Hooked on Golf Blog logo

Course Reviews


Course Review: Punta Espada Golf Club, Dominican Republic

I’ve sat here for about 10 minutes staring at my blank screen. Nope this review isn’t going to write itself. I’ve been a bit stumped because I know it’s going to be hard to express how fantastic a time I had at Punta Espada Golf Club, and just how amazing the course is. I’ll give it a shot.

Punta Espada Golf Club Overview

Punta Espada is a Jack Nicklaus signature design golf course located on the east coast of Dominican Republic. The course is oceanside and features hole after hole of fantastic views of the Caribbean. We’re not just talking a hole or two. Most of the course is on the water.

The course plays to a par value of 72 (36 front, 36 back) with a slope of 137 and rating of 77.0.  In other words, the course is difficult, but not extreme. There are five sets of tees.  The longest tee (Black) plays to a total of 7,396 yards.

Tee

The best club to pull off of most of the tees at Punta Espada may be your camera. Every tee my camera was my first instinct before picking a club! I walked to every tee with a camera and a club or two. Every one.

Playability wise the tee shots at Punta Espada are fun and challenging. The fairways are wide enough to accept moderately accurate drives. Players who want to play away from trouble, like the Caribbean, can be smart and save themselves from potential danger, a.k.a. big numbers. There are some definite proper places in the fairway to place the tee shot for the best approach angle to the green.  There are several situations where proper placement means a shot over land, not an all-carry shot over water.

Case in point is the 2nd hole above, a par-5. The 2nd shot (if not going for it) can be placed to the far left of the fairway for the best approach. The green juts out to a sliver of land, with water on both sides, but mostly short right. That left placement puts land between the 2nd shot and the green, and saves strokes if the shot comes up short because it ends up on grass instead of wet.

Fairway

Once on the fairway, the lies and stances aren’t too bad. Not a ton of sloping, humps bumps, or craziness. The condition and health of the grass is so nice that there’s never a bad lie. The ball feels like it’s teed up just right.

Fairways missed can mean a wide variance of rough, bunkers, desert style waste areas, or the Caribbean. Shots from the rough are very manageable, provided there’s a clear shot at the target. Shots from the Caribbean? Not so much, unless your 15th club is a snorkel.

Green

The areas around the greens at Punta Espada allow the golfer to be creative. This is one point I’m very sticky on. I’m not keen on architects who force the golfer into one shot or way of getting the ball on the green. Personally I prefer a Scottish style low-game with the putter or low bump-and-run shots, but I’m not afraid to lay open a 60 and take a full swing either. At Punta Espada the golfer can choose either most of the time, unless there’s a carry of some sort over a bunker or hazard.

I found the putting surfaces at Punta Espada to be fantastic. See the photo below and look closely at the cut and quality of the green. There were some tricky reads where the grain went one way, and the slope went the other. How putts can break uphill is still hard to fathom for me, a bent grass no-grain-playing mountain golfer from northern Utah. It can happen, so that’s when relying on the caddie or some course knowledge comes in.

Photo by Greg Corbo

The sloping of the greens for the most part was not to crazy. Very manageable. That’s not to say there weren’t some places that had some insanity to them. The sloping of those areas of the greens was extreme enough to allow the golfer some creative ways of approaching lines. One could putt off the edge and bring it back down the slope, or take a straighter line and end up close to the same place. That was more the exception though.

Overall putting was enjoyable and controllable. I won’t say “fair” because I’ve decided to try to use some less, shall we say, “overused” descriptions in my course reviews.

Amenities

Punta Espada offers a full driving range, practice green, pro shop, locker room, library, snack bar, 19th Hole Bar, Restaurant, and Members Room.

Final Thoughts

I’ve played more Jack Nicklaus designs than I can remember. Many of them are easy to spot as they share architectural similarities, typical “Nicklaus” features or styles.  Punta Espada has those, but the course does not scream “Jack” to me. The course is the least “Jack” of any of Jack’s designs I’ve played. This is neither good or bad, just an observation. What does scream out to me is that this golf course is as scenically pleasing as any I’ve played, yet provides a perfect balance in it’s challenge, playability, and its use of the terrain.  Some courses look fantastic but sacrifice playability or playing qualities, while others may play great but don’t cut it aesthetically.  Punta Cana is tops across the board.

