spot). I thought the 14th and 15th were the most interesting holes (both short'ish par 4's), but the 10th is a beast of a par 5.

    One of the most "fun" courses I have played recently. Not "tricked up" (like, say, Tot Hill Farm in Asheboro), but just a really intriguing track.
    Speaking of Core-Crenshaw, 15 of my closest friends and I did a trip to Streamsong last year. The complex is in the middle of nowhere, more specifically, half way between Tampa and Orlando. We flew in Friday afternoon, had dinner at Berns in Tampa, then drove 1 hour to the resort. I highly recommend this as a golf trip with buddies. Both the blue and red courses are stunning visually, and really interesting to play. When the black course opens in 2018 (Gil Hanse design) we are going to go back.

    the courses are built on old phosphate mines. Once the ground is completely mined of minerals, all that is left is a really fine silt/sand that apparently is like silly putty in the hands of a golf course architect. The courses drain beautifully (which it definitely needs) and are just a ton of fun!

    The experience is also surprisingly very affordable!
    My Quick Smells Like French Toast.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Winston’Salem
    Quote Originally Posted by Channing View Post
    Speaking of Core-Crenshaw, 15 of my closest friends and I did a trip to Streamsong last year. The complex is in the middle of nowhere, more specifically, half way between Tampa and Orlando. We flew in Friday afternoon, had dinner at Berns in Tampa, then drove 1 hour to the resort. I highly recommend this as a golf trip with buddies. Both the blue and red courses are stunning visually, and really interesting to play. When the black course opens in 2018 (Gil Hanse design) we are going to go back.

    the courses are built on old phosphate mines. Once the ground is completely mined of minerals, all that is left is a really fine silt/sand that apparently is like silly putty in the hands of a golf course architect. The courses drain beautifully (which it definitely needs) and are just a ton of fun!

    The experience is also surprisingly very affordable!
    I have had some friends who have done the Streamsong trip (unfortunately at a time when I was unable to join), and had very similar reviews.

    Coore was fairly recently involved in the renovations to Old Town Club here in W-S, but I have not had a chance to play it yet since his revisions. He loves taking out the older-style smooth lines of the bunkers and adding wire-grass to make them what I call "craggy-looking."

    And Gil Hanse got pretty glowing reviews for what he did with the Olympic course in Rio. Hopefully he'll bring that level of quality to Streamsong, and that I will get to play those courses sometime.
    Last edited by Tripping William; 11-01-2016 at 08:40 AM.
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA.
    Great idea for a thread. I'm a golf freak who doesn't have the time to play nearly as much as I'd like to.

    Recently I had a week off. My wife and I were set to go to Miami but Hurricane Matthew changed our plans. We ended up in Richmond and Williamsburg (we live in Chesapeake, so it wasn't far). While in the Williamsburg area, I had a chance to play a golf course called Royal New Kent, which is about 25 miles north of Williamsburg. It's a Mike Strantz design, and is meant to make you feel like you took a trip to Scotland or Ireland. True "links golf" in America, they say. It's also one of the most difficult courses in the country, ranked #16 on the list of hardest courses by Golf Digest. From the tips the course rating is 75.9 and the slope is over 150! I chose to play what they call the "member's tees," which brought the beast down to a rating/slope of 69-ish/135-ish, a lot more to my liking.

    The day I went there was a dense fog when I teed off, which only heightened the feeling that I was in Scotland or Ireland. The first hole has a dramatic drop for the tee shot and then dogs left hard with a steep uphill climb to the green (at least an extra club). The second hole was one of the coolest holes I've ever played. It's a par 5 that dogs right MORE than 90 degrees; it actually almost turns around! The beauty is that you can cut off as much as you dare, but you're hitting over a seemingly bottomless ravine. The shorter you try to make the hole, the longer the carry to get over the ravine. Spectacular!

    The back nine brings in a lot more water and some holes that feel more conventional, but it's still beautiful. The front nine is truly like being on another continent. To score on this course you really have to golf your ball, even from the member's tees. Placement is everything. Some holes require 7-iron off the tee in order to avoid trouble. So you have to think your way around the course, which I like a lot. Highly recommended, but three pieces of advice: 1) bring a lot of balls, 2) choose your set of tees very carefully, and 3) golf your ball!
    "We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world." --M. Proust

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Winston’Salem
    Quote Originally Posted by rsvman View Post
    Great idea for a thread. I'm a golf freak who doesn't have the time to play nearly as much as I'd like to.

