Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Black Sheep Golf Club

A golfer can dream can't he? If I had unlimited money, what courses would I join? Welp, if I had the money and lived in Illinois, sign me up to be a member of Black Sheep Golf Club, a 27 hole gem in the middle of Illinois that is one of the best tracks I have played in a long time.

Designed by the criminally underrated Dave Esler, BSGC uses a former corn field to amazing effect, creating a links-style course that is both fun and challenging to any golfer.

My favorite holes would be the ones running on the North side of the property which bisects and runs parallel to a creek and irrigation pond. The setting serene, the routing sublime, the course is magical.

The clubhouse constantly frames the proceedings which reminded me a lot of Shinnecock and National although with more corn surrounding the course than the ocean (seriously, there is nothing BUT corn in Sugar Grove Illinois).

The ribbons of fairway amongst the fescue is inspired and while there is plenty of room on the fairway, don't go too far off of it or else you are going to be hacking out of some thick stuff.

Dave Esler created as masterpiece here and also a thinkpiece. Second and third shots need to be contemplated with care as there are a lot of bunkers and carries that necessitate your irons and wedges being sharp.

The green complexes roll true and with speed but not crazy speed. It is a very fair test once you get to the green and wedge shots will hold on the greens despite their speed.

While many members use carts, the course is very walkable and the only time you will be huffing and puffing is each of the ninth holes which trudge back up the course to the clubhouse.

Triple bonus points for perhaps one of the best logos in golf!

For more information about Black Sheep, check out the link here:

Feel free to sponsor me for membership :P!

Monday, September 25, 2017

ReGripped's Quest To Play Cypress Point Day 778

This is one of several posts about my attempts to play the ultimate course, the Cypress Point Club. If you have any tips for me or want to invite me to play (!!!) please email me at I promise total discretion for anyone who helps. Thanks! 

Ok here we are, well over 2 years into my quest to play the top course in the world. What has been happening since the last update?

I have not found a member for a direct invite so I continue to try and find more circuitous routes onto the course with people who know people who know people. This has been bolstered by social media and for all the naysaying about how nothing gets done via social media, it HAS connected me to certain people who know the people.

For everyone who has offered to help over the last 200+ days since the last update, I say THANK YOU! It is amazing to find golf nuts willing to help other golf nuts achieve their dreams.

I also learned that Rory McIlory himself is questing to play Cypress Point. This comes from No Laying Up's fine podcast interview with him which is well worth a listen.

In an attempt to get physically closer to CPC, I have decided for my 40th birthday year (screw the day, I am celebrating all year!) I am going to go up and attend the Pebble Beach Pro-Am for the first time. I have always wanted to go and while I am up there, I am definitely doing the 17 mile drive and cruising past Cypress. Who knows, maybe I will meet a member or even meet up with Rory? Stranger things have happened.

Finally, my love for CPC knows no bounds and I have complied some great old timey photos of the course culled from various sources. It is fascinating to see MacKenzie tour the course he built photographed from interesting and not often seen angles. The composition of the photos really brings out the stark contrast between the rocky coastline and the golf course (even in black and white!). Enjoy Cypress' past while I look to the future of playing there!

Disclaimer: I do not own any of these photos but offer them here for news and commentary purposes only.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mammoth Dunes Golf Review

Mammoth Dunes is the second course to be developed at Sand Valley but it is set to eclipse its older brother Coore/Crenshaw course to become one of the best, fun golf courses in the state of Wisconsin.

Where to start? The routing is fantastic going over hill and dale while offering a few straight ahead holes as well. The fairways are wide which allow you to try a variety of routings to the hole all while keeping golf balls in your bag.

The bunkering is intoxicatingly beautiful and has a great mix of naturally occurring sand blowouts along with more traditional bunkers.

Speaking of the bunkers, I love the disguising David McLay Kidd does here on this par 3 where neither bunker is in play but yet frames the golfers eye like few others.

The green complexes are huge, absolutely gargantuan. They still have enough undulations to make you think but not enough to make you rip your hair out.

The main takeaway from the course is that it is fun. Golf is challenging enough as it is and no golfer really wants to play Oakmont every round. They want to hit the ball and have fun and this course has the F word in spades. I haven't been this impressed by a course in a long time and even though I only played 9 holes, I checked out several others and can attest that this place is going to be very special.

Once the fairways are grassed, run don't walk to Sand Valley to play this course.

For more information about Mammoth Dunes, check out the link:

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Lawsonia Links Golf Review

Wisconsin has been getting a lot of professional golf love over the last few years. The 2015 PGA Championship was at Whistling Straits and the 2017 US Open was at Erin Hills. All of these courses are top notch but also muy expensivo. Lawsonia Links, nestled in the sleepy lake town of Green Lake Wisconsin offers the same quality golf experience but at a fraction of the price of some of its Wisconsin neighbors.

The course was created in the 1930s and truly plays like an inland links with a tremendous amount of fescue grass everywhere you turn.

Like other traditional links courses in the United Kingdom, Lawsonia offers multiple blind tee shots, and bunkers that disguise the best approach to the green.

For the most part, the fairways are wide and generous off the tee and show you all the golf you have to view before getting the ball in the hole.

That being said, there are a few holes on the course that I really dug as Langford and Moreau framed the holes using trees to create a false runways, a flair rarely seen nowadays.

Don't worry though, Lawsonia is a very fair test of your game and even the fescue is extremely playable.

The real star of Lawsonia however is the greens. The greens are like a Pete Dye fever dream and the fact that this course was built in 1930 makes me suspect that Mr. Dye visited the course prior to him embarking on his course design career. What do I mean by all of this? Check this out:

and also this:

You can see similar design elements in Raynor, MacDonald and others of the same "golden era" of design but the Lawsonia team took those concepts, downed a bunch of steroids and designed a golf course for the ages.

Perhaps the most extreme example occurs on a par 3 that has one of the most diabolical green side runoffs I have ever seen.

This amazing architectural flourish is both the defining feature of the course but also my one criticism of it. Too many of the holes have elevated greens thus negating the ground game which is a shame. If there were a few holes below the golfer on this course it would be an A++.

Despite that one critique, the course is a home run and unlike most other courses you will ever play. The conditioning is fantastic, the staff friendly and helpful and the round of golf sublime. Take me back to Wisconsin to play this course any time!

For more information on Lawsonia, check out the link: