Golf course reviews for older gentleman

Extensive business and pleasure travel with my lovely wife takes us to both domestic (USA) and foreign  destinations. This will be a casual "blogish" website with words, pictures and videos describing my experiences in playing golf around the world. i am coming at this from the perspective of a life long golfer (6 index) nearing retirement and will attempt to cover the following subjects with each course review:


  • COURSE OVERVIEW AND HISTORY
  • PLAYABILITY AND PACE OF PLAY
  • COURSE CONDITION 
  • AMENITIES AND AFFORDABILITY
  • STAFF FRIENDLINESS 

Purpose

This non-commercial website will document some of the great and not so great courses we sought out or discovered in our travels. It is a just for fun project for us and so will be casual and updated as events unfold. This photo of the first course reviewed was taken at the controversial Robert Trent Jones (RTJ) Chambers Bay links course in Washington State. I had a terrific experience (and score) on a windless near perfect day with Puget Sound as the backdrop.  More to come so please enjoy and comments and suggestions are welcome at the email address above. 

Chambers Bay Golf Links

A 10 out of 10 day!

COURSE OVERVIEW AND HISTORY

Chambers Bay is a public golf course located in University Place, Washington, on Puget Sound southwest of Tacoma. This is the controversial British links-style public course that hosted the 2015 US Open. It is owned and operated by Pierce County Wa. and was opened for play on June 23, 2007.


PLAYABILITY AND PACE OF PLAY

I Played Chambers Bay late in October 2017. The weather is a huge factor at Chambers Bay and had been iffy prior to the trip but turned perfect for the day I played. Had the course seemingly to myself along with a young High School low single digit player as my playing partner. I had the flu and was feeling awful but nothing was stopping me from playing on this picture perfect day. 


The fairways/greens were heavily bunkered (one green had a bunker in the middle) but IMO, hazards were correctly placed and appropriately challenging. This is a championship layout and it is setup accordingly. The green undulations were typical RTJ with huge swings and some near impossible pin locations. The fairways were classic links style with great looks off many tees and some blind "where the hell do I hit it" off of others. This is a walking course and a caddy or, playing with a local is a must for the first pass. We finished the round in under 4 hours. 


COURSE CONDITION

With all the fuss about the greens (made the national news) I was expecting to not like this RTJ links course but despite a couple of temp greens, they were very playable. That said, they were a bit ragged but held a well struck shot and putted true. Fairways were simply outstanding with great rollout but in links fashion, a drive down the middle does not always end up there. The views from nearly every tee were breathtaking. 


AMENITIES AND AFFORDABILITY

For a true championship golf course the green fees are very reasonable (see website), There is a very nice clubhouse with an excellent restaurant. In fact the clubhouse views are similar to the background photo here taken the day I played.


STAFF FRIENDLINESS

All staff were friendly and helpful. From the clubhouse, to the starters building, practice facility and on course marshalling it was all first class. In summary, Chambers Bay is one of the finest courses I have played and merits my 10 of 10 rating. If you ever get the chance, go for it!

The K Club, Ireland

5 Star Hotel and world class golf

COURSE OVERVIEW AND HISTORY

This amazing property near Dublin is on the river LIffey which meanders through the property. The K Club Hotel and Resort was established in 1991 and is considered a 5 Star Hotel with many amenities including 36 holes of golf. I played the Palmer designed Ryder Cup course which is considered one of the top Parkland courses in the world. It also has the excellent Smurfit course (also a Palmer design) but my target during our short 2 day stay was the Ryder Cup course. The K Club hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup (won by the Euros) I watched those Ryder Cup matches and recall thinking the K Club looks like an American golf course and it is just that type of course.  Being a Palmer design it has all the  earmarks of other great Palmer courses but IMO, this is one of his best works. As a Hotel and golf experience I can't think of another venue that tops it (even the venable Pebble Beach Golf Links ;-).   


PLAYABILITY AND PACE OF PLAY

The layout is fantastic with each hole having it's own unique character. I played the White "Jefferson" Tees and at 6,815 yds, had all I could handle. The tournament "Palmer" tees make this a grueling 7,350 yds and I was happy with my choice. I was paired with 3 local lads one of which shot a very respectable 73.  We all walked the course and playing with the locals made the overall experience all the better. IF you aren't so fortunate as to be paired with locals be sure and purchase the excellent course guide. It has hole by hole playing tips from Arnold and makes an nice souvenir. 


As you might expect there are no easy holes at the K Club but no unfair or tricked up holes either. I can still recall images of several holes in my head and that is a testament to what a strong and positive impression the golf course made on my leaky old brain. The hole setup look from the tee is something I'm very picky about and the K Club has some of the best with only a couple of blindish driving holes that are so typical of links golf. The course was fully booked the day I played (a Tuesday) and the pace was very good. We played is just under 5 hours (walking) which is a leisurely pace for me but honestly, I was having so much fun I didn't notice time and didn't want the round to end.


COURSE CONDITION

As stated above this is a world class resort and like the 5 star hotel, immaculate is an apt description of the golf course condition. I can't think of one single thing that needs improvement. Tees, fairways, greens and bunkers were all perfect. The rough was well rough but the fairways were wide enough that I mostly avoided the long grass. I shot a respectable 82 and would like to take another run at it someday, 


AMENITIES AND AFFORDABILITY

5+ Stars all the way. The prices were surprisingly good and a small fraction of what you would pay in the states for anything even remotely comparable. They have a huge and beautiful practice facility (photos below) and the use of these facilities was included with your green fee.  


STAFF FRIENDLINESS

Resorts like this can be snooty but like the rest of Ireland the staff at the K Club were helpful, warm and friendly. I accidentally left my little Bushnell GPS unit on the complementary push cart and I thought it was a goner. Within a week of my arrival back home a package arrived from the K Club with the Bushnell inside including a very nice note from one of the Pro Shop saff. That thoughtful gesture pretty much sums up the K Club and all of Ireland for that matter. We will be going back.  




MEDIA

This is the video page where I will provide some course Vlogs done by camera and some aerial footage via my DJI Spark drone.