    Recently I had a week off. My wife and I were set to go to Miami but Hurricane Matthew changed our plans. We ended up in Richmond and Williamsburg (we live in Chesapeake, so it wasn't far). While in the Williamsburg area, I had a chance to play a golf course called Royal New Kent, which is about 25 miles north of Williamsburg. It's a Mike Strantz design, and is meant to make you feel like you took a trip to Scotland or Ireland. True "links golf" in America, they say. It's also one of the most difficult courses in the country, ranked #16 on the list of hardest courses by Golf Digest. From the tips the course rating is 75.9 and the slope is over 150! I chose to play what they call the "member's tees," which brought the beast down to a rating/slope of 69-ish/135-ish, a lot more to my liking.

    The day I went there was a dense fog when I teed off, which only heightened the feeling that I was in Scotland or Ireland. The first hole has a dramatic drop for the tee shot and then dogs left hard with a steep uphill climb to the green (at least an extra club). The second hole was one of the coolest holes I've ever played. It's a par 5 that dogs right MORE than 90 degrees; it actually almost turns around! The beauty is that you can cut off as much as you dare, but you're hitting over a seemingly bottomless ravine. The shorter you try to make the hole, the longer the carry to get over the ravine. Spectacular!

    The back nine brings in a lot more water and some holes that feel more conventional, but it's still beautiful. The front nine is truly like being on another continent. To score on this course you really have to golf your ball, even from the member's tees. Placement is everything. Some holes require 7-iron off the tee in order to avoid trouble. So you have to think your way around the course, which I like a lot. Highly recommended, but three pieces of advice: 1) bring a lot of balls, 2) choose your set of tees very carefully, and 3) golf your ball!
    I had not realized that there was a Mike Strantz design in the Tidewater/Williamsburg area. Strantz is the architect behind Tobacco Road (near Sanford; my son & I will be playing there for the first time over Thanksgiving weekend) and Tot Hill Farm near Asheboro (which I referenced as "tricked-up"). Your description sounds a lot like what we encountered at Tot Hill Farm, just without all the Uwharrie boulders. Definitely challenges your thinking skills, and your golf ball supply.
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tripping William View Post
    I had not realized that there was a Mike Strantz design in the Tidewater/Williamsburg area. Strantz is the architect behind Tobacco Road (near Sanford; my son & I will be playing there for the first time over Thanksgiving weekend) and Tot Hill Farm near Asheboro (which I referenced as "tricked-up"). Your description sounds a lot like what we encountered at Tot Hill Farm, just without all the Uwharrie boulders. Definitely challenges your thinking skills, and your golf ball supply.
    Strantz also did Bulls Bay north of Charleston. Its a super interesting track, with the clubhouse set on the highest point in the low country. I'll have to try and get up to Tot Hill at some point.
    My Quick Smells Like French Toast.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Winston’Salem

    Tot Hill Farm (Asheboro, NC)

    Given that the thread already has a couple of references to this course, I'll go ahead & elaborate a little bit on it. As mentioned, Tot Hill Farm is located just south and west of Asheboro, and is a Mike Strantz design. My son (then age 11) and I played there back in February. It is interestingly cut out of the Uwharrie Mountains, and in many ways the time-worn boulders are the course's defining feature. If you can make it through the round without a ricochet, you have had a successful day.

    The course is par 72, but 37-35. The tips play at about 6550, but other tees are at 6200 (where I played), 5600, and 4600 (where my son played at the time). The rating from the back tees is 72.5, with a slope of 138.

    The reason I found the course to be a bit "tricked up" is not just the boulders, but also the (eventually frustrating) number of blind shots one must hit, including off the very first tee (where I thought I had put a nice little draw in play, only to discover that the fairway runs left and doesn't open-up nearly as much as one sees on the tee box) and on the 10th tee (where you cannot really tell how much landing room there might be over the mid-fairway boulder that one must carry to have a chance of hitting the green in regulation). My suggestion would be to play Tot Hill for the first time with someone who has played it before & knows how to maneuver the blind shots.

    All that said, this course has some really beautiful features to it (the peninsula 12th green, and the par-3 13th are especially eye-catching), and I would go play it again, with the benefit of experience.
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tripping William View Post
    ....

    The reason I found the course to be a bit "tricked up" is not just the boulders, but also the (eventually frustrating) number of blind shots one must hit, including off the very first tee (where I thought I had put a nice little draw in play, only to discover that the fairway runs left and doesn't open-up nearly as much as one sees on the tee box) and on the 10th tee (where you cannot really tell how much landing room there might be over the mid-fairway boulder that one must carry to have a chance of hitting the green in regulation). My suggestion would be to play Tot Hill for the first time with someone who has played it before & knows how to maneuver the blind shots.

