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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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 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.
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.
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 is a downhill par 4 and a green secluded between trees.
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.
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.
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.
Trump Aberdeen is a relatively new links course set amongst the great natural landscape of Scotland. You drive through the landscape on small roads and arrive a what could have been a course created many years ago. However the facility, clubhouse, short game area etc.. is what makes you realize that is of recent times. I started with a bit of short game practice.
Short game area is quite good and you immediately get an idea of what condition the course should be with nice greens and tightly maintained run off areas.
Good starting hole and very much like the course is designed. Naturally integrated into the landscape. Visually demanding as the dunes makes the fairway narrower, but actually more space than the eye sees.
There is a burn running across the fairway and puts a bit more pressure on hitting a good tee shot. I hit a 3 wood safely right which left me with a 6 iron to the green.
Raised green with run off areas or bunker in play with a poor tee shot like mine. I hit a 7 iron right of the green and made bogey.
A really good and challenging par 5. Water up the right hand side and bunkers well placed in the fairway.
Always difficult to gauge the distance and pin position from a fairway like this. I came up front edge of the green and 3 putted for a bogey.
I came up short in the bunker on this good-looking par 3. There is more space on the left hand side than visual from the tee, but well designed hole and bunker to punish any off line shots.
A short par 4 with a narrow entrance to the above green that i elevated. I played safe from the tee with a 6 iron and wedge to the green.
10th hole has a tight entrance to the green as you can tell from above. Requires a good second shot to get a feel for where the green and pin is positioned.
The stunning par 4 where you stand raised up from the fairway with beautiful views. I hit a perfect drive but a poor approach shot to make bogey.
A lot of well placed bunkers on this hole which is where I went from the tee to set up another bogey.
Definitely my favourite hole and one of the most spectacular finishing holes I have played. The starter told me to play this hole from the back tee at 651 yards.
I hit a perfect drive and a solid 3 wood to leave below approach shot.
Lob wedge to set up a pretty birdie chance which would have been an amazing to finish on this hole, but had to settle for a par.
I really enjoyed the course and understand why it gets a lot of good reviews. The design, layout and condition of the course is difficult to find any better for a new course like this one. Obviously has not got the history as many other great courses in Scotland, but a really good course. I shot 82 with 2 double bogeys in decent weather with moderate winds.
Royal Aberdeen is a links course that has hosted many tournaments. Probably has one of the most understated entrances as you can tell below.
I visited the course during The Open 2018 when it was played at Carnoustie. The course was very busy, but they allowed me to go out early on my own.
A fantastic view on the opening hole. A slight downhill par 4 where I hit my drive into the left hand rough and couldn’t get to the green. Made an opening bogey.
You can just see the narrow fairway in the middle running along the natural environment.
A difficult hole where my tees bounced over the green and resulted in a bogey.
Needless to say that it requires a good tee shot and most shots that miss the green is bunker bound. It is a relatively short hole and I hit a perfect 9 iron to set up a birdie.
There is a pin to aim for depending on the tee you are playing from. I opted for a hybrid from the tee which is more than enough and leaves a wedge to the green.
My approach shot came up short and rolled back down from the green.
The par 3 17th is just amazing, especially in the condition I was playing with little wind and clear blues sky.
A strong finishing hole slightly uphill to the green
I didn’t have any expectations before arriving, but I was impressed with the course. It is a true links course and deserves to be played if you are visiting the area. The condition was not 100% as they had some maintenance work done on some of the holes. Greens were good and running well. Overall highly recommendable.
Turnberry and the Ailsa course is another Open course that I was looking forward to playing. I spoke to several people who played the course both before and after the redesign by in 2016 by Martin Ebert. They all appreciated the transformation and had positive appraisal of the course. We stayed at the hotel that also had undergone a renovation and it was really good. The rooms were nice and the dinner at night overlooking part of course and sea was a great experience.
Probably the most iconic hole and most well-known. It is a really good challenge and pretty intimidating, especially from the back tees.
Another well designed hole. It just seems like the green has been there forever.
The challenging finishing hole. It visually looks narrower than it is, but that’s easy to say after you have played the hole.
We had a great day with nice weather. The stay and play experience is good, even though it is a pricey one. It is understandable that this course is well renowned, but to me the best part are the holes running by the sea. Overall the course doesn’t rank amongst the best I have played and therefore not the first place I will return to again.
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.
Due to frost the range opened just before my tee time, so I only hit a few balls before heading out.
I had the first tee time and I was out on my own with a caddie at 07:50.
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.
Second hole is a par 5 that is reachable with a good drive.
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.
