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Stonebridge Country Club
A good value for a round of golf! I've been playing here about once a week for the last year, and it stays in my weekly course rotation. This club is listed as "Private", but Non-members are very welcome. I can't afford a membership, yet I feel like a member here sometimes. The club has a special "service industry" rate that I and my partners qualify for, which makes this club affordable and quite competitive with the municipals around New Orleans. Green fees include a cart and range balls. Also, this course has a full par 72/18 hole track, PLUS an additional executive 9, which also isn't listed in the course details. I often play the executive 9 after the full 18 without paying for it; no one seems to mind.
The course is in great shape year round. Because the course winds through a neighborhood, there is a good about of OB. If you're used to playing you're 2nd shot from the next fairway over, this course will challenge you. Hazards are well maintained and marked. The tees and fairways are well maintained and recover well. The greens here can be a little finicky. Best advice is to be aware of how the greens drain. The uphill side of a green can be fast and dry, yet the low side can be slow and damp. I suppose that goes for any putting green, but these greens need that assessment for every putt. Oh, and the whole course is Bermuda, another factor when putting here.
sad to say
This course used to be phenomenal, great greens, great fairways. Granted it did get hit with nemotodes last year, but the greens are terrible, even a 12" can get scary. Fairways splotchy. The surrounds of the greens had the best grass of the course. I would bypass this and hope maybe by summer it has healed up
No clubhouse. Fairways are dormant this time of year. Get a lot of roll out if you hit low-medium ball flight. Bunkers are not consistant, fairways have a lot of divots, coots leave a lot of grease like crap all over.Too many ropes along the fairways. The driving range has mats and grass, but bad targets to aim at. Practice green and chipping areas are large. Since they fired the marshals, ball marks on greens, divots, trash and bunkers does not get kept up during the day. Staff is very friendly and will accommodate you. This course is ideal in the spring and summer with the ocean breeze and wildlife.
I play here 2 x's a week. Since no marshals, divots don't get repaired, ball marks on greens don't get repaired, sand traps don't get raked properly, trash on course more visible. Certain fairways have a lot of bare spots. Undulating greens allow almost unfair pin placements by maintenance crew. Since the course is only a 5800 yard course it's an easy play if you keep it in play. Ideal for high handicappers, too easy for high school, college and low single digit players. Greens are usually bumpy and if fast can be challenging due to undulations.
Links @ Spanish Bay
Out of all the Pebble Beach properties this was by far the most disappointing. The property is ideal and I came to appreciate some of the quirkiness/charm of a few holes. However, the majority of the round was spent playing target golf and guessing where to be. Maybe a second round on the course would change my perspective a little bit, but to me there wasn't anything special about Spanish Bay. To call it a links course is almost doing a disservice to the name. I will say the amenities both on and off the course were very nice. Nothing better than catching the bagpiper play while sitting around one of the famous fire pits and watching the sun go down.
Spyglass is a tough review for me simply because of the conditions I played in and my resulting score. When rating courses I feel both of those shouldn't be factored, at least not to the extent of the design and architecture. It definitely is hard to find a course with a more spectacular opening few holes. Once you make the turn down #1 you almost lose track of the fact you're there to play golf and want to simply take a stroll and soak it all in. The tee shot on #3 and and green on #4 are probably the most memorable/scenic shots on the course. I also have a few memories of searching for balls all over the lush forests on the inward holes I'd rather forget. Whether it was tough conditions or simply not playing well Spyglass was difficult, very difficult. Although it is not my favorite in Monterey, it's a very fair, great test of golf
One and Only
Pebble Beach. Really all that needs to be said. It's where all the greats in the game have played and if you have the chance/opportunity you have to take advantage of it. As most things in life, you get what you pay for. I think Pebble is worth every penny and have a hard time with those who say it is overrated. If they feel it isn't worth $500 then that is their opinion, but that should have nothing to do with what you think of the course. It may be fair to say that the picturesque holes trump the inward holes, but to totally disregard them is foolish. #14 for instance is an incredibly difficult par-5 and one of the most unique and intricate greens in the world. Like most major championship courses the aura and history of the grounds has to have an effect on your experience. Pebble will surely be a memory you'll never forget, I know I won't. Two musts if you've never been (or even can't play a round) are a visit to the Tap Room for a drink or three and if you have the time check out the Peter Hay par 3 course right up the road. It is a great place to practice by yourself or have a friendly wager with a few friends.
Pasatiempo Golf Club is a real treat and a must for any fan of golf architecture. Mackenzie's design can be noticed as soon as you lay eyes on the grounds. Incredible bunkering, fast greens, and some fantastic views are what I remember most. The clubhouse and staff were incredibly nice and on top of their game. It has to be one of the best values in California if not the entire country.
Stevens redesign is class, by George
Perhaps the name of Burke gives a ring of legitimacy to a golf course, and Stevens Park in Dallas certainly has a history that includes the fact that Jack Burke designed the course there in 1922. This was just a couple of years after Mr. Burke finished second, a stroke back, to Ted Ray the first time Inverness was the site for the U.S. Open. His son Jackie would push it over the top by winning a pair of majors -- the Masters and PGA in 1956 -- among his 18 professional titles.
But for all the strength in such golf name association, the person I really think of when I hit Colorado Blvd., in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas and drive out to Stevens is George Kessler. I don’t know if he ever picked up a stick, but Kessler captures the essence of what Stevens Park has been and what it has become.
The beautiful, classic neighborhood that hugs the Stevens Park golf course is named after Kessler. So who the hell was he?
Kessler was born in Germany and was moved to Dallas by his father, who invested in a cotton plantation during the Reconstruction days. Kessler became one of the first in this country to dabble in city master planning. These cats are regarded flippantly by developers as artsy-fartsy types, but Kessler got in his digs back at ‘em.
The object to keep in mind while managing growth in a city, Kessler stated, is to make them “decent places for masses of people to live in. Cities grow mostly by accident in response to trends in the real estate market. Very little thought is given to their qualitative characters. But there comes a time when development must be subject to control, when further growth must be planned such that urbanization will no longer proceed at the expense of devastating nature.”
Nature has been shaped elegantly throughout Kessler Park, and the golf at Stevens Park makes for the classiest -- if sometimes quirky -- place settings on the table arranged first by Mr. Burke and now in the redesign by John Colligan and Trey Kemp last year. This golf course is part of the good collection of municipally owned properties by the city of Dallas.
I’ve got first-hand experience with the work of Colligan, who has set up shop at Arlington between Dallas and Fort Worth. He re-did Brackenridge Park, an A.W. Tillinghast design of 1916 that the city of San Antonio owns right near downtown. Fine place, though short at less than 6,500 yards just like Stevens, and my first experience with square greens on some of the holes.
Colligan, citing overhead photos he viewed that showed square greens in use at both places, went ahead and did the same thing at Stevens Park. When I came to the second square-form green at Stevens on the fifth hole, it looked like a piece of paper laying on a table and ruffled up and hovering here and there by a gentle little breath from underneath. And if this were a game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” the greens would be paper-covers-rock because -- whether the green shape is square or, as Colligan says, is “as round as a Buffalo nickel” -- nothing comes flat.
The redesign’s routing progresses in mostly the same manner through the opening 12 holes, though there are changes. There are back-to-back 3-pars, instead of a 3 and “barely” 4, at the 7th and 8th. But those are good par 3s now, then you walk over to the elevated tee box at No. 9 and have 600 yards staring straight back at you. The 11th and 12th are similarly altered; the old 11th was a par 3 that’s been wiped away by extending No. 10 into a par 5, and the No. 12 that used to sweep nicely along North Plymouth Road has been divided into a short par 4 (now No. 11) and a par 3 of medium length.
But then you take the few steps across Colorado Blvd., and the world changes. Coombs Creek still flows through, but the re-design team totally changed it over there. They expertly cut facets into a nice gem. I mean it’s good.
No. 13 is a short par 4 doglegging left with risk-reward off the tee. No. 14 is strong near 200 yards over the creek. And 16 and 17 are a strong back-to-back collection: a par 5 with a landing area near the green that’s up on a bluff past the creek (I got stung by a wasp during one round there years back when the hole was a par 4 routed from the other direction), then an uphill par 3 of 150 yards that requires clearance of a pot bunker. The views are as different as liberal and conservative. Look back over your putt on the 16th green and you see the big, gleaming Emerald City skyline of Dallas. Check your alignment for the shot on the 17th tee and there’s a quaint little church up there. It’s all gorgeous.
Just about my only bicker with the new stuff is the 18th, where the trees the redesigners were mandated to save made them place a tee that’s short and forces a tee shot with the trajectory of a stinger.
The “Miniverde” strain of Bermuda they planted onto the greens are showing the signs of newness, not helped by the fact planting took place in the brunt of the drought here in Texas. But everything else around the 38 new bunkers and planting of 800 trees or shrubs looks of class.
As does the old stone clubhouse at the top of the hill. It’s where I walked in after nine one day and saw Frank Reynolds up on the TV screen giving the ABC News break-in report that President Reagan had been shot. But, better, I’ve had many a time to reflect and enjoy that golf has proceeded there, but it never came at the expense of devastating nature. George Kessler might well like it that Stevens Park is part of his old neighborhood.
Most accessible in NoCo
This course is long, straight, and fairly predictable, meaning it can get a little boring after multiple rounds. It's known for having the toughest greens out of all the courses nearby - it's like putting on concrete in the afternoon during the summer. The rough isn't too thick, but if you're off the fairway, you'll most likely be in jail behind some trees and be forced to play some sort of knockdown to get out. Virtually no hazards unless you really shank it. Overall, great value for a muni course especially considering it's slim pickings when it comes to public courses out here.
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