Pasatiempo, California

Pasatiempo is located close to Santa Cruz in California. I have been to the course before without playing due to poor weather, so I was hoping for better conditions this time around. Fortunately it was a perfect day for golf with sunshine. 

View from the clubshouse down the 1st hole and up the 9th hole

When packing my clubs for this trip I found my driver shaft broken and didnt have time to replace before leaving, so my first mission was to borrow a shaft from the pro shop. This was easily handled and I was off to the range for a quick practice before heading out. I was paired up with a couple of members and a another single player. We played the from the back tees.

View down the first hole

The 1st hole is a straight forward par 4 where you tee off from an elavated tee box. I hit my drive into the right hand rough.

View to 1st green

After not getting on the green from the rough on the first hole I realized that staying out of the rough was extra important as the rough was difficult to get out of and the ball easily nestled down.

Par 3, 3rd hole

The course has some great par 3s as you quickly discover when standing on the 3rd tee. Very well bunkered and playing just over 200 yards. I didnt manage to find the green and made bogey,

View from the tee box on the 6th hole which is par 5

Very narrow and intimidating tee shot on 6th hole. I still opted for the driver which in this was a good choice as it ended in the first cut on left hand side. Did not manage to capatalize on the drive and made bogey after some poor approach shots.

Par 3, hole 8

Playing downhill and the green slopes severly from left to right. Pin position was difficult to get to from the tee. You need to land the ball on the left hand fringe and let it feed down towards to hole. I hit a good 7 iron and had an mid length birdie putt which was missed.

9th green

9th hole is a good par 5 with plenty of fairway from the tee. Approach shot is very uphill so you need a good shot to stay on the green. I was hitting a hybrid to try and get on in two, but came up short in the bunker.

Looking back down the 9th
Hole 10, Par 4

10th hole is stunning from the tee. Par 4 where you hit on to a downslope on the other side not visible from the tee. I hit my drive to far left and had to lay up. Managed to get up and down a nice par.

10th green
Approach to 11th green

11th hole is a difficult par 4. You need to hit a precision tee shot and a really good approach shot to uphill green guarded by bunkers on both sides. I didnt manage any of the above and made a bogey. Generally the greens are well protected which adds pressure to your approach shots and short game skills.

12th green

12th is a downhill par 4 and a green secluded between trees.

Tee shot on 16th

16th is one of the signature holes and rightly so. A dogleg left with blind tee shot. I hit a perfect drive around the corner into the fairway.

Approach shot to 16th
16th green
My putt up the hill on 16

I didnt hit a very good approach shot as I was afraid of being long. This left me long uphill putt. I was happy to walk away with a par on a fantastic hole.

Looking back down the 16th hole
Par 3 finishing hole

Finished with a double bogey on the last hole which was poor. Missed my shot short and never found it. Still managed a decent score of 80 which I think was reasonable for me on this course.

The course was in good shape and playing tough due to the rough. All my shots out of rough was tough to control and I couldnt really hit any longer clubs out of it which made it that more challenging. I had good playing and weather so it couldnt be a much better day on the golf course.

Pine Tree Golf Club, US

Pine Tree is one of many golf courses in Florida and this one is located close to some of the greatest and most private clubs in Florida.2018-09-26 12.06.20.jpg

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View from the clubhouse

The course is located within a community, but contrary to many other courses it is not affiliated with the community. It is a private club and quite exclusive. I was looking forward to visiting the course and having played a lot of golf in Florida I had high expectations.

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short game area

The driving range was under reconstruction so I used some time to sharpen up my short game. Really nice practice area and perfectly maintained.

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2nd hole par 3

The course condition was perfect and the course is pretty difficult especially around the greens. Generally the greens are protected by bunkers pretty much all around. The greens are hard and fast, so coming from the rough with little backspin makes it extremely difficult to stay on the green. So in short, stay on the fairway to stay on the greens.

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2nd green with my tee shot. It was probably my best birdie opportunity which I missed.

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Here you get a good idea of the greens and bunkers. Many of the greens are elevated to make it even more challenging.

 

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Pin sheets in the cart which was a nice touch.

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Hole 13, par 3

A really well designed par 3 which just shows that they don’t need to be long to be difficult. I was in between clubs and took a the longer club which ended up in the bunker. Made a great sand safe.

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Mr. Woodland recently joined the club

 

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Hole 18, par 4

Nice finishing hole where I unfortunately never found my ball from the tee so ended up with a double bogey.

I shot 79 with a couple of birdies which was a satisfactory score on a difficult course. The condition was perfect and one thing I noticed was the setup of the tee boxes that are all on long rectangular shapes. I quite liked that setup and found it easier to setup for tee shots compared to the tee boxes aiming in different directions to the fairway.

I had a great time on the course and really enjoy these experiences as it is very different from what I am used to in Europe. Will definitely be back for the experience again.

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Whistling Straits, US

Whistling Straits has hosted several PGA championships and will host the 2020 Ryder Cup. It is a 2 hour drive from Chicago which is where I flew into during my visit to the course. I played the course during the month of september and even though it was cold I had really nice weather.

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Due to frost the range opened just before my tee time, so I only hit a few balls before heading out.

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Nice driving range with a few greens to hit towards

I had the first tee time and I was out on my own with a caddie at 07:50.

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Hole 1, par 4

I played from the green tee 6600 yards. The opening hole is a slight dogleg right to left and 370 yards. There is bunkers on the right hand side which is where I ended up with my tee shot. Second shot came up short and an opening bogey.

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Hole 2, par 5

Second hole is a par 5 that is reachable with a good drive.

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Approach shot to 2nd hole

I managed to find the fairway and the green was within range. My second shot was in the green side bunker and resulted in a par.

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2nd grenn

It is a beautiful setting and a good birdie opportunity if you can get the ball around the green in 2 shots.

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Hole 3, par 3

3rd is really well designed and here you get a feel for how the course architecture. The are small bunkers all over the course and as you can see even on this short par 3. Many of them are not really in play, but just gives a certain character to the course which is nice. I played a 9 iron and had a decent birdie opportunity which was missed.

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Looked back up the 3rd hole

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Hole 4, par 4

A 414 yard par 4 where a good drive gets rewarded. The fairway opens up around 250 yards from the tee and with it being slightly downhill it gives you a significantly shorter approach shot. My caddie was really good and gave some good directions on holes like this. My drive was perfect and left me with a short approach shot to the green.

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4th green

My birdie putt just lipped out……

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Hole 5 par 5

This a maybe one of the few holes that are a bit out of character compared to rest of the course. You go a bit inland and there is water on both sides on the fairway. Very long hitters can probably carry some of the water but for me it was just playing safe down the middle of the fairway.

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approach to 5th hole

The green was out of reach for me on the 2 second shot, but either way it is a difficult approach with all the water surrounding the green.

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Hole 6, par 4

A short par 4 and one the fairways I missed where the green is difficult to hit from the rough.

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6th green

The green is slightly elevated with run off on all most parts. I came from the rough a got a flyer that was way long. Resulted in a bogey and just showed how easy a bogey can come on the card. I was driving the ball well, but one missed fairway was enough.

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Little shelter for bad weather conditions. There was very little wind when I played, but I am pretty sure it can be a tough challenge if the wind is strong and it rains.

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Hole 7, par 3

Another good looking par 3 where the wind was straight into. I took an extra club as it was still a light wind, but came up short. Didnt manage to save par.

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Hole 8, par 4

Another beautiful par 4 running along the water and with a green close to the edge.

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Hole 9, par 4 

A narrow tee shot and according to my caddie the fairway has gradually been cut more narrow over time to make the hole more difficult.

 

 

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9th green with well placed bunkers around the green

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10th hole, par 4

Uphill par 4 with probably the most generous fairway on the course.

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Small bunker in the fairway on 10th

The line from the caddie was this bunker and that gives a good angle to the green. I had 80m to the pin, but I was slightly long and a managed to 2 putt for a par.

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Hole 11, par 5

A good par 5 with a huge bunker by the green that you really want to avoid – bit like hell bunker on Old Course St. Andrews. I couldn’t reach the green in 2 due to my drive being in the rough. Had a good birdie chance, but 2 putted for par.

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Hole 12, par 3

A short but difficult par 3. The toughest pin is on the little portion of the right hand side green. However this pin position was still difficult to get it close due to the elevation on the green. I hit 2 balls and one just right of the pin which leaves a tricky putt and one short right. Short right is preferable for the ease of putting.

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Hole 13, par 4

I hit a perfect drive and had a wedge to green. Hit a really poor shot that bounced in the water right. Double bogey, which was really unnecessary when you have a short iron to a green like this.

 

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Hole 14, par 4

A dogleg left and relatively short hole. I hit a driver and had 80m to the pin.

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14th green

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Hole 15, par 4

A serious par 4 that requires a couple of good shots. I hit a poor tee shot left of the fairway that ended up way down left as it slopes away from you. Had a decent lie and only wedge to the green. Missed the green and made bogey.

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Hole 16, par 5

A reachable par 5 if you hit the fairway. I missed my second shot to the green, but still got a par.

