Oh god, please don`t let me sound jaded saying this but yesterday I played one very boring golf course. It`s called Grand Niagara Resort, Spa and Golf by Rees Jones. It certainly wasn`t grand. There was no resort. There was no spa. And, if this is what you get from the noted U.S. Open Å“doctor Rees Jones, then I say phooey!
The course was built on a flat piece of land and Jones stayed true to the terrain. This is a modern design that is completely indistinguishable from most other modern courses. As a matter of fact it looks exactly like the Legends On The Niagara courses. That being said, at least the Legends (also bland modern layouts) have a world-class practice facility, a tremendous clubhouse, great food and an excellent staff. Both courses cost $125.00. You decide where you want to play.
On second thought, forget that. Save your money and play any one of a number of better and more interesting courses in the Niagara region. There`s the Stanley Thompson designed Whirlpool (my favourite), the hidden gem of Rolling Meadows, the links styled Hunters Pointe or the majestic Peninsula Lakes. What sets these courses apart from Grand Niagara and the like is that they have personality.
One wonders what is going through the mind of a land owner who builds one of these flat Å“Modern courses. Let`s try and guess. Å“Let`s hire a name architect. Whether he shows up or not is not as important as having his name on our scorecard. Let`s make sure he builds a course that looks big with wide fairways so our customers can get the ball moving and apart from bunkers, let`s not add too many hazards so that the play can run smoothly and we can book as many tee times as possible. There`s no need to move any land on our flat property since, regardless what it turns out like, everyone will appreciated our designers Å“style. Let`s not worry about the food since people will come here to play the golf as designed by the famous architect. And because we have a known architect building our golf course, we can charge the high end of the greens fee scale in the area. We are so special.
Buyer beware! Everyone has there own idea of what makes for a great golf experience. Here`s mine. I like to arrive to a facility with a friendly staff. I like to have the option of walking the course, if I want to. I like a nice practice facility that allows me to hit shots off of good turf and has a practice green that is rolled consistent with those on the course. Most of all I like a course that has its own personality. It doesn`t need to be quirky. It just needs to have a unique set of holes. My golf game is more than a set of shots. It is also a nice leisurely walk through gorgeous land with fresh air. My golf experience requires at least these things.
Grand Niagara is not my kind of golf experience. Save your money for the real thing.
P.S. I should a couple of exceptions to yesterday`s boring round of golf at Grand Niagara. Holes 5 and 6 are pretty good (interesting that these are two of very few holes that move through the woods). The second is that Rob got bonked on the head with a ball. He was chipping from the back bunker at nine while Ben was chipping from below the elevated green. I was in the front bunker waiting for both to fish their shots. I looked up in time to see Rob`s head coming up to follow his ball and Ben`s ball cracking into Rob`s head. Rob said something I won`t repeat here and fell to the ground. He`s a trooper though, after washing off the gash and putting ice and a band-aid on his head, Rob continued the round. We didn`t make him putt out at nine though it should be noted that his chipped landed five feet from the pin.