Thursday, July 26, 2012
Follow this link to read my latest article about the best links golf in Holland!
Monday, July 16, 2012
|Opening tee shot down to the left of the shed.|
The routing opens up strongly from a high plateau down to the small first green, tucked between an old farm shed and a burn to the ocean. The course continues along rolling dunes, tracking uphill along the sea.
|Climbing the dunes toward the 2nd green.|
Crail really has an interesting start to any golf course, however from here the golf moves back to the center of the property, in a featureless field, where the final half of the front nine finish back up the plateau.
From a presentation stand point I believe Crail would benefit from more defined areas of tall fescue rough between the parallel fairways that finish the front nine.
To understand the other side of the coin from a maintenance perspective, gang mowing these holes is most cost effective and productive considering the limited number of staff used to maintain the course.
|The back nine climaxes on the downhill par 3 14th, overlooking the ocean, Crails best hole.|
Thursday, July 5, 2012
The small NJ commuter town of West Windsor, NJ must enjoy some of the best municipal facilities in the Northeast. Members of the community play for just $24 mid week, have access to a lightly used grass driving range (half are mats for colder months), and two thought provoking 18's.
|Attempt a drive over the bunkers, for a chance to reach|
this par 5, or tack your way to the right off the tee.
Now you have just seen me write affordable, thought provoking, and NJ all in the same sentence! It is a first for me but this is what public golf is all about in West Windsor and could be seen as a great example of how best to grow the game one community at a time. The latest and greatest remote destination course builds excitement in the world of golf but it will not create the type of ground swell needed to grow the game from the roots up. Mercer Oaks is the type of golf facility which should be applauded for its accessability and overall quality of experience. Junior play is also supported here with green fees of just $15.
|More options abound off the tee...|
Also to the point of accessibility and enjoyment are the 5 sets of tees ranging from 5400-7000+. That is a tremendous range of options for all levels of golfers from children and seniors to top level amateur play. The fairways are also wider than average to create some strategic options and alternate routes to the hole. I always enjoy coming to Mercer Oaks because you get the most for your money here. The staff clearly care about maintaining the best product possible and my last visit justifies this praise once again.
|A precise approach is required to find the putting surface here.|
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
|1st Tee and 18th green behind|
Mysterious, incredible, unique, unpredictable, natural, beautiful, astounding. These are some superlatives which streamed through my mind as I walked in the kingdom of golf. There have been many attempts by the best architects in the world to reproduce the elements of the Old Course and I have seen some. But as I walked the course, happily chasing my golf ball, I kept saying, “wow, I have never seen that before.”
|11th and 7th green|
The Old Course has 11 massive double greens, with some holes crossing each other to navigate the "out and in" routing pioneered in St. Andrews by Old Tom Morris. Have you ever seen that on a "modern" golf course? The variety of mounds, swales and hollows will also make you scratch your head when negotiating the many tricky approaches to the greens. Make sure you take a caddy to fully appreciate the nuances of the Old, especially if you only have one round to play, you may hit towards the wrong flag stick once or twice.
An incredible fact to consider is that the Old Course has hosted the British Open 28 times in the 144 year history of the tournament. This is a testament to the quality and integrity of the course as it sits today, challenging professionals and amateurs alike. Scotland's wet and windy conditions also play a role in keeping the game interesting, on a golf course which demands an inventive short game.
I can think of no other place in the world where golf feels so much at home as it does in St. Andrews. The geography of the town literally embraces it, coming right up to the 18th green warmly awaiting intrepid golfers returning from their adventure on the links.
|The home hole, 18|
|Proudly standing in the Strath Bunker!|