    ....
    There were a number of blind shots at Royal New Kent, too. If you hit through the fairway of a dogleg, you ended up with a blind shot to the green, too. The starter there told me that people are kind of freaked out when he tells them that at least 7 of the greens are not visible from the tees. Also, the 18th has a peninsula green. As luck would have it, I pured an approach there to about 12 inches and ended the round with a tap-in birdie!

    I was given a detailed map of the holes when I teed off, because I was playing alone. Without it, I would probably have used at least 10 more strokes to get around the course.


    I played Tot Hill Farms once, a number of years ago. I've heard a lot about Tobacco Road. I think Royal New Kent and Tobacco Road probably have a lot in common. The vistas at Royal New Kent are just amazing, though. It's just visually spectacular. I was playing well, so I loved it, but I can easily imagine being incredibly frustrated by the course.
    "We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world." --M. Proust

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Winston’Salem
    Quote Originally Posted by rsvman View Post
    I think Royal New Kent and Tobacco Road probably have a lot in common. The vistas at Royal New Kent are just amazing, though. It's just visually spectacular.
    I'm really looking forward to playing Tobacco Road for the first time in about three weeks. Their Instagram feed has some phenomenal photography of the course. Sounds like Royal New Kent is in the same vein.
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Correct side of the Durham/CH border
    Huge fan of Dormie. I love to go down there during the slower season and play Dormie, Pine Needles and Mid Pines across a three day mind cleansing escape. Pine Needles, for me, is heaven.
    “Coach said no 3s.” - Zion on The Block

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Correct side of the Durham/CH border
    If you want a unique mountain top experience, check out The Highlands at Primland in south central Virginia. Literal middle of nowhere. You drive through private gates onto their property and wind your way up a steep switchback mountain road and emerge 15 minutes later into a small slice of heaven. It's upscale and pricey. I've never stayed on property - too rich for me - but it's a stunning resort facility and just an unbelievable course with mountain views, a deep gorge running along multiple holes, amazing elevation changes, and on and on. You gotta do it at least once.
    “Coach said no 3s.” - Zion on The Block

  14. #14
    Since Strantz and Hanse have already been mentioned, who are some favored architects? If we just do a top 5 course list it just becomes a humble brag exercise (which I will lose). But, from a design side, I have a couple favorites.

    1. Obviously, Alister Macenzie is right at the top. Peachtree in Atlanta is fantastic, and though I haven't played his piece de resistance, I have also played Pasatiempo in California, which is stunning.
    2. My personal favorite is Seth Raynor. He is so classic, and was so influential to many architects today, that I play any course of his I have a chance to experience. Yeamans Hall is a top 3 course for me.
    3. Third would be a tie between Fazio and Reece Jones. Both have designed some fairly pedestrian courses (including my home course, Fazio's Cherokee). But, they also both have some real masterpieces. Two favorites are Fazio's Wade Hampton (Highlands) and Jones' Briars Creek (Charleston).

    honorable mention - Pete Dye, but he is too evil to be included. What he did at the Honors outside Chattanooga is diabolical.
    My Quick Smells Like French Toast.

  15. #15
    I grew up around the Myrtle Beach area, Conway actually. Played a lot of courses. but typically stay around the Pawleys Island end.

    My favorite course in the MB/Pawleys Island area is Caledonia.

    http://www.caledoniagolfandfishclub.com

    Mike Strantz design. Live oaks, water. Great golf course.

    Since opening to the public in January 1994, Caledonia Golf and Fish Club has rapidly gained a reputation as one of the premier courses in America. It is the first solo design of late, great golf course architect Mike Strantz. Strantz approached his assignments in a unique way—as an artist, rather than an engineer. His exceptionally creative eye is reflected in the way he sculpted Caledonia’s 18 holes, with large, creative greens guarded at times by ponds, streams and imposing bunkers. The same sort of majestic live oaks that overhang the entryway into Caledonia similarly frames many of the shots at Caledonia, giving the course a rustic feel. Thousands of annual and semiannual flowers bloom every year throughout the property, further adding to the beauty of the experience. No houses encumber the interior of the property—the joy of playing golf is left alone by the worry of hitting a ball into someone’s backyard.
    ~rthomas

