The Fort Myers Country Club, a Donald Ross classic “Fortified”

The Fort Myers Country Club

The Fort is an historic golf course in Southwest Florida, and is located south of Fort Myers between the Tamiami Trail and McGregor Blvd a mile north of the Midpoint Bridge over the Caloosahatchee River. The golf course was originally designed by Donald Ross in 1917, and was the home to many of the early PGA Tour events in Southwest Florida, including the Senior PGA Championship and The Fort Myers Open. It’s said that winter residents Henry Ford and Thomas teed it up here,  LPGA legend Patty Berg taught here in the 1970’s, and U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen won his first tournament at the course.  

Steve Smyers, a Lakeland based architect of some acclaim for restoring the classics, was commissioned to redesign and renovate the layout with a $5.2 Million investment by the City of Fort Myers. The redesign to modern standards and length, stretched the course to 7,000+ yards from the tips, par was reduced to 70, and it was reconfigured with five par 3’s and three par 5’s.

The Fort Myers Country ClubThere’s new grassing, improvements to irrigation, drainage and utility services, renovation of all greens, tees, fairways, roughs, bunkers and pathways.

The routing is fair and playable over flat land with a drainage canal cutting midway through the layout affecting play on a number of holes. The fairways are broad and tree lined, there’s a moderate amount of sand in play along the fairways, while the crowned greens are well guarded.

The Fort Myers Country Club is owned by the City of Fort Myers,  and consistent with municipal layouts is very reasonably priced, especially now with the additional investment by the City, but also gathers a significant amount of play by golfers of all abilities. 

 

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Intervale Country Club, defines “Hidden Gem”

The Intervale Country ClubIntervale CC is a classic parkland design by Alex Findlay in 1903, with renovations by W.B. Booth in 2004. It’s a 9 holer, but it’s not often you can play an original by Findlay, who designed courses in the early 1900′s that mostly remain private, or have disappeared.

The Intervale Country Club is routed along the Merrimack River on Front St. just north of downtown Manchester. It has one of the toughest starting holes in the State, a 222 yard par 3, rightly sets the tone for the round at hand. For two loops, the course is a short 6,163 yards, 68.3 course rating, and 110 slope from the blue tees, with one shorter tee at 5,424 yards, 71.0/120, course/slope for the ladies. Even though it’s short and relatively straightforward, course management reigns supreme here over distance with water in play on 5 holes,  postage stamps for greens, and a couple of OB adding to the challenge

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Full Cry Golf Club, the third design is the charm!

Full Cry Golf ClubFull Cry, a hunting term meaning “in hot pursuit”, is part of the 48 room Keswick Hall, and is only available to play as a guest of the 600 acre resort. it’s located on the east side of Charlottesville, just off I-64 at the Louisa Road exit to the east. 

Keswick’s original course was built in 1948 by Fred Findlay, renovated in 1992 by Arnold Palmer, and redesigned in 2013 by Pete Dye, and is routed over the rolling hills below Keswick Hall in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Full Cry Golf Club is a parkland design, the greens are mostly open in the front, but heavily bunkered on the sides, and throughout the fairway’s landing zones. There’s a good variety of short and fun par fours, a couple of long ones, and some in the middle, the par 5′s a variety of lengths, a couple reachable in two. The finish is interesting from the 16th, a Redan par 3, to the 17th with train tracks running parallel to the hole with an old flatbed railway car as the bridge to the tee boxes. The 18th finishes with the hotel in the backdrop and the lake in the foreground.

A classy renovation by Mr Dye with no offense to Messrs. Findlay and Palmer.

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New Golf Courses for 2014, it’s a short list…

The National Golf Foundation reported that eight new public golf courses opened in 2013 while 157 closed. Although they haven’t released the closing numbers for 2014, it’s anticipated to be relatively the same on the closed side, yet there’s only been five all-new public access golf courses which have opened in 2014.  Golf’s in a funk for a host of reasons, shifting demographics, the economy, and the general lack of interest from generations other than the baby boomers. The major factor is simply the over-supply of golf courses which were built over the years to sell homes, and not financially viable on a stand alone basis.  The NGF is culpable, as it’s the same organization that in 1989 called for a new golf course opening every day until the year 2000 to meet the demand of the aging Boomers. So much for projections!

