Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Lookout Mountain

The 6th hole - Short
It’s always interesting for me to find out my opinion doesn’t run with the group.

In Australia it was New South Wales where I loved every eccentricity and the rawness of the course. Many in the group were disappointed by the blind shots and nasty vegetation on a few holes and preferred Royal Sydney (which was my least favourite on that trip).  Lookout Mountain was loved by some of the ASGCA Members, disappointing to others and even loathed by a few.

The 4th from the landing - note the cross fall!

The golf course sits high up on Lookout Mountain benched into the side of the mountain. The course itself sits on a falling plateau heading towards a precipitous drop. Even the “flattest” of areas are far from flat. The rest is a rollicking piece of land where Seth Raynor constantly battles to set holes with the fall of the land so shots can be managed on such severe terrain.

The 7th hole from the back tee

The criticisms mainly come on the severity of many cross falls and how you barely have any control over the result unless you are willing to play a hard draw or big cut into the slope to hold the shot. I get those criticisms and in many cases they were fair since some of the fairways can’t be hit when dry. I think some grassing changes could mitigate a few of the tougher shots.

The other side of the spectrum is the number of opportunities to use existing landforms to feed a ball into a great position on the fairway or intro the green. The ground is really in play at Lookout Mountain and that’s what I found so compelling. From the Redan, through to the drivable four the ground was there to help. But in just as many cases it created fall offs, false fronts and slopes to potential oblivion if you weren’t careful. I liked the use of the terrain.

#14 The Redan

My only criticism was the greens. The interior contours were often bold, but the edges very rarely touched the banks on the outside of the plateau. The loss of key pin areas and the round shapes set on square plateaus was a little bit disconcerting to look at. I expect Gil Hanse to eventually rectify this and bring it back to original form.

It may have not been the favourite of others in the group, but it was certainly my favourite to play.

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