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Bradley Anderson

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Holston Hills
« on: October 13, 2010, 07:29:22 PM »
This week a group of us supers from Detroit got away to play golf at Camargo and Holston Hills. I think we all learned a lot on this tour. Every club should MAKE their supers get out and study the great golf courses.

Holston Hills is maybe the best Donald Ross golf course there is.



1st Tee.



This side view of the green shows that Ross opens with a steep back to front sloping green.



Fairway bunkering on 3. Note how the elevations of the rear bunkers are set to within inches of where they need to be so that you know they are all there. And you can admire their beauty too. You will see this kind of brilliant engineering on every hole at Holston Hills.



3 approach over a valley in front of the green.  Note the absence of trees behind the green here. This makes it a much more difficult little shot to gauge with no backdrop. And notice the view that you have looking strait down another hole on the golf course. How cool is that?



4 green. Just a very simple strait forward par 3 with gentle putting contours. But if you miss the green youíre in trouble.



The 5th hole. Here we begin to encounter the significant centerline bunkering that we will face on over half of the remaining holes. And most of these bunkers are at distances very much in play - even with modern equipment. Greenkeeper Ryan Blair has the faces of the bunkers groomed perfectly for the ball to kick and release to the bunker floor. Also of note: the entrance to these bunkers is not all ramped up to deflect balls from rolling in - another Holston Hills distinctive.



6 Tee. What a view! Holston Hills asks you to keep your cart on the paths and observe the 90 degree rule. This bares mention because I doubt that you could otherwise maintain healthy grass on these kinds of holes where there is so much bunkering in the middle of the corridors.  I mean if carts were allowed to meander all down the middle of these holes they might wear the turf out around the fairway bunkering. I think every architect that promotes this kind of bunkering would do well to add a path system. And he should urge the club to institute a cart etiquette policy to go along with it. There is quite a bit of asphalt on Holston Hills, but it is needed because of the way it is bunkered. I would add that it does not interfere with your sight lines.



6 approach. Amazing how Ross finds all the knolls on a piece of property to place his greens, and then he manages to build a route around it all. The routing at Holston Hills is perfect.



7th hole. I think this shot was taken from the rough beyond the lower fairway. The upper fairway is to the left of this shot. The upper fairway is definitely the option to take, because you have less bunkering to manage on your second shot.



However, from the upper fairway the contours of the green are obscured and blocked by this mounding here. Good luck rolling one in for an Eagle attempt. Of note: all of the green surrounds at Holston Hills are groomed very closely over some fairly steep angles. In the north you would have to plant bentgrass on this kind of a grassing scheme around greens, but that would be much harder to maintain than the bermuda grass that they have here. I guess thatís why some of the best Ross greens are in the south?



The V shaped 8th green. When the pin is in the front here you have a much narrower pad to land than when the pin is located in the widened back portion. But if you play beyond the pin you are putting downhill. What a wonderfully simple and potent strategy for a short hole.



Nine tee. This was my personal best hole on the front nine. Not a particularly difficult hole through the green.  It is nice when you make the turn with a good hole behind you - it gives you a greater anticipation for the next nine.


The tenth hole.



The green on 10 is cut into a hillside to obscure the putting surface from the right side of the hole. You can see it better in this shot taken from 18. I donít think I have ever seen this kind of Ross green anywhere else.



The mid-length par 3 11th hole. The green here feels more sloped to me than what we encountered on most of the front nine greens. In fact, through the entire home stretch that was my impression: that the back nine greens are more wily. But I suppose that may be just a first-round impression?



12th hole. Everything is right in front of you on this hole. In my opinion this hole illustrates that you can have large trees on a golf course, provided they are beyond the opening of the holes.



13th green. Stunning.



14 tee. Everyone in our group was short on this hole. Not sure if there was some mysterious wind down in this hollow? The green is very steeply sloped.



The awe inspiring view from 15 tee.



A side view of the mounds. I know it is often said that Ross was traveling so much that he couldnít have spent too much time on his golf courses. But he must have been really good at conveying exactly what he wanted to his construction supervisors because these kinds of features really have a distinct look to them that just shouts Donald Ross.



Hitting beyond the mounds isnít really that hard, but there is a lot of trouble lurking on the fiercely guarded second shot.



305 yard par 4 16th hole. All uphill. Imagine this hole with no trees as a backdrop! Wow!



You definitely do not want to be long on your second shot here.



The views of the golf course are stunning from the 16th green. Brain Schweihofer is lining up a putt here.



Notice the short cut bermuda between the green and tee. Old Elm is the only Ross course that has this in the north. Keeping bent all around a green like this is too difficult where you have significant rounds of golf played, and thatís probably why Old Elm is one of the only clubs in the north with these kinds of green to tee cuts - they donít have the traffic to wear it out. With bermuda however, your short cut options are almost limitless.



The long 17th hole.



The finishing hole.



