Spoiler Alert: There is actually nothing special about these reviews or eclipse related.
Mandolin Walk G&CC – SAM – Tier 2
This is the 3rd course of Simon’s that I’ve played, and I still see a few of the things that I thought could be improved in his other courses. Namely, I think the hole design could use a little editing for consistency, especially in bunker design, so that they feel like a cohesive part of the same round. Second, this didn’t occur as much as at Topaz Lagoon, but there are still a few too many similar approach shots coming in around the 180-190 yard range (player clubs). With that said, there are some real fun strategic elements here, mostly due to the use of slopes and mounding, that provide for a really fun round. It’s a pleasant course visually, as well, with some nice water holes, good rock work, and a little surprise near the end of the round.
Silent Ivy Hotel – mrooola – Tier 3
This is one of the best looking Autumn/Harvest courses in the game, with a ton of detail gone into planting, fencing, bodies of water, and general sculpting. Strategically the course is all about angles and decisions, making for an interesting and challenging round from tee to green. It’s also a very long course, even when moving up a tee, but it doesn’t lose any of its strategic elements when moving up, so I encourage you to do so if you are on Player clubs or up for some long iron and wood practice. I highly recommend this one for tournament play, but it certainly can appeal to casual players at the right length.
Belleview GC – Author Unknown – Play Worthy
I am told this is a real course based in Ontario. I grew up playing a nearly dead flat course not too far from Ontario, so I could believe this one is real. Also much like the course I grew up playing, I wouldn’t put it in the interesting category. The greens are also mostly flat save for a few, and a handful are very close to being completely flat. There is just enough subtle break in some of the greens to throw off a bad putter like me. With that said, even hacking my way around this course I still shot -10, and I could easily see someone posting a -18 or lower. I honestly wouldn’t have much interest in playing this course again, but I could see some people liking it for the Little Brook Manor effect, so I’ve reluctantly put it in the Play Worthy category.
The Lake Course @ Red Brick Road – Clint Kelso – Tier 2
The designer dubbed this course as a relaxing, firm and fast round. I have to say that is a pretty accurate description. It’s a true firm and fast course, and the fairways are built in such a way that driver may be a risky play on some holes, but 3 wood will never kill you. The greens are very large, with well defined tiers and ridges to shoot for. Calculate the rollout correctly, and you often have the chance to feed your ball to the hole, while miscalculating could steer your ball towards a very long lag putt. Even if you aren’t as comfortable with the conditions, the par 5’s are pretty much all reachable, so you can bide your time and try to rack up the birdies on the long holes. The sculpting matches the course, with nice sightlines and not much fuss around the perimeter to distract from the golf.
Dunholme Manor – Han – Tier 2
The more I play the countryside theme, the more I think it’s difficult to make it look good. Han does his best here, though, with nice sculpting, especially the bunkers, and some nice details such as a farm field along the edge of the course. This course is a brute, maxing out at 7600 yards. I played the 7400 yard set, which if I didn’t know better, you could have convinced me that I was playing the tips. Everything about this course is penal in nature. Miss a little left, and you roll down a steep tier. Miss a little right, and you face a tough chip with a cliff behind the hole. There isn’t much to offer here in terms of safe play for the golfer who tends to stray a little bit like I do. All you can do is try to limit the damage on each hole. It’s not really the type of round that I am generally looking for, but should be a good venue for tournament play to separate the straightest shooters from the pack.
Katokosmos Golf Club – scampi00 – Tier 3
I approached this one with some trepidation after seeing 7600 yards on the card, firm and max speed greens, and the countryside theme. Thankfully my fears were unfounded, as this is exactly how you make a long, firm and fast course. The fairways are generously wide, and the firm settings let you get some nice rollout to reduce the hole distance. The greens are large and feature only subtle undulations, so you have an actual chance to make a play at the flag with a long iron or wood without fear of facing an impossible putt. The course does not look bad in this theme, either, thanks to a good choice of textures and a wide open setting. Some may find the course somewhat barren, but I am fine with this kind of course stlye. The only thing that would make it better for me would have been a few more hours of button mashing to plant more long grass throughout the course.
Old Romney New Course – Antiparosjez – Tier 1
There are a couple of holes here that share or criss-cross fairways, but despite this feature, the defining trait here might be narrow landing areas off of the tee. Combined with firm surfaces, hitting fairways is a real challenge here. Thankfully the holes aren’t overly long, and the greens are generous and gently sloping to accept approach shots in from the rough. Gently sloping greens might result in low scores for some, but actually have a way of exposing terrible putters such as myself. The terrain is fairly sparse, as links style courses tend to be, and also mostly flat. One feature I enjoyed from the scenery, though, was the sparsely planted crowd, especially near the clubhouse where they could have doubled as people milling around or getting ready to play. It really got the wheels turning as potential design feature for the future.