Joe Sponcia

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Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« on: November 04, 2013, 11:55:51 pm »
Lookout Mountain Golf Club, Lookout Mountain, GA
Seth Raynor, 1925

Understated, hidden gem, and in my view, one of the toughest sub-6800 yard rounds one could play.  

While Chattanooga Golf and Country Club gets all of the fan fare a few miles down the road (and for good reason, it is very good), Lookout keeps chugging along with sweeping views, diabolical greens, and one of the most unique settings in the South.  

GCA has already profiled this Club in great detail, in short, this was Seth Raynor’s last course.  Due to the oncoming depression and Raynor’s untimely death, the course was never finished as designed.  Several years ago, the club unearthed the original plans and Brian Silva was hired to “bring” back the original design.  

Fortunately it was raining the day I visited...which gave me a chance to meet and speak with Course Superintendent, Mark Stovall, for over an hour.  Mr. Stovall is a contributor on GCA and a keen student of golf course architecture.  

Hole #1 - 443 yards - High Point







View of the Alps Hole #11 to the left:



Looking back into #1 Fairway:



#2 - 445 Yards - Valley









You MUST be below this pin:

« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 12:18:47 am by Joe Sponcia »
Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Brian Finn

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2013, 12:08:37 am »
Very timely (for me) that you have started this thread.  I am playing Lookout Mountain this Saturday, thanks to a very kind and generous site member that arranged my visit.  Really looking forward to seeing all of your photos.

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2013, 12:32:35 am »
Hole #3 - 361 yards - Bottle



Fairway bunker is in play:



Very benign looking green from the fairway with a wedge, but one of the most severe greens on the course.  You must be 6-8 paces to the right of this flag:





Hole 4 - 224 yards - Biarritz





Mr. Stovall is hoping to extend this green in the future to make it a true Biarritz:



« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 12:50:20 am by Joe Sponcia »
Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2013, 12:52:22 am »
Hole #5 - 390 - Bowl

Tee shot needs to start on the extreme left to this blind fairway to have any chance of staying on the short grass:



Huge movement in this property once you top the hill:





Long will give you an easy bogey:



View from back of the green from #6, I have putted almost into the front bunker before(!):

« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 04:42:32 am by Joe Sponcia »
Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2013, 12:58:50 am »
#6 - 126 yards - Short



Looking back on upper tee box (on top of the rocks):





One of the few easy pars on the course:


« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 01:03:02 am by Joe Sponcia »
Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Brian Hoover

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2013, 12:59:20 am »
This Raynor fellow nees to design a few more courses. 

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2013, 01:06:05 am »
#7 - 455 yards - Long

Tee shot needs to start on the very left edge of the Fairway or risk OB:





Take 2.5 clubs more into this green...at least.  More space than appears from the bottom:



Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2013, 01:10:33 am »
#8 - 358 yards - Corner

Favor the left side:







One of the smallest greens on the course.  Really fun hole:

Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2013, 01:15:21 am »
#9 - 375 yards - South:



Lots of exposed stone on this hole, Mr. Stovall commented that he would like to bring more of this out (I agree):



Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2013, 01:20:06 am »
#10 - 570 yards - Cape

My favorite hole at Lookout.  Very good risk reward with lots of movement right to left into the approach:



Layup with a mid-iron or bomb three wood?:







Looking back from the green:

« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 01:25:08 am by Joe Sponcia »
Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2013, 01:34:06 am »
#11 - 418 yards - Alps

Probably the signature hole, favor the right side:



Blind approach with huge flag in the foreground:









« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 01:36:30 am by Joe Sponcia »
Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2013, 06:28:36 am »
Hole #12 - 390 yards - Pond

I usually hit a 5 wood (225-230) which leaves a wedge in.  Accuracy is more important than length.  Fairly easy par 4:





Hole #13 - 203 yards - Redan

Very, very tough par 3.  I usually hit 4 iron (195 yards).  You absolutely have to find the right side of this green.  While not as demonstrative as some of Raynor's other Redan holes, still a great view from the tee:





Anything above the hole is an easy three putt:

« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 07:32:23 am by Joe Sponcia »
Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2013, 06:35:15 am »
Hole #13 - 490 - Lido

What looks to be a short and easy par 5, is anything but.  Playing uphill to a severe and small green, this is a tough hole.  Drive needs to be placed on the extreme left or you will find the fairway bunkers.  Lots of slope in this fairway:









Looking back from the green, what a great view!

[

Hole #15 - 456 yards - Road Hole

Modeled after THE Road Hole.  Very straight forward tee shot, green has quite a bit of movement and sets up perfect for the run up approach:







Bunker on the right is hidden from the fairway:



#16 - 170 yards - Eden

The most severe green on the course in my view, but it doesn't look it at all.  You should aim 6-8 yards right of the pin and DON'T be long.  I had a 12 foot birdie putt, then a 25 foot par, then a 3 foot bogey putt.  Typical of this hole:



« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 07:01:55 am by Joe Sponcia »
Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2013, 06:55:28 am »
#17 - 410 yards - Double Plateau

Spacious off the tee, bunker on the right is in play:





Multiple pin positions make this a great approach:









#18 - 385 yards - Maiden

Anything from 4 iron to 3 wood is a good play.  You really need to hug the right side as the fairway slopes severely downhill left.  For some reason, this always feels like a strange design to end on:







View from the 2nd floor of the clubhouse:





« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 07:28:07 am by Joe Sponcia »
Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Brian Hoover

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2013, 07:12:19 am »
Thanks for the photo tour, Joe. This course looks spectacular. Is it as much fun to play as the photos suggest?  What were the conditions like?  Was the course playing F&F?

