got a chance to play the golf club of houston last season right after the shell. good track and the last three holes are as tough as they appear on TV
Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah - just outside Park City. Traveled from Boise to watch Boise State football beat BYU the night before, so golf was an added bonus.
This place hosted the 2012 U.S. Pub Links - won by T.J. Vogel. Plays 7713 from the tips, but the elevation knocks it down to about 7100. Ball just goes forever.
Really awesome layout carved into the hills with really great views of the Park City mountains across the valley. Holes are framed beautifully by tall grasses that really penalize you for missing the fairway. A lot of elevation changes through the fairway, but if you hit your spots off the tee and left yourself below the hole, you can score well.
We have a lot of great mountain courses in Idaho, and this had the vibe of a mountain course while somewhat looking like a links setup due to the lack of trees.
Also, the 2002 Olympic Cross Country course was on the property and you can still see at the tracks still in use during the winter. Pretty cool feature.
Played Grand Lake Golf Course just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park in June. Takes a minute to dial in your distances at 8300 feet, but the combination of the laid back Colorado vibes and a bunch of elevated tees to help frame your #traj against the Rockies makes for a heckuva enjoyable walk.
Sweeten’s Cove in early November. Course was to myself (and Patrick), ended up playing 54 holes in 6 hours before an afternoon storm ran in. Pure is the only word to describe that place. So many shot making options, I found something new each lap.
Played all 4 course at Bandon Dunes. Personally Old Mac was a close second to Bandon Dunes. It’s priceless. Well, actually it’s pretty expensive, but me and my buddy rolled up the back 9 on Bandon, the clouds parted, afternoon sun shining like some sort of biblical verse. I suggest everyone give it a shot if you possible.
It was an incredible experience. Went birdie-par on 17-18 to close out my round too.
One more vote for Pine Valley. I have a good friend whose uncle is a member and they were nice enough to invite me for a round. I agree with everything you said about the course! Can’t wait to go back hopefully.
unless you are dying to play TPC Stadium (for the PGA allure) I would skip it, take a look at Sunridge Canyon for something a little bit different (and cheaper), and Troon North if you can swing it.
The last 6 holes at Sunridge Canyon are known as the “Wicked 6” and climb up the canyon back to the clubhouse, really neat experience for a Florida golfer.
I played TPD Stadium and would not recommend it.
Now - to be fair - we played in August which was probably the worst time of year to play it. It was hot and the course was likely worn out/burnt out from a long summer.
But it was very hard, semi-tricked out, crowded with our tourist (like me) and VERY expensive. You are pretty much paying to hit that island green on 17. The big clubhouse was cool. The other Sawgrass course is half the price and just as good.
Would say Muirfield Village (for obvious reasons) but I was in the midst of a complete breakdown in golfing ability at the time.
Instead I’ll go with The Virtues (another Ohio course). Great layout. Great condition. Not crowded. Enjoyed everything about it.
There are a couple of posts here about Sawgrass Stadium - having been fortunate enough to play there in late Feb 2016 I thought I’d throw my two pennies in:
a) Set up/vibe is undeniably on point. Clubhouse and locker rooms are very cool (style, memorabilia, attendants etc…). Breakfast on the veranda over looking 18 green is something I wont forget, as was drinks, dinner and more drinks in the clubhouse post-round. Staff were super accommodating and kept the bar open long after everyone else had left. We stumbled back to the Marriott down 10 fairway in the pitch black playing chicken with the sprinklers (note - not sure this is strictly permitted).
b) Unsure of single green fee, but decent value to be had staying in the Marriott and playing Dye’s Valley ad the Stadium. Dye’s Valley is a great warm up and good vibes in Pete & Alice’s pub.
c) The Stadium course is what it is. Our group is all from the UK, where we play a lot of links and heathland courses. The Stadium to us represented the prototypical “American” style set up - and the chance to play a Dye course. Target golf, super fast greens, water, railroad tracks on lakes etc… Making a trip to play a style of course that doesn’t really exist in the UK was exactly why we made the trip (to me this is the flip side of the coin of the US fascination with links golf).
d) 16, 17 and 18 are just the best and worth the money on their own.
e) Spring the additional coin for walking caddies. We took a forecaddy, which was fine for the golf, but meant we were constricted to carts and the cart path. It’s not the same when you don’t get to stroll down the fairway and soak it all in.
f) In late Feb we played completely at our own pace (n.b. we played stableford and picked up when out of the hole - the course is difficult and none of our group had any desire to keep a strokeplay score). The Championship tees were netted in preparation for the tournament, but not an issue for us as had no intention of playing them anyway - rest of the course was in super condition.