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Hole 17, par 3

A fantastic par 3 hole and visually intimidating. The lack of wind makes this hole much easier and it was a 7 iron for me.

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17th green

As you can see the miss is right and the green is bigger that it looks from the tee.

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Hole 18, par 4

One of my favourite finishing holes. A really tough par 4. I had 240m to the end of the fairway and unfortunately didn’t quite realize that going long is absolutely not an option.

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Approach to 18th hole

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18th green

I ended up in a little strip of sand at the end of the fairway which was lucky as it would have been a drop if it had gone any further. I managed to get up close to the green but made bogey. I difficult but great finishing hole.

I really enjoyed the golf course and experience at Whistling Straits. I shot a 79 which I was happy with even though the double on 13 was a big mistake. On the other hand I drove the ball really well which meant that I wasnt really in trouble. The conditions where fantastic with fast greens, perfect fairways and great weather. It is one the more expensive green fees, but well worth it.

 

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Streamsong Red, Florida

Streamsong Red is designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. The was the last course I played during my visit to streamsong. It was a very windy day as a hurricane weather forecast was estimated to arrive later in the afternoon.

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Hole 1, Par 4

The first hole was straight into the wind and playing very difficult with its 464 yards. I hit a driver and 3 wood to the green side bunker. Would have been great to make par, but had to settle for a bogey.

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Hole 2, par 5 – spot the turtle…

A great looking hole from the tee with water up the right hand side and bunkers on the left. I found the fairway and GIR which was nice and made a good par.

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Hole 3, par 4

A short par 4 and better to miss left than right.

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3rd green, narrow and long

My tee shot was good and a wedge to the green which ended up on the fringe. Again very windy, so I was happy with a par.

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3rd green

The green condition was not perfect, but decent and playable. I definitely found that the Black course was the best shape of the 3 courses.

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Hole 4, par 4

A short par 4 and I went to the green. Came up short and made a good pitch which set me up for a nice birdie. Huge bunker in the middle of the fairway which doesn’t really come into play if you hit driver.

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Approach shot to 4th green

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Hole 5, par 4

Another relatively short par 4 but again with water in play so a good tee shot is required. I went for driver again and found the fairway.

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Looking back down the 5th hole

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Hole 6, par 3

A short par 3 with a huge green. Pin was in the front and I hit a poor pitching wedge that went left in the fringe. Made a good par.

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6th green with a view on some of the large bunkers on the course

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hole 7, par 5

I really liked this hole with the water running down the left and bunkers on the right. A narrow target from the tee, but there is more room than anticipated. My driver went left and I hit my second into the large bunker short of the green. Got on the green and made a nice par. My playing partner found the fairway from the tee and was on the green in two and just missed the hole for eagle.

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Hole 9, par 4

A very short par 4 uphill. I hit 3 wood just short of the green and made par. I enjoy holes where you have the opportunity to go for the green, but felt that 2 holes like that on the front nine is too much.

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Hole 12, par 4

Into the wind again and really tough hole. I hit 2 really good shots to get on the green.

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12th green, here you get a little idea of the wind when looking at the pin

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hole 13, par 5

A good par 5 with some well placed bunkers in the fairway. Playing into the wind, but after a good drive I had to go for the green in two. Bad choice, even though I went into bunker in the front of the green. Hit a poor sand shot and made bogey. Poor course management.

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bunker in front of the 13th green

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Hole 14, par 3

Another hole straight into the strong wind. I hit a really good 5 iron to the middle of the green and was very pleased when walking off the green with par. Really well designed hole and obviously the wind is a big factor.

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Hole 16, par 3

The best par 3 on the course and playing so difficult with the wind. I hit a hybrid and went a little right but bounced into the green which has a huge slope in the middle of the green. Hit a fantastic longe range putt and made par.

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Hole 18, par 5

A strong finishing hole uphill and dogleg right to left.

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18th green

My 3rd shot was pushed a little and the green slopes left to right. Made bogey and shot 78. I was happy with the score considering the windy conditions. I found a lot of fairways and made some good approach shot, so overall a satisfying result.

Red is my favourite Streamsong course. I find it the most challenging and rewarding course to play. Overall a well designed course with quite a lot of water in play and more pressure on your game. The holes are more memorable on the Red and I would like to play again in more calm conditions.

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Streamsong Blue, Florida

Streamsong Blue is designed by Tom Doak. I played Black in the morning and had an afternoon tee time on the Blue which I was looking forward to. I was paired with a couple of golfers from America and turned out to be really enjoyable round of golf in perfect weather conditions.

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approach to 1st green

A short opening par 4 where I hit driver and had above approach shot to the green.

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Hole 2, par 5

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Hole 5, par 3

A very short par 3. It was a reasonable easy pin position, but can be tricky if long and right. It was only playing 80m, but you do not want to be long as one of my playing partners experienced. Large steep bunker in the back. Hit a decent wedge and made par.

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Hole 7, par 3

The most scenic par 3 on the course and a really good challenge. unfortunately I hit my tee shot right and had to reload. Hit a perfect 6 iron and got away with a bogey. Really good hole.

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Crocodile in front of th 7th green.

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Looking back down the 7th hole. you can get an idea of the tee elevation

 

 

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Hole 8, Par 4, 437 yards

Playing as one of the most difficult holes on the course. I found the fairway and GIR, nice par.

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Hole 10, Par 3

The green is well protected by bunkers. It was playing a little down wind so needed a good shot to stay on the green. I hit a decent 8 iron, but a bit long and right. Made bogey.

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Hole 12, par 4

A really well designed hole. Playing 390 yards, I hit a driver from the tee and found the fairway. Hit a really good second shot, but went long which resulted in bogey.

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approach to 12th hole

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hole 13, par 4

Playing 293 yards it was too tempting not to try to go for the green. The green is well protected by water and huge bunkers on the left. My drive ended up pin high in the run off area to the right of the green. Really good birdie chance, but my putt lipped out.

 

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13th green

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hole 14, par 5

The water should not really come into play, as there is plenty of fairway on the left hand side. I hit a good drive and went for the green in two. Ended up on the right hand side of the green which is okay, but did not manage to get up and down for birdie. 13 and 14 with good birdies opportunities, but simply not well enough played.

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18th hole

18th is a par 4 playing 453 yards and down hill. You can not see the slope from the tee so the caddie walked out to wait for the fairway to clear. I hit a really good drive and had a wedge left. Hit a good approach shot but missed the birdie, so 18 holes without a birdie and a score of 78.

I really enjoyed the blue course and it is different to the Black. It has more variety and requires more from your game all around. The condition of the course was not as good as Black but still at a high level. The course has some really good holes and a lot of well placed bunkers, some of them huge. I was happy with my score, but felt that I left a few birdies out there and it could have been a really good score.

 

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Streamsong, Black

Streamsong is in Florida where The Mosaic Company has established 3 courses on a piece of land formerly used for phosphate mining. Usually the courses in Florida are located on the east of west coastline, but this is in a remote area about 1 1/2 hours drive from Tampa. The golf courses and resort has received many good reviews, so I was looking forward to experience and especially with the new Gil Hansen course also was opened. I had booked Black and Blue on the same and Red the day after.

I arrived early in the morning and as expected you drive through some country roads and arrive at below sign.2018-04-15 08.15.10.jpg

The you drive slowly through the area and get a feel for what is to come. I went to the hotel first and had a quick coffee before heading to the Black clubhouse.

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completely open driving range which is true to the style

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Small short game area at the Black course

The tee times were delayed due to an earlier accident at the resort so we were sent out on gunshot starts, which meant that I started on hole number 4.

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Hole 4 par 5

Hole 4 is a par 5 slightly uphill with a split fairway. I took the easy route down the right hand side and hit a hybrid second shot onto the other fairway which left me a short pitch to the green.

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4th green

 

I hit a decent approach and started with a par.

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Hole 5, par 3

5th hole is a fantastic par 3 severely uphill and with a huge bunker/waste area on the right hand side. As our caddie suggested the miss is left and I hit a really good shot on the green

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What a bunker

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Looking back down to the tee on 5th hole

Made par and felt that it was 1 stroke gained on the field.

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Approach to hole 6

A short par 4 and I went with driver which left me with above pitch to the green.

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hole 7, Par 3

I pushed my shot left and made a great up and down for par – so far a good start to the round

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9th green

 

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9th green

9th was playing to the wind and a long hole. I hit driver, 3 wood to the green. It is difficult to see on above picture, but the green is shaped like a bowl leading most balls into the middle of the green. Mine ended up pretty close to the hole and I converted for a really good birdie on a tough hole.

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Hole 15, par 3

Short par 3, but well protected by bunkers. I hit a tee shot over the back into the bunker and made bogey.

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17th green

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Hole 18, Par 5

18th on black is my favourite hole on all of the Streamsong courses. A really well designed and risk/reward finishing hole. I hit a decent drive and had 190m to the hole.

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18 th green in the distance

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Looking back down 18th

I went for the green in my second shot and was a little bit long which left me with a tough bunker shot. The greens slope towards the water so I still had a long putt for birdie. Made par and shot 80. Back nine was not great, but I was happy the score.

