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  • Posts

    • Consider himself lucky or very talented. The world’s best know their faults, too. The problem is fixing it haha
    • That’s quite an accomplishment.😳
    • Florida is a great state if you go play around Orlando. Its centered, and you got a few hours to each coast. Also, the three months that include the first month of off-season rates in Florida will take some sting of the price. Some greens fees get cut in half down in Florida. 
    • To be clear, your relief is based on the shot you would have hit if the obstruction was not there.  The quote from the Definition of Nearest Point of Complete Relief is: Once you take proper relief, you may use any club and attempt any shot that you want to, regardless of the club you used to determine the NPCR.  As an example, an appropriate shot from the ball's position on a cart path may have been a chip-out sideways to the fairway, so my Reference Point for relief would be the closest spot from which I could make that sideways shot, without interference from the cart path.  Once I've taken relief, I could be in a spot where I can hit 3-wood towards the green, and that's perfectly acceptable to do.
    • A quick note on my rating scale, because I'm going to be a bit lower at the beginning. A 5, which is average on my scale, I would be happy to play all the time. You get above that, and you're getting into courses that I want to play every day if I could, or courses I will travel for.  The course I normally play at is probably a 6, and I think the Denver courses I play top out at a 7, maybe 7.5. On the top end, I would give Pasatiempo an 8.5 or 9, Pinehurst #2 a 9.5, and Ballyneal a 10. That should give you some grounding for what my scale is like. I have a lot of courses that I would rate between a 3 and a 7, and beyond that, you’re getting something truly spectacular in either direction. With that said... Lac La Belle - 5 Overall, I liked this course. Conditions were good. I loved a few of the holes, hated one, and the rest were pretty much fine. Although it was an easy walk, it wasn't friendly for push carts. I rented a rickshaw cart from the course and had issues multiple times with lack of paths and ropes getting caught on the wheels. For the actual golf, I thought holes 4, 11, and 16 really stood out. 4 was a medium length par 3, but the upper tier of the green was a punchbowl. The flag was on the upper tier of the green when we played, so I may not like it as much when the flag is somewhere else. The challenge was to hit a shot somewhere on that upper tier and then let the punchbowl do the work. 11 was a redan - hit your ball on the slope on the front of the green, and it will funnel it towards a back pin. It gave you the choice of going at the flag, trying to stop it close (greens were receptive enough that this was an option) or trying to bank a ball off the slope. 16 was a great par 5. Off the tee, you faced an uphill tee shot guarded by trees and bunkers short, and bunkers long. You decided how much trouble to take on with your tee shot. If you played it safe, you would have a 3 shot hole. If you played it aggressive and pulled it off, you could easily go for the green in 2. Then, the green complex was amazing. You could run a ball onto the top of the green and have it feed into the lower tier. The aggressive play going right at a pin on the lower tier meant you have bunkers short of the pin. These were 3 legitimately great holes in my book. In addition to those highlights, I felt like the green complexes were really strong. The greens were large and tiered, and you really had to think about how to play your shots around the green. The course could play very different with different pin locations, which is always fun. What puts the course down to average is that there was a lot of target golf holes. There were a few holes with trouble on both sides, a few holes that forced or strongly suggested a lay up off the tee. 12 was a particularly bad par 5, with a pond you can't see pinching in the fairway on the right and a pond in your lay up zone. Even though there were a few holes where it was probably the wrong play, I still hit driver on a lot of holes, but I was being more aggressive than I usually am.  The price seemed a little high ($125 plus more if you want a cart) for the quality of the course, but beyond that issue, I would play this course again if I were in the area.   Lawsonia Links - 7.5 This is an absolute gem. My group ended up playing 36 holes here because we loved the course so much. On hole 8, we reserved a second tee time for the day so we could play it again. The highlight of this course was approaching the greens. The greens were elevated and fairly generous, but missing them was death, especially if you missed them in the wrong spots. The architects played with your depth perception and really challenged you to commit to a club and yardage while factoring in elevation change.  