by Dave Finn as published in the August 2017 edition of Agent Magazine
When designing a golf course, location and nature provide the raw canvas. How the architect works with the terrain and topography determines whether or not it will be a masterpiece. Here are six courses that have memorably mastered that canvas.
Stonehaven at Glade Springs, West Virginia
By David Theoret
Should you, an avid golfer, find yourself in the Greensboro, NC area during golf season- which according to Bryan Park General Manager and Director of Golf Kyle Kolls is all year – you need to book a round on the Champions Course at Bryan Park Golf Club.
Bryan Park Golf Club is a 36-hole facility. The Players Course opened in 1974 and was originally designed by George Cobb. Rees Jones did a major redesign of the course in 1988. The Champions Course opened in 1990 and is 100% Rees Jones; it has quickly become one of his best works. With seven holes bordering Lake Townsend, the views are just about as spectacular as the golf course. And, when the leaves change color in the fall, the scenery gets even better.
The Players Course was ranked number 2 in Golf Digest’s list of Best New Public Courses in 1990 and hosted the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in 2010. Year after year, the course is nationally ranked by major golf publications and is by far the Greensboro area’s most prestigious public course.
By Paul Knowles
Gaylord, Michigan – If pace of play is an issue at Treetops – well, it’s their own damned fault. Because the five courses at Treetops are some of the most beautiful golf courses you will find anywhere, and golfers cannot be blamed for pausing for a look, or a photo, at Number 1 on Signature, or Number 6 on Masterpiece or… almost any other hole.
Treetops Resort is located just outside Gaylord, Michigan – a beautiful area that also features skiing in the winter (Treetops is a ski resort, as well – which tells you a lot about the topography of the golf courses).
There are, in fact, 14 golf courses on seven properties in close proximity to Gaylord, which may inspire return visits – but I recommend you first go to Treetops, and stay there for the length of your visit. Because these five courses – at their highest, sitting 1,380 feet above sea level – are unique, challenging, gorgeous, and well worth a golfers’ attention.
Few private or resort courses have the geographical characteristics golf course designer Bob Walker was given when he designed Arrowhead Pointe. In fact, Walker has said that basically the state handed him 400-acres of land within the Richard B. Russell State Park in Elberton, GA and said, “put the course wherever you need to.” And Walker did just that.
This 6,861-yard masterpiece sits on a peninsula on Richard B. Russell Lake and offers some of the best water views and scenic vistas anywhere in the South. Better yet, there are no lakefront homes or even private docks to spoil the view as you make your way around the course.
Arrowhead Pointe Golf Club is not without its share of accolades, having been named the 2nd Best New Affordable Public Course in America by Golf Digest in 2005. It has also been ranked #10 on Golf Advisor’s list of Top 25 courses under $50 and TravelGolf.com placed Arrowhead Pointe on its list of the Top 10 courses in the state of Georgia.
Photos and Story by Michael Cunningham
What a year 1992 was for the golf enthusiast! Nick Faldo coming from four shots down to win The Open as a dazed John Cook watched after missing a 24-inch putt on the 71st hole. The world’s number one ranked player, Fred Couples won his first major, The Masters. Following an incredibly lucky break where his ball did not go in the water on the 152 yard par 3 12th as Ian Woosnam earlier records an 8 to finish tied for 5th. The year a teenager, by the name of Tiger Woods, made his PGA debut.
It was also the year the worlds most played golf trail destination, The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, in Alabama was created. Golf Magazine announced, “It is the standard against which all other trails are measured”. “One of the world’s coolest places to play’ according to Golf Magazine. Frequent Flyer Magazine announces it is one of its “top ten trips in the world”.
By Paul Knowles
San Jose’s Cinnabar Hills may be the golf fan’s version of Hotel California: you can show up any time you like, but you can never leave. At least, there’s no way you will be out of there quickly.
It’s not that the course takes a long time to play – Cinnabar Hills Golf Club is 27-hole facility, offering three Par 72 options – 18-hole combinations of the Mountain, Canyon and Lake courses that measure between 6617 and 6854 yards from the tips, so the usual four hour schedule for a round should work here.
