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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Five Favorite Courses

One of the best things about golf is the golf course. The game itself is fun (sometimes), challenging, can help develop admirable personal traits (as well as bring out not such admirable traits), and is a wonderful builder of camaraderie with golf companions. Vacations and outings are often structured around golf rounds. In my opinion, it is even fun to practice golf. With that said, I think golf courses are the best part of golf. The variations in holes, terrain and even grass make every course unique and special in its own right. Even the worse courses I have played have something good about them. To walk down the fairways with birds singing, green grass beneath your shoes, trees swaying to a gentle breeze is heaven on earth. Stand on the 15th, 16th or 17th tees of Cypress Point and your senses are overwhelmed; a feast for the eyes, the symphony of the ocean in your ears and the brisk ocean breeze tickling your skin.

There are desert courses, mountain courses, ocean courses, parkland courses, river courses, city courses, course of all types and kinds. There are resort course, private courses, muni’s and other daily fee courses.

I like knowing who the golf course architect was of the courses I play. There are great past architects and current architects that may attract you to a course or may repel you from a course. I like Tom Fazio courses, Alister Mackenzie courses, Robert Trent Jones (Senior and Junior) courses, Reese Jones courses, George C. Thomas courses, Billy Bell (William F. Bell and William P. Bell) courses, Arnold Palmer courses, David Kidd courses, Tom Doak courses, and Ted Robinson courses.. I have liked some of the courses by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Moorshish but not all. I have not been a huge fan of the Jack Nicklaus courses I have played but I have not played Muirfield in Ohio or other highly ranked Nicklaus courses. I am not a huge fan of the 7 or 8 Pete Dye Courses I have played; however, I have not played the Stadium Course at Sawgrass.

I have played Bandon Trails designed by Crenshaw and Coore. I liked it but it was not my favorite of the Bandon Dunes Resort Courses. I would love to play their highly ranked Sand Hills Course in Nebraska. One year after Sand Hills closed for the season I took a detour to the course on my way to David City Nebraska and once there, I stood on a sand dune overlooking the course meandering through the prairie dunes; truly a beautiful site. Nothing was in view but the dunes, the prairie and the course. A feeling of total serenity passed over me as I stood alone on a cold, but sunny day in the middle of nowhere.

I believe I have only played one Donald Ross golf course, Pinehurst No. 2 and I loved it. I would love to play many more Donald Ross courses. I don’t believe I have played any courses by A. W. Tillinghast or Perry Maxell

Each of us who love golf love golf courses. We each have favorites that we might play often or just once. Our favorite courses may be famous or not so famous. They may be highly ranked courses or not ranked at all. Maybe they are our favorite courses because of their history or their beauty or because we associate them with family or friends. May we won a tournament on the course or made a hole in one. Maybe they are our favorite courses because we played well on them or they were part of a special event. The reasons we each have favorite courses are as varied as the courses that are our favorites.

I asked a large number of friends and associates to email me a list of their five favorite courses. I asked them not to include any course on their list of which they are a member. I also asked them to only include courses they have played at least once. The courses on their list could be in the US or anywhere in the world. I asked men and women to give me their list. I asked good golfers and bad golfers. I asked country club members and public course players to give me their lists. I received some favorite course input from a relative of a PGA Tour professional who has won a number of PGA Tour events. It was wonderful to receive these lists from so many people. Here are my friend’s favorite courses:

Phil S:   (i) Cypress Point, Carmel, California;  (ii) El Tamarindo Puerto, Vallarta, Mexico; (iii) The Country Club Brookline, Massachusetts; (iv) Pebble Beach, Carmel, California; and (v)  Ousten Golf Club, Oslo, Norway

Eloise C:   (i) Pine Needles Pinehurst, North Carolina; (ii) Black Butte Black,Butte Oregon; (iii) Sun River Sun River, Oregon; (iv)  Harbor Town South Carolina;  and (v) San Juan Oaks, San Juan Baptista, CA

Rick C:   Muirfield , Dublin, Ohio

Steve R:  The Experience at Koele Lanai, Hawaii

PGA Touring Pro:  (i) Olympic Club, San Francisco, California; (ii) Muirfield, Dublin, Ohio (iii) Colonial Country Club; Fort Worth, Texas; (v) Aronimink Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

Tim B:  (i) Spyglass; Carmel, California; (ii) Birchwood CC; Harbor Springs, Michigan; (iii) Paradise Valley CC; Paradise Valley, Arizona; (iv) Victory Ranch Club' Kamas, Utah; and (v) Valley View Golf Course Layton Utah

Jim M:   (i) Coeur d’ Alene Resort. Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho; (ii)  We Ko Pa, Scottsdale, Arizona; (iii) Pebble Beach, Carmel, California; (iv)  Spy Glass Carmel, California; and (v) Pacific Dunes; Bandon Dunes, Oregon

Scott S:  (i) Wasatch State Park –Lake Course, Midway, Utah (ii) Jackson Hole Golf Club; Jackson Hole Wyoming; (iii) Torrey Pines South, La Jolla, California; (iv)  Cypress Point; Carmel, California; and (v) Valdarrama, AndalucĂ­a, Spain

