Friday, March 16, 2012
On Phoenixes & Rainy Days: Highbridge HIlls SC Review, Pt 4
Pt 4... Stay Gold, Ponyboy (or Money Disc)
We have reviewed the Woodland Bear. We have reviewed Granite Ridge. Now we touch on the big daddy of Highbridge Hills... the Gold Course! We hit Granite Ridge in the morning and Gold after lunch. Play time was approximately 5 hours. That's 5... with a 5. Course length is ~8500 ft. Of the 18 holes, only four are under 300 ft; three are between 300-400 ft; and fully eleven holes are over 400 ft, including the (self-proclaimed) longest hole in the world, Hole #8 coming in at over 1300 ft.
This course was the pièce de résistance of our trip, the source of our desires, and the sun decided to show itself as we began to play. Since this was to be our most anticipated round of disc EVER MRK decided to make things a little more interesting. The winner of the round would be awarded a disc. Not just any disc; the disc with the sweetest name a disc could ever dream of... the Money Putter.
Let me tell you straight out that the best kept course I have ever seen resides in East Bethel, MN and is known as Blue Ribbon Pines. This one is a close enough second. The lines were well laid and well taken care of. To be fair, Jon had just gone out the day before to mow it all down. Jon's good that way. It was just a beautiful course. Gold offers a nice change in elevation; good use of vegetation and stone. It even mixed in a little water, though it really didn't factor into the course much. Gold does everything you hope a golf course to do. As Timmy Gill puts it, it rewards good throws and punishes bad ones.
Only a couple things work against the Gold course. A stage was left in disrepair and disuse after it's initial construction for the World Amateurs played there years before (round abouts hole 18 if memory serves). It just gummed up the aesthetics. Hole 16 was also a bit of a let down. Supposedly an island hole, the water had long since dried up, leaving what had once been (I'm sure) a very comely wooden ring around the island. The ring had unfortunately suffered a breach and the whole thing was in the process of falling apart apparently due to the extreme weight of the soil it was holding up.
Everything else was finger-licking good. Notable holes included hole 2(?) with a nice little elevated putt. I enjoyed hole 18 with it's terraced shots and an elevated green. Hole 10 was a tricky shot choice involving heavy pines. Another hole (of which number I forget, maybe 11) offered a neat little shot over a pond before anhyzering back right into this protected grove hidden within the side of a small hill. Hole 16's island green was a neat idea, even if she isn't as pretty as she used to be. And the most memorable of all was the famous hole 8, the big guy. It looked to be a ball golf hole converted wholesale into the longest permanent hole in the world, a hole that has garnered a legit par 6 from the PDGA. This thing wasn't just long... it was beautiful. Three tee pads in terrace formation lead to a gradual decline in elevation, bracketed on each side by tall pines. This opens up into a breath-taking view of the valley. A few trees line the right side of the fairway before emptying into grove of trees much closer to the basket, forcing a picky hyzer shot that better go as far as you think it will if you want to clear the brush and vegetation or a lay up anhyzer before a short approach and putt. Simply stunning. My only regret is turning over my Nuke WAY too much, crashing it into the treeline on the right and essentially wasting my first two shots on that drive and my recovery shot.
MRK and I ended the round in a tie, but since this was MY bachelor party and I can cry if I want to, I can now gaze upon the Money Putter neatly mounted near my home office, reminding me of that wonderful trip... that wonderful course... Highbridge Gold.
Stay gold, Ponyboy... stay gold