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Three pack of Northeast golf courses and a Poll Question

First things first: here’s the poll question:

Bulle Rock or Beechtree? Its time for a side by side taste test of Maryland heavyweights. Like two champion prize fighters trading haymakers, Tom Doak’s classic and beautiful minimalist design at Beechtree slugs it out admirably with Pete Dye’s strategic gem at Bulle Rock. Send in your opinion…I’ll be writing about it late this week.

In the meantime, here’s three nice little layouts worth a stop for funsies.

Orchard Creek Golf Club in Altamont, NY (www.orchardcreek.com) may not be the course around which you plan a vacation, but at least is reespite in the golf-dry corridor of I-87 from Sleepy Hollow to Lake Placid. Set amid flowering apple orchards, the course is a quirky municipal target test. In a strange bit or reverse synchronicity, the holes that don’t appear to work to the trained eye, actually are the best, while the “signature hole” and other more popular holes actually fail from a strategic standpoint. For example, there are several blind drives, which dont bother me, (Hating blind shots is for chumps), but annoy those preconditioned by less imaginative writers. Next, the gigantic hogsback – large enough to deflect ANY putt on the semi-blind par-3 sixth actually WORKS because – like the sand trap on the green at the sixth at Riviera, the green is pitched so far from left to right you can putt the ball AROUND it. However, 16 is an overly cliched penal target hole with water all along the left and in play off the tee on the right. Yawn.

Still, the course is cheap. Conditioning is average for a muni, but there have been droughts all over the NE this year.

Links at Gettysburg is an excellent layout in the old historic town. many strategic par-4s shuffle between scenic, sparkling par-3s. Two target stretches…specifically number 7 and 13-15 get too penal to vault the course to A+ status, but this one is a keeper for a vacation day or a weekend trip. Pretty for lookyloos, yet challenging to experts, there are many holes offering strategic lines of play around a variety off hazards including rock walls, red rock grottos, water and cross bunkers. The price is nice at roughly $60.

Fowler’s Mill outside Cleveland is the best of this week’s crop. A Pete Dye design for around $50. Terrific strategic holes in the same vein as Harbour Town. See my article below for more details.

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