Vince B:   (i) Spyglass Carmel, California; (ii) Olympic Club Lake Course; San Francisco, California; (iii) Stanwich Club;  Greenwich, Connecticut; (iv) Winged Foot;  Mamaroneck, New York; (v) Quaker Ridge Scarsdale, New York

Doug B: (i) Oasis (Palmer Course), Mesquite, Nevada; (ii)  Crandon Golf Club, Key Biscayne, Florida; (iii) Los Caballeros Wickenburg, Arizona; (iv) Waikola Beach Big Island, Hawaii;  and (v) Mauna Lona -South Big Island, Hawaii

Bruce H.  (i) The Boulders- North Course, Carefree, Arizona; (ii) Glenwild Park City, Utah; (iii) Sun Valley (original 18) Sun Valley, Idaho; (iv) Great Waters at Reynolds Plantation Greensboro, Georgia; and (v) Logan Golf & Country Club Logan, Utah

Paul M:   (i) Portland Golf Club; Portland, Oregon; (ii) Eugene Country Club, Eugene, Oregon; (iii)
Gearhart, Gearhart, Oregon; (iv) Indian Wells Country Club. Indian Wells, CA; and (v) Marriott Desert Springs, Palm Desert, California

Keith M:  (i)  Royal Dornoch; Dornoch, Scotland; (ii) Deacon’s Lodge Pequot, Minnesota; (iii) Old Course, St. Andrews; St. Andrews Scotland; (iv) Pacific Dunes, Bandon Dunes, Oregon; (v) Turnberry, Ailsa Course Turnberry Ayrshire, Scotland

David D: (i)  Royal Dornoch; Dornoch, Scotland; (ii)  Muirfield, Muirfield, Scotland; (iii) Lahinch; Lahinch, Ireland; (iv) Pebble Beach, Carmel, California; and (v) Harbor Town Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Ken B:  (i) Cape Kidnappers New Zealand; (ii) Old Head County Cork, Ireland; (iii) Oakmont; Oakmont, Pennsylvania; (iv) Kingsbarns; St. Andrews, Scotland; (v) Carnoustie (Championship Course) Carnoustie, Scotland

Jim V:  (i) Pelican Hill; Newport Beach, California; (ii) Pasatiempo; Santa Cruz, California; (iii) The Preserve Carmel, California; (iv) Poppy Hills Carmel, California; (v) Sun Valley Resort (Trail Creek Course) Sun Valley, Idaho

Ray C:   (i) Kidd Course – Kananaskis Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada; (ii) Killarney Golf & Fishing Club Kerry, Ireland; (iii) Banff Spring Hotel Course; Banff, Canada; (iv) Predator Course, Vernon, BC, Canada  (v) Torrey Pines (South Course) La Jolla, California

Wally W:  (i) Orinda Country Club, Orinda, California: (ii) San Francisco GolF Club, San Francisco, California; (iii) Royal County Down; New Castle, Ireland; (iv) Pronghorn, Fazio Course Bend, Oregon; and (v)  Pacific Dunes Bandon Dunes, Oregon

Boyce L:  (i) Pebble Beach, Carmel, California; (ii) Cypress Point Club, Carmel, California; (iii) Bonnie Brae Golf Club 'Greenville, South Carolina; (iv) Salisbury Country Club, Midlothian, Virginia; and (v) The Dominion Club, Glen Allen, Virginia

Dennis C: (i) Plantation Course at Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii; (ii)Cabo del Sol, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; (iii)
Arizona Biltmore Course Phoenix, Arizona; (iv)  Coeur d’ Alene Resort Course, Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho; and (v) Buffalo Hil,l Kalispell, Montana

Bruce J: (i) Pauite Golf Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada; (ii) St. Augustine Shores, St Augustine, Florida;
(iii) Canterwood Country Club; Gig Harbor, Washington; (iv) Bear’s Best; Las Vegas. Nevada; and
(v) Country Club of Decatur Decatur, Illinois

Jack H: (i) Cypress Point; Carmel, California; (ii) The Quarry; La Quinta, California; (iii) Pacific Dunes;Bandon Dunes, Oregon; (iv) Oakmont; Oakmont, Pennsylvania; and (v) Plantation Course at Kapalua Maui, Hawaii

Rick B: (i) Ventana Canyon Mountain Course Tucson, Arizona; (ii) Pacific Dunes; Bandon Dunes, Oregon; (iii)Torrey Pines South Cours;e La Jolla, California; (iv) Big Sky Whistler Whistler, BC, Canada; and (v)  Jasper Park Lodge Course Jasper Alberta, Canada

My favorite five courses are:

Cypress Point
Turnberry (Scotland)
Pinehurst No.2
Pacific Dunes
White Tail Club (McCall, Idaho)

The Lovely Sharon's favorite five courses are:

Cypress Point
The Ocean Course at Kiawah
Osprey Point Golf Course at Kiawah
Glenwild, Park City, Utah
Bandon Dunes
Bayonett Course and Blackhorse Course at Fort Ord

She cheated and picked 7 courses.

Thanks to all who participated. 

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