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A.G._Crockett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« on: September 28, 2023, 03:59:59 PM »
I played Tot Hill yesterday for the first time since it reopened a few weeks ago, after being closed for a restoration/renovation project by the new owners.  There is a pretty good summary of what they did on each hole on their website, btw, but it is a true restoration, working from Mike Strantz's original drawings, which they collected from several sources, including Mike's widow, Heidi Strantz Mortimer.  I first played Tot Hill right after it opened in 2000 and more or less regularly ever since, so my interest in seeing what an infusion of money could do was pretty high.   Here's my take on the good and the bad (or at least questionable..)

The good:


1. Great upgrade of the range and the clubhouse.  The old double-wide that had always served as the clubhouse is gone, and the original farmhouse just to the right is now the clubhouse.  The work they've done inside is really nice, and it's just a much better facility in every respect.  The range has been completely regrassed, and there are rolls of hay out on the range as targets, which is kind of a cool look on an old farm.  In the past, the range balls were pretty much whatever turned up as lost on the golf course, and they were often in miserable condition; that's been changed to decent range balls, which is a nice upgrade, and long overdue.

2. 1200 trees have been removed, with more to come, though on a property like this, it's hard to tell at a glance.  I don't think there was much, if any, change to the playing lines, but I'm sure that air circulation and turf health will be greatly improved.  The only place the tree removal was even noticeable was in between the 13th green and the 14th tee, and then only because the stumps were still there; none of the huge hardwoods that were taken out there were in play, but for both the 13th green and 14th tee, it should make a big difference.

3.  Way back in 2000 when I first played there, the par 3 13th was a three tier green that was more than 50 yards deep.  I was playing by myself that day, and there wasn't anybody behind me, so I putted up and down from the three levels; it was a really unique green. When I came back a couple of years later, the upper tier was gone; after my round, I asked why, and was told that when the pin was on the top level, players were hitting lob wedges from the bottom tier to the top.  That didn't really ring true then, and I was please yesterday to see the third tier back.  I mentioned it afterwards, including what I had been told about it's removal, and the guy I was talking to told me that was never true; that the super at that time just didn't want to mow a 50+ yd green and thought two levels were enough of a challenge anyway.So I was REALLY happy to see the third tier restored, and the green looking and playing the way Strantz intended.  For those of us who are Strantz fans, it's pretty close to sacrilege to make a change like that in the first place, and GREAT to see the damage undone.

4. The 17th, which is the #1 handicap hole and one of the hardest holes you will EVER play, has a "false side" on the left that rolls down toward a hazard; originally there had been a small collection bunker there, and for some inexplicable reason, it had been removed, so that balls rolled all the way to the hazard and were often lost or at least unplayable.  They are now putting that bunker back in, and making the hole play the way it was supposed to.  Again, a great change back to what Strantz intended.

5. Several other bunkers have been reclaimed, and some others that had been added have been removed, and several back tees that had been abandoned have been restored, though I doubt there is much play from the back tees at Tot Hill.

The bad, or at least questionable:


1. They have regrassed the greens with a new strain of Zoysia that has been developed specifically for use on greens.  I want to be fair here; they LOOK fantastic, and the turf on the greens is by far the healthiest I've ever seen at Tot Hill.  This grass looks NOTHING like any Zoysia I've ever seen; very fine bladed, almost like Bent, and VERY dense and firm, like Bermuda, and we didn't make a ball mark all day.   However, they were painfully slow (maybe 7 or 8?) and perhaps the grainiest greens I've ever putted on.  None of the things that we do to read the grain on Bermuda worked on the Zoysia; there was no shiny side, and there wasn't a chewed up side of the cup.  Literally, your first clue about which way the grain ran was when your putt started to slow down, and THEN the effect was startling.  These are brand new putting surfaces, and I'm hopeful that they will gradually get faster and more true with time, but I just don't have enough experience on Zoysia greens to know.  I think one BIG issue for the Superintendent going forward is likely to be the inability to call other supers to see what they are doing; you're sort of on an island when you're the only course around with those greens.  Add to that the fact that Tot Hill is likely more of a micro climate than most; it's in the Uwharrie Mts., with a lot of elevation changes, and a ton of shade, even with the tree removal.