Of the five new golf courses for 2014 with public access, three are associated with residential developments, one a casino, and the fifth, just pure golf in the State of Washington at a envisioned Bandon Dunes style resort. 

Gamble Sands Golf Course1. Gamble Sands is located just outside Brewster, WA on the banks of the Columbia River. It was designed by David McLay Kidd, who’s known for designing Bandon Dunes, The Castle Course at St. Andrews, Scotland, and Tetherow, among others. It was developed by the Greggers Family, one of the largest apple orchard owners in the world.

It’s a natural setting with stunning views out across the Columbia River and is without homes, roads, and cart paths to interrupt the landscape. It’s designed to be playable for all levels, there’s five sets of tees overall, the tips play to 7,129 yards, 74.2/128, course/slope ratings, with the middle tees at 6,207 yards, 69.7/118.

2. Potomac Shores Golf Club is 40 minutes south of downtown D.C. just off I-95. It’s a Jack Nicklaus Signature design, routed through a master planned community, parkland style which weaves through the hilly forested terrain along the Potomac. There’s over 200 feet of elevation change throughout, stunning shot values as the course moves through the tree lined fairways with wetlands and heavy bunkering bordering both the land zones and greens. 

Sewailo Golf Club3. Sewailo Golf Club is located on the southwest side of Tucson, 10 miles dues west of the Tucson Airport on Valenica. The course is owned by the Pascua Yaqui Nation and was designed by Notah Begay III and Ty Butler, and is a well landscaped desert style, parkland layout with plenty of sand, lakes, and streams throughout with the front side a good warm-up for a much more challenging backside.

4. Esplanade Golf Club, Naples on Immokalee Road three miles east of I-75, developed in concert with a Taylor Morrison residential development of 1,798 acres, 1,000 of which are natural preserves, wetlands as well as over 170 acres of lakes with a total of 1,121 homes when built out. The golf course was designed by Chris Wilczynski, an Art Hills/Steve Forest protege. The layout is routed through environmental preservation areas with wetlands and lakes in play frequently, along with a few forced carries.  

5. Esplanade Golf Club, Lakewood Ranch, located 2 miles east of I-75 on Rt 70, routed through a Taylor Morrison residential development of 600 acres with a planned 1,250  villas and single family homes. The golf course was also designed by  Chris Wilczynski, who created a very playable layout through the development with yardages ranging from 4,600 yards to 6,800 yards. While the the course is layered in through the homesites, it’s bordered by protected wetlands, frequent water and sand in play, with slightly undulating fairways and large greensites.

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Grindstone Neck Golf Course, the Schoodic Peninsula’s best golf course!

Grindstone Neck Golf CourseGrindstone Neck is on Frenchman Bay near Winter Harbor, an hour from Bar Harbor on the Schoodic Peninsula.  It’s a golf  course time capsule from the late 1800′s, permanently stuck in time. The scenery, with the mountains of the Acadia National Park in the background, and the views across the Harbor to Ironbound Island and the Atlantic, make this course a beautiful setting, especially on a clear day. 

The Grindstone Neck Golf Course was designed by Alex Handy, a one trick shot architect, in 1891.  The nine-holer is located on Winter Harbor, 5 miles east of Bar Harbor, yet an hours drive around the peninsula, which accounts for its lack of play-many times you’ll have the golf course to yourself.  Even better, the greens fee is modest at $15.

Grindstone Neck Golf CourseIt’s a rather basic layout without irrigation in the fairways, providing a fast and firm playing surface. The greens are small, slightly undulating, and reward shot making. There are no bunkers, but the fairways are bordered by rock outcroppings, trees and under-brush, wildflowers, beaches,  and stream beds.

