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Saturday, November 12, 2005

2005 Jazzy Awards -Best New Private Course: The Club at Pradera, Parker, CO

As I noted in part one of my interview with Jim Engh here, people mistakenly attribute Jim Engh’s success to beautiful natural settings and not his talent for building fascinating golf holes with multiple playing options.

Pradera is a treasure trove of all of Engh’s favorite design features and incorporates Alistair Mackenzie’s “line of charm” concept by putting hazards in the direct line of play between the teebox and the hole. Engh has his “Irish Hole” at number 6, a short par-4 where the green is semi-hidden between towering dunes. He also has several holes that are more Scottish in flavor; being wide open and with the green guarded by devilish chipping swales and drop-offs and pot-bunker-deep muscle bunkers directly in front.

The routing follows Engh’s trend of breaking with the tradition of symmetry (4 par-3s and 4 par-5s, two on each loop of nine). Instead, by letting the land dictate the best holes and routing to the architect and not vice-versa, Pradera has 5 par-5s and 5 par-3s. Three of the par-5s are just fabulous, long carries to islands of fairway to give it a go in two, and longer “scenic routes” for amateurs. There is terrific variety of short and long holes as well. With an price of $29,000 per year plus $335 per month for a whole family, Pradera is a terrific choice for a home course and country club. Tennis, pools and a gym on site are other draws.

Runner up – BLACK ROCK C.C., Boston, MA

This was far more of a heavyweight prizefight than anyone knows. Sadly, too few people will play these courses as they are private, but everyone should as they both are textbook examples of superlative design.

Black Rock is Brian Silva’s version of National Golf Links of America by C.B. Macdonald.