Golf Club Atlas

GolfClubAtlas.com => Golf Course Architecture => Topic started by: Ronald Montesano on November 26, 2017, 09:26:03 AM

Title: 2017 MoGolf Awards
Post by: Ronald Montesano on November 26, 2017, 09:26:03 AM

Encouraged by Sean Arble and his Yank Awards (http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,65278.0.html) I'm offering up a bit of my own, the MoGolf awards. I'll use Sean's scale


3*  Don't miss for any reason
2*  Plan a trip around this course
1*  Worth the expense of an overnight stay
R    Worth a significant day trip (no more driving than it takes to play and have drinks)
r     A good fall back on course/trip filler
NR Not recommended


to keep things standardized. There weren't any early-season trips away from Buffalo-Niagara, so the days from January 1 through April 1 were devoid of golf. That should change in 2018, when I have an Alabama junket in the planning stages. My new golf was restricted to 2 trips: the first was a quick run down to Kiawah Island, for a story I did on GolfWRX. I played two courses and drove a 3rd (more on that later.) In August, my merry threesome (Kevin Lynch of GCA and Eric Hoxie of not GCA, and I) headed over to New Jersey, on a Dean Paolucci-assisted tour of clubs. This trip was also a weird one, for reasons I'll explain after the ratings. Since the majority are private courses, you need to do some legwork to gain access. Here goes, then.
3* - National Golf Links of America. Those who have played it, understand that no scale can contain it. Those who have not played it, should do whatever is legally within their command to play it.   
     - Mountain Ridge country club. This Donald Ross club is spectacular. Much work has been done on tree removal and a return to golf with width. The greens are charming, in a bewitching way. The topography impacts, but does not detract. The savvy required to navigate the course is profound and telling.


2* - Forsgate Banks. Steamshovel Banks did things on a massive scale. This golf course is etched forever in my memory, as the ownership understands what a treasure piece it has, and has taken steps to keep it in appropriate playing condition. No forgettable holes on this golf course.   
     - Kiawah Island Club Cassique course. A nifty, open, kinda Irish course with alternate routings on certain holes (a la the 9th at Pacific Dunes). We played on a day when lightning interrupted on three occasions, so it was on-off-on-off-on-off-back on again. Tremendous.   
     - Kiawah Island River Course course. Hemmed in by the Kiawah River (or is it framed?) and more treed than its counterpart. The River Course is a Fazio design, and is one where you should pick your tee decks carefully. It will require proper length off the tee to reach optimal approach areas, more so than on many other course. Leave the ego at the gym.     
     - Essex County country club. This might have been the most diverse course we played, and it should be, as it is a hybrid of Raynor/Banks and Tillinghast. You can read up on club history on the club website, The course is intriguing from start to finish, and has no forgettable holes. As with all the 1*, 2* and 3* courses listed here, the when can I play it again barometer reading is high.


1* -  Wild Turkey. We played the back nine first, and it is better as the concluding nine. WT is part of the Crystal Springs Resort, and winds its way through lodging, neighborhoods, and incredible topography. It is a cart-ball course, as the space between some greens and tees is substantial (and vertical!) I enjoyed Wild Turkey as a golfer and as a photographer, and would rate it above the other CS course we played, which usually gets more love.   
     - Knoll West. This is Forsgate Banks Light. Formerly a private club (with less play and more attention to detail) Knoll West has some of the bunker scale found at Forsgate, but alas, not enough to stand shoulder to shoulder.


R - Shackamaxon. The course lost a chunk of its navel in the construction of a living development. What is left, is very playable. Conditioning was a bit challenging when we played, in mid-August, but as has often been said, the bones of a wonderful course are there. I'm certain that Old Shack was more interesting than new Shack, as at least 4 holes were impacted by the buildings and roads.     
    - Ballyowen. I built this one up in my mind too much, and then I encountered it on a wet day, when it desperately needed to be drier. I'm not certain what Ballyowen wants to be. It is a hybrid of an Irish links, a Florida resort, and an upland New Jersey track. To be the first, it needs dry conditions. The second forces water into play quite often, as is the case with most Roger Rulewich courses. The closing quintet of holes is meant to make golfers pay for their sins. If you can play those holes in something between even par and even bogey, you have game. They all seem to run uphill, or play over, under, through, around so much sand, that they demand your very best. If you love a challenging, aerial game, Ballyowen is for you.


r - Forest Hills. This is a Tilly that desperately needs tree removal. So much timber interferes with lines of play that it's difficult to imagine how shaped shots might impact result and score. The layout is very good, which makes the impact of trees so frustrating.N - Turtle Point. I'll begin by saying, if you love width without challenge, this is your course. There are three glorious holes along the water that feel so out of place, that I cried as I drove them (didn't play the course, more on that later.) The rest of the course is forgettable. The architect either was restrained by the tenet easy resort course or sent in the D team.


Funny story one: I did not know that Kiawah Island Club and Kiawah Island Resort are two entities. I anticipated playing the Ocean Course for the story, but was only able to secure a tee time on Turtle Point, for the following week! We could not figure out why I was not on the tee sheet, but trust me, it was better to miss the course. It was packed and pace of play was slow, and the golf wasn't that great. I drove the entire 18, photographed all holes, and admired the few mentioned above.