It’s a delightful layout, basic and rudimentary with two sets of tees, 3,095 yards from the tips, and 2,550 yards from the front tees with one par 5 and one par 3. While the course takes you back to an earlier time, the setting is all world, and well worth the journey!

 

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Purgatory Golf Club, not quite Heaven or Hell, but close

Purgatory Golf ClubPurgatory, the religious notion, is an intermediate stop on the way to Heaven for purification of the soul necessary to enter eternal bliss. When you play golf at Purgatory, you will experience all realms in a four hour round.  

The experience begins with the setting as there’s nothing but pure golf and natural boundaries at the Purgatory Golf Club on a 125 acres tract of slightly rolling Central Indiana farmland known as the longest course in Indiana. 

Purgatory Golf ClubThe fairways are bordered by tall fescue which swallows your ball, as do the 125 bunkers throughout the fairways and greenside, along with numerous water hazards- this is the “Hell” side of Purgatory. Ron Kern designed the layout as a links style, and from the tees you’re facing an array of bunkers and contoured fairways, but the landing zones in the mounded fairways are ample, yet deceptive from the tees. The par 3′s are superb, a couple of the par 5′s are reachable in two-the “Heaven” side of Purgatory . It’s an enjoyable experience at times, other times mind bendingly frustrating, but there’s six sets of tees to find the right tees for your game, the tips are at 7,754 yards, 78.1/142, course/slope ratings.

Purgatory Golf Club is just  north of Noblesville on Rt 37, on the east side of the White River, about 30 minutes from Indianapolis.

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Landa Park Golf Course, Springs to a new life

Landa Park Golf CourseLanda Park has been a standby for good basic golf in the  New Braunfels area since 1938 when its original nine holes were developed along the eastern bank of the Comal River in Landa Park . The park was established near the Comal Springs, which are the largest in Texas and the southwest, with seven major springs and dozens of smaller ones at the base of a steep limestone bluffs. Interestingly, the River’s sources is entirely from the springs flowing for just over two miles before joining the Guadalupe River, and is said to be the shortest river in the United States. 

Back to golf, Leon Howard and Dave Bennett expanded the layout to 18 holes in the late 1960′s and it’s generally been recognized as a fair but short layout, easily walkable, and a good value for the area. Baxter Spann, of Finger Dye Spann golf course architects from Katy, Texas, provided a redesign in 2014, and brought the course up to more modern standards.

Landa Park Golf CourseThe design has been updated and re-grassed,  now in a class of some of the more upscale layouts in the Austin/San Antonio area. The Landa Park Golf course has a good variety of interesting par 4′s, three full length par 5′s, and par 3 holes of varying lengths and settings. It’s a parkland style of design with scattered tree lined fairways in a scenic setting along the river with views of the Schlitterbahn Castle. It’s rather short, a par of 71, 6,204 yards from the back tees, and an easy walk over relatively level land.

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Cinder Ridge Golf Course, a Strip Mine Reclamation Success Story

Cinder Ridge Golf CourseCinder Ridge is located 20 minutes south of Joliet, just off Interstate 55 in the Fossil Rock Recreation Area, an hour from The Loop.

It was designed and built through the former Peabody Coal Strip Mine by the owner George Kappos in the mid-1990′s, his first and only design.It is a par 72, 6,968 yards, 73.1/139, course/slope ratings from the black tees with four shorter tees, playable for all levels. The routing the Cinder Ridge Golf Course is  over 350 acres, and carved through one of the largest former strip mines in the area now reclaimed. There’s a variety of terrain and hole designs with heavily wooded areas, ravines. meadows, and marshlands, providing a challenging layout with plenty of sand bunkers along the fairways and greenside with water in play on 14 holes. For the most part, each hole is isolated and unique over the roomy tract of land, but unfortunately a residential development does border a few of the holes.

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The Dunes Golf Club, how in the World Wood you miss the Dunes!

