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David Kelly

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St. Louis Country Club - Front 9 pictorial
« on: July 08, 2009, 03:33:46 AM »
I had the opportunity to play St. Louis Country Club last week and came away very impressed.  Even though the club has had a reputation for having preserved much of Macdonald and Raynor's work throughout the years (RTJ messed around in the mid-50s a little)  the club has been working with Brian Silva  to restore a lot of the bunkers that had changed or been lost over the years.  Last year they took the major step of regrassing just about everything except the bunker surrounds and faces.  If you look at the pictures below you will see some stressed out turf.  While the weather was fine when I was there, the week before it had been around 100 with high humidity.  Because of that the course was playing a tad soft but not in any way that took away from the architecture.

The course stats:

Back Tees - 6534 yds, Par 71  71.9/139

The front nine is 300 yards shorter than the back at 3112 yds and has two par 5s, three par 3s, and four par 4.

Hole #1 "Preparatory" Par 4 - 394 yds.

A straightforward start with an ob entrance road on the right and trees on the left.  There are a lot of trees on the course but they don't really hinder play with the exception of one hole that I'll point out later.  This was probably the tightest driving hole on the course. It was also probably the least interesting hole as well.

Hole #2 "Double Plateau" Par 3 - 213 yds

Really a classic biarritz green.  The hole plays a little uphill but there is ample room to bounce a ball onto the green.  I tried it and it was just a little too soft so my ball just got up to the crest of the hill on the right of the green.

Macdonald REALLY didn't want people using the ground game off the tee so he put cross bunkers about 25-50 yds in front of the women's tees on just about every par 4 and 5 and even on a few par 3s like this one.

Back of the green looking towards the tee.

Hole #3 "Eden" Par 3 - 213 yds

Where can you find a Biarritz and an Eden hole back-to-back and both playing the exact same distance?  Only at SLCC.  Bahto lists it as one of the finest examples of a Macdonald Eden hole although I have heard and read others who did not think it was a true Eden.  It definitely looks like an Eden to me and the club certainly thinks it is although the Strath bunker on the right is probably bigger than most and what would be the Cockleshell bunker actually fronts the entire green.

Eden bunkers quietly lurking behind the green.

Hole #4 "St. Andrews" Par 4 - 410 yds

AKA, The Road Hole.  The optimum strategy on this hole is for you to challenge the swale that runs across the fairway so that you end up on the left side with a clear shot into the green.  So of course I went down the right side and had to worry about the Road Bunker on my approach.  I wussed out and played well short and left of the green and got up, up and down for a nifty bogey.

Cross bunkers before the fairway.

On the right side of the fairway looking at the swale that crosses the hole.

A weak pic of the green that doesn't show the Road Bunker on the right.

Hole #5 "Punch Bowl" Par 5 - 508 yds

Maybe my favorite hole on the course. A reachable Par 5 that incorporates an Alps/Punch Bowl green.  The mound in the middle of the fairway is a Principal's Nose bunker that is right in the middle of where most golfers would lay up.  If you want to go for the green in two you probably need to come in from the right which means you have to go over that bunker.  If you want to lay up you have to play to the left of it or challenge it.

Its hard to see at this size but this is a look towards the green from the middle of the fairway to the left of the Principal's Nose bunker.  There is a flag on the left next to the bridge that marks the far end of the creek that runs behind the green.

A look over the Alps portion of the hole with the punch bowl green behind it.

The right side of the hole that can be used by players to run the ball onto the green on their second shot.

A view from the bridge behind the green that shows how the right side can be used to feed the ball to the green.

Looking back at the punch bowl green from the 6th tee which is where the green was relocated for a number of years before Silva restored it to its rightful place.

Hole #6 "Blind" Par 4 - 359 yds

A short Par 4 that has one of the wildest and largest greens on the course.  Below are the ubiquitous cross bunkers that need to be cleared to reach the fairway.

A good view of the green complex.

Some of the contouring throughout the 6th green. #7, "Shorty" is in the background.

Hole #7 "Shorty" Par 3 - 154 yds

A really great short hole.  The green is about even with the tee but well above the surrounding ground and very intimidating for such a short shot.  You know if you miss the green on any side you will be in a world of pain.

A good illustration of how much the green was raised.  This was taken while walking to the green.

The green has a large indentation right in the middle that is lower than both sides and the back of the green.

The ball is in the middle of the thumbprint while the hole can be found on the higher shelf underneath the bag stand.

Hole #8 "Cape" Par 4 - 350 yds

This is the one hole where the trees really encroach on how the hole should be played.  This is probably the shortest cape hole I can remember playing and even if the trees weren't there it would take nothing more than a 3-iron to put yourself in the middle of the fairway with a short iron to the green.

The idea of hitting a 3-iron only came to me after I blew a driver through the fairway however.  But being through the fairway on the left gave me a great angle into the green.  The creek wraps around the back right corner of the green.

Hole #9 "Ladue" Par 5 - 511 yds

Ladue is the area of St. Louis in which the course is located.  This is a pretty short par 5 with a stream running across the fairway and challenging the layup. The fairway is elevated with a lot of contouring and slopes hard to the left.

This shows how much slope is in the fairway.

The stream.

With the hole being so short and the green open and inviting many people will go for it in two but if you lay up you will face something like this for your third short.

With this hole being a reachable par 5 it has the flattest green on the course with not much going on around it.

Later for the back nine.

"Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent." - Judge Holden, Blood Meridian.

Joe Hancock

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Re: St. Louis Country Club - Front 9 pictorial
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2009, 07:21:37 AM »

Thanks for another look at this cool course. I always enjoy pictures of SLCC.

I'm curious what you think of the grass lines there. The pictures aren't real conclusive, but do the grass lines work for the design? Are bunkers accessible via ground?

Thanks again, and hope you're well,

" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

John Mayhugh

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Re: St. Louis Country Club - Front 9 pictorial
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2009, 09:22:08 AM »
They call #2 Double Plateau?  Is there a double plateau green on one of the other holes?

On #6, is the big tilt to the fairway present in the landing area as well?

Not sure what other MacRaynor courses you've played.  How does this compare?

David Amarnek

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Re: St. Louis Country Club - Front 9 pictorial
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2009, 12:38:01 PM »
Thanks for posting the front nine pictures; I'm looking forward to the back nine.
I am also looking forward to playing the course again since the restoration/re-grassing work last year.
It's my favorite course in St. Louis and have always enjoyed it's quirky features.  Hopefully I'll see it this fall, as it's the '09 venue for our interclub match (SLCC, Old Warson, Bellerive and my home course, Westwood). 
Next time you are around, I'd like you to come to Westwood and compare the courses as I see some influence by SLCC (especially with respect to some of the bunkering).

David Kelly

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Re: St. Louis Country Club - Front 9 pictorial
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2009, 02:56:47 PM »
They call #2 Double Plateau?  Is there a double plateau green on one of the other holes?

On #6, is the big tilt to the fairway present in the landing area as well?

Not sure what other MacRaynor courses you've played.  How does this compare?

They definitely call #2 Dbl Plateau on the scorecard but everyone else familiar with a biarritz green would call it that.

On #6 the big tilt should be easily cleared by most golfers.  The hole is only 359 yards. 
"Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent." - Judge Holden, Blood Meridian.


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Re: St. Louis Country Club - Front 9 pictorial
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2019, 07:37:58 PM »
I played St Louis CC last week and thought this would be a good place to start.

First, there are a lot of really good holes at SLCC and lots of great features.  There are also some unique features usually not associated with MacDonald and Raynor golf courses. Back to back par 3s are unique and I'm still blown away by the blind 2nd shot on the 18th with a huge deep bunker in front of the green.

The problem starts with a faction of their membership that still loves trees. This post is from 2009 and very little tree work has been done except on the cape hole.  Apparently they haven't gotten the memo!

Answering Joe Hancocks question, the rough lines surround the bunkers.  This was a little surprising since it costs no money to cut the grass correctly?

Lastly, they still have single line irrigation and the course while green plays wet.  I knew they had some rain a few days before I played but the sprinklers ran full tilt at 1pm on the first hole and when we reached the 2nd they came on there.

Brian Silva is still the consulting architect and it would be interesting to get his take because it doesn't appear a lot has been done since this post. I suspect he has given up until a new guard takes over.

Ran did a nice profile piece years ago,


Buck Wolter

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Re: St. Louis Country Club - Front 9 pictorial
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2022, 07:47:15 AM »
I had the chance to play SLCC recently and was blown away. Last time I was there was probably about the time of these pictures as I moved away from the area not long after. My host pointed out some of the areas they had cleaned out and I had a general feeling it that it was much better but it wasn't until I went back and looked at these pictures that I understood how much had been done to open up vistas and get rid of the sense of claustrophobia you used to get (there was still work going on). You could argue there are still too many trees in some places but it was dramatically improved by what they've done -- especially noticeable on the front 9. Probably correlated but the grass on the property was amazing from tees to rough to fairways to greens. The fairway lines felt more expansive but maybe it was just less canopy impacting balls in the fairway.

Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience -- CS Lewis


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