They were not minimalists at all, though, so if that's your thing, this course is not for you. They built up mounds to hide trouble from the tee boxes. I found it a lot of fun to get past the mounds for the reveals. I also enjoyed that you really had to commit to a line off the tee without a great visual aid. The landing areas were generous, but trouble was lurking if you didn't concentrate. The other cool thing about this course is that it gives you opportunity to use kickers and slopes near the green to funnel balls to the green on a lot of holes. @DaveP043 used one to great effect on the 2nd hole, when I’m not sure he could have gotten on the green otherwise. It gives you another option when approaching the green, and it also gives you a way to get to the green when you otherwise are too far away. They are really cool features. It's hard to highlight holes here, because I liked almost all of them. I thought 7 was a great par 3. I would call it a longer version of a short hole. The green was elevated - they literally buried a boxcar to get the elevation - and anywhere off the green was a huge problem. The green was probably 30-40 feet above the surrounding ground. There were no bunkers; not that you needed it on this hole. I hit 8 irons both times I played it. You really had to have a solid hit and pay attention to your line to get it on the green. once you're on the green, you could have an easy 15 foot putt or a nasty putt from a different tier. It was tough, but rewarding if you played it correctly. The par 5s were also really good (with one exception; see below). They offered the opportunity to go for the green in 2 with the right line off the tee, but also had enough challenges to make you pay attention with your approach into the green. 9 was a really good par 5. It was a dogleg right, allowing you pick how aggressive you wanted to be with your tee shot. The more aggressive you were, the longer carry you had, but you could be rewarded with a shorter shot into the green. There were a lot of good holes out there, so highlighting these 2 seems unfair to the rest of them. One hole did bug me – it’s not a bad hole, but it’s not a good one either. It was the second par 5 on the back 9, number 13. It was a long par 5, with a huge slope about 100 yards out from the green. There was a tier just below the green, about 50 yards short of the green. The issue I had was that I could anything from a 7 iron to a 3 wood and end up at the bottom of that slope, with a 100 yard blind shot. I hit a solid drive and good 3 wood the second time and still didn’t make it up the slope. Laying back didn’t seem like the best idea because you would have a downhill lie and be over 150 yards away. I don’t like that trade off just to see the flag. In the end, I didn’t think there was much reward in a great tee shot or great second shot – you end up in the same place. If you’re a really long hitter, you may be able to get it on that tier below the green. I’m well above average and had very little chance to get on that tier. And I was not playing it all the way back, either. That is a minor quibble, though. I loved this course. I would go out of my way to play it again. If you play Sand Valley, or even find yourself with a free day around Milwaukee or Madison, I would strongly suggest seeking out this course. It is a fun course to play, and it has enough challenge to satisfy all golfers.   Mammoth Dunes – 8.5 Even though I’m rating this lower than Sand Valley, if you gave me one round between Sand Valley and Mammoth Dunes, I would probably pick Mammoth Dunes. I had a blast playing there, and it’s a very gettable course. As others have mentioned, the scale of the course is immense. The fairways are the largest I’ve ever seen. The layout of the course is amazing – you’re weaving through and up and down the sand dunes, which are, unsurprisingly, mammoth-sized. It’s hard to pick out a few holes to highlight, because I liked or loved basically all of them. 1 was a really cool opener. The fairway is huge, and the green is huge. The trick is hitting the right side of the fairway. It gives you a view of the pin, and an easy shot to a right pin with a little bowl to play it into. If you are on the left side of the fairway, you’re closer to the hole because slopes will kick your ball further forward. But your trade off is not being able to see the green on your approach. Great little nuance to start. 3 was my favorite par 5 out there. If you hit a good drive, the hole was short enough to go for the green. A pin on the right side of the green gives you the chance to just give it over a bunker in front of the green that will allow slopes to funnel the ball onto the green. I missed carrying the bunker by a yard, and I think I would have had an eagle putt within 20 feet with one yard further carry. I desperately want another try at that shot. There were a lot of holes like that, where there was one spot you could hit and be rewarded with a great look at birdie or eagle. But if you missed those spots, you were not dead like can you can be at other courses. The flipside of that, though, is why I have Sand Valley rated a touch higher in the end. A lot of holes did not require you to pay close attention to your lines. There were generally lines that were better and offered greater reward, but there wasn’t much downside in missing them. In addition, I wasn’t a huge fan of hole 6, which had a banana-shaped green. I hit the middle-ish of the green with my second and had almost no chance to 2 putt. With where the hole was the day we played it, the play was long iron-wedge, which I really am not a fan of. I wouldn’t say it was a bad hole, though, because a different pin would make the hole play better than when we played it. Overall, I was blown away by this course. I have only minimal complaints with it, and it’s a lot of fun to play. I think I could come back and break par out there, which only adds to the allure in my eyes.   