It is a beautiful setting and a good birdie opportunity if you can get the ball around the green in 2 shots.
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.
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.
My birdie putt just lipped out……
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.
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.
A short par 4 and one the fairways I missed where the green is difficult to hit from the rough.
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.
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.
Another beautiful par 4 running along the water and with a green close to the edge.
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.
Uphill par 4 with probably the most generous fairway on the course.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A dogleg left and relatively short hole. I hit a driver and had 80m to the pin.
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.
A reachable par 5 if you hit the fairway. I missed my second shot to the green, but still got a par.
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.
As you can see the miss is right and the green is bigger that it looks from the tee.
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.
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.
Gullane is on the same coast line as many other famous links courses in Scotland and we mainly decided to play Gullane due to the history, location and they where playing The Open qualifier and Scottish Open the same period as we where visiting.
This was the first golf course we played on our trip and we had fantastic weather. I think we all thought that this would be just a warmup to some of the more well-known courses on our trip, but I was positively impressed with the course.
We arrived a bit earlier than our tee time and had a short practice on the driving range which is located across the road at the new clubhouse.
The opening hole where you can see that they were setting up grandstands for the tournaments a couple of weeks later than we played. They didn’t play this hole, but used a combination of the holes from this and another course. It is a pretty short opening hole, but well bunkered along the fairway. I went for the green and ended up just a bit long. Maybe not the best course management wise, but still an opening par.
A slight dogleg right to left uphill to a very narrow green. Really need to hit the fairway here as the rough was pretty thick and you are unable to get on the green. I hit a 3 wood and wedge to the green.
A downhill par 5 with 3 bunkers on the left you want to try to avoid. If was playing downwind so we all had a short iron to the green in two. I hit driver, 8 iron to the front edge, but missed out on birdie which was disappointing.
Even if avoid the 2 bunkers short the green still slopes away. I hit the green but 3 putted for bogey.
A long and difficult par 4. The fairway is pretty wide, but the second shot is tough. It was into the wind when we played. My tee shot hit the bunker and I had to lay up. Hit a good 5 iron approach shot and rolled in a midrange putt for par which was a really good save. This hole I would take par any day.
Difficult to see on the picture how much downhill this hole is. We opted for different strategies from the tee. Some hit iron and others driver. I was on the driver team and hit it far right into the rough. Advantage was that I was close to green with only a wedge left and made par.
A relatively short par 5 and if you hit the fairway like I did you get a lot of roll.
I only had a 60 degree wedge to the green and couldn’t stop it near the hole. It was playing downwind and difficult to get the distance right, but very much links like golf where it is mostly better to stay close to the ground. 3 putted for par… missed opportunity
Difficult par 3 slight uphill and with well placed bunkers and a steep run off in front of the green. I missed the green but managed to make par.
A short par 4 to finish, but can play a lot longer from the back tees.
I shot a 78 with zero birdies. Had some good birdie chances, but also made som decent par saves, so all in all a satisfactory result.
The course was in decent shape and overall I enjoyed the course. Some good holes and more height variations than I expected which gave the course more character. Definately worth visiting and would probably recognized even more if it wasnt for the other great courses in the area.
Prestwick is considered the birthplace of The Open and I visited the course during the summertime. The weather was really good and I was looking forward to the course even though I had read mixed reviews beforehand.
There is no driving range at Prestwick which is not uncommon to many similar courses. However there is a chipping green to practice a bit before tee off. It is located close to town and the first hole runs along the railway as you can see below.
Quite a short opening hole with a hidden green behind the mount.
One of better holes on the course where you need a precise tee shot to give yourself a decent chance of getting on the green in two.
A blind tee shot with an aiming disc on the mount. I am not a big fan of blind tee shots, but this was actually a fun challenge. The green is well protected by bunkers especially on the left hand side. Difficult tee shot.
A long uphill par 4 that really requires some good shots. Keeping the ball on the green can be tricky as you will most likely be coming into the green with a longer iron.
This was pretty much all the pictures I took from the course which is very unusual for me, but basically it was a disappointing experience. With all the history the course has I had higher expectations. The last part of the course is extremely compromised and all holes are very close to each other. It resulted in very long waiting times but I can live with that if the holes are good, but unfortunately they are not. 16 is ok, but the rest are just average in my opinion.
We did consider whether we should play this course when planning the trip due to the reviews. You are very spoiled for choice of good courses in Scotland, so even though it is always easy to look back in hindsight, we should have chosen differently. Anyway, for 99% of the time the courses we play are fantastic experiences, so this is the first one.
