What makes a bad golf course so bad that it can almost be considered good?
I grew up and learned to play on what I consider a bad golf course. Table top flat, with artificial mounds to add separation to the holes, and full of unappealing, characterless greens, and at least a couple of spots where it turns into a shooting gallery, the course is not something that I would bother with today.
Despite all of this, the course did have some strange lure for me and continues to do so to this day. Maybe it was the strange opening par fives yielded to a difficult one shot hole and a tough par four. Maybe it was the fact that the course was easily walked, though numerous people would take carts anyway. Maybe it was the awful 17th, with its six-iron dogleg.
I guess people must have a similar affinity to Seguin Valley.
It has been over a year since I wrote my reflections on the course, which apparently was partly designed by David Moote, and partly designed by the construction company. I say apparently, as I can find no record of who actually designed this clunker.
Readers have had a lot to say about the review I wrote.
My take was clear:
Regardless of its shortcomings, some hold up Seguin as a “hidden jewel” of Muskoka (though I don’t think of hidden jewels as charging $100 green fees), placing it in the same league as Rocky Crest and Bigwin Island. I just can’t figure out how anyone can place this course in that company.
Lots of people, apparently, love Seguin Valley. They aren’t as thrilled with me. Hacker Mike posted earlier this week that:
Thompsons (sic) opinion is misguided, Im sure he would cut-up Pebble Beach, blind shots on 6 and 8, a 500ft ride to the hot-dog stand, geese!
Geese indeed, though that isn’t the first bird that comes to mind when I think about Pebble. Or Seguin Valley. The Hack Job continues:
I have played every course in the Muskoka area and they are all up, down and sideways. This one is breathtaking, like you are in the middle of Algonquin park. Almost every hole you dont see any other holes, cars or people. Maybe parts of the golf course are lacking but for the merits of spending a day in nature, it doesnt get better.
I always find it funny how people think hole separation on a course makes it great. In Seguin Valley’s case it just means the designer wasted a ton of cash routing the course over twice the land it needed. Or maybe the designer temporarily lost his eye sight!
Nathan has a similar take:
I find it slightly ironic that Thompson who is paid to critisize cant find too much good about a golf course that well versed golfers obviously enjoy. I can only suggest he wasnt perked and coddeled(for a good review) like he is used to on the more well heeled golf experiences.
Isn’t it interesting that the state of course criticism in this country has been reduced to the point that now many golfers only think you are critical of a course because you weren’t given a free shirt? Gosh, my wife has ordered me to never bring home another logoed shirt. Ever.
That said I long ago stopped being swayed by a free hat or a dog at the turn. Couldn’t care less. I try to be open and honest about what I say and why I say it. Those that have been critical of the review have never demonstrated to me why I should be at all interested in ever returning to Seguin. Let’s consider the arguments:
Hole separation? You get that at Muskoka Bay, which is miles better than Seguin?
There’s a big par three over water — oh, you get that at Muskoka Bay as well.
You don’t see any cars — what Muskoka course do you see cars at? These places aren’t typically built alongside the 400.
Despite the shaky short history of this course some lucky new owner willing to spend a few more bucks(clubhouse) will have a marketable product that most would enjoy. Sounds like someone put some crap in Thompsons cornflakes the morning of.
Truth be told, I’m not a big cornflakes eater.
In fact it is too bad that Seguin isn’t a complete disaster. At least then, like my old home course, it might be appealing. There’s nothing endearing about Seguin. The holes are average, though it is situated on a great piece of land. The routing is atrocious. Little consideration was given to the sequence of holes. Shots are repeated ad nauseum. Bunker placement was questionable and the actual bunkers themselves looked like after thoughts.
Nothing quirky or odd about Seguin. Just a badly designed course. Yes, there’s one good hole — the much-discussed par three over a pond — but the fact the designer seems to have gone to such trouble to place it there, making much of the surrounding design seem forced, makes me wonder if it was worth the trouble.
That doesn’t mean some won’t enjoy it. Apparently the dozens of golfers that flock to its fairways have enjoyed it.
But the vast majority of the public has already spoken — the course has been up for sale for a long time now with no takers. And that, my friends, is the ultimate criticism.
Back to Hacker Mike for the coup de grÃƒ¢ce:
And I thank Thompson for cutting it up cause I always get a tee time! Keep those golfers away!
That sounds familiar? Wonder why? Oh, because of Stephen’s remarks on the review, almost a year earlier:
Thompson wants the course to himself.
Indeed, I’m very keen on getting back to Seguin. Hold me back. I want to run, not…. well you get the picture.