There’s a reason Punta Cana is the new #1 course in the Caribbean and Latin America, it’s that good.  I strongly suggest putting Punta Cana on your must play list, your bucket list, your golf buddy trip list, or your golf getaway list.  I don’t even need a list. I just need to get back there and play it again, as soon as possible!

Related

Hooked on Golf Blog Punta Espada Photo Gallery

Nearby is a fantastic all-inclusive Caribbean resort, Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa. Check out my review.

La Cana Golf Club Review

Teeth of the Dog (Pete Dye) Course Review


Course Review: Pete Dye’s Teeth of the Dog in the Dominican Republic

Written by: Tony Korologos | Sunday, December 3rd, 2017
Categories: Course ReviewsGolfGolf Course ArchitectureGolf CoursesGolf For WomenGolf LifestyleHOG World TourReviewsTravel
Tags:

I’m truly thankful for the opportunities my hard work on this blog has produced.  Case in point today is a course review I’ve been hoping to be able to do for a long, long time.  Teeth of the Dog is a Pete Dye design, considered by most to be his masterpiece. That means it beats out other amazing courses Pete Dye designed like TPC Sawgrass (home of THE PLAYERS Championship), Harbour Town Golf Links, Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort, Dye Course at French Lick Resort, Straits Course at Whistling Straits, and Southern Hills Plantation Course. Let’s take a look.

Teeth of the Dog Par-3 5th Hole

Location Location Location

A masterpiece has to start with a great canvas, and boy does this one.  The canvas is the southeast shores of the Dominican Republic at the Casa de Campo Resort and Villas. What a place. Casa de Campo is a tropical paradise with tremendous weather, unmatched ocean views, and stunning topography.

Getting there is fairly easy. The Punta Cana International airport is a mere 45 minute drive away. Punta Cana International is a destination most major airlines service, only a few hour flight from the east coast of the USA.

Teeth of the Dog Overview

Ranked #43 in the world and #1 in the Caribbean many times, Teeth of the Dog is 18 salivating inducing holes of great golf, with seven holes right on the water like the par-3 fifth hole pictured above.  The course rating from the tips is 76.4 with a slope of 137. That rating means the course is very tough. Thus the “teeth” part. The course features six sets of men’s tees and two sets of women’s tees.  Total yardage from the tips is 7,471. I didn’t play the tips. With the high humidity and sea level, that 7,471 would probably play more like 8,500 for Mr. high altitude desert golfer.

Tee

Tee shot after tee shot I found myself humbled and amazed and the scenery and course architecture. Pete doesn’t use as much deception off the tee as I thought he would. It isn’t necessary. The golfer can choose to be aggressive or take the conservative route.  Executing either strategy properly produces great rewards while poor execution of either strategy comes with the proper level of punishment.

The tee shots on the first few holes aren’t tremendously difficult unless one plays particularly poor shots. Upon reaching the 5th hole that changes.  On the par-3 5th there’s no bail-out. Nowhere to miss.  It’s either on the green or in the bunker surrounding it and anything worse is watery Caribbean grave.

Tee shots for the next three holes run by the water. Conservative players aim well away while those who want to take a bite off can give it a shot and hope they have enough power to carry their intended line.  Holes 9-14 are inland holes the golfer can play more aggressively off the tee. 15-17 require very good tee shots to avoid ocean hazards, a good example is the par-3 16th below.

Teeth of the Dog Hole 16

Fairway

I found the fairways at TOD to be less sloped and narrow than I thought they would be. If one is able to find the fairway, a good lie is highly likely with very few shots blocked by trees.

Caddies wait in the fairway

The fairways are fairly wide. Missing a fairway will often mean finding the Dye-esque super-long waste bunkers, or the Caribbean.

