Course Reviews/Travel


Pine Tree Golf Club PDF Print E-mail

 

In our recent edition of Bruno's Blog, we listed "The Best of Florida Golf" . . .

one of those gems is the exclusive Pine Tree Golf Club located in Boynton Beach.

In this feature we go into more detail about this 1961 Dick Wilson design.

 

Pine Tree Golf Club is a Florida Classic designed by Dick Wilson.Over 50 years ago a

group of avid golfers wanted a great course in the central Palm Beach area.The Fifty

Founding Members and 12 Charter Members purchased a large tract of dairy land and

hired Wilson to design the course.Pine Tree for many decades was ranked in

America's Top 100, and was often the winter retreat for Sam Snead.

 

 

 

 

The 413 yard first is a slight dogleg left, the approach to this long angled green is

well protected by sand . . . in fact the key design element at Pine Tree is Wilson's

masterful bunkering.

 


 

 

The green complex at the par 3 second - 184 yards.Pine Tree is often regarded as

Wilson's best work, on this one shotter his penchant for creative bunker design is on

full display.Pine Tree is as flat a piece of property as there is, because of that Wilson

used sand as the key element to not only frame each hole, but also to defend each

hole.The putting surfaces at Pine Tree have been known at times to rival those at

Seminole for the fastest greens in the Palm Beach area.

 

 

 


The 417 yard fourth is straightaway, this pin was accessible . . . but avoid left

and long on this par 4 at all costs.

 

 

 

 

Par 5 fifth hole - 594 yards

 

 

 

 

8th hole - 389 yards

 

 

 

 

The tenth is a mid to long iron approach

 

 

 

 

13th hole, although it's at only 158 yards from the tips, a back right flag is a sucker

pin.The green is actually much bigger than it seems from the tee, but Wilson does a

great job of masking that with his creative bunkering.Club selection is key here.

 

 

 

 

15th hole at just 348 yards, is just another wedge approach, but the elevated green

requires a shot with precise trajectory and spin.Anything short will spin back down

the slope, left or right is well defended by deep sand . . . and long is worse.

 


 

 

 

16th - 666 yards. Just a good old fashioned beast here, this hole couldn't have been

much fun when the weapons were persimmon and balata.

 

 

 

 

18th is a straight forward finisher, the fairway is framed by bunkers left and right . . .

but at 433 yards, with water fronting the shallow but wide putting surface, it is no

cupcake.Members from the clubhouse above, survey your performance coming in.

 

 

50 years ago "The Hawk" proclaimed his affection for Pine Tree, flat it is . . . but

ordinary it's not.

 

 

HOLE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 OUT 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 IN TOTAL
GOLD 75.3/140 413 184 414 417 594 210 465 389 526 3612 500 217 433 158 370 348 666 430 438 3560 7172
BLUE 72.2/135 373 154 395 399 543 162 416 352 507 3301 491 191 413 133 344 326 601 405 400 3304 6605
WHITE 70.2/131 345 138 369 373 530 142 401 338 487 3123 478 169 394 121 325 314 535 376 365 3077 6200
HDCP 5 17 9 7 1 15 3 11 13 8 16 4 18 12 14 2 6 10
PAR 4 3 4 4 5 3 4 4 5 36 5 3 4 3 4 4 5 4 4 36 72
SILVER 67.5/123 340 132 337 331 435 115 335 325 465 2815 440 135 389 110 283 301 470 315 310 2753 5568
RED 72.2/130 333 127 334 326 430 111 332 317 457 2767 435 131 281 107 280 297 466 314 307 2618 5385
LADIES PAR 4 3 4 4 5 3 4 4 5 36 5 3 4 3 4 4 5 4 4 36 72
LADIES HDCP 5 15 11 13 1 17 9 7 3 4 18 6 16 14 10 2 12 8
SCORER:                                                              ATTEST:                                                             DATE:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
A Raynor Classic: Mountain Lake PDF Print E-mail

 

The par 3 fifth is a Raynor signature, "The Biarritz", similiar to those at Yale, Everglade Club and many other Raynor layouts.

