I really love Gil’s work at creating exciting, impressive and memorable holes. He does a fantastic job of working you around interesting topography and showing off great natural land movement. I’ve played two of his originals and they have some of the downright coolest holes I’ve ever played. His routings are fantastic as well, he does a really great job of changing up the playing direction and using the elevation to make sure there are no two similar holes on the course.
However, I think his greens are over the top. The ideas are cool, I love the idea of “scrambling” for par if you’re in the wrong section of the green at SS Black. But some of the contours are unnatural and out of place. I love big, sweeping contours. I don’t love small, raised moguls in the center of the green. I would up chipping on multiple greens at the Black course because I would’ve never been able to 2-putt. If that’s what he was going for, great. It just struck me as odd.
It’s hard to judge him on his resto’s and reno’s because I’d never seen the courses before he got to them, but it looks like he’s one of the best in the business just based on the jobs he’s getting. I’d heard Doral was brutally tough and boring before he got there, I thought the course was fantastic.
I didn’t get to play Course 4, but I thought he did a fantastic job with the Cradle. I could play that course every day and never get tired of it.
By my count I’ve played 2 originals (and the Cradle!), 1 restoration and 2 renovations and I’ve loved all of them.