Because Cinnabar Hills is home to one of the finest collections of golf memorabilia outside the World Golf Hall of Fame. From Bobby Jones’ original letters, promoting the creation of The Masters, to memorabilia from golfers ranging from Arnold Palmer to Sam Snead and Byron Nelson, from Seve Ballesteros to Tiger Woods; to captain’s jackets from the earliest Ryder Cups; to replica copies of the great trophies of the game – it’s all here.
By Dave Finn as published in the June/July Issue of Golf Oklahoma Magazine
When I think of Louisiana, the first place that springs to mind is New Orleans. I think of Bourbon Street, balconies, and beads. I can taste the gumbo and beignets served with chickory coffee. I can hear the jazz notes floating in the air, and the beat of feet tapping away to a Zydeco tune, but when it comes to golf, that’s only the beginning of the adventure.
Imagine sixteen of the state’s top golf courses stretching from New Orleans to the Arkansas, Texas and Mississippi borders. Imagine yourself following a path that will let you explore Northern Louisiana, a Sportsman’s Paradise, Cajun Country, the Plantation Region and the Big Easy. Imagine challenging yourself on courses designed by legendary golf greats like Pete Dye, Arnold Palmer, Hal Sutton, David Toms and Robert Trent Jones.
Imagine yourself following the Audubon Golf Trail as it weaves its way from The Big Easy to Baton Rouge and Monroe through bayous and wetlands, live oaks, cypress groves, and upland pine forests and rolling hills. Imagine the efforts of sixteen cooperative members to protect the abundant native wildlife and preserve the natural habitat while delivering the ultimate golf experience.
By David Theoret
The Waccamaw Golf Trail is located at the south end of The Myrtle Beach Grand Strand and includes a dozen of the area’s very best courses. In fact, this collection of courses has garnered more awards than any other comparable golf trail in America. Most of the courses are built on 18th Century rice and indigo plantations, and their routing is often dictated by centuries-old moss-draped oak trees and gently flowing tidal rivers.
This region has come to be known as South Carolina’s historic Hammock Coast, comprised the townships of Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, Pawleys Island and Georgetown. In addition to great golf, you’ll find beautiful beaches, an outstanding selection of accommodations, superb restaurants and various points of historic interest.
One location that incorporates both excellent dining and accommodations is The Inlet Sports Lodge, Costa Coastal Kitchen & Bar located right next door. Although it has only been open a few months, Costa (www.costamyrtlebeach.com) is quickly becoming a favorite among travelers and locals alike. Their dishes are unique, such as Stuffed Banana Peppers, three large banana peppers stuffed with a homemade Italian sausage. Their Italian fare and seafood fare are equally as delectable, and their steaks melt in your mouth. Portions are almost big enough to share, but with food this good, who wants to do that? They also have an extensive wine list and are best known for their incredible daily specials.
By Dave Finn as published in the April Edition of Chicago District Golfer magazine
Without determination and dedication, dreams don’t come true. It took time, effort and more than a little grit for farmer Robert Craft and his father J.C., to realize their ambitions. Thirty years ago, the pair opened Cotton Creek Golf Club in Gulf Shores, Ala and since then, the town has never looked back.
The Craft family understood that Gulf Shores had forever been recognized as a beloved summer vacation destination.
From Memorial Day until Labor Day, tourists and travellers flocked to their sunny shores. The problem was that come the fall, all the vacationers returned home. Restaurants and shops closed for the season and many condos and resorts stood empty until the following spring.
At first, the townspeople resisted the idea that golf could bring greater prosperity to their area, but when it was announced that Arnold Palmer would be the architect and builder of their future, they quickly embraced a new opportunity.
To read the entire article in Chicago District Golfer click here.
Photos and article by David Theoret
Tucked away about 35 minutes north of Orlando, FL is a spectacular Central Florida resort that features an outstanding full-service spa, 4 restaurants and 2 top-notch golf courses. It’s the perfect location for a guy’s golf vacation, a girls’ spa weekend or a romantic getaway with that special someone.
Mission Inn features distinctive Spanish Colonial architecture and luxurious amenities. There are 176 studio, one, two and three-bedroom accommodations housed in three separate – but connected – buildings: “San Miguel”, “San Diego” and “San Angel”. All rooms are tastefully appointed with large, flat screen TVs, coffeemakers and well equipped work areas. As nice as this resort is, what really sets it apart is the golf!