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Jason Way

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2017, 08:22:29 PM »
Please be careful with that whole breath-holding thing, Sven.  I read on the interwebs that it can result in dain bramage.  None of us have played any of those courses you mentioned, although I believe JCavs has plans to hit some of them in 2017.

With regard to your question Tom, difficulty is not a conscious consideration for me, nor was it something I thought much about while putting the holes into the courses.  I suspect that that is true for Peter and Jon too.  I'm usually not concerned with my score, so I value holes that are cool to look at and interesting to play repeatedly, and I suppose that means that sometimes tough ones are my favorites (although that's not the case most of the time). 

As a group, we also tend to play more of the classics than moderns, so a fair case can be made that this first 18 sticks to our favorite archies, which also means quite a few Top 100ish holes.  That is more a function of our current pool though, and is why I am interested to hear other favorites from the crowd, especially those that are off the beaten path.

When we use the word "Great" in the context of our 18s, we mean our favorites.  We realize that this is not an objective-ish evaluation standard such as that used in the Confidential Guide, but we can live with that, and Great 18s has a better ring to it than Favoritest 18s.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2017, 08:33:42 PM by Jason Way »
"Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject." - David Forgan

Sven Nilsen

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2017, 08:46:24 PM »
Please be careful with that whole breath-holding thing, Sven.  I read on the interwebs that it can result in dain bramage.  None of us have played any of those courses you mentioned, although I believe JCavs has plans to hit some of them in 2017.


Jason:


Its amazing what you can find on the Interwebs. 


Sven



"As much as we have learned about the history of golf architecture in the last ten plus years, I'm convinced we have only scratched the surface."  A GCA Poster

"There's the golf hole; play it any way you please." Donald Ross

Mark Pritchett

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2017, 08:49:29 PM »
Jason,


Do you have a time in mind that separates classic from modern?


Mark

Jason Way

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2017, 11:16:19 PM »
Do you have a time in mind that separates classic from modern?



To keep things simple, if I recall correctly, we used 1960 as the cutoff between the two categories.
"Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject." - David Forgan

Josh Tarble

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2017, 08:44:54 AM »
I hope you guys branch out from the usual suspects:

For hole #1 I'd nominate:
Kingsley - hard to beat in my opinion, everything you want in an opening hole.  Perhaps the best hole on the course too
Wolf Run - again, maybe the best hole on the course.  Such an inviting, yet difficult hole
Sweetens Cove - I know all 3 of you love this course, plus a really good opening hole.  Super fun

For hole #2:
Talking Stick North - as Tom mentioned.  In my opinion it's one of the finest holes ever designed.  Overuse of the concept would get old, but the use of OB is brilliant and terrifying.
Harbor Town - close to your cut off date for modern, but such a fun hole, sets the tone for the round and is completely unique (as is Harbor Town - although would probably pick #13 from the course as best hole)




Bill Satterfield

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2017, 12:46:49 PM »
Jason, I did a similar exercise a few years back and like your list thus far and would agree with Jon's selection of Sebonack at #2 as it also held that spot in the list I did.  I didn't distinguish between Modern and Classic on my former list so I'll go through and make a list of each.  I would also be curious to see a Great 18 from people's home states; I could do one for Idaho.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 02:36:25 PM by Bill Satterfield »

John Kirk

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2017, 03:20:20 PM »
Hi Jason,

Try not to be discouraged by the peanut gallery chiming in.  This is fun.

Jason Way

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2017, 06:37:46 PM »

Try not to be discouraged by the peanut gallery chiming in.  This is fun.


No discouragement here, my friend.  I don't take myself seriously enough to get worked up.  And I was being honest when I said that I looked forward to counterarguments of the sort you (and Tom, Ben, Steve, and Josh) are making.  The more specific, the better.   


Tim F. hit it on the head - this is the time of the year when I sit around and think about golf holes and courses in all sorts of trivial ways.  Can't nobody take the fun out of that.
"Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject." - David Forgan

Jason Way

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #33 on: January 03, 2017, 06:52:52 PM »
For those of you hoping we would depart from the chalk at this point, no such luck.

The 3rd on our Moderns course is Bandon Trails #3, a par-5.  There are many things we love about this hole.

