Change of pace for me today. I played the 9-hole Forest Dale golf course, located in Salt Lake City. Forest Dale, known by my group as “Foreskin Dale,” is the oldest course in Utah, serving up bogeys since 1906. Not as old as the New Course in St Andrews (1895), but 111 years isn’t too bad. This is a mini-review.
Forest Dale Clubhouse and practice green
The clubhouse (above) is actually a historical landmark, placed on the Utah Historical Register. Can grease in the cafe be a historical landmark? It might be as old as the course. I kid. I kid.
This 9-holer is interesting. It features a par-36 but three par-5’s, three par-4’s and three par-3’s. Here’s the par-3 8th below, what I could call the “signature hole” of the course.
Forest Dale 8th hole
This course is friendly to the very casual, higher handicap golf crowd. No collars required. In fact, I’d be surprised if shirts are required. It’s inexpensive but the rolling hills make it much more interesting than some of the other flat courses in the city. The old-school greens are pretty small, but since the course is moderately short they’re not overly hard to hit. They were quite slow today. Probably more favorable for the typical client the course serves.
I don’t know who the pro in the shop is. Never met him until today. But for a hot Sunday without a lot of people playing, he was very friendly and obviously enjoying his day’s work.
Forest Dale isn’t exactly golf tourist attraction for serious players, but for locals who don’t take themselves too seriously it’s fun. It’s not too hard to get on the course. I checked in with no tee time and was on the first tee before I had a chance to tie my shoes. It was a no-stress, enjoyable day and some decent exercise for me today. Good times.
Today is the par-3 tournament day at the Masters Tournament assuming it doesn’t get washed out by the bad weather. This tournament has been going since 1960. The par-3 is a fun tournament where players interact closely with fans. Some players who are not in the Masters Tournament are allowed to play the par-3 tournament. Prior to the par-3 tournament there used to be a driving contest.
Augusta National Golf Club – Par-3 Course – Click for more images
The par-3 tournament takes place at Augusta National’s par-3 course, possibly the most beautiful par-3 course in the world, though the folks at Three Tops located at Treetops Resort might argue that point. As you will likely hear, no player who has won the par-3 contest has gone on to win the Masters Tournament.
Tiny greens… Augusta National Par-3 Course
I walked every hole of Augusta National’s par-3 course a couple of years ago and shot a ton of photos. For one shot I even snuck onto a little boat I found in the lake. The skies were a little gray the day I shot them but they still look great. I put together a gallery of 77 images of the course, the largest and most complete online photo gallery of the course that I’m aware of. All for you HOG “patrons.” Click the photos or the link below to view the gallery.
Augusta National Par-3 Course Photo Gallery
Big announcement! I’ve release my first-ever mobile app! To increase my skills in the day job area of web development I tasked myself with learning a complex programming framework which lends itself to creating “device agnostic” applications. Part of that learning, and my winter project, was to make a mobile golf app. So I took my website Utah Golf Guru and created an app based on the same data. Utah Golf Courses is NOW AVAILABLE for free at the Android Play Store. I’ve submitted the IOS version to the Apple App Store also, but it is awaiting approval.
Utah Golf Courses mobile app
About Utah Golf Courses App
Utah Golf Courses works on any Android or IOS device. The app provides a listing of every golf course in Utah. The user can search for courses based on keywords. The user can also filter courses based on the type of course (public, private, resort, military), and geographic location. So the user could filter the list to show public courses in the southwest region of the state.
Each course has a ton of details when the user taps the course to view it, like yardage, slope, rating. One can even find the types of grass on the fairways and greens. I also offer playing tips and commentary on many of the courses, including the range ball quality.
Tablet view of a course
The majority of the course photos were shot by me with many by drone.
There are many reasons behind making the app. The first two listed above were learning new coding skills and learning how to make an app. The other reason behind this one is that I’ve often found myself and my buddies looking for courses to book tee times, and not knowing their numbers. In just two taps of the user’s finger, the user can find the course and dial the course from the app.
Links (pun intended)
Utah Golf Courses for Android
Utah Golf Courses for IOS (coming soon)
Utah Golf Guru Website
The HOG World Tour has been a “thing” now for 10+ years. I’ve traveled to many cool places and experienced golf around the world in some tremendous locations. I thought it would be cool to document all of the places I’ve played golf somehow. Being a web developer by day, I thought of coding an interactive map with markers on it to show all the courses. At this point I have entered 172 points on the map and I’m fairly sure I’ve forgotten a bunch. Check out the map here: https://www.hookedongolfblog.com/hog-world-tour.
Down the road (so to speak) I may be able to put other things on the map, like resorts or cool places, represented by different icons.
I’ll be adding some new features and items to the map soon so stay tuned.
Each year my hard work on this golf blog provides me with the opportunity to visit many great golf courses all around the world. 2016 was a tremendous year for playing courses which I had not previously played, from the USA to Scotland to Morocco. To qualify for the Best Golf Course Award for the year, the course has to be one I had not played previously. I narrowed the finalists down to a eight stellar courses played this year:
Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort, Indiana
Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, Indiana
Panmure Golf Links in Carnoustie, Scotland
Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Scotland
Cruden Bay Golf Links in Cruden Bay, Scotland
Mazagan Golf Club at Mazagan Resort, Morocco
Royal Palm Golf Club in Marrakech, Morocco
Journey at Pechanga in Temecula, California
Those are some fantastic courses to say the least, in some fabulous locations. As great as they all are, one course stood out and not by just a wee bit either. Scotland’s Cruden Bay left me absolutely stunned. Here are a few picturesque reasons why.
Cruden Bay – ©2016 by Tony Korologos
The dunes above. What a view. Absolutely stunning.
How about the view below, from the 9th tee. It was a hell of a walk from the 8th green up to this point and despite nearly having a heart attack, the view was well worth it!
The golf at Cruden Bay is stellar. But it has a fun and very quirky personaly as well. Just ring the bell or push the button on the electric post to let the group behind you know it is okay to hit their approach shot.
And because I want to see another money shot, here you go below. This one from late in the day as the sun was setting and the shadows began to really accentuate the terrain.
In the photo above you can see a plateau in the background. That’s where the shots I mentioned from the 9th tee were.
I’m in love. Cruden Bay is one of the top courses I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
Awarding Cruden Bay the 2016 Best Golf Course Award was a no-brainer, and it was up against Golf Digest Top 100 USA courses on my list. I will be back as soon as possible. What a fantastic course, design, location and the town of Cruden Bay is quite fun as well.