yesterday's tourney course, today's intermediate park course
Pros: -uses a variety of terrains, elevation, and creeks, and a pond
-longer and shorter holes, ranging from wide open to fairly wooded
-concrete pads (some with hole numbers spray painted)
-tee signs, the old school ones
-at least 2 pin positions on each hole, up to as many as 6
-offers a good challenge for Ams and a definite challenge for rec players and beginners
-one of two courses on site, the more challenging of the two
-course map at the start
-plenty of parking
Cons: -long walks between holes
-unintuitive layout, hard to follow
-some signs missing or hard to read
-signs don't show what the current pin position is, plus many blind shots
-more bridges are needed to cross the creeks in various places
-definitely some filler holes
Other Thoughts: The back course at Albert Oakland started as a temporary tournament course in the 90's (see Three Putts's review below). The issues I had playing this course were easily understood once I realized it was conceived as a tournament layout where long walks and poor navigation wouldn't matter in a tournament setting. Since becoming a permanent course, the back course offers a more challenging layout than the front course, a Steady Ed design from 1979.
The multiple pin positions on each hole add a lot to the replay value for locals. They can be frustrating for the traveler and some scouting ahead will be necessary since there are no indications on the tee signs for the current position. New tee signs would do wonders for this course. Another improvement that would be welcome are some bridges or better creek crossings. The creeks are in play at least a few holes but as many as almost half, depending on the pin position. The pond is in play on 16 & 17 and is a nice extra feature before the round ends.
There is a nice variety of holes as the course works its way through distinct areas of the park. The first 6 holes are mostly open with a few tree lines in play and offer a chance to air out some drives. Holes 7-11 & 15 play in a more wooded area with defined fairways and tough rough. Holes 12-14 are in an area that is a bit more open but still has dotted trees to work around or under to find the green. The last 3 holes are back in the open area at the start of the course, 16 & 17 playing across the pond.
I enjoyed this park for the two courses available, the history, and some fun holes. With a local guide, you can get a round in on both courses pretty quickly. I'm curious if traffic has slowed here now that Harmony Bends is open but I imagine a lot of people might not want to play HB every week. The front course here is probably the best place in town for beginners and the back course is something for them to graduate to as their skills improve.
The back course is fun despite the long walks between holes and poor navigation. It's worth playing if you have plenty of time in Columbia. But if you only have time to play one course in town, then you should definitely go to Harmony Bends.
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1 Helpful / 1 Not
Where's the next tee?
Pros: Good distance variety. Once you figure out where you're going, the hole usually provides some challenge. The front nine of the back course offer plenty of opportunity to go for big distance. The back nine of the back course is more technical, with some interesting blind shots.
Cons: Poor navigability. Got very confused several times, because the front and back courses overlap toward the end of the back course. The arrows directing you to the next tee are all spun around on the poles they're mounted on, so they're usually worthless.
Other Thoughts: I did not play the front course. It appeared mostly wide open and not nearly as technical.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Holes are all challenging.
Very nice tee pads.
Water comes into play.
Ace runs even for my short arm.
Multiple and varied pin locations.
Cons: Most of the signs are useless.
No flow to the course.
Hole #2 no shot for short armed old man, I know sounds like a personal problem.
Other Thoughts: If I had not played with someone that had played this course I would have been lost, to me one of the most important things a course needs to take care of is good signs.
I really liked how the water was brought into play but I do think some bridges would be a great idea.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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