2015 Golf Season in Review

For the first couple of years I wrote my blog, I did a write-up at the end of each year to put the season in to words, and to commend the courses I felt were the best that year in multiple categories.

As my site has continued to grow, this has become less academic, especially since I joined a private club a few years back and am obviously playing a much smaller sample of different courses each season.

It doesn’t hurt to write a little review, though, especially for my own pleasure to look back at in the future at what was the golf season of 2015.

The winter of 2015 extended a little longer than normal, with most golf courses opening in early April. This was a couple weeks earlier than in 2014, but months behind some years. I am already praying that 2016 will see course openings back in the February timeline again… Fingers crossed.

With last night’s first snow of the Winter, I figure this is as good a time as any to wrap things up… Not that I won’t be out there if/when the weather warms up and the grounds are healthy enough to play!

Most of my rounds this year were played at my home course of North Hills Country Club, which under the tutelage of Randy DuPont was in exceptional shape again all year round. My season was a roller coaster of sorts, starting out with an index of 12.1 and getting down to 9.0, shooting consistently for a while in the low 80’s.

Then I became a bad nine, right around September first, shooting 87-89 and losing money in my Saturday games. In games where the total monetary payout ranges from $3-5, I actually lost $45 one day. Ouch.

That is enough about my game, though – what about the courses from 2015?

2015: Best Public Golf Course Played

1. Pacific Dunes (OR)

Rated the number two public course by Golf Digest, number two modern course by GolfWeek, and number one public course in the country by Golf.com, Pacific Dunes is coastal golf at its very best. Designed by Tom Doak and opened in 2001, Pacific Dunes blends perfectly rugged Bandon landscape with ingenious hole layouts and execution.

Pacific Dunes hole 4

Pacific Dunes hole 4

Pacific Dunes Website

2. Streamsong, Red Course (FL)

Just a few years old, the Red course at Streamsong has already amassed an incredible number of accolades, including the number 18 public course in the United States.

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Upcoming Golf Trip: Bandon Dunes (OR)

Bandon. Dunes.

For years, I have looked at the website (Bandon Dunes website) and dreamed of the day when I can get there and play golf at the Mecca of American public golf courses.

A lot of the guys at my home course North Hills Country Club have been to Bandon, and they all rave about how incredible the golf and resort is. I will get my opportunity to go there someday, I kept telling myself.

In a month and a half, I will finally have the chance to play and experience all that Bandon Dunes has to offer, and whoa am I excited!

Home to four of Golf Digest’s top fourteen tracks in the country, as well as arguably the greatest [13-hole] par three course anywhere, Bandon Dunes has built a massive reputation in the golf world since Mike Keiser introduced his original masterpiece in 1999. Bandon Dunes, in fact, beat out the Straits course at Whistling Straits for the best new upscale course in the country that year.

Home to the second-rated (behind only Pebble Beach) Pacific Dunes, seventh-rated Bandon Dunes, twelfth-rated Old MacDonald and fourteenth-rated Bandon Trails, it was the success that Keiser saw in this unbelievably remote destination on the southwestern Oregon coast that led him to create a similar upscale destination on the East Coast in Nova Scotia (Cabot Links), and next right here in my home state of Wisconsin with the highly talked-about Sand Valley project.

Pacific Dunes:
Designer: Tom Doak (2001)
Ranked #2 in Golf Digest’s 2015-16 America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses (#1: Pebble Beach Golf Links)
Ranked #2 in GolfWeek’s 2015 Best Modern Courses (#1: Sand Hills Golf Club)

13th hole at Pacific Dunes (courtesy of Bandon Dunes website)

13th hole at Pacific Dunes (photo courtesy of Bandon Dunes website)

Bandon Dunes:
Designer: David McLay Kidd (1999)
Ranked #7 in Golf Digest’s 2015-16 America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses
Ranked #8 in GolfWeek’s 2015 Best Modern Courses

15th hole at Bandon Dunes (courtesy of website)

15th hole at Bandon Dunes (photo courtesy of Bandon Dunes website)

Old MacDonald:
Designers: Tom Doak, Jim Urbina (2010)
Ranked #12 in Golf Digest’s 2015-16 America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses
Ranked #5 in GolfWeek’s 2015 Best Modern Courses

6th hole at Old MacDonald (photo courtesy of Bandon Dunes website)

6th hole at Old MacDonald (photo courtesy of Bandon Dunes website)

Bandon Trails:
Designers: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (2005)
Ranked #14 in Golf Digest’s 2015-16 America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses
Ranked #21 in GolfWeek’s Best Modern Courses

14th hole at Bandon Trails (photo courtesy of Bandon Dunes website)

14th hole at Bandon Trails (photo courtesy of Bandon Dunes website)

Bandon Preserve:
Designer: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (2012)

2nd hole on the Bandon Preserve 13-hole par 3 course (photo courtesy of Bandon Dunes website)

2nd hole on the Bandon Preserve 13-hole par 3 course (photo courtesy of Bandon Dunes website)

Sand Valley is slated to open to members (his 155 investors who contributed $50,000 apiece) in 2016, and to the general public in 2017. Keiser’s winning recipe of a steady dose of Coore/Crenshaw and McLay Kidd is the plan for the first two courses at this highly anticipated site with enough land for five to six world-class tracks.

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