Yesterday in this space we reviewed The Landings at Skidaway Island, just outside of Savannah, GA. The private, gated community provides as much quality golf as any non-resort in the southeast. Today we present a few notes on two of the courses at The Landings.
Marsh and moguls are but two of the challenges Arthur Hills throws your way at the Palmetto Club.
The Palmetto Club
Designer: Arthur Hills
A wonderful, challenging layout, with not a single boring hole. The toughest course of the six at The Landings. Even seemingly routine par 4s display well-placed live oaks to gobble slightly errant shots. The marsh provides beautiful framing on some holes, and the undulating greens are well bunkered, with plenty of moguls and swales around them. Grass on the greens was thin in late February when we played, but they fill in nicely by the spring.
Our playing partners, Bob and Bill, had 150 years between them. Bill, a former pharmaceutical exec, and Bob, who owned the last Amercian maker of phonograph needles, had been friends and fellow club members in Waukegan, Illinois. Two other members of their Illinois club had moved to The Landings as well. With threesomes and foursomes in front of us, we finished the round in less than 3 ½ hours, even though some holes were cart-path only.
The driving range is ample and heavily used, as is the practice green. Service was fine, except attendants did not move to get our bags onto a cart, a big miss for a private club. The clubhouse is the biggest in the community and used for weddings and other affairs. Lunch was fine, with a small but nice selection including buffet (pot roast plus salads), as well as menu items. Hallway held a small art show on the walls, courtesy of one of the many women's clubs in the community.
Pete Dye may have "invented" railroad ties for golf courses, but Hills knows how to use them too.
Although Fazio's Deer Creek is not a stiff challenge, you cannot relax on many shots.
Designer: Tom Fazio
Tame Fazio with interesting short doglegs around beautiful live oaks. Fairway bunkering in play on a number of the easier holes, but the par 5s are pretty tame affairs. Marsh mostly there as backdrop. Greens hold shots fairly well -- even though they were a little thin in February -- and they roll true and pretty fast. Slight to significant break on virtually every putt; we under-read the putts on the front nine, over-read them on the back. Marsh is not a reliable magnet for putts; a few break away from the water. Bunkering is tight to the greens.
The 17th is picture perfect, with a green backed by long stretch of marsh that begins before mid-fairway to just beyond the rise in the rear of the green. Putting surface slopes severely back to front. The 18th is a finishing hole we see often, with marsh down entire right side and a forced third shot over a glob of the marsh and a trap to a pin position that, no matter where it is placed, is tough to get close to. Back of the clubhouse provides nice view for those cheering you on or feeling your pain.
Driving range is fine, with a nice touch for distance markers at the tee -- a small board whose yardages are changed as the tees move forward and back. Can of water and rag at each station to clean clubs is a nice touch as well. Can't chip on putting green, but there is a chipping green and practice trap between the range and first tee (we like such proximity to the tee, especially on crowded courses).
The club emphasizes fast play. A loudspeaker calls foursomes to the tees 15 minutes in advance. Even with play starting on both nines, we finished our round in four hours. We saw no water fountains on the course; in stifling summer heat that could be an issue.