TGC2 Courses – One Month In

Royal Ethalwind

We are little more than a month in, and as expected, my hopeful plan of posting regular course reviews and hosting a society to play reviewed courses has fallen by the wayside. In my scattered playing of courses, either individually or in societies, I still enjoy writing a brief review and ranking each course that I play, however. Therefore, I present to you my full list of played courses so far, along with the latest revised Pantheon rankings.

 

*Note that I haven’t ranked the courses within each ranking level (Pantheon, Tier 3, etc.), so the order that the courses are listed in does not reflect rankings in comparison with each other.

 

Pantheon

Pebble Beach

 

NameDesignerNotesReal?Ranking Level
Turu WeruReebdoog, ErnieTheWels & Staypuft39Could be a spitting image of Sebonack Golf Club. The textures, planting, and lighting really highlight the best of the game. The design is up to snuff with Sebnack, too, offering wide but twisting fairways that offer countless angles into the rolling and tumbling greens. One of the best in TGC1, and probably TGC2, as well.Pantheon
Royal EthalwindarticfuryThe undisputed leader of course planting and creating the most realistic environment possible. Each plot, not just the course itself, but the entire plot, is presented with immaculate and ultrarealistic detail. This course goes the extra mile, though, with the introduction of the innovative pot bunker style that you will need to see for yourself. An extremely playable course, but your approach shots must be precise to stay below the hole.Pantheon
Pebble Beach Golf LinksFriendbomberNew environmental settings really bring out the beauty of this course, and the small greens play more fairly on approach, while tougher to putt on. Should rank highly for the life of TGC2.RealPantheon

 

Tier 3

The Sandbelt

 

The Links at Royal AtlanticCrazyCanuckBeautifully crafted. Twisting holes make for interesting play without landing zone cam, and plenty of options from tee to green. Greens are generous, but with some difficult pin locations. Great start to the TGC2 library.Tier 3
Faxon ParkscarpacciWonderful rendition of a parkland style course. Every bunker is placed and shaped perfectly to frame each hole. The sightlines across the property highlight the terrific routing, which recalls the style of golden age architects.Tier 3
The Sandbeltrjwils30Visually striking from the first tee. The color choices combined with the MacKenzie-stlye bunkers immediately evoke visions of the course’s namesake Australian environment. There are more twists and turns in these holes than I have seen in quite awhile, yet the course remains believable and playable for the most part. For my part, I think this course should be included among the visual landmarks of the series.Tier 3
Royal Birkdale Open 2017YeltzmanI 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.RealTier 3
Brookledge Golf ClubCSuGolferThis course is all about the sightlines, with each shot perfectly framed for the player. The parkland setting and tournament setup could make this course an adequate stand in for any weekly PGA Tour stop. This course is a visual feast and a must play. Unfortunately, the round did not keep my interest, however, due to the one note green designs. Go too long and you face a wicked downhill putt, land too short and your ball will likely roll back off the front of the green, regardless of pin position. It’s all a little too Robert Trent Jones penal school of design for me.Tier 3
Roundabout Golf ClubguitardudeA very nice looking setting combining multiple bunkering and planting styles reminiscent of courses in the Southeast US. The greens are receptive and easy to score on, but still have enough interesting features to be fun to play. Overall this ticks the box for an enjoyable round on multiple levels.Tier 3
Whistling Straitscraig118I didn’t detect any real updates from the TGC1 version, but that’s not a big deal when starting with one of the best courses from TGC1. The course may not host the most exciting majors, but the course is a blast to play.RealTier 3

 

Tier 2

The Denali Club

 