North Berwick is one of the links courses located in the same area as Muirfield, Gullane and many other great Scottish courses. It is consistently ranked amongst some the best golf courses in the world. Dated back to 1832 and set in the city similar to St. Andrews with some beautiful natural landscape with true links golf.
I played the course in June during fantastic weather conditions which made the experience even more special. We had a nice welcome by one of the members who introduced the club and specifically underlined that as guests you are considered a member for a day with the same privileges. A fun little feature and true Scottish attitude, which makes it very difference to many other top courses you can visit around the world.
A short opening hole where the starter gives you a bit of guidance with the tee shot. Either a risky drive or mid iron. We all opted for the mid iron which basically leaves a wedge to the green. I hit a 7 iron and gap wedge to set up an opening par.
A really good golf hole with the water running all the way up the right hand side, city in the background and of course – clear blues skies…
There was a 2nd hole starter as well that assisted with good advice on how to play the hole. I went with driver and hit a good shot to wedge distance. Just a bit long on the approach shot as the greens are firm, but managed to save par.
There is a stone wall running across the fairway which we hit short of. Just a 3 wood from the tee and I went just left in the rough. The rough was not too bad, but enough to make it difficult with longer irons. I hit a 7 iron approach shot which bounced over the green even though I tried to hit short of the green, but that is just the beauty of links golf.
A visually tricky par 3, where you can’t see much of the green. It is a short iron, so shouldnt be too big of a problem, but visually demanding.
Obviously want to avoid the bunker in front, but also allow for the ball to bounce. It was a bit downwind, so went with a wedge which still ended up on the back edge of the green.
A large green, but protecting with a small water hazard in front.
Happy to avoid the bunker on the 10th, but unfortunately didnt manage to get up and down.
11th running along the ocean and slight dogleg right to left. I hit a decent drive just off the fairway.
As you can see from above the green is protected by a stone wall in front and a long narrow green.
It is a blind approach shot and unfortunately I never found my ball but most likely hit it to far. Double bogey.
15th has been copied many times on other courses and is a difficult par 3 where you can hardly see the pin. The ball has to carry to get on the green. I hit a 5 iron into the middle of the green and was happy to walk away with a par.
There is water running across the fairway, which you can carry from the tee, but the green is difficult.
Above gives an idea of the elevation around this green and you just have to hit the perfect shot to stay on the green. I didn’t and rolled of left side, but hit a really good putt to make par.
A good drive on this hole will definitely make it a lot easier, but that goes for most holes. However the approach shot is blind and preferably you want a shorter iron for the second shot. One of my playing partners carried the ball onto the green and was long which leaves a tricky chip. You can play it quite short of the green and roll it down the hill on the green which I did and made par.
Very similar to 18th on St. Andrews which also is a risk/reward hole. There is plenty of space left and I went for the driver and hit a draw (lefthanded) just short of the green. 2 putts and a really nice birdie to finish of my round of 78.
I did leave a few shots out there, but overall pleased with the round. I really enjoyed the course and it was a great test of golf. Many really good and well designed holes. The condition was not 100%, with slightly slow greens and some very dry fairways due to lack of rain. But nothing that impacted the experience and I will certainly be back one day to play it again.
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.
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.
The driving range is designed in true Pinehurst style with the same waste areas as you will experience on #2.
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.
The greens were in good shape and running fast. Quite hard, so difficult to get any real spin.
The course is very true to its design and seem very similar from many of the tee boxes.
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.
A short par 4, where a lay up is required. I hit a rescue club, but just ran out of fairway.
I hit a poor second shot and ended up short of the green with above approach. Just ran over the green and another double.
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.
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.
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.
Playing a bit into the wind and my fade went into the greenside bunker.
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.
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.
Pretty good lie in the waste area and still gives you a shot at the 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.
Walton Heath is located south of London and designed by Herbert Fowler. It has a long history with Open Championships and the Ryder Cup in 1981. I had been looking forward to playing the course and only heard good things about the course. We got to the course in the morning and had breakfast. The breakfast was really good and the hospitality, welcoming and service by everybody we met was fantastic.
We played the course on an autumn day and started with 5 holes on the new course for a quick war up. We were extremely lucky with the weather in the beginning of the round as it was around 0 degrees. After 7 holes we got a little snow and the wind picked which made it more challenging and of couse colder.
Opening hole is not an easy one. The green is protected by bunkers and it takes a good shot to hit the green. My tee shot ended up right of the green and I started with a bogey.
2nd hole a par 4 with a large dip in the fairway and it gets narrower the further you go. Can be a difficult approach if you miss the fairway due to overhanging trees. I hit a good drive and was left with 138m.