 

 

One of the best secrets in Florida Golf, is the ultra exclusive Mountain Lake designed

by Seth Raynor.The course opened in 1916, set within a small private community

designed by Frederick Law Olmstead Jr. in the heart of Central Florida.This unique

layout nearing a century old is annually ranked among Americas top 100 classic

courses.As is normally the case in the Sunshine State, you would guess it's just

another flat Florida course, but that's not the case in this part of the state, where

the land actually rolls more than you'd expect.The famous Bok Tower Gardens share

the same parcel of land . . . looking down on the classic track from it's perch of 324

feet above sea level.

 

 

Check the steep sod wall bunkering at Mountain Lake's par 5 - eighth hole . . . classic Seth Raynor.

 

 

The eighth green from the back view, missing this green long brings an entire new dimension to shortgame recoveries.

 

 

 

The best way I can describe a round at Mountain Lake, is charming, challenging and

memorable.The par 3 Biarritz (5th), par 4-Punch Bowl (15th) and par 3-Redan (11th)

are three designs that would hold up on anyone's list of classic golf holes.

 

 

Mountain Lake is the winter retreat for many members of America's most elite clubs.

Playing at just over 6600 yards - par 70, it's not the toughest track (tee to green),

but the putting surfaces can challenge even the most accomplished player.On the

occasion that Head Professional Jonathan Powell and his staff host an event for its

members, the well undulated greens are said to become quite slick and treacherous.

PGA Tour professionals have been known to come by once in a while for a spin

around Mountain Lake, on one such occasion when I was there, Lee Janzen, Dicky

Pride and Sam Saunders were playing just behind our group.Former British Open

Champion Ben Curtis was there just before his victory earlier this season, and

in a survey of tour players top 10 favorite courses, Davis Love III listed ML among

his personal favorites in America.


 


"The Redan" eleventh at Mountain Lake, notice the square bunkering.

 

 

 

 

The short par 4 - fifteenth, features another Raynor staple, the "Punch Bowl".

 

 

 

Although more recent and grandiose designs like Sand Hills, Pacific Dunes, Kiawah

Ocean and Whistling Straits have replaced many of the classic American courses on

some of the industy rankings, these classic courses like Mountain Lake should be

cherished for their character and variety.If you have never played a Seth Raynor or

C.B MacDonald classic, put it on your golf bucket list . . . if you've been

fortunate enough to experience one of these, then you know how special they are.

 

 

To learn more about Mountain Lake visit: http://www.mountainlakecc.com/

 

 


 
Chambers Bay PDF Print E-mail
Written by BRUNO   

 

Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington was the site of the 2010 U.S Amateur

Championship (won by Peter Uihlein) and will be the site of the 2015 United States

Open Championship.

 

 

 

 

 

The Lone Fir is an iconic symbol at Chambers Bay, (the only tree on the property)

the conifer almost met it's demise at the hands of vandal a few years back.

 

 

 

The course at Chambers Bay was at one time an industrial yard site, now it's the

design marvel of RTJ II and his design associate Bruce Charlton.Another public venue

that is top 100 worthy, hosting two of the America's most prestigious National

Championships.Chambers is a par 72 and tips out at 7585 yards.

 

Chambers Bay blends in quite nicely in it's surroundings, and appears as a natural

beauty, but this layout is anything but.It was completely manufactured with over 1.5

million cubic feet of earth moved.In the days of Yore, the site was a sand, gravel

and rock mine, those elements would provide the ideal foundation for the layout and

the plethora of bunkers and dunes throughout.The team of Robert Trent Jones II and

Bruce Charlton carved and sculpted the property as if it sat on the shores of

Scotland or Ireland.In reality it sits along the Puget Sound, and the vistas alone are

worth the trip.

 

The first green at Chambers Bay, if you can get the approach pin high you have a

shot . . . notice the fall off in the front and the upper tier on the back half of the putting surface.

 

 

 

 

 

The par 4 second at Chambers Bay called "Foxy", should be played down the right

side to avoid the large cross bunker.

 

 

 

 

 

The 165 yard par 3 third, bail out right and your left with a near impossible up and

down . . . miss left and take your chances with the enormous/deep bunker.

 

 

 

 

The 568 yard par 5 fourth plays uphill as its name (Hazards Ascent) suggests.

 


 

 

The opposite rings true at the fifth called "Freefall".

 

 

 

 

The par 4 sixth called "Deception Point", requires a drive left of the dune on the right

side of the fairway . . . the menacing cloud formation created one of the best images

of the day.

 


 

 

The left to right par 4 seventh (fairway hidden) wraps around the large waste

bunkers.

 

 

 

 

 

The view from behind the par 5 eighth.

 

 

The eighth runs right beneath the gigantic dune along the left side of the

fairway.Anything right falls down a large embankment where your facing a shot you

don't want.The fairway and green are part of the large tabletop that runs the entire

length of the dune and embankment.

 

 

 

 

The par 3 ninth at Chambers, a well placed tee shot that lands left of the putting

surface will funnel down onto the green . . . anything right is obviously an adventure

in the giant sandbox that sits nearly 40 feet below the green.Even with the

exaggerated downhill . . . at 227 yards from the tips it is no pushover.

 

 

 

 

The 398 yard tenth is aptly dubbed "High Dunes", the fact that none of these land

forms are natural is a good example of RTJ and Bruce Charlton's fabulous work.

 

 


 

 

The eleventh at 500 yards is a monster par 4 that zig zags inside the dunes.

 

 

 

 

 

The twelfth called "The Narrows", is driveable for the longest hitter . . . but the tee

shot must be a high right to left shot.The green actually sits to left of the fairway

bunker, behind the dune.

 

 

 

 

 

The par 5 thirteenth was sporting a temporary green, the newly renovated original is

just about ready to go (behind the temp on the upper right).

 

 


 

 

The sweeping par 4 fourteenth is a design that will be a pivotal hole in the 2015 U.S

Open.This hole was one of my favorites.

 

 

 

 

 

The Lone fir overlooks the short fifteenth and the tee on sixteen.

 

 

 

 

The sixteenth trundles alongside the railway and the Puget Sound .

 

 

 

 

 

The par 3 seventeenth can play as long as 218 yards, stay focused . . . between

the scenery and the trains coming through there are many distractions . . . because

of the many options for pin locations this hole will be pivotal coming down the

stretch in the U.S Open.

 

 

 

 

 

The 604 yard par 5 is a worthy finisher

 


 

 

 

Not a bad view lookin back down the home hole as the sun begins to set.The large

concrete structures in the distance are left over remnants from days long ago and

it's industrial origins.Playing another RTJ II/Bruce Charlton layout was a treat and a

challenge as well.The U.S Open here in 2015 will be well served by the area and also

by this spectacular creation.One of the true public venues to host an Open, get

there before the rest of the world see it for themselves on TV , tee times will be

tougher to get as 2015 approaches and word spreads of this northwest gem.


We are looking forward to a return trip after all the U.S Open alterations are

finished, special thanks to Matt Allen and Bruce Charlton.



For more info visit: http://www.chambersbaygolf.com

 

 

 

 

 

 



 
Pacific Dunes PDF Print E-mail

 

 

In our final episode of course reviews at Bandon Resort, we feature Pacific Dunes.Pacific is regarded

by nearly every authority in golf as the best course at Bandon Resort and among the best courses in

the WORLD.

Pacific Dunes opened in 2001 and was the second course to open at Bandon Resort.Designed by Tom

Doak and Jim Urbina, the land that Pacific sits on is the most spectacular at Bandon and that's saying

something.Pacific is a par 71 that tips out at a modest 6633 yards, but yardage means little in the land

of extreme weather conditions (where golf is played along the ground with a need for creativity and

imagination).

 

 

 

Hole #1 - 370 yards

The first at Pacific dunes is a short starter, not much more than a fairway

wood/hybrid off the tee that will leave a wedge approach.

