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Re: Is it even worth discussing...
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2023, 09:59:49 AM »
Columbus has had a lot happening on the golf scene the last few years.

Tim Liddy completed a total redo of Harrison Lakes Country Club:

And Otter Creek is currently having work done:

The same owner for both facilities.  Bob Haddad purchased Otter Creek from the city.  Donít underestimate those smaller Indiana towns!


I never do, though mea culpa on not knowing that Otter Creek was going to have some work done. I hadn't been in Columbus since 2003 and my trip was last minute. Playing a round at Otter Creek was a fortunate surprise.

I'm not sure when the work is going to begin, nothing looked underway last weekend. And although Tom Kite said "We will end up with a course that is fun and challenging for all levels of golfers", that's precisely what Otter Creek already is IMHO.

Jeff Schley

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Re: Is it even worth discussing...
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2023, 10:10:15 AM »
Otter Creek IS a solid golf course. To me it is a slog like so many RTJ courses tho and exhibits little charm while presenting the usual forced carries and point to point shot making one expects. It does suffer a bit from being a championship course in a small town with a muni course budget.
The Ross is a better than average Ross that does suffer a bit from a couple of holes being shoe horned in to a tight propeerty. However I do not get the severe terrain knock. I think it provide some very satisfying views of the beautiful extant hardwood forest surrounding the property and pleasing perspective where entire segemnts of the varied slopes and contours of several holes present relationship/connections to entire segments of golf course. Were that so then Camargo would not hold it's elevated reputation as the highest rated Raynor(which is my real objection to that track but apparently not for many golfers). Also the Ross bunkering(many cross) has been restored strategically and artistically which is fun and pleasing.

Ward-Iím not aware of any list where Camargo is rated higher than Fishers Island.
Same, I don't believe I have ever talked to anyone, rater or not, where they talked about Camargo as being in the same level as FI or Shoreacres for that matter. 
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

Brian Finn

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Re: Is it even worth discussing...
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2023, 11:59:07 AM »
Just played French Lick last weekend and maybe I went in with low expectations, but I was really impressed. Granted they made me take a cart but elevation didnít seem any worse than a place like Pasatiempo or Lawsonia.
The greens reminded me at times of Prairie Dunes.

The closest, best Ross to me in St. Louis has been Cedar Rapids but French Lick gives it a run for its money IMO.

Based on a thread I found that Tom Doak started several years ago I think he had the Ross course in the 20-30 range of his best courses?
Thank you for the reminder on that thread...I managed to find it this morning, and it is great (at least for the first 6 pages).,65473.0.html
New for '24: Monifieth (Medal & Ashludie), Montrose (1562 & Broomfield), Panmure, Carnoustie (Championship, Burnside, & Buddon), Scotscraig, Kingsbarns, Elie, Dumbarnie, Lundin, Belvedere, The Loop (Red & Black), Forest Dunes, Arcadia Bluffs (South & Bluffs)...

Jason Thurman

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Re: Is it even worth discussing...
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2023, 03:04:09 PM »
One thought on that thread: the premise that French Lick belongs in that Ross top 50-60 is based solely on Ran's rating. He gave its only Confidential Guide rating - a 7.

That puts it in really lofty company. I obviously don't rate it quite that highly. I skimmed Ran's profile under Courses by Country again last week and we disagree on a few matters of taste:
  • The par 3s: He thinks they're a pretty outstanding set. I think it's a noteworthy set for the huge length of the first 3. I think those 3 holes helped unlock the routing on a really hilly property, and I think offering a level stance and teed up lie for those tough shots provides a smidge of playability. I think, in that sense, they demonstrate Ross' brilliance. He used a property challenge to create something noteworthy. But are they a great set of holes independent of their ingenuity? I don't know... I think they're sorta repetitive and a little sloggish.
  • In spots, I find the shaping at French Lick a little less elegant than what's found on Ross' best courses. The benched green on 4 with the berm behind looks a little jarring for example - it's a busy-looking hole overall for me. The 8th green has all the subtlety of a slot machine. The ridge on 17 green is bold... It's just not very graceful. It's nitpicky, but Ross' best work is SO elegant while French Lick has some features that feel a bit forced to me.
Pivoting back to the topic...
  • The bullet above is a little crazy at first blush, because the finish work at French Lick is so excellent post-reno. At macro scale, the course is presented beautifully while Otter Creek has some shrunken mowing lines and tired looking bunkers. But looking at the bones, I think Otter has the more attractive greensites, more interesting and varied green shaping (despite some shrinkage), and a routing that gets more intimately familiar with a property that features the more interesting natural features... Valleys and streams and meadows and woodlands and whatnot.
  • Maybe most simply - I think Otter just has the best holes of the two. The Lick delivers a high overall standard of golf in a lovely setting with sound architectural principles, and makes the most of a tough property. But it doesn't have an approach as cool as the shots to 4 or 6 North at Otter. It doesn't have a par 5 as fun as 5 West, or a par 3 as memorable as 4 West. And it doesn't have a hole that's as much fun to debate on the veranda as 2 West.
"There will always be haters. Thatís just the way it is. Hating dudes marry hating women and have hating ass kids." - Evan Turner

Some of y'all have never been called out in bold green font and it really shows.

Nigel Islam

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Re: Is it even worth discussing...
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2023, 07:30:58 PM »

    Having played the actual Ross design many times before the Curley-Schmidt restoration I would like to defend the old girl a bit. Or open it up to old criticisms lol.

-First thing is first, it was actually once called ďThe HillĒ courses with the other 18 hole course at the Resort called ďThe Valley.
-The par threes actually were a bit more varied in length than the current tipped out routing. If I recall the 4th was around 175 with the same crazy slope short of the green, the 6th was around 190, and the 13th about 220. The 16th was an elegant 135ish.
-The eighth hole was incredibly controversial. It was much less of a severe dogleg, and the green was not tiered, rather a ridiculously sloped huge green from back to front. The story was that the USGA refused to assign a slope rating to the course because of the cant. A back right pin was dang near impossible. I might be alone in my opinion, but it was a great hole.
-It was actually a much more minimalist design than it is today. A lot less bunkers, and a much easier driving course.
-The course was a 6600 par 70. Prior to my existence, the 14th hole was the 610 yard par five and the 15th was a 400 yard par 4. The Ross 14th green was south of the retention pond.
-I do not think 18 had a single bunker, but it was just as hard as it is today

I used to play the place for $35 for all you can play that day. It was barely solvent, but I miss those days quite a lot. I do love what Mr. Cook did for French Lick as I first went there as a 12 year old. I will never forget talking my parents into driving by Larry Joe Birdís house. Itís a special place, and that is probably my favorite golf course in Indiana.

I have played about 40 Ross designs, and for me the ďHill courseĒ it compares favorably in the list.
I hope you are doing well Jason. It has been way too long we need to tee it up in 2024!


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