The Dunes Golf ClubThe Dunes is an hour north of Tampa in Weeki Wachee where the Suncoast Parkway meets US 98, virtually across the road from World Woods. Many golfers heading to Tampa end up making the trek up to Brooksville to play World Wood’s Pine Barrens and Rolling Oaks only to miss The Dunes.  We’d suggest this itinerary be altered for the discerning golfer.

Upon arrival after a mile long drive off US 19 through an empty wasteland you’ll find a sand/crushed shell parking lot and a minimal clubhouse, but don’t let this first impression frame your day on the links. The Dunes Golf Club is an Arthur Hills design, dancing through the Central Florida sand dunes, with the holes carved over the land as it was leaving the natural scrub brush, pine trees, and sand dunes at the fairways’ borders.   It’s a roomy track of land, the holes are routed in two distinct loops in a figure eight design with each hole isolated and unique without homes or development. There’s an interesting amount of elevation changes, forced carries and large, undulating greens, with tee to green waste bunkers throughout. The golf course has five sets of tees from 5,007 yards to 7,139 yards, the middle tees play to 6,222 yards, 69.8/122, course/slope ratings.

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Three Crowns Golf Club, what golf has to do with oil refining

Three Crowns Golf ClubThree Crowns  was built on the former Amoco Oil Refinery on the North Platte River in Casper as part of a reclamation project of the former 340 acres of the refinery and tank farm.  The name was taken for BP Amoco’s old symbol—crowns of gold, white and red, which represent the three different grades of gasoline sold by the company. 

The course is part of a large park, the Platte River Commons, and includes the golf course, business park, jogging trail and parks on approximately 350 acres. Three Crowns Golf Club is a 7,065 yard par 72 Robert Trent Jones, Jr design on 150 acres, just west of downtown Casper, and sits above land that still contains millions of gallons of refinery product scheduled for recovery over the next two decades. It’s an open links type design with tall native grasses bordering the fairways, 61 pure white sand bunkers, and 8 lakes providing the challenge. Just a heads-up though, the lakes and wetlands act as filtering for the chemicals that have been recovered in the reclamation process, so if you’re fishing for balls, be sure to take precautions. 

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Morro Bay Golf Course, the “poor man’s Pebble Beach”

Morro Bay Golf CourseMorro Bay is a county operated muni with great views of the surrounding mountains, Morro Bay, and the Pacific, the locals refer to it as a “poor man’s Pebble Beach,” as the greens fees are a bargain. 

It’s an old course dating back to the mid-1920′s, originally the Cabrillo Country Club, the initial 9 holes were designed by Quintin Miller and E. W. Murphy, now the backside. Russell Noyes was responsible for the front side’s design which opened in 1951. The golf course is rather short at 6,360 yards, par 71, with a course rating of 70.4 and a slope of 119, with three shorter tees. The fairways at the Morro Bay Golf Course are of Kikuyu grass through hilly tree lined corridors which require shotmaking both off the tee and on approach to the greens to have a chance at par. Fairly straightforward design, a few doglegs, the greens are of Poa, and are small with confounding breaks, and not much in the way of bunkers. The setting is sublime with Morro Bay and the Pacific to the west, Black Hill above. 

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Rochelle Ranch Golf Course, a gift that keeps on giving

Rochelle Ranch is 150 miles west of Cheyenne and 300 miles east of Salt Lake City in Rawlins, Wyoming, population 9,250, right off the I-80 exit.

Rochelle Ranch Golf CourseIt’s somewhat inconceivable to find of a golf course of this quality in the middle of Wyoming, let alone in this terrain and quality of soil. It was the gift of Curt and Marian Rochelle, local sheep ranchers who decided to donate funds to the city. The town fathers met, and thought a golf course would do, so the city donated the land and the Rochelles paid for the course construction.

The Rochelle Ranch Golf Course was designed by Ken Kavanaugh at an altitude of 6,800 feet, and is the longest golf course in Wyoming. The course has elevation change with magnificent views, there’s only two holes which run parallel, the rest is up and down and across the rough land left as it was. There’s essentially no rough, just fairways bordered by sand, sagebrush, and scrub bushes, with numerous water hazards in play. It can play to a massive 7,925 yards all the way down, 75.9128, course/slope, to 5,706 yards, 66.0/116.

