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Rensselaer, IN 
Alwoods Share

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 B = Be Bery Bery fun!

1    6/20/2010   6/23/2010
Review By: Dave242
Played: 384  Reviewed: 276  Exp: 23.6 Years
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I am thrilled to have been personally shown around by Greg who is one of the designers and main workers who has slaved to create a unique and very fun course. I would LOVE to give the course a higher grade than I have after hanging with him and meeting the owner, Al. But, I want to be fair and impartial and stick with my system/ here is what I personally like and how this course stacks up in my list of 18 hole courses:

1) Holes with good risk/reward. Fair, but harsh punishment for bad decisions or execution. == B+
(This is a strength of the design on this course! Although there are not a lot of decisions as what route to take, there is a good level of punishment on many holes in going for birdie rather than playing it safe. I am not sure why exactly, but I found the mirror image par 4 & par 5 holes (OB all along the left of the first hole and along the right of the 2nd) to be annoying. I think it is because the single strand of rusty barbed wire marking the OB line seemed artificial and unnecessarily punitive.)

2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me. I'm a Blue level player (950ish skill) who throws 300' accurately, 360' max. == A-
(This course sets up perfectly for me to have a good, challenging and fun time.....and should do the same for people matching this profile.)

3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == B+
(Very good use of the mild terrain available. Great balance of shots (left, right, up, down, and even 2 up-n-overs), use of length/width ratios, and pinch-points. Extremely creative and well-done use of land. Makes for very high fun-factor mixed with challenge/reward.)

4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == C
(The canopy of mature trees that the course plays under is the highlight of this category. I understand why the understory has been almost completely cleared (and even mowed!) This is GREAT for erasing the lost disc potential etc, but it really makes things feel a lot more brown than what lifts my spirits and recharges my batteries when playing courses in the woods. Although this course is FAR removed from the hustle-bustle, the old vehicles strewn around and dilapidated feel of some other aspects deterred from the beauty. I feel bad publishing this as this is a private course provided by the kindness of Al's heart (and lots of sweat of the brow and $$$).....but this is just my honest visceral/gut reaction.)

5) Bonus points for multi-throw holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them. == C-
(I love it any time there are multi-throw holes designed into a course, but as stated in section 1 the artificial OB took away from the experience to me rather than added to it.)
Other Thoughts: It's all about feeding the addiction, so I ranked this course subjectively based on my own "personal addiction factor". The grades above tell how well this course will draw me back to itself again and again and again. See my profile for specifics on my rating philosophy.

I fancy myself as a connoisseur of good course design and I am a competitive Blue level (950-ish rated) with mid-level power (accurate to 300' with max D of 360'). Since I have played a decent number of courses (150+ 18-hole, 90+ 9-hole as of late 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar addiction tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they choose courses to play and explore.

I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me.....and that's the fun of things here.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful.

