What I like in a golf course part III
In the previous two editions of “What I like in a Golf Course”, I highlighted that I like playing a course that brings forth a sense of peaceful serenity, I appreciate the history of a club and/or a course, I love feeling like I’m on an adventure while playing golf, and the fact that I dislike penal architecture that is put in place simply to be penal. However, there are a few more elements regarding golf courses that I relish. I feel it is important to mention these aspects in order for my readers to fully understand why I rank courses where I do.
In addition the golf course characteristics mentioned above, I love wild greens. Heavily contoured, rolly polly,
sunken into the ground, or raised up on a plateau, give me quirk, and give me lots of it. In fact, you could have a 5,800 yard golf course with wildly interesting greens and I’ll probably love the course. However, if the golf course architect routes the course in such a way that these crazy greens have strategic angles of approach that need to be considered as soon as you on the tee box (and change with different pin locations)…well then I am in Golfing Heaven.
The best examples I can think of regarding courses like this are: The Old Course at St. Andrews and Pinehurst #2. In fact, the angles of attack given the characteristics of each green might be too subtle for a lot of people to pick up on. These subtleties might allow for some golfers to overlook the strategic essence of these courses; but not me. I see them and I love them.
I also like to see unique and interesting things tee to green. I love being forced to think on each and every shot and I love to have multiple options to mull over on each and every shot. If one of those options is a thrilling risk/reward shot, then you’ve got me hooked. Get me thinking, wondering, and scheming, and you’ve got my attention and interest.
Old MacDonald, Dismal River, and Sebonack are three courses that really bring home the thrilling and interesting tee to green aspects of golf that I so dearly love. However, The Old Course at St. Andrews might be the very best at this thrilling/thinking/multiple options/strategic tee to green style of golf. Its centerline bunkers, wide angles of play, and great green sites fit like a hand and glove and the dramatic hazards, like Hell Bunker, are unforgettable.
In general, I love playing golf. I can play on any golf course and have a good time. But if the course lacks the
aforementioned characteristics, I find that I get bored rather quickly with a golf course. Give me multiple options for play on the tee box and I am in to it. Give me nothing but hit it long and straight, then I’ll play it once or twice and that is it. Give me a green with multiple pin location and contours, angles, and slopes that feed that ball to different green quadrants and I’ll be interested in it for years and years. Give me flat table top greens where the holes only defense is speed and I’m not as excited to play the course.
In the end, we all like certain things about golf and appreciate different aspects of golf courses. I strive to be as transparent as possible regarding what I like in a golf course in order for my readers to determine if they value the same things I do in a golf course. If they do, my list and rankings should be of value to them as they seek new courses to play and plan golfing trips. If they don’t, no offense is taken and I totally understand that my favorite courses won’t be their favorite courses.
Either way, have fun and hit’em straight.