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A good view of the 18th hole

 

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Clubhouse on Black

The course was in really good shape and greens were firm and fast. I think Gil Hanse has designed a good course in a unique landscape. It is a “big” course with lots of space and for most parts wide fairways with large greens. The waste areas designs are well thought out and gives the course character. It is obviously a very open course and it was windy when we played which made it a bit more challenging, but you can get away with poor tee shots and will in most cases have a shot to the green anyway. It is not a particularly difficult course, but you still need to hit greens and putt well to score low.

I think Streamsong is a good golf destination and should be on the bucket list. I wouldnt be surpised if one or more of the courses will end up on the world top 100.

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Pinehurst #2

Pinehurst is located in North Carolina and is consistently ranked amongst the world top 100 courses. The resort has several other courses designed by some of the best course architects in the world and is a popular golf destination. I visited during april and had fantastic weather. The facilities are good, nothing spectacular, but as expected on a facility like this. The clubhouse has a some displays of the history connected to Pinehurst with some of the memories from past championships.

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I stayed at the Manor Inn which was conveniently located. Nothing special and seems quite old, but fine for a nights stay. The breakfast is served at the main hotel and I would probably stay there the next time.

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A fantastic short course designed by Gil Hanse. I did not play it, but supposedly a good experience. 

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Outside the clubhouse they have created a huge putting green which is a great challenge. Inspired by St. Andrews and a really good test before going out to play.

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Tee markers on the putting green

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The driving range

The driving range is designed in true Pinehurst style with the same waste areas as you will experience on #2.

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Short game green next to the first tee on #2. A very good place to spend some time before heading out.

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Ready to head out. We played the course from the Blue tee which plays at 6961 yards

 

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Hole 1, Par 4, 393 yards

A relatively “soft” opening hole but still requires a good drive to stay in the fairway. I hit my drive into the waste area on the right hand side, but had a decent lie. Generally I did not hit many fairways, but overall found some decent lies and even though the fairway is preferable, it is not too bad to end up in the waste area. My second shot ended up right off the green and made bogey.

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1st green.

The greens were in good shape and running fast. Quite hard, so difficult to get any real spin.

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Hole 2, Par 4, 439 yards

The course is very true to its design and seem very similar from many of the tee boxes.

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2nd green and the bunker I was in my.

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Looking back down the 2nd hole

The second hole was one of the few fairways I hit, but still managed to make double bogey. Was in the bunker on my second and rolled over the green from there. Poor chip and a 6 on the card. It pretty much sums up my round and my game was just not sharp enough to get around in a decent score.

 

 

 

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3rd hole, par 4, 350 yards

A short par 4, where a lay up is required. I hit a rescue club, but just ran out of fairway.

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Approach to 3rd green

I hit a poor second shot and ended up short of the green with above approach. Just ran over the green and another double.

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Hole 4, par 4, 474 yards.

One of the longer par 4s and you need two good shots to get on the green. I was in the greenside bunker in 2.

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approach shot to 4th hole

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Tee shot on 5th, Par 5, 508 yards

The first par 5 on the course. I hit a decent drive and was on the fairway. However as with pretty much all the holes it is around the greens where the trouble start.

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5th green

It is difficult to see how tough the green is, but basically you cannot miss the green on either side and especially not left. I thought my approach shot was perfect and even though it landed on the right part, it still ran down a run off and I made bogey.

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Hole 6, Par 3, 203 yards

Playing a bit into the wind and my fade went into the greenside bunker.

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My bunker shot on 6th hole

My caddie did say dont miss left and as you can see from above picture a difficult shot. I hit a decent bunker shot onto the green, but missed my par putt.

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One of the nice properties along the fairway

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Hole 9, par 3

A well designed par 3 and difficult to get it close to the hole. However my playing partners manage to land the ball middle of the green and feed the ball towards the hole. I came up short and into the bunker with what I would determine as a pretty impossible shot to a downhill green towards the hole. Hit a good bunker shot that rolled over the green and made 5.

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approach to 10th hole

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10th green

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My lie on the 11th hole

Pretty good lie in the waste area and still gives you a shot at the green.

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18th hole, great challenge as a finishing hole

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18th green

 

The condition of the course was really good and even though we played from the back tees it is not that difficult a driving course. It is all about the greens and run off areas. It is the most difficult course with regards to approach shots that I have played so far and I can only imagine how tough this course can be setup for tournaments. My game was extremely poor which did not make the challenge any easier, but I am sure the score can be improved. I will return to try again some day.

 

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PGA West Stadium, USA

PGA West Stadium Course is located in Palm Springs California. Designed by Pete Dye and host to many PGA tour tournaments. This was my first time to Palm Springs but definitely not my last. My wife and I were staying in Las Vegas and decided to pass by Palm Springs on the way to LA. We stayed at La Quinta Resort which is a really nice place.

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Hole 9, par 4, 393m

A tough hole with a bunker that stretches a long way up the right hand side of the fairway and water next to that. Really well designed hole.

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approach to 9th. Look at the well designed bunkers on the right.

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10th tee, another great hole

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17th par 3, 133m

A really good hole and with great views in the background. There is something about playing in the desert. I hit a 7 iron into the wind a was happy with my par.

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18th par 4 370m

A strong finishing hole where I missed the fairway right and made bogey.

I really enjoyed the course. Even though it is a resort course and the first part of the course was not the most inspiring, it really grew on me during the round. It was well maintained the many of the holes with good bunkering and water features that plays with your mind. I didn’t play that well, but still enjoyed the challenge and would certainly play it again if in the area. We got a green fee deal through La Quinta which was okay.

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PGA National, USA

PGA National Championship course is originally designed by Tom and George Fazio. Redesigned by Jack Nicklaus and home to Honda Classic. It is also known for the Bear Trap which is the last 3 holes on the course. A course I had being looking forward to playing. We rented a house within the resort and overlooking the golf course. This was great entertainment and we were close to the facilities for practising. We also used the pool facilities in the clubhouse which had recently undergone renovation and was great for the whole family.

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Approach to the 1st green

Hole 1 is a short par 4 with a green well protected by a large bunker. Relatively easy start to the course.

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looking back down the 11th with water running on the side

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Tee shot on 13th par 4, 338m

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Approach to 16th

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Par 3 17 well protected by water and bunker

 

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18th tee shot

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A little visitor on the course

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18th fairway bunker

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18th green

I played really on the front nine and shot 37. I found the back nine significantly more difficult and the Bear Trap really got me. The back nine seems more narrow and demanding on precision from tee to green. As you can tell below I almost hit all GIR on the front nine and only 1 on the back nine.

I was disappointed by the course and had expected more. It is a typical resort style course and even though the Bear Trap is a good and challenging experience the remainder of the course is nothing special. The condition was average and overall not an experience I would go back for as there are so many other great courses in Florida that I would rather play.

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Somerset Hills Country Club, New Jersey

Somerset Hills set in New Jersey is a private club from 1899 and course design by A.W Tillinghast.

I played the course in August 2015 on a sunny summer day. I arrived early in the morning and the sprinklers where still running upon my tee off. The course had soft lush fairways where the ball almost sits teed up on the grass.

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Hole 2, Par 3, 160m

First hole is a slight dogleg left to right par 4 relatively straight forward if you have a caddie that can give you good directions on where to aim. 2nd hole a downhill par 3 where I missed long and left. A quite elevated green so not the place to miss it and made bogey.

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3rd from the fairway

3rd green also a elevated green which I hit but 3 putted for bogey.

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Hole 4, Par 3, 382m

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4th green

4th is an interesting green which you can tell from the picture. It has some severe hills and elevations that should be avoided if can.

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slope on the par 5 9th

The front nine is relatively open and straight forward holes and the back nine is a very different starting from the 11th.

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Hole 11, Par 4, 354m

As you can see from above it is a narrow tee shot. It doglegs almost 90 degrees to the right so really a precision shot from the tee.

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11th from the fairway

Second shot uphill to a green with a big bunker on the left hand side and water if you miss further left. A really good hole and rewarding to make par.

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hole 12, Par 3, 118m

Best hole on the course with beautiful view. The pin position on the left hand side obviously brings the water more into play and I hit a great shot over the pin a little long. Didnt get the birdie….

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Hole 15, Par 4, 342m

A dogleg left to right with trees on both sides. Requires accuracy from the tee, but a good tee shot will be rewarded.

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Fairway on 15th

After a good drive you still have a challenging approach with water in front and on the left hand side of the green.

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15th green

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18th approach

Finishing hole a short par 4 uphill. Risk reward hole for long hitters. I managed to get my only birdie on the 18th which was a nice way to finish.

The course was in very good condition and especially liked the majority of the back nine where you have holes with more character and course management becomes a bigger part of your game. It is a lovely course overall and a place you should play if possible.

My score of 76 was pretty good and the back nine 36 was satisfying. I didn’t make many mistakes which can really cost you on the back nine where the course is more difficult.

 

 

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Teeth of the Dog, Dominican Republic

Teeth of the Dog on the Dominican Republic is one of my most memorable trips for golf and pleasure. I stayed at the resort for a week with the family and it was fantastic. We enjoyed the facilities and the private golf cart allocated to each room allowed us to drive around the resort and for dinner down the harbour. The driving range is easy accessible when you stay at the resort and I practised almost daily for some hours.

