Monday, 2 December 2013

My Year in Review – Part Five – Ian’s Golf Travels

Laval's Blue Course courtesy of club

My golfing travels took me to Florida (5), New York (4), Ohio (1) and Pennsylvania (1). I also played in British Columbia (1), Quebec (3) and Nova Scotia (1). The total was 16 rounds on the road and only 7 at home.

My fight with a “conventional” putter played a huge role in the limited amount of golf that I arranged. It got bad enough that I skipped my annual matches and after not playing for six weeks by choice, I realized I had essentially quit and went back to the Belly Putter.

 It was also a time to put the family first. I’m glad I made that choice, but I do have a couple of trips coming next year and should get back in the swing of things.

courtesy of
 Best Course in 2013 – Oakmont - Frownes

My trip to Oakmont came with enormous expectations and I have to say the course lived up to them all. It sits in very elite company with one of the greatest collections of fours in the game. The variety of long and short fours was astounding. What surprised me was the manageable rough, Merion and others should take note!

Streamsong 15th - uphill and very long

No Desire to Go Back – Steamsong (Red) – Coore and Crenshaw

The course has some exceptional holes, but my struggles came from the difficulty of the opening holes. Much of that had to do with close proximity of long grasses and strong use of water. Unless the wind is down you’re going to lose a lot of golf balls and that seemed an unusual approach to a resort course.

I think there are sections where the course was fun (7,8,9) and little too hard (1,2,3,5) (13,14,15) for the average player. Perhaps some of the grasses will become exposed sand and address my issues, but until then it's too tough for me.

8th at Mountain Lake courtesy of GCA
Where I’d Join – Mountain Lake - Raynor

Elegant, beautiful, interesting, fun, what a pleasure this course is to play. The course reminds me of Shoreacres where the templates are less pronounced and the course flows a little more with the land. Which made the Redan an even impressive because the setting was unexpected Raynor managed to build a feeder slope that works with warm season grass! It was a pleasure to play and a course I would happily play every day.

13th at Huntington Country Club 

Biggest Surprise – Huntington Country Club - Emmet

I had no idea how good Devereux Emmet was until I saw Huntington Country Club. The routing makes great use of some excellent terrain, particularly on the back nine. The holes have great variety in lengths and strategy. The re-creation of the Road Hole green site is best one I have seen so far. And the bunkering was incredibly diverse in size, presentation and strategy making it one of the better-bunkered courses I have seen. This one is a gem and stays off the radar only because it’s a small membership.

Best Renovation - Huntington Country Club – Done In House

The bunker restoration and clearing work at Huntington were all done before I got involved (by the golf course superintendent Glenn Cruetz). The work is excellent and all I’m doing is trying to take them to the next stage with more tree work, a lot of grassing work, returning an original green back to play, lots of tee work and some minor renovations to the work done after Emmet.

 Southern Hills - courtesy of the club

Ian’s Travels for 2014

Prairie Dunes and Southern Hills (both Perry Maxwell) in May. I expect to travel to Long Island for work and play some more while there. I also may try and get around to the New Jersey courses while at Spring Brook. On the wish list is either Boston or Nebraska and each is possible too.



  1. Sorry I am responding to all of your posts, but an even bigger surprise than Huntington for me this year was Southampton, phenomenal "restoration". Day in ,day out Huntington would be an ideal club to play, pretty much the same feeling I had with Mid Pines after I finished, only I knew Mid Pines needed a restoration. Which happened a year later! Good luck with your work at Huntington, I'm sure you will only make it better, at least I know you won't be messing with The Road Hole green!

    No desire to go back, Bethpage Black!

  2. I feel the same way about Bethpage, it was so much more fun 10 years before.