Author Archives: Jay Bastian

Get back to Tot Hill Farm in 2024

Tot Hill Farm Golf Club

Only seven golf courses solely attributable to his name, but what an impact Mike Strantz had on golf course architecture. After originally intending study studio art, he moved on to agronomy and received a degree in turf grass management from Miami University. After a stretch with Tom Fazio as a shaper, he set out on his own. Several Myrtle Beach area renovations later, his first solo effort was Caledonia Golf & Fish Club on Pawley’s Island, SC. That was followed by True Blue, Royal New Kent, Stonehouse, Tobacco Road, and Tot Hill Farm.

Tot Hill is located about an hour northwest of Pinehurst on the southwest side of Asheboro, NC in the Piedmont region. It’s routed over a ranging tract of Uwharrie Mountain foothills with plunging fairways terrorized by Betty McGees Creek, massive boulders, a couple of ponds, and natural edged sand bunkers. The course reopened this fall with a significant renovation after new ownership acquired the course. In total, $3 Million was spent on removing 1,500+ trees, restoration of the sand bunkers, zoysia grass greens, in addition to renovation and repair of the barns and clubhouse. The result yields a challenging and truly enjoyable layout-a faithful restoration to Mr. Strantz’s original design standards.

What in the world is Rees Jones doing in Johnsonville, SC, population 1,480??

The Wellman Golf Club

Rees Jones, “The Open Doctor”, son of Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and architect of 250+ golf courses worldwide has recently completed, along with Bryce Swanson, the Wellman Golf Club renovation. The golf club is located in Johnsonville, SC midway between and about an hour each from Florence and Myrtle Beach. Why, you may ask, did Rees Jones, who’s had a hand in Bethpage, Pinehurst No. 2, Baltusrol, and Torrey Pines to name a few of the notables, take on this project in a town of 1,480 residents?

First, the course and the community reminded him of his wife’s hometown just up the road in Red Springs, NC. The golf course was integral to their community and Johnsonville has been without a course for 10+ years. Second, it was his way of giving back to the game and contribute to the opportunity for public golfers to play a private club experience.

Rees Jones discussing the renovation and rebirth of the Wellman Golf Club

Wellman has been around since the mid-1960s with the second nine completed in 1971. It was designed by a couple of golf course architects with chops in their day, Ellis Maples and Ed Seay. The course closed in 2010 and sat dormant for the ensuing period. Fortunately, the fairways and roughs were somewhat maintained by a local resident. In 2020 Florence County purchased the course for $575,000. Subsequently, they entered into a long term lease with the City of Johnsonville to operate the course. A penny sales tax raised up to $5 million to restore the property and reopen the clubhouse and facilities, and on November 11 the City held its grand opening.

The course is a classic parkland layout winding through mature hardwoods and pines over slightly rolling terrain with a Pinehurst feel. There’s numerous ponds and water features in play, slight and dramatic doglegs, and a host of sand traps defending the small, raised greens and the occasional fairway. It also features a reverse “Waterloo” with a nod to the Dunes in Myrtle Beach at the par 5, 11th, and a closing par 3 of 220 yards over water from the tips! There’s five sets of tees with the middle white tees at 6,347 yards.

The Wellman Golf Club

Eldorado Golf Course in Cadillac-how original!

Eldorado Golf Course, Cadillac, MI

Cadillac stopped production of its Eldorado line in 2002 after 50 years of production. Fortunately, this Eldorado, the golf course, is still in production and would be described, like the automobile, as a fine classic. It’s located is on the south side of Cadillac off US 131 at MI 115 to the north.

It’s a quintessential, northern Michigan parkland layout through a mix of dense mature hardwood corridors and those more open and forgiving off the tee. There’s water features in play on 1/3 of the holes yet only a scattering of sand bunkers and generous green complexes. It can play to 7,134 yards, 72.8/137, course/slope off the tips with four shorter tees, designed by Bob Myer.

The best public golf courses in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho

The Coeur d’ Alene Public Golf Club

The Coeur d’ Alene Golf Club is located just west of downtown of I-90 at Northwest Blvd. to the north. The Coeur d’ Alene area boasts a half-dozen excellent public access golf courses in our guide-a veritable golf destination.

The layout is classic, Northwest style golf course featuring narrow, evergreen and pine tree lined fairways along a host of doglegs with just less than 30 sand bunkers defending the modest greens of varying shapes and sizes. There’s four sets of tees from 4,280 yards to 6,276 yards, 69.5/120, course/slope ratings off the tips.

