One week into paternity leave, and it’s been a wild ride. Fortunately naps give me time to sneak away and play, so here are some fresh reviews.
Royal Birkdale Open 2017 – Yeltzman – Tier 3
I had to research the 2008 Open Championship results after playing a round here, as I did not remember that tournament, and now I can see how it produced a +3 champion. The greens feel very small by normal links standards, with lots of humps and bumps. They are challenging, but quite fun to play. I’m not sure how much work was done on the surrounding dunes on each hole compared to the TGC1 version, but they feel much more pronounced and realistic now. The tournament objects help to produce an overall major championship feel to the course, and I look forward to following along with the pros at Birkdale this year.
Valle De Los Reyes (Ballesteros) – Han & Scarpacci – Tier 2
If you are looking to fire up a course and hit mindless shots from tee to green, then this is not the course. Each hole must contend with numerous large trees that most fairways here will wind through. If you intend on hitting driver off every tee, then be prepared to work the ball left and right, otherwise you will find bunkers and trees all round long. Personally, as strategically challenging as the holes through the trees are, I much prefer the water holes here, both for their more open play as well as for the excellent planting and lighting.
Starla Park – coruler2 – Tier 2
The variety and uniqueness of each hole here make for an interesting challenge. Some tend to work better than others, at least for my play style, so the value of this course will change from player to player. In the heat of a competition, however, I often second guessed myself while coming in on the back nine and my poor decision-making cost me a tournament. That has to be the mark of a great competition course, right?
Durnwick Golf Club – gregfordyce – Play Worthy
This course has a nice look, evoking an Irish/Scottish feel which I think was intended. I could see pokes of sun in the distance, but it was cloudy for my entire round here. I burst of sun here or there might have had a nice visual pop. The main challenge here are very narrow fairways, which twist and turn all over. For someone who plays with no fairway landing cam, it was very difficult to find the short grass and required a conservative approach off of the tee. I am not opposed to doing that, but overall I feel the fairways are designed at TGC1 widths and could use some widening to make the course more enjoyable for all.
Dovetail Park GC – SAM – Play Worthy
This is a challenging course, which should be very good for a match, or anyone looking for an interesting round. There are a number of strategic design elements to consider on each hole, and the large slopes on each green make you earn every birdie. Unfortunately the entire environment for the course isn’t cohesive, as the bunker designs change from hole to hole, and very believable countryside holes are followed up by holes with huge waterfalls and sailboats.
My Latest Release
Oakmont Country Club
This is a fresh release for TGC2 of last year’s US Open course. The new firmness settings make the course play much better, and adjustable object height let me add a few new details to the course (can you spot my attempt at the 9th green flagpole? lol)