First, its position in the routing.  The transition from the dunes to the inland portion of the property is special.  I am a fan of reveals, and this hole is unique at Bandon in that it provides a killer reveal without using the ocean.  Second, all three of us are fans of centerline hazards and the way they create opportunities to create different paths down the hole.  An argument could be made that two smallish bunkers (the one in the landing area and the short of the green) dictate play enough all by themselves.  And finally, on my one play of this hole, I lucked out and knocked my approach stiff and so I had time to stand around and take in the contours of the approach, the green, and the surrounds, and I recall being taken by how beautiful they were.  When I think about heading back to Bandon, this is one of the holes that I am motivated to see again.







Our runners-up Old Macdonald, Colorado GC, CommonGround, Ballyneal, Arcadia Bluffs, Boston Golf Club, Black Forest, Sand Valley, Wade Hampton, Spyglass Hill, Pacific Dunes, Erin Hills
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 06:54:39 PM by Jason Way »
"Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject." - David Forgan

Alex Miller

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #34 on: January 03, 2017, 07:20:31 PM »
I haven't played SH but have played Sebonac. Seems like that is a very difficult hole to follow up what people have said about SH's 1st!


Love your pick of BT for the 3rd hole.



Agree that Rustic has a great 2nd hole and too bad none of you have played it. Wolf Point's 2nd hole is also a great one.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 07:52:54 PM by Alex Miller »

Tom_Doak

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #35 on: January 04, 2017, 11:42:47 AM »
The best part of the 3rd at Bandon Trails is that when you shy away from the right green side bunker, as most people would, you learn that the left side of the green drains out to the back, and that's why your approach shot wound up over and out.


However I would say that the quality of this hole is more dependent than most on playing firm and fast.  Luckily, between the way Bandon is maintained and the fact it plays downwind all summer, it is unlikely to lose its luster.


P.S.  The third at Black Forest?  Are you sure you've got the right hole, there?  Of all the holes I have ever built, that's in my top three of greens I would like to do over.  [And no, I'm not going to name the other two, but at the rate you are going you may nominate them all ... ]

Jason Way

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #36 on: January 04, 2017, 01:53:23 PM »

P.S.  The third at Black Forest?  Are you sure you've got the right hole, there?  Of all the holes I have ever built, that's in my top three of greens I would like to do over.  [And no, I'm not going to name the other two, but at the rate you are going you may nominate them all ... ]


Yes, that was one of the handful of holes I really enjoyed out there, although my positive impression was based more on the tee-to-green portion and the bunkering than the green itself.  What about the green do you regret?


I am not going to be beg you to disclose the other two holes, but I am now secretly hoping that we have picked them all. 
"Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject." - David Forgan

Bill Satterfield

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #37 on: January 04, 2017, 05:06:05 PM »
OK Jason, I accepted your challenge and came up with Classic and Modern Great 18 courses.  I followed the guidelines you set out and am taking on one additional criteria for my lists; none of the holes I use can be ones you selected for your courses or be listed on your website as Honorable Mentions.  It pains me to accept that criteria since there are many holes you listed that I love and would include on my Great 18 without the additional criteria, but alas it is all for fun anyway.  I'll play catch up and post the opening three holes of my Modern Great 18 which came in at a Par 72 tipping out at 7451 yards, although it plays shorter due to some downhill holes being included as well as some holes located in high elevation areas.  There are five par 3s, eight par 4s, and five par 5s with about half of the holes coming from private courses and half from public access tracks.  From the tips, the par 3s range from 153 - 273 yards, the par 4s span 322 - 501 yards, and the par 5s stretch 558 - 669 yards.


HOLE #1 - TOBACCO ROAD - 558 YARD PAR 5 - You either love Tobacco Road or you hate it, and you can place me firmly in the former category.  Above all else, golf should be fun for all of us that aren't trying to make a living on tour.  In terms of pure fun, Tobacco Road has few rivals and gobs of creativity.  The opening hole sets the tone quickly with an elevated tee shot played to a fairway that gets pinched down by a pair of looming dunes.  Getting through the narrows once is simply practice for the approach shot where the entrance to the green is again collapsed by two bunkered dunes which can create a blind third shot to the green hiding beyond.  Players getting here in two need to display skillful accuracy parting the dunes or raw power going over the top of them.



The opening tee shot at Tobacco Road should generate some exhilaration in the golfer as they consider the adventure they are about to embark on.