Fort Myers best golf courses-Heron’s Glen Golf Club

Heron’s Glen Golf Club, N. Fort Myers, FL

According to our guide to the best golf courses you can play in Fort Myers, there are eleven golf courses open to public play within 30 miles of downtown Fort Myers. Today, we profile Herons Glen which is between US 41 and I-75 in North Fort Myers within a residential development.

The layout typifies Florida golf as it’s a centerpiece for a community of single family homes. There’s homes bordering one or both sides of the fairways throughout, a generous amount of conventional, pot, and waste area sand bunkers, and water in play on most holes. There’s multiple tees from 4,168 yards to 6,458 yards off the tips, the white tees are 5,703 yards, 67.0/119, course/slope ratings, designed by Florida based architect, Ron Garl.

Kansas City Golf Trail-The St. Andrews Golf Club

St Andrews Golf Club, Shawnee Mission

St. Andrews Golf Club is on the south side of Kansas City between I-35 and US 69 on 133rd St in a municipal park and sports complex.

A couple of items here. The locals refer to this course as “Slow Andrews” owing to the pace of play, but after all, it is a municipal golf course. Second, if you’re looking work on your game, the practice facility here is very well done with target greens on the range in addition to short game and putting greens.

The course winds through thick, three lined fairway over slightly rolling land with a mix of generous and confined corridors and numerous doglegs. There’s less than 20 sand bunkers in total, but water features in the form of lakes and streams come into play on 1/3 of the holes. There’s five sets of tees from 4,160 yards to 6,362 yards, 71.0/1126, course/slope ratings off the tips, designed by Craig Schreiner and John Nash.

Olmos Basin Golf Course, San Antonio

Olmos Basin Golf Course

Olmos Basin is a municipal golf course located just north of downtown of Highway 281 at Basse Road to the West. It’s part of the Alamo City Golf Trail which includes eight fine golf courses for all levels of play.

The layout is parkland style featuring rolling, tree lined fairways mostly straightforward save for several slight doglegs. There’s Olmos Creek and several ponds in play as well as 50+ sand bunkers, both conventional and pot. There’s five sets of tees from 4, 878 yards to 7,038 yards at the tips, the white trees play to. 6,026 yards, 69.4/125, course/slope ratings. courses, designed by George Hoffman in 1963, redesigned by Jeffrey Blume.

Wild Turkey Trace

Wild Turkey Trace

Wild Turkey Trace is about 30 minutes west of Lexington on the west side of Lawrenceburg on US 92.

The layout is over slightly rolling, central Kentucky terrain with only a few homes alongside a couple of fairways. The fairways are are generally open with scattered tress and there’s multiple ponds/water hazards in play, but only 11 sand bunkers mostly defending the somewhat generous, oval greens. There’s four tees from 4,816 yards to 6,383 yards, 70.2/119, course/slope ratings, par of 71, designed by Bob Eitherton.

Best public Golf Courses in Idaho Falls

Sage Lakes Golf Course

Idaho Falls is not generally thought of when it comes to a golf destination. It’s located a couple of hours west of the Tetons along the Snake River with a generous amount of mostly outdoor activities available. Here’s a good overview from the Visit Idaho Website.

It also could be considered a definite golf destination with five golf courses located within a 30 mile radius of town and easily accessible on I-15. Check out our guide to the best golf courses you can play in Idaho Falls here. Sage Lakes is one of the better courses, a municipal layout on the north side of Idaho Falls between I-15 and US 20 on the east side of the Snake River.

The straightforward layout borders a residential development with homes along the fairways on 1/3 of the holes. It’s generally flat with scattered trees defining the fairways, 15 sand bunkers mostly green side, and ponds and small streams/canals in play on eight holes. There’s four sets of tees with the blue tees playing to 6,566 yards, 68.2/113 course/slope ratings, designed by William Neff.

Hendricks Fields Golf Course

Hendricks Fields Golf Course

Hendricks Field, originally Branch Brook, is a municipal golf course located in Belleville off the Garden State Expressway at Belleville Avenue to the east. It’s located 18 miles west of Manhattan through the Lincoln Tunnel and onto Route 3.

The layout is a classic from the early 1900s featuring some unique Scottish design elements including the Principal’s Nose bunkers, a Biarritz green, a reverse Redan, and a par 3 almost completely surrounded by bunkers. There’s a stream impacting play on several holes, a host of sand bunkers both defending the landing zones as well as the green complexes, and narrow tree lined fairway corridors.There’s five sets of tees from 4,549 yards to 6,150 yards off the tips, 69.2/123, course/slope ratings, originally designed by Charles “Steam Shovel” Banks with a redesign by Stephen Kay. Banks was a protege of Seth Raynor, who was originally designated to build this course He was given the steam shovel moniker for the prodigious amount of soils he moved using steam shovels to build golf courses.