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Not the OP, but I went out and ended up playing Terra Lago South and Mission Hills Dinah Shore on Saturday. Played Terra Lago because I found a good morning tee time for $50. I thought it was well worth it. I am not a fan of the cement irrigation streams, also at silver rock, but still happy with the decision to play there. Interestingly enough I read the greens on the back 9 at Terra Lago were having trouble but I thought they were better than the front. I wonder if they alternate cutting days because on the front the ball didn't run out and died in the last 6 inches.
Joe thanks for posting this article. I have no idea why courses want to overseed. Maybe someone with experience could tell me why. Is it a concern with growth and divots on courses that receive significant play? I hate playing courses that are overseeded.
Honestly you can't go wrong with any of your choices.
My wife is stationed in Ft. Walton. For base courses you have the course on Hurlburt (fun place and in pretty good shape), two courses on Eglin (one of the courses is in the discussion for best DOD courses), and then Tyndall isn't too far away. For off base golf you don't have anything that is top 100 quality but it's affordable and pretty good (lots of places offer military discounts).
Tampa is the area I know the least about but a resort that may become Bandon Dunes of FL (
) is going to be opening pretty close by at the end of the year and I wouldn't be surprised if both of the courses there become the top public courses in FL.
We have a place in Pinehurst. There are people that live in Pinehurst and drive to Bragg (about 45 min to the main gate from Pinehurst). As far as the military courses the two courses at Bragg are probably the worst military course options of the four places you listed, but certainly not the worst military courses there are. That being said there is a lot of other public golf options in the area that are really good. I'd recommend the bit about living in Pinehurst. Most of the residents are a bit older but it has a good community feel. If you have kids it's safe, there are pools, there is the lake and the golf is great. Pinehurst often gets billed as being expensive golf but if you buy a house and join the Pinehurst CC you can play #1-#6 and your membership fees are reasonable for the quality of the golf you get (the fee per month is less than the walk up rate on #2).
I started my career in Co Springs and can't wait to get back. I've played 100's of rounds on the two courses at the AF academy. The Blue course is my favorite DOD course. The course on Fort Carson is pretty good and Peterson is alright. People have knocked the fact that there is a golf season. I can tell you I played in every month of the year (occasionally the turf was frozen but I was still playing) while we lived there. The mountain states are definitely under rated golf states.
Isn't new golf course construction outlawed by the government in China except on Hainan (even though western media indicates golf course construction in China is rampant). Maybe the government doesn't want people seeing architects to build courses the government does not approve of.
That being said Ian's list consists of architects that have all passed away so not sure how helpful it would be.
With all the recomendations for Coronado I don't want you going in thinking your going to get a perfectly manicured course. It's a fun round and the price is right. As far as Sea-N-Air the front and back 9 are very different. The front has a man made pond in play on nearly every hole. I don't enjoy the front 9 much but my dad really loved it. I really like the back 9 as it's not as man made and goes into the dunes. I'd recomend you have your son take you to Coronado in the morning and then play the back 9 on Sea-N-Air after. Mirimar is usually the best conditioned military course in the area.
In my mind the best course in the SD area under $100 for non-locals is out at Barona Creek. Not a costal course and a bit of a drive but a fun time.
Aside from the things mentioned I'll add two more potential reasons. People like the ocean and the cliff side golf offered at many courses in Ireland.
Also a visitor is able to play nearly all the courses in the country. So playing the best courses is only a matter of paying for it...very different from the US where many of the nicest courses are not accesible for visitor play.
NCR is still ranked 71 in the Golfweek top 100 classic courses in the US.
The lists that are being posted on this site are open to input from anyone. That is to say a GM at one of the courses could give his/her course a perfect score and give really low scores to their competitors. More likely however I figure a person who typically plays average to below average courses plays a pretty nice course and ranks it with perfect scores because it is the best thing they have ever seen.
While the major publication rankings (Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and Golf Wekk) have some flaws to them I trust them more than internet open source lists because the raters have seen a vast array of courses.