2. Pricing...We paid $110, plus $20 for a cart.  (I walked Tot Hill the first time I played it in 2000; I'll never do that again!  So effectively, the rate is $125.)  As best I can tell, that is the ONLY 18 hole rate they currently offer; all ages, all times of the day, 7 days a week.  That's a LOT higher than the old rates, and though the course is in far, far better condition than before, it is VERY hard for me to see that as workable long term.  Tot Hill is pretty remote, and not only were we on an almost empty golf course yesterday, but looking online today, the weekend tee sheet is almost completely open on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.  I want to give the new ownership credit for due diligence, and I'm hoping they have a pricing strategy that is workable.  But I have a hard time imagining me going there more than once a year at that rate.

If you haven't seen it, it's worth a trip and the price.  If you are a fan of the work of Mike Strantz, it's worth the trip and the price.  If you've never played it, but you've played Tobacco Road or True Blue and didn't like them, then it's very possible you'll feel the same  about Tot Hill.  I think it's a cool golf course, and I hope all of this works for the new owners.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2023, 04:07:36 PM by A.G._Crockett »
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Mike Hendren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2023, 07:06:28 PM »
Thanks for the update, A.G.   17 was my favorite hole and brought to mind The Road Hole at The Old Course.  Make sense?
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

A.G._Crockett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2023, 07:50:12 PM »
Thanks for the update, A.G.   17 was my favorite hole and brought to mind The Road Hole at The Old Course.  Make sense?
Mike, I actually initially wrote that in my post, using the words, "tribute to the Road Hole", but deleted it just because I didn't want to presume to know what Mike Strantz had in mind.  But yes, it reminds me of that.

Fwiw, yesterday I hit my second shot right of the stone fence but NOT into Tot Hill Road.  I pitched back over the stone fence and two putted for bogey, which didn't disappoint me at all.  The pitch was maybe one more roll from going down into the collection area I mentioned, so I got out pretty lucky.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Jay Mickle

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2023, 10:05:46 PM »
I, too, had always thought of 17 as a tribute to the Road Hole, with a grass bunker(collection area) rather than a sand bunker. It has the shape and both a stone wall and a road. Glad to hear that work has been done on it. I will have to get up there and have a look.
@MickleStix on Instagram
MickleStix.com

Michael Wharton-Palmer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2023, 01:33:02 PM »
I have played there twice in the past few weeks and enthralled with the place.
It is so much fun to play, is it your normal golf course, hell no, but what a thrill ride.
The par threes are amazing and I agree with the #17 Road Hole comparisons , but even more difficult.
I found the finishing hole a bit of a let down after the previous 17, but other than that I loved it.
Great welcoming staff, good conditioning but I agree not sure how effective the business model will be.
I think the green fee is good value but its location will make it difficult.
Hopefully the Pinehurst travel packages that include TR will start to include Tot Hill as well.
A very much thumbs up for me

Mike Hendren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2023, 01:47:26 PM »
If in the area with extra time check out Ashboro Muni - a rustic Ross nine-holer.  The original routing on linen is available for viewing at the municipal building. 
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

A.G._Crockett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2023, 05:37:39 PM »
I have played there twice in the past few weeks and enthralled with the place.
It is so much fun to play, is it your normal golf course, hell no, but what a thrill ride.
The par threes are amazing and I agree with the #17 Road Hole comparisons , but even more difficult.
I found the finishing hole a bit of a let down after the previous 17, but other than that I loved it.
Great welcoming staff, good conditioning but I agree not sure how effective the business model will be.
I think the green fee is good value but its location will make it difficult.
Hopefully the Pinehurst travel packages that include TR will start to include Tot Hill as well.
A very much thumbs up for me


Iím really glad you liked it!  And youíre right; it is a VERY cool set of par 3ís, even by Strantz standards.




Since I wrote my original post, Iíve been told that it is possible to get the zoysia hybrid Tot Hill is using to much faster green speeds, maybe 11ish.  And on those greens 11 would be plenty!  Another question that has occurred to me since the OP is the protocol for covering Zoysia greens when it gets cold.  I donít know if the parameters are similar to the various Bermudas, or less demanding.  But those will be some BIG covers!
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Peter Sayegh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2023, 10:50:23 AM »
I played Tot Hill yesterday for the first time since it reopened a few weeks ago, after being closed for a restoration/renovation project by the new owners.  There is a pretty good summary of what they did on each hole on their website, btw, but it is a true restoration, working from Mike Strantz's original drawings, which they collected from several sources, including Mike's widow, Heidi Strantz Mortimer.  I first played Tot Hill right after it opened in 2000 and more or less regularly ever since, so my interest in seeing what an infusion of money could do was pretty high.   Here's my take on the good and the bad (or at least questionable..)

