A quick friendly reminder: Please submit your courses at TGCTours.com! Course submission has been unfairly categorized in the past as some kind of popularity contest, or seen as a place only for people who want their courses used on the tour. In reality, it’s a place where people can learn more about your course and your catalog, but more importantly, it signals our wonderful photographer Vic, aka karma4u, to gather great pics of your course, which I can in turn present during my reviews!
Sunningdale (old course) thurs – Dogz – Tier 2
Considering this course has just one tee and one pin, and it still has “thurs” in the name, I would guess this was a straight port over from TGC1. The designer took the time to add tournament objects and crowds, though, which seems like a slightly puzzling decision. The course could certainly use a little polish, especially around the barren edges of the course. With that said, this was a good course in TGC1, and the quality is still there. I don’t know enough of Sunningdale’s history to provide an accurate backdrop, but I know this is one of the more influential heathland courses in England. It’s a fairly short course, and moderately narrow, so well-placed drives are paramount to attacking a very difficult set of greens. You would be hard-pressed to find a flat putt on this course. There is nothing over the top or unfair about them, it’s just the type of greens that you would find at a classic course. I wish it was a little more updated, but overall this one still plays great.
El Dorado Hills – DDawg – Tier 3
This one should appeal to a wide range of audiences. It plays quite long from the back tees, but the fairways are wide and get some decent rollout with firm settings. The greens are also firm, but with the front of the green open for approach shots on nearly every hole, making for very few forced carries. The greens are medium speed, but really play borderline slow, making the long approach shots in a little more forgiving. Everything here is just smartly done in moderation, with good and interesting design, a good balance of challenge and forgiveness, and good sightlines and sculpting throughout the course.
Devon Quarry Country Club – VctryLnSprts – Tier 3
This is one of the better looking desert courses I’ve played so far, thanks in part to a great plot, lots of green grass winding through the plot, and an excellent use of lighting. Elevation is also used to great effect for some excellent looking shots throughout the round. I really struggled here without the landing cam, so I would not recommend it for True Sim play. The elevation and twists and turns just make it very difficult to pick a landing spot. My troubles culminated in a big bending par 5 where, after the fairway directed my tee shot into the rough, I could not find a line over the canyon (and OB) to reach the second part of the fairway. This resulted in 5 or 6 OB balls in a row. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of scoring opportunities here, but the heavily sloped greens will also provide a source of punishment if you end up anywhere but below the hole. More skilled players should have an easier round here than I did, but lower skilled players should remain patient in their round here to enjoy the views and some of the creative shots throughout the round.
Burrowing Owl Golf Club – CrazyCanuck – Tier 3
This course is a lot more forgiving than the usual CrazyCanuck course, and this is mostly due to the wide fairways on most of the holes. The greens also trend on the large size, with moderate to mild undulation, making finding the right quadrant of the green your top priority on approach (unless you plan on using your wedge on these beautiful greens). It might trend easy for some, but I found it to be a very enjoyable round. And of course, a track is always good when you can pair an enjoyable round with what is likely the best looking desert course in the game so far. The wide fairways provide for large expanses of flowing green throughout the desert landscape, but it might be the planting that sets this one apart. This is the heaviest planting I have seen in a desert course, even including TGC1, so it has a unique look all of its own.
Loch Lomond Golf Club (Rossdhu House) – Yeltzman – Tier 3
This one was a bit of a curveball for me. I was pretty sure that it was an RCR, and pretty sure it was somewhere in the UK. I wasn’t expecting a parkland-type course, however, and I little research surprised me more when I discovered that this course is located in the middle of Scotland, alongside some kind of large body of water (lake?) that I never knew existed. It’s a quirky little course, with a bunch of inland holes, and several that run along this body of water. There are some holes here with trees in unfamiliar places, a few central hazard bunkers, and an occasionally heavily-guarded green with bunkers. The biggest defense, though, especially with the round 4 pins, is green edges that repel shots into collection areas. It’s a small but tough little course, and brought to life beautifully here.
Halton Beach G&CC – guitardude – Tier 3
You won’t find a fancy clubhouse complex here, or a detailed neighborhood surrounding the course. Halton Beach sticks strictly to the golf, and pays a nice homage along the way to the good doctor MacKenzie with its inspired bunkers. The course can play easy due to softer settings (which means it could also be cranked up if wanted), but it can also bite you if you are playing a mindless round. Even with the soft settings, there are some big breaks on these greens that require a deft touch. The design is the highlight, though, and has all of the major features that I like, including lots of width, central hazards, calculated lay-ups versus risky drives, and big contoured greens.
KPC beta (kapalua) – scarpacci – Pantheon
I’m saving a spot in the Pantheon for the final edition of this course, because in reality, this beta version could absolutely pass as a final version, it is that good. If you weren’t able to interpret from the name, this is the Kapalua Plantation Course, which hosts the first PGA event of the calendar year in January, the Tournament of Champions. It’s a Coore and Crenshaw course routed up and down some of the most undulating land you could put a course on. There’s a good chance you will hit your longest drive ever on one of the handful of majorly downhill holes here. The width that you would expect to find on C&C course makes this one play easy, both in TGC and for the pros, but the greens can be tricky. It’s a fantastic view wherever you are, though, and some very creative holes will keep you entertained throughout the round. A friend just texted me pics of him playing the course over Labor Day weekend, and this beta does all of the pics justice (outside of the unfortunate lack of pine trees in the theme).