The view from the right fairway dune down towards the green shows the trouble still lurking ahead.


HOLE #2 - SNAKE RIVER SPORTING CLUB - 322 YARD PAR 4 - I love a driveable par four and on a course with as much length as this Great 18, fitting a reachable hole like this one was a must.  Tom Weiskopf has said that Snake River Sporting Club is his best design in the United States and plenty of that can be contributed to an inspiring setting.  Located south of Jackson Hole, the course is carved between the mountains and the majestic Snake River.  The front nine enjoys elevation changes and tree lined holes while the back features flatter, open property along the river.  The 2nd hole plays downhill to the most undulated green at SRSC where laying up is no guarantee for par due to some pin locations that result in more 3-putts than 2-putts.  The fairway slopes left to right off the mountain where players can make the mistake of not hitting their approach shot with enough velocity and are then repelled by the front right corner of the green.



If you play Weiskopf courses then you know you will get a driveable par four along the way and this is his offering at Snake River Sporting Club.



The firm green makes sticking an aerial approach shot close on this hole a difficult proposition.  The back right pin location in this photo at least leaves you an uphill putt after getting to the back tier.


HOLE #3 - MAUNA KEA - 273 YARD PAR 3 - The new tee box stretched this beauty out from 210 yards to a whopping 273 yards from the tips!  With a driver or 3 wood in hand, players are presented with one of the most inspiring, and intimidating, views from a tee box they'll ever encounter.  With waves crashing into the lava rock in front of you, lush tropical foliage surrounding the green, and distant views of the mountains and a sprawling ocean going out further than the eye can see, this is simply one of my favorite holes in the world.  Admittedly, I'm a huge fan of the Hawaiian Islands.  I love going to a place where year round I can enjoy golfing in the morning before taking my wife snorkeling, body surfing, or boogie boarding in the afternoon.  The feelings I get while in paradise help contribute to my enjoyment of golf in Hawaii, but even still, no one can argue against the former Sandwich Islands' impressive collection of coastal holes.  Hitting this green delivers immense satisfaction which can only be heightened by the occasional spinner dolphin breaching in the cove separating the golfer from the putting surface.



Aloha from the tips at Mauna Kea's 3rd hole; one of the most dynamic one-shotters in the world!



A zoomed in look at what you'll be facing at Hawaii's signature hole.

Jason Way

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #38 on: January 04, 2017, 08:58:59 PM »
Awesome stuff Billy.  Thanks for sharing and I look forward to your piggybacks.  As we get to the end of each course, I will compile the by-hole mentions.  Perhaps the broadest and truest of Great 18s will emerge.
"Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject." - David Forgan

Jason Way

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2017, 10:07:02 PM »
The 4th on our Modern Great 18 is Bandon Dunes #4, a par-4.

This was a tough one.  We love the 4-6 stretch at BD, and we could have included any of the three (as evidenced by the fact that I originally posted the wrong photo on my blog).  In the end, we went with #4, which I do believe is an awesome hole, because of our love of another #5 and #6. 

The drive to the fairway pinched by general nastiness, forces the decision to either a) play aggressively toward the fairway bunker with a better view for the approach, bringing the greenside bunkers into play or b) lay back a bit down the right for a better angle that might have a partially obscured view.  The bunkers short left can mess with depth perception on the approach, as does the infinity green with the edge of Earth drop-off behind.  Throw into the mix the wind and the option of playing a running approach in through the open right side of the green and this one can be a real head scrambler. 

And oh yes, let's not forget that this is the first hole to interact so closely with the ocean on a game-changing American seaside links course.  That is impactful at multiple levels. 

For those reasons, I stand by the decision and await your alternatives.







Our runners-up Dunes Club, Old Sandwich, Sand Hills, Spyglass Hill, Streamsong Red, Streamsong Blue, Pacific Dunes, Sweetens Cove

All of the above being said I do have a special place in my heart for #4 on The Dunes Club and Sweetens Cove, and it was tough not to pick them as a nod to their greatness as 9-holers and courses, period.  So I therefore humbly submit bonus photos of those two.

#4 at Sweetens Cove - Par-3







#4 at The Dunes Club - Par-4





« Last Edit: January 04, 2017, 10:11:08 PM by Jason Way »
"Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject." - David Forgan

Jason Way

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #40 on: January 06, 2017, 12:32:34 AM »
The 5th on our Modern Great 18 is Boston Golf Club #5, a par-4.