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short game area

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Teeth of the dog course is next to the driving range and if you also want to play Dye Fore its a short drive away. I played both courses and Teeth of the Dog is by far the best experience as expected. Dye Fore is a different layout set up higher in the hills away from the ocean and I would have preferred to play Teeth twice instead.

I played Teeth on my own with a caddie during the afternoon where the course was quite. The weather was great, but it was more windy than usual according to the caddie. The first hole is a short par 4 which I didnt manage to par, but made bogey.

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Eagle putt on 3rd hole

I hit a good drive on 3rd and managed to get 6 iron the green. Eagle putt that I holed and suddenly I was 1 under par.

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Tee on 4th hole

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4th green, great views

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Famous 5th par 3

It is special to stand on the 5th tee and looking out on the ocean. The wind was strong on this short but tricky par 3.

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5th green

Missed my shot to the right side of the green as you can see on the pictures. Didnt manage to get up and down.

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tee on 6th hole

Another great looking tee off on 6th hole. I missed the fairway right and made bogey.

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7th hole

Another great par 3 and longer than the 5th hole.

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7th green

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8th green with the waves crashing in behind the green and large runoff.

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9th hole a long par 5 where you stand to move more inland. I made birdie to be out in 1 over par 37, which was very nice.

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1tth green

11th is another par 4 with water and a huge bunker on the right.

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15th green

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16th par 3

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17th tee

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17th green

15th onwards you are back along the ocean on beautiful holes with spectacular views. The course was is really good condition with fast greens.

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18th hole back up to the clubhouse

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approach to 18th

I hit a good drive, but a poor second shot and resulted in a finishing bogey. Overall a good score of 76 with an eagle and 2 birdies. I played in just over 2 hours and had fantastic time on this great course with memorable views.

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Torrey Pines, USA

Torrey Pines in south california was one of the first course I played along the California coast line. I decided to try my luck and show up early to book a tee time the same day. I arrived at 6AM and got a tee time slot around 1PM the same. In the meantime I went to Carlsbad to get fitted for new irons and ended up getting the Taylormade CB tour prefered. The course was well visited that day which I assume is the standard. The clubhouse is old and outdated. It was expecting something more appropriate for this type of venue. The course however was great and the views amazing.

3rd par 3
3rd par 3

When you reach the 3rd and look out on the ocean it is just a stunning view. There is a hang glider spot just to the left side of the green and it was busy when we played.

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Hang gliders quietly flying along the 4th hole

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par 5, 13th
par 5, 13th

13th is a straight par 5 but with a downhill slope within driving distance and leaves you a reachable green in 2. However the green is well protected by bunkers, especially in front of the green.

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I didn’t play that well and ended up with an 89, missing most drives to the right and hardly hitting in GIR. The rough was difficult and made it tough to score when I didn’t hit many fairways. It was still a good experience and the course was in nice condition. The holes close to the ocean is the main attraction in my opinion and the rest is nothing spectacular. It is not high on my list of courses I will prioritize to play again, as California has so many other really good courses.

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Old Town Club, USA

Old Town Club in North Carolina is a private country club from 1939 designed by Perry Maxwell.

I played the course in November 2016 with a member of the club. The weather was chilly in the morning but soon became nice and warm with hardly any wind. The greens were running 12-13 on the stimp and was playing really difficult. Your putting will be challenged on this course, even at slower greens. They were building a new spa and swimming pool whilst I was visiting and it is a really nice country club where I could spend countless days playing golf and enjoying the facilities.

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approach shot to 1st green

First hole is a downhill drive that leaves you a mid iron to the green if you come up short of the hazard running along across the fairway. I hit an 8 iron for my second shot and finished pin high on the left-hand side of the green. Pretty difficult putt that first went significantly uphill and then downhill towards the pin. My first 3 putt and a bogey.

approach to 5th hole
approach to 5th hole

5th hole is dogleg left and as you can see from above a green that you want to miss anywhere really. I hit a good drive a pitching wedge for my 2 shot that was just long of the flag. However it left me with a downhill right to left putt which was really quick and resulted in another 3 putt and I had 3 x 3 putts on the front nine.

Par 3 6th hole
Par 3 6th hole

A beautiful par 3 playing just under 160m that day. A large green that you preferably want to be on in the middle to left hand side to avoid run off areas. My 6 iron ended up 4m left of the pin and I made my only birdie of the day.

7th
7th

Par 3 11th
Par 3 11th

Another good par 3 playing 178m and you have water on the left and a big bunker the right, needless to say – just hit the green…

14th green
14th green

15th green, the toughest par 3 on the course
15th green, the toughest par 3 on the course playing close to 200m

elavation up to 16th green
elevation up to 16th green

17th tee
17th tee, where I hit my tee shot in the right hand hazard and my 3rd into hazard – triple bogey…

17th green
17th green

18th approach
18th approach

I was reasonably happy with my front nine score of 39 with 3×3 putts and 100% fairways hit + almost 80% greens. The back nine was a disaster with 46 shots. The course was in good shape overall and after the first 6 holes my putting had adjusted better to the greens. We played from the blue tees and that was a good test of golf at just over 6000m. I would certainly like to try this course again and try to improve on my score.

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Spyglass Hill, USA

Spyglass Hill is located in the beautiful Monterey peninsula along with a number of other great golf courses. I recently (october 2016) played the course and it was a really good experience. It was only my second time in the area and it really is a unique place on earth – especially for golf. I drove some of the 17 mile drive past Cypress point and even though it was raining heavily that day I would have loved to get out on Cypress. Due to the unpredictable and ever-changing weather I rescheduled my tee time and spent some time around Pebble Beach practice facilities.

Pebble beach short game area
Pebble beach short game area

Pebble Beach driving range
Pebble Beach driving range

I spent some hours practicing and could confirm to myself that I normally don’t spend enough time on this. Especially the short game practice really makes a difference and I felt more comfortable out on the course afterwards. I also had a chance to try the PXG 0311T irons for the first time and lets just say – it is on my list of future equipment purchases.

My rescheduled tee time was the first one at 07.20am and I came early to hit a few balls.

Spyglass Hill driving range
Spyglass Hill driving range

Great little feature on the driving range balls
Great little feature on the driving range balls, keep up pace

First time I have seen the 4.30 keep pace on range balls and hopefully it has an impact on players pace – especially on course like this where it is pretty busy all year.

1st tee on a stunning morning in october
1st tee on a stunning morning in october

Rescheduling my tee time turned out to be a good decision and it was fantastic to get up on the first tee in the sunrise.

approach to 1st green
approach to 1st green

The 1st hole is pretty straight forward without too much trouble. Dogleg slightly left par 5 downhill. My opening drive was straight down the middle but out of reach in 2 shots. Lay up to 120m and hit a good 9 iron on the green pin high. Started with a par.

2nd tee
2nd tee

2nd hole is a short par 4 up hill and requires an accurate tee short to leave yourself a wedge to the green. I hit a 4 wood just right of the fairway and pushed my wedge just left of the green, but managed to get up and down for a par.

The view from the green is fantastic…

2nd green
2nd green

3rd hole
3rd hole

The view from the 3rd tee doesn’t come much better. There was hardly any wind and the water was quite. I hit a 9 iron on the green and two putted for par.

4th green
4th green

I was doing well after the first 3 holes and 3 pars. That changed after pulling my drive on 4th to the right which left myself 224 yards to the pin. Had to lay up and got on the green in 3 which resulted in a bogey. The hole is unique and mainly due to the shape and layout of the green. The approach shot is difficult and requires a good shot to get in close to the pin.

5th hole
5th hole

A hole that should be a straightforward par 3 a little uphill resulted in a double bogey. Came up short on the tee shot and in the bunker on second etc… its a unneccessary 5

6th tee
6th tee

The first 5 holes you can see the ocean and then it becomes a different course all together. You start heading into the woods with a tough uphill long par 4. As you can see from the picture the son was getting up and straight into our face. Also see the two deer that was standing there quietly and undisturbed during our tee off.

6th green
6th green

My drive found the fairway and I had a 198 yard shot uphill which I got on the green. Didnt read my putt well enough and ended up with a 3 putt 5. Generally I found that the greens had more break that it read and that took a bit of getting use to. The greens where in great shape and good speed.

7th tee
7th tee

I hit my drive right on 7th which left no change of getting on the green in 2. I hit a couple of poor shots, but got my par with a good 1 putt.

8th approach
8th approach

8th is a tough uphill par 4 with a narrow driving area and elevated green. I found the fairway on the drive and hit a good 6 iron on the green.

9th tee
9th tee

Another par 4 that requires a couple of good shots. I found the fairway again, but missed my approach shot to the left of the green. The rough was deep but played fair, so you can make some good saves even though you miss the green. On 9th I hit a good chip, but missed the putt, so a bogey to finish the front 9 in 41 shots. I would expect to make a few bogeys, but the double on 5th was a bad score and I didn’t really set myself up for any realistic birdie chances – all in all a reasonable front 9

10th hole
10th hole

The tee shot has to be accurate drive to leave an open shot to the green. The left side of the fairway is blocked by a couple of trees, so ideally you need to drive it down the right side which I managed to do a left myself a 9 iron to the green that is well protected by bunkers. My approach went just over the green which is no go, but I still got away with it and saved par.

