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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Member’s early read on Gary Player Cliffs at Mountain Park course

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        It seems as if it has been a long time coming, but Gary Player has finally, officially joined the rolls of the name designers commissioned by The Cliffs Communities to build its portfolio of golf courses, now numbering seven with the opening of Player’s Mountain Park in Travelers Rest.  Located about 20 miles from city center in Greenville, SC, the links-like Player layout stretches along the North Saluda River and around a 12-acre lake that abuts the 11th and 12th holes.  The Blue Ridge Mountains look down on the wooded valley that comprises the golf course.  Jim Reichert, a Cliffs Communities golf club member and longtime reader of our Home On The Course newsletter (monthly and free, click here to subscribe), played the course shortly after its September 26 grand opening.  Jim, who plays to a 4 handicap, puts a lot of stock in the fun quotient of a golf course, and he ranks the new Mountain Park highly in that regard.  His favorite Cliffs course is Tom Fazio’s Vineyard layout along Lake Keowee, my own favorite by a wide measure over the other two Cliffs courses I’ve played.



        Here is Jim’s review of Mountain Park:

        Mountain Park is lots of fun with some very interesting holes.  In particular, holes #s 6 and 15 are unlike anything I have seen before. The front 9 winds through a valley with the Saluda River a factor on most holes. The back 9 is as close to links golf as I have seen without actually being built on sand.  There is more than 12 acres of bunkers on the total course. The grass on the back nine, which has been in place for two years, may be the best turf I’ve ever played on.

        The course has several very good par 4s, one great par 3 and one great par 5.  The rest of the holes are very playable. I’m about a 4, and if I bring my game and make a few putts, I feel I can shoot in the low 70’s, or below.  The day I played I had 77 and did not drive the ball particularly well. The greens are in A shape, quick and true.  Quite large but not hard to read, and there are places flagsticks can be tucked that can be challenging.

        As a walker, it's the most walkable of the Cliffs golf courses, besides Valley.   Perhaps most important, they have turned the stinky, slimy North Saluda River into a potential trout stream.  The environmentalists who caused some of the delay must be pleased.  As a fly-fisherman, I’m delighted and am just as eager to drop a fly or nymph in the stream and pull out a brookie.

        The course plays to a par of 72, but I think par should 71. Hole 9 is a 490-yard par 5, which I think should be shortened by perhaps 25 yards and play as a par 4. But, I’m all about fun, so am happy to be given the extra stroke.

        In sum, Mountain Park is everything Mr. Player said it would be: Different; Player friendly; Beautiful; and tons of fun. It is a little bit of a break from the rigor of courses such as Walnut Cove or Keowee Falls.  It is totally different from anything in the Cliffs package, and a sweet addition.


Read 5332 times Last modified on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 07:41
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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.


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