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Riz757

Underrated Courses

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Please forgive me if this has been discussed - I'm new.

We all know about the courses that the major publications tout as America's greatest .... but what about the lesser known and unheralded?  I'd like to know about them, and talk about them.  So .... what are some great courses that few people would know about, other than those who've stumbled upon them, or live nearby?  Are the green fees reasonable, or they on the higher side?  It's a topic worth discussing, I think.

I'll start this off with Blue Ridge Shadows in Front Royal, VA.  It's just off I-66 in northern VA, and partners with a Holiday Inn for package deals (which is a little odd, I agree).

The first hole is a mid length par 4 with a split fairway; high side to the right, and a lower tier to the left.  The approach is downhill to a green that's guarded by a pond short and left.

In between the first and final holes are a great mix of mountain view holes, and some incorporate the mountain into play - not just the view.  For example, the 10th hole descends about 80 feet from tee to fairway, but the approach to the green, and the entire next hole are relatively flat.

The final hole is a short par 4 with the approach over water, with a stone structure (that I think was supposed to be a waterfall) behind the green.

It's a fun course to play, and is usually in great condition, but doesn't have that "it" factor that would impress the mainstream publications.

Any others worth sharing?

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I've passed by the course several times and have heard that it has been in terrible shape so I never stopped to play it due to its cost.
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There are a couple in Kansas City that I think are underrated, most notably Swope Memorial Golf Course in Swope Park.  Designed in 1934 by legendary architect A.W. Tillinghast, it's got a lot of trees and hilly, you better be able to hit the ball pretty straight or you are in for a long day.

While not as good as Swope, Leavenworth Country Club is a favorite of mine, designed in 1920 by Tom Bendelow, who designed East Lake in Atlanta and Medinah.  Not a long course, but you need to be able to make some shots, a par 3 that you might have to hit driver and a par 4 that on most days is a 4 iron and a wedge.

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Our local Muni, Leslie Park, is an outstanding layout.  While they were voted to Golf Digest's list of "Best Muni's in Michigan" back in 2009, they rarely make any lists, even on a statewide basis.  The design was not by a big name architect (Lawrence Packard) and it has not been around for 100+ years (1967).  No national or big name tournaments have ever graced Leslie with their presence, just our city championship.

The things that make Leslie standout are:

1. Every hole is unique.  No dogleg right, dogleg left routing.  Some holes are relatively open, others tight and tree-lined.  Water comes into play a handful of times from a couple ponds and the meandering Traver Creek. The pear orchard that separates #6 from #8 has caught many a shot as well as provided mid-round snacks in early autumn.  A very memorable course as far as recalling each hole.

2. SE Michigan is not exactly hill country but the piece of land on which Leslie sits offers up some very nice elevation changes.

3. The current super is always improving the layout and experience.  We have duck nesting platforms, bat boxes and now a chimney swift tower.  He has added several tees to enhance play (either to make the tips longer or give us duffers a shorter alternative) and pro-actively worked with the local watershed management unit when they sought to improve the quality of water runoff that feeds the Huron River.  He keeps us all informed via his weather station and blog [ http://treetownturfguy.blogspot.com/ ].

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Squire Creek in Choudrant, La. is top notch, but not one that's very well known, mainly because it's new and off the beaten path. It's a Fazio design, offers a great challenge, and is always in great shape.

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I've passed by the course several times and have heard that it has been in terrible shape so I never stopped to play it due to its cost.


I've played it twice.  First in August of 2010, then again in May of this past year.  Was in great shape both times - and I'm pretty discriminative.  Both times the green fee was under $60, but they were afternoon rounds.

Eric

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Aspen Lakes about half an hour from Bend, Oregon is still one of my favorite courses of all time. Beautiful mountain views, fun holes, and red cinder cone bunkers make it a pretty unique round.

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I agree.    I attended training at KC and played Swope Memorial numerous times.    I have become a Tillinghast fan.    I eventually would like to tour the US and play other of his courses.

Doug

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My vote would be for the Highlands course at Hampton Cove, in Huntsville, AL.  Part of the RTJ Golf Trail.  Beautiful course but brutal at times.

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