1st green

 

 

 

 

 

Hole #2 - 368 yards


 

 

 

 

This photo does not properly convey the amount of undulation on the 2nd green

 

 

 

 

 

Hole #3 - 499 yards

On the Par 5 third, the fairway opens up on the right, but the left is the best angle to the green.

3rd tee

 

 

The Pacific finally comes into view on the third . . .

 

 

 

 

On the fourth, the entire right side is fully exposed to the elements of the Pacific.

4th hole - 463 yards

 

 

 

 

 

The 199 yard - 5th hole (avoid the right bunker)

 

 

 

 

At the short 316 yard - 6th, it's conceivable (as firm as the ground is) to reach the putting surface

with a right to left tee shot, but Doak gives the player many options here from mid-iron to driver.

 

 

 

7th hole

On the 464 yard - 7th, your two best are needed here to walk away with par.The left bunkers will

catch any shot that that drifts in their direction, they are deep and treacherous.

7th green

As you can see, nothing ordinary about the green complexes at Pacific . . . the contours are not

quite as extreme as Old Mac, but certainly more attention grabbing than those at Bandon Dunes.

A good ground game is essential here on the South Oregon coast.

 

 


 

The walk between the ninth and tenth is worth taking notice

 

 

 

 

The 206 yard tenth is the first of back to back one shotters, the green here seams perfectly with the

shoreline as the backdrop.Don't get caught up in the view, a solid shot is required here.

10th tee

 

 

 

The companion to the tenth is the short and spectacular 148 yard eleventh

The bunkers that surround the eleventh keep you honest on this short hole, precision is the key here.

 

 

 

 

 

view from behind the 11th green

 

 

 

 

 

The 529 yard par 5 - 12th, avoid the large bunker that bisects the the super wide fairway and you

can have a shot at getting on in two.I hit driver/4 iron and narrowly missed eagle, my playing

partner Colt made a phenomenal up and down (for birdie) from beside the dune on the left.

 

 


 

The 444 yard - 13th is a design marvel and a beast all rolled into one.The huge dune/blow out bunker

lines the right side of the hole, left is the beach . . . the elements are in raw form on the 13th.

.

You'll need your two best strikes to make four here.

 

 

 

 

 

The massive dune/bunker that lines the right side of the 13th.

 

 

 

After fighting the wind on the 11th, 12th and 13th, the gorgeous little 14th should have been downwind,

but the wind switched on the tee and once again required the knock down.


The quality of the par 3 holes at Pacific cannot be rivaled by many (Merion and Winged Foot come to

mind as possible challengers) and the fact that the back nine at Pacific has FOUR of best anywhere puts

it in a class of its own.


Pictured below is three separate views of the amazing 145 yard - 14th.

Tee view

 

 

 

 

 

A closer look at the entire green and its surrounding area reveals just how tough a 145 yard hole can

be given the elements and Tom Doak's masterful design.

 

 

 

 

 

The 14th green complex is another severely contoured design.

 

 

 

 

 

338 yard - 16th hole

 

 

 

 

 

16th green

 

 

 



208 yard par 3 - 17th

This photo does not illustrate the amount of right to left tilt in the Redan design of the 17th green.

Doak's design here is a throwback to the classic works of C.B MacDonald & Seth Raynor .

(the blooming gorse in the background makes for an amazing backdrop)





The 579 yard - 18th


 

 

 

 

18th green at dusk




Pacific Dunes is just over a decade old, and not many courses that new can crack America's top

100 . . . not to mention the top 10.Pacific is worthy of all the praise, the strategy and options that

Doak created throughout the course are its strength along with the exquisite green complexes.Walking

Pacific Dunes is a magnificent experience unlike any other in the game, combine that with the shot

making challenges and your left with the standard for any true links course in America .

