1. Kummel = No

    Established in 1904, Druid Hills Golf Club is mildy famous for being the filming location of those annoying Titleist adverts with the scoreboard carrying locker room guy. It is a country club style course that has been in great condition since it was completely relaid and updated a few years back. The clubhouse is palacial, the tennis and pool areas of the club are lovely, and the course is an open, green, hilly and rolling affair that would look a little Augusta-esque with islands of pine needles under every tree, if it wasn't for horrible cart paths everywhere. The club really does feel like a country club rather than a golf club - however, this isn't all bad. What you lose in formality you make up for in atmosphere as you enter the men's bar and it is packed full of golfers watching their college football (read American Football) teams slugging it out. Truth be told the main clubhouse is more formal, but golf is definitely just one of the many reasons why this club exists. Still, these are just minor criticisms of a place where I'd happily spend a Sunday afternoon, and for the one year I lived in Atlanta that's exactly what I did most weeks. Incidentally, Bobby Jones won the club championship here in his early teens, but once walked off the course on the 9th hole and never returned. The fairway is built on the side of a hill even now, and before the course was overhauled it was apparently even more sharply inclined. One day he hit a perfect drive and yet again his ball found the left rough. He gave the caddy his club, left the ball where it lay, and walked off the course. From then on he called Druid Hills the best 17 holes in Atlanta! What a hero. :-)

    back to course menu

  2. Kummel = No... not even water...

    Ok, so this one is just for a bit of fun. The Devil's Golf Course in Death Valley, California, is a large area of salt deposits... But it's still somewhere you have to play before you die... or is that after you die?

    back to course menu

  3. Kummel = No

    Highlands Country Club, hidden high up on a couple square mile plateau in North Carolina (one of two places on the east coast high enough to avoid the last ice age and thus repopulate the flora of America - almost every natural plant that exists on the east coast can be found here), doesn't seem a likely location for a great golf course. And truth be told this isn't a championship course... but what makes this course special is that this is Highlands, holiday home location for the elite of Atlanta for the last century (everyone who owns anything in the ATL had and still does have a multi-multi million dollar wooden shack up here overlooking miles and miles of forested mountains below you as though you're sitting on a cloud - see the above photo from Bobby Jones' front lawn). And it was because Robert Woodruff of Coca Cola fame had a house here that Bobby Jones bought a house, and spent a large amount of time practising on the small Highlands Country Club course. Another chance to walk in the footsteps of the past...

    back to course menu

  4. Kummel = No

    This course, an hour or two south of Atlanta, GA, was home to the PGA Tour's Buick Challenge for more than a dozen years. It plays through rolling pine forests and is fairly pleasant, yet despite a number of excellent holes the course is let down by a similar number of uninspiring, typical resort course style holes, which tend to blur into each other in your memory. The resort itself is also fairly uninspiring - a course to play if you're in the area maybe, but not worth the trip from Atlanta.

    back to course menu

  5. Kummel = Yes

    The Home of Golf. There is nothing like the feeling you get the first time you tee off infront of the big room of the Royal and Ancient, or the first time you launch a tee shot up the 18th... other than the first time you play Augusta. A brilliant course by accident or design, I'm very glad to have been able to play here for 4 years as a student member. Ah those were the days... the Jigger challenge - to drink more pints on the 17th in the Jigger Inn than take strokes on the 18th...

    back to course menu

  6. Kummel = Yes

    The Home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (HCEG) - the oldest continually existing golf club in the world, having been founded in 1774. Muirfield holds a special place in golf - a great design, a great clubhouse, a great atmosphere. One of Jack Nicklaus' favourite courses... and their traditional rice pudding is second to none! The first time I played here I was 15 - the week after Sergio Garcia won the Amateur Championship. We played from many of the championship tees, the fairways were tiny, and the rough like a field of wheat! We played foursomes as is customary at Muirfield, and in the morning round my brother and I scored about 95. In the afternoon round we played magnificently and our joint score was 79! I still have that signed card hidden away somewhere in a drawer. One of the best experiences of my golfing life, although recent trips there have proven enjoyable too! The photos are from a trip when I was about 22.