The green on 18 is fairly shallow and steep.  I can imagine that many rounds have been decided here by rolling one way past the hole.  
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 12:58:52 PM by Bradley Anderson »

Mac Plumart

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2010, 07:59:35 PM »
Great photos!  You are bringing back very fond memories for me.  Thanks!
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

JC Jones

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2010, 08:06:15 PM »
Thanks for the photo tour.  I have wanted to play HH for quite some time and your photos only heighten that desire.

I wish I could get an invite there.
I get it, you are mad at the world because you are an adult caddie and few people take you seriously.

Excellent spellers usually lack any vision or common sense.

I know plenty of courses that are in the red, and they are killing it.

Carr Harris

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2010, 08:30:11 PM »
Thank you for the pictures.

I've yet to see a photograph in which Holston Hills didn't look stunning.

It's an incredibly photogenic course.

Bradley Anderson

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2010, 09:33:29 PM »
Thanks Carr
« Last Edit: October 13, 2010, 09:39:05 PM by Bradley Anderson »

Jim Eder

Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2010, 09:44:17 PM »
Great photos, love the bunkering. Looks like a terrific course. Thanks for sharing.

John Shimony

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2010, 10:11:38 PM »
Great photos and commentary.  Thanks.  Makes one realize that many Ross courses have these features and subtleties hidden beneath their trees waiting for a second chance.   
John Shimony
Philadelphia, PA

john_stiles

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2010, 10:21:06 PM »
Thanks for the photo tour of Holston.   Of course, everyone is welcome at Holston.

Email you know who or wheres mayhugh or myself.

First frost is in a few weeks so hurry.  See you at the first tee.

Would agree that Holston has a very good routing as Bradley says, which as you look back across the course, really leaves you with a smile and a bit of wonder.  So many good green sites from the 2nd to 3rd, the 6th, the 8th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and you get the picture.  Clearing behind the 16th green is a goal, that may be reached next year.

But a bit of a homer figures in the above.  So there you go.

Tim Bert

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2010, 10:28:37 PM »
Excellent photo tour.  It has me longing for my return.  Hopefully 2011.  It's a pity that I can't find a good excuse to get there at least once a year since it is only 3 hours away.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2010, 02:01:27 AM »
Bradley

Its such a pleasure to see an open Ross course; so many are shrouded in trees.  Holston Hills looks very appealing.  Has the bunkering been redone recently?

Thanks for the tour.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022:

Mike H

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2010, 08:08:53 AM »
What a great looking course, has there been a lot of tree removal there in the past 10 years?

PCCraig

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2010, 09:00:45 AM »
Great photo tour Bradley, thanks for posting. I've wanted to play HH for a while now, and these photos clearly show it's worth a stop in Knoxville on the next drive down to Kiawah.

How would you compare the course in it's present form to Old Elm? From the pictures it looks like the two were built on a similar property and have similar bunker styles (maybe HH is more flashy)...
H.P.S.

PCCraig

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2010, 09:01:55 AM »
Is it just me or wouldn't you want to cut down those three trees behind the left bunker on the 1st hole?
H.P.S.

John Mayhugh

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2010, 09:37:48 AM »
Thanks for the photo tour.  I have wanted to play HH for quite some time and your photos only heighten that desire.

I wish I could get an invite there.

Try not being such a pain in the......... ;D

Bradley,
I appreciate the photo tour too.  I don't really have all that many photos of the course.  Glad you enjoyed your visit, and your observations are really good.

As John Stiles mentioned, those that want to see Holston should contact one of us.  I haven't been down there nearly enough this year.

JC Jones

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2010, 09:43:27 AM »
Thanks for the photo tour.  I have wanted to play HH for quite some time and your photos only heighten that desire.

I wish I could get an invite there.

Try not being such a pain in the......... ;D


I'm a pain, he says........
I get it, you are mad at the world because you are an adult caddie and few people take you seriously.

Excellent spellers usually lack any vision or common sense.

I know plenty of courses that are in the red, and they are killing it.

Mark McKeever

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2010, 09:50:47 AM »
Looks like another great example of Ross work!!  Thanks for posting the pictures!

Mark
Best MGA showers - Bayonne

"Dude, he's a total d***"

Ron Csigo

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2010, 09:59:11 AM »
Wow!  Holston Hills is a beautiful course. 

JC - I'll gladly take you out there, you country @$$ ************!  Already investigating if there's a local Coz's in Tennessee.
Playing and Admiring the Great Golf Courses of the World.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2010, 10:12:02 AM »
Thanks for the photo tour.  I have wanted to play HH for quite some time and your photos only heighten that desire.

I wish I could get an invite there.

Try not being such a pain in the......... ;D


I'm a pain, he says........

JC

You are a pain you Spartan savant.  On the other hand, Tucky is a reasonable sort of chap who may not have fine taste in cigars, but certainly so with golf courses. 

Ciao 
New plays planned for 2022:

JC Jones

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2010, 10:29:17 AM »
Thanks for the photo tour.  I have wanted to play HH for quite some time and your photos only heighten that desire.

I wish I could get an invite there.

Try not being such a pain in the......... ;D


I'm a pain, he says........

JC

You are a pain you Spartan savant.  On the other hand, Tucky is a reasonable sort of chap who may not have fine taste in cigars, but certainly so with golf courses. 

