Legacy on Lanier Golf Club

Legacy on Lanier Golf Club in Lake Lanier Islands, GA

Legacy on Lanier Golf Course
Me, Nicholas, Brandon and Mr. Carroll

The Stats

Tee Time: August 12, 10:30, 87 F, Calm

Designer: Billy Fuller, 2009

Playing Partners: Nicholas Carroll, Scott Carroll and Brad

Tees: Blue, Par 72 (71.0 rating/137 slope/6,193 yards)

Course Handicap: 14 (11.3 index)

Stats: 91 (43-48); 40 putts; 7/14 fairways; 6/18 greens; 4 penalty strokes

The Course

Legacy on Lanier Golf Club is one of the prettiest golf courses I have ever set foot on. They didn’t even need to put a golf course out here and it would still be worth the trip just to hike along the waterfront or spend the day out on a boat like plenty of others were doing. Clear blue water was always within a 5-wood of the course as sandy shores and colorful trees lined every hole. With all that pretty scenery comes the demand for accurate golf shots, however, and on a bad day this course could see more balls disappear into the woods than into the cup. The layout is very much risk/reward and requires nearly every club in the bag. Even on the rare holes without water or narrow fairways, there are fiendishly placed bunkers that will swallow up approach shots and spit out double bogeys. Continue reading Legacy on Lanier Golf Club

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club

Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa, AZ

I forgot to take a picture of me at the course, so here’s Sean chipping on hole 18 instead

The Stats

Tee Time: July 7, 2012, 9:10, 108 F, Gusty

Designer: Fred Couples/Schmidt-Curley Design (2002)

Playing Partners: Sean Cohan

Tees: Blue, Par 72 (70.6 rating/126 slope/6,493 yards)

Course Handicap: 12 (10.5 index)

Stats: 85 (46-39); 31 putts; 5/14 fairways; 6/18 greens; 2 penalty strokes

The Course

I’ve been an Arizona resident for about 9 months, and had never really found a reason to go to Maricopa. Now I’ll definitely be going back and hopefully soon, thanks to Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club. I finally got to put my Troon Golf Card to use on this blistering hot day in Arizona (as opposed to all those cool summer days the state’s known for). I’ll get the round details out of the way early because I could go on about them all day. It started on the driving range. At the end of a quick ten-swing warmup I had a sand wedge in my hands and the ball cart closing in. I hit a perfect sixty-yard pitch that was tracking right into the windshield. I stood there admiring my shot like Jose Bautista taking in one of his long home runs. Twenty feet, fifteen feet, ten feet, five feet… And then nothing. The driver swerved at the last minute (apparently they’re picking up balls with Mini Coopers out there) and my ball fell harmlessly to the grass. I raised my hands in disappointment and saluted the driver for his evasive maneuvers. He smiled and laughed. I was a cart boy for a couple years and I remember golf balls rattling the steel cage of the cart that made it sound like World War III had just erupted on the Round Hill driving range. But I wasn’t letting him get away with that. He was driving away when I swung at one last ball with him about 80 yards out. Like a perfectly led wide receiver streaking down the sideline, my ball floated through the air and smacked the top of the cart roof a hundred yards away. If only I could snipe like that on the ice rink… Continue reading Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club

Leatherstocking Golf Course

Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown, NY

leatherstocking hall of fame classic
Bert Blyleven, Charley, Carlton Fisk, Allan, Eddie Murray, Me, Phil Niekro, my dad and Ozzie Smith

The Stats

Tee Time: June 16, 8:00, 77 F, Breezy

Designer: Devereaux Emmet/(R)Robert E. Cupp, 1909

Playing Partners: Mike Mantle (my dad), Charlie Clouse and Allen Cogan

Tees: White, Par 72 (69.4 rating/130 slope/6,040 yards)

Course Handicap: 11 (9.3 index)

