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Pine Valley


Ty_Webb
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I'm bored, so a hole by hole review of the best course in the worl
This is from memory around 8 years ago, so forgive me any mistakes (feel free to point them out though)

Hole 1: Dogleg to the right. About a three wood out to the corner leaves around 160 or so to the green. The green starts wide and gets narrower the further back you go. There's about an 8' drop on all sides of the green, so if the flag's at the back, it's a brave soul that goes for it.

Hole 2: Shortish par four that runs straight. Either side of the fairway lies triple bogey with the waste areas. The green sits up on top of a hill that is well above fairway level. The green itself is like nothing I've seen anywhere else. It has three valleys that run from front to back and two hills that run between them. It also slopes steeply from back to front. So much so on one day when the pin was on the front, I hit a putt from the back of the green and timed it to the hole. It took 28 seconds. That was when the greens were stimping at 10. The caddy said that the week before they had been at 12. :yahoo:

Hole 3: Par three around 180. The green is a solitary patch of green in a sea of sand. It is shaped like a four-leafed clover and can generate some interesting putts.

Hole 4: Long par four up a hill to the fairway and then down the hill to the green. The green is quite a large one and the approach is very difficult to judge because there's nothing around the green to frame it. This hole brings you right back to the clubhouse and there is a story about a member of the club in the 30s called J Wood Platt who started 3, 2, 1, 3 and walked in off the course. I'm convinced that he did the right thing. Could only possibly go downhill from here. Especially given the next hole.

Hole 5: This is the hardest par three in the world. 235 yards slightly uphill. There's a river that runs diagonally across the hole and then a small patch of fairway about 40 yards short of the green. The green has a false front which runs all the way back to the small patch of fairway, so if you're on the front edge of the green, you are pitching back up again. The green itself is about 30 yards deep, but the first 10 yards are false front and the back 10 run away from the tee towards bunkers and scrub. Left and right are no better. The only way to make a harder par three than this would be to build a 10 x 10 yard island green and make it 250. This was the only hole I didn't make par on in the three rounds I played.

Hole 6: Par four. This is a great hole. Fairway starts out on the left and it's about a 160 yard carry. Then it opens out to the right and doglegs gently all the way along. On the right is layered bunkering and scrub (this is a serious nono as I found out in my first round - made 7). The carry to the fairway gets steadily longer and longer the further right that you go. Conversely, the further right that you go shortens your approach and improves your line at the green. It's a perfect example of a risk-reward shot off the tee.

Hole 7: Long par five (585 yards). When I played it, it had never been reached in two. I suspect that to still be true. The tee shot cannot go longer than about 280 because at this point, the bunker, Hell's Half Acre, starts. It stretches the full width of the fairway and runs for another 100 yards. It is filled with scrub and because you can't get round it you have to walk through it and there are no rakes. Hit it in there and you might get lucky, but chances are you're running up a big number. Then the fairway starts again and runs for about 180 yards before the bunker that forms the island green (in sand rather than water). The green is small and sloping, so you better hit a good pitch.

Hole 8: Short par four of 300 yards - forget going for it though. Dan Jenkins reckons this is the best short par four in the world. It plays downhill to a fairway that slopes left to right. You then turn left a bit and play your approach to (and Jenkins puts it better than I could, so credit to him for this) a green that is around the size of a dinner plate. Actually, I exaggerate. It's more like the size of an ashtray. It is TINY. It's about 15 yards deep and I reckon around 5 yards across. It also has three tiers in it. Each one is about 5 yards. If you miss it, you're bunkered about five feet below the level of the green. It's therefore a seriously good shot to hit the green from the bunkers. Good thing is if you hit the green, you have got a makeable birdie putt. There are actually two greens on this hole which are interchangeable, but I only played the one on the left I think.

Hole 9: Long par four around 430. A good drive opens up a nice second into quite a small green. Again there are two greens here, but I only played the one on the right. It's a really good hole and one of the most challenging on the course. As per usual if you miss any of the shots, you're in serious trouble.

Hole 10: The back nine starts with a short par three. It's only about 145 yards. The green slopes front to back and is surrounded by waste area. Just short of the green on the right half is a little bunker. It is called (and my apologies to the mods for my language, but this is what it's called) the devil's a******. It is about 6' deep and also around 6' across. Stories I've heard about this bunker are legion. There was a story about a good amateur who had taken on the bet (the members will bet with anyone that they won't break 80 their first go) and went to the turn in 32 shots. He then went in this bunker and took 32 shots to complete the tenth hole. If the pin is at the front, you have to risk it if you want to get close. There's also a story of a guy who spotted the pin just over the bunker, so played to the back of the green. Then slightly overhit his putt and ran into the bunker. After about 12 goes at getting it out, he turned round and played out backwards where the lip is slightly lower. Then, trying to get cute, he chipped it straight back in there again. Do not go in this bunker.

Hole 11: A shortish and relatively easy par four which meanders its way up to the green. Great looking hole, but not a huge amount to describe. Having said that, as with every other hole on this golf course, if you picked it up and put it in any other course in the world, it would stand out as being a good one.

Hole 12: Another short par four of around 320 yards. The fairway runs for around 270 yards and then turns very sharply to the left, almost at right angles. You have to play a pitch to a green that is seriously awkward and runs from right to left from the fairway quite sharply.

