Playing the Four Corners of GolfNow
Golf is known as a sport in which you meet interesting people. It can also, from time to time, bring us to some very interesting, out-of-the-way places. Here’s a rundown of some unique, off-the-beaten-path courses available on GolfNow for the adventurous golfer looking to make long-lasting memories.
The Desert Oasis
California’s Imperial Valley is one of the richest agricultural tracts in the world in which farmers harvest five crops a year. It’s also a flat, sand-covered expanse known for high summer heat and maybe three or four days of rain a year.
Traveling east out of Holtville, 15 miles from the Mexico border, out of the shimmering distance there appears a patch of lushness – green grass is quite foreign in this region. Barbara Worth Resort & Country Club, built in 1927, stands out like an oasis in the desert.
Barbara Worth is in a “somewhat desolate region of the state, [and] the wind can be brutal at times, making some of the holes – in particular the par-4 18th a real test.” Designed thoughtfully, the course – though relatively flat with a side-by-side hole layout – is routed wonderfully based on the terrain offerings, especially considering construction options were limited in 1927 without modern equipment.
Tabernash, Colo., home to Pole Creek Golf Club, rests at an elevation of 8,333 feet above sea level. It isn’t the highest course in the United States – Mount Massive Golf Club in Leadville, Colo. has that distinction at just over 10,000 feet – but it certainly deserves an honorable mention.
Mount Massive, however, is not a Gary Player-designed layout like Pole Creek, which winds through the fir and pine and creeks of the central Rockies. This course will challenge the best golfers, but even the mid-level handicappers will enjoy prodigious drives as the elevation adds about 15-percent in carry distance (meaning that 240-yard drive is now closer to 280)
Be forewarned, though. At this elevation frost delays are common. But then, so are bear and elk sightings.
The Gabriola Golf and Country Club in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, is located due west of Vancouver on Vancouver Island, which requires a ferry ride or a two-hour drive from picturesque Victoria to the south.
It’s a nine-hole course located on a ridge above Departure Bay in Nanaimo with views of the channel and the town, not to mention statuesque fir trees.
Nanaimo’s location in the center of Vancouver Island has earned it the nickname, “Hub City,” but with its numerous charming taverns and restaurants, as well as the world-famous Bathtub races – a unique, three-day, modified-bathtub-watercraft festival held in the harbor, it’s now called the Hub, Pub and Tub town.
Warm Caribbean breezes and cloudless skies comprise the perfect golf day for many. Those elements are plentiful, as are high-quality shot values and stunning views at the Port Royal Golf Club in Bermuda.
This Robert Trent Jones Sr. design opened in 1970, recently underwent a $14 million renovation and now serves as host for the season-ending PGA Grand Slam of Golf, an elite 36-hole tournament for the season’s four major championship winners.
The par-3 16th, which can play more than 200 yards, is the course’s best known hole, but every hole blends blends ocean views and parkland features among the tropical warmth and humidity, making it a very good reason to make an island escape.
End of the Continent
In the northwest corner of Ireland, in the far-away county of Belmullet, lays Carne Golf Links, a links course that has near-spiritual qualities. Although it opened in 1992, the last course designed by Eddie Hackett looks like it came out of 1882 with its rolling mounds, fescue-topped dunes and sharp, distinct hollows.
Golf architect Jim Engh, who works out of Colorado and has won numerous “Best of” design honors, had a hand in some of the course’s routing and features. Engh regularly returns to Carne just to walk the fairways and absorb the dimensions and shapes, not to mention the natural beauty.
Belmullet County is about 150 miles due north of Shannon International Airport, but the trip includes those well-known Irish roads the width of a New York sidewalk through sheep country and bog farms. “Can’t get there from here,” almost applies, until you cross the Bridge into Belmullet and, in time you get glimpses of BlacksodBay, Inishglora, Inishkea and Achill Islands.
Featured image of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains courtesy of Winter Park Resort.