Sand Valley – 9 We played this course twice, and I’m really happy we did that. I moved up a tee the second day and had a blast playing it. I appreciated it way more the second time through, seeing more nuances and different areas of the course. It is not quite as immense as Mammoth Dunes, but it’s still a massive course. The front 9 goes up and down a big hill, and then the back 9 is flatter, playing down in a valley. On this course, I also don’t think there was a bad hole. I wasn’t a fan of one hole, but that’s more personal preference than it truly being a bad hole. What pushes Sand Valley as better than Mammoth is Sand Valley requires your full attention the entire time you play the course. If you miss your line, you can be looking at bogey, or worse. It’s not a super punitive course, but it’s more rewarding than Mammoth Dunes. There’s a thinner line between birdie and bogey here. I think the course navigated that line well – you can make a lot of birdies out here, but you can also make a lot of doubles out here. Again, it’s hard to highlight just a few holes. 1 is a nice, handshake opener. You have a massive fairway and can play it just long iron/hybrid and wedge. You can also hit your driver and get it on the green with a good shot. The green complex is interesting enough that you have to pay attention to your spin and what tier you want to be on. Fun opening hole, and I know a few of us had birdies on it. @cipher mentioned 8 before, and I thought it was an awesome hole. It’s a short hole that plays uphill, but it’s disastrous if you miss the green in a bad spot. I hit 8 iron and gap wedge into this hole and made 2 doubles because I missed the green both times. One of them was a good double, because I was absolutely dead with where my tee shot ended up. The best hole on the entire property for my money was number 10. It’s a downhill par 5 that is reachable in 2, but if you want to reach in 2, you have to take on trouble. A tee shot on the right side of the fairway avoids a centerline bunker, but then requires you to hit over about 60 yards of sand short and right of the sand. A tee shot on the left has to navigate that center line bunker and find the smaller fairway on that side. But then you can have a 200-230 second shot without need to carry all of the sand short and right of the green. You can play it safely as a 3 shot hole, but you may struggle to make birdie even with a good wedge in depending on the pin placement. 12 is another great par 5. I thought it played better up a tee than from the back tees, though. From the back tees, you have about 100 yards of fairway to hit, and if you hit it, you probably can go for the green in 2 from anywhere. A shot on the left side gives you the shortest shot, so that’s the challenge from the back tees. From the one-up tees, a bunker cuts off the fairway from the center to the left side of the hole. You have to decide whether to hit 3 wood and come up short of the bunker, or hit a driver and try to thread a small amount of fairway to the right of the bunker. There’s also a grove of trees that you have to consider if you go that route. If you can keep it in the bunker, you will be rewarded with a mid-to-long iron into the green. A great hole either way. The finishing stretch of 16-17-18 was spectacular. Others have talked about 18, so I won’t go into detail, except to say that it’s a good balance of a tough but scorable hole to end your round. 17 was a punchbowl green that played really long. But there was amble space to run a ball up, and the green can funnel balls towards the hole. You had to decide whether to hit a ball short of the green and use the slopes around the green to funnel the ball into the green, or try to get all the way to the green. Even though it was long, it was still a friendly enough hole. 16 was a stout par 4, but I really liked it. It was a dogleg left, with a centerline bunker. If you went right of the bunker, you had a really long shot into the green. If you went left of the bunker, you had a short iron or wedge into the green. On the first day, @iacas went right of the bunker and hit a 3 iron into the green (and made an incredible birdie). I went left of the bunker and hit an 8 iron into the green. On the second day, I (accidently) took a more aggressive line and had a pitching wedge into the green. It’s a tough hole, but a really cool one. The only complaint I have is that a few of the holes people point to as great holes were kind of meh to me. 6 is one of the more famous holes there, and the goal is to make you think about what club to play off the tee for the best angle into the green. I thought that decision was too obvious both days. 7 annoyed me both days. It was a par 5, and I thought tee shots that were okay were punished too heavily. I missed my line by 10 yards on the second day and was rewarded with a giant bunker lip in my face. I was lucky to make par, and that was annoying since I barely missed my line with the tee shot. The hole does reward a great tee shot with a good look at the hole in 2, but I think it punishes okay tee shots too much. Overall, it was a great course, and up there with the best courses I’ve played. I’m dreaming about getting back there.   Bonus – Sandbox: 10 I’m giving this rating as solely for par 3s. It was the best par 3 course I’ve ever played. It was a lot of fun to try to hit different shots on this course. The greens were wild, and allowed you play a variety of shots to get close. The greens included a homage to the road hole, a redan green, a biarritz green, and a Himalaya-style bunker. We played it every morning, and that was exactly the right thing to do. It was a great warm up and way to get used to the turf and sand conditions. You can make a lot of birdies, and a hole-in-one is a distinct possibility on many holes. I had a blast playing this course. Do not miss it
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