Green

Here I am below, happy to be on the green!

Putter? I don’t need a putter!

Having played a few of the more “extreme” Pete Dye courses like the Dye Course at French Lick, I found the greens at Teeth of the Dog to be quite manageable. Putting them was enjoyable. Breaks were as they looked like they should be. Not too extreme.

I found the green complexes to be challenging and creative. Strategic bunkering was in play on most approaches to the greens.

Par-5 3rd Green Complex

Perhaps the best part of the the greens for me as that Pete Dye gives the golfer numerous options. The golfer could choose to hit a high shot with a lofted club, or like me, play a more Scottish approach with a putter or bump-and-run type shot.

Caddies

Golf is best experienced with a great caddie who can support your golf game, gives valuable course management advice, helps with green reading, and provides friendship. I had a great caddie named Soni Pache, who came highly recommended by a friend.

Soni and I are ready to take on Teeth of the Dog!

Soni was fantastic. He helped me keep in in play, gave me great reads on the greens, and clubbed me very well.  WHEN you play Teeth of the Dog, get Soni on your bag and give him a real big tip.

Amenities

The amenities available at Teeth of the Dog and Casa de Campo are endless. The course boasts a great clubhouse, restaurant, locker room, practice facilities and more for the golfer. At about 90 degrees and 90% humidity, I was so thrilled to find showers in the locker room to clean up before going on with my day.

Once the golf is over, there are so many other fantastic ways to enjoy the Caribbean like spending time at the private Casa de Campo beach area (below), exploring the resort, boating, fishing, hiking, working out, shopping and more.

Casa de Campo Private Beach

Casa de Campo Private Beach

Final Thoughts

Teeth of the Dog is a golf bucket list item without a doubt. Make it a point to get to the Dominican Republic and play this stellar golf course. I suggest turning it into a golf buddy trip or a golf getaway with the significant other.  The Dominican boasts a ton of great golf courses other than Teeth of the Dog, many are Dye designs.

Related

Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa Review

Hooked on Golf Blog Teeth of the Dog Photo Gallery

La Cana Golf Club Review


Review: La Cana Golf Club, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is the golf capitol of the Caribbean with roughly 30 courses, fantastic weather all year (barring a few hurricanes), and great resorts.  The Dominican Republic is a perfect recipe for a golf buddy trip or golf stay and play vacation.

La Cana Golf Club

Location

La Cana Golf Club is located on the east coast of the Dominican Republic, a short drive from the Punta Cana International Airport.  La Cana is a P.B Dye design, the son of famed architect Pete Dye.  There is a heavy Pete Dye influence of course, with some unique architectural twists.  With several other Pete Dye courses on the Dominican, the island could be called “Dye Island.”

Overview

La Cana Golf Club is a 27-hole facility. The three 9-hole courses are named “Tortuga,” “Hacienda,” and “Arrecife.”  I was able to play 18 when I was there, the Hacienda being my front nine and Tortuga the back nine.  There are five sets of tees at La Cana, with the longest tee (black) tipping out at 3483 yards for Tortuga, 3768 yards for Hacienda, and 3676 yards for Arricife.  This is not a short course from the tips, especially at sea level.   Course ratings and slopes will vary depending on which nines are combined for the 18.

Tee

There’s quite a variance in tee shots at La Cana.  Some are quite basic, what you see is what you get.  Some have some deceiving hills and mounds which can hide the fairway or landing areas, making things seem different or tighter than they really are when you arrive to the landing area.  Below is one of the more basic tee looks.

And below one of the more deceiving views, a short par-4 with huge dunes/mounds which hide a sharp dogleg left and wide open approach look at the green, from the right.  That approach is much easier than if the golfer were to take a line at the green off the tee, as it takes the water out of play.  Also notice the small bunker at the bottom of one of the mounds.  It has the look of a Pete Dye “volcano bunker,” as I’ve found on the Pete Dye course at French Lick Resort.

Overall, driving on the Tortuga/Hacienda 18 is not overly difficult unless the shot is so errant that it finds waste or native areas.

