Bulle Rock

Bulle Rock – Played April 2018

  • Rankings: Golf Digest Public #78, Golf Magazine Public #41
  • Location: 320 Blenheim Lane, Havre de Grace, Maryland
  • Year: 1998
  • Architect: Pete Dye
  • Course Access: Public
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 7,375 yards, Par 72, 76.6 Rating/148 Slope
  • Gold: 6,907 yards, Par 72, 74.2 Rating/142 Slope
  • Blue: 6,410 yards, Par 72, 72.0 Rating/138 Slope
  • White: 6,055 yards, Par 72, 70.6 Rating/135 Slope
  • Green: 5,507 yards, Par 72, 67.8 Rating/129 Slope
  • Red: 5,320 yards, Par 72, 72.4 Rating/137 Slope

Every year when the calendar turns to January I am faced with the daunting prospect of tax season.  It is an extremely busy time of the year that doesn’t leave much time for golf, let alone golf trips.

To satiate my hunger for golf travel during this time I usually spend some free time trying to plan out the upcoming year’s golf trips.  Maryland was an area that had come up a few times as I have a good friend who lives there.

After looking at my map I knew I could hit Bulle Rock while I was in town.  So on the weekend after tax day we packed up and headed out north to Maryland.

Bulle Rock is a Pete Dye design in the northern Maryland town of Havre de Grace.  It is widely regarded as the best public course in Maryland (we’ll get to that claim throughout this piece).  It has received accolades from Golf Digest, Golfweek, Zagat, Golf Styles, and Golf for Women. Continue reading “Bulle Rock”

Spring Creek Golf Club

Spring Creek Golf Club – Played September 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest Public #58
  • Location: 109 Clubhouse Way, Gordonsville, Virginia
  • Year: 2006
  • Architect: Ed Carton
  • Course Access: Semi-Private
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Championship: 7,389 yards, Par 72, 76.5 Rating/152 Slope
  • Marble: 6,673 yards, Par 72, 73.1 Rating/144 Slope
  • Onyx: 6,197 yards, Par 72, 71.0 Rating/139 Slope (Men’s), 76.6 Rating/146 Slope (Women’s)
  • Salmon: 5,589 yards, Par 72, 68.2 Rating/132 Slope (Men’s), 73.3 Rating/139 Slope (Women’s)
  • Pewter: 4,781 yards, Par 72, 68.7 Rating/129 Slope

In late September of 2017, Clemson had an away game and I was itching to to get in some golf.  I had had the Virginia courses on my list in my mind for a little while.  I thought that it made sense to head up and get some golf and sightseeing in.  The wife and I did some research and got everything booked for a quick getaway.

First up on our schedule was Spring Creek.  It was designed by Ed Carton who has had professional associations with Hurzdan Golf, Gary Player, Sam Snead, and Raymond Floyd.  He believes in challenging course that are also playable.  Now we hear that all the time, but his strategy has a tangible aspect.  For example, he likes to keep the fairway 40 yards wide at the landing area, but narrower at around 300 yards.  He also likes to employ “speed slots” to give a boost to good drives.

Spring Creek is semi-private, but the access is pretty easy.  I played on a Friday with no problem.  While Ms. TGT did some work in the grill, I was off to play.  You can see the clubhouse below.  I played the Marble tees and all distances will reflect that.

Continue reading “Spring Creek Golf Club”

Pelican Hill Golf Club (Ocean South)

Pelican Hill Golf Club (Ocean South) – Played July 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest Public #68
  • Location: 2000 Busted Rock Road, Newport Coast, California
  • Year: 2007
  • Architect: Tom Fazio
  • Course Access: Resort
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 6,580 yards, Par 70, 71.9 Rating/134 Slope
  • Blue: 6,323 yards, Par 70, 70.5 Rating/131 Slope
  • White: 5,929 yards, Par 70, 69.1 Rating/126 Slope (Men’s), 75.5 Rating/137 Slope (Women’s)
  • Red: 5,393 yards, Par 70, 66.7 Rating/119 Slope (Men’s), 72.7 Rating/131 Slope (Women’s)
  • Yellow: 4,723 yards, Par 70, 64.0 Rating/114 Slope (Men’s), 68.2 Rating/119 Slope (Women’s)

Sometimes in this quest you don’t know when opportunities to play another course on the list will come up.  Pelican Hill is a prime example of that.  My brother-in-law was getting married in Orange County this past July so my first thought was to take a look at my Top 100 map to see what was close.  Of course there are private options in LA, but I stuck to the public tracks as my connections in SoCal are limited.

All of that led me to Pelican Hill, which ended up being about 20 minutes from our hotel.  A quick Friday morning round was scheduled around sightseeing, the rehearsal dinner, and the wedding.  I ended up getting paired with a really nice guy from New Orleans who had gone to college with some guys I knew in high school.  Small world!

Let’s get into some info on this place.  The courses here were done by Tom Fazio, but not without some arm twisting.  According to the website, Fazio didn’t want to head to California with 6 young kids at home on the East Coast.  He also had plenty of work there to keep him busy.  Former MLB commissioner Peter Ueberroth brought him out and convinced the family to agree to the project.  It was quite a sales job that resulted in 36 holes along the PCH.  Fazio seemed to quite enjoy the project as he was provided a great piece of land.

One last thing, the bridge you drive over to get to the first tee is quite special.  I’ll let you visit to experience it.  All distances are from the blue tees. Continue reading “Pelican Hill Golf Club (Ocean South)”

The Broadmoor Golf Club (East)

The Broadmoor Golf Club (East) – Played June 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest Public #29, Golf Magazine Public #70
  • Location: 1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Year: 1918
  • Architect: Donald Ross & Robert Trent Jones
  • Course Access: Resort
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Blue: 7,355 yards, Par 72, 72.7 Rating/139 Slope
  • White: 6,651 yards, Par 72, 70.4 Rating/132 Slope (Men’s), 76.7 Rating/153 Slope (Women’s)
  • Combo: 6,154 yards, Par 72, 68.2 Rating/127 Slope
  • Gold: 5,840 yards, Par 72, 67.2 Rating/126 Slope (Men’s), 73.2 Rating/146 Slope (Women’s)
  • Red: 5,738 yards, Par 72, 72.3 Rating/144 Slope

My last round of the trip was at the world famous venue The Broadmoor.  This resort has been recognized for many years as one of the best in the world.  The property has 54 holes of golf to go along with the five star amenities.  Below is the view of the hotel when I pulled up.

I recommend you do some reading about the history of the resort as it is quite rich.

Continue reading “The Broadmoor Golf Club (East)”

Dormie Club

Dormie Club – Played 2012

  • Rankings: Golf Digest Public #30, Golf Magazine Public #96
  • Location: 6033 Beulah Hill Church Road, West End, North Carolina
  • Year: 2010
  • Architect: Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw
  • Course Access: Public
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 6,883 yards, Par 71, 73.7 Rating/138 Slope
  • Blue: 6,576 yards, Par 71, 72.3 Rating/130 Slope
  • White: 5,910 yards, Par 71, 68.8 Rating/124 Slope
  • Red: 5,180 yards, Par 71, 70.5 Rating/126 Slope

Dormie Club has had an interesting history.  It was originally designed to be a private club, but opening in 2010 to tough economic times made it necessary to go public.

That opening has been the public’s gain since as they are treated to a wonderful Coore & Crenshaw course in the Sand Hills of North Carolina.  Be aware though, they are trying to go back to private as soon as possible. Continue reading “Dormie Club”

Forest Dunes Golf Club

Forest Dunes Golf Club – Played May 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Magazine #72, Golf Digest Public #23, Golf Magazine Public #33
  • Location: 6376 Forest Dunes Drive, Roscommon, Michigan
  • Year: 2002
  • Architects: Tom Weiskopf
  • Course Access: Public
  • Walking Rules: Carts & Caddies Available

Score Card Information:

  • I: 7,116 yards, Par 72, 75.2 Rating/146 Slope
  • II: 6,550 yards, Par 72, 72.4 Rating/139 Slope
  • Combo II/III: 6,330 yards, Par 72, 71.3 Rating/135 Slope
  • III: 5,888 yards, Par 72, 69.2 Rating/127 Slope (Men’s), 74.8 Rating/143 Slope (Women’s)
  • IV: 4,993 yards, Par 72, 69.6 Rating/136 Slope

The last stop on my Michigan golf itinerary was the well-respected Forest Dunes.  The drive in was quite interesting.  I had vaguely remembered reading about the way your GPS would take you in and that there was an alternate route.  In my early morning mindset I forgot this information.  Which lead me to this…

About six miles out from the course the paved roads stopped.  The dirt road was solid and very wide and looked like it was set up for logging trucks or something similar.  I kept on going as my tee time was approaching.  A few turns the GPS recommended were a little sketchy and I passed.  Eventually I made it back to paved road and the course.  So let that be a lesson to anyone headed to Forest Dunes, give the shop a call if you want to stay on the asphalt.

I do have some history to share about the course.  The course was built on glacial deposits within the Huron National Forest.  It was originally completed in 1999, but the lenders ended up foreclosing on it before it ever opened.  Two years passed until one of the original investors, The Detroit Carpenters Pension Trust Fund, stepped in to save it.  There was plenty of work to do as the course was overgrown after all that time.  Eventually the restoration was finished and the course opened with 56 members.  It has been described as a combination of Augusta National and Pine Valley.

There are also other activities at the resort along with wonderful accommodations.  I recommend checking out all the details at forestdunesgolf.com.  Let’s get into the tour.

Continue reading “Forest Dunes Golf Club”

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa (The Bear)

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa (The Bear) – Played May 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest Public #72
  • Location: 100 Grand Traverse Village Boulevard, Acme, Michigan
  • Year: 1984
  • Architect: Jack Nicklaus
  • Course Access: Resort
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 7,078 yards, Par 72, 76.1 Rating/150 Slope
  • Blue: 6,601 yards, Par 72, 73.3 Rating/147 Slope
  • Blue/White: 6,347 yards, Par 72, 72.0 Rating/144 Slope
  • White: 6,122 yards, Par 72, 71.1 Rating/139 Slope
  • White/Yellow: 5,688 yards, Par 72, 66.2 Rating/134 Slope
  • Yellow: 5,281 yards, Par 72, 67.0 Rating/128 Slope

This was the sixth round of the trip and it was at this point that I was realizing I needed to get in better shape!  I was feeling it a little bit.  The weather was supposed to be bad, but I was the first one out and played in just about 3 hours to beat it.  Those are the best days!

Alright, a little bit of background.  Per the website the resort  is owned by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.  It opened in 1980 and features almost 600 rooms, suites, and condos.  It has ample meeting space dining options, shopping, and a spa.  I encourage you to check out the website for the resort to check out all the options.

The facility has three golf courses highlighted by The Bear.  It also has a golf academy on site featuring a Dave Pelz Short Game School.  The Bear is an apt name for the course because it is very difficult.  It is ranked on the toughest courses list for a reason.  I got a good chunk of the back nine in a stiff wind.  Believe me, it was no joke.  That is probably why the course hosted the Michigan Open for 28 years as well as a Champions Tour event in 1990. Continue reading “Grand Traverse Resort & Spa (The Bear)”