the best golf courses is a lot like asking if Marilyn Monroe rivals
Lady GaGa. The both have/had gorgeous credentials but come from
different eras that keep them more than an arm's length apart.
The Old Course at St. Andrews is ancient compared to the renovated
Bethpage Black golf course in New York – it was completely
changed and reopened in 1998. Each has exhibited the unique characteristics
that separate the courses from each other in the physical sense,
but also keep them united as severe, fair challenges to anybody's
The Masters' venue, Augusta National, is famous
for its pin placements on Sunday. The greens are hard, nerves
are on edge and the wind plays tricks with a player's sense of
direction. Coming down the stretch, including Amen Corner, demands
all their golfing wisdom from those who would lead to the end.
A slight mistake can put a player in deep trouble and cancel any
dreams of wearing the Green Jacket.
great golf course, Pebble
Beach, offers beauty and demands precision in return. Everybody
interested in the game remembers watching Arnold Palmer explore
the rocky sea-shore in search of an errant golf ball. Other pros
have experienced the same feeling of frustration as the strong
winds coming off the Pacific Ocean turn a well-hit shot into a
Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey has consistently
been officially ranked as America's number one layout –
when it wasn't number one, it was within a couple of spots from
the top. The course has probably the finest collection of par
fives and par threes in the world. It boasts a course rating of
155 from the championship tees, and has never hosted a major tournament
because the club refuses to change itself in order to accommodate
thousands of spectators. One of the more colorful holes is the
par three 10th, where a very deep sand-trap has been dubbed "The
Devil's Asshole." Many a player has muttered worse things
about Pine Valley.
Belgium, there is a monstrous facility known as The Royal Course
at Waterloo – not far from where Napoleon was routed by
British forces. The layout has two great 18-hole regulation courses
and one 18-hole executive course. An added feature deserves mentioning.
Near the entrance of the club house stands a full-size bronze
statue of a young lady swinging a golf club. She had been the
European amateur champion. The statue presents her completely
in the buff. Encountering her nude likeness is certainly an interesting
way to begin a day's round.
But what makes a truly great golf course? Maybe
it's how those running the place treat you. Caddies rule St. Andrews.
One shank-plagued Texan on the Old Course uttered "F++l me!"
after a bad shot. His caddy replied, "Oh, tis a test pilot
in a whore-house we are now." The man's round ended when
the caddy marched his clubs off the course at number 16.
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