Fairway

The fairways at La Cana are fairly forgiving. There are many of the typical Dye waste bunkers that run the length of a few holes as seen below.

In some cases the sand is so hard in the waste areas one could use that to a strategic advantage.  One time I intentionally drove my ball down the waste bunker on a short par-4 and nearly ended up pin high after a long amount of roll.

As mentioned in the tee commentary, most fairways are straight forward with a little movement, but there are a couple of very “quirky” or experimental ones as well.  This is very “Dye-like,” on the Dye courses I’ve played, whether they be P.B Dye or Pete Dye.

Below is another “experimental” section, a large area of mini-dunes.  Somehow I ended up in here.  The lies and stances are quite funky.

If the area above was shaved more like a putting green and not the rough, it would be a carbon copy of the Himalayas putting course in St Andrews.

Green

The green complexes at La Cana present a wide variance of design styles, from the Donald Ross upside down soup bowl type to islands in the sand/water.  The bunkering around the greens flows nicely and provides for some challenging mid-range bunker shots if the green is missed.  Below is a combination of both the wrap-around and soup bowl.

I do like how there are areas around the greens which provide the golfer different and creative ways of getting up and down.  While the shot above may call for a lob wedge, there are run-up areas and collection areas which give the golfer other options, like the Texas wedge (putting off the green) or hitting lower, bump and run type shots.

Above, the obligatory “beautiful green with palm trees and the Caribbean in the background” shot. There are plenty of great views like this.

The most notable and photo-worthy hole of my round was definitely the par-3 5th hole on the Tortuga nine. The entire hole runs along the blue Caribbean waters and the green juts out a bit. I found this hole design very similar to the 17th at Edgewood Tahoe and the 15th at Scotland’s Kingsbarns Golf Links. Those are two of the best par-3’s one might ever play.

Final Thoughts

There are some very strong holes at the P.B. Dye designed La Cana Golf Club in the Dominican Republic. The course flows well and has a very nice feel to it. The ocean views are great and the inland holes are all interesting, with a wee bit of that quirky “Dye” experimental flavor.

Next time you are planning a golf stay and play or a golf buddy trip, consider the Dominican Republic and be sure to put La Cana on the docket. When you are looking for a place to stay nearby, consider the all-inclusive Secrets Cap Cana Resort and Spa.


Review: Forest Dunes Golf Club in Northern Michigan

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, September 20th, 2017
Categories: Course ReviewsGolfGolf Course ArchitectureGolf CoursesGolf For WomenGolf LifestyleHOG World TourReviewsTravel

On the recent HOG World Tour stop in northern Michigan I had the pleasure of staying at Forest Dunes resort, and playing the unique Tom Doak designed reversible course there called The Loop. Check out my review of The Loop.

While The Loop may be the attention grabber, Forest Dunes is home to a Tom Weiskopf design simply called Forest Dunes Golf Club. Forest Dunes Golf Club sits inside 500 acres of land within the Huron National Forest. The course is a 7,116 yard par-72 design which is quite different than The Loop. For one it isn’t reversible.

A Tale of Two Nines – Forest and Dunes

The front nine (Forest) is carved through some fairly dense northern Michigan trees in more of a traditional American parkland style of golf, less links influence. So there’s more carrying the ball and little running up shots. Due to the dense trees lining most holes, each hole is isolated. No parallel holes. It’s quite serene.

The back nine (Dunes) exits the forest and turns to a more rugged and exposed experience.  The dunes on the back feature large sandy waste areas and native vegetation which line and sometimes cross the fairways and surround the greens.

Speaking of serenity… Forest Dunes occupies about 500 acres and there are no homes on the course.

Tee

The look and feel from the tee of the Weiskopf course is very pleasing to the eye. Most often it’s WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). Tee shots need to be fairly accurate or they’ll end up in the dense forest, waste areas, water hazards, or some of the terrific fairway bunkering.  There are a few situations where from the tee one doesn’t realize there are two different paths to take, split fairways.  A better familiarization with the course would really help in those situations.

There’s also a nice bit of elevation change from tee to fairway or tee to green on the front nine. The elevation changes make the tee shots even more interesting.  More rolling hills and dunes are on the back, which hide some of the native areas.

Fairway

The fairways on the Weiskopf course were in terrific condition when I played there, and I found most of them thankfully. Only on the 9th did I run into tree issues. Lies on the shortgrass were like lies on high quality carpet. The only difference is you don’t want to take a divot out of high quality carpet. It won’t grow back.

Most of the fairways are not terribly penal or unforgiving. There can be positions in the fairway which are not optimal; ones that perhaps bring overhanging trees into play or bad angles to the green. A little course knowledge helps for those situations. Same goes with some of the small native areas and waste areas which can jut out from the sides of some of the fairways, especially on the back nine.

Green

I really enjoyed the green complexes at Forest Dunes. Many of the greenside bunkers are Robert Trent Jones Sr.-like large. There can also be more rugged bunkering with native grasses around the edges and less pristine and precision in the shaping on the back.

Some greens are guarded by forced carries, water, and of course sand, so flying it all the way in those situations is required. Other greens offer options for chipping, pitching, or even putting off the surface (one of my favorite shots because chipping is one of my least favorite shots).

Despite the fact that I couldn’t make any putt for birdie inside of 10 feet, and there were a lot of them, I still enjoyed the putting surfaces. They rolled very true and well. Putts that were on line dropped but puts, like mine, that were off by even a fraction of an inch, did not.

19th Hole

One very unique feature at the Wekskopf course is the 19th hole. No that doesn’t refer to the bar. The bar is the 20th!

19th Hole at Forest Dunes

19th Hole at Forest Dunes

The 19th is a short par-3 which is used to settle matches or bets in the event that there’s a tie after the 18th is completed. What a cool idea.  My group was hitting sand wedges into the green but it looked like the hole could be stretched out a bit more.  One fun part, hard to see in the photo above, is the bunker in the middle of the green which made the green’s shape like a donut.

Amenities

Forest Dunes has a tremendous practice facility. From numerous practice greens to a solid and interesting driving range to a very detailed and creative short game area. The answers to your game’s issues are there somewhere.

I also noticed a putting course which had just been seeded. I imagine it will be fully operational by the 2018 season, if not sooner.

Clubhouse

The clubhouse is large and elegantly appointed inside and out. Inside the clubhouse are a few rooms, a restaurant, and the pro shop. The shop is fully stocked with great gear and apparel.

Forest Dunes Golf

The clubhouse as seen from the 18th fairway

I enjoyed several great meals in the restaurant. Two of them were smoked filet mignons with baked potato and French onion soup.  The reason I had a second one was because the first one was so good.  No, they weren’t at the same sitting.

In addition to the rooms in the clubhouse, there are “villas” which are about a one minute walk from the clubhouse or any of the courses’ first tees. The villas have numerous rooms, with shared living space. Each room has its own shower. The shared living space in the villas feature large cushy reclining chairs, couches, a large flatscreen TV, kitchen, microwave, refrigerator, and kitchen table.

Villa sweet villa

I stayed in one of the villas (photo above) and loved it, sans a closet or somewhere to hang up my expensive golf shirts.

Pro Tip

Bring bug spray.

Conclusion

I had a fantastic time taking on the challenge of Forest Dunes Golf Club. The variation between nines, immaculate conditioning and maintenance, and fabulous design made it one of my favorite golf experiences of the year.

Forget boring flat Florida golf or the other traditional golf travel locations. The Loop and Forest Dunes golf club are the perfect recipe for a memorable golf buddy trip.

Related

The Loop at Forest Dunes review


Review: The Loop at Forest Dunes Michigan – Reversible Golf Course by Tom Doak

Written by: Tony Korologos | Sunday, September 3rd, 2017
Categories: Course ReviewsGolf Course ArchitectureGolf CoursesGolf For WomenReviewsTravel
Tags:

What a fantastic opportunity I was able to take advantage of on the recent HOG World Tour stop in Forest Dunes, Michigan.  Forest Dunes is located in rural northern Michigan (map below).

I had the chance to play perhaps the most talked about new course in the last several years, The Loop.  The Loop is a course designed by one of my favorite golf course architects, Tom Doak.  Doak is as much a mad scientist as he is a brilliant golf architect.  I’ve played many of his courses and always enjoyed his designs.

The Loop Overview

While only 18 physical holes, The Loop plays as two distinct par-70 18 hole golf courses, the Red Course and the Black Course.  It is reversible.  One day The Red is the play (counter-clockwise) and the next it’s The Black (clockwise).  Reversible courses aren’t new. Even the Old Course in St Andrews played two directions, though they only do it once a year or so these days.  The Loop is the first fully reversible course in the United States.

Challenges

There are certainly unique challenges when trying to make holes that play in both directions and Doak’s genius in making that happen is impressive.  Think about it for a minute.  When facing a hole going one direction there are many factors to consider.  The tee must setup appropriately and the sight lines from the tee must produce the look and feel the architect intends, but on The Loop it has to do the same thing backwards.  Fairway bunkers and waste areas showing in one direction may not show or be in play going the other direction and vice versa.  Some fairway bunkers and waste areas are visible from both directions. Those must play and look appropriate clockwise or counter-clockwise.

Perhaps the biggest challenge in a reversible golf course is designing greens and green complexes that are approachable, playable, and visually pleasing from both directions. Green side bunkers, false fronts, and collection areas present the approaching golfer challenges and opportunities to be creative in one direction, but must not ruin the playability coming from the other direction.  Doak does very well here, with the exception of a couple of greens which fall off in both directions making the effective surface quite small.

Reversible Hole Comparison

My first round on The Loop was the Black Course.  The Black course plays The Loop in a clockwise direction, starting left of the 18th green.  See first photo below, from the first tee. It was early in the morning so the photo is a little dark.

Now contrast the look above with the view from the 18th tee on the Red Course below. It was a little brighter when I played the Red.

Interestingly, the elevation from the Red tee to the bottom of the fairway and back up to the green seemed to be more than it was going the other direction, on the Black tee down and back up to the putting surface.  It’s the same elevation change of course, but it “seemed” different.  It looked different too as you can see.  The fairway on the Black looks more narrow from the tee than the fairway on the Red looks from the tee, and its the same fairway!

Every hole seemed quite different when comparing the Red vs the Black.  Even the tree-lines looked different.

Despite occupying the same real estate, the Red and the Black courses look, feel, and play differently.

Tee

I felt like driving the ball was a little easier for me on the Black course. Somehow the fairways felt wider.  The ball runs and bounces hard on the links-style hard ground.  Love that.  As I mentioned, the look from the tee from the Black is very different than it is from the Red.  The landing areas are quite wide and forgiving on both courses.  Some course knowledge would help in knowing where to aim.

Fairway

Many fairways have some fun humps and bumps which can result in interesting bounces and lies. A few others are very wide and flat.  There are numerous fairway bunkers and waste areas which can eat up strokes and the smart player will aim for the fat part of the fairway, away from those round killers.  It’s quite fun to examine the fairway bunkers and realize they can be seen and in play going one direction, but invisible going the other.

Approaching the greens is more challenging than hitting the fairway.  Often times approaches must land short or at a different angle to the pin to allow for bounces and release.  But if one releases too far the ball may go over the other side of the green and end up in bunker normally in play for the opposite direction.

Green

The green design is so interesting because the greens have to be able to take approach shots from two directions.  Most approaches can be run ups which I really like since I’m a low-ball hitter and links lover. There are a couple of approaches over hazards or waste areas that require forced carries. Course knowledge or having a caddie can really help around the greens because often times aiming at the flag when chipping on or putting isn’t the best play.

Click to see more photos of The Loop

The bunkering around the greens is so unique. Like the fairway design, bunkers can be in play and visible from one direction but not the opposite. I really like the rugged styles of the bunkers with rough edges and native grasses growing around the edges.

