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bkuehn1952

Unusual, Unique or Odd Course Features

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I have played quite a few courses over the past 50+ years.  Every once in a while one finds a course with a different or unique feature (e.g. the Old Course's 17th hole tee shot over the former railroad shed).  There are many courses where a tunnel is needed to access a different part of the course.  My home course, Leslie Park has a tunnel under the railroad tracks, which is not a particularly unique situation.  What is unusual, however, if the relatively small size of the tunnel.

The tunnel barely fits a cart and one definitely needs to keep one's arms, head and legs inside the cart.  For the first 30 years of the course's life, only carts without a roof could be used.  The City had obtained quotes for expanding the tunnel and the numbers were into the millions.  Then an employee asked what was under the tunnel's floor.  Everyone had assumed there was metal or supporting structures underneath.  Nope.  So they dug down a foot or so, re-graded and voila, more top side room.

I have walked through the tunnel at dusk and it is VERY dark inside.

 

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Edited by bkuehn1952

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As a kid I played a sand greens 9-hole course in Camdenton, Missouri.  It also was the community's airport.  At times, in the middle of lining up a 30-foot putt, you'd have to scramble to get out of the way of a landing plane. The one benefit was the windsock that you could see from anywhere on the course making it easy to gauge the wind and it's direction.

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Thinking about the Old Course, it truly has many unique aspects.  In addition to the "Road Hole" tee shot over the railroad shed, there is the public road that runs across holes #1 and #18 (Granny Clark's Wynd).  The road is considered an integral part of the course so if one is on the road, you play it or take a stroke to drop off. Then there is the par 4 that crosses a par 3 (7 and 11, I think).  Finally, toss in the double greens and only two par-3 holes, quite an assortment.

Edited by bkuehn1952

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Sugar Isle in Ohio has a similar tunnel, but it is even tighter. If you take a buggy through it, the tires scrape the whole way on both sides of the cart and you really don't want to put a hand or foot outside of the buggy because you could get seriously hurt. On top of that, it has an island green as well. 

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3 hours ago, bkuehn1952 said:

Thinking about the Old Course, it truly has many unique aspects.  In addition to the "Road Hole" tee shot over the railroad shed, there is the public road that runs across holes #1 and #18 (Granny Clark's Wynd).  The road is considered an integral part of the course so if one is on the road, you play it or take a stroke to drop off. Then there is the par 4 that crosses a par 3 (7 and 11, I think).  Finally, toss in the double greens and only two par-3 holes, quite an assortment.

I've also played a couple of completely blind par-3 holes, one at Prestwick in Scotland, and the other at Lahinch in Ireland.  In each case there was a rock on top of the sand dune to five you an idea of where to aim for the flag.

My home club was built on the site of an old apple orchard (front 9) and dairy farm (back 9).  They retained a number of the old dry-laid stone walls which were built during the farming days, at least two of which front a green.  Stone walls aren't uncommon on a golf course in Scotland, but I haven't seen many in the States.

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The 2nd hole at Warrenbrook Golf Course by me has a blind approach shot. There's a tall tree stump (is it still considered a stump?) that marks the center of the green to use as a target. The hole gets real fun when you play it early in the morning like I do because it faces east, so the tee shot is also blind. Though it's not terribly uncommon, the course does not route back into the clubhouse until the 16th hole, so there is no snack/bathroom break at the turn. One last quirk about this course is that the 17th and 18th holes are completely out of place. They are open, parkland-style with water hazards, while the rest of the course is tree-lined and winds up and down the Watchung Mountains. The reason for this is because the clubhouse and property used to be owned by a private owner who loved golf and had two holes built in his yard (17th and 18th). The property was eventually sold - they built the rest of the course as well as a swimming pool and pool house and made it a private club. It is now owned and operated by the county.

Rutgers Golf Course is adjacent to the football stadium, so if you like it quiet when you play golf, don't play there on game days. Not sure if that's really unique or unusual, though.

Speaking of noise, Sable Oaks Golf Course in Portland, Maine is very close to the airport. Low flying planes overhead were common when I played there. The course also had a bunch of stupid design elements like forced layups that I didn't like. They're closed now, so if I ever make it back up to the area, I'll have to find another course to play.