The good:


1. Great upgrade of the range and the clubhouse.  The old double-wide that had always served as the clubhouse is gone, and the original farmhouse just to the right is now the clubhouse.  The work they've done inside is really nice, and it's just a much better facility in every respect.  The range has been completely regrassed, and there are rolls of hay out on the range as targets, which is kind of a cool look on an old farm.  In the past, the range balls were pretty much whatever turned up as lost on the golf course, and they were often in miserable condition; that's been changed to decent range balls, which is a nice upgrade, and long overdue.

2. 1200 trees have been removed, with more to come, though on a property like this, it's hard to tell at a glance.  I don't think there was much, if any, change to the playing lines, but I'm sure that air circulation and turf health will be greatly improved.  The only place the tree removal was even noticeable was in between the 13th green and the 14th tee, and then only because the stumps were still there; none of the huge hardwoods that were taken out there were in play, but for both the 13th green and 14th tee, it should make a big difference.

3.  Way back in 2000 when I first played there, the par 3 13th was a three tier green that was more than 50 yards deep.  I was playing by myself that day, and there wasn't anybody behind me, so I putted up and down from the three levels; it was a really unique green. When I came back a couple of years later, the upper tier was gone; after my round, I asked why, and was told that when the pin was on the top level, players were hitting lob wedges from the bottom tier to the top.  That didn't really ring true then, and I was please yesterday to see the third tier back.  I mentioned it afterwards, including what I had been told about it's removal, and the guy I was talking to told me that was never true; that the super at that time just didn't want to mow a 50+ yd green and thought two levels were enough of a challenge anyway.So I was REALLY happy to see the third tier restored, and the green looking and playing the way Strantz intended.  For those of us who are Strantz fans, it's pretty close to sacrilege to make a change like that in the first place, and GREAT to see the damage undone.

4. The 17th, which is the #1 handicap hole and one of the hardest holes you will EVER play, has a "false side" on the left that rolls down toward a hazard; originally there had been a small collection bunker there, and for some inexplicable reason, it had been removed, so that balls rolled all the way to the hazard and were often lost or at least unplayable.  They are now putting that bunker back in, and making the hole play the way it was supposed to.  Again, a great change back to what Strantz intended.

5. Several other bunkers have been reclaimed, and some others that had been added have been removed, and several back tees that had been abandoned have been restored, though I doubt there is much play from the back tees at Tot Hill.

The bad, or at least questionable:


1. They have regrassed the greens with a new strain of Zoysia that has been developed specifically for use on greens.  I want to be fair here; they LOOK fantastic, and the turf on the greens is by far the healthiest I've ever seen at Tot Hill.  This grass looks NOTHING like any Zoysia I've ever seen; very fine bladed, almost like Bent, and VERY dense and firm, like Bermuda, and we didn't make a ball mark all day.   However, they were painfully slow (maybe 7 or 8?) and perhaps the grainiest greens I've ever putted on.  None of the things that we do to read the grain on Bermuda worked on the Zoysia; there was no shiny side, and there wasn't a chewed up side of the cup.  Literally, your first clue about which way the grain ran was when your putt started to slow down, and THEN the effect was startling.  These are brand new putting surfaces, and I'm hopeful that they will gradually get faster and more true with time, but I just don't have enough experience on Zoysia greens to know.  I think one BIG issue for the Superintendent going forward is likely to be the inability to call other supers to see what they are doing; you're sort of on an island when you're the only course around with those greens.  Add to that the fact that Tot Hill is likely more of a micro climate than most; it's in the Uwharrie Mts., with a lot of elevation changes, and a ton of shade, even with the tree removal.

2. Pricing...We paid $110, plus $20 for a cart.  (I walked Tot Hill the first time I played it in 2000; I'll never do that again!  So effectively, the rate is $125.)  As best I can tell, that is the ONLY 18 hole rate they currently offer; all ages, all times of the day, 7 days a week.  That's a LOT higher than the old rates, and though the course is in far, far better condition than before, it is VERY hard for me to see that as workable long term.  Tot Hill is pretty remote, and not only were we on an almost empty golf course yesterday, but looking online today, the weekend tee sheet is almost completely open on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.  I want to give the new ownership credit for due diligence, and I'm hoping they have a pricing strategy that is workable.  But I have a hard time imagining me going there more than once a year at that rate.

