Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dismal River Continued...

18th Hole, Par 4
In my last post I used the phrase "latest and greatest remote destination.." to exemplify the kind of golf course which creates buzz and excitement around the world of golf.  This year that golf course is Tom Doak's latest design at the Dismal River Golf Club, in Mullen, Nebraska.  It is a golf course successful in its virtue of modern minimal design.  I can say this with accuracy and truth as I have participated in the construction first hand.  Even the few holes which required significant earth movement, were only disturbed in part to connect fairway landing areas and add playability.  The 2nd and 13th greens required NO earth movement whatsoever.  They were both tilled, cleaned, and planted as we found them.
2nd Hole, Par 4

I believe all those involved in the project all believed in and tried to emulate the principles of design which Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw pioneered at the Sand Hills Golf Club back in 1991.  Today both of these golf courses exist in remote and often harsh conditions.  Where Sand Hills has stood the test of time, Dismal River follows in its foot steps, adding to the wonderful golf experience that can be had in the Sand Hills of Nebraska.
 3rd Hole, Par 3

My contribution to the construction and design of the new course at Dismal River started by mowing out the prairie grass, but I was mostly on the business end of a rake.  No matter what the task it was a really special privilege to be a part of this vision in the Sand Hills and to help create a legacy for world class golf in this region.
 5th Hole, Par 3
6th Hole, Par 4

Mercer Oaks, West Windsor, NJ

The small NJ commuter town of West Windsor 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. 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.
Try to carry the bunkers or tack around to the right
on this reachable par 5.
The latest 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. Also to the point of accessibility and enjoyment are the 5 sets of tees ranging from 5400-7000+.

More options abound off the tee on this reachable par 4.
The range of options for all levels of golfers from children and seniors to top level
amateur play creates an  opportunity for everyone to have fun. 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 possible product and my last visit justifies this praise once again.

Weaker players still have a chance to bounce a shot up the left side,
while the more accurate players are still challenged by the green side bunkers