It was playing really shot for a par 4 and even though the green is protected and trees down the left it is too tempting not to go for it. Hit a great shot as you can see below and managed to get a birdie.
A good-looking par 5. Even though it’s a relatively open the bunkers are well placed and you definitely want to miss the heather.
16th is a shot par 5. I had 180m to the green, but came up short and only made par on what is a really good birdie opportunity.
I shot 81 and thought it should have a been a least 2-3 shots better. Made some poor short iron shots and missed to many drivers into the heather which is a real penalty. Extremely difficult to get the ball anywhere from the heather.
If you keep the ball in the fairway the course is straight forward, but that goes for most courses. It is not particularly long and many greens are pretty flat with minimal undulation. Many of the bunkers are real penalties and you just have to advance your ball, but that something I like about these old courses compared to many newer courses.
The courses didnt live up to my expectations. Maybe because I compare to the many other similar courses around London where I prefer the layout and design of the holes – sunningdale, st. georges hill, swinley forest etc… It will of course be a different experience during the summer months, but that doesnt change the layout and architecture of the course. Still a good course, but just not up there with the other golfing opportunities you have in the area.
Cruden Bay is a little gem north of Aberdeen. When you get close to the course and drive along the houses you don’t realize that there even is a golf course hidden behind the small country road.
I played on a rainy and windy day or typical Scottish as some would say. It wasn’t too bad, but made it more tricky of course.
First hole I hit my drive in the left hand rough and couldn’t make it on the green in two. Poor pitch and started with a bogey.
2nd hole is a short par 4 with small bunkers running along side the fairway. It is steep uphill to the green. I hit a decent drive and had a lobwedge left. Made par.
3rd is driveable but as you can a narrow entrance to the green. I missed my drive left which wasn’t too bad. Lip out for birdie.
This is a tough par 3. It was playing 181 straight into the wind. There is not much room for missing the green and short will run back down the hill as you can see below. I hit a solid 3 wood pin high and was very happy walking off with a par.
The 7th hole is a dogleft left and the drive is straight forward, but the second shot is a real challenge. It is uphill and when I played the wind was straight into. The green is relatively narrow and long. I hit a hybrid for my second and ended up on the front edge of the green. A good putt to where you can see above and a par that I would consider a decent score every time on this hole.
I actually thought the was a par 3 and only realized it was a par 4 when putting in my score on the app walking off the green. I was playing 212m and I hit a 3 wood to the right off the green.
As you can see from above the green is difficult to hit and I was left with a short chip to the hole and made par
10th hole is a par 4 and was quite deceptive from the tee. I didn’t checked distances before teeing off and actually only cleared the right side of the rough to make onto the fairway. It was playing into the wind, but I thought I could cut more off the line that it actually appeared. I had a 5 iron to green and came up just short. Made bogey from there.
From the tee the hole looks pretty straight forward and was playing 133m. I hit an 8 iron and walked to the 12th tee to leave my bag. There is a small path through the bushes to the 11th green and only then they I see this little area with water and the run off to the right side of green. Really good feature to the hole and note to myself is – read the course guide or look at the app….
Uphill all the way and to a long narrow green as you can below
I aimed to far left and actually it is pretty much straight down the middle of hole between the hills and the green is big enough.
I missed my drive left and never found the ball which resulted in a doubble bogey.
As you can see below I shot 80 on a typical scottish weather day. I prefer the back nine holes of course and thought it had some terrific holes. The course is in a unique location and you are one with the elements when walking close to the sea and listening to the ocean. A good test of golf….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hole 1 is a short par 4 with a green well protected by a large bunker. Relatively easy start to the course.
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.
The old course is ranked higher than the new course on the world top 100 and after playing the new in the morning we were looking forward to the Old Course.
A slight dogleg right opening par 5. It is an easy opening hole and even though I missed my drive into the left hand rough I almost reached the green in two.
A short par 4 where I played a hybrid from tee, but made bogey due to a poor approach shot.
A slight uphill par 3 which I hit in regulation but 3 putted for bogey.
A really well designed hole with the water and bunkers in play from the tee. You stand a bit elevated and I decided to go for the driver down the left hand side. Hit a solid drive but a poor approach again resulting in bogey.
An uphill par 4 where I hit my drive straight into the trees and made double bogey. It is a really good looking hole.
Completely blind tee shot on 7th where I my driver. Even though I hit the fairway it is too risky as you can go long into the trees and not an approach shot for the green. I will definitely be taking a shorter club next time. Made a nice par.
Uphill par 3 where I hit my 6 iron into the right hand bunker. The bunker was extremely hard and literally no sand. Hit a poor shot and made double bogey.