It’s a great find, a great value, and if you’re on I-80, a good reason to stop for 4 hours.

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Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex

Akerman Hills Golf CourseBoilermaker football fans will be in West Lafayette tomorrow to watch Purdue disassemble the Salukis of Southern Illinois.  If golf is part of their play, they would usually have the choice of two 18 hole championship courses at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex here, named after benefactors, Mike and Kay Birck.

Pete DyeThe first course built was Ackerman Hills in the mid 1920′s, and was designed by Bill Diddle. It’s currently closed, and undergoing and renovation and redesign by Indiana favorite son, Pete Dye, with an anticipated opening by the Spring of 2016. It’s a parkland-style golf course that’s routed through mature trees and rolling hills,small wildly undulating greens, lightly bunkered, with some tight landing areas and approaches defined by trees. The course was redesigned by Larry Packard in 1968, and was named for a benefactor of the University. Dye’s plan includes the lengthening the layout, replacing turf on the greens, tees and fairways, improving drainage and irrigation, and moderating the severe slope of many of the green complexes, in short modernizing the layout to today’s agronomic standards. 

Kampen at Birck BoilermakerMeanwhile, the Kampen Course remains open, and has always been the star at Birck. It was designed by Pete Dye, and is 7,465 yards, 75.9/143, course/slope ratings from the tips, with four shorter tees. It’s more of an open links style layout, and has some of Dye’s signature design features with scattered pot bunkers, massive bunker complexes, and large sculptured greens. The course is routed along wetlands, ponds, and even a natural celery bog, is a shotmaker’s layout requiring good course management, as well as length. It’s regarded as one of the top college tracks in the country, and has held a number of NCAA championships.

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Samoset Golf Club, “The Pebble Beach of the East”

Samoset Golf ClubSamoset’s origins go back to 1902 when Bob Elder designed the original 9 holes, which were later remodeled and nine additional holes added by Geoffrey Cornish, with a recent upgrade by Bradley Booth. 

 It’s known as the “Pebble Beach of the East” as it borders the Atlantic on Penobscot Bay along Rockport’s coastline. The Samoset Golf Club and resort are situated on 230 acres with excellent views throughout, though the views are somewhat restricted at times by the woods, the resort condos, and the associated housing development.  There are five “ocean” holes at Samoset, with the Atlantic fully in view on the front nine, and the finishing holes on the backside. The course, a mix of parkland and links-style holes, and sets up to 6,548 yards from the back tees, 70.8/133, course/slope ratings with three shorter tees. It’s well bunkered throughout, both along the fairways and guarding the greens, with numerous water hazards in play.

 

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Angels Crossing Golf Club, a collection of greens and bunkers from the Golden Age of Golf Course Architecture

Angel's Crossing Golf ClubAngels Crossing is located south of Kalamazoo, just off Rt 131 on the south side of Vicksburg, 15 minutes from I-94 at the US 131 exit. It was designed by Bruce Matthews III, and plays to 7,169 yards, 71.3/135, course/slope ratings from all the way back, with four shorter tees. The layout is routed over 350 acres of meadows, woods, and wetlands overlooking Portage Creek and Barton Lake. 

Angel's Crossing Golf ClubIt’s a beautiful layout, wide open and links-style over slightly mounded fairways bordered by high prairie grass rough, while from the tees, the landing areas are mostly open. The greens are large, tend to be elevated, and are sloping and undulating with greenside mounding affecting the pitch. The Angels Crossing Golf Club has quite a display of golf course architecture from the Golden Age which you will appreciate if you’re a purist or have experienced or studied classic course design. There’s a couple of cape holes, a redan, a punch bowl, biarritz and a long. The bunkering is original as well as creative, with grass faces, and a few distinct designs including bottleneck, carry,  with the cardinal and the principal’s nose from St Andrew’s.