 call ahead for guide

1    3/27/2010   4/20/2010
Review By: tallpaul
Played: 887  Reviewed: 137  Exp: 29.6 Years
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Very challenging wooded course.
20 holes (two extra that eliminate walks between holes/but, you won't find them without a guide)
Hanging basket, #13
Three par 4's and one par 5 (again, you will probably not know how to negotiate these longer holes without guide) Designers must be applauded for working these into course.
Picnic tables and benches abound.
Pond not in play; but, available for swimming, with diving board and the works.
Camping on site.
Awesome hosts....One of the main designers played with Steady Ed and one of Steady's best buds, often; in days gone by. This provides good stories and also lets you know that from a design standpoint, these guys have been paying attention since the beginning days. With that said, this course is modern design, not old school pitch and putt. At the same time, Ed's influence is felt, and shaping shots through the woods is the requirement here; rather than hucking plastic 400+ feet....
Don't think that because I'm saying the footage is not extreme, that this is a short course. EVERY hole requires a quality drive of 250+, and with the par 4's and 5's involved, there are a few that require a quality drive of over 300 ft. through narrow lanes.
@5,500 ft. is length of course, and while this is not long; it is all shot shaping. Well shaped shots can be rewarded with birds on many holes. 5 of the 7 of us playing; were blue level players, and playing best shot doubles; and playing par 4s and 5s as listed, is what it took to end under par.
One of the designer's sons is hoping to do well in distance competition at Worlds, and so, these guys know distance; but they use it in conjunction with shot selection; and he did not have a major advantage here.
Elevation used well. There are a number of hill top greens, which put roll away upshot/putts into effect.
Short and long tees available (we played longs, and shorts are tougher to locate) Tees mostly marked with orange flags or stakes.
Cons: Call course designer Alan, at 219-866-7835 to arrange for him, his brother, or son to meet up, otherwise, this course may be a navigation nightmare. (There are signs on trees, with correct footage to pin, but no numbers on the baskets, and no directional arrows to next tee. Combine this with the fact that the rubber mats blend with the surroundings, and that orange flags may not always be in place, and I imagine one could spend quite a bit of time on nearly every hole, determining where to go next.)
Home made baskets. (During the 16 course tour that was begun, playing here; we played a number of private/home made basket, courses. These were some of the best we played.) Baskets are near traditional (i.e. Mach 2 with upgrade assembly); with an extra set of inner chains.
Short tees, even less well marked than longs.
Rubber mat tees. (Again, these are done well, and it was wet/spring time when we were there. Slippage was not an issue.)
There are no signs to the course from roadways; make sure your directions are in order.
Other Thoughts: A number of Worlds 2010 players are planning on camping here during the championships. Therefore, this course will be getting more exposure this year. Our crew is planning on returning and utilizing the camping possibility not long after Worlds. It is a bold claim for a 5,500 ft. course to be the toughest in the state of Indiana, and, I'm not sure I would go that far; but, this is a course to put on your list. As noted more than once; get in touch with Alan, Dustin, or Jim, for guidance and history. (They met us at 8 a.m. in the morning!).
This course, along with the Lemon Lake complex, and Rogers Lakewood Park, makes the area a destination spot for sure. Considering that camping is rather tough to secure, near Lemon, this is perhaps the spot to make your home base.
I grade pretty tough in regards to ratings; and there are navigational issues usually inherent at private courses. You should consider this on the high end of 3.5 rated courses....(and, remember that 3.5 is considered VERY GOOD)

10 of 10 people found this review helpful.

  Great and Fun Course!!!

1    11/2/2009   11/2/2009
Review By: jimmym1981
Played: 1  Reviewed: 1
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Great layout with course! Many fun and challenging shots! Woods are tight in some places, but fairways are cut out to help make it easier! Different elevations make this course great!
Cons: Tee signs are on trees, but maps are hard to read and alot of the baskets do not have the number you are shooting at. Also, it kinda gets confusing to find the next tee since there are no directions. I found that the heavier chains arent as forgiving as the regulation chains are.
Other Thoughts: I had a great time on this course. Its a private course, but the owner put alot of time into making it nice and laid out quite well. If you are around the area, i would definately suggest you play it!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.

 Very Fun Course

5+    8/11/2008   8/11/2009
Review By: oxalate
Played: 107  Reviewed: 5  Exp: 16.6 Years
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course has great balance. There are long and short holes, tight and somewhat open holes, elevation changes, hyzer and anhyzer holes. The course is on fairly sandy ground which drains very well, so the terrain is usually in good shape even after a rain. Although most of the course is wooded, there is very little undergrowth so insects, poisonous plants and lost discs are normally not problems. Alan and his family are gracious hosts.
Cons: Maybe good, maybe bad - the baskets are all homemade and catch very well - probably too well as the chains are heavier than commercially available baskets. To facilitate flow, a couple holes play to the same basket and a couple holes use the same fairway to different basket locations - normally not issues due to being a private course. A welcome addition would be creation of a few holes with true pars above 3 as space is not an issue.
Other Thoughts: Another wonderful private course that is definitely worth checking out. Call ahead of time and you could probably arrange for camping with all of the amenities.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.

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