I decided to go for the green and reached it on my drive. 3 putted which was really annoying after a decent drive.
A fantastic par 4 with the halfway behind the green. We had a bit of wind against and both hit perfect drives down the middle and had a rescue club left to the green and made par. A really good hole that requires solid shots to make par.
A good finishing par 4 uphill where I hit a good drive in the fairway.
The Old Course is a fantastic golf course and was perfectly conditioned and maintained when we visited. It is a good test of golf and has some long par 4s that requires good shots to score well. I understand why both courses are ranked amongst the top 100 and you experience why the Old Course has been there for more than 100 years on a great piece of land for golf course design.
I shot 85 which wasnt satisfying, as I felt it could have been better and too many loose shots and missed GIR out there. I will certainly be back one day to play both courses again.
Sunningdale is located just outside London and has 2 courses in the world top 100. We played both in the same day and started with the new course.
The opening hole is pretty tough. It requires a long drive up the left hand side and the ball will feed down the hill. I had 185 to the pin and came up just short by managed to save par.
Slight uphill par 3 where I missed the green right but got up and down for par.
A very good looking par 3 where I made my only birdie of the round. Hit a solid 5 iron to almost a gimmie.
A dogleg right Par 5 where I managed to find the green in 2 shots, but was left with below putt. As you can see there is a large slope and I 3 putted.
There is more space than it looks from the tee, especially on the left hand side. However still requires a good shot, but it is relatively short par 4 so you don’t need a driver from the tee. I missed my drive right into the rough and couldn’t reach the green in two, so a bogey.
A long par 4, but it is downhill and if you hit the fairway you will get some extra meters roll. I just missed the fairway on the right but a good lie, but missed the green and made bogey.
A great looking par 3 and it looks shorter than it plays. We both came up short and should have taken a longer iron from the tee. bogey time…
A good long par 5 with a well placed bunker in the middle of the fairway.
A slight dogleg right where you hit across the fairway and need to decide how much to take on. There is lake on the right hand side as well. I hit a good drive, but into the sand on my second shot resulting in a bogey.
A short par 5 where you really need to hit the fairway. The tree on the right hand side is well placed and is where I ended up. I played my second down the 1st fairway and unfortunately missed my approach shot and a finishing bogey as a result.
I shot 80 which was a reasonable good score for me. The course is really nice and challenging. A good warm up before heading out to the old course.
Carnoustie is one of the old traditional links courses in Scotland that has been a venue for The Open since 1931. I was looking forward to visiting the course and we decided to stay in the hotel on the course.
There is no driving range on the course, so I hit a few balls into the driving nets and spend most the time putting before tee off. I played with another 3 single players where one of them had played the course before. That was helpful as the it was very windy.
I hit a really good 3rd shot that was just a little bit short and rolled back into the bunker.
The wind was really strong on this hole and made it tough to get the ball on the green. I started my shot just right of the pin and ended up to the right of the green. It left me with a really difficult pitch shot downhill and I ended up with double bogey.
A long par 4 with well placed bunkers. I missed my drive right, but had a decent lie and 8 iron to the green. I got a flyer and went over the green. Almost holed out for birdie, but was happy with a par.
A short par 3. It was straight downwind which made it difficult to stop the ball. I hit a wedge which just carried onto the green, but ended up well past the pin.
A really long par 3, but playing downwind it was only a 7 iron.
17 and 18 are very well known holes and the 17th is a long tricky par 4 with water in play. I hit a 3 wood left into the rough and had to lay up short of the green. Made bogey which I was happy with considering the conditions.
I hit a decent drive but went over the green with my second shot and there is a small runoff area behind the green. Made bogey to finish with.
I shot 83 and actually felt I was playing better. The condition where extremely difficult with very strong winds that made all shots more difficult. It effected the putting quite a bit more challenging than normal. It is probably some of the toughest conditions I have ever played in and a great challenge experiencing the true links in typical Scottish weather conditions.
The course was in good shape. It is obviously quite open and well bunkered. Most fairway bunkers are hazards and well cost a shot or put a lot pressure on your short game skills. It is not the most memorable course I have played and one I wouldn’t return to play it again as there are so many other choices in the area that I think is a better experience.
Valderrama has for many years been amongst the best courses is Spain and located in the Sotogrande area close to Gibraltar. I have played the course a couple of times and recently (July 2017) during a holiday in Spain. We booked a tee time online where they are open for visitors at several mid day tee times. We arrived a couple of hours prior to tee off and had lunch before we went on the range for a bit of warmup.
We also booked a caddie to guide us around the course and that turned out to be a good decision as he was especially good a giving putting directions.
