What's the most surprising course you've ever played?

Anytime I'm going to play a new course, I will spend time researching online. This includes the course website, Golf Digest/Golf/Golfweek rankings, and various review sites. I love playing new places. Of course, I get more excited about some than others. Sometimes you can play a course without much hype and just be blown away when you get there. So, what are the best "surprises" you have played?


1. Spirit Hollow: Wow. Just a great course that anyone can enjoy. And being in Iowa, you wouldn't expect a whole lot in terms of scenery/wow factor. Wrong. Beautiful place with a great layout and only $65. Worth a weekend trip for anyone within 6 hours.

2. Capstone Club of Alabama: I think we payed $50 for 36 holes (2006). This is a wild, stunning course. A definite must-play for anyone in the Birmingham area.

3. Osage National (River/Mountain): I am shocked this course doesn't get more acclaim. A fun, playable Palmer design with a roller coaster back nine.

One thing I've found over and over again is this: Just because Golf Digest/Golf/Golfweek rate it highly does not mean everything. I've played at least a dozen of the top 100 public courses over the past 7-8 years, and what they see if not always what I see.

Just because Fazio, Dye, or Hills is the architect does not mean everything.


  • ram01002ram01002 Members Posts: 1,894 ✭✭
    Bandon Trails was my favorite golf course at Bandon Dunes resort - - gets the least amount of love, but I can't wait to go back!
  • chsneggschsneggs chsneggs Members Posts: 78 ✭✭
    good topic adam ....

    Ormond Beach .... Plantation Bay ..... Club de Bonmont ...intimidating from the tee box, on approaches and the fear of the three puttt with every hole ....

    postcard or calender worthy every hole .....holy smokes .... and we played in the rain ....
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  • mallratmallrat Members Posts: 2,913 ✭✭
    ram01002 wrote:

    Bandon Trails was my favorite golf course at Bandon Dunes resort - - gets the least amount of love, but I can't wait to go back!

    Amazed me too. I love Trails, don't know if it's my favorite but I can't believe it gets the least amount of love there.

    For me, I asked the director of golf at our club if he could get me on the Fazio Course at Pronghorn. Holy guacamole batman. No idea what to expect as it's a private course and there are only a couple pictures out there. Never been taken better care of. Pro V1's & V1x's on the range. They only charged me $180 when guests were supposed to pay $375.

    The other as Big Sky north of Whistler. Good rates and had to hit every club in my bag
  • theonlybfctheonlybfc Members Posts: 221
    Brasada Ranch outside of Bend, OR. I never pass up the opportunity to play there.
  • Sean2Sean2 #TheWRX (Callaway Trip) Members Posts: 30,826 ✭✭
    Wannamoisett in Rhode Island. Donald Ross said it was his favorite design, and Ben Crenshaw said it has some of the toughest greens he ever putted. The Northeast Amateur (an invitational), is played here annually, and has featured some of the biggest names in golf when they were amateurs.

    A great test of golf, without all the modern folderol.
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  • PetethreeputPetethreeput Members Posts: 1,430 ✭✭
    Amazingly, the Old Course was the most pleasant surprise. It, for me, was truly more than just the course. Just being there, playing there, everything was greater than I expected... and everyone knows what they hear, read, etc about the place.

    In the states, I really enjoyed St Clair Country Club outside Pittsburgh PA, just lucked onto it with a friend. Don't really ever hear about it, but I thought it was fabulous. Much better than I expected.

    Public course? A rocky mountain gem. Old Works in Anaconda, MT. For $55 with a cart, the course is in great shape, and it sits on a superfund site. Simply, it just works in between the hills and Silver Bow Creek, and it is a great place to play, and the intent of the course is a real draw for me.
  • VinceFurnierVinceFurnier Members Posts: 345
    Old Macdonald - Bandon. It's like playing on the moon. Monstrous greens, huge elevation changes, blind shots over 50 foot dune walls. Study the yardage book all you want, you just can't prepare yourself for the place. I can't wait to play it again.
  • Par-A-MedicPar-A-Medic Members Posts: 238
    Tobacco Road.

    I looked at picture after picture, but they don't do it justice. In my opinion they make it look worse than it really is. I played to my handicap first time out. It is visually intimidating but aslong as you are a decent ball striker you can get around it, play a different kind of golf, and take the lesson home and use it at your course.
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