My recent buddies trip to Boston included a visit to Old Sandwich – the seventh Coore & Crenshaw designed course that I have played. #8 was a magical outing yesterday evening to Colorado Golf Club.
Playing C&C’s courses never fails to be a joy for me. Their courses just look right to my eye, and they are a challenging blast to play. The broad strokes of routing, green siting, and undulation are masterful, and the attention to the little details is always off the charts. Their designs are packed with strategic and visual interest and yet, my buddy Shawn might have summed up best what makes their work so special while we walked down the first fairway at Old Sandwich. He said, “Coore & Crenshaw’s holes lay so softly on the land.” Indeed.
To express my enthusiasm, I thought it might be fun to geek out on their work and create a course of 18 of their great holes. Picking 18 great holes seemed a little too easy though, so instead, this course will be 18 great holes, according to the actual hole numbers. I started with the courses I have played, and then enlisted a little help from their associates David Zinkand, Keith Rhebb, and Jeff Bradley to fill in gaps and add a little flair.
What follows is what I call Coore & Crenshaw’s Great 18, but it is not meant to be definitive. Rather, I want to hear from other C&C nuts. Did we miss one of your favorites? Leave your comment, or hit me up on Twitter (@JasonWay1493) or Instagram (@jwizay1493), and I’ll add yours to the mix.
CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE
#1 – Bandon Trails – Par 4 (Jeff Bradley pick) – I have been fortunate enough to play this opener on a chilly morning in October. It demands a confident tee shot, and an even better approach. It is an interesting dunesland tease as Trails makes its way away from the coast into a spectacular adventure through the woods.
#2 – Cabot Cliffs – Par 5 (Keith Rhebb pick, runners-up East Hampton, Talking Stick North) – From Keith’s GeekedOnGolf interview: “A lot of people think #16 is the best hole on the course. The view from the green is stunning, but I still like the second hole best. If you walked on #2 tee today, you probably wouldn’t realize the time and effort that went into the hole. It was a total team effort to get it into the state that you see it now.”
#3 – Bandon Trails – Par 5 (David Zinkand pick, runner-up Colorado Golf Club) – From David’s GeekedOnGolf interview: “The par five Third Hole at Bandon Trails has a great deal of interest in its green that carries all of the way back up the hole in terms of how to attack.”
#4 – Old Sandwich – Par 3 (my pick, runner-up Warren Course) – When I walked up on to the tee of this par 3, my jaw almost hit the ground. The green sits on the ridge naturally, and yet is also incredibly bold. The green is huge, and so hitting it is not enough – you have to hit your tee shot in the proper section for a safe par or makable putt at birdie.
#5 – Cuscowilla – Par 4 (Jeff Bradley pick) – From Ran Morrissett’s GolfClubAtlas.com course tour: “…Coore rose to the occasion here by converting a wash area into a huge gaping bunker down what would normally have been the middle of the fairway.”
#6 – Shanqin Bay – Par 5 (David Zinkand pick, runner-up Friar’s Head) – From David’s GeekedOnGolf interview: “It was fun to build a classic Cape Hole on the Sixth at Shanqin Bay in Hainan, China.”
#7 – Bandon Preserve – Par 3 (my pick, runner-up Old Sandwich) – Truth be told, I loved playing the Preserve so much that I could have picked every one of those holes. I settled on the seventh because of the way the green wrapped around and merged with its neighbor. Not something you see every day!
#8 – Bandon Trails – Par 4 (Jeff Bradley pick) – Nobody does short 4s better than Coore & Crenshaw, and this hole is typically outstanding, especially in firm and fast conditions. The lay of the land leaves options of attack open, including the ground game.
#9 – Friar’s Head – Par 4 (Jeff Bradley pick, runner-up Colorado Golf Club) – Friar’s Head is not just my favorite C&C course, it is my favorite course. I have heard it described as the Cypress Point of the east coast, and nowhere is that feel more evident than standing on the 9th tee. The color contrast of the dunes with the fairway running down into the green complex is simply breathtaking. And don’t let the beauty fool you, par is a good score on this gem.
#10 – Colorado Golf Club – Par 4 (Jeff Bradley pick, runner-up WeKoPa) – I am a sucker for simple golf holes. My favorite hole at my home course (Kingsley Club) is bunkerless, and so is the 10th at Colorado GC. The tee shot is a thrill, and the approach is deceptively demanding. Lose focus before the ball is in the bottom of the hole on this beauty, and you are staring an “other” in the face.
#11 – Warren Course – Par 3 (Jeff Bradley pick, runner-up Colorado Golf Club) – From the Warren Course site: “This par 3 features the largest green on the course. Bunkers line the fairway and border the green to catch even the slightest errant shot. Take enough club to carry the false front of the green.”
#12 – Talking Stick North – Par 4 (my pick, runner-up Dormie Club) – There are several holes at Talking Stick that use the straight property boundary to create wonderful angles off the tee. Challenge the fence, and you are rewarded with a significantly easier approach. Play it safe, and difficulty hitting the green awaits. That choice is compounded on the twelfth by the wash down the middle of the hole. No “fence sitters” allowed on this hole.
#13 – We Ko Pa Saguaro – Par 4 (my pick, runner-up Friar’s Head) – This hole is strategic golf at its most elegant, and features a wonderful Coore & Crenshaw centerline bunker. There is no way to completely avoid peril. So how do you want it? On your tee shot, or on your approach? Players who like to mindlessly whack the ball into the middle of the fairway on every hole will hate this hole, and that delights me!
#14 – Lost Farm – Par 4 (Keith Rhebb pick, runner-up Chechessee Creek) – From Keith’s GeekedOnGolf interview: “The rough contours were already within the lay of the land. We had to tread lightly so we didn’t lose what was there in the construction process. It turned out nicely.”
#15 – Friar’s Head – Par 4 (my pick, runner-up Streamsong Red) – Walking up the stairs from the 14th green to the 15th tee provides one of my favorite reveals in golf. The awe turns to joy watching a well-struck drive float down the the fairway landing area, and the approach down to the green. The joy flips right back to awe coming off the back of the 15th green to the wooden walkway overlooking Long Island Sound. Pure magic.
#16 – Streamsong Red – Par 3 (my pick, runner-up Friar’s Head) – Everything about this hole is wild. The visuals are wild. The setting is wild. The tee shot is wild. And the green? Get ready for a wild ride!
#17 – Chechessee Creek – Par 4 (Jeff Bradley pick, runner-up Colorado Golf Club) – From the club’s site: This short Par 4 certainly tests your courage. You can either drive over the hazard, a carry of 245 yards, or lay your ball out to the left, leaving a longer approach. The narrow green is protected on the right by two deep bunkers, but offers a generous bail-out area to the left.
#18 – Cabot Cliffs – Par 5 (my pick, runner-up Talking Stick North) – How often does a course and a hole live up to the hype? I have not been to Cabot yet, but when I go (and I am going), I have no fear that this closer will exceed my very high expectations.
Copyright 2015 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf