The final round of my Indianapolis trip was at Crooked Stick Golf Club which is pretty well known for two things . . . 1.) being the place that introduced the world of golf to Pete Dye and 2.) being the place where the mighty “Long” John Daly first rose to prominence. Crooked Stick is one of Dye’s earliest designs and is considered the project that really put him on the map as a golf course architect. As for John Daly, Crooked Stick is where he burst onto the scene in 1991 when he won the PGA Championship after getting into the tournament as the ninth alternate when Nick Price dropped out. I think it’s pretty safe to say that golf as we know it today wouldn’t be the same without both of these characters.Read more →
Pikewood National Golf Club is one of the courses that came onto the Top 100 list at the biennial change earlier this year. I can’t say that I was terribly surprised as I’d been hearing buzz about this course for quite a while. One of the former assistant pros from my home club is originally from West Virginia and he felt confident four years ago that it was only a matter of time before the course would hit the list. Another friend in Pittsburgh had played the course and was also certain that it would eventually make the list once enough raters came to Morgantown to see and rate the course. Well, both of those guys were right and this year in December when the new list hit the street Pikewood National broke through. I was actually pretty pleased to see it on the list because it is a course that I can drive to and wouldn’t require buying a plane ticket. That’s always nice!Read more →
A couple of years ago I made a trip to Boston and played The Country Club, Myopia Hunt Club, Old Sandwich and Boston Golf Club, but for some reason did not play Kittansett on that trip. I can’t remember exactly why we didn’t play, but I think they may have been hosting a club event on the weekend that we were there. Anyway, it was one of the few times that I’ve “left a man behind” on my Top 100 quest. The good news is that with Jet Blue service from Richmond to Boston it is an easy trip and I knew an opportunity would come up again one of these days.Read more →
After flying into Indianapolis from Richmond I met up with my friends Corey and Keith before making our way down to French Lick and the French Lick Resort. While we were there we had made plans to play all three of the resort affiliated courses, but obviously we were most excited about checking out the Pete Dye course which just popped onto the Top 100 list earlier this year.
Prior to the new Top 100 list coming out earlier this year French Lick Indiana meant one thing to me . . . Larry Bird.Read more →
The last course our group played on our Bandon Dunes trip was actually the first course that was built for the resort and the one that started the whole Bandon Dunes phenomena. There is a little more detail on the history of the course in my previous post from my visit a few years ago, so I’m not going to go into that here.
So, on our third day of golf at Bandon Dunes we were finally playing the original course. Not all of the guys in our 12 man group was playing this round so we had an odd number of five guys. We split up into a two-ball and a three-ball and for some reason I don’t exactly remember we put the three-ball out first.Read more →
Bandon Trails was the third course to open at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort and was created by the design team of Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw. After the incredible success of Bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes the expectations for their effort at the resort were very high. Unfortunately, they did not have the advantage of working with a property located along the sea, so the deck was slightly stacked against them as the comparisons to the seaside holes were sure to come. Fortunately Coore & Crenshaw rose to the occasion and delivered a course that received the same type of accolades as the previous two courses at the resort and quicky found its way onto all the Top 100 lists.Read more →
The second round of the Bandon Dunes golf trip for our group was on Old Macdonald. My last trip to Bandon Dunes was the week Old Macdonald opened back in June of 2010 and at that time the course was too new to be rated in Golf Digest’s Top 100. When the new list came out in early 2013 Old Mac debuted at number 49 which was really not much of a surprise to anyone.
As I mentioned in my Old Macdonald write up from 2010 the course is a nod to Charles Blair Macdonald who is widely considered the father of American golf. Tom Doak and Jim Urbina pulled a page from Macdonald’s playbook in that they laid out the course using their interpretations of many of the classic golf holes from Scotland. In the instances where Doak & Urbina did not use template holes they worked in their own original creations which, in my opinion, meld perfectly with the classic hole designs.Read more →
After spending the night right outside of Eugene, OR I woke up early the next morning and started making my way towards the Coos Bay airport. I was going to drop off my rental car there and meet up with the contingent of Texas guys I was joining for the Bandon Dunes portion of my Pacific Northwest trip. It’s about a two and a half hour drive from Eugene to Coos Bay so I had plenty of time before their flight from San Francisco arrived in the early afternoon and I could make a leisurely morning out of it. My GPS gave me a number of options for getting from Eugene to Coos Bay and on my buddy Barry’s recommendation I decided to take the coastal route that heads directly west towards Florence and then south along the coast from there. While there are not a ton of ocean views, the coastal route is very pleasant and winds through some beautiful forests with the occasional ocean vista through the trees or at a roadside scenic overlook. As far as I’m concerned it beats the heck out of highway driving.Read more →
We’ve all heard the expression “it’s a small world” and many of us have had those small world moments, but it never ceases to amaze me when it actually happens to me. Back in 2010 I was visiting Sand Hills with a large group, one of whom was a golfer from San Francisco named Jeff. As we played our round together I told Jeff about my Top 100 quest and said he would give my website a look when he got back home. Once Jeff checked out the website he forwarded a link to one of his co-workers in North Carolina who is a die hard golfer that he thought would enjoy the site. Turns out his co-worker is someone that I have known and gone on a couple of golf trips with dating back to before I ever started my Top 100 quest. So, I go to the middle of nowhere Nebraska to meet a guy from San Francisco who knows someone that I’ve been on golf trips with in North Carolina . . . I love that kind of stuff.Read more →
As would be expected, the years when the list changes are always tense times for me. For the last six years Golf Digest’s Top 100 list and the courses on it have completely controlled my vacation and travel schedule, so whenever an update to the list comes out it’s a bit of a cross between Christmas morning excitement and final exam anxiety for me. Luckily, the change at the beginning of 2013 was the least damaging of the three changes that I have gone through since I began this quest, so I was pretty happy about that.Read more →