Hidden Gems
I apparently kind of struck a nerve with Friday’s post about the cost of golf. I’m happy to report that we had a great time on our trip to Door County, and found a couple of really nice little courses, in addition to the one Thursday. Friday we were guests of some friends we met on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama a few years ago, at their club, Horseshoe Bay, outside of Fish Creek, WI. Very nice course and we had a great time.

Saturday we played at Peninsula State Park, which was a wonderful trip back in time to a course that was built in the early 20th century and hasn’t changed much. The views over Lake Michigan were spectacular, the course was what you would expect from a small municipal that gets about 55,000 rounds a year, compressed into a short season. It was in nice condition and the feeling was very “un-manufactured”, as compared to most modern courses. From the tips it was just under 6,400, and they have no real estate to grow it. But we had a great time. Wish I’d had the old 1960s Hogan blades and “Speed Slot” persimmon woods to really take me back in time.

On our way back to Milwaukee on Sunday, we played at The Bog, an Arnold Palmer design that was very nice. Great shot values, interesting architecture with a few blind shots, excellent condition and smooth fast greens.

What this tight-fisted German is happy to report is that our entire trip – rental Cadillac SRS (thanks to a no-cost upgrade because they didn’t have the car I reserved!), three nights in hotels, and three rounds of golf we paid for, plus meals . . . for about the same as what that afternoon at Whistling Straits would have cost. Sheesh. I think we did fine without that.

The course at the Peninsula got me thinking about how many wonderful hidden gems there are in our country. Courses that were built decades ago, never compelled to modernize, and still offer a great test of golf and a very neat experience. We have one right here in Victoria, Texas, our old Riverside Golf Course. It was nine holes from the 30s to the 50s, expanded to 18 then, and a third nine added in the 1980s. I like the original 18, very similar to the Peninsula. Simple, straightforward and not “mean”. A place to go relax with the golf ball, friends and a beer or two. Won’t lose a bunch of balls, and won’t be exhausted when you are finished.

So, what “hidden gems” do you guys know about that you can share? We should build a database of them and do something with that, don’t you think? Andrew, can you help with that? It would be fun to all go back in time every once in a while to stay connected with the real roots of what this is all about.

That’s my $0.02 worth, anyway.
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[ comments ]
dooboo says:
All of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama should get the nod. Yes, there are 1 or 2 that is somewhat out of range, but great courses up and down the state of Alabama. Man, I wish I lived there.
SpaceMaNy0 says:
That's the only time I've ever heard anyone say they wished they lived in Alabama.
DoubleDingo says:
Mt. Whitney Golf Club in Lone Pine, CA is a little 9 hole gem built in the 1950's that is challenging with small fast greens. It has two elevated tees, and two elevated greens, that sit atop the fault line caused by the 1872 earthquake that leveled the town. I grew up on that course, literally. Step dad was the greens keeper. I didn't get into golf much as a kid, even though I've been playing since I was 6, unfortunately I didn't get serious about the game until I was 37.
BAKE_DAWG40 says:
Reserve Run Golf Course. Poland, OH. Well kept, nice layout, great scenery, interesting holes, great food, and $31 with cart. Can't beat it. A hop, skip, and a jump from there is Kennsington Golf Course. Tougher course if you want more of a challenge. Blind tee & approach shots, good par 3's, and multiple tees for all skill levels. I believe it's $33 or $35 with cart. Can't beat it either.
aaronm04 says:
Pacific Grove Muni in Pacific Grove, CA. Just up the road from the Pebble Beach courses and a fraction of the price of any of those courses. The "inland" holes are alright but the back nine has several holes with a view of the coast. Not a long course either.
lud5380 says:
I will second aaronm04's Pacific Grove. I think I paid 20 something bucks for a 18 hole twilight round in February. Back 9 had the wind kicking up making it pretty difficult. Played Pebble the day before but realize I can't afford that next time I come back from NY.
srogers13 says:
Dooboo, I agree with you, I live there and it is a great deal.
GolfinHawg says:
Canton CC in Canton, MS from the tips just over 6300 yards and has the smallest greens around, most are 20 yards by 20 yards. The course was built in 1923 and is a joy to play. $30 during the week and $39 on the weekend. The food is great also with a Sunday Buffet.
aaronw409 says:
I wish I lived in Alabama. It has lots of great golf courses at reasonable prices, and I miss my family. Roll Tide. Dogwood Hills in Flat Rock, AL is a hidden gem.
falcon50driver says:
Hidden Springs, Harper Texas is called hidden for a reason. Superb course, reasonable price, and you might be the only person on the course, or at least it seems like it.
Gutezr1 says:
I just returned home from a week vacation visiting family in Door County. I do not seem to have enough connections to play Horseshoe Bay, but I always love a round at Peninsula State Park. I also plyed a round at Northbrook Country Club in Luxemburg, WI and a round at Brown County in Green Bay. I loved it! they are always in great shape!

Next time you are headed up to Door County and need a fourth, let me know!
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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