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Bart Bradley

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On our recent trip to England, I was blown away by our day at Sunningdale.  I am not certain that I have ever been to a private club that had 2 courses equal to the overall found in the New and Old Courses at Sunningdale.

You can check out my essay about our day at www.bradleygolftravel.blogspot.com and view some highlight photos from Sunningdale New here:  http://bradleygolftravel.blogspot.com/2011/07/day-at-sunningdale.html

Amazingly, after 33 great holes the finish on the Old blew me away.  Lovely, visually stimulating and challenging holes.  These finishing 3 holes are difficult to surpass (of the courses I have played, only Merion and Oakmont come to mind as having 3 equal/better closers).

The 16th:





The 17th :



The approach on 17 with the 18th in the background (be sure to check out the clubhouse and the iconic tree in front)



What say you?  What is your opinion of the finish at Sunningdale Old?  Which courses have the best 3 finishers?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 06:25:35 PM by Bart Bradley »

Mac Plumart

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Re: Sunningdale Old: Among the best 3 finishing holes?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2011, 06:07:22 PM »
Bart...

Sunningdale Old looks amazing.  I'm sure the finishers are outstanding.  But I always struggle with trying to figure out answers to questions like you pose; best closing three holes in golf.

The National Golf Links of America has a great finishing three holes.
The Old Course at St. Andrews has an amazing finish.
Sand Hills.
Muirfield.
Shinnecock.

See what I mean, I can't say definitively what course has the best finishing three holes.  A lot of the truly  great courses inherently have great finishing holes.
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

Frank_M

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Re: Sunningdale Old: Among the best 3 finishing holes? (photos)
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2011, 10:30:24 PM »
Oh Sunningdale....how do I love thee....let me count the ways:

1-18 Old

AND

1-18 New


They may very well be three of the best finishing holes.....but there are MANY. I'd put Capilano up against them for example (you can see them in my photo tour). Are they better? I don't know how to judge that really....but they are also three of the best finishing holes.

So...The Old are not THE best, but among them for sure.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 10:32:16 PM by Frank Mastroianni »

Bart Bradley

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Re: Sunningdale Old: Among the best 3 finishing holes?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2011, 01:46:42 PM »
Bart...

Sunningdale Old looks amazing.  I'm sure the finishers are outstanding.  But I always struggle with trying to figure out answers to questions like you pose; best closing three holes in golf.

The National Golf Links of America has a great finishing three holes.
The Old Course at St. Andrews has an amazing finish.
Sand Hills.
Muirfield.
Shinnecock.

See what I mean, I can't say definitively what course has the best finishing three holes.  A lot of the truly  great courses inherently have great finishing holes.

Mac:

I haven't seen the National but have played the others that you mentioned.  I agree they all have good finishing holes.  Do you really think 18 at St. Andrews is a great hole?  How about 17 at Shinnecock?  They are both solid fun holes but 18 at St. Andrews was a 3 wood, wedge for me and 17 at Shinnecock is quite a nice par 3 but not particularly a standout.  Please understand that I love both of those courses and rate the entirety of all of those courses well above Sunningdale Old...

Bart 

Mac Plumart

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Re: Sunningdale Old: Among the best 3 finishing holes? (photos)
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2011, 07:14:02 PM »
Bart...

Good questions/points.

Regarding 17 at Shinnecock, man...I thought it was quite good and nestled in between 16 and 18 made for a pretty darn near ideal flow of holes and challenges.

18 at TOC...great hole in isolation?  Probably not...but that green after the greens at 16 and 17 was a darn nicely compliment.

But I hear you, Sunningdale might be better...but I don't know for sure I haven't played it yet.