If you haven't seen it, it's worth a trip and the price.  If you are a fan of the work of Mike Strantz, it's worth the trip and the price.  If you've never played it, but you've played Tobacco Road or True Blue and didn't like them, then it's very possible you'll feel the same  about Tot Hill.  I think it's a cool golf course, and I hope all of this works for the new owners.


Thanks AG. I'll see the "new" THF  in two weeks.
My first time playing there must have been shortly after that tier on 13 was abandoned. My playing partner offered numerous reasons why-all of which he dismissed as excuses.
Excited to see the approach on 17. Was never really tough, but intimidating.



Peter Sayegh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2023, 04:14:19 PM »
Played today.
Just incredible.
None of the changes since the renovation smacked me in the face, but the place "felt better."
New back (Black) tees have been (re)claimed and the silver-6300 yds-are a handful.
Trackbacks and terrain make it almost impossible to walk. That was always the case.
"Waterfall" reclaimed behind 15 green.



A.G. The back portion of 13 is grassed but I think it'll be a few months till they put a pin there.
The bunker on 17 is still planned. I forgot to ask its exact location/size.
The greens were still on the slow side but fine.
After today, I'm more likely to take guests to THF rather than TR for value when we're in Pinehurst.
I'll try to post photos when I get home.



Jerry Kluger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2023, 06:01:31 PM »
I have not played TH but I have played Tobacco Road (TR) a few times.  I believe I can say that most people who have played TR have a very strong opinion of how they view the course and I had heard that TH had a similar vibe.  Do you guys feel that TH is unique enough that it will also generate strong opinions and will it be likely that those who have a strong opinion about TR will also have a strong opinion about TH?

Peter Sayegh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2023, 07:05:16 PM »
I have not played TH but I have played Tobacco Road (TR) a few times.  I believe I can say that most people who have played TR have a very strong opinion of how they view the course and I had heard that TH had a similar vibe.  Do you guys feel that TH is unique enough that it will also generate strong opinions and will it be likely that those who have a strong opinion about TR will also have a strong opinion about TH?
Jerry, I've played both 6-8 times each.
Never thought I'd say this, but I now consider TH a tick above TR.The extensive tree removal did not affect any of the playing corridors...but their removal certainly revealed the width that is present at TH. THAT was striking to me today.
I think TH would be more polarizing for the above average golfer. Boulders ain't as forgiving as sand to an average strike.
Both have their fair share of blind shots. I should tally them up.
I've never met anyone that strongly despises Caledonia. I've met countless players who either love or hate TH and TR (applies to True Blue, as well). Never played Bulls Bay and haven't talked to enough golfers to gauge an opinion.


Erik J. Barzeski

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2023, 07:36:36 PM »
I believe I can say that most people who have played TR have a very strong opinion of how they view the course
I keep hearing that golfers either love or hate TR, but I've met a LOT of people who are pretty squarely in the middle. Heck, I'm in the middle. I love taking first-timers there, to see what they think and how they react, but I don't love or hate the place myself.

I didn't love or hate Royal New Kent, either, and I quite like Caledonia (and like True Blue only a little bit less).
Erik J. Barzeski @iacas
Author, Lowest Score Wins, Instructor/Coach, and Lifetime Student of the Game.

I ignore Rob, Tim, and Garland.

Brian Finn

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2023, 08:13:37 PM »
I have not played TH but I have played Tobacco Road (TR) a few times.  I believe I can say that most people who have played TR have a very strong opinion of how they view the course and I had heard that TH had a similar vibe.  Do you guys feel that TH is unique enough that it will also generate strong opinions and will it be likely that those who have a strong opinion about TR will also have a strong opinion about TH?
Yes, most people have strong opinions about both TR and THF.

I know some people who love both courses (myself included). 

I know some people who love TR, but believe THF is too much / not great.

I donít know anyone who loves THF that doesnít also appreciate TR.
New for 2023:  Cheraw SP, Grandfather, Clyne, Tenby, Pennard, Langland Bay, Southerndown, Pyle & Kenfig, Royal Porthcawl, Ashburnham, Rolls of Monmouth, Old Barnwell...

