From Scotland to French Lick to Spanish Fork, Utah. The HOG World Tour’s latest course visit was the extremely fun Spanish Oaks golf course at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon, about an hour south of Salt Lake City.
Fall is most definitely here, and we had been getting rain for roughly two days straight. Right as my lads and I reached the first tee the rain stopped, the temps rose, and we loved it. The combination of the lush green grasses with the low clouds on the mountains, with the leaves turning colors… wow.
Spanish Oaks is a very fun course. It’s not long, but it gets quite tight as it progresses. There are some short, risk-reward par-4’s which can reward well executed aggressive shots. I wish I wasn’t so far from this course or I would play it much more often. The greens were great, even after being soaked for two days in the rain.
Somehow I managed to shoot an even par round. Three birdies, three bogeys and the rest pars. What a fun day.
St Andrews Old Course has many famous bunkers. There’s Shell Bunker, Hell Bunker… and of course the most famous bunker in all of golf, the Road Hole Bunker. But on the St Andrews NEW Course (1895), did you know about the Yard Sale Bunker?
While playing on the New Course a few weeks ago a gust of wind (known as a “wee breeze” in Scotland) blew my lad Todd’s trolley (known as a push cart in the USA) into a bunker. I caught it before the wheel stopped spinning.
It has taken a few weeks to process my experience at French Lick Resort’s Pete Dye Course. I was also slightly sidetracked by a little trip to Scotland in that timeframe. The dust in my golf cranium has settled. I’m ready to try and tackle this big review of a big golf course.
French Lick Location
First off, let’s get the location figured out. French Lick Resort is in Larry Bird country, the towns of French Lick and West Baden Springs in southern Indiana. The closest major city and airport is Louisville, Kentucky. Next would be Cincinnati and Indianapolis. The resort sits on a large and historic estate which dates back to 1845.
The Dye Course is a 5-10 minute drive from the West Baden Springs Hotel and the French Lick Hotel and Casino. The course lies on one of the highest points of elevation in Indiana, producing a 40 mile panoramic view.
Pete Dye Course Key Facts
First off, one must know who Pete Dye is. Pete Dye is a Hall of Fame golf course architect who has built some of the most famous courses in the world. Some of Pete Dye’s most notable courses include Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Harbour Town Golf Links, TPC Sawgrass Stadium (home of THE PLAYERS), Whistling Straits, and PGA West.
Pete Dye and me
The Pete Dye Course at French Lick is certainly one of the most difficult courses in the USA, if not the world. The course rating from the tips is an unheard of 80.0. The slope is a massive 148. It’s hard to translate those numbers for those who don’t understand rating and slope. A skilled professional on average would shoot an 80 on this course, on a good day.
The course plays to a par value of 72. The total yardage is 8,102. Amongst that hefty yardage is par-3 16th hole which measures 305 yards. If the length isn’t tough enough, there’s water down the entire right side.
The views presented to the golfer from the tees are tremendous, challenging, and worthy of not only a solid tee shot, but a solid shutter release of a nice DSLR camera.
1st Tee – The sliver of fairway in line with the cart path is the target
Where to aim from the tee on the Pete Dye course is a tough call on nearly every hole. Visually the landing areas look extremely narrow and seem like they’re miles away. Wait a sec… that’s because they are extremely narrow and miles away. One must know how far they hit their drives or layup shots, exactly. Then execute a near perfect shot to hit that precise spot to keep a ball in the fairway. And I’m talking about the par-3’s! I kid. I kid. Sort of.
Here’s a recap of the first half of perhaps the best single day of golf I’ve ever experienced, the HOG World Tour visit to Royal Aberdeen Golf Club. Royal Aberdeen was the morning session on the 2nd day of the tremendous 2016 “Lads in Scotland” tour. The Lads are my group of good friends who get together every two years to golf in Scotland. The evening session was Cruden Bay. Stay tuned on that one.
About Royal Aberdeen
Royal Aberdeen is a fabulous links course located in the northeast of Scotland, about a 2-3 hour drive north of St. Andrews. Golf was first played on the grounds back in 1780, making it the sixth oldest golf club in the world. The clubhouse, staff, and grounds represent great history and a high class club.
In recent history, Royal Aberdeen hosted the 2014 Scottish Open. During the 2014 Scottish open Phil Mickelson was defending his title. Rory McIlory carded the course record, 64. Justin Rose came away with the victory.
My golf experience at Royal Aberdeen was tremendous. I played fairly well, not losing a ball in fairly high winds. The back nine had some serious teeth as we were coming home directly into the wind.
In the photo above I nailed a solid 4-iron to the par-3 17th green, looking out over the North Sea.
I will post a full review of Royal Aberdeen Golf Club down the blog road. Stay tuned.