11th tee
11th tee

A dogleg right and risk/reward from the tee. I hit my drive to far to the right, but still left myself a 6 iron to the green from the rough. Hit a poor shot and came up short. Hit a good 3rd shot which left me with the most realistic birdie chance of the day, but missed it.

well bunkered approach to 11th
well bunkered approach to 11th

12th hole
12th hole

Really good-looking par 3 downhill. Water on the left and bunkers on the right, so not much to do but hit it on the green. I did, but 3 putted for a bogey.

13th tee
13th tee

Well placed fairway bunkers on this slight dogleg left par 4. My drive found the semi rough on the right and I hit my second shot in the green side bunker. Hit a good sand shot and saved par.

14th green
14th green

This a great par 5 that doglegs slightly both ways on the way to a well protected green with water in the front. I hit a really bad drive into the right hand woods, but got out of well. Left myself a 9 iron from the rough which came up short and resulted in a bogey.

16th
15th

Another great par 3 and was playing 135 yards downhill. The pin was tucked away in the right hand corner and I tried to go straight for it. Missed it just right and had to rely on my short game again to save par.

16th tee
16th tee

One of the most difficult par 4s on the course and to get a reasonable look at the green you need to hit a good drive down the right hand side. From the tee you cannot see a tree that blocks out on the right side, so again it puts pressure on the tee shot to be long and accurate. I did the opposite and hit my drive left into the woods and hit a couple of bad shots afterwards which led to the double bogey.

my approach to 16th
my approach to 16th

17th tee
17th tee

You cannot see the landing area from the tee and there are many bunkers. Probably one of my best drives over the left hand bunker and leaving myself 80 yards to the green. I hit a really bad second shot left of the green and didn’t recover for par.

looking back down 17th from the green
looking back down 17th from the green

18th hole
18th hole

Straightforward par 4 that is protected by bunkers. I hit a drive to the right that took a trip down the cartpath and even though I was close to the green I was blocked out and had to hit a low chasing shot towards the green that went in the deep right hand bunker. Finished with a bogey and a score of 83.

Overall Spyglass Hill is a really good course and the combination of holes that run close to the ocean and the majority in the woods is nice. It requires precision and good course management. The course condition was immaculate and I could not have asked for better weather than this. My game was not 100% and if it wasnt because my recovery performance was 41% it would have been a much higher score. I would like to come back and try again some day as I left to many shots out there and made some bad mistakes.

 

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Bethpage (Black), USA

Bethpage (Black)  has hosted US Open several times and designed by A.W. Tillinghast. Bethpage is also home to 5 other public courses and is about 1 hour drive from Manhattan depending on traffic. I have read many stories around getting tee times and sleeping overnight. I tried to book through the complicated phone system and did not succeed, so instead I decided to try my chances with the walk-up times during the morning. It was a friday in september and I left Manhattan at 4AM and got there at 5AM, where I took the 13th spot on the parking lot. I went to have a chat with the guy parked next to me (Ed from Ireland) who was a regular at the course. He explained the procedure to me and as usual the attendant showed up at 05.30AM and handed out numbers. We drove to the clubhouse car park and joined the cue for a tee time.

waiting for tee time allocation
waiting for tee time allocation

It did not take long at I got 08.12AM together with Ed and 2 other players, where one of them also was a regular visitor. I was pleased to get out relatively early and this was mainly due to some of the earlier people to arrive was playing the other courses and apparently some people still get there early to get out on the first tee slots and go around the course quickly.  You get a wrist band and matching tee time ticket. The wrist band is removed on the 1st tee. We went for breakfast at the restaurant – Taste 99

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After breakfast the sun was getting up and I went to have a look in the proshop for a souvenir. I ended up getting a towel with the well-known “warning” statement from the 1st tee printed on it. I have visited so many different pro shops around the world on great golf courses and have stopped buying too many souvenirs as is just stacks up at home. Many of the Proshops have similar merchandise and even though it is tempting to get 1 item from each place as a memory from all the courses, I have decided to let this blog and pictures be my ultimate souvenir.

Next stop the driving range, which Ed had already warned me was nothing special and it is difficult to disagree with him. The driving range and clubhouse is where you see the difference to some of private clubs where the invest more money is creating nice facilities as well as on the course.

Driving range
Driving range

After 20 balls on the range I went to the first tee and practiced my putting.

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1st tee is organized well and you are expected to be there 20 minutes before your tee time where you line up and wait for the start to call your tee time. It is especially good as you get a view of everybody teeing of on the first hole and a chance to get the compulsory picture below…2016-09-23-08-03-08

It was tee off time and I decided to play from the white tees even though it was tempting to go Blues together with one of my playing partners that was a regular on the course and a 2 hcp. As expected I would realize during my round that the white tees are difficult enough…

approach to 1st green
approach to 1st green

I hit a good drive down the fairway and left myself a 6 iron approach shot which I unfortunately missed right into the green side bunker. Really good bunker shot and what should have been an easy putt that I missed. There is limited break on the greens and even though you see a break it is better to hit it inside the hole as I found out on the 1st green. I did not believe it was straight and missed it.

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2nd hole a short par 4 dogleg left.

I hit my drive a bit long in the rough, but managed to get my second shot on the green. It is severely up hill and you can hardly see the pin.

approach to 2nd hole
approach to 2nd hole

3rd hole par 3
3rd hole par 3

3rd is a good looking par 3 where you do not want to go long. I found the front side sand trap and made bogey.

Par 5, 4th hole
Par 5, 4th hole

This is a really good par 5 and where I really found out how difficult the course can play. I hit my drive just a bit too long and ended up the rough. Decided to hit an iron over the big bunker to give myself a wedge to the green. Good plan, but I did not get good contact from the heavy rough which meant going into the bunker. Poor bunker shot that came up short into the next bunker and my first but not last double bogey of the round. Needless to say that the rough is as difficult as you hear and in many cases you just have to play out and see it as a penalty.

Par 4, 5th hole
Par 4, 5th hole

A good looking dogleg right where you drive is as important as ever. I hit a good drive, but just missed the fairway and being in the rough I couldn’t get in on the green and made bogey.

Tee shot on 7th
Tee shot on 6th

approach to 6th
approach to 6th

A really good drive will take you down the bottom of the hill on 6th, but there really no need to take that risk as it is a short par 4 and it is better to be on the top of hill with a full shot in my opinion. I hit the sand trap on the right side of the fairway and got on the green in 2 shots – made par.

Par 5, 7th
Par 5, 7th

A severe dogleg right, where I was pleased to get the line from my playing partners. I hit a good drive just left of the trees and was in the fairway with 220 yards to the green.

approach to 7th
approach to 7th

Missed the green, but got a par anyway. It is a good birdie opportunity, especially if your tee shot is good.

7th green
7th green

Par 3, 8th
Par 3, 8th

It was playing 165 yards downhill and hit a 7 iron to the middle of the green. Only hole with water in play.

big bunker on 9th hole
big bunker on 9th hole

A relatively short par 4, but almost 90 degree dogleg left where the fairway is definitely preferable as on all holes for Bethpage Black.

approach to 9th
approach to 9th

I found the fairway with my drive and was left with 170 yards to the green and another pin where you couldn’t see the bottom of the pin. Didnt hit my approach shot well and went in the bunker – another bogey and out in 42 shots which was reasonable as I didn’t feel like I had played to well anyway.

10th tee shot
10th tee shot

One of the longer par 4s, but a straight forward drive – however quite narrow fairway. I went in the lefthand rough and into the front green bunker, which left myself below shot.

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As you can see a deep bunker and a good time to hit my best bunker shot of the day that ended up 1m from the hole. Very rewarding par on this hole.

tee shot on 12th
tee shot on 12th

Another blind tee shot where I thank my playing partners for the line. I hit my drive over the bunkers and in the fairway. I hit a good second shot that was in the fringe. Managed to get my par on a difficult par 4.

repairing turf
nice to see the staff out repairing turf

12th green
12th green

tee shot on 13th
tee shot on 13th

2nd shot on 13th
2nd shot on 13th

13th green
13th green

13th is the last par 5 and one of the more generous fairways on the course. The second shot is more tricky and preferably go over the bunker and leave a short pitch to the green. I hit the fairway but missed my second left of the bunker in the fairway. Got on the green and made par.

Par 3, 14th
Par 3, 14th

Short par 3 with a large green. Run off on the back of the green and you do not want to go long. I hit the GIR and 2 putted for par.

Par 4, 15th
Par 4, 15th

A long par 4 dogleg left with elevated green and well bunkered short of the green. Requires 2 good shots to get on the green.

view from 15th fairway
view from 15th fairway

I hit a really poor drive OB left and made par with my second ball for a double bogey – obviously not the way  to play it.

