Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Course #200

Today I played my 200th golf course overall, East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. It was a fine capstone to this little milestone in golf courses. Overall, the course was very good. It was not the finest course I have ever played, but I knew that coming in. A full tour of the course is upcoming as soon as I can get to it.

Here is a fun breakdown of the courses played so far:

Played 2 new courses in one day: 8
Played 3 new courses in one day: 1
Played 4 new courses in one day: 1

Colors: Silver, Emerald, Gold, Scarlet...hmm, I really thought it was more than that.

Water features: Creek, Bay, Harbor, Brook, Lake, River, Bayou, Loch

Land features: Park, Banks, Shoreline, Point, Hills, Landing, Farms, Ridge, Hollow, Meadow, Plantation, Farm, Mountain, Valley, Canyon, Trails, Dunes, Beach, Isle, Shores, Dunes, Pit, Forest

Plants and natural objects: Pine, Cypress, Rock, Palms, Stone, Sage, Azalea, Peach, Dogwood, Oak

Animals: Rockfish, Hummingbird, Eagle, Quail, Fox, Bear, Raptor, Rooster, Callippe, Horse, Moose, Fish

17 States

Courses beginning with every letter in the alphabet other than X, Y, and Z.

Here's to the NEXT 100 golf courses.

Friday, January 25, 2013

RTJ @ Capitol Hill (Judge)

This course is very solid, but rather over the top in some places. In many ways, it seems like some long tees were put in place simply to add length with no thought at all to strategy. The 256 yard 17th and 231 yard 6th come to mind readily. In general, the par 3's are not very good. They come off as repetitive. However, the par 4's and 5's are solid. However, the routing is not the best, especially holes 11, 12 and 13. All that said, despite the flaws, the course is quite good; the second best Trail course I have played after Ross Bridge.

Rating
Variety of Design: The par 3's are very repetitive. The yardage range is fair, going from 187 to 256 yards. However, 3 of those holes play over water, one island, one peninsula jutting out into a lake, and one set back into a hill over a lake. The par 4's have solid variety in yardage, from 358 to 478 yards, with good range in between. And the par 5's are very good with 2 that mandate solid tee shots and have interesting second shots, 1 that is on the outer edges of being reachable in two shots, giving the player the option of doing so, and the final hole is most certainly unreachable by all players at 711 yards. Directionally the course has 5 holes playing to the right, 3 holes playing left and 10 holes playing straight. 6 1/2 out of 10

Flow of the Course: The course flows very well. The course starts off the a big opening, playing far down hill overlooking the Montgomery city skyline. From there, the course moves through some very solid holes, chances to make birdie, and some very difficult holes. It plays up and down quite well before coming to a very good finish, having a very good chance for birdie on #15, an extremely difficult 16th, solid 17th and rather easy 18th that is very scenic. 6 1/2 out of 10

Condition of the Course: The conditions are solid and what one would expect based on price point and expectations. 7 out of 10

Walkability: This course would be a very difficult walk. The huge hill that separates the course from the clubhouse must be walked at the end of the round and many of the holes are quite spread out. It's a slightly easier walk than Ross Bridge would be, but not much easier. 2 3/4 out of 10

Atmosphere: This course is the only RTJ Trail course to have been ranked in the Public Top 100 by Golf Digest, so it may have a little bit of atmosphere and expectation, but overall, there is not much there to amplify the experience. 3 out of 10

Total: 61 3/4 out of 100

Hole by hole analysis and pictures to come soon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

TPC Louisiana- New Orleans, LA

This is a solid course designed by Pete Dye. The course has a really solid set of par 4's with just about as much variety in yardage as a course can have. However, the par 3's and par 5's are a little bit repetitive. The par 3's all fall close to the same yardage and the par 5's are all at the outer edge of being reachable in two shots, at least from the Dye Tees (the club does not allow public players to play from the Tournament tees). The course is not really designed to be played in high winds, though it is doubtful that strong winds affect the course all that often. Overall, this is a solid golf course that may be among the dozen best courses on the Gulf Coast.

Ranking
Variety of Design: As mentioned above, the course has very good variety in the par 4's. The holes go from 336 to 470 yards; there is also the 351 yard 13th hole which is right at the outer limits of being driveable given the set-up of the hole. The par 3's lack a bit ranging from 167 to 195 yards and the par 5's range from 527 to 565 yards. Directionally, the course is fair, having holes distributed: 9 straight, 5 left, 4 right. And the greens are well built for shape and size, testing the desired approach clubs in an appropriate manner. 7 1/4 out of 10

Flow of the Course: The course flows very, very well. The front nine builds through easy and hard holes, heroic, strategic, all types. On the back nine, the course works through nicely, before building to a solid finish on the final 3 holes. The finish has been seen in similar form on many other Dye courses, but as a formula, it works quite well. 7 1/2 out of 10

Course Conditioning: The conditioning was solid. One would suppose that the conditions would be fantastic the week after the Zurich Classic, but overall, the conditions are solid, slightly better than other courses in the area. 7 out of 10

Walkability: The course is built on very flat land and is routed with reasonable green to tee distances. It would not be a great surprise for a player to be able to walk the course all the way around and not become short of breath. But there are a few places with longer walks. 7 out of 10

Atmosphere: The course hosts a PGA Tour event and is a TPC branded course. That likely adds to the atmosphere and value for most golfers. While the course is no Pebble Beach or Augusta National, the atmosphere is the club is quite nice while also being an understated Southern type. 4 1/2 out of 10

Total: 69 3/4 out of 100

Pictures and hole by hole analysis to come shortly.