Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I've been playing the best public golf course in _______ (name of state here), according to Golf Magazine.

New Mexico:  Paa-Ko Ridge.

This is one of Dave's favorites, and mine, too.  Carved out of the mountains north of Albuquerque, a Ken Dye design (no relation to Pete, either by blood or by similarity of his work), lots of elevation changes, mostly driving the cart up and hitting down from elevated tees.

That's the right way to do it, I think.  There's 27 holes, named uniquely

1 through 27.  Most courses with 27 holes have a name for each nine, like East, West and Center at Ridgewood CC, or -- well, you'll see some others in later posts.

More pictures.

Missouri:  Buffalo Ridge

Another "Ridge", and another of my favorites.  I said this may be the most scenic golf course I've ever played, certainly the most waterfalls by far.

Like Paa-ko Ridge, lots of downhill tee shots and uphill cart rides to the next tee.  

It’s owned by John Morris, billionaire owner of Bass Pro Shops.  All the buildings on the course are in the materials and architectural style of his stores, including several covered bridges which are part of the cart paths. 

The Champions Tour plays there, but only the final round.  The first two rounds are on Morris’ other course, an Arnold Palmer 9-hole par 3 layout called Top of the Rock.  The greens fee there is $135.  The only par 3 course on the PGA Tour.  He’s building a new Gary Player design (Buffalo is Tom Fazio), and has bought Murder Rock and is redoing it, too.

And he has a sense of humor about it all (zoom in to read the message below the sign).

More pictures.

Arkansas:  Hot Springs CC, Arlington Course.

This is an old-time facility, founded in 1898.

Very traditional in every way.  The Arlington course is named after the Arlington Hotel, the grand old dame of Hot Springs society.  The course was designed in 1928 by Bill Diddel, and restored by Ben Crenshaw.

The first hole is the #1 handicap hole, violating the Nicklaus Rule that the first should be an easy one.  But, I made par on it anyway, and birdied the last.  So, a good day, no matter what else may have happened.

It does have a variety of looks and challenges, mostly tree-lined fairways, some water,

some sand, some length, some good short holes, some doglegs and some straight, some uphill

and some downhill.

The greens were smooth and true.  All in all, I'd say two notches above the #2 course in Arkansas, which I also played.

More pictures.

Alabama:  Fighting Joe, at The Shoals.

I don't know how anyone can say for sure that one RTJ Trail Course stands out from all the others.  This one is very good, though, in outstanding company.

Like them all, it has an impressive clubhouse.

Fighting Joe was The Honorable General Joe Wheeler, CSA, USA.

The course is 8092 yards from the tips, including the 717-yard 12th hole.  I guess the length is a standout characteristic.

There are lots of interesting holes.

The par 3 18th is the signature hole, I think.

More pictures.

I forgot (too long between blogs) to link the rest of the Prattville pictures, so here they are.

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