Saturday, August 8, 2009
1. Routing: 8
Two returning contiguous nines, with a few awkward walk-backs created by the lengthened tees.
2. Quality of shaping: 7
Greenside tie-ins are well done, but too many bunkers look like inflated life jackets.
3. Overall land plan: 8
Ideal terrain that includes 75 feet of elevation change, with lodge-style clubhouse overlooking rolling ground.
4. Greens and surrounds: 8
Greens average 6,500 square feet, with every putting surface offering hole locations behind bunkers. Most are tipped gently from back to front and accessible via a ground-game shot.
5. Variety and memorability of par 3s: 8
Understated in their elegance and strength, running the gamut from a short-iron across water to a tiny target (No. 8) to the newly extended 13th (long-iron/fairway metal), where the back left half of the green falls away.
6. Variety and memorability of par 4s: 7
There used to be more pronounced doglegs, but plenty still abound, the bulk of them heavily bunkered on the inside and scarcely worth the gamble of cutting the corner.
7. Variety and memorability of par 5s: 6
You know you’re in for a long day when the shortest par 5 is 572 yards. The key is the placement of the second shot – no easy task with zigzag fairways.
8. Tree and landscape management: 4
Trees planted in the past 40-plus years have grown in to the point where their canopies occupy the area above all of the roughs adjoining fairways, which creates a cloistered look.
9. Conditioning: 9
Veteran superintendent Jim Nicol has the bentgrass/ Poa annua greens and fairways in fine, firm shape. With fairways roughly 28 yards wide and a primarily bluegrass rough of 31⁄2-plus inches, Hazeltine extracts a toll for wayward drives.
10. “Walk in the park” test: 9
Enjoyable throughout as a stroll, with a very traditional golf culture that includes
a caddie program and a modest (rather than showy) approach to clubhouse and pro shop.
Rightly placed at No. 68 on the Golfweek’s Best Modern Course list.
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