Ciao 

Tucky was a fine golfing partner of mine in 2009 (despite his relative unsophistication).  In 2010, however, I've been left behind as a mere stepping stone on his ascent to greatness.

Don't worry about the UM/MSU thing, Sean.  If nothing else, you'll always have the better golf course.
I get it, you are mad at the world because you are an adult caddie and few people take you seriously.

Excellent spellers usually lack any vision or common sense.

I know plenty of courses that are in the red, and they are killing it.

Phil McDade

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2010, 10:47:25 AM »
A friend and member of HH recently suggested the course has one of the great and ideal maintenance melds around. In particular, he praised the work of green superintedent Ryan Blair.

And in his comments, Sean Arble came up. ;D He noted how the the bunkers and importantly the bunker surrounds are maintained in such a way that they gather balls, rather than having the offline shot get caught up in high rough fronting/surrounding bunkers. Considerably different than a course profiled on the Discussion Board that recently held a GCA event hosted by one of the board's more prolific posters!

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2010, 10:52:47 AM »
Thanks for the photo tour.  I have wanted to play HH for quite some time and your photos only heighten that desire.

I wish I could get an invite there.

Try not being such a pain in the......... ;D


I'm a pain, he says........

JC

You are a pain you Spartan savant.  On the other hand, Tucky is a reasonable sort of chap who may not have fine taste in cigars, but certainly so with golf courses.  

Ciao  

Tucky was a fine golfing partner of mine in 2009 (despite his relative unsophistication).  In 2010, however, I've been left behind as a mere stepping stone on his ascent to greatness.

Don't worry about the UM/MSU thing, Sean.  If nothing else, you'll always have the better golf course.

JC

You just can't help yourself - can ya?  First you try and drag Tucky down with inuendo and cheap Spartan braggadacio which only those residing (previously counts as well - you are more slippery than those non-existing Florida swamps) within 10 miles of Spartanville can display.   Then you try and get tight with me hoping for an invite to play golf at UofM.  Some things never change out there in what I call the middle (no caps intentional).  

Phil

I did notice the short hair around the bunkers, but I didn't like to mention it due the sensitivity of the New York crowd. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 10:54:51 AM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2022:

Patrick Hodgdon

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2010, 11:01:15 AM »
I loved my round at Holston Hills in the spring. I think it should be the model for how to maintain a Ross course both in terms of maintenance meld and trees. Ryan Blair does a fantastic job there keeping the course just the way it should be.

I think my beloved Interlachen could really find it's true potential if it cleared out another 1,000+ trees, cut down the rough and allowed balls to run freely into the wonderfully redone (by Silva) bunkers. If it did it would became the course Ross designed it to be imo.
Did you know World Woods has the best burger I've ever had in my entire life? I'm planning a trip back just for another one between rounds.

"I would love to be a woman golfer." -JC Jones

JC Jones

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2010, 11:05:47 AM »
Thanks for the photo tour.  I have wanted to play HH for quite some time and your photos only heighten that desire.

I wish I could get an invite there.

Try not being such a pain in the......... ;D


I'm a pain, he says........

JC

You are a pain you Spartan savant.  On the other hand, Tucky is a reasonable sort of chap who may not have fine taste in cigars, but certainly so with golf courses.  

Ciao  

Tucky was a fine golfing partner of mine in 2009 (despite his relative unsophistication).  In 2010, however, I've been left behind as a mere stepping stone on his ascent to greatness.

Don't worry about the UM/MSU thing, Sean.  If nothing else, you'll always have the better golf course.

JC

You just can't help yourself - can ya?  First you try and drag Tucky down with inuendo and cheap Spartan braggadacio which only those residing (previously counts as well - you are more slippery than those non-existing Florida swamps) within 10 miles of Spartanville can display.   Then you try and get tight with me hoping for an invite to play golf at UofM.  Some things never change out there in what I call the middle (no caps intentional).  

Phil

I did notice the short hair around the bunkers, but I didn't like to mention it due the sensitivity of the New York crowd.  

Ciao

There was no innuendo in my attempt to bring Tucky down.  I'm as transparent as it gets.  You know what they say about a woman scorned.

Can you get me on Pine Valley?
« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 11:07:37 AM by JC Jones »
I get it, you are mad at the world because you are an adult caddie and few people take you seriously.

Excellent spellers usually lack any vision or common sense.

I know plenty of courses that are in the red, and they are killing it.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2010, 11:49:12 AM »
JC

Its a pity we don't have such transparency in the law.  Can ya work on that?

I'll get back to you about the Pine Valley hook up.  If you play your cards right there may just be a slot with your name on it come 2056, maybe a '55 if you slip a backhander my way. 

Ciao 
New plays planned for 2022:

Phil McDade

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2010, 12:06:02 PM »

[/quote]

 

Phil

I did notice the short hair around the bunkers, but I didn't like to mention it due the sensitivity of the New York crowd. 

Ciao
[/quote]

Sean:

The NY Metro crowd does not own a monopoly on proper maintenance meld/bunkering opinions. ;D

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