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2013, 07:33:40 am »
Brian,

It is a really tough golf course.  I live in Knoxville, TN and have a customer/friend that lives a few minutes from the club above Chattanooga who I used to play with frequently.  Without a little local knowledge, the greens are as hard as any I have ever tried to figure out.  I am currently a 1 handicap and have never been below 78 having played at least a dozen times.  It is a fun driving course, demanding approach shots, but some of the slopes are borderline too much for todays green speeds.  The course generally plays firm and fast, so run up shots are an option...and good play.  It is a really fun round.
Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Will Peterson

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2013, 08:24:40 am »
I was lucky enough to play Lookout Mountain this Friday in perfect autumn weather.  It is a ton of fun.  The greens are extremely tricky to read.  I spoke with the head pro for a bit before heading out, and he gave me a map with the high and low point of the course which was very helpful.

Everything but the greens was dormant, and played decently firm and bouncy.  

It is a spectacular setting, and a wonderful day out.  

The head pro told me that the original plans had the clubhouse near the 2nd green above the 400 foot cliff the course sits on, and that it would have played 3-18, 1, 2, but the road was built and plans changed.  That would have been one great patio to enjoy an after round cocktail.

11th green


looking down 12 from green


« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 09:00:41 am by Will Peterson »

Sean_A

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2013, 01:44:49 pm »
Joe

Thanks for the pix. 

I think there is some sort of mix up with the tee shots for Redan and Double Plateau.

I like the use of rocks for tees!  I especially dig the bench on Lido.  Are the slopes on the front nine fairways as extreme as the pix suggest?

Ciao 

Realistic Next Dozen: Roaring Gap, Orchard Lake, Moortown, Lindrick, Blackmoor, Welshpool,  Mimosa Hills, Leckford, Royal Guernsey, Royal Jersey, Raleigh CC & La Moye

Adam Lawrence

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2013, 01:54:42 pm »
Sean - yeah, they are, in places. The fifth is possibly a little too severe. I played the course in early spring, with the grass barely out of dormancy, and it appeared the only way to keep your ball in the fairway was to land it in the left hand rough. One of my partners spent five minutes looking for his ball in said rough; we eventually found it in the bunker on the other side of the fairway! I loved the course, and Mark does a great job there, but in places it could do with a sensitive touch up. They have had plans in place for a Hanse-led restoration project for several years - I hope that comes off before too long.
Adam Lawrence
Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Eric Strulowitz

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2013, 04:41:20 am »
I don't live all that far from Lookout, can't wait to play it sometime.  Those pictures so far are really great, thanks for sharing!

I have heard some talk about the Dixie Cup coming to Chattanooga next year.  Be great if Lookout could be one of the venues!

Rees Milikin

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2013, 04:58:26 am »
I don't live all that far from Lookout, can't wait to play it sometime.  Those pictures so far are really great, thanks for sharing!

I have heard some talk about the Dixie Cup coming to Chattanooga next year.  Be great if Lookout could be one of the venues!

Dixie Cup in Chattanooga would be great, there are so many good courses in the area, and Chattanooga is a great city.
Sewanee & Battle Creek (hope it finds new owners) 9 hole courses would be a hit if it was held there.

Lawrence Largent

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2013, 07:02:34 am »
As you can tell from the pictures Joe is a very slow player.  The guy in the visor was always ahead in the pictures waiting on Joe to catch up.  Lookout was a much anticipated play and it didn't disappoint!  I will say though a few of the greens have to much tilt for the speeds they keep the greens this time of year.  I would compare Lookout to a really wild roller coaster ride.  Its wild and keeps your attention to the very end.  I think the sad thing about courses like this one is that it would never be built today.  So I'm glad someone had the genius to build it then.

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2013, 07:47:35 am »
Sean,

Thanks for catching the picture mix up - got it fixed now.

Yes, there is quite a bit of movement on the entire property really.  The drives on #5,#7, #13, and #18 are demanding.  2nd Shot on #10...you really can't see until you are on the property.  

All of the par 3's, outside of "Short" #6, are very, very tough from the appropriate tee box.  Like I said, I know where to hit my approaches from experience, but that is only the start.  I think when my friend Lawrence thought he hit a good pitch shot from above #2...and it ended off the green, he was as surprised as I have ever seen him in twenty years of playing with him (and he is a +3 handicap).  It is a really fun round.  I played a few weeks ago at Chattanooga CC and then Lookout the next day and I enjoyed Lookout much more, even though there wasn't a blade of grass out of place at CCC...and the Ross restoration is very good.  Lookout is very unique, and as Lawrence said, something you wouldn't see built today.

Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2013, 07:57:37 am »
Eric, Reese:

I would be happy to meet you in Chattanooga this spring, only 1.5 hours from my house.  Chattanooga CC and Lookout would make for a fun weekend.  If either of you make it to Knoxville, I would be happy to host you at my club.  
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 06:00:11 pm by Joe Sponcia »
Joe

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Rob Curtiss

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Re: Lookout Mountain Golf Club - Pictorial - Raynor
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2014, 03:59:12 am »
Anybody thinking about the spring get together at Lookout Mountain..

Look at this thread and pictures and you just might be persuaded to go!!!!

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