Monday, March 8, 2010

Kinloch, A Jack Nicklaus Experience

There was much anticipation leading up to my first round of golf on a Jack Nicklaus golf course. Although Jack's courses can draw lots of critiscm from the "art in architecture" crowd, many of the Nicklaus designs are deserving of their credit. I was hoping Kinloch would live up to the Nicklaus brand name.

Kinloch impressed me in many ways. The fairways are seemlessly crumpled, there are vast and beautiful meadows between holes, and the fescue fairways added to the visual impression of a links layout. The par fives offered mulitple lines of attack and the par fours were creative and unique. The majority of the one shot holes however do not provide an open run to the green. In fact most of the approaches force the average golfer at Kinloch to flounder along the shores of the greens among the many sentinal bunkers.
The general reasoning behind my criticsm is that Kinloch asks the average golfer far too much on and around the greens. The waving contours seemed to transition too steeply from one pin location to the next. I was warned of the target style greens characteristic of many Nicklaus courses, Kinloch is no different. There is certainly some controversy that can be stirred on the greens at Kinloch but this is old news in the architecture community.
I do not enjoy being critical of any golf course, especially one as fun and adventurous as this. While the aura of the links is clearly evident on the practice tee Kinloch quickly shows its true colors as a target first golf course. Kinloch is a must play in New Zealand and will test your mettle should you be looking for a challenge.

1 comment:

  1. To my legions of followers:

    This is a misunderstanding. There is also a course named Kinloch in the US, to which the above reader is referring to. Kinloch, NZ is most certainly designed by Jack Nicklaus and Co.