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Monday, April 03, 2006

The Carolina leg of the Spring Tour

The Jay Train rolls into the Carolinas next week with stops at four epic resorts and three private courses which all have fascinating pedigrees.

For the public golfer, I'll be directly comparing and contrasting the finest resorts Carolina has to offer: Pinehurst No. 2, Wild Dunes, Harbour Town (right after the MCI) and Kiawah Island. I'm really looking forward to kickin' it with Dan, Brad and Jen Maples while in Pinehurst. I'll be bringing everyone up to date with some of the excellent new golf deals Jen has got advertised for the spring and chatting with her famous father about his new design projects. You think Crazy Eddie's prices were insane? Dude ain't got nothing on Jen Maples. $177 for two round of golf at say The Pit or Southern Pines or Tobacco Road or Tot Hill AND two nights stay in spacious suites. What are you waiting for? Put some pants on, sweep away the empty Pringles cans from the computer and get those fat fingers of yours dialing!

Then it's off to Charleston for the resorts.

For the private club reader and those of you who are architecture experts, I'll review three private clubs too, as I know you are always looking for another place to drop 30K or so. (How do you guys that are members of five places do it? (FIVE PLACES!)

In between resort soirees, we'll visit with Brian Silva to see how his renovation of the greens at the Country Club of Charleston are coming. Happily, Seth Raynor built in lots of character and contour in the greens and Silva will restore the original specs of redans, biarritzes, punchbowls and other great green and bunker complexes. Silva is the reigning winner of best redesign for his work at Donald Ross' Brookside CC in Ohio.

Next, I'll get to see one of my old favorites, Mike Strantz's Bull's Bay, a rare gem of a course and the course where Mike and his wife Heidi made their home and raised their children Dana and Andrea. The course is striking, with its clubhouse built high on a hill overlooking a staggering 14 holes! The vista is as breathtaking as the view off the first tee at Crystal Downs...built by MIke's idol Mackenzie...with a heath like view of the magnificent rolling golf terrain. Other holes at BB meander close to the intercoastal waterway. It's an epic place. Along with Monterey Peninsula CC and Pradera, its one of only three places which I am (for now) considering joining as a member for my warm weather play. For those of you scoring at home, the cold weather places are Winged Foot, and Cystal Downs...(and National of course, if they'll have me. Note: Black Rock in Boston would be on the list, but it's too darn cold there for too darn long! Warm weather and geographical proximity come first!)

Finally, I'll decompress from the hustle of reviewing for my book and the magazines (Golf Observer and Cybergolf will both be getting pieces soon, so look for them) by playing at the private Coore/Crenshaw design at Chechessee Creek, another low key, minimalist design, this time highlighting the gotgeous intercoastal waterway for a backdrop and featuring the crowned greens and severe bunkers for which they are rightly famous.

That's one thing about minimalism...it's inexpensive to build and you can do it anywhere. OK so that's two things. So what I can't count, you hire me as your lawyer and you read me for golf. Numbers cost extra!


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