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Here is the tunnel I was talking about wih @topoftheline89 for reference, and yes, carts really do fit through there.

20200419_164716.thumb.jpg.2a8f21901974c85ce875acb1eed2548c.jpg20200419_173529.thumb.jpg.215d348f8cb255a4a39a4a52ede5279a.jpg

Edited by Bonvivant

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11 minutes ago, Bonvivant said:

Here is the tunnel I was talking about wih @topoftheline89 for reference, and yes, carts really do fit through there.

20200419_164716.thumb.jpg.2a8f21901974c85ce875acb1eed2548c.jpg20200419_173529.thumb.jpg.215d348f8cb255a4a39a4a52ede5279a.jpg

The proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel".  Oh no, that's just Bonvivant...

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7 hours ago, Bonvivant said:

Sugar Isle in Ohio has a similar tunnel, but it is even tighter. If you take a buggy through it, the tires scrape the whole way on both sides of the cart and you really don't want to put a hand or foot outside of the buggy because you could get seriously hurt. On top of that, it has an island green as well. 

I haven’t played Sugar Isle in quite a while. I love the drivable 9th. Yes, the tunnel of death is a tight squeeze. 

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5 minutes ago, CarlSpackler said:

I haven’t played Sugar Isle in quite a while. I love the drivable 9th. Yes, the tunnel of death is a tight squeeze. 

I had a memorable shot today on 9. My new (to me) AP2s have been going quite a bit longer than my nike blades and have had my guessing on distance (as no ranges are open to check yardages). I took a 9 iron from 140 (this would be a 7 or a 6 iron in the nikes), and caught it pure....a bit too pure. Ended up about a foot from rolling out of the bunker behind the green and into the water, lucky it held up. I think this is the first time I haven't got wet on that island green out 3 or 4 times I have played it.

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Anyone ever play the course that uses the infield at Indy Motor Speedway (Indy 500)?  Does it still exist?  That would be unique.

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Boulder Pointe in Oxford, MI has a tunnel that goes under a multi lane road and has a signal system to alert golfers when it's safe to enter the tunnel.   It's quite lengthy.

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18 hours ago, billchao said:

The 2nd hole at Warrenbrook Golf Course by me has a blind approach shot. There's a tall tree stump (is it still considered a stump?) that marks the center of the green to use as a target. The hole gets real fun when you play it early in the morning like I do because it faces east, so the tee shot is also blind. Though it's not terribly uncommon, the course does not route back into the clubhouse until the 16th hole, so there is no snack/bathroom break at the turn. One last quirk about this course is that the 17th and 18th holes are completely out of place. They are open, parkland-style with water hazards, while the rest of the course is tree-lined and winds up and down the Watchung Mountains. The reason for this is because the clubhouse and property used to be owned by a private owner who loved golf and had two holes built in his yard (17th and 18th). The property was eventually sold - they built the rest of the course as well as a swimming pool and pool house and made it a private club. It is now owned and operated by the county.

I loved Warrenbrook when I lived in NJ.  There also used to be a star on a tree at the 2nd hole.  You just had to know that the star was 30 yards past the green.

I think the most unique shot at Warrenbrook is the tee shot on #11.  For the uninitiated, it's blind tee shot.  There's a mound / hill maybe 50 yards in front of the green that I would guess is 25-30 feet high, then the hole goes downhill to the green.  Standing on the tee you wouldn't think a driver would get over the hill, but any decently struck shot will.  Still plenty of tee shots go straight into the hill and are quickly lost as the grass there is several feet thick.  The other odd part about the hole is that it plays about 40 yards further right than one would think from the tee box.  There's a big tree that you can see from the tee that seems like the right target but if you hit it you will be in the 13th fairway.  I would tell newcomers to look at the tree and hit right and then hit even further right.  They were always amazed when they walked around the mound to see how far right the hole played.  

14 hours ago, bkuehn1952 said:

Anyone ever play the course that uses the infield at Indy Motor Speedway (Indy 500)?  Does it still exist?  That would be unique.

