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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Tough to Choose: Pine Valley, Augusta, and Cypress Point

A couple of friends of mine visited from New York recently for a golf binge at some of the DC area's better public layouts. As you might imagine, it's a tad difficult to coordinate rides, tee times, and other logistics when you live in the Big Apple. Just leaving the city limits is hard enough. So, they get their fill by playing with me at courses in the more accessible DC Metro area.

After a Saturday of 36 holes at Blue Mash and P.B. Dye, we hit a few of the local watering holes. Very quickly, the topic of conversation turned to golf. My friend Bill asked me if I could only play one of them in my life, which would I choose -- Pine Valley, Augusta National, or Cypress Point. As most golf fans know, Pine Valley is consistently rated the best course in the world. I've never heard a negative thing said about Pine Valley (other than that it can be punishingly difficult if you hit it in the wrong places). but my decision came down to the latter two courses. Maybe because I know enough people in the Philly/South Jersey area who can get me on Pine Valley, the allure is slightly less than Cypress or Augusta. I'm not sure, but it doesn't get my engines going as much as the opportunity to play Alister MacKenzie's masterpieces.

I told Bill that either course would be fine with me. He pressed me on it and said I had to choose one. I picked Augusta. Why? Well, I've walked Augusta, and it blew my mind from a design standpoint and for its ability to maintain a natural look in a very manufactured environment. Plus, some pretty decent golfers tee it up there every spring at a little tournament started by Robert Tyre Jones. It has the "it" factor.

Cypress Point is a VERY close second. The combination of a second-to-none property, Alister MacKenzie, and unparalleled exclusiveness makes Cypress very appealing to me. I hope I can find a way to play them all. My dad has, and he's one of the only people I know who can claim that. If I only play one of the three, I'll be a very happy golfer. In the meantime, Bill and I will have to continue discussing what "could be".


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