Grey Hawk Golf Club (LaGrange, OH) Review

Grey Hawk will drop the jaws of the higher handicapper, but it fails to appeal to better players and fans of architecture.

Grey Hawk LogoGrey Hawk Golf Club in LaGrange, OH is a residential golf course built in 2004. 45 minutes from Cleveland, the course is a bit out of the way, but worth the trip if only to see what warranted its inclusion in Golf Digest’s “Best New Affordable Public Courses” list. A friend and I visited the course in late June, 2006 to give the course a look. Measuring anywhere between 7079 and 5091 yards, Grey Hawk offers a linksy Florida blend at reasonable prices.

Before we begin, we’d like to thank forum member Mark (aka “ezmoney5150“) for the invitation. If I’ve ever played with a more gregarious fellow, I can’t remember it. Mark’s company made what could have been a very dull round much more interesting.

Candywood Golf Club (Vienna, OH) Review

Candywood Golf Club features great course conditions and a tremendous value. I only wish the design was a bit more interesting.

Candywood FlagCandywood Golf Club is a public course just across the Ohio border from Sharon, PA in a town called Vienna. The region boasts a lot of fine, affordable golf courses ranging from Tam O’Shanter to Yankee Run and Oak Tree Country Club (reviewed here).

Director of Golf Barry Good invited The Sand Trap to play a round at his course, and we readily accepted. He described the course as “a good mixture of open and tighter holes of varying length and difficulty.” He also said that the greens were some of the best in the area.

Staff member Dave Koster’s father Ed and I played Candywood in mid-May, just as the trees were beginning to blossom and sprout leaves. What began as a cloudy day ended up turning into a perfect afternoon: blue skies salted with clouds and peppered with a slight breeze that kept things cool and proper club selection an important factor.

Memorial Journal, Day One – Muirfield Village’s Defenses

Muirfield Village is no pushover. Not only does the course throw 7400 yards at players, but it throws sand, water, elevation changes, and tricky greens, too. Players will have their hands full this week!

The Memorial TournamentMuirfield Village Golf Club, Jack Nicklaus’ home course in Ohio and host of The Memorial Tournament since 1976, is a playground. Nicklaus designed and built Muirfield Village, and it’s no coincidence that the tournament to which it plays host is called the “Masters of the Midwest” – many believe Nicklaus modeled much of Muirfield Village after the famous host course of the actual Masters, right down to the diagonal peanut-shaped par-three twelfth green over water.

Like Augusta National, Muirfield Village has four primary defenses: a meandering creek that sometimes widens into a pond, changes in elevation, lots of sand, and deceptive, sloping greens.

This photo essay examines the first three of these defenses. For the latter, why, simply know that last year in the first round, I watched Jesper Parnevik four-putt from 35 feet on the relatively mild second green.

Nick Von Hofen, Ritz-Carlton Members Club

Nick Von Hofen comes from a golf-crazed family. It only makes sense that he would end up at one of southwestern Florida’s swankiest new resort courses.

Ritz Carlton SarasotaNicholas Von Hofen stood on the 12th tee of the new Ritz-Carlton Members Club – elevation 65 feet above sea level – and smiled.

“You wouldn’t think you’re in Florida,” Von Hofen said as he surveyed the immaculately landscaped Tom Fazio-designed golf course.

Indeed. With its pastoral setting and rolling terrain, the Ritz-Carlton Members Club looks like it could have been lifted in from Von Hofen’s native Ohio. But this is southwest Florida, where golf courses are often shaped and molded out of a tough land. Fazio molded this 7,033-yard, par 72 masterpiece from pasture land that was once used to grow fruits and vegetables.

TPC of Sawgrass Renovation Pictures

The TPC of Sawgrass is undergoing a massive renovation. If you weren’t sure how massive, these pictures should demonstrate to you quite clearly how massive it truly is!