Funny story two: The trip to NGLA, for obvious reasons, was the centerpiece of our August venture. The problem was, I could not make anything happen around it, in terms of club access. Our plan B was to find some other place, and NJ ended up being a brilliant lode. As soon as we had locked in our dates for NJ, clubs on Long Island returned emails and phone calls, telling me that they would love to have us out. Funny, huh? I thought so.
Title: Re: 2017 MoGolf Awards
Post by: Peter Pallotta on November 26, 2017, 10:42:30 AM
 :)  a metaphor for life, eh Ron -- "Long Island" calls back only after we've gotten "New Jersey" all straightened out!


I'm glad you got the chance to play such a fine (and varied) collection.
Might a Sean-style profile of one or more of the courses be in the works?   
Title: Re: 2017 MoGolf Awards
Post by: Ronald Montesano on November 26, 2017, 01:35:27 PM
Agreed, Peter.


I don't know about the profiles (thank you for the encouragement) but here are a few photo glances.


Forsgate: http://buffalogolfer.com/wordpress/glance-forsgate-country-club-banks-course/

Essex County: http://buffalogolfer.com/wordpress/a-glance-at-essex-county-country-club/

Kiawah River Course: http://buffalogolfer.com/wordpress/a-glance-at-kiawah-island-club-river-course/

Wild Turkey: http://buffalogolfer.com/wordpress/a-glance-at-crystal-springs-wild-turkey/

Title: Re: 2017 MoGolf Awards
Post by: Joe Schackman on November 28, 2017, 02:28:29 PM

R - Shackamaxon. The course lost a chunk of its navel in the construction of a living development. What is left, is very playable. Conditioning was a bit challenging when we played, in mid-August, but as has often been said, the bones of a wonderful course are there. I'm certain that Old Shack was more interesting than new Shack, as at least 4 holes were impacted by the buildings and roads.     

I grew up playing Shack (last name is a coincidence!) and been around the track hundreds if not thousands of times. The more time I have spent learning about architecture the more I have come to really appreciate the course and all of its subtitles. It could definitely use more love and the conditioning this year was pretty rough at times.

But just to clarify the actual design of the course was only affected on two holes, 8 and 13. Aesthetically the construction has had a wider impact but the golf course plays mostly the same as it has for the last 20 or so years.
Title: Re: 2017 MoGolf Awards
Post by: Dean Paolucci on November 30, 2017, 02:29:09 PM
I look forward to hearing your plans for next summer's trip!
Title: Re: 2017 MoGolf Awards
Post by: Ronald Montesano on December 05, 2017, 11:24:54 PM
Next summer is an uncertainty, although we could not ask for a better guide/host than you, Dean. There is an RTJ Alabama Trail plan in the works for the spring, as I won't travel with our exchange this year. My running mate is heading on a large trip down under, so his allotment of days will be curtailed by that venture.


My plan is to be at the Open at Shinnecock in June. Golf in that area will be difficult at that time, given the VIPs certain to flood the great L.I. courses. That said, there should be ample opportunity to shoot some courses.


So, what I know is what I don't know. Perhaps it's best that way.




Title: Re: 2017 MoGolf Awards
Post by: Kyle Harris on December 06, 2017, 09:55:59 AM
Funny Story One: NR
Funny Story Two: NR

 :P
Title: Re: 2017 MoGolf Awards
Post by: Ronald Montesano on December 07, 2017, 09:36:15 PM
Kyle,


I don't know the significance of the NR.
Title: Re: 2017 MoGolf Awards
Post by: Kyle Harris on December 08, 2017, 05:36:27 AM
Kyle,


I don't know the significance of the NR.

3*  Don't miss for any reason
2*  Plan a trip around this course
1*  Worth the expense of an overnight stay
R    Worth a significant day trip (no more driving than it takes to play and have drinks)
r     A good fall back on course/trip filler
NR Not recommended
Title: Re: 2017 MoGolf Awards
Post by: Sean_A on December 08, 2017, 05:47:48 AM
Kyle,


I don't know the significance of the NR.

3*  Don't miss for any reason
2*  Plan a trip around this course
1*  Worth the expense of an overnight stay
R    Worth a significant day trip (no more driving than it takes to play and have drinks)
r     A good fall back on course/trip filler
NR Not recommended

Yes, there are some courses I admire, but wouldn't generally recommend (Temple is an example). Or sometimes the course could be good but doesn't offer much in the way of anything different than many other courses, but at a much higher green fee (Belfry and The Grove are exampes). This "scale" is from the perspective of having to travel at least a few hours and often cross an ocean to play.  It is quite different for courses in your immediate home area. 

Ciao
Title: Re: 2017 MoGolf Awards
Post by: Kyle Harris on December 08, 2017, 05:50:13 AM
My lord, I was simply making a joke that Ron's "Funny Stories" only seemed funny within a very narrow context, so therefore, I was not recommending them.

 ;D :D ;) :P :-*

"Audible Yuks" as Huckaby would say.
Title: Re: 2017 MoGolf Awards
Post by: Ronald Montesano on December 09, 2017, 01:30:28 PM
So I walked into this forest the other day, but I couldn't see it through the trees...


Kyle, that was funny. Didn't know if NR had another meaning and didn't even consider the rating guide. I get it now, and should have LOLd it immediately.


SeanA is a leader when it comes to candor. Candor is in short supply these days, given that folks can be erroneously offended at the drop of a syllable. It is a refreshing exercise to follow his guide, as I'm forced to assign things like "not worth a 10-hour drive, but certainly deserving of a 2-hour one." If I were in Cali and someone said "you've a tee time in 4 days at NGLA, but you have to drive," well, watch me drive. Same goes for Cypress Point, all things being manageable (as in, not during the school year!!)