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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

More on North Dakota Golf, Hudson Hills, Wintonbury Hills

Here are some more details and links about Golf in both North Dakota and Minnesota. Jay Kogan and I will be reporting live from Bully Pulpit on Saturday with further reports from Links of North Dakota and Hawktree.

During the remainder of May, the team will pick off the few remaining stragglers in the NE/mid-Atlantic region - a mere four public courses, along with some stately Northeast private designs as well. Then in June its on to the U.S. Open. I'll report daily from the media tent for Cybergolf, and have follow up and extras here. I'll also have a new piece on South carolina golf for Golf Observer in June as well.

For those of you who liked my U.S. Open preview piece for Cybergolf, I'll be writing on the British Open next.

The Fall Tour begins with a huge bang. Besides a late August return to Pradera, in my not so humble opinion, the greatest of Jim Engh's great work, - to coincide with the Bowling For Soup Summer Tour Closer Concert...can you say mega-watt rock show? - plans are in the works for two enormous surprises on the private side...one new opening and one celebrated instant classic. While plans are not yet concrete, there is the distinct possibility of another epic "Rockers vs. Architects" golf event a la last January. The tour then returns east to...LONG ISLAND for two epic days. Deets coming.

October will bring the fall tour to a rousing crescendo with two days at Royal Liverpool, Royal Lytham and St. Anne's and (possibly) Royal Birkdale. I'll also be proud to introduce you to two phenomenal sleeper courses. There are precious few British Open venues, but still plenty of world class golf in Great Britain and Ireland. In Northern England, Wallasey is a gorgeous sand duned seaside links and Alistair Mackenzie's Reddish Vale is a terrific heathland, inland course covered in colorful heather and with devilish, sloping greens and scenic green complexes.

Finally, "Anonymous" asks my opinion on Hudson Hills and Wintonbury Hills, two courses within a reasonable drive from NYC. While I feel they do not rise to the level of the courses I outlined in yesterdays posts (as their designs are not as strong and the value factor is a drop lower), they have some interesting holes form an architectural standpoint and are worth a days exploration for study. Pete Dye sketched the routing of Wintonbury for the town of Bloomfield for a dollar. With a relatively tight plot of land, he got some excellent holes - especially 14-16, excellent par-4s in particular. However not only do 1-3 play parallel to 10-12 - they look far to much like each other. 1 looks and plays like 10, 2 looks and plays like 11, etc. There are also two places where cart riders will actually be turned into the teeth of an oncoming golf shot (most notably 4...some chump nearly killed me with a push off a nearby tee. In contrast, I especially liked the stretch of 4-9 - several long par-4s balanced by a short par-4 at 5 and strong par-3 at 9. The conditioning is superb. I also love the blind tee shot on 16 - it's played at a scenic steeple.

Hudson Hills was recently renovated by Mark Mungeam and he rescued a really nice golf course. The front is the stronger side as the holes on the back play back and forth along each other.

Wintonbury Hills:

Design: Four and 1/2 stars (all ratings out of 7)
Natural Setting: Four stars
Conditioning: Six stars
Value: ($75 out of town) Three and 1/2 stars
Overall: Four stars

Hudson Hills:

Design: Four and 1/2 stars
Natural Setting: Four stars
Conditioning: Six stars
Value: ($75 out of town)
Overall: Four stars


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