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The Second Ryder Cup in Scotland!

The Ryder CupThis is a pivotal year for Scotland as the Independence Referendum to succeed from the United Kingdom is being held September 18, a vote too close to call at the moment. For the golf world, a referendum of sorts will be held on September 23-28 to determine the better golf team between Europe and America. Interestingly enough, it’s only the second time it’s been held on Scottish soil, the first at Muirfield in 1973.

The Ryder Cup is a biennial men’s competition between teams from Europe and the U.S., alternating between courses in the United States and Europe, and named after the English businessman Samuel Ryder, who donated the trophy. 

The 2014 venue for the second Ryder Cup in Scotland is being held at the Centenary Course at the Gleneagles Resort, an hour from either Edinburgh or Glasgow in the foothills of the Highlands. It’s a massive resort, built in 1924 by the Caledonian Railway Company, with a variety of activities including falconry, skeet shooting, off-road driving, an equestrian school, fishing, and a gundog school, in additional to three championship golf courses, as well as a 9 hole par 3 layout. 

Kings Course at GleneaglesThe Ryder cup has been “officially” held since 1927, initially at the Worcester Country Club in Massachusetts, but the first match between the U.S. and Great Britain was actually held at the Gleneagles Golf Club. The Americans were over well in advance of the 1921 British Open to be held at nearby St. Andrews, to prepare for Scottish golf since no American had ever won the Open Championship.  The match, known as The Glasgow Herald 1000 Guinea Tournament, was held at Gleneagles’ Kings Course, a James Braid design, on Monday, June 6, 1921,  won by Great Britain by 9 matches to 3. Fittingly though, several weeks later, on June, 22-23, 1921, Jock Hutchinson became the first American to win an Open Championship.

PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles

The Centenary Course was designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1993, and has an “American” or modern feel to it. The design, a mix between parkland and heathland style, is over a rolling tract of land up the Ochil Hills to the summit below Ben Shee in the Perthshire straths.  It’s the longest inland layout in Scotland at 7,088 yards from the tips, with numerous water hazards, knee high heather lined fairways with expansive sand bunkers along the fairways and around the massive greens complexes. Known locally as “the 4th best golf course in Auchterarder,” it’s a mix of memorable and somewhat mundane holes over land with poor drainage. It will be a long slog between greens and tees here, but its roominess will accommodate the thousands of fans here for the Cup, if there’s rain in the forecast though, place your bets on the mudders! 

 

 

 

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Cape Arundel Golf Club

Cape Arundel is a classic, historic golf course, a step back in a time capsule to 1896 at its founding.

It is located near Kennebunkport, midway between Portland and Portsmouth just off I-95 to the east. It was designed by one of the early masters of golf course architecture Walter Travis, who was also an accomplished amateur golfer of note, having won three US Amateurs and one British Amateur. The golf course is a short par 69, and plays to 5,881 yards from the back tees, with a course rating of 67.1 and a slope rating of 121. The routing is well preserved in its original design with a variety of interesting and challenging holes. The greens are one of the course’s main defenses, square and small to mid-sized, quick with considerable undulations. There’s a moderate amount of sand bunkers, both in the landing zones, and greenside, a few holes with water in play, as well as several holes along the Kennebunk River and its tributaries,  a scenic setting without homes or development along the golf course. 

You may even see at Bush at Cape ArundelThe Bush family, #’s 41 & 43, consider Cape Arundel their home course when they summer in nearby Kennebunkport. There’s been a host of political luminaries and sports figures who have played here over the years. Phil Michelson, as it is, holds the course record at 60, shot while playing with one of the Bush’s. One of the previous holders of the course record was Prescott Bush, 41′s father, and son of George Herbert Walker Bush, from whom the Walker Cup takes its name .

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Forest Dunes Golf Club

Forest Dunes Golf ClubForest Dunes is 15 miles southeast of Grayling off I-75, a full 3 hours from Detroit, 2 1/2 hours from Grand Rapids, and 2 hours south of the UP. There’s a 14 room Lake AuSable Lodge on site, or a variety of hotels in the Grayling area, which make it a good stopping off point on the way to the UP or Northern Michigan’s resorts. 