Stats: 90 (44-46); 32 putts; 7/14 fairways; 6/18 greens; 0 penalty strokes

The Course

If I said I had just gotten done walking the same turf as legends such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Harmon Killebrew you would probably assume I’d just taken batting practice at Fenway Park. Those Hall of Fame hitters also played golf, and they’ve all played at Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown, New York. This course sits along the land surrounding Lake Otsego in the lush forests of upstate New York. Coming in at 6,401 yards from the longest set of tees, I stepped to the first hole expecting a lazy round of long drives and short wedge shots for a low score. I was way off. All three days we played from the middle White tees and I actually drove the ball well yet still came out with scores of 90-99-90 in three rounds. Leatherstocking Golf Course is an old course and offers a challenge that is in line with tracks from those days. Small greens, strategically placed trees and uneven fairways make pars hard to accumulate. Continue reading Leatherstocking Golf Course

Soldier Hollow Golf Course

Soldier Hollow Golf Course (Gold) in Midway, UT

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Me and CJ

The Stats

Tee Time: October 1, 2011, 10:48, 82 F, Light wind

Designer: Gene Bates, 2004

Playing Partners: CJ Phelan

Tees: Blue, Par 72 (70.2 rating/128 slope/6,629 yards)

Course Handicap: 11 (9.3 index)

Stats: 80 (41-39); 34 putts; 7/14 fairways; 9/18 greens; 0 penalty strokes (finally!)

The Course

The Gold Course at Soldier Hollow in Midway, UT, slated to host the 2012 US Amateur Public Links Championship, is ranked Utah’s #1 municipal course by Golfweek and one of the top in state by Golf Digest. The Silver Course runs through the valley while the Gold Course presents a tougher challenge as it climbs in elevation with the round’s progression, also providing amazing views of the Heber Valley below. Finding a good course to play in Utah was difficult. Many top 100 rankings omit the state completely, there are many exclusively private courses and the highly regarded tracks are near the state’s southern border, closer to friendlier year-round weather. Luckily the state built this place, which opened in 2004, and many, including the USGA, have taken notice. Continue reading Soldier Hollow Golf Course

The Palmer Course at La Cantera Golf Club

La Cantera Golf Club (Palmer) in San Antonio, TX

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Greg and I

The Stats

Tee Time: September 9, 2011, 11:22, 99 F, Breezy

Designer: Arnold Palmer, 2001

Playing Partners: Greg Ryan

Tees: Gold, Par 71 (72.4 rating/139 slope/6,535 yards)

Course Handicap: 11 (8.7 index)

Stats: 93 (52-41); 33 putts; 9/14 fairways; 7/18 greens; 11 penalty strokes

The Course

The Palmer Course La Cantera in San Antonio, TX is an exciting one. It features massive elevation changes and stunning views of the resort as well as the San Antonio skyline off in the distance. Along with its sister Resort Course that once played host to the PGA Tour’s Valero Open, La Cantera is ranked one of the best resorts in the country. I will preface this by saying that my score looks schizophrenic for a reason. It was hot and even the wind was burning and I was largely hungover, so the first nine holes was just spent trying to keep triple-digits from my final score as Greg Ryan and his 33 strokes raced out to a large lead in his eventual 4&3 win. There, I’ve made my excuses. Next time I play in heat like this I will wish to see real snowmen, not the two I put on my card. Continue reading The Palmer Course at La Cantera Golf Club

Chickasaw Pointe Golf Club

Chickasaw Pointe Golf Club in Kingston, OK

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Greg and I

The Stats

Tee Time: September 8, 2011, 11:45, 88 F, Breezy

Designer: Randy Heckenkemper, 1999

Playing Partners: Greg Ryan

Tees: Blue, Par 72 (70.8 rating/122 slope/6,390 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (8.7 index)

Stats: 88 (44-44); 38 putts; 6/14 fairways; 6/18 greens; 3 penalty strokes

The Course

Chickasaw Pointe Golf Club in Kingston, OK is ranked the 2nd best public course in Oklahoma by Golfweek. And at about 20% of the cost of #1 Karsten up in Stillwater, this municipal course about an hour out of Dallas brings a lot of fun and lovely scenery. Once again we played in the middle of the week on a hot day, so the course was empty of players and meant we could go at our own pace.