Yes Brickyard Crossing is a very nice course.  It has been redesigned in the past IDK 30 years by Pete Dye so that now only 4 holes are inside the speedway - used to be 18.  Two are extremely tough holes and two are short par 4's.  The par 3 is this dome shaped green that's impossible to hit and if you miss the ball is going to roll 30 feet below the hole on all sides.  From the tee and green you can see cars going around when the track is active: I've only played when drivers are practicing so single cars at a time but it's loud and cool nonetheless. 

The Equinox golf course in Vermont is a Walter Travis course with an active road through the middle of a par 5.  The fairway has an up slope and then a drop as it crosses the road.  Therefore, a ball that carries will fly over the road without hitting a car.  A ball that rolls over the edge will simply roll down onto the road.  Still, it takes some getting used to.  BTW - the Equinox is an extremely "fun" course to play.

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12 minutes ago, gbogey said:

...Yes Brickyard Crossing is a very nice course.  It has been redesigned in the past IDK 30 years by Pete Dye so that now only 4 holes are inside the speedway...From the tee and green you can see cars going around when the track is active: I've only played when drivers are practicing so single cars at a time but it's loud and cool nonetheless. 

...The Equinox golf course in Vermont is a Walter Travis course with an active road through the middle of a par 5....

Brickyard sounds cool.  After this mess is over it might be worth a trip.

And speaking of hitting over active roads, my parent's old club in Massachusetts, Weston Country Club, went over the road twice, #8 and #16.  I suspect the course pre-dated the road or it just had carriages and horses.

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Here’s two.

1) We played an excellent course at the beach this past summer. The two nines were on different sides of the highway, so like the OP, there was a tunnel underneath the highway. You rode through the tunnel going to the first tee, then again making the turn. This course also had a Quality Inn just off the tenth tee, so you’d better hit a good one if there’s anyone watching from their rooms!

2) We played a course back in October that had a grass mound about twenty yards short of the green on one of the par-3s. Nobody in my foursome knew what it was, but one person suggested that it may have been a bunker at one point.

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24 minutes ago, bkuehn1952 said:

Brickyard sounds cool.  After this mess is over it might be worth a trip.

If you are dreaming about trips / courses you might take/play when this is all over, and isn't everybody doing that, then the Pete Dye Trail in Indiana is pretty accessible to you.  Indiana and especially Indianapolis is full of Pete Dye courses as he was a native son.  I've played 5 of the 7 courses "listed" on the trail.  Four are really good courses that IMO are bargains for the quality of the course (in addition there are two high quality muni's in Indy that he designed).  The other, Pete Dye Course at French Lick, is far from reasonably priced but it was one of the highest quality bucket list experiences I have had. 

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1 hour ago, gbogey said:

I loved Warrenbrook when I lived in NJ.  There also used to be a star on a tree at the 2nd hole.  You just had to know that the star was 30 yards past the green.

Yes, that’s right, there’s a star on it. I don’t know if it was a living tree when you played there, but it’s just a 20’ tall stump with a star on it now.

It’s one of those courses that people either love or hate.

1 hour ago, gbogey said:

I think the most unique shot at Warrenbrook is the tee shot on #11.  For the uninitiated, it's blind tee shot.  There's a mound / hill maybe 50 yards in front of the green that I would guess is 25-30 feet high, then the hole goes downhill to the green.  Standing on the tee you wouldn't think a driver would get over the hill, but any decently struck shot will.  Still plenty of tee shots go straight into the hill and are quickly lost as the grass there is several feet thick.  The other odd part about the hole is that it plays about 40 yards further right than one would think from the tee box.  There's a big tree that you can see from the tee that seems like the right target but if you hit it you will be in the 13th fairway.  I would tell newcomers to look at the tree and hit right and then hit even further right.  They were always amazed when they walked around the mound to see how far right the hole played.  

There are a couple of reasons why you have to play that hole what seems like too far to the right. As you mentioned, it’s a blind tee shot. The tee box is parallel to the fairway only up to the point it makes a slight dogleg right, which is about 210yd from the tee, so anyone who pipes it down the center is going to be in for a nasty surprise when they get down to their ball. The fairway slopes right to left, too, so if you land it on the right side of the fairway it will roll down to the left.

It’s a gimmicky hole. I'm not a fan, of the hole or the course in general.

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