We want to believe, to dream.
To see our best shots mimic those of our golf idols. To think, for one moment, that we could be them.
World Tour Golf Links is the tie that binds a new age of golf to the old. Its 18 replica holes bring us as close to face-to-face as we can without hopping on a plane, often across the Atlantic. The bridge at St. Andrew’s. Amen Corner. The water at TPC Sawgrass’ 17th.
It’s all here, in one place. We know it’s not the same. But that part doesn’t matter.
World Tour is just fun.
GEEKED UP AND GIDDY
With holes representing eight venues that have hosted at least one major, World Tour keeps our collective head on a swivel.
We jump from St. Andrews to Pinehurst No. 2, Colonial to Augusta National, Winged Foot to Royal Troon, Olympic Club to Oakmont. The supporting cast – TPC Sawgrass, Bay Hill, Cypress Point – isn’t too shabby either.
Among them, we see instances of some of the greatest moments in the history of the game. The Swilcan Burn on No. 1 is only the beginning. There’s also the famed island green from TPC Sawgrass’ 17th and English Turn’s 15th. We get the perpendicular green from Augusta’s 12th (pictured right) and the Valley of Sin from the 18th on St. Andrew’s.
A chance to play the real courses would cost tens of thousands of dollars and require calling in favors that most of us don’t have to bargain with. But at World Tour, the next best thing is around every turn.
A LOOK ALL THEIR OWN
One of the holes that doesn’t get enough mention at World Tour – the Par 3 third on the Championship 9 – would otherwise be a possible signature hole on a large number of the Grand Strand’s other 90 or so courses. The short 116-yard is creative, with accents of protected grasses leading you to a tiny green surrounded by five bunkers. It’s just a beautiful hole, but it’s also a different take on the legendary original from Royal Troon.
The same can be said for the holes here pattered off Colonial Country Club’s No. 12, National Golf Club of Canada’s opener and Bay Hill’s 11th. Minor changes were necessary to allow the routing here to work, and Mel Graham simultaneously understood that an inch-by-inch carbon copy would also be met with scorn and an inability for the common player to take on some of the giants of the game.
They didn’t have to be perfect. The spirit was already there.
REALLY GOOD GOLF
We’ve noted before how those who go into World Tour without preconceived notions enjoy the course for what it is on the surface. The grounds crew has placed a premium on finely manicured grass from start to finish, and it shows.
Whether you’re playing the first hole – the 360-yard “opener” from St. Andrew’s – or the last – the aforementioned Bay Hill design – there aren’t bad patches of turf. Trust us, we’ve looked with a skeptical eye during portions of the year when there should be.
Instead, the ball lies high and the greens roll firm. Those facts can take a player’s mind out of the fiction and leave them smack dab in the here and now. In many ways, it’s the part of World Tour that catches newcomers off guard.
They’re going to get a round that’s worth every penny.
Meanwhile, those who choose to believe? They can dream away. World Tour provides that opportunity.