So I figured I would open with a birdie at the generously short, 500-yd par 5 1st hole. Any decent tee shot left a good shot at reaching in two, which I did with a 5-wood to about 20 feet and started my day off just missing my first eagle. More courses should open up this graciously, then bring the real goods later on. As important as it is to get a good warmup on the range, I still have not been able to translate that over to a good first hole or two. Continue reading Chickasaw Pointe Golf Club

Troon North Golf Club – Pinnacle Course

Troon North (Pinnacle) in Scottsdale, AZ

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Me and Sean

The Stats

Tee Time: August 22, 2011, 14:00, 112 F, Calm

Designer: Tom Weiskopf, 1991

Playing Partners: Sean Cohan

Tees: Gold, Par 71 (71.7 rating/137 slope/6,645 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (8.5 index)

Stats: 86 (41-45); 37 putts; 10/14 fairways; 6/18 greens; 3 penalty strokes

The Course

Troon North Golf Club’s Pinnacle Course in Scottsdale, AZ sits at #21 on Golf Digest’s 2010 Top Courses You Can Play list. Honestly, I would rank the Monument Course higher, as some other publications did, but picking between Monument and Pinnacle is like choosing between Guinness and Stella Artois; regardless of the choice you won’t regret it. Continue reading Troon North Golf Club – Pinnacle Course

Troon North Golf Club – Monument Course

Troon North (Monument) in Scottsdale, AZ

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Me and Sean

The Stats

Tee Time: August 21, 2011, 13:45, 106 F, breezy

Designer: Tom Weiskopf, 1991

Playing Partners: Sean Cohan

Tees: Gold, Par 72 (71.6 rating/137 slope/6,716 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (8.5 index)

Stats: 94 (48-46); 35 putts; 9/14 fairways; 5/18 greens; 12 penalty strokes

The Course

Troon North Golf Club’s Monument Course in Scottsdale, AZ is well deserving of its spot at #45 on Golf Digest’s 2010 Top Courses You Can Play list. Due to budgetary reasons, I booked this tee time for the middle of August, during the hottest time of the year in one of the hottest deserts on the planet. Still, even though the sweating started before the clubs were on the cart I enjoyed every second on this course. The practice areas were top tier; the putting green rolled so smooth I came away thinking it would be an easy day after draining a few 20-footers. I came prepared. A solid pre-round meal, plenty of SPF-50, new Adidas clima-cool shirt, comfy Dri-Fit socks and over 120 fluid ounces of Gatorade and water meant the heat would not be as daunting as the triple-digits appeared. Then I teed off. Continue reading Troon North Golf Club – Monument Course

Rochelle Ranch Golf Course

Rochelle Ranch Golf Course in Rawlins, WY

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Me and Landon

The Stats

Tee Time: July 23, 2011, 13:45, 87 F, Gusty

Designer: Kenneth M. Kavanaugh, 2004

Playing Partners: Landon Weight

Tees: Horseshoe, Par 72 (75.9 rating/128 slope/7,925 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (8.4 index)

Stats: 103 (53-50); 39 putts; 11/14 fairways; 0/18 greens; 6 penalty strokes

The Course

Rochelle Ranch Golf Course sits along I-80 just a bit more than halfway between Salt Lake Cityand Cheyennein Rawlins, WY. At 7,925 yards from the Horseshoe tees furthest back and many tee shots playing into a headwind or crosswind, it certainly earns its place as one of the toughest courses in the country. Right from the opening drive you are thrown into this battle of attrition with a 440-yd par 4, which at #18 is rated the easiest hole on the course. Thus began a round in which no tee shot had to carry less than 200 yards, two par 5’s awaited at over 640 yards apiece and no par 4 played less than 423 yards. Continue reading Rochelle Ranch Golf Course

I set a goal in 2011 of playing at least one round of golf in all 50 states by 2021. This is a quest to play some of America’s finest courses in every state, even the flyover ones…