124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

Quail Crossing Golf Club: Quail Crossing

Boonville, IN Public


From Golf Digest Architecture Editor Emeritus Ron Whitten:

Back in the late 1990s, when Tom Fazio was creating Victoria National Golf Club from old coal strip mines in southern Indiana, Tom Doak was working about a mile away on Quail Crossing Golf Club. It was a distinct departure for the "Prince of Minimalism" because it was a residential development course. One would think the assignment would have fit Fazio's comfort level far better than Doak's, but maybe Doak simply relished the challenge of designing a low-profile golf course that could excite potential homeowners who were non-golfers. Plus, he handled the land planning on the residential development as well, an even greater challenge.

As much as I admire Doak's course architecture, I wasn't keen on his street planning. Two street crossings between the 17th green and 18th tee convinced me that Doak should concentrate on course design.

As for the course itself, it's a mixed bag. Quail Crossing has at least four different looks. There are three holes along a high-tension power line easement, which, instead of trying to disguise (an impossibility), Doak used to dramatic effect by positioning one green close to a power tower and placing a greenside bunker on another hole almost under the buzzing lines.

Elsewhere, there are several rolling fairways lined by tall native rough, such as the uphill par-4 fourth, which in the beginning had been dubbed “Shinnecock." Its tumbling fairway certainly brought to my mind that famed Long Island links. The par-4 12th (“Rail Crossing”) and par-4 13th (“Load Up”) play through tall trees and utilize old railroad beds as tee boxes and hazards.

But the heart of the course is the fifth through ninth, which are routed around and through an old coal strip mine and its spoils. The 165-yard fifth plays over a strip mine pond to a green ringed by spoil mounds covered in native vegetation. (Once named "Eden," the hole only vaguely resembles the famed par-3 eighth at St. Andrews. Indeed, the Hill bunker on the left has been filled in.)

The par-4 seventh doglegs into spoil dunes, with just a narrow notch between two domed hills providing a glimpse of the green. It's not a punchbowl but a keyhole.

The downhill 150-yard eighth plays to a pedestal green framed by more spoil mounds, and a dip across its center has a bit of a Biarritz vibe to it. (That green once sat in a glade of such dense trees that I worried how grass ever grew on it. I think they've thinned out the trees since I last played the hole.)

The tees on the ninth sit atop more spoils, and the drive must carry a strip-mine lake. The fairway turns right to a green beyond more coal mounds.

It doesn’t get much more natural than that stretch from five to nine. Quail Crossing is worth seeking out simply to experience those holes.


Holes 18
Length 6758
Slope 132
Price $42
Facility Type Public
Designer Tom Doak


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