Monday, September 17, 2012

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Magnolia Grove (Short)


Same as with the Short course at Oxmoor Valley, it is difficult to really talk about a par 3 course. All the holes on this course require the player hit an aerial shot to the green. All the greens are elevated. But there is reasonable variety. Holes play as long as 215 on the card from the back tees (and can play 5-7 yards longer than that from the far back of the teeing area) and as short as 70 yards from the forward tees. For those not insistent on playing a single set of tees, every club in the bag, except perhaps the 3 wood and driver, can be used on the course. Overall, this is a good, above average, course.

Holes to Note
For the first time on this site, a tour of the entire course will be posted. This is the writers home course and he has played it 50 or more times just this year. All pictures and yardages from the back tees.

Hole #1: 174 yards
Proper distance and line are important right from the opening shot. The green is separated into three distinctly different tiers: the front part of the green is sunken, the back right portion is sunken as well. The middle tier is rather flat and perhaps two feet above the front and back portions.

Hole #2: 180 yards
Playing downhill over a wetland area, this is a semi-scenic hole. The shot requirement is roughly the same as the first hole. This green is separated into two tiers, front and back.
From the tee, the shot needed is quite clear.
The well defined rise can be seen here.
Looking back at the tee from behind the green.

Hole #3: 189 yards
A virtual twin of the second, this hole again plays downhill, over the wetlands. This green has less movement than the 2nd, however. 

Hole #4: 215 yards
This hole is the longest on the the course and plays to a four-tiered green that is far too extreme for the shot required. The idea of the hole is good, but the green is not at all suited to the hole.

Hole #5: 137 yards
A break from the long holes that start off the round. This hole plays roughly a club uphill to a two-tiered green. Certainly a potential birdie hole if you can hit a decent shot off the tee.

The rise in the green can be seen here.

Hole #6: 135 yards
The shortest hole on the front nine plays to a green on the same level as the tee. This green, while also highly undulated, fits the shot required, unlike the 4th green. This hole, depending upon the pin position is likely the easiest hole on the course. When the hole is cut center left any shot within a 10 yard wide semi-circle right of the hole will funnel right down to the cup.
Today, the hole is cut center left, as described above. Beyond the bunker, the green is shaped like a bowl, feeding shots to the hole.

The shadowing from the trees gives definition to the rise that separates the front part of the green from the left-center. The mound just left of the prominent pine tree shows the location of the rear dividing tier.
Looking from the rear of the green, the bowl is more clearly seen.

Hole #7: 190 yards
This is one of the few holes on the course that might actually require the player to shape for ball from the tee, at least when playing from the back tees. When the hole is cut in the back portion of the green, as in this picture, a fade off the tee will give the player easiest access to the hole.

Hole #8: 178 yards
This hole has one of the largest greens on the course, if not the largest. This green would be far better suited on the 4th hole. There is perhaps 10 feet of rise from front to back with 4 distinct tiers. The back left portion of this green also acts as a funnel for shots. This hole, due to the fantastic green, is likely the best hole on the course.
From the tee, the tiers are visible to the player. Any shot on the wrong tier above the hole will leave a very difficult putt.
The tiers are well defined and severe.

Hole #9: 160 yards
This hole plays sharply uphill, roughly a club and a half. Prior to a renovation in 2011, there was a huge put bunker directly in front of the green. Shame it is no longer there. As with most greens, this one has several distinctive tiers.


Hole #10: 173 yards
From the back tees, this hole can either be simple or a real terror. To a front hole location, the shot is easy, the rise that separates the front and back tiers is roughly 3 feet high and serves as a major backstop. To the back location, however, there is no room for error. A miss short and left will roll down to the front tier. A miss short and center will go into the bunker. Any shots long or right will deflect down a steep hill and leave something of an impossible up and down.

This shot most certainly did not end up in an ideal location and anything other than an outstanding putt will likely result in three putts.

Hole #11: 192 yards
Just a standard hole here. Tee and green on the same level, green roughly flat. One of the few holes on the course that is simple and understated.

Hole #12: 195 yards
Tough hole playing long and over the fronting bunker. Another reasonably simple shot to a green with a lower tier.

The lower and upper tiers are visible in this image.

Hole #13: 205 yards
The second longest hole on the course has a green that fits the shot. Green has a simple tier, enough movement to give interest to the hole. Would be a much better hole if the green were lowered 3 to 4 feet to allow for a run-up shot.

A simple rise separates the front and back of the green.

Hole #14: 190 yards
Another of the few holes on the course that calls for working the golf ball off the tee. The shape of the hole actually resembles as Redan and a draw off the tee is favorable. But as with all holes, a run-up shot is out of the question.

Hole #15: 110 yards
The shortest hole on the golf course is also the easiest. The bunker is virtually meaningless and the mounds on the right provide a kick onto the green. This is the final birdie hole before the final difficult stretch.

Hole #16: 192 yards
This hole plays slightly uphill to a three tiered green and over the same marsh that came into play on holes 2, 3 and 4. And in reality, this hole is a virtual copy of 2 and 3. The deep green can prompt indecision in the player having to determine how much to add to or take off the posted yardage.

Hole #17: 155 yards
This hole plays sharply uphill and to a green that slopes sharply from back to front. When the hole is cut in the front, any shots left above the hole leave a very difficult putt. This green also has several different levels, but they are a bit more subtle than the levels on some other greens.

Here you can see the 4 tiers. This image is taken from the back of the green, the green has tiers back left and right, then two tiers falling down towards the front of the green.

Hole #18: 170 yards
The closing hole plays a club uphill to a green that is semi-blind from the tee. Regardless of where the hole is cut, the player is unable to see the bottom of the flagstick. This hole is a fair closing hole, but nothing spectacular.

The 18th green has some interest, bringing difficulty to the final hole.

Overall, this is a solid course. The yardages are varied and as said before, can be extremely varied for players who play from all different tees. But without the ability to play the ball on the ground at least a few times, the shots get slightly repetitive. That coupled with a couple of over the top greens, detracts from the course a bit. But this course is still solid. 4 out of 10

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