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Winston’Salem
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Rosenrosen View Post
    If you want a unique mountain top experience, check out The Highlands at Primland in south central Virginia. Literal middle of nowhere. You drive through private gates onto their property and wind your way up a steep switchback mountain road and emerge 15 minutes later into a small slice of heaven. It's upscale and pricey. I've never stayed on property - too rich for me - but it's a stunning resort facility and just an unbelievable course with mountain views, a deep gorge running along multiple holes, amazing elevation changes, and on and on. You gotta do it at least once.
    Yep, have played it twice. Primland absolutely rocks, especially in October when the leaves are turning.
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Winston’Salem
    Quote Originally Posted by Channing View Post
    Since Strantz and Hanse have already been mentioned, who are some favored architects? If we just do a top 5 course list it just becomes a humble brag exercise (which I will lose). But, from a design side, I have a couple favorites.

    1. Obviously, Alister Macenzie is right at the top. Peachtree in Atlanta is fantastic, and though I haven't played his piece de resistance, I have also played Pasatiempo in California, which is stunning.
    2. My personal favorite is Seth Raynor. He is so classic, and was so influential to many architects today, that I play any course of his I have a chance to experience. Yeamans Hall is a top 3 course for me.
    3. Third would be a tie between Fazio and Reece Jones. Both have designed some fairly pedestrian courses (including my home course, Fazio's Cherokee). But, they also both have some real masterpieces. Two favorites are Fazio's Wade Hampton (Highlands) and Jones' Briars Creek (Charleston).

    honorable mention - Pete Dye, but he is too evil to be included. What he did at the Honors outside Chattanooga is diabolical.
    I remain a huge fan of Donald Ross and his protege, Ellis Maples. Robert Trent Jones gets a nod from me as well
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Winston’Salem

    Some comments about Pete Dye

    Quote Originally Posted by Channing View Post
    honorable mention - Pete Dye, but he is too evil to be included. What he did at the Honors outside Chattanooga is diabolical.
    I haven't played the Honors course, but I raise a fist and curse the Dye-abolical Pete Dye regularly. I have only experienced three of his courses, but they all are noteworthy. I have played the Ocean Course at Kiawah a handful of times (including earlier this year), and that course fuels my a complete love-hate relationship with the man. I love Harbour Town, although I haven't played there in almost 20 years. I'm really, really wanting to go back. And I'm fortunate to have a solid (if not renowned) Pete Dye course within 20 minutes of my house: Oak Hollow in High Point. Right on the water of Oak Hollow Lake, that course is classic Dye: some really tough angles, well-placed bunkers, and precision needed on/around the greens.

    Curse you, Pete Dye!
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  19. #19
    The Pete Dye Club - the only club he named directly after himself, I think - is 35 miles down the road from me and I've played this course maybe 10 times.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfWOaHmmy8o

    Great, hard, and funny course. Built on an old coal mine site. 10 has an acid mine drainage coming from under the green. On one hole on the front, you can drive your cart through an old mine shaft.

    Fun course. But some of the greens are ridiculous.
    ~rthomas

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Richmond, Va

    Royal New Kent

    is about 15 miles west of Williamsburg, maybe slightly northwest. Several good courses close to RNK, especially Viniterra (Rees Jones design), which I may join.
    Tomorrow I play Brickshire which is very close to RNK and is a Curtis Strange design which mimics many holes from the British Isles. Other courses nearby worthy of a look are Kiskiack, Stonehouse and especially the Gold Course at Golden Horseshoe as well as the Green course. Several nice courses in that area, also 54 holes at Ford's Colony, Two Rivers (both in W'burg) and I want to play Nansemond River CC in Chesapeake.

    Speaking of some NC courses I've played would be The Cardinal in Greensboro (Pete Dye), CCNC, two courses near Pinehurst, obviously many of the Pinehurst courses, we played #2 in the ACC Tourney one year. Bryan Park in G'boro. Our Duke course is excellent as well (RTJones, redisgned by Rees-I think, or RTJ, Jr.).

    On the Eastern Shore I love Bay Creek (Cape Charles) the Palmer design. Haven't played the Nicklaus course.

    Here in Richmond we have several good courses, especially CCV's River Course (home of the senior Champion's Event this week), The Federal Club (Palmer), The Foundry, both courses at Hermitage CC, and many more.

    I could go on and on about golf. If you know me you know why

    I'll chime in from time to time.

    If you want to play golf in central Va or near Durham I may be able to join you and we'll have some fun!!

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