Friday, November 07, 2008
Chase course at Coyote Springs, NV
What a name? (Owner's son = Chase, there you go). I had to ask as it was unusual. A second Nicklaus - Dye direct collaboration is planned. Maybe 10 courses some day!
A note to my rater friends - go visit it. See what Nicklaus' team is doing now. Middle of nowhere, an hour north of Strip, but a very good very well-conditioned course. Go judge it for yourself. Better than expected. If windy, move up a set of tees, many cross winds. It's worthy and can be enjoyed by nearly all levels of golfers.
I don't have any photos, the car reservation was royally effed and we ran out sans Nikon but did see it all by nightfall. Certainly, I have let all of you down, but suffice it to say that there is a great variety of different features to be seen on the site. It is told that the course was built the same time and slightly after Nicklaus & Co. worked with Renaissance. (I now have some photos!)
You'll find interesting fairway as well as green contours, five or so center line bunkers and unavoidably the usual desert three holes, ride the cart -repeat X 6. The individual holes do not have an ordinary or mediocre one, they are all of some merit and a few are really rather good. I suspect the recession will hurt homesite sales as it is very remote, but if the golf course can speak for itself, it will sing beautifully. I do wish the project good fortune, indeed.
Routing: As noted above - desert, loosely it is loops of approximately three holes connected by trails to other loops. This is just how it is done for real estate. It is dictated by economics. In the world of great golf courses, this is one reason that groups such as Desert, Mountain, Real Estate etc, get carved out. Economics dictate it. Without it a course such as this would not get built and this one is good enough that I am OK they did it, otherwise we'd not have these great holes that populate this course. That said the course is utterly unwalkable as a golf course. So be it. It is a necessary dichotomy of the business.
Overall Quality of Individual Holes:
Par 5's are just plain fun and three of four notable. Three has many an option and lay-up vs. go is dependent on tee shot. Shallow green for two shots, deep for well-played three shot tactics.
#5 is lifted from Las Campanas in N.M with three distinct fairways - I enjoyed all three versions of this hole that I have played. You pick a tee shot and pick an approach. A good hole to play from multiple tees on a multi-day tournament or for you to pick different tees on different days. Unmistakeably good!
#11 feels like sailing, you can "Tack" your way around this hole many a way through this and that bunker.
#16 depends wholly on the tee shot and getting a turbo kick. No turbo kick, lay up for best angle, rather simple but effective. Some might feel this is unfair to the short hitter - well it just might be!
Par 3's varied. #3 has a reverse angle than his usual diagonal arrangement where a slice is saved, not punished. Very smart for the first par 3.
#8 is a fantastic hole with a blind landing area that kicks on this up to 250 par 3. Water can be taken completely out of play - a welcome relief on a beasty par 3. A great modern par 3 to many a taste!
#12 has the typical (short left, long right) JWN diagonal arrangement and one of the three or four most demanding greens of a very demanding set.
#17 is like six holes in one hole with a stupendously large segregated green, not sure it's my cup of tea, but it is versatile and the putting can seem unfair if your shot is on the wrong quadrant. Many will absolutely love this hole.
Mike E. 17th
Par 4 highlights are #1 with a heretofore unseen from JWN green on a gentle starter with the bomber having a chance for a mere pitch shot approach.
Four has a great carry bunker on an angle and a centre-line bunker short of the green which is full of good stuff.
#6 Very deceptive tee shot and length. Add perhaps the most complex par 4 green and you will easily remember this hole.
Holes 9 and 10 are loaded with options and strategic flexibility. Great back-to-back pair at the turn.
#13 Centerline bunker makes all the difference in the world here. Superb bunkering.
#14 has a blind tee shot and great suspense.
Here's 18 L and 9 R
#18 Straightforward, but green determines all the betting results. Great press hole, not a ball-buster tee-to-green and that is a good thing.
Course Cohesion: The style is well-maintained throughout the course. One never feels that one has driven off one golf course and onto another. Some of this is due to similar terrain used for the entire course, not a negative. A golf course in a desert is an anomaly. Before places such as Desert Mountain and Shadow Creek, they were almost imaginary. Truly the forerunner is Desert Forest - relatively unique in its cohesiveness and overdone in its similarity of holes, but saved by the world-class green complexes. THE groundbreaker. All current desert courses owe a large debt to these three courses.
Chase at Coyote is one in a very long line of Nicklaus design team courses and it has a wonderful cohesiveness about it.
Green Complexes: These are wonderful and varied green complexes with a maximum of internal contours for the Nicklaus group. Many a time one sees large sweeping curves from the JWN team but many of these greens show smaller shorter more abrupt features within and I think one would find these greens interesting over a very long period of time. They might be a little challenging for the novice but with the superb grass on them, you get what you putt. The greenside bunkering is such that every single green allows for some kind of ground approach, not always the play but always there. Some are wide open, some are closed down to a narrow area or two plus there is a wide range from at to even below grade to moderately elevated complexes. A very enjoyable set.
Bunkering Schema: Again, bunkering is highly varied including four pure middle fairway bunkered holes. Real fairway bunkers, not American rough bunkers. This is a laudable difference for the design group. There are many a strategic bunker to challenge and strategic variety in that there is such width and flexibility that there are options for pin placements, not a single preferred play for nearly every play hole. A big plus.
Conditioning: It's Nicklaus, you know it is perfect. It's in the desert: it has to be perfect!
Trees: No stupid trees, obligatory desert landscaping is tasteful. Complete absence of ornamental hazards noted and approved!
Rest of Club: Coming. They just opened and have a trailer - industry standard.
I would favoribly compare it to Southern Highlands as far as hole-by-hole quality - the two best in the Vegas area. Shadow Creek is not the freak novelty it once was and the quality of the golf is not up to the afore-mentioned duo. Overall - it's easily worth the beautiful one hour drive from the strip. (And you can top 100 m.p.h. if you are so inclined.) I fully intend to re-visit.
Mike E. made me aware of Golf Magazine's "Best you can play" new of this year. Here's their top 5 in that category.
1 - Tetherow - Bend, OR - Best New Course of the Year
2 - Pound Ridge GC - NY
3 - The Chase at Coyote Springs - NV
4 - Journey at Pechanga - Temecula, CA
5 - Wild Rock GC - Wisconsin Dells, Wisc
Mike, who lives in Oregon and has played Tetherow tells me it's really pretty darned good, I haven't played it. But ... I can tell you that Chase at Coyote Springs is in my opinion notably better than Pound Ridge, so there's some validation, I suppose. Pound Ridge also reviewed here earlier this year. Nothing another 50 acres couldn't cure there - very uneven due to routing glitches and not enough land.