 It was designed as part of a residential development, not fully realized at the moment, by Tom Weiskopf, and can play to 7,116 yards, 75.2/146, course/slope ratings from the back tees with four shorter tees. It’s a combination links/parkland style design with fairways framed by bracken, wildflowers, and red pines on a former farm and orchard, plays firm and fast, and is an easy walk.

Forest Dunes Golf Club

Each hole is unique and isolated at the Forest Dunes Golf Club, the front nine is carved through the forest, the back nine wide open, framed and surrounded by waste bunkers, tall fescue, with numerous water hazards. The, large, contoured, and undulating greens are well protected by traditional bunkering, with collection areas to catch the slightly errant approach. The finish is a stunner, a 530 yard par 5 into the wind from an elevated tee atop a dune to a green set above Lake Ausable. There’s a 19th Bye Hole, a par three over the lake with a bunker set in the middle of the green to settle the match, along with a spectacular clubhouse and practice facility.

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West Point Golf Club, the only golf course in the U.S. built by German POWs

West Point Golf ClubThe West Point Golf Club is located on the West Point US Army Academy on the west side of the Hudson River, west of campus along Rt 9W. The course has been around since the first cadets laid out a simple course in 1894, and is known as “The Plain.” Robert Trent Jones, Sr designed the course as it is today in the mid-1940′s with the help of German POW construction workers along some rocky and rolling terrain, carved through the forests and hillsides above the Hudson River.

West Point Golf ClubThere’s some great elevation change here, especially on a couple of tee boxes, and it’s not worthy of walking. The front nine is a parkland type layout with somewhat wide fairways cut through the tree corridors, with good sized landing areas, while the back nine is even tighter, and requires accuracy off the tee, and on the approach to the greens. The West Point Golf Club was frequently played by Vince Lombardi when he coached at Army, and plays to a par of 70, 6,007 yards, 126 slope with two shorter sets of tees. so even though it’s short, it’s demanding, even with six par 3′s. 

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Pinehurst No. 9, the newest addition to Pinehurst

Pinehurst No. 9No. 9, the former National  Golf Club which was purchased by Pinehurst in 2014. It’s the only Jack Nicklaus designed course at Pinehurst, and measures 7,122 yards, 75.5/138, course/slope ratings from the back tees, with four shorter tees. The layout provides the typical Nicklaus design features with well bunkered, wide fairways, strategic bunkering, undulating greens over slightly rolling hills on a roomy tract of Carolina pinelands. 

There’s plenty of room off the tee at Pinehurst No. 9, the real challenge is on and around the greens which tend to be elevated, sloped and undulating with collection areas. The back 9 winds through some rolling hills with tree lined fairways, and is more challenging than the straightforward front. The course is visually stunning with the tall pines, grassy swales, groomed waste areas with a variety of lakes and streams. 

Still no plans unveiled for The Pit, which was purchased by Pinehurst in 2011, and is possibly No. 10, with speculation that Messrs. Crenshaw and Coore are formulating plans. 

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Linville Golf Club

Linville Golf ClubThe Linville Golf Club is a Donald Ross classic mountain style course built in 1924. It can play to 6,959 yards from the tips with a 73.3 course rating, and a 135 slope, but with four shorter tees. The layout of the course is parkland style with tree lined fairways and generous room at the landing areas, save for a stream running through a few holes. It’s fairly level, for a mountain course, the course’s main defense are the small, elevated, well protected greens with moderate undulation, but quick.

Eseeola LodgeIn order to play Linville, you’ll need to stay at the Eseeola Lodge, or one of the other accommodations affiliated with the course, check with the pro shop to find out the current lodging choices. The Lodge itself was constructed in 1891 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located just below Grandfather Mountain in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 1 1/2 hours northeast of Asheville near Blowing rock. 

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