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Golf Travel Tour – Summer 2005, Great Courses and Eden Holes

The public golf value airplane is fueled up and on the runway, which means Tour Journal reports from around the U.S.A opn some of the best public golf values. This fall we will visit New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Cali, Texas and The Midwest. There will also be interviews with golf architects coming soon as we report from the road.

The summer “Honor Roll” of great golf values is below:

1) Pine Needles, Pinehurst, N.C. At $95 and with cheap suites screaming to be filled, Pinehurst (a.k.a. Golftown, U.S.A. offers a well conditioned U.S. Women’s Open layout for less than any casino or pricey resort and it’s corresponding strategy-light design.

2) Fowler’s Mill, Cleveland, OH – A classic strategic test. Pete Dye’s first major work post-Harbour Town. A creek bisects many fairways, wreaking havoc on club selection and picking out the right line. A great thinking man’s course. You can get on for $62 or less.

3) Firestone Farms, Columbiana, OH – A really diverse variety of hole styles and lengths. Dry conditions were prevelent early in the summer, but as fall comes in, water levels in the MW should increase. At $44 its a steal.

4) Links at Hiawatha Landing, Apalachin, NY (Binghamton) Still the best public course in New York State outside Bethpage and by far the best value. ($45) Mark Mungeum and Brian Silva wove perpendicular hazards and other strategic holes onto a true links landscape. Skip the pricey tourist traps and never leave except to alternate with nearby Conklin Players’ Club and Greystone.

5) Red Tail, Boston, MA – Silva’s best course yet was in pristine condition in high summer. At $55 twilight, take a weekend trip here.

6. Royal New Kent, Providence Forge, VA (Williamsburg) – $60, but most of the time much lower. Mike Strantz’s amazing tribute to Royal County Down (NO-Its NOT a pastiche), is a stern test. Play it when you think you are good. Bring a tourniquet, a canoe, a camel and a priest.

7. Sedona Golf resort, Sedona, AZ – Here’s one for “looky-loos” – its short, easy and sits amidts the beautiful striated red rock formations of Sedona. Come here and expect to shoot a career round – the course sits 4000 ft above sea level.

8. Beechtree G.C., Aberdeen, MD – Another low-key Tom Doak winner. $62 at twilight. Doak leaves open routes to all greens save one (the par-3 2d). A great mix of short and long par-4s. No slave to symmetrical routing, the back to back par-5s at 7 & 8 are terrific…one a true three shotter, and one reachable by most with two stiff fairway metals. The par-3 thirteenth may be the best “Eden” hole Doak ever made.

“Eden” hole – a long par-3 in the style of the 11th at St. Andrews. Deep bunkers guard either side and the green is sloped to accept qa running approach.

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