This hole is polarizing, and Jon and I are firmly in the camp of those who love it.  The blind, uphill drive can be played out wide left or in tight to the nasty bunkers right.  The safe left route leaves a testy approach that can be played high, low, or even putted, but the raised green is extremely shallow from that angle.  From the right, the green is plenty deep, but the approach must be made over the bunker mound, which can partially obscure the view.  The hole is extreme and unique, and a thrill to play. 

As a side note, Ran and Tom discussed the hole with Jay Flemma on his recent radio show (worth a listen if you haven't checked it out).  Ran expressed his dislike for the hole because the green is so small and elevated that it is nearly impossible to drive.  Therefore, from Ran's perspective, the hole does not provide a reasonable enough reward to attempt to drive the green.  Tom's perspective was that short does not necessarily equate to drivable vis a vis par-4s, and I agree with him wholeheartedly.  It is a strange byproduct of the modern game that we have conflated short par-4s with drivable par-4s.  The reality for the average golfer is that one is a smallish subset of the other.  I have not spoken to anyone involved directly with the creation of the 5th at BGC, but I would be shocked if they gave much thought to the probability of a hole that is 300+ yards uphill ever being driven by the club's membership and typical guests.  To me, this is a hole that was clearly intended to be played with two shots.

That is a broader debate for another thread, but suffice it to say for us, Boston Golf Club #5 is great.











Our runners-up Old Sandwich, Streamsong Blue, Bandon Dunes, Sweetens Cove
"Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject." - David Forgan

Bill Satterfield

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #41 on: January 06, 2017, 12:41:53 AM »
#4 - DISMAL RIVER (WHITE) - 578 YARD PAR 5 - This attractive three-shotter meanders through the low land below the surrounding sand hills with a large windmill giving character to the hole and homage to the property's roots. The fairway navigates through a series of bunkers before turning left and finishing at a slightly raised green site resting in a natural sand dune amphitheater. The way this hole drapes naturally across the landscape is flat out beautiful and shows off what makes golf in Nebraska's sand hills so special.



View from the tee



The view of the 4th hole from the 3rd fairway



The green


#5 - ARCADIA BLUFFS - 583 YARD PAR 5 - Perhaps my favorite at Arcardia Bluffs, the expansive 5th hole offers a fantastic combination of beautiful visuals and an excellent risk/reward opportunity. The tee shot plays well downhill with unobstructed views of Lake Michigan encompassing the background while an undulated fairway and series of bunker complexes create the foreground. The driving zone is generous with 60 yards of width and 350 yards of length to play with before the fairway tightens up and things get interesting. The second shot is where players have to decide whether to go for the green in two or whether to lay up and hit a wedge in on their third shot. Players going for the green will be faced with a forced carry over an intimidating and gnarly bunker complex with creates a virtual island green. A narrow strip of fairway is offered to the left of the green that can help catch wayward approaches from finding the deep bunkers. The 55 yard deep green is perfect for being receptive to long approaches. This is just a flat out fun hole.



The tee



Another view



Side view of the green


#6 - KINLOCH GOLF CLUB - 410 YARD PAR 4 - Kinloch is full of memorable holes and great variety.  One of the most scenic holes is this downhill par four that is also a good scoring opportunity.  A creek meanders through the short grass and creates two fairways.  Bold players can take aim down the right side and carry the short end of the creek and leave themselves with an inviting angle into the green.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 12:44:40 AM by Bill Satterfield »

Bill Satterfield

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #42 on: January 06, 2017, 12:43:48 AM »

View from the tee on Kinloch's 6th.



The view from the lower fairway with an uphill approach over the creek.

Bill Satterfield

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #43 on: January 06, 2017, 06:52:07 PM »
Here is my entire Modern course utilizing holes that aren't on Jason's final list or among honorable mentions.  I'll add photos as well.


HoleCourseYardsPar
1Tobacco Road5585
2Snake River SC3224
3Mauna Kea2733
4Dismal River 5785
5Arcadia Bluffs5835
6Kinloch 4104
7Sand Hills2834
8Pronghorn (Fazio)1873
9Boston GC4664
10Rock Creek Cattle Co.6325
11MPCC1813
12Royal Isabella4354
13Atlanta CC1533
14Chambers Bay5464
15Sand Hollow2303
16Poipu Bay 5014
17Manele 4444
18Kapalua (Plantation)6695

Mike_Trenham

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #44 on: January 06, 2017, 06:57:49 PM »
Curious of the Great 18's put forward here, would you say they generally play uphill or downhill overall?
Proud member of a Doak 3.