A.G._Crockett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2023, 09:38:30 PM »
Played today.
Just incredible.
None of the changes since the renovation smacked me in the face, but the place "felt better."
New back (Black) tees have been (re)claimed and the silver-6300 yds-are a handful.
Trackbacks and terrain make it almost impossible to walk. That was always the case.
"Waterfall" reclaimed behind 15 green.



A.G. The back portion of 13 is grassed but I think it'll be a few months till they put a pin there.
The bunker on 17 is still planned. I forgot to ask its exact location/size.
The greens were still on the slow side but fine.
After today, I'm more likely to take guests to THF rather than TR for value when we're in Pinehurst.
I'll try to post photos when I get home.


The bunker on 17 is not visible except from the left side of the green itself; not at all until you are on the green.  Itís been dug out, and they were putting in the drainage system when I was there.  It pretty small, almost a pot bunker, but not that deep.  Itíll collect balls that miss to the left; the green on that side has a V shape that runs off to that bunker. 


I think that in addition to be a reclamation of hat Strantz built, itíll also improve playability at least a bit; balls will be less likely to run into the high grass and penalty area on that side.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

A.G._Crockett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2023, 09:51:05 PM »
I have not played TH but I have played Tobacco Road (TR) a few times.  I believe I can say that most people who have played TR have a very strong opinion of how they view the course and I had heard that TH had a similar vibe.  Do you guys feel that TH is unique enough that it will also generate strong opinions and will it be likely that those who have a strong opinion about TR will also have a strong opinion about TH?


I think that anyone that has a strong opinion, one way or the other, about Tobacco Road is probably likely to feel the same, though perhaps not quite as strongly, about Tot Hill.  I canít really imagine someone really liking one and not liking the other. 


Most of the people that Iíve met over the years that truly disliked Tobacco Road couldnít get around the visual intimidation, played poorly, lost a lot of golf balls, and shot a million.  And the people that love Tobacco Road, like me, just love the art of the place, even on the days weíve played poorly.  I know that probably sounds judgmental and maybe self-congratulatory, but thatís my take.


Tot Hill may not be quite as extreme in that regard, but itís the same basic dichotomy, I think.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Richard Hetzel

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2023, 07:42:48 AM »
I have played both. Honestly, I could see not liking Tot Hill all that much if you have already played Tobacco Road (and loved it), it's that much better in my opinion. In fact, Tobacco Road is one of my all time favorite golf courses, whether I play poorly or well.
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Peter Sayegh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2023, 10:32:28 AM »

The bunker on 17 is not visible except from the left side of the green itself; not at all until you are on the green.  Itís been dug out, and they were putting in the drainage system when I was there.  It pretty small, almost a pot bunker, but not that deep.  Itíll collect balls that miss to the left; the green on that side has a V shape that runs off to that bunker. 
I think that in addition to be a reclamation of hat Strantz built, itíll also improve playability at least a bit; balls will be less likely to run into the high grass and penalty area on that side.

Thanks AG.
I actually landed in that exact area. You are spot on with your report. I initially thought the bunker would run the length of the spine that dictates the falloff to the left but you're right. It looks it will be a "pottish" bunker. My picture makes the area look larger. I can attest to your assertion the "V" will filter shots into the bunker. I chunked my wedge and it rolled back to my feet. Hopefully, I figured out the picture thing to illustrate the point.


If so, there are also a couple pictures of the restored back section of #13 (which I've been told many times actually extended a little further to the left than my pictures captured).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/194357794@N03/albums/72177720311882768/with/53251976417

AG, do you remember what tees you played from on your last two visits? I played the "silver" this time (listed at 6203 on current scorecard) which I think is akin(yardage-wise) to those I've played in the past, but many teeing areas were new to me. Particularly, the fourth. Was that your feeling?
« Last Edit: October 12, 2023, 11:52:23 AM by Peter Sayegh »

Edward Glidewell

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2023, 05:29:56 PM »
Jerry, I've played both 6-8 times each.
Never thought I'd say this, but I now consider TH a tick above TR.The extensive tree removal did not affect any of the playing corridors...but their removal certainly revealed the width that is present at TH. THAT was striking to me today.
I think TH would be more polarizing for the above average golfer. Boulders ain't as forgiving as sand to an average strike.
Both have their fair share of blind shots. I should tally them up.
I've never met anyone that strongly despises Caledonia. I've met countless players who either love or hate TH and TR (applies to True Blue, as well). Never played Bulls Bay and haven't talked to enough golfers to gauge an opinion.


