Aronimink Golf Club

Aronimink Golf Club – Played August 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest #80, Golf Magazine #82
  • Location: 3600 St. Davids Road, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
  • Year: 1928
  • Architect: Donald Ross
  • Course Access: Private
  • Walking Rules: Walking Only, Caddies Available

Score Card Information:

  • Back: 7,190 yards, Par 70, 74.7 Rating/134 Slope
  • Middle: 6,522 yards, Par 70, 72.3 Rating/129 Slope
  • Forward: 6,115 yards, Par 70, 70.3 Rating/126 Slope
  • Front: 5,769 yards, Par 70, 74.6 Rating/136 Slope

I still never get over the excitement of being invited to top-tier private clubs.  There is a “kid on Christmas morning” feel to it that I just can’t shake.  So when I got an email from my buddy Alex that he had an extra spot in his group I jumped at the chance.

Now, our tee time was on a Saturday afternoon.  Aronimink is outside of Philadelphia and I live in SC.  So I did what I do on this crazy quest.  I hopped in the car and made my way towards Philly.  As an aside, Go Pats but still congrats to the Eagles.  They played great.

Funny enough, a lot of the quest goes like this.  I would love to tell a super interesting story every time or play 10 courses in a row.  Life doesn’t always work that way though.  Many times I get an invite, play, and head home.  Sometimes, depending on the situation, I will check out the clubhouse or eat.  It really depends on my host and the group I am playing with.  I am definitely one to go with the flow and if that includes skipping the frills so be it.  I’m here for the golf!

So after a pretty uneventful drive that was full of anticipation I arrived at the course.  You are greeted with the wonderful looking clubhouse seen below. Continue reading “Aronimink Golf Club”

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National Golf Links of America

National Golf Links of America – Played July 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest #11, Golf Magazine #8
  • Location: 149 Sebonac Inlet Road, Southampton, New York
  • Year: 1911
  • Architect: C.B. Macdonald
  • Course Access: Private
  • Walking Rules: Carts & Caddies Available

Score Card Information:

  • Championship: 6,935 yards, Par 72 , 73.9 Rating/136 Slope
  • Regular: 6,505 yards, Par 72, 71.9 Rating/130 Slope (Men’s), 77.0 Rating/142 Slope (Women’s)
  • Short: 5,771 yards, Par 72, 68.1 Rating/123 Slope (Men’s), 72.7 Rating/133 Slope (Women’s)

Some days on the golf course are just better than others.  This was destined to be one of those days.  To say I was excited as I was driving up to NGLA would be an understatement.  My heart was racing as the clubhouse and iconic windmill below came into view. Continue reading “National Golf Links of America”

Ballyneal Golf Club

Ballyneal Golf Club – Played June 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest #78, Golf Magazine #40
  • Location: 1 Ballyneal Lane, Holyoke, Colorado
  • Year: 2006
  • Architect: Tom Doak
  • Course Access: Private
  • Walking Rules: Walking Only, Caddies Available

Score Card Information:

  • Various: 5,210 – 7,147 yards, Par 71 , Not Rated

After the fun was over in Nebraska, I hopped in the car and made my way into Colorado.  I was on my way to Ballyneal!  You can tell from the scorecard information above that this place is a little different.  No set tees and and situated in the middle of nowhere.  The experience is set to be memorable.   Continue reading “Ballyneal Golf Club”

Boyne Highlands Resort (Heather)

Boyne Highlands Resort (Heather) – Played May 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest Public #73
  • Location: 600 Highland Drive, Harbor Springs, Michigan
  • Year: 1968
  • Architect: Robert Trent Jones
  • Course Access: Resort
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Brown: 7,143 yards, Par 72, 75.4 Rating/147 Slope
  • Purple: 6,647 yards, Par 72, 72.7 Rating/143 Slope
  • Orange: 6,207 yards, Par 72, 70.3 Rating/139 Slope
  • Green: 5,743 yards, Par 72, 68.3 Rating/130 Slope (Men’s), 73.9 Rating/137 Slope (Women’s)
  • Silver: 4,845 yards, Par 72, 64.0 Rating/120 Slope (Men’s), 68.6 Rating/123 Slope (Women’s)

Right down the road from where we stayed is the Boyne Highlands resort.  It is a beautiful resort that has four golf courses and ski slopes for the winter.  They have multiple activities such as zipline adventures and dogsledding.  The resort is really full service and has something for everyone.