 

 

For more info: http://www.bandondunesgolf.com/pages/pacific_dunes/50.php

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
Bandon Dunes PDF Print E-mail

 

Bandon Dunes is not as highly ranked as the courses built at the resort since it's

opening in 1999.Pacific Dunes, Old Mac and even Bandon Trails are certainly more

acclaimed and perhaps rightly so, B.D is not as tough and demanding as Pacific or

Trails and it's green complexes don't rival those at Old Mac, but collectively Kidd's 18

is as visually stunning and enjoyable to play as any layout I've played.The 4th

(pictured above) and 5th along with the 16th are very special holes . . . many

players who travel to the mecca of golf will chose B.D as their fave layout on the

South Oregon Coast .

 

 

 

The clubhouse overlooks the original course at Bandon by David McLay Kidd.

 

 

 

 

Everything at Bandon Resort is in close proximity.

 

 

 

 

The approach at the 386 yard first.

 

 

 

 

The 189 yard par 3 second

 

 

 

 

The par 5 third is reachable with your two best knocks, but the opening to the

putting surface is not very wide . . . if you look close you can see my ball just short

of the green.

 

 

 


On the stunning dogleg right fourth, you finally come face to face with the ocean,

and when you combine great golf design with the shoreline there isn't much to do

but observe and admire.The fourth and fifth are the best par 4's on Bandon Dunes, a

plaque on the tee lets you know the pedigree of what you're experiencing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


No disrepect to the plaque (pictured above) but the fifth is every bit the design

marvel of the fourth.

 

 

 

 

The green on the fifth is nestled into the dunes that surround the putting surface.

Although a big tee shot leaves you a short iron, this tucked pin was no cupcake.

 

 

 

 

The 161 yard sixth, check the pot bunker on the short side of the left pin . . . I

wanted no part of that bunker (notice my ball on the right center portion of the

green).

 

 

 

 

The short 359 yard par 4 eighth

 

 

 

 

The 558 yard ninth takes you back to the clubhouse.

 

 

 

 

The approach to the par 4 eleventh, notice the nasty well placed sod bunker . . . an

ode to the road hole bunker at St.Andrews?After hitting a mediocre approach onto

the green, I couldn't resist the urge . . . just had to climb into that bunker and test

the sand game .

 

 



 

Bandon Dunes heads back to the shoreline at the 199 yard twelfth, one of McLay

Kidd's gems for sure.This green complex is not deep, but certainly is wide enough to

handle any lateral miss that the ocean breeze might affect accuracy on.Choose your

club wisely.

 

 

 

 

The land really rolls at the par 5 thirteenth

 

 

 

 

The green at the fourteenth is well protected, bunkers short and dunes long.

 

 

 

 

The windswept 163 yard fifteenth is another image that doesn't need much

hyperbole, this elevated green is perhaps the toughest to hit on the course.

 

 

 

 


The 363 yard sixteenth at Bandon Dunes is the jewel of the back nine, the fairway is

separated from the teeing ground by a large deep chasm filled with gorse, left center

leaves a better angle into another green that is exposed to the elements.

 

view from 16th tee

 

 

 

The approach to the 16th green

 

 

 

 

The 16th green overlooks the pacific, don't overlook the tiny pot bunker . . . anything short will

funnel into it.

 

 

 

Here's the view you see as you stroll from the 16th green to the 17th tee, luckily there was no group

behind me, so I took 5 minutes and soaked it in.

 

 

 

 

The 389 yard seventeenth at Bandon Dunes, avoid the fairway bunker and you'll

have a short iron approach, but stay clear of the ravine filled with gorse short right

of the green.

 

 

 

 

The par 5 eighteenth gives you one last chance for glory.

 

 


Most likely your round at Bandon Dunes will be your best score at Bandon Resort

(it was mine), and probably will be the most fun.When Mike Keiser hired a relative

unknown named David McLay Kidd to carry out his vision for links golf in America, he

nailed it, and 13 years after being introduced to the golf world, the flagship still leaves

linksters with smiles when they walk off the eighteenth green of Bandon Dunes.

 

 

For more info: http://www.bandondunesgolf.com/

 

 

 

 


 

 
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