I don't think Bulls Bay is polarizing the way Tobacco Road/Tot Hill Farm (and True Blue, to a lesser extent) are.


I'd say it's closer to them than Caledonia in terms of overall design, but it doesn't have the blind shots etc. that they do. I know a couple of people who wouldn't play Tobacco Road or Tot Hill Farm for free but really like Bulls Bay. I personally think Bulls Bay is fantastic.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2023, 05:32:39 PM by Edward Glidewell »

mike_beene

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2023, 09:48:24 PM »
How do they compare to Stonehouse? I thought it was over the top as opposed to Royal New Kent which was fun. Only two Stranz I have played.

A.G._Crockett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2023, 09:41:16 AM »

The bunker on 17 is not visible except from the left side of the green itself; not at all until you are on the green.  Itís been dug out, and they were putting in the drainage system when I was there.  It pretty small, almost a pot bunker, but not that deep.  Itíll collect balls that miss to the left; the green on that side has a V shape that runs off to that bunker. 
I think that in addition to be a reclamation of hat Strantz built, itíll also improve playability at least a bit; balls will be less likely to run into the high grass and penalty area on that side.

Thanks AG.
I actually landed in that exact area. You are spot on with your report. I initially thought the bunker would run the length of the spine that dictates the falloff to the left but you're right. It looks it will be a "pottish" bunker. My picture makes the area look larger. I can attest to your assertion the "V" will filter shots into the bunker. I chunked my wedge and it rolled back to my feet. Hopefully, I figured out the picture thing to illustrate the point.


If so, there are also a couple pictures of the restored back section of #13 (which I've been told many times actually extended a little further to the left than my pictures captured).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/194357794@N03/albums/72177720311882768/with/53251976417

AG, do you remember what tees you played from on your last two visits? I played the "silver" this time (listed at 6203 on current scorecard) which I think is akin(yardage-wise) to those I've played in the past, but many teeing areas were new to me. Particularly, the fourth. Was that your feeling?


Weíre old (Iím 71 and my buddy is 75); we played the white tees, which is plenty of golf course at not only Tot Hill, but any Strantz course.  In fact, I think True Blue is the only course Iíve ever seen that now list the tees on the scorecard in reverse order, from shortest on top to longest on the bottom line in hopes of getting players to think about what tees theyíre playing and pick an ďappropriateĒ set.


Itís funny that you mention the tees on #4; we couldnít find our at first.  Drove past it coming off of #3 without realizing there was even a tee there, and got up to the top of the hill and realized we had gone too far.  I donít think I had ever played that tee before (down low on the right, not far from the cart path), so Iím not sure if that is a reclaimed Strantz tee or not.  It did make the hole longer, AND a bit more visually intimidating because we couldnít see the green at all, BUT perhaps a bit easier because it took the creek on the right much more out of play while leaving plenty of room on the left.  In that respect, it FELT like a Strantz shot.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

A.G._Crockett

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Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2023, 09:45:15 AM »
Jerry, I've played both 6-8 times each.
Never thought I'd say this, but I now consider TH a tick above TR.The extensive tree removal did not affect any of the playing corridors...but their removal certainly revealed the width that is present at TH. THAT was striking to me today.
I think TH would be more polarizing for the above average golfer. Boulders ain't as forgiving as sand to an average strike.
Both have their fair share of blind shots. I should tally them up.
I've never met anyone that strongly despises Caledonia. I've met countless players who either love or hate TH and TR (applies to True Blue, as well). Never played Bulls Bay and haven't talked to enough golfers to gauge an opinion.


I don't think Bulls Bay is polarizing the way Tobacco Road/Tot Hill Farm (and True Blue, to a lesser extent) are.


I'd say it's closer to them than Caledonia in terms of overall design, but it doesn't have the blind shots etc. that they do. I know a couple of people who wouldn't play Tobacco Road or Tot Hill Farm for free but really like Bulls Bay. I personally think Bulls Bay is fantastic.


I would agree with this; I canít imagine Bulls Bay being ďpolarizingĒ at all, and I, too, thought it was terrific.  I think youíre also correct about the general feel and look of Bulls Bay; itís nothing like Caledonia, but also not nearly as visually intimidating as TR/THF/TB are. 
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

A.G._Crockett

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Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2023, 09:48:36 AM »
How do they compare to Stonehouse? I thought it was over the top as opposed to Royal New Kent which was fun. Only two Stranz I have played.