I'd love to hear some others who've played it chime in and if you can touch on what you loved about the holes, in the way they were presented, that would be great.
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

Kevin Pallier

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Re: Sunningdale Old: Among the best 3 finishing holes? (photos)
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2011, 07:20:15 PM »
Bart

I like Sunningdale too but I think the following shade it:
Merion
Sand Hills
Royal Melbourne West
and I also have a soft spot for TOC

Tom Kelly

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Re: Sunningdale Old: Among the best 3 finishing holes? (photos) New
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2011, 07:28:38 PM »
Bart...

Good questions/points.

Regarding 17 at Shinnecock, man...I thought it was quite good and nestled in between 16 and 18 made for a pretty darn near ideal flow of holes and challenges.

18 at TOC...great hole in isolation?  Probably not...but that green after the greens at 16 and 17 was a darn nicely compliment.

But I hear you, Sunningdale might be better...but I don't know for sure I haven't played it yet.

I'd love to hear some others who've played it chime in and if you can touch on what you loved about the holes, in the way they were presented, that would be great.

18th at TOC is a fantastic finishing hole, try it when it the wind is up and the pin is just over the valley of sin. You might even consider putting it from 50 yards out instead of having  your wedge getting caught in the wind and coming up short.....any that do have some results in some fun down in the depths of the valley!

I also doubt there are many holes in golf where everybody, be they a hacker or a pro gets a crowd willing to give a few applause as you hole out?

I haven't be lucky enough to have played many of the others that have been mention but 16, 17 and 18 at TOC is hard to beat in my mind.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 12:12:37 PM by Thomas Kelly »

JNC Lyon

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Re: Sunningdale Old: Among the best 3 finishing holes? (photos)
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2011, 08:48:40 PM »
Bart,

How long are the closing holes at Sunningdale?  If I remember correctly from my reading, they are all long par fours, no?  I was thinking about this at Merion (East) as well: you finish with a monster par three sandwiched into between two bruising par fours, all of which are cool holes but none of which are particularly strategic.

I guess I'd like see more variety in finishing stretches.  I loved watching the finish at Greenbrier today: an difficult long par four with some strategy off the tee, a short par five (for those guys), and a short par three.  There were blowups, great swings of fortune, a close finish, and, ultimately, two great shots by the eventual winner.  On the other hand, these bruising finishes seem produce death marches, which are boring as hell.

Great finishing stretches?  How about Garden City!  A great mid-length par four at 16, a short par five at 17 with a nervy tee shot, and a brilliant Eden Hole par three finish, right in front of the clubhouse.  Strategy, variety, drama in the club tournaments.  Prestwick, with two drivable par fours (one, 18, has a feature that was the direct inspiration for much of Pete Dye's early work) and the Alps.  Most importantly, my beloved Deal has a grand finish: a short par five with a brilliant green site, a shorter par four with wild undulations and a great green, and the bunker-free but brutal 18th, finishing with a vast plateau green.

Variety, strategy, and drama: these are three things I look for, but don't often see, in a finishing stretch.
"That's why Oscar can't see that!" - Philip E. "Timmy" Thomas

Bart Bradley

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Re: Sunningdale Old: Among the best 3 finishing holes? (photos)
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2011, 10:48:39 PM »
JNC and Mac:

Yes, they are mid-long par 4s.  But there is variety...check out the pictures.  Approach on 16 uphill, downhill on 17...etc.  Attractive and strategic bunkering.  There are distinct possibilities of uphill, downhill and sidehill lies.

My preferences:  I like hard finishing holes that ask for strong play.  I don't like finishing on a "easy birdie" hole.  I like my 18th holes to be half par holes on the hard side.  I like 18th holes that finish close to the clubhouse.

What I like best about these 3 holes is how they drape over the land.  The holes are built on great land for golf.  I love the view as you stroll down the 17th all the way to the clubhouse.  The cross bunkering on the holes allows for shots that land short of the green and bounce in.  The 18th finishes just steps away from the porch.

Funny, but I loved the finish at Merion.  What a thrill to make a cherished par on 18.  Merion is my favorite course of all...and a large part of that affection stems from the demands, interest, and land movement of the finishing holes. 

Bart

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