I played the course from the white tees and the course is relatively short, but you need accuracy from the tee to score well.
I hit a good drive and had 95m to the pin. As you can see the approach is narrow.
It is only when I reached the first green I realized how narrow it is. Generally the greens are quite small targets on Valderrama, but very good and running well.
Another short par 4 but again you need to be accurate to give you a good angle to the green.
My tee shot hit the tree and ended up behind the it as you can see above. It was contemplating how to play it – either through the V in the tree or just play it safe under and leave myself a short pitch. I went for what my Caddie called the “Seve” shot through the trees and it was one of the few times I actually pulled it of and it went perfectly through and landed on the fringe of the green which was turned into a par.
A downhill par 3 with a couple of well placed bunkers and run off on the other side of the green. I hit a good shot 2m from the pin, but missed the birdie putt.
Hole 4 is beatiful with a small green protected by water. I hit what a thought was a perfect approach shot on my 3rd from 78m, but it just landed in first rough and stayed there. The green has several tiers and I was chipping downhill from a poor lie and got a bogey. Again it requires precise approach shots to small greens and you are immediately put under pressure if you miss the greens.
Again a short par 4, but I missed my drive left into the trees and had no shot to the green. Had to play it out safe and made bogey.
A really nice par 3 and well designed with all the bunkers around it. My first shot went into the front right bunker and resulted in another bogey.
One of the longer par 4s where I missed my drive left and had to lay up.
I hit a really good pitch shot and made a gimmie par which was after 3 bogeys.
A short par 4 which is pretty straight forward and requires a 200m shot into the fairway to have a good line to the well protected green. I hit my hybrid right into the trees and again had to rely a good approach to save par.
I really liked the 10th hole. A short dogleg right where you can get close to the green if you drive over the corner, but it brings water into play. I played safe with a hybrid to the corner of the dogleg and left myself a 9 iron to the green.
I came up a bit short of the green and the slope took the ball well down the fairway and left myself a really difficult chip up the hill to the green. I actually thought my approach shot was quite good, but learned that being short is not an option – double bogey.
A nice par 5 uphill. The tee shot is actually quite forgiving if you miss it left, so one of the easier driving holes, but on the other the green is extremely small protected by large bunkers which I found.
Another good looking par 3 with lots of trees and bunkers. It was playing 190m with the wind and made a tough hole. I played it poorly and made double bogey again.
A short par 4 where I played a hybrid just short of the rough where the fairway ends and you have a severe uphill shot where you can’t see the pin.
I hit a decent approach and made par which was a relief after 2 double bogeys.
It was playing close to 200m with the pin to the right. It was like the par 3s where gradually getting more and more difficult. I missed the green left and didn’t hit a good chip…made bogey.
I had really being looking forward to this hole after watching it on TV many times. It is a fairly short par 5 and if you hit a decent tee shot is definitely reachable and a good risk/reward hole. I made bogey after a poor tee shot and approach shot.
A strong finishing hole where I hit the perfect tee shot over the trees on the left corner.
Unfortunately I didn’t follow my tee shot up with a good second shot. Missed the green left and didnt manage to get up and down.
I shot 86 after a back nine in 47 with 3 double bogeys. My tee shots where just not good enough to really shoot at decent score on Valderrama. Too many shots into the trees which left me with no approach shot and thereby resulting in bogeys.
There is a few holes I would have played a bit differently, but all in all my game was just poor. I will be looking forward to coming back and improving on the score.
The course was in good condition. You could see that the course was being used quite a bit with a few greens that were not 100%, but overall a good experience.
St. Andrews is of course on my list of must play courses and this was my first to Scotland to play golf. Needless to say that I was looking forward to it. It was my 40th birthday gift from my wife, so we all went for a week to Scotland and stayed at the Fairmont St. Andrews which I can recommend. The kids spent most the time in the indoor pool, which was great as the weather was quite poor during our visit in june 2017.
The town of St. Andrews has a good selection of restaurants and is pretty busy this time of year. There are so many golf merchandise stores, but that is expected at The Home of Golf. I went to all of them as they have different brands and found some nice golf clothes and a new Titleist Stadry bag which is well needed in the weather conditions I normally play.
I played the course with a local member and we played from the white tees which is the back tee. (of course the pros are further back on tournaments). We were joined by 2 americans who had been lucky enough to get one of the 13 single player spots available that day. One of them had been there 04.40am and our tee time was 16.50. He had asked the first one in line when he arrived – 12.30am and tee time and 07.15. It is great that they keep this tradition and you have a chance of getting out even though you havent booked 8-12 months in advance like most people do.