Bill Satterfield

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #45 on: January 06, 2017, 07:10:11 PM »
I have more downhill holes than uphill.

Jason Way

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #46 on: January 06, 2017, 07:18:18 PM »
Curious of the Great 18's put forward here, would you say they generally play uphill or downhill overall?


Off the top of my head, I think more of our Moderns play uphill.


Why do you ask?
"Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject." - David Forgan

Jason Way

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #47 on: January 06, 2017, 09:11:22 PM »
Thanks for sharing your course Billy.  Looking forward to seeing the rest of your hole-by-hole. 

Who else is going to take a stab at doing better than both of us?
« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 09:22:16 PM by Jason Way »
"Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject." - David Forgan

Jason Way

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #48 on: January 06, 2017, 09:21:48 PM »
The 6th on our Modern Great 18 is Greywalls #6, a par-3.  This one was a Jon Cavalier pick, and since I am a DeVries homer, I had no argument.

I have not played up at MGC yet (looking forward to photos and reports from the Summer Ball), so I will just share Jon's description and photos.

This is adventure golf at its finest a clifftop to clifftop par-3 playing to a green set in a bowl of rock, with views for miles.  While this kind of golf risks being overdone, perhaps Mike DeVries greatest achievement at Greywalls was in making holes fitting of the rugged setting, while still being quite playable and fun.







Our runners-up Pacific Dunes, Whistling Straits, Old Sandwich, Apache Stronghold, Pikewood National, Wade Hampton, Streamsong Blue, Bandon Dunes, Old Macdonald
« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 09:23:56 PM by Jason Way »
"Golf is a science, the study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject." - David Forgan

Rob Collins

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Re: America's Great 18s
« Reply #49 on: January 06, 2017, 09:57:56 PM »
The 5th on our Modern Great 18 is Boston Golf Club #5, a par-4.

This hole is polarizing, and Jon and I are firmly in the camp of those who love it.  The blind, uphill drive can be played out wide left or in tight to the nasty bunkers right.  The safe left route leaves a testy approach that can be played high, low, or even putted, but the raised green is extremely shallow from that angle.  From the right, the green is plenty deep, but the approach must be made over the bunker mound, which can partially obscure the view.  The hole is extreme and unique, and a thrill to play. 

As a side note, Ran and Tom discussed the hole with Jay Flemma on his recent radio show (worth a listen if you haven't checked it out).  Ran expressed his dislike for the hole because the green is so small and elevated that it is nearly impossible to drive.  Therefore, from Ran's perspective, the hole does not provide a reasonable enough reward to attempt to drive the green.  Tom's perspective was that short does not necessarily equate to drivable vis a vis par-4s, and I agree with him wholeheartedly.  It is a strange byproduct of the modern game that we have conflated short par-4s with drivable par-4s.  The reality for the average golfer is that one is a smallish subset of the other.  I have not spoken to anyone involved directly with the creation of the 5th at BGC, but I would be shocked if they gave much thought to the probability of a hole that is 300+ yards uphill ever being driven by the club's membership and typical guests.  To me, this is a hole that was clearly intended to be played with two shots.

That is a broader debate for another thread, but suffice it to say for us, Boston Golf Club #5 is great.











Our runners-up Old Sandwich, Streamsong Blue, Bandon Dunes, Sweetens Cove
Jason, Thanks for the great post. I also really liked the 5th at BGC, although I think I fall somewhere between Ran & Tom's opinion on the issue of drivability. I agree with Ran in the sense that the best short 4's are ones that create a genuine push & pull in the mind on whether or not to go for it. On the other hand, Tom's point that you can have a great short four that isn't drivable for 99%+ of the golfing is certainly very true & is an accurate summation of the interesting dynamic in play on this hole. As a side note, a good friend of mine and a poster on GCA absolutely hates this hole. While I do not share his opinion, I think the fact that the hole elicits such strong opinions is indicative of its inherent greatness.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 10:08:25 PM by Rob Collins »
Rob Collins

www.kingcollinsgolf.com
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