 18th Hole @ TPC SawgrassNot long after Stephen Ames putted out on the 72nd hole to win the 2006 Players Championship, bulldozers rumbled onto the famed course and tore down fairways, greens, and even the clubhouse. It’s all part of a massive renovation to bring the facility up to world-renowned status.

The fairways renovation includes removing the topsoil, adding extensive irrigation and fresh sand. Five fairways (1, 2, 4, 5, and 9) have already been completed. Every green on the course is having a subsurface mechanical drainage system instealled which will serve two purposes: to hydrate the greens during dry weather and to quite literally suck the water out in wet conditions. These changes should make the course more playable in worse conditions and put a halt to the extensive rain delays the Players Championship – which moves to May in 2007 – regularly sees in its current March calendar slot.

Naples Grande Resort and Club

Naples Grande Resort & Club kicks off the Blackstone Group’s new company look.

Naples GrandeNaples Grande Resort & Club has undergone an ownership change, a name change, and an attitude change. There’s a new look, a new name, and a new attitude for one of this city’s legendary destination resorts. Under the fresh ownership of the Blackstone Group, the Registry Resort is now the Naples Grande Resort & Club – the new name reflecting a new era for this grande dame on Naples’ trendy north side.

Did we say era? Frank Cavella, area vice president for Naples Grande Resort & Club, puts it this way: “A new name, new look and new aura.” The latter, not coincidentally, is the name of the resort’s recently-opened signature restaurant just off the refurbished lobby.

“The Registry helped define Naples 20 years ago,” Cavella said. “We’re just trying to bring it back now with a new look and feel.”

Oak Tree Country Club, West Middlesex, PA

Oak Tree Country Club is a shotmaker’s course: you’ll be forced to work the ball both directions to navigate this deceptively narrow track.

Oak Tree Country Club, PAOak Tree Country Club is a semi-private course near Sharon, PA. Built in 1967 and designed by Ed Ault, Oak Tree existed until 2005 as a private club. The pressure of maintaining a large, active membership in the modern day forced the club’s hand, but the transition has been smooth, and memberships are still available.

Director of golf Bob Collins invited The Sand Trap to play a round after making sure we were okay with a “tighter, tree-lined course.” After assuring Bob that we valued golf courses of all shapes and sizes and that we weren’t going to blame our poor shots towards those trees on faulty course design, he set up a tee time.

Palmer, Nicklaus Speak Out Against Augusta Alterations

Arnie and The Golden Bear finally speak out against Hootie’s Augusta renovations.

Following retirement from the world of competitive golf after winning The Grand Slam, Bobby Jones entertained the idea of starting a private golf club. We all know that Bobby eventually decided to build the course that would become Augusta National Golf Club. Bobby worked intimately with legendary course architect Alister Mackenzie to create his “ideal” golf course.

Bob firmly believed that the game of golf revolved around the second shot – evidenced by the fact that when Augusta National debuted, it featured over eighty acres of fairway (more than twice as much as the average course of the day). Also notable was the fact that Jones demanded to design the course so that it would remain playable for both highly skilled golfers and those less gifted.

Mystic Rock

Take a small picture tour of Mystic Rock, home of the 84 Lumber Classic.

Joe Hardy, John Daly’s virtual stepfather, puts on a good show. His tournament – the 84 Lumber Classic – is attended by the big names in golf during a fairly tough week on the schedule. The 84 Lumber Classic, played at the grueling Mystic Rock course at Nemacolin in Farmington, PA, comes after the last major of the year and the week before the Presidents Cup.

I had the opportunity to play at Mystic Rock a month or so ago. The back tees were closed (in preparation for the tournament), but I was able to get a real sense of the course. On television and from the notes I took, the pros played tees that were only 25 yards longer per hole or so than the tees I played. The blue tees measure 7000 yards and the championship tees measure 7500.

Join us on a picture tour of some of Mystic Rock’s niftier holes (and an inside look at their locker room).