I can not remember how many times I have seen this on TV and was really considering what to hit from the tee. During the days when I watched people tee off I saw many different tactics and a quite a few OB as well which is amazing considering the space. The water is in play if you hit off-line with woods but on the other hand a longer second if you hit irons etc.. etc…, I went for the driver and hit a perfect shot down the middle. I had 52m to the pin.
The greens were firm so you need to play the shots well short which made my second shot a bit tricky, but this was expected when hitting a driver from the tee. I rolled over the green and didn’t get up and down for par, so a poor bogey start unfortunately.
I hit a driver on the second and had 90m to the pin. They were running quite a long way on the fairways, but I just listened to the caddie and let him guide my way around. My second was a bad shot and I came up short, but managed to save par.
I hit my ball into the far right hand bunker and made bogey.
On the 12th tee my caddie says, either hit it left in the rough or right in the rough. First I thought he was joking, but then he said – or lay it up way short of the hole. What you cannot see from the tee is all the bunkers down the fairway which you almost certain to find if you hit it down the middle.
I hit my drive right into the rough and a decent approach to the green and only 94m. Then comes the next challenge, a very narrow green. I hit what I thought was a great approach shot that bounced over the green and left me a tricky putt as you can see below.
I hit my drive into the fairway bunker “principal’s nose” and as you can see there was no way to get it on the green. I hit a sand wedge sideways into the fairway, 6 iron onto the green and made bogey.
Another that I have watched many times during tournaments. The dogleg is more severe than I anticipated, but the tee shot basically depends on how well you are hitting it and how aggressive you want to be. My natural shape is a draw and being left handed this hole really sets up well for me. I aimed over the O in hotel, but hit my only fade of the day which left me with 214m to the pin. I decided to play the hero shot and pulled it off – a 3 wood to about 4m from the pin as you can see below – finally the golf gods smiled at me….
One of my playing partners went into the roadhole bunker and made a fantastic save. Almost holed out from the bunker, which I am sure most pro’s would be happy with.
A short finishing hole where you just feel the history walking up along the houses and with the clubhouse in the background.
I hit a driver from the tee and had 101m to the pin. Pulled my approach shot a bit and had a long putt. Made par which was a nice way to finish.
Old course was just fantastic and I was already planning a second trip when walking off the 18th green. The whole place is magnificent especially for golfers. I shot 80 which I happy with considering how I played. My short game saved a lot of shots, but the course is not very long or difficult. We had pretty good conditions and some wind, but no rain which would make it a whole different challenge. I felt like I could have shot in the mid 70’s on a decent day and that will be goal next time I visit.
Kingsbarns is located south of St. Andrews and rated amongst the best in the world. It has hosted many tour events and will host the women’s open in 2017. Everybody I have met who has played the course has been very enthusiastic so my expectations were high. I arrived at the course an hour before tee time and practiced on the range.
The facilities are good and they a very authentic bunker to practice the challenging links bunkers accustomed to golf in Scotland.
The weather had been changing all the time during the week we where there and even to the Scotts it was unusual and pretty cold for the month of June. Anyway this was luckily not the case the day I played Kingsbarns as it was great day for golf with only 7-8ms wind and no rain.
I hit a driver on the first tee and had 116m to the pin.
I came up short on my approach shot as the wind was a bit stronger than I anticipated. I had a pretty straight forward putt uphill and got an opening par.
2nd hole was playing 165m into the wind and I hit a very poor tee shot to the right of the green where I had to take a drop. I did manage to get up and down for a bogey, which was nice.
3rd hole is a slight dogleg left to right par 5 with a pretty generous fairway. As you can see from the picture the water tide was out when we played, but still gave some great views of the sea and golf course.
I hit a good drive and went for the green in two, but found the green side bunker as you can see from above.
I hit a decent bunker shot, but missed the birdie putt. I would say this hole is a good birdie opportunity and reachable for many players if you hit the fairway.
4th hole is a dogleg left par 4 with 3 well placed bunkers up the right hand side. My tee shot went right of the bunkers which was too bad.
As you can see the green has several undulations. The greens where running very true and a good pace. Good greens are essential to a good course experience and really rewards good putting.
5th is a par 4 dogleg right where you can either play safe short of the bunkers or hit over and leave a shorter second shot. There is more room on the fairway then what you perceive from the tee. I went for the driver and had 80m to the pin. Didnt really hit my second close enough for a realistic birdie, but still a good par.
6th hole is a shot par 4 with a large narrow green protected by bunkers and mounts. Risk/reward hole and it was playing 231m to the pin. I was driving well so decided to go for it.
