Where To Golf Next

U.S. Amateur gets final tweak

An architectural rendering of the new Palmetto Traverse putting course that will debut later this summer in Santee, S.C. [Photo: Lake Marion Golf Course]

The U.S. Amateur Championship routinely opens with stroke-play rounds contested on two courses. Such will be the case again in August when Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2 and Course No. 4 host the opening 36 holes. 

Never, though, has the 36-hole championship final unfolded over two courses. That will change in August as the morning round will be played on No. 4, followed by the afternoon round on No. 2. The No. 4 course was recently redesigned by Gil Hanse, while No. 2, a Donald Ross design, was restored by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 2011.

"We are so pleased that competitors will have the opportunity to play the 2019 U.S. Amateur on No. 2, one of the most revered tests in the game, and No. 4, which will present players with a new set of challenges,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director.

This is not the first time the USGA and Pinehurst have gone outside the box. In 2014, the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open were played on Course No. 2 in successive weeks.

As courses seek to enhance the golfing experience, more are turning to the addition of 18-hole putting courses. 

The concept of a putting course is nothing new, as they are common throughout the United Kingdom. The most recognizable is the Himalayas that sits next to St. Andrews’ Old Course. They are popping up with more frequency here in the U.S. 

In 2012, Pinehurst unveiled Thistle Dhu. Two years later, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort opened the Punchbowl. The Kapalua Resort in Lahaina, Hawaii, has the Golf Academy Putting Course. 

Lake Marion Golf Course in Santee, S.C., is expected join the list between mid-August and early-September when it unveils Palmetto Traverse, a 35,000-square-foot putting course designed by Kris Spence and patterned after the Himalayas.

The course will feature most everything a golfer would expect while playing 18 holes — a pair of small bunkers within the surface area, along with plateaus, terraces, swales, rolls, valleys, spines and slopes.

“The design should provide some wild fun, with putts as long as 260 feet possible and over some of the most varied terrain I have ever designed into a putting surface,” said Spence, who is based in Greensboro, N.C.

The City of Edina will welcome Minnesota’s first 18-hole municipal course since 2003 with the opening of Braemar Golf Course, which sits on the site of an old 27-hole course. 

The course was designed by Richard Mandell Golf Architecture, based in Pinehurst, and each month the firm is releasing sneak peaks of six new holes.  …

Those golfers passing through the Arlington, Texas, area, trying to remember where the old Chester W. Ditto Golf Course is located will come up empty. That’s because it’s been replaced by the Texas Rangers Golf Club. 

TRGC is the first MLB-themed golf course and is obviously partnered with the Texas Rangers, who play just 2 miles away at Global Life Park. The course is not tricked up to be baseball-like, but it does have some unique qualities. 

“In baseball, the on-deck circle is where the next batter warms up while the batter is at home plate facing the pitcher,” John Colligan, of Colligan Golf Design, which oversaw the reno, told Golf Course Architecture. “At Texas Rangers Golf Club, the on-deck circle is a 30-foot circle of artificial turf adjacent to the first tee where the next group can warm up by hitting shots at the targets within the driving range. This on-deck circle has the colors and shape of the Texas Rangers logo.”