16th
16th

A long par 4 where the fairway is a must to give yourself a good chance of reaching the green. I missed it right, but somehow managed to get the ball on the green and 2 putt for par.

typical rough lie that might not look too bad, but it is really difficult to get good contact and advance the ball significantly
typical rough lie that might not look too bad, but it is really difficult to get good contact and advance the ball significantly

Par 3, 17th
Par 3, 17th

Uphill par 3 on a 178 yards. You really need to hit the number to stay on the green. It came up short in the bunker and made bogey.

17th bunker shot
17th bunker shot

18th tee shot
18th tee shot

Even though it is a short finishing hole I really like the design of bunkers in the landing area. You need to decide whether to play safe short and leave a longer second shot uphill to the green or risk the bunkers. I hit my driver left in the bunkers, but got on the green in two and made par.

I shot 81 with 2 double bogeys and 9 bunker shots. Didnt play great, but managed to get around in a decent score anyway. Didnt make any birdies and only really had 1 good chance.

I have been reflecting on my view of the course after playing it a couple of days ago. My expectations where high and I was probably expecting an even better course. Maybe it is because I do not like playing to greens where you can not see the bottom of the flag and prefer links type courses running along the ocean. It is a good course and it was in good shape. I like the way bunkers have been placed and designed to make it both challenging and beautiful, but after playing many courses I have higher overall expectations to the courses. It is an”easy” difficult course, meaning that if you play well from the tee it is not that difficult to get a decent score. There is only water on one hole and the bunkers are playable, so there are limited problems. The rough is the real penalty and for me also the layout where you can’t see the approach shots makes it more challenging.

score

 

 

 

 

TPC Sawgrass, USA

TPC Sawgrass is home to the The Players championship and probably most recognized for the famous par 3 17th island green. I have attended The Players and spent some time sitting on the hill watching the players come through the 17th. It is a great spectator spot and when I was watching 1 in 3 found the water which is pretty incredible considering the length of the hole. I returned to the course in october 2013 to play both Dye Valley and Stadium Course. Dye Valley is a really good course and you should play it if visiting anyway.

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When visiting you immediately realize how the place has many visitors and they are used to handling it. Staff was very welcoming and service minded, proshop well equipped to get your favourite souvenir and after your round you can go and get the bag tag engraved with your initials or name. All part of creating an experience if you are into that kind.

I played together with a member and two other visitors. The member played from the back tees and I decided to join him to get the same experience. There is another set of tees behind these which are used for the Players Championship, so it didn’t play that long.

First hole I missed the fairway and GIR for a bogey. Par on 2nd hole and came to below par 3.

Hole 3, Par 3, 160 Yards
Hole 3, Par 3, 160 Yards

Good looking hole with a difficult green that you basically do not really want to miss due to run off, rough and bunkers. I hit a perfect 7 iron to the back of the green on the same level as the pin and got a par.

Hole 3, par 3, 160yards
5 hole from the tee box

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Hole 8, Par 3, 197 yards
Hole 8, Par 3, 197 yards

9th green where you see the undulating architecture
9th green where you see the undulating architecture

9th tee
9th tee

9th hole approach
9th hole approach

The par 5 9th hole is a really good hole leading back to the clubhouse. Water running across the fairway and you need to place your 2nd shot avoiding the trees for your 3rd. I hit a really good 3rd that led to my only birdie of the round at a front 9 in 42 shots. I thought that was a good score and didn’t quite realize how difficult the course can be until the back nine.

Hole 13, Par 3, 156 yards
Hole 13, Par 3, 156 yards

Hole 14, Par 4, 436 yards
Hole 14, Par 4, 436 yards

14th is one of the most difficult holes on the course. Its long and when a lot of trouble if you miss the fairway. I hit 2 shots in the water and was game over.

15th tee
15th tee

Another tough par 4 and I remember watching this hole during The Players and seeing Ernie Els hitting a little fade around the corner making it look incredibly easy. I got a 6 after being in the trees on the left. My back nine was some of the worst golf I have played in a while and unfortunately mainly due to straining my wrist on the 14th which made it even more difficult.

Hole 17, Par 3, 128 yards
Hole 17, Par 3, 128 yards

17th doesnt need much explaining and it is just fantastic to be standing on the tee having watched it some many times on television and live. We opted for playing from The Players tee to get the full experience and I had to try to hit the dream shot to the front pin location which resulted in the first one hitting wood and water.

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Hole 18, Par 4, 426
Hole 18, Par 4, 426

A strong and difficult finishing hole, where I hit another ball in the water.

18th green
18th green

I thoroughly enjoyed playing the Stadium course (except for the last 5 holes) and was disappointed to shoot 95. It is the most difficult course I have ever played and mainly because of rough. It is a real penalty to miss the fairway and you can rarely advance more than a wedge or short iron. Same goes for missing the green and having to chip/pitch from the rough. It grabs your iron and really takes skill to hit good shots from the rough. It was in perfect condition and greens were running fast and true. The last strecth of holes are some of the toughest finishing holes that requires your full attention and best game. 17th is fun and great for spectators, even though I know the Pros have mixed feelings about the hole as it potentially can have big impact on whether you win or not, but obviously its the same for everyone.

I have to try the course again and expect to shoot a better score with more experience and hopefully better course management in the bag.

My score.

score

 

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Harbour Town Links, USA

Harbour Town links is home to the Heritage Classic PGA tournament and designed by Pete Dye. I visited the course in August 2016 and played from the Dye Tees just over 6000 meters long. The weather was hot and humid as expected.

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I started with a quick warmup on the driving range and had a tee time with a couple of other holiday guests.

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The first hole is straight forward par 4, all though the landing area for your tee shot is narrow. My drive was good, but missed my second shot right of the green. No big issue, but still needed a good scramble for par which I managed.

Hole 1, Par 4, 392 yards
Hole 1, Par 4, 392 yards

2nd green
2nd green

The 2nd hole is a par 5 slightly dogleg right and important to keep the ball on the lefthand side of the fairway for the best approach to the green in two. I did the opposite and went right of the fairway in the fringe and had to play it as a 3 shot hole. It is pretty short for a par 5, but obviously the key is getting the approach shot.

approach to 3rd hole
approach to 3rd hole

3rd hole a straightforward par 4, where I missed my approach shot and didnt manage to scramble, so a bogey. Already know I felt that the first holes was pretty similar. Treelined holes and similar setup with either dogleg or relatively straight, so unlike what I consider a really top course where you remember a lot holes by the design and architecture. Harbour Town has a lot of similar holes on the course, but as I found out on the next hole – some great par 3s.

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The 4th is a really par 3, withe the water running from tee to green and putting pressure on hitting the right shot. I hit a 7iron and 2 putted for par.

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5th hole is another relatively short par 5, but your drive needs to be precise to avoid the right hand trees and the bunkers left of the fairway. I hit a solid drive just over the left-hand bunker and left myself a really good second shot that ended up in the fringe of the green. 2 putts and a nice birdie.

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Approach to the 6th hole par 4 dogleg right. Missed my drive left and the green on my second, but saved par. The course had been through maintenance 3 weeks before which was visible on fairways and greens. It was still in reasonable shape and the greens was fast, but wasnt up to perfect standards as you can expect during maintenance periods.

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7th hole another good par 3 with water in front and well protected by bunkers and the trees that will take any shots left or right. The green looks small from the tee due to the design of the hole and shape of the green. I hit an 8 iron on the green and got a par.

7th green
7th green

approach to 8th
approach to 8th

8th is a dogleg left where your drive is important to get the right angle to the green. I went a little long and left into the waste area under a tree. Did get on the green and manage to get par.

Houses running up 8th hole
Houses running up 8th hole

Billede 21-08-2016 14.38.06

9th hole is a good par 4. Short, but with focus on precision. I made a bad course management choice and ended up between the trees on the left-hand side with my driver. Should have taken a long iron or rescue club to play more safe and leave a longer shot, but with a bigger chance of getting on the green in two shots. I got the penalty with a double bogey and what could have been a front nine in par was instead a 38.

A quick thunderstorm and rain shower came across during a quick break at the halfway house and we were lucky not the get any other showers that day which was great.

approach to 10th
approach to 10th

10th a dogleg left where I decided to take a 4 wood from the tee to avoid the trees on the left hand side. Left myself a good approach shot and got a par.

Hole 11, Par 4, 413 yards
Hole 11, Par 4, 413 yards

Another par 4 which requires a good tee shot to give yourself this best approach. I went left from the tee and had no real shot to green. Ended up short left hand side, but made a great recovery for par.

11th green
11th green

approach to 12th
approach to 12th

Dogleg right and again your drive needs to be well placed to get the best approach. My drive was good, but second shot missed the green and a bogey.

approach to 13th
approach to 13th

13th is one of the better par 4s on the course and a real course management beauty. The tee shot is so important if you want to get on the green in two, otherwise you are blocked out. I had a blind second shot, so decided to hit in the bunker right of the green.

13th green
13th green

my 3rd shot to 13th
my 3rd shot to 13th

That did not turn out well as you can see from above I was to close to the edge being left handed and went into the bunker again on my 3rd and eventually a double bogey.