I carried the green but rolled over into the fringe. I was hoping for a birdie, but hit a bad first putt and had to settle for par.
7th is ranked as the hardest hole on the course. A 385m par 4 where the best aim from the tee is up the right hand side so you avoid the ditch on the left hand side which leaves a difficult shot the green.
I missed my drive left of the fairway, but no too bad of a lie. Hit it into one of the green side bunkers and got a bogey.
8th is a good looking par 3 with different levels on the green. The pin was in the front and requires an accurate shot to get close. My tee shot was very poor and was over the right hand bunker with a difficult chip. I hit a decent flop shot and managed to hole the putt for a really good save.
9th hole has a large fairway, but preferably hit down left hand side to avoid any trouble.
I hit a solid drive and was left with 180m to the green. Came up a little short, but got a birdie anyway. Nice way to finish the front nine which I played in 37 shots.
After a bite to eat from the halfway house it was time for the back nine. I had really enjoyed the first nine holes and was already in love with the course. The 10th is a short par 4 with a narrow landing area if you hit driver. I decided for driver and hit a good one, but I would play more safe from the tee next time as the landing area is quite small.
The 10th green is big and I still manage to miss it even though I only had 90m – bad bad shot which resulted an opening bogey.
11th is quite a nice par 4 and a little tree lined. I hit the left hand bunker from the tee, but hit a good approach shot that came up just short of the green. Made par.
After the first 4 holes I texted one of my Scottish friends to tell him that I really liked the course already and all he texted back was – wait till you get to 12… and not surprisingly it is a beautiful hole. It is rated the best par 5 in Scotland and as I havent played them all it is difficult to judge, but I can say for sure it is a good looking and well designed hole.
I hit a solid drive that went a bit too far right, but was playable from the rough. I had 224m the pin and convinced myself that I did not come to Scotland to lay up. Hit a good 3 wood just short of the green which I converted to a birdie.
13th is a short, but yet tricky little par 3. Well protected by bunkers and basically you just want to be on the green. I didn’t manage and got a bogey.
A really good par that requires a well placed tee shot. I was between driver and 3 wood and even though I had been driving well I mistakenly went for the 3 wood and ended up in the bunker – see below. Lesson learned.
It was a good lie and plenty of room, so no big issue and still got a par.
Definitely the best par 3 on the course and the pin was close to the front with wind against us. A hit an 8 iron and had a good birdie chance that was missed.
A pretty wide fairway with good space up the left hand side.
I went for the green in two, but just rolled off to the right and actually into the water. There is hardly any water hazards on the course, but this one was enough for me to find. I would still go for it again and still had a good par opportunity that I missed.
17th was to me one of the most difficult par 4s. It was playing uphill and into the wind with a lot of bunkers in play from the tee.
My drive was okay even though in the semi rough. I hit a 5 iron to the middle of the green and made par
18th is a blind tee shot up the hill. Not a very long hole and not the best on the course or as a finishing hole.
It is a nice approach shot with water ditch in front and looks over the sea. The green is quite big and even though I hit a poor drive it was still a relatively straight forward hole.
I shot 75 and was very pleased with how I played. The conditions could not have been better and I think it can be a completely different challenge with stronger winds.
The course is just magnificent and high on my list of top courses. I will definately be back again and will look forward to maybe plaing it from the back tees if the conditions are reasonable. A must play course if you are in the area.
Lahinch golf club is located on the west coast of Ireland and has 2 courses, where the Old Course is most recognized. They do not have a driving range, but have recently opened a great short game practice area. It was actually a bit refreshing as this forced us to practice a part of the game that usually doesn’t get enough attention anyway.
Above video with view from 4th tee.
If you manage to find the fairway a marker will let you know when the green is free and you have a blind shot over the mount.
Can you spot the pin?, mostly likely not and the white rock is the aim from the tee on this par 3. I hit the green and made par. Personally I don’t like holes like this with blind tee shots over mounts.
6th hole is a dogleg left to right par 4 with a huge hole and bunker in the fairway. Nice views of the sea.
Great par 3 and one of my favourite holes. It played straight into the wind and is a really tricky hole where you pretty much have to hit the green to get a good score. I hit a 5 iron left into the high rough, see my recovery below.
Really nice par 5 running along the water.
I shot a dissapointing 86 with a birdie on the last hole. Didnt hit many fairways and therefore also very few GIR. It is a good experience and the course has many nice holes. We had fantastic playing conditions and I would recommed playing the course.
Ballybunion is another top rated course on the west coast of Ireland. It has two courses and we played the Old Course. The course is established in 1893 and was voted world number 17 by Golf Magazine in 2011.