If its a style of golf you enjoy, or one that you’re not used to playing, then I couldn’t recommend the trip enough. I mean, its Sawgrass, like on TV and Tiger Woods PGA Tour!
PS - dunked 1st at 17, re-teed and made a 2 with my second for a solid 1 put bogey.
PPS - After Sawgrass we drove down to PGA National, happy to pen some thoughts if anyone is considering it.
Two very different standouts this year:
- Lucky enough to be invited down to Sandwich in November. Arrived Friday night with our host and 2 others, had beers and dinner in a local pub and stayed over in the dormie rooms in the clubhouse. There is a small lounge in the dormie with an honesty bar and the coolest library/picture collection. Books on most of the worlds top courses signed by the respective clubs’ GM’s/secretaries and sent to the club. Posted up here reading up on Merion and watching the end of an England ODI.
Breakfast in the dining room the following morning and straight into a foursomes match. As is the case with a lot of traditional (think open rota) clubs in the UK, three and four balls are not permitted so as to keep pace of play brisk; we played our morning match in just under 3 hours, Beers, followed by lunch and then out again for the afternoon foursomes. Wind was up in the afternoon so pace was slower and scores higher (nothing to do with lunch). Really special place to play golf - others will describe the course in more detail than I can/want to, but the best way I can describe it is a real adventure through the dunes resulting in a very gleeful, childlike sense of wonder as to where the course is going next. Primo routing.
- Secondly, got to spend 5 nights at Albany the week before the Hero. Course was fun (when played from the correct tees) and in outrageously good condition, however this one makes the top for the unreal vibe of the place and spotting the local large feline population stalk the range and course each day. NB - will say that judging anyone for yipping a chip around that place is laughable. Not sure of the correct technique for chipping off tight, hurricane ravaged bermuda grass, but none of our group had it. Putter the only option from 20 yards in.
Vibe of the two places could not have been more different - Sandwich was formal, jacket and tie in the clubhouse, Michelin starred golf. Albany was beers, music and playing barefoot. Loved them both.
The Warren Course at Notre Dame. Grew up an hour away in SW Michigan but finally made the trip to play it this fall. Not very long but a really fun Coore/Crenshaw with small greens and some deep bunkers. 2019 Senior US Open will be held there. Just don’t short side yourself like I seemed to do on every hole.
Agree totally with The Warren Course review. I loved the hybrid links/parkland style layout and burned out looking bunkers. Some deceptively cool elevation changes for a golf course in Northern Indiana. Greens were pure. Only thing they need to fix is the sweat bee problem in the bunkers but overall great course.
Rustic Canyon is always a highlight. Have to travel to LA for work from time to time and I always try to find a way to plan it so I have a chance to sneak out there.
Best course I hadn’t played before was probably Olivas Links, down the highway from Rustic a bit in Ventura. Flew to Burbank in the AM, played Rustic, then a later afternoon round at Olivas, with the wind howling. Just a cool place, wide open, plays great in the wind, lots of bounce in the ground. Not an experience that’s easy to find for a desert dweller.
I always walked LACC during the Walker Cup. Easily the best course I saw, though I didn’t get to play it.
I drive to Grand Rapids from Chi every year and TWC has crossed my mind so many times, need to make it happen.
Do it. I constantly regret not playing it more frequently when I had the chance. I also think it’s a pretty decent value.
For me it was Streamsong Black. It lived up to all of my expectations, which were quite high since I played it right after you guys posted your video review in December. Dramatic, fun, challenging, interesting - just everything a great golf course should be.
I’m very spoiled living 5 minutes from Warren. It’s super walkable and just $26 after 5:00 PM. In the summer when the sun doesn’t set until well after 9:00, it’s easy to finish 18 holes after work. Bill Coore visited a few months ago a bit after they announced the 2019 Senior Open. Based on his visit, I believe they’re planning to extend the fairways out to fairway bunkers in a few places which would be a fun change from a golf course architecture perspective.
Kind of offended you weren’t more offended by The Preserve at Oak Meadow…