14th is the best par 3 on the course and we decided to play from the back tees at 192 yards. I remember this hole from watching the Heritage and the bailout is left of the green where you can a lot of pros end up. I had to take dead aim and hit a perfect 5 iron to 6 ft from the hole. Did not get my birdie which was annoying, but still a great hole.

approach to 15th
approach to 15th

On 15th we had some visitors in the lake.

Alligators on the 15th
Alligators on the 15th

Looking back down the 15th
Looking back down the 15th

15th is a nice long par 5 and I got my par even after a pretty bad drive right of the fairway.

approach to 16th
approach to 16th

Dogleg right with a big tree obstruction shots going too much right which I experienced and as a result a bogey.

Hole 17, par 3, 174 yards
Hole 17, par 3, 174 yards

Good par 3 with nice views. The pin was placed in the left hand corner and I had to try and go for it, which resulted in below approach shot.

from the bunker on 17th
from the bunker on 17th

Nearly impossible with my golf skills and also resulted in a double bogey after missing the shot long and of the green.

and of course the famous 18th which most keen golfers know. It is a good hole and a really strong finish to the course. I hit a great drive into the wind but hit my second shot left for a penalty shot and a double bogey.

18th Harbour Town
18th Harbour Town

It is a good course and like many others have experienced the last 4-6 holes is the best part of the course together with the par 3s. The rest of the course is nothing spectacular and like many other good courses around the world. I am happy to have played the course, but it is probably not a place I would visit again as there are many other courses that ranks higher in my mind.

I shot 81 with 4 double bogeys and the main mistakes where due to poor course management from my side and I should have listened more to the caddie. Otherwise a good round of golf with solid shots.

score

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Kiawah Island, Ocean

Kiawah Island in South Carolina is another top American course where they also host major tournaments and the PGA championship in 2021. I played the course in August 2016 and booked a tee time at 8AM in the morning to avoid too much heat and humidity. The drive through the resort is nice and the close you got to the Ocean course the more you realize how the terrain is going to be on the course.

one of the view whilst driving through the resort
one of the view whilst driving through the resort

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clubhouse from the parking space

clubhouse from the parking space side

I was really taken away by the views and scenery when arriving and walking into the clubhouse. It is a beautiful location which a nice view of the sea.

View from driving range
View from driving range

It was a clear sunny day and the sun rising.
It was a clear sunny day and the sun rising.

The first holes we played with the sun rising in the calm water. I played with 3 other guests and it was immediately a great group of golfers about to enjoy themselves in perfect conditions.

Hole 1, Par 4, 375yards
Hole 1, Par 4, 375 yards

Nice short opening hole where you can get away with a fairway miss. Most space to the left of the fairway and a sand hazard to the right with trees that might interrupt your second shot. I hit a driver in the semi-rough. 9 iron to the green and a 2 putt par.

Looking back down the fairway on 1st
Looking back down the fairway on 1st

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Hole 2, Par 5, 528 yards

Now you really start to see how Pete Dye designed the course to play with your mind. A good risk/reward par 5 where the sand runs along the left side of the fairway to catch a short drive and rough on the right hand side. Be aggressive and you could be rewarded with a putt for eagle, but also walk away with doubble bogey. I took my driver and played safe, which resulted in a semi rough second shot.

second shot on hole 2
second shot on hole 2

Again Pete Dye makes you think and either play safe for a longer 3rd shot or go over the hazard that runs across the fairway for a short pitch. I felt comfortable taking a rescue wood and played up about 50 yards short of the green.

2nd green
2nd green

I hit my approach onto the green and as you can there is run off areas around the green as throughout most the course. Another 2 putt for a par.

Hole 3, par 4, 367 yards
Hole 3, par 4, 367 yards

Another tricky drive where you need be accurate from the tee to get the best approach shot to the green. I hit a good drive to the left side of the fairway and was between 9 and Pitching wedge on my second shot. Here is where a great caddie makes the difference, he gave me good advice, precise yardage (in my case meters) which meant that I hit an almost full 9 iron pin high to set myself up for a birdie. Nice!

My birdie putt
My birdie putt

Hole 4, Par 4, 432 yards
Hole 4, Par 4, 432 yards

This is definitely one of the most difficult holes on the course. It requires some good shots to get a par. I hit a perfect drive down the fairway and was between 5 and 6 iron on the approach. Took the 5 iron and went just a bit long and was not able to recover for par – bogey instead…

4th green
4th green

Hole 5, Par 3, 185 yards
Hole 5, Par 3, 185 yards

Nice par 3 where I made a stupid course management mistake and went too much for the left hand pin instead of playing safe in the middle of the green. Went in the bunker pin high with a difficult sandshot that resulted in a bogey. The green is huge and a hole where it makes sense to just get in on the green and putt from there.

Hole 6, Par 4, 377 yards
Hole 6, Par 4, 377 yards

The drive here is pretty straight forward with plenty of space. The pin was also accessible when I played and placed in the front which made it easier. I hit a good drive and a wedge to the green that spun a bit too much and was in the fringe, made par.

6th green
6th green

Hole 7, Par 5, 505 yards
Hole 7, Par 5, 505 yards

Wide fairway that makes the drive the easier part of the hole, however it is more difficult to the second shot on the green.

7th green
7th green

It takes a great second shot to stay on the green and avoid run off or hazards. I went into the bunker on the left and hit a good third shot onto the green. Got a par.

Hole 8, Par 3, 170 yards
Hole 8, Par 3, 170 yards

Tricky par 3 hole where again you have the run off areas to take any shots off-line, which 2 of my playing partners experienced as you can see from picture. I hit a really solid 8 iron just short of the hole and made birdie.

Hole 9, Par 3, 415 yards
Hole 9, Par 3, 415 yards

Good finishing hole to the front 9, where there is space for the drive, but the second shot requires precision. You want to favour the left hand side of the fairway to give a shorter shot to the green, I did the opposite and hit my drive right in the rough. My second shot came up well short of the green as you can see from approach below.

my 3rd shot to 9th green
my 3rd shot to 9th green

View from 9th green
View from 9th green

I hit a decent chip as you can from above and made my par which resulted in an opening front 9 of 36 shots which I was really pleased with.

Some of the nice houses close to the course
Some of the nice houses close to the course

Hole 10, Par 4, 378 yards
Hole 10, Par 4, 378 yards

The design of the hole makes it look more difficult than it is, but there is actually more room out there then it looks. I hit a poor drive in the bunker short of the fairway and left an impossible shot to the green. It was followed by a poor approach and a double bogey start to the back nine.

10th green
10th green

Hole 11, Par 5, 521 yards
Hole 11, Par 5, 521 yards

Pretty wide fairway, where you want to avoid hitting into the right hand waste area that I did. I got a decent lie and manage to get within range for the 3rd shot to the green

approach to 11th
approach to 11th

Hole 12, Par 4, 420 yards
Hole 12, Par 4, 420 yards

Another wide fairway that is slightly down hill. I hit a great drive to wedge distance and as you can see below you do not want to miss the green anywhere but short. I went safe to the middle of the green, maybe a bit too save with a wedge in hand.

12th green
12th green

Hole 13, Par 4, 371 yards
Hole 13, Par 4, 371 yards

A really good looking risk/reward hole where you just need to decide how much to take off on the drive. I hit my worst drive all day left and long over the bunkers. Another bogey on the card.

13th green
13th green

Hole 14, Par 3, 171 yards
Hole 14, Par 3, 171 yards

The view is great on this difficult par 3. The wind has now picked up significantly and straight into playing 2 clubs longer. I hit a good shot that went just left of the green and into the deep grass between the bunker and green.

14th green
14th green

I thought I hit a good chip, but it rolled over the green and down the slope on the other side. Came up short and rolled down again – double bogey 5. I had played really well on the front nine, but was losing it on the back nine. Not because I wasnt hitting the ball well, but mainly because I just missed in the wrong places which really makes is tough to get around in low numbers.

15th approach
15th approach

Long par 4 when the wind is against you. I hit a good drive, but hit second left of the green which resulted in a bogey.

Hole 16, Par 5, 555 yards
Hole 16, Par 5, 555 yards

This is just a really long good par 5 with the wind into your face. Plenty of space, but just hit 3 solid shots to get on the green. Missed my drive just right into the rough. Hit a 4 wood and a 3 hybrid in my third shot to get on the green. 2 putt for a par.

16th green
16th green

Hole 17, Par 3, 191 yards
Hole 17, Par 3, 191 yards

This is one of the hardest par 3’s I have played with the wind we had. Above picture is from the back tee with 221 yards to the green protected by water and bunkers. I hit a 3 hybrid pin high but just left of the bunker with a difficult chip. Made bogey.

17th green
17th green

Hole 18, Par 4, 421 yards
Hole 18, Par 4, 421 yards

Many great courses have superb finishing holes and so does Kiawah Island. 18th a difficult par 4 dogleg left to right. Keep close to right hand side, but avoid the bunkers and it will leave a good approach shot. I hit my drive long and left with 235 yards into the green. Played up just right of the green, but did not manage to get up and down for par. Another bogey and dissapointing back nine  45 shots.

18th green
18th green

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I was still pleased with my score of 81 shots, but felt it could have been really good after the opening 9. The course was in fantastic shape and luckily they had decided not to aerify the course during august. The overall experience ranks high on my list and I will be back again one day. I would love to stay at the resort and play some of the other courses as well.

