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We will be visiting Osprey Cove (Georgia), North Hampton and Queens Harbour (north of Jacksonville, FL) and Amelia Island the first week of March and selected communities north of Myrtle Beach later in the month. If you have comments or suggestions for us in advance of these trips, please let us know.
Tom Fazio is one of our favorite designers, but it seems some of his otherwise sleek layouts are marred by too much fairway detritus. We played the fine Porters Neck in Wilmington, NC last month. At 100 yards from some greens, we were disappointed to find wooden stanchions that held two containers of grass seed and sand (see photo below). They marred an otherwise nice landscape. To make matters worse, these center-of-fairway posts included an exit sign to direct carts to leave the fairway. At the phenomenal Cliffs at Keowee Vineyard course in southwestern South Carolina, yardage poles were plunked down at mid-fairway 150 and 100 yards from the green (we played there a year ago). Director of Golf Dick Grout told us he had spoken with Fazio about the posts but the designer had indicated if they speeded up play, he had no problem with them interrupting his canvas.
We do. We suppose there is some rationale for resort and daily fee courses to speed play with these guideposts (although we prefer ours at the edges of the fairways). But they have no business at private clubs. Private club members know their courses; getting proper distances should be easy and quick. How tough is it to find one of those sprinkler heads with accurate distances to front, back and middle of the green, especially when you have played the hole many times? Second, every golf cart we've used in the last few years has two containers of sand and seed mixture (with fill-up stations around the course). In the southeast, except during periods of extreme rainfall, carts are permitted on fairways, which means you take a divot, you walk five yards to your cart, you grab the seed container, you sprinkle the divot and drive to your next shot. How hard is that?
As for the exit signs 100 yards from the green, anyone stupid enough to drive their carts within a few yards of the green won't be deterred by a sign. If private club owners are worried about that, they might as well replace the word "Exit" with the words "The End of the World is Near."
Like a dart thrown at the Mona Lisa, it should be against the law to plant wooden posts in the middle of fairways.