The Heather course was the first course at the resort.  It is plenty long to challenge players, which is evidenced by the course hosting the Michigan Amateur three times.  It is also known to be friendly for women and seniors making it a versatile course for visitors.  I also learned that Boyne Golf owns multiple courses in the area including Bay Harbor Golf Club that we toured recently.  It is quite easy to make tee times for many of these courses with one phone call. Continue reading “Boyne Highlands Resort (Heather)”

Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club

Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club – Played May 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest #57, Golf Digest Public #13, Golf Magazine Public #28
  • Location: 14710 Northwood Highway, Arcadia, Michigan
  • Year: 2000
  • Architects: Warren Henderson & Rick Smith
  • Course Access: Public
  • Walking Rules: Carts & Caddies Available

Score Card Information:

  • Championship: 7,300 yards, Par 72, 75.4 Rating/147 Slope
  • Black: 6,702 yards, Par 72, 72.8 Rating/137 Slope
  • White: 6,244 yards, Par 72, 70.3 Rating/129 Slope
  • Red: 5,107 yards, Par 72, 70.1 Rating/121 Slope

The second round of the trip was highly anticipated for me personally.  I have seen the pictures of this course like many of you.  The setting on the bluffs above Lake Michigan is simply stunning.

Our day certainly didn’t disappoint.  It was chilly, but clear.  On the back nine we were treated to some of the wind that really gives the course its bite.  We were pretty beat by the end of the day, but it was great experience with some truly world class scenery.

The course is built on 240 acres that used to be apple and cherry orchards and wooded areas.  Many of the mounds and native areas were molded during the routing to give it the scale it has today.  Since it opened many of the greens have been modified to help with pace of play.  This would also mark my first encounter with these two architects.  I am always interested to see new course designers.

The course features multiple guest rooms on site as well as cottages.  Once the second course is completed it will be a true destination.  It is remote, but the golf is awesome.  I played the white tees and all yardages reflect that. Continue reading “Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club”

Pikewood National Golf Club

Pikewood National Golf Club – Played April 2017

  • Rankings: Golf Digest #45
  • Location: 3055 Kingwood Pike, Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Year: 2009
  • Architect: J. Robert Gwynne & John Raese
  • Course Access: Private
  • Walking Rules: Walking Only, Caddies Available

Score Card Information:

  • Championship: 7,585 yards, Par 72, 79.3 Rating/155 Slope
  • Men’s: 6,894 yards, Par 72, 75.6 Rating/151 Slope
  • Forward: 6,424 yards, Par 72, 75.6 Rating/151 Slope

I never cease to be amazed by the generosity of the golf community.  That extends to the golf community on social media.  I put out an Instagram post sometime early in 2017 with about 30 courses I was hoping to work out for the year.  I knew that number would probably not happen, but it was a stretch goal.  One of those courses was Pikewood National.  Lo and behold, I get a message on Instagram from a member saying I could come up whenever.  The Saturday after the tax deadline I was pulling into the parking lot.  This is the true meaning of #whyilovethisgame.

The story behind Pikewood is that is was designed by two businessmen who had never designed a course before.  You wouldn’t know it by playing it as it is a spectacular track.  John Raese and Bob Gwynne, two high-level executives at Greer Industries, created a walking-only course that they crafted to stick to golden age design adages that they enjoyed.  The course fits the land splendidly and as I mentioned you would never know this was the rookie course for these two men. The membership roll is small and you definitely feel like you are in a relaxing spot when you are on the course.  You can really leave the hustle of everyday life behind for a few hours. Continue reading “Pikewood National Golf Club”

Butler National Golf Club

Butler National Golf Club – Played October 2016

  • Rankings: Golf Digest #50
  • Location: 2616 S. York Road, Oak Brook, Illinois
  • Year: 1974
  • Architect: George & Tom Fazio
  • Course Access: Private
  • Walking Rules: Walking Only, Caddies Available

Score Card Information:

  • Butler: 7,523 yards, Par 71, 78.4 Rating/155 Slope
  • Tournament: 7,005 yards, Par 71, 75.5 Rating/149 Slope
  • Member: 6,718 yards, Par 71, 74.2 Rating/146 Slope
  • Combo: 6,500 yards, Par 71, 73.2 Rating/144 Slope
  • Founders: 6,267 yards, Par 71, 72.1 Rating/140 Slope

Unfortunately, I couldn’t do much research on this club. Their website is sparse on information. What I do know is that they hosted the Western Open for a number of years. I can attest that the difficulty of the course is immense and well-suited to stand up to the professionals.

The clubhouse was awesome and quite large. I was met by an employee of the club immediately upon arrival and he guided me to my locker. I was well taken care of by the staff all day.

My member host asked that I wait until we got away from the clubhouse to take pictures. I obviously respected his wishes and started snapping photos once we got to the fifth hole. If you want to see photos of the first four holes check out golftripper.com for Steve’s tour of the course. Continue reading “Butler National Golf Club”