Iíve only played Stonehouse once, and the conditions werenít very good.  I liked it, but I think youíd find Tobacco Rd, Tot Hill, and True Blue to have much more in common with Royal New Kent than with Stonehouse.  I agree with you that RNK is great fun.
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Will Spivey

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Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2023, 03:58:04 PM »
I have really enjoyed this thread!


I last played THF in April, 2019. It was my third time there. Based on what I've read here, I need to head back to give it another look. I will confess, I am in the "hate it" camp. Tobacco Road is controversial, and not my cup of tea, but I do agree that anyone interested in GCA should see it. I would not say the same about THF. In fact I gave THF the lowest score I've ever submitted to GolfWeek as a rater (remember, only the top 1000 or so courses in the US are even on the ballot, so a low score means it scores poorly among the Top 1000 courses in the country -- there are plenty of "worse" places to play).


I struggled with site, the routing and the general "over the top-ness" of the whole place. I agree the greens are interesting, but to me, THF flew right past "quirky" and landed squarely on "goofy." Perhaps the renovations, and particularly the tree removal, will help with a fresh look at it.


Surely the course is about as close to un-walkable as it gets. I remember not only extreme elevation changes, but also several long green to tee walks.


I'll give it another look next year.

A.G._Crockett

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Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2023, 04:51:01 PM »
I have really enjoyed this thread!


I last played THF in April, 2019. It was my third time there. Based on what I've read here, I need to head back to give it another look. I will confess, I am in the "hate it" camp. Tobacco Road is controversial, and not my cup of tea, but I do agree that anyone interested in GCA should see it. I would not say the same about THF. In fact I gave THF the lowest score I've ever submitted to GolfWeek as a rater (remember, only the top 1000 or so courses in the US are even on the ballot, so a low score means it scores poorly among the Top 1000 courses in the country -- there are plenty of "worse" places to play).


I struggled with site, the routing and the general "over the top-ness" of the whole place. I agree the greens are interesting, but to me, THF flew right past "quirky" and landed squarely on "goofy." Perhaps the renovations, and particularly the tree removal, will help with a fresh look at it.


Surely the course is about as close to un-walkable as it gets. I remember not only extreme elevation changes, but also several long green to tee walks.


I'll give it another look next year.


Will,


I donít think that anything that has been done at THF will change your opinion.  The tree removal work is for air circulation, more sunlight on the greens, and general turf health; it has literally nothing to do with lines of play, shot values, etc.  In fact, if you werenít told that trees had been removed, I donít think youíd even know it.


We will have to agree to disagree about THF; I love it, you donít.  I see Strantz courses from a particular perspective, but I can certainly see why raters working off of rating sheets struggle with them; they just arenít like anything else.  I see Strantz courses as beautiful, wild, unique landscape art on which we get to play golf; I donít expect them to be anything like a Fazio or RTJ design, of which there are plenty.  TO ME, criticizing Strantz courses as ďover the topĒ (which is a term I donít like anyway because I donít know what the ďtopĒ is) is a bit of a straw man; he wasnít trying to build mass market courses that were like other courses.  ANY other coursesÖ


Iíd point out two things for you to keep in mind about that site and design.  First, nobody looked at the site and said, ďThis would be a great place for a golf course!Ē   It had been the Yates family farm for over a century; they werenít going to farm anymore, but needed to do something with that land to pay taxes, etc.; golf was their answer.  Second, remember that the course is in the Uwharrie Mountains, and pretty much the whole thing is on bedrock.  Making it level and more walkable simply wasnít possible, and that not the way Strantz built courses anyway.  Itís a VERY difficult site for golf, without a doubt.


« Last Edit: October 16, 2023, 04:53:43 PM by A.G._Crockett »
"Golf...is usually played with the outward appearance of great dignity.  It is, nevertheless, a game of considerable passion, either of the explosive type, or that which burns inwardly and sears the soul."      Bobby Jones

Brad Tufts

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Re: Tot Hill Farm Restoration/Renovation-First Look
« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2023, 09:03:02 AM »
I'd like a second look.


I have to admit it was not my favorite, but it was only one play, and I think we played the wrong tees, which resulted in a 398y par five at one point that was like three short irons.


It could certainly serve as instructive as to how close to the line Strantz took his designs, and it could sometimes go a touch sideways.
So I jump ship in Hong Kong....

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