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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Some great PRIVATE courses to join - Black Rock, Bull's Bay, Monterey Peninsula Country Club and Sebonack

Normally, this site is about great public courses, but let's take a quick look at some great private clubs for your family to join.

Boston: Black Rock G.C. - Brian Silva's collection of terrfic designs for golf holes is a living, breathing encyclopaedia of golf architecture. Plus the members are uniformly friendly. If you live in Boston, this should be the first choice. The par-3 9th hole (Pictured to the left) is a true redan with the green running away from the player. The course also features a Biarritz green at 11, holes with alternating shot values (draw off the tee, then fade into the green), and other interesting architectural features.

S.C.: Bull's Bay - Next, those of you
in South Carolina have the chance to join Mike Strantz's gorgeous and challenging Bull's Bay. Pete Dye told Strantz before he tragically passed from cancer that he got the idea for the artistic bunkering from Mike's work just east of Charleston.
The long par-4 9th is pictured here to the right.
From the clubhouse, you can see 14 holes while the rest play along the Bay. Mike loved it so much here, he chose to live next to this course over his terrific work at other courses in other parts of the country (and also to stay closer to his wife Heide and his daughters Andrea and Dana while they were the University of South Carolina.)

Finally, also remember this
name...Sebonack. Tom Doak, the ultimate in minimalist architecture had the chance of a lifetime (yes...even for the guy who built Pacific Dunes and Cape Kidnappers). He teamed up with Jack Nicklaus to build a seaside course right between Shinnecock and the National Golf Links of America. Sebonack is going to take the golf world by storm as the next truly great private club. Because Tom and Jack are forsaking what TV thinks is good for what is truly great golf architecture, we may never see Sebonack on TV, but that matters little. Expect a compilation of fantastic holes that are dictated by the shape of the land (not the architect's hand) and brilliant strategic puzzles on every tee box. Beg borrow or steal to find a way to play the course. For thoise of you wondering about membership, yes it will be expensive, but it will totally be worth it. Just think about this. Tom Doak has always loved and revered National and Shinnecock. Here is his chance (along with Jack and the excellent shapers) to add his work alongside Flynn's and Macdonald's. You know he was inspired.

For the record, Strantz also did the same thing at Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore Course). He had a chance to etch his work beside Pebble and Cypress. Like Mackenzie, he let the natural setting take center stage and dialed down his design a notch. The result is the most low impact Strantz design since Caledonia. You have to be on high alert at all times at Royal New Kent or Tobacco Road, but it was a kinder, gentler Strantz who did the Shore Course. It's still a towering achievement, but more sedate. No slave to symmetrical routing, the course is "out and back", is par 35-37=72 and has five par-5s and five par-3s. The par-5 15th is pictured below.