My score

score

Floridian, Florida

Floridian in Palm City is a private club in Florida. A Tom Fazio designed golf course that was reconstructed in 2011 together with a new clubhouse and the Butch Harmon academy. It is a really good course and has been in perfect shape when I have visited. The Butch Harmon academy run by Claude Harmon III is a really high-class practice facility with great people.

Clubhouse with the private harbour in front
Clubhouse with the private harbour in front

Driving range
Driving range

Butch Harmon academy
Butch Harmon academy

Proshop
Proshop

Clubhouse interior
Clubhouse interior

Approach to 1st hole
Approach to 1st hole

1st hole is a pretty good test with its 380m par 4 slight dogleg right.

Hole 2, Par 3, 187m
Hole 2, Par 3, 187m

Hole 3, Par 4, 411m
Hole 3, Par 4, 411m

Hole 4, Par 3, 159m
Hole 4, Par 3, 159m

5th hole, par 5 with well placed bunkers
5th hole, par 5 with well placed bunkers

6th a driveable par 4 on 266m
6th a driveable par 4 on 266m

Great risk/reward hole with bunkers protecting the green.

8th hole, par 3, 124m
8th hole, par 3, 124m – nice short par 3 and especially with pin placement today

tee shot on 9th
tee shot on 9th

Tee shot on 11th
Tee shot on 11th

Approach shot to 11th
Approach shot to 11th

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Above is tee shot on 13th which is a great par 5 and as you can see a tricky tee shot, but you will be rewarded if you hit ball in the fairway as the hole is reachable in 2 shots with its 460m

Tee shot on 14th
Tee shot on 14th

Approach to 14th
Approach to 14th with caddies in all white

Tee shot 17th
Tee shot 17th

Short par 4 with plenty of bunkers and you need to decided how aggressive you want to be from the tee

17th green
17th green

18th, Par 4, 395m
18th, Par 4, 395m

A stunning and difficult finishing hole that has resemblance to some other great courses like Pebble Beach, TPC Sawgrass etc.. It takes 2 good shots to get on the green.

18th green
18th green

Clubhouse from 18th green
Clubhouse from 18th green

Houses under constrution
Houses under construction

19th hole that you can play from outside the clubhouse
19th hole that you can play from outside the clubhouse

I you get a chance to play this course you should certainly take it. It is one the best courses I have played and has never failed to give me a serious challenge on my golf skills. Facilities are fantastic with a Spa and wellness area to relax, great food and beautiful well maintained golf course.

Pebble Beach, California

Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach (1920), California

This is a place I had really been looking forward to visiting and I was really excited. It has so much history and is a world-renowned course that I think most keen golfers would love to play one day. A public course that is obviously very busy with green fee guest and visitors in general. During my visit there was several busses with guests arriving just to see the place and visit the stores.

I visited in April 2014 and I didn’t book in advance but went there a day before my planned tee off and enquired about tee times. That was no problem, especially being a single player and I chose a tee time next morning joining a 3 ball. My wife and I had lunch in the restaurant the day before in the clubhouse overlooking the 18th. Spectacular view….

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Maybe its just me, but the place really feels special and you get a sense of the heritage immediately. The only thing I would say is that it is very busy and obviously a money machine with numerous merchandising stores that are packed with great items for any person to get tempted – including myself who stocked up on several items.

I arrived well it advance the next morning to get some practice and get the most out of my visit. The range was already well occupied with players and staff that helpfully ensured your clubs were taken care off, cleaned and transported to the 1st tee.

short game area
short game area

I was teamed up with a group of Austrilian’s that were staying there for some days and then going to watch The Masters at Augusta, pretty good way to spend some time with the friends if you ask me. We all had caddies which for me was a good choice. One thing is the advice you get on lines and greens, but for me it was the freedom of walking around and getting the most out of the whole experience without thinking about carrying a bag, cleaning clubs, etc.. I probably took more than 100 pictures.

photo

The 1st hole is pretty straight forward dogleg right where I decided to play safe and hit a good straight tee shot that went a bit too far and was blocked behind a tree so I had to play safe and on the green in 3 and eventually a bogey.

2nd hole
2nd hole

2nd is a reachable par 5, at least I thought that was going to be my way to play it. I hit my drive just left in the rough and had 205 yards to the green, but hit a poor shot that came up short. Hit another poor shot and was on in 4 shots on what should have been an relatively easy par 5. Another bogey….

3rd hole - Par 4, 356m
3rd hole – Par 4, 356m

A good dogleg left with plenty of bunkers in the landing area. Like most doglegs you need to decide on how agressive you want to be. I hit a good drive over the left hand bunker and left myself a wedge to the green.

approach to 3rd
approach to 3rd

First real look at the ocean and was a great sight especially in weather like this. My 2nd shot was the right distance, but on the righthand side of the green. I 3 putted for another bogey and not really the start I was hoping for.

4th, 298m par 4
4th, 298m par 4

4th is a short par 4 slight uphill where you tee off between some trees. That gives a nice touch to the hole and it is really well bunkered and requires accuracy instead of length. My tee shot caught the left hand bunker, but I managed to recover well and got on in 2. My first par of the day.

4th green
5th green

Medium length par 3 with bunker front a back and no missing it right. Good hole and another par for me.

6th hole - par 5, 462m
6th hole – par 5, 462m

This is an interesting hole a real risk/reward par 5.

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I hit one of my best drives here and had about 190m to the pin. My caddie advised me not to go for the green as it is a blind shot uphill and too much at risk. I would normally go for most possibilities like this but decided to follow his advice. Played up short and walked away with a par.

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Looking back down 6th fairway and you get a feeling for the elevation on this hole.

6th green
6th green

 

 

Par 3, 7th
Par 3, 7th

This must be one of the most photographed par 3’s in the world and we had a beautiful day in perfect conditions. I have played this hole hundreds of times in the simulator at home and it was amazing to be standing there in real life. It was playing 80m downhill and slightly downwind which was a 60 degree for me. Hit the middle of the green and actually had a realistic birdie opportunity which I didn’t make. Truly a fantastic experience for a golf fanatic like myself.

8th hole, par 4, 390m
8th hole, par 4, 390m

This is one of my favourite holes on the course. It is a semi blind tee shot and my caddie recommended to play a 6 iron from the tee which I did.

approach to 6th
approach to 6th

The tee shot left me a 5 iron to the green and the view is just stunning. I hit a perfect 5 iron with a draw into the middle of the green and made par.

9th hole
9th hole

9th is a long par 4 downhill and requires a good drive preferably down the fairway so you can get some decent roll forward. I hit my drive in the left hand rough. I missed my second shot left, but managed to get up and down. I shot 39 after the first 9 holes and hit almost 70% GIR. Pretty good front nine after the 3 bogeys to begin with.

10th green
10th green

Another good par 4 running along the ocean. I missed the fairway on the tee shot and went in the greenside bunker on my approach. Bad bogey to start with on the back nine.

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One of the amazing houses and this one very close to the water and carmel beach behind it.

Look

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Looking back down the par 4 11th a the amazing view of the ocean. It is a short par 4 uphill, but the green is tricky. You need to be accurate.

House behind 11th
House behind 11th

Par 3 12th
Par 3 12th

A relatively long par 3 with really good protection by bunkers. Very big bunker in front of the green and it takes a good shot to hit the green and keep it there. I missed short in the bunker and walked away with another bogey.

13th hole, Par 4, 368m
13th hole, Par 4, 368m

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Some of the property running along the par 5 14th. According to the caddies the owners are not allowed to remove or cut down trees without approval. Initial they were fined if doing so without approval, but that didn’t have any effect so instead they get prosecuted now.

Looking back down 14th
Looking back down 14th

My 3rd shot was long on the 14th and a really messed up my score with a 7 on the hole.

15th tee
15th tee

Beautiful tee shot on this par 4 on 362m. Bunkers on the left, but otherwise pretty straight forward.

16th green
16th green

16th is a downhill par 4 to a green with huge bunkers that you want to avoid. I missed the green long from the fairway and made bogey.

17th
17th

A mid iron par 3, but pending on the pin position it can be pretty difficult. The green is narrow and any inaccurate tee shots will be in the bunkers which is where I went.

18th tee
18th tee

2014-04-03-01-13-06

18th green
18th green

A finishing hole like 18th on Pebble Beach doesn’t become much better. 496m par 5 slight dogleg left along the ocean. What a way to finish…. A hit my drive right of the fairway being to afraid of the water. My second shot was really good and my 3rd was even better given me a good birdie chance that just lipped out. 18th was my only par on the back nine and even though that was satisfying the back nine was disappointing. 6 bunker shots and only 1 GIR even though I hit the same amount of fairways as the front nine.

I think my 85 can be improved and in any case I am coming back to play the course again. The greens were not great as they just maintained them a week earlier and I would like to try the course in even better shape to get the full experience of hopefully fast and firm greens.

What surprised me the most about the course is that it doesn’t play that difficult. I thought it was going to be much harder and obviously the weather has a big influence on this, but still it is playable and you can get around in a decent score without your A game.
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