A few of the greens roll off on both sides, which can make finding the right spot on the green tough.

Putting is fun on The Loop.  I struggled with my reads from shorter distances because there are situations which look uphill but are down, and there are nuances and subtleties which can move the ball just enough to miss. I found long distance putting to be a blast, even putting from several yards off the putting surface, just like in Scotland.  The highlight putt of both rounds was my birdie putt on the short par-4 15th on the Red.  The pin was far left-front and I blocked my approach to the back right.  I was 90 feet downhill with a good 10 feet of break and nailed it dead in the jaws for birdie. Easily the longest putt I’ve made in years.

Speaking of putting off the greens, there are a lot of opportunities to do that because of the short grass and hard ground.  That’s why I love Scottish links golf.  I chi-putted many times on the Red and Black.  One really fun one was the par-3 17th on the Red.  There’s a half pipe in the back of the green (front on the Black).  The pin was right in the middle of it and I missed the green left.  I putted over the hill, down to the green, back up the hill on the other side.  From there the ball rolled back onto the green and nestled to a foot or so for an easy par.  Very fun.

Playing Tips

Bring bug spray.  There were lots of bugs when I was at The Loop. In fact some of my photos have dots in the sky which are gnats flying around the camera. I also managed some nasty mosquito bites.

Having played both courses once now, play the fat areas of the fairways.  Don’t take on hazards or waste areas unless you’re sure you can carry them.  That would have saved me several shots.

Walking Only

Have I mentioned I hate cart paths?  In my opinion cart paths ruin golf courses.  Yet another reason I love golf in Scotland and now The Loop… there are no carts or cart paths.  The Loop is a walking-only course.  Make sure you have good shoes and socks, and take a caddie.  You’ll enjoy it.

No cart paths! Great!

Rates

Rates on the courses at Forest Dunes run between $69-149/round, based on time of year and day of the week.

Amenities

There is a massive practice area at Forest Dunes for sharpening all aspects of one’s game: large driving range (below), short game area, practice green… and a soon to be opened putting course similar to the Himalayas in St Andrews.

The clubhouse is large and spacious with a finely appointed pro shop.  Inside the pro shop one can find any kind of Forest Dunes logo items from apparel to accessories, as well as high end golf clubs and balls.

The clubhouse as seen from the Weiskopf course

The restaurant at Forest Dunes is great.  I enjoyed two smoked filet mignons there (not in one sitting mind you). Fantastic. The burgers are great too and even the salads.

Lodging

I stayed right on the property at Forest Dunes, just a 1-2 minute walk from the clubhouse in a “villa.”  The villas are multi-room buildings which have common areas and individual rooms with showers.

The common areas have couches, a kitchen, fridge, sink, microwave, and TV.  My villa had four rooms and was very nice and comfortable with a big shower.

Critiques

I always try to point out areas of improvement when I do my reviews.  In the villas there is no internet-wifi available and the wifi at the clubhouse was very weak and undependable.  I dig the remoteness of the resort, but no wifi is painful for doing business or keeping in touch with the outside world.

Also in the villa rooms there are drawers but there is no closet or anywhere to hang clothing.

As I previously mentioned, a couple of The Loop’s greens with false front/backs can be pretty extreme, making the effective target area on the greens very small and difficult to hit.

Conclusion

Add The Loop to your golf bucket list.  Forest Dunes makes for a tremendous golf buddy trip.  Hit the Red and Black, and the Weiskopf course (review coming soon).  The experience of playing Doak’s mad scientist creation is one of the best you’ll have in golf.

Related

The Loop Image Gallery

 


1 2 3 10

MORE POSTS







LATEST REVIEWS







Facebook

1,800+ FOLLOWERS


HOG Twitter

3,600+ FOLLOWERS


TK Twitter

4,700+ FOLLOWERS


Instagram

250+ FOLLOWERS


YouTube

5,500,000+ VIEWS


Google+

400+ FOLLOWERS