Hole 13: Hardest par four on the course and I reckon, having played 17 at St Andrews, the hardest par four in the world. It's about 450 yards, but the fairway runs out at 250. There is a line of trees that cuts in from the right, so the fairway plays narrower than it looks and it also sits up above you, so a three wood won't run out of room. Then you face a fairway that restarts and runs out to the right of the green. Left of the fairway is the kind of scrub that you don't even want to walk into. Hit another one. The green itself pokes out into this scrub, so if you want to hit to the green, you have to take it on. At this point, I could not bring myself to hit at the green. I'd aim it there and swing it there and look up and the ball would be heading right again. You then chip across the green onto a slope that makes a 15' putt break about 10'. I made one four on this hole by draining a 25 footer across the slope. AKA I'm a lucky so and so.

Hole 14: Very pretty par three that runs quite steeply downhill. It also has the first water on the course. A lake short and left. There are some very tall trees that run down the left hand side of the hole and my dad who was at the time playing with a "controlled fade" hit this green by hitting it over the shorter trees and missing the tall ones on the left!!!

Hole 15: Second and final par five. This one had been hit about three times the caddies told us. The last time by the Argentinian amateur champion who did it with a drive and a four iron. You drive over a lake to a fairway that slopes uphill and continues to do so all the way to the green. The fairway starts off pretty wide and gets narrower the further up you get, until at the green, it's tighter than a [all references not suitable for a family forum]. My dad again on this hole reduced it to three five woods and a 7 iron. Then, on the green from about forty feet above the hole, the caddy pointed at a spot about six feet from where his ball was and perpendicular to the line to the hole and said "putt at this point as if the hole was here". My dad hit this putt and watched the ball break and gather pace and run all the way down the green and drop in the hole for his par. Caddy earned his tip there and then.

Hole 16: another par four of around 400 yards. You drive across a bunker to a blind fairway. The carry gets longer and longer the further right you go. The green sits next to the lake that you drove across on 15 and if you're on the left of the fairway, you have to hit across the green with the water long. If you're on the right of the fairway you hit down the green, with the water on the right. Much easier shot from the right, but much harder to put it there.

Hole 17: Short par four which has a small sliver of fairway up to about 230 yards. Then waste all the way up to the green which slopes quite steeply from back to front. As long as you don't hit it off line, this represents a breather of a hole.

Hole 18: Final hole is another four. You drive downhill to the fairway - don't miss it - and then uphill to the green. Your approach goes back over the river that runs across the fifth hole. The green is framed like in an amphitheatre with bunkers and rough around the back and again slopes quite severely from back to front.

The whole experience of the place is one to savour. The staff all know who is in which group, so you walk into the bar and have a beer and it just ends up on your bill. I consider myself truly blessed to have had the chance to play this place and if you get the chance to play, take it. Move heaven and earth if you have to, but do it. :crazy:

Ping G400 LST 9° Diamana white 63x
Ping G410 LST 3 wood Diamana Thump
Taylor Made UDI 2 iron Diamana Tensei white 90TX
Titleist 714CB 3, 4
Titleist 714MB 5-PW
Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth 52 and 56 WS
Scotty Cameron Newport 2

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  • 2 months later...
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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 year later...

I know the GM and his son. Used to play and practice here all of the time before I went away for college. This course is straight up ill. Not a very difficult driving course. A lot more about position than distance. Longer hitters will hit quite a few 3-woods or 2 irons off the tees. Poa greens so you have to ram it up hill and just breath on it down hill. Some cruel bunkering schemes going on here. Bunkers 5-10 yards into the pine trees that line the fairways. Wide fairways. I never remember what hole is what because we almost never started our rounds on 1. Par 5's pretty much unreachable. Can make it to the first one if you hit it just in front of Hell's Half Acre, but good luck hitting a club in that can hold the green. My buddy and me always went for it because nobody has ever held that green in 2 before. I've seen plenty hit it over down wind but never been held. The par 5 on the back that starts over the lake is impossible because some kid hit it with 4 iron once and the pro moved the tee back over the lake so that would never happen again.

 

Greatest course I've played in the northeast and ranks near the top I've ever played. Loved every round I played.

Ping g425 LST 9* - HZRDUS Hulk 6.5 65g
Ping g425 LST 14.5* - Project X Smoke Black 70x
Ping g425 17* - Project X Smoke Black 6.5 or TM P70UDI 2 with same shaft
Ping i59 4-PW - DG AMT White X100
Callaway Jaws Raw Black 50*, 54*, 60*- DG TI S400
Odyssey O-Works Black Jailbird Mini w/ Stability Tour
Taylor Made TP5 PIX

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  • 5 months later...

Lucky enough to play twice last year. Incredible course and breathtakingly beautiful on some holes. Quite generous width to fairways in driving areas, and because of this fact, it doesn't rank (to me) as difficult as more traditional "open" style courses like Merion or Oakmont. Or even Copperhead at Innisbrook when set up a week either side of the PODS. Those places will torture you if you don't hit the driver accurately on every hole. As others have stated-- the difficulty is in the approaches. Much trouble there-- but not unfair. Best course in the world??? Like trying to pick the most beautiful woman in the world. Certainly one of the best I have ever played. tom

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[quote name='drisin80' timestamp='1263242782' post='2175077']
Lucky enough to play twice last year. Incredible course and breathtakingly beautiful on some holes. Quite generous width to fairways in driving areas, and because of this fact, it doesn't rank (to me) as difficult as more traditional "open" style courses like Merion or Oakmont. Or even Copperhead at Innisbrook when set up a week either side of the PODS. Those places will torture you if you don't hit the driver accurately on every hole. As others have stated-- the difficulty is in the approaches. Much trouble there-- but not unfair. Best course in the world??? Like trying to pick the most beautiful woman in the world. Certainly one of the best I have ever played. tom
[/quote]
Possibly not even the best course in New Jersey

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