    back to course menu

  7. Kummel = No

    Harry Vardon was the pro at South Herts for 35 years. The clubhouse contains some of the clubs and balls he used in various Opens and US Opens, and a lot of the club competition trophies are half-replicas of the claret jug. The course isn't bad, but it's not anything special... just standard parkland holes up and down a couple of hills, with a number of bunkers dotted here and there with little strategic appeal. An interesting side note is that the Arsenal football team used to have lunch here before home games. The course was also home of Dai Rees, and there is a 9 hole par 3 course here named after him. Overall a pleasant day out in London, but not a course to write home about.

    back to course menu

  8. Kummel = No

    Formerly known as Home Park Golf Club, this course is the only 18 hole golf course that is built in a Royal Park. This Royal Park is the grounds of one of the finest palaces in England, Hampton Court Palace, home of Charles II and favourite palace of Henry VIII, amongst others. The course is built mainly between two double rows of lime trees that begin at the front centre of the palace and run for a long, long way through the palace grounds. One of the holes even plays along side the huge reflection pool that runs for thousands of yards from the palace to the far end of the grounds! The course was built in 1895, and was re-modelled early on by Willie Park, the designer of Royal Birkdale and Sunningdale.

    Given its heritage, length at only 6,500 yards, and maybe inspired by the history of the palace, I decided to play the course with hickory clubs only - a driving mashie, a Vardon cleek (like a 4 wood), a mashie (plays like a 6 iron), a niblick (9 iron) and putter. By doing this most holes were a drive and a short iron, rather than a drive and a chip as my friend with modern equipment played them. I also needed the hickories to create some interest...the course is built on very flat ground, and so isn't incredibly exciting. There are 7 holes (currently numbered as numbers 1, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18) which are built over gentle undulations, and these have the potential to be pretty good holes. Overall the course relies on long links-like rough to give definition to the fairways, but most of it has been cut back - probably for the members - leaving a scruffy mess of a course. The greens were the slowest I've ever played on, the tees were really big and nice to look at from a distance, but were also in bad condition. When the rough grows up, and all the newly planted lime trees grow up (they planted them in the 1970s when the palace heritage team decided to replant the grounds exactly as they were in the time of Charles II) it will be a pleasant but short course, in the grounds of a magnificent palace. Also, in contrast to the palace, the modern clubhouse (the old one burned down) is a bit of an eyesore, and there is a sign in the men's toilets saying that the club will give 200 pounds to anyone who can get a friend to join.

    The best things about this day were the weather, the hundreds of deer roaming the course, and being able to say 'played golf in the gardens of a palace... done that'.

    back to course menu

  9. Kummel = No

    Sadly, despite being a member of the Carnoustie Golf Club, and playing the Championship Course regularly while I was in high school, it never occurred to me to take any photos of the course or me playing it. This is what happens when you're spoiled enough to by virtue of geography be able to grow up playing a major championship course for the equivalent of $90 a year! Carnoustie is the ultimate monster of a course. You can't beat it - you can just escape without being mauled. The course feels huge, is incredibly long, and is fairly penal. The problem is that for the scratch golfer who has to reach par fours in two, the only way to reach the green is to hit a driver off the tee to set up a long iron into the green on many holes... and at this exact driving distance where your drive will finish there will be three huge bunkers, with the fairway about 20 yards wide. If you lay up short you won't reach the green in two. If you try to thread it between the bunkers you're risking a double bogey! I won't say much more as I hope to replay the course soon and update this post. But I do just want to say that they didn't make the rough bad in 1999 by fertilising it. It was always that bad pretty much, although it was a wet year and it was slightly nastier than usual but not by much... and all the greenkeeper did was fertilise a couple of small patches to bring it up to the rest of the rough to make it look uniform. The next thing you know the whole media is complaining about fertilised rough! I went out there the next week (at the age of 16) and it was no worse than usual... and I beat Sergio's 89!

    back to course menu