I'm sitting here watching the repeat from Pebble Beach and looking at one of my golf ball cases. It got me thinking about rounds played at a bunch of courses and what are my favorites. Now this isn't hard to do but I wanted to break it down in to a couple catagories. Of course, the top grouping would in the Top 3 courses played.
Then the next group would be Top Three Courses for under $100. So here's my picks!
Top 3 Courses under 100
1.Royal New Kent
Providence Forge, VA
If you haven't played here you must get here before you die. The course opens with a short dogleg left par 4. Built in sand dunes the course looks like God himself carved it out. From the first tee the fairway drops severely with large dunes bookcasing the right and left side of the hole. I'm not sure if the green is drivable because the miss was so harsh I didn't attempt it. From the fairway the green is probably elevated up as much as the tee was. The green is sloped aggressively front to back and only the front edge and pin are visable from the fairway. I could go on and on but every hole is special, I look forward to the next time I get a chance to play it again.
2.Longaberger Golf Club
Longaberger known for their baskets created one of the prettiest courses you'll find in the great state of Ohio. The thing that stands out about this track is how every hole is encased in these towering oak trees. Each hole feels like its own private club with rolling fairways soft bunkering. There is a sense of calm while on the course with wildlife walking or flying around. This is another course with great elevation, some are straight forward tee to green other holes elevate up to the peak in the fairway then back down to the green. There is a section of holes on the back that break out of the oak trees to give you a links feel to them. If your ever in Ohio near Columbus this is a must play.
Fairfield Glade, TN
I discovered this course back in 1999, I know that may seem like a long time to some members but I was in my 20's and set this up for my golf group at the time. Mountain golf at its best with mountain lakes, views, and rock formations. One of the things that stands out was the rock or granite protruding from some of the fairways. The other thing and what made this course so fun was it's small greens. We had an early tee time in the Spring so temps were down a little bit and fog delayed the start. When we finally teed off the fog hadn't quite lifted so all we could see from the first tee was some fairway. The view from the fairway wasn't any better seeing how it was up hill and into the fog. I could make out a bunker and some of the flagstick. I hit solid shot thinking I was no more than 15 from pin I pulled the putter out and started walking up to the green. When I arrived at my ball I was shocked to find it that distance from the hole but was in a bunker that I couldn't see. The thing was the green was the size of a dime if I remember correctly. The course took us on a wonderful journey with incredible vistas.
Top 3 Courses
1. Oakmont CC
Well what can you say about Oakmont CC? The feeling you get when you step out of your car at the bag drop is amazing. I don't think you get better service anywhere. Ok lets do this for the easy stuff; are the greens as fast as people say.....YES! is the course as difficult as people say...It can be. Oakmont is special to me for 2 reasons, it's storied history, and I got the invite from my closest friend a month after my father passed. My father was from Steubenville Ohio and played Oakmont a few times. His stories always entertained me so I always had it on my bucket list. The day we played we had a little drizzle and I had my A game. I've said since I'm not sure I want to play it again, because with a 7 handicap the ney sayers would say I would shoot in the 90's. I didn't I won't post my score but I beat a former Junior Champion of the course. I think with Oakmont the key is if your going to miss hit it make sure it's on the correct side to do it and miss hit it by a bunch. A big miss hit ends up over the bunkers and leaves makeable shots. There are places that are just humanly impossible to get out of with any distance. The caddies there are the best I've ever used, they know the course and learn your game quickly. Obviously if you get a chance take it's worth it!
Boulder City, Nevada
Cascata... Cascata one of the courses I hope you can play in Heaven. Another course with great caddies, great service with your name on the locker and help that is there for you every second your not playing golf. The course meandors through desert mountain and valleys. This place is perfect and I mean perfect, I've played Cascata twice now and I've yet to see a ball mark on any green. The greens well bring your putter, sleep with it if you have to it will need to be warm. The green speeds were near 13 and this on sloped greens. When the caddy tells you hit about a 1/4 way to the hole do it. If you don't the ball will just keep rolling. Some of the views of that need mention are, the waterfall and stream going through the clubhouse. There is a view of a dried up salt lake that is amazing and just the flow of the holes. Each hole is it's own hole with no views of any other hole. Cascata has waterfalls, streams flowing on the course, and Palm trees on some holes making them look like a oasis mirage in the middle of such a moon like landscape. This place is beautiful, I joke with my group that when I retire I want to move there and caddy just so I can walk the course once a day.
3. Fallen Oak
Fazio that's all that needs to be said. Once again great caddy, and one of the best 19th holes I've ever seen. Now we played Fallen Oak this past spring the Saturday before the Senior Tour played there and we were the last group out. The bunkering around this place will leave you speachless. The way Fazio folded all the edges down in the bunkers is visually spectacular and every hole will leave lasting memories for years to come. When we teed off we had a marine layer so we really couldn't see the first three holes until we played another 18. The greens we some of the best I've ever played on. Fallen Oak really felt like Mississippi, with trees as green as they could be and the ponds looking like what you would picture a deep south pond to look like, the only thing missing was the gators. The routing of the holes is perfect, I don't think Fazio could have done any better if he tried again, it's just a perfect place for a round of golf. I have to mention the memory foam seats in the Club Car golf carts, my tush never felt so good. I'll get into describing this place better at a later date. Once again if I could request this course in the afterlife then put me down for it.
These are a few of my favorite places,of course my home track of Avalon Lakes is up there and so is The Pete Dye Club. Picking just three is tricky and I feel like there are so many more. I'd have to say my top 6 could all fight to be on this list but alas it's only a 3 picker so some one has to be cut. Let me know what you think of these and let me hear your favorites in these catagories. Top 3 under 100 and your Top 3.