Old Town Country Club--Winston-Salem, NC
-Rankings as of 8/29/2014--29th best Classic U.S. Course (Golfweek)
I was drawn to play Old Town for a number of reasons. One of which is that it shows up on my Controversial Course list, as only Golfweek considers it a Top 100 golf course. Furthermore, the course sky-rocketed up the Golfweek rankings this year after a restoration of the Perry Maxwell design was completed by Coore and Crenshaw. Adding it all up, I had a hunch that Old Town would be an amazing place to play golf. Turns out I was right.
Prior to playing Old Town, I'd only played two Perry Maxwell designed courses, Prairie Dunes and Crystal Downs, and I loved both of them. Old Town did have many features and design ideas that were present in both of those courses, but it seemed that Old Town kind of took the best of those designs and left behind the bad.
You see, Old Town uses angles and fairway slopes to challenge and befuddle golfers. Seemingly easy shots from the middle of fairways were more than they appeared to be. Balls below your feet and/or above your feet were common and you really need to think prior to hitting your ball, because the pushes and pulls these slopes create might end up in bad places.
And the bad places might be in one of the strategically placed bunkers on the course and/or dips and hollows surrounding the greens.
And that leads to the real beauty of Old Town, it is challenging AND playable. The dips and hollows I just mentioned would, most likely, involve short grass. Contrast that to the gunch at Prairie Dunes or the thick and crazy lush rough at Crystal Downs. I find this makes a round at Old Town a pure delight...it might be a frustrating delight as scoring is certainly a challenge...but you won't waste inordinate amounts of time looking for balls in knee high grass.
Old Town is the real deal and just might be THE ideal members golf course. Great walk. Great challenge and variety in terms of golf holes and golf shots. Playable and fun. All on only 160 acres. And it is true that Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw led the actual work for the renovation, but Dunlop White, a member of the club, needs to be given credit for his tireless work and dedication to the course and his brilliant ideas about tree removal.
Kudos to all involved at Old Town.