New Course Review
Published: May 2009
By Derek Duncan
A state-by-state guide to the most notable debuts and redesigns
The Links at Cougar Canyon, Trinidad (public). Opening: September (limited play)
One nine here crosses a high-plains meadow beneath the watch of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains; the other dips through canyons and piñon-flecked arroyos. The sinister implication of the course's black-sand bunkers culminates at the par-three sixteenth, where an island green falls away on all sides into a deep wash.
ARCHITECT: Nicklaus Design. YARDAGE: 7,700. PAR: 72. GREENS FEES: $35$49. TEE TIMES: 877-547-7455, cougarcanyonliving.com.
The Golf Club at Bridgewater, Lakeland (semiprivate). Opening: October
Decades of phosphate mining ravaged this site and left behind a series of distressed, low-grade wetlands. They've been painstakingly refurbished as a wildlife sanctuary and a thirty-two-acre system of interlinked mitigating ponds, through which Steve Smyers laced strategic holes with push-up greens displaying decisive internal ridges and slopes.
ARCHITECT: Steve Smyers. YARDAGE: 7,254. PAR: 71. GREENS FEES: TBA. TEE TIMES: golfatbridgewater.com.
New Smyrna Beach Golf Course
New Smyrna Beach (public). Reopening: October
This Donald Ross design—one of the architect's last—has loyally served this coastal community south of Daytona Beach since 1950. Now, as part of a $2.5 million renovation by Bobby Weed, its sagging features have been restored. Weed preserved the routing by building modern versions of the original greens, while at the same time selectively adding bunkers and enhancing fairway contours.
ARCHITECT: Bobby Weed. YARDAGE: 6,450. PAR: 72. GREENS FEES: $25$45. TEE TIMES: 386-424-2192.
Long Shadow Golf Club, Madison
(semiprivate). Opening: October
Owner Paul Donnelly assisted ESPN golf commentator Charlie Rymer and Mike Young with the design on this central Georgia site. Clusters of oak and pine border a few of the holes, but the interior architecture suggests the old country—prodigious rippled fairways; a liberal scattering of deep sod-faced bunkers; and enormous angled greens.
Architects: Mike Young and Charlie Rymer. YARDAGE: 7,472. PAR: 72. GREENS FEES: TBA. TEE TIMES: 706-752-0100, morgancountydowns.com.
TPC of Louisiana Avondale (public). Reopened: July 15
Yet another step in New Orleans's recovery is the reopening of this course a half-hour south of the French Quarter. The TPC staff has resodded and reassembled Pete Dye's broken architecture after Hurricane Katrina uprooted nearly 1,500 cypress trees on the property and left water standing for almost two weeks over 30 percent of the course.
ARCHITECT: Pete Dye. YARDAGE: 7,520. PAR: 72. GREENS FEES: $95$125. TEE TIMES: 504-436-8721, tpc.com.
The Oaks Golf Club, Pass Christian (public). Reopened: July
Hurricane Katrina turned the area surrounding this course, a full five miles from the Gulf of Mexico, into inhospitable beachfront property. Hoping to provide an avenue of recreation for the laborers rebuilding the demolished region, the club has worked fast to reopen, clearing thousands of downed trees and reconstructing its notable steep-faced bunkers.
ARCHITECT: Chris Cole. YARDAGE: 6,885. PAR: 72. GREENS FEES: $39$49. TEE TIMES: 228-452-0909, theoaksgolfclub.com.
Tom Fazio Course at the Club at Pronghorn, Bend (private). Opened: August 26
An old-growth juniper forest in central Oregon's high desert is the setting for this luxurious community's second course. The par-three eighth requires an all-carry shot over a fifty-foot-deep canyon formed by a hollow 300-million-year-old subterranean lava tube so large you could drive a truck through it.
ARCHITECT: Tom Fazio. YARDAGE: 7,462. PAR: 72. Membership INQUIRIES: 541-312-9424, pronghornclub.com.
Jack Frost National Golf Club, Blakeslee (semiprivate). Opening: October
Rather than the canted variety common to the many vintage courses in the Pocono Mountains, the fairways here are recessed into broad U-shaped channels bordered by white birch, pine and walnut trees. The holes rise and fall across a tilted plateau and are Pennsylvania's first to be planted with Kentucky low-mow bluegrass.
ARCHITECT: Terry LaGree. YARDAGE: 7,200. PAR: 72. GREENS FEES: $39$69. TEE TIMES: 866-268-5503, jackfrostnational.com.
Monte Rei Golf & Country Club, Algarve (resort). Opening: October
It's difficult to determine what is more impressive about this course: the sweeping views of the Serra do Caldeirão Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean; wild and robust holes that tumble along the rugged slopes of this relatively undeveloped stretch of the Algarve region; or the engineering, which required a Portuguese record-setting amount of explosives to grade the rocky site for golf.
ARCHITECT: Jack Nicklaus. YARDAGE: 7,197. PAR: 72. GREENS FEE: $290. TEE TIMES: 011-351/289-392-197, monte-rei.com.
Course of the Month
White Horse Golf Club
Kingston, Washington (semiprivate). Opening: September
The late Karsten Solheim, a Seattle native whose family owned a summer compound here on the Kitsap Peninsula (a spectacular prong of land between the Olympic and Cascade Mountains), once bemoaned that there weren't more golf courses in this ruggedly beautiful part of the country. Robert Screen, who had purchased 450 wooded acres in the peninsula's northern reaches in 1988, heard his lament and asked Solheim, the visionary founder of Ping, and a few course architects to give their assessments of the property. Although all of them said it was an ideal site for golf, the project, which includes a real estate community, ended up being delayed for over a decade by local opposition. When the final hurdle was cleared, Screen hired Cynthia Dye McGarey, a niece of Pete Dye, to design a suitably inspiring course. Her layout features broad fairways that roll exhilaratingly along sandy ridges and cut through corridors of hemlock, fir, cedar and maple. On a clear day you can see Mount Baker, the 10,778-foot Cascade volcano and ski area. Solheim, it seems safe to say, would be proud.
ARCHITECT: Cynthia Dye McGarey. YARDAGE: 7,186. PAR: 72. GREENS FEES: $50$70. TEE TIMES: 360-297-4468, whitehorsegolfcommunity.com.
Next on the Tee...
Construction has begun on Tom Doak's remote Rock Creek Cattle Company, a private club with golf and fly-fishing near Deer Lodge, Montana. The course, which will canvas a rugged, wide-open site, is expected to open by late summer 2007....Pete Dye and his son Perry are creating a high-end public course in Pound Ridge, New York, on hilly, rocky land in northern Westchester County. The developer is Ken Wang, brother of the fashion designer Vera Wang. The course is slated to open in July 2007....The Hawaiian island of Oahu hasn't seen a new golf course opening in a decade, but that will change in late 2007 with the completion of Ernie Els's Hoakalei Country Club, a resort course that will be part of the Ocean Pointe community in Ewa Beach....David McLay Kidd's first course in the continental U.S. since Bandon Dunes, Stonebrae Country Club in Hayward, California, is to open in fall 2007. The private course will be set high in the East Bay hills, with panoramic views of San Francisco Bay.