Courses strive to create chaos, to have players debating which hole was its best during the post-round beer.
True Blue Golf Club took a big swing at doing that, crafting what has been a dialogue two-plus decades in the making. From start to finish, different strokes for different folks has led us down an avenue in which we at least have to think about it.
Somehow, our brains don’t explode.
Mike Strantz’s design here isn’t necessarily in direct contrast to his original Grand Strand layout, True Blue’s sister course, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club. But it stands out all its own for what it delivers hole after hole after hole.
Picking our favorite five was no easy task.
5. NO. 2, PAR 4, 335 YARDS (pictured right)
A huge landing zone so early in a round is always going to be a player’s favorite. What stands out about the second hole, though, is how Strantz set the tone for what’s to come. One oversized waste bunker creates a target off the tee. Another one off-set right tells you where not to go. And then, while attacking the green, what is essentially a third frames the green. It’s a beautiful way to get your point across without penalizing players a golf ball for an errant shot.
4. NO. 16, PAR 3, 181 YARDS (top photo)
Par 3s so often include sand, water or length, but rarely all three. On No. 16, no stone was left unturned. All that water between the back three tees and the green is important. So, too, is the skinny waste bunker separating it from the green or the crazy big one to the left. Strantz made it all work with this type of distance by tossing in an approach zone shy of the green that rewards those who can keep it straight – even if they don’t have the necessary power.
3. NO. 18, PAR 4 406 YARDS (pictured right)
A true target-rich finisher, the 18th at True Blue requires more precision than arguably any other Par 4 on the entire course. And players are frequently asked to do that clubhouse patrons having their own conversations while simultaneously tossing out a judging (or congratulatory) look. All the water up the left covers up how winding the fairway and lead-in to the green will play, and those who focus on the green instead of the blue benefit from some tunnel vision.
2. NO. 4, PAR 5, 493 YARDS
Imagine the famed Dunes Golf & Beach Club No. 13, Waterloo, but in reverse. About the biggest difference between the two (other than the bend left instead of Dunes’ right) is a massive catch-all bunker for anyone who tries to tear into one and muscles up a bit too much. True Blue’s version will require two perfect shots for a chance at Eagle, too, but let’s be honest, who is really flirting with one this early in the round?
1. NO. 10, PAR 5, 559 YARDS (pictured right)
There are so few perfect Par 5s, but we believe this is one that average golfer can truly appreciate. The 10th hole at True Blue is going to feel unbelievably long at 559 yards from the whites. Strantz navigated that by basically created three mini holes: The tee to the first landing zone backstopped by a wild grass area; a wide secondary zone that chases a dog leg; and then the final 50 yards, separating the final bit of fairway from the green with another protected grass area. We love everything about it, even if it occasionally bruises our egos.