Weymouth LandingscarpacciThe planting here is pretty spartan, so the rolling hills dominate the visual landscape for this course. While the bunkering style is much different, in all other aspects the course really calls Erin Hills to mind. The route that you take off of the tee will largely determine how you play each hole. Generous greens with compartmentalized pin locations, along with multiple short par 5’s, make low scores likely, but the fun in the course lies in the temptation to make bad decisions. A fun round, and likely a good match play venue.Tier 2
The Denali Club – Fairbanks, AlaskaCrazyCanuckA beautiful course winding through mountains and pine forests, each hole is guarded by sprawling bunkers from tee to green. The course starts off on the easy side, but picks up steam as it goes, mostly due to the notoriously sloped greens that the designer has created. The course plays nicely, but it’s the visuals created by the slight hazy/foggy look that make this one worth seeing.Tier 2
Mein-Notchurs Municipal G.C.DDawgNice parkland style course that is fairly straightforward in design, save for a handful of dogleg holes on the course. The immensely believable neighborhood environment should make for a good setting for tournament rounds and casual rounds alike.Tier 2
Caramel CreektastegwA great intro to TGC2. Wide driving areas but small greens make accuracy important. Small details are everywhere on the course, with immaculate sculpting.Tier 2
Arizona AzuretastegwThe landscape is pretty barren in this theme, so making a visually pleasing round is a challenge here. There are clever uses of ditches, ravines, and multi-leveled fairways, however, that make for very interesting play. The retaining wall work and details around the clubhouse are impeccable as ever, and the tournament object setup is nicely done. The greens are small and sloped, so getting a close birdie putt is a real challenge, only made harder if you aren’t finding fairways off the tee.Tier 2
Jupitor RidgearticfuryA very believable Parkland setting that is bursting with detail, as per usual. It wouldn’t be an arcticfury course, though, without a bit of flair thrown in, which here is a beautifully done waterfall. The course is quite tame, with plenty of reachable par 5’s and short par 4’s to take a run at. This one should be a hit with the casual crowd, and also a good venue for true sim players.Tier 2
Carl’s Bait ShopbradleystuartA nice looking course thanks to good sculpting, great lighting, and plenty of downhill shots. Most tees are built up to create the downhill tee shots, culminating in a somewhat over the top par 3 with a near 150 foot drop. The greens mostly have one defining feature, such as a large tier, while the rest of the green will be gently sloping. This makes for many birdie chances, but only for well-placed approach shots. Should be an enjoyable round for all.Tier 2
Erin Linkssteve2golfThe layout represents Erin Hills nicely, while most of the greens bear at least a passing resemblance to the real greens. This has enough liberties taken in both the green designs and the setting, however, that I cannot judge this course as an RCR. As a standalone fictional course, it has a unique and interesting, if not bleak, look using the Winter theme. The course played perhaps a little too long at 7900 yards, so I would recommend a shorter tee for a better experience. Overall it is an interesting and challenging round, but the greens are perhaps a bit too harsh to creep higher up the rankings.Tier 2

 

Tier 1

Starla Park

 

Valle de Los Reyes (Ballesteros)Han & ScarpacciIf 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.Tier 1
Starla Parkcoruler2The 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?Tier 1

 

Play Worthy

Durnwick

 

Highlandia FallsDDawgA fun course with lots of elevation change to make calculating drives difficult. Plenty of putts can be made, though, if you navigate safely to the green. Features a massive, wonderfully built waterfall.Play Worthy
Durnwick Golf ClubgregfordyceThis 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.Play Worthy
Dovetail Park GCSAMThis 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.Play Worthy
The BerkshiresScarpacciA wide open course with lots of risk/reward carries over bunkers available. The greens are gently sloped, making the course approachable for TST play. Mostly a stock course, however, with not much definition added to the bunkers.Play Worthy
Banff Springs Fairmont AlbertacolinmafiaI had to check this course out after having the good fortune of playing it last September. The layout looks pretty spot on, and the majority of the bunkers are nicely sculpted to match the real course. I also commend the valiant attempt at recreating the view that the players face on the 3rd tee. The game can’t do the scope of the real course justice, though, and unfortunately too many of the greens in this RCR are too flat and play rather boring.RealPlay Worthy

 

No Ranking

Soggy BottomADXAppears to be a straight port over from TGC1. Unfortunately in the process, it appears several autogen trees have appeared in several unwanted places, including in front of a few tees and at least one green. As currently constructed, I cannot recommend the course, but the layout is good enough to be play worthy should an updated version be released.No Ranking

 

Brookledge Golf Club

 

Roundabout Golf Club

 

Caramel Creek

 

Arizona Azure

 

Jupitor Ridge

 

Erin Links

 

Dovetail Park

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