Saturday, November 18, 2017

Quality Nine Hole Golf Courses Revisited

Five years ago, I wrote a post about nine hole golf courses. In the time since then, I've played a few more nine hole courses. I've sought out nine hole courses mostly due to a number of online conversations with Anthony Pioppi, writer of the book To the Nines, available here. The book is very good, I highly recommend it. Overall, I've played 10 nine hole courses: Monticello, Fletcher's Landing, Meadowbrook, Annapolis, Lambert's Point, Links at City Park (Portsmouth), Northwood, Fishhook, Sweetens Cove, and Fenwick. Of these, Monticello was renovated and made into an eighteen hole facility, while Meadowbrook and Annapolis were closed (as I write this, I looked up Meadowbrook to find that it's reopened; it was listed as closed earlier this year). Three of these, Northwood, Sweetens Cove, and Fenwick, were profiled in Anthony's book. Of all these, only Sweetens Cove falls into the area of what I'd call a very good golf course. It does have some negatives and I'll talk about those in a profile shortly.

While there are very good and great nine hole courses, there are few of them relative to the total number of golf courses and, in my experience, they generally exist in smaller communities with lower budgets. Of the courses that I've played, only Lambert's Point and Links at City Park are in a large metro area, that being the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. The others exist in much smaller communities.

When I wrote the original post, I referenced the Golf Digest article here. This list is still the only significant ranking of nine holes courses that I can find. As I mentioned before, I've only played two courses that made the list, Northwoods and Annapolis. Sweetens Cove had not yet been built, so was not on the list. For Northwoods, I still do not see the love for the course. In his book, Anthony had high praise for the 1st and 6th holes. I can agree with that. My issue is that the rest of the holes around it, perhaps save the 8th, are very mundane. Also, the trees make the course nearly impossible to play...with exception of 1, 6, and 8 which play outside the trees; no secret why they're the best holes.

Annapolis is closed, that is probably not a bad thing.

Fletcher's Landing was built in 2001 as part of a driving range and batting cage complex. The courses charges $10 to walk 9 holes. For that, it's fantastic. It's an inexpensive place to get out and play golf. It's the finest course in Onslow County, North Carolina that the daily fee golfer can play for $10.

The Links at City Park in Portsmouth, Virginia is a small executive course and serves the purpose well. For municipal golf, it's great. The facility has a range and an inexpensive course.

Fishhook is a very rustic course outside Palmer, Alaska. It is privately owned, making it one of the few privately owned courses in Alaska. It has some fun holes.

Fenwick...Anthony spoke very highly of this one. It's not the finest in terms of design, but for total atmosphere, it's fantastic. The course is a lot of fun to play, has some pretty cool design features, the berm on 6 and the pimple bunker on 8 come to mind, and has tremendous history. If you're in Connecticut, I definitely recommend playing here.

Meadowbrook is a fun course with a lot of history. It was opened in 1958 as a private club for African-American individuals and families in the Raleigh area; it doesn't take extensive research to determine why the African-American community needed its own club in the 50s era South. As I recall, the course was extremely fun to play.

Lambert's Point...given the tight land that was given, it's amazing that a course was built at all, much less a good one. Every hole has views of the water. Often players can see Navy warships coming in and out of port. I'd say this course holds up well against any course in the Hampton Roads area; south of Williamsburg, anyway.

Sweetens Cove. Utterly fantastic. I do think the greens, as a whole, are a bit much. Individually, they are great, as a whole, I thought they got tiring. That said, the course is fantastic. I would say that it could hold its own against the courses at Bandon, it really is that good.

So, a ranking
1. Sweetens Cove, 7. Not even close.
2. Lambert's Point, 4
3. Fenwick, 3
4. Northwood, 3
5-8 Links at City Park, Fletcher's Landing, Meadowbrook, Fishhook, All rated 1
Annapolis closed and Monticello converted.
Of these, I would like to revisit Meadowbrook. When I assigned the ranking numbers, the course was in a major state of flux, being closed, then reopened, and closed again. It might well be higher than a 1, but probably not higher than a 2 baring a significant amount of work being done.

I intend to add to this list of courses as I want to actively seek out new nine hole courses to play. There are several to play in and around New York, so I will see if I can sneak away to get to those.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Two years in Review

So I was watching the Tour Championship on TV today and it occurred to me how little I have written here since I played East Lake for my 200th course over a year and a half ago. Since then I've played 22 new golf courses and three of those are now in my top 10. That's not a bad stretch of golf. I've also moved to New York City which opens up a huge number of golf courses to play. It also opens up Bethpage Black on a regular basis and, for $65 as a resident, I intend to play there at least once a month. I've also competed in two tournaments this year, one at Salem Glen where I finished third and another at Brookville CC on Long Island where I finished far worse than third because I got destroyed by an incredible set of greens. To be honest, Brookville likely had one of the two or three best set of greens that I have ever played.

Another highlight of the past 18 months was playing TPC Sawgrass (PLAYERS Stadium). I played this with a good friend from work. We left Mobile, AL at 4am, drove to Jacksonville, played 18 holes, and drove back to Alabama.  Perhaps not something I would recommend to others, but it was a great day.

Hopefully I can post more here going forward. I've simply been lazy and not been writing.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Golf is Tough, Writing about it is Tougher

I have found it difficult to play golf this year. I simply have not found the time to get out and play. As of right now, I have played about ten new courses this year, and 7 of those came in January. So it is difficult to write about courses when I am barely playing any golf at all. But hopefully I can get back to playing and writing here as I enjoy both quite a bit.