Boone Valley Golf Club

Augusta, MO Private


From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten:

Since I've been critical of some P.B. Dye designs in my reviews, I figure it's only proper to mention one of P.B.'s designs that I really like. It's Boone Valley Golf Club west of St. Louis, a half mile from a state historical monument marking the spot where Daniel Boone resided during much of his adult life.

I like Boone Valley because it feels like it could have been designed by P.B.'s father, the great Pete Dye. Which makes me a hypocrite, I admit, because my criticism of P.B.'s work has always been that he seemed to be trying too hard to outdo his father's architecture, which usually resulted in outrageous or even unplayable holes. But there's none of that at Boone Valley. OK, the 18th green is an enormous 25,000 square foot thing fronted by a pond, but it works, maybe because it brings to my mind Pete's enormous 18th green at Whistling Straits. In fact, there are parts of Boone Valley that remind me of some of Pete's finest early work at The Golf Club in Ohio and Crooked Stick in Indiana.

At Boone Valley, P.B. Dye didn't exaggerate his father's architecture, he emulated it.

As expected of a Dye design, there are lots of humps, hollows and bulkheads, the latter consisting mostly of stacked rock rather than railroad ties. There are distinctive contours; the sixth fairway has two-levels as does the 14th green. The perched green on the par-3 12th looks like a Seth Raynor pedestal one, whose style had a strong influence in the work of Pete, and apparently P.B., too.

The bunkering is marvelously varied. There are some shallow ones and some deep ones. The front-right two-level trap on the 14th hole reminds me of multi-leveled bunkers Pete did at courses like Wabeek and the Country Club of Colorado. And the deep pockets of sand on the fifth and ninth holes symbolize, to me at least, the deep pockets it likely took to build this course.

A big portion of the course was created from open fields. There is water in play on 10 holes, with the second, seventh and eighth playing around a large lake in the center of the property, with the fairway on the par-4 seventh providing the illusion that fairway is below the level of the lake (like at Pete Dye's Honors Course). The seventh green is on a point out in the water and the 128-yard eighth plays to another peninsula green.

The back nine starts in foothills covered in trees, with the 10th fairway being a narrow corridor up a draw to a tiny, tiny green and the downhill par-4 11th demands the only blind drive on the course to a fairway that topples right to left. The green is shaped like a miniature Biarritz with a modest swale bisecting it. Then the course returns to open land and holes framed by tall native roughs.

Boone Valley is intended to be a tournament venue, so some par 4s can be stretched to extremes. The 13th is 477 yards long from the back, the fourth to 490 yards and the 11th to 491 yards. Eighteen is a modest-length par 4 with a forced carry approach shot over another large lake to the aforementioned green that hangs along the water for at least 60 yards.

My personal favorite hole is a short par 4, the 15th, where a hillside was cut down to fit in the fairway. On the right side is exposed vertical rock that edges a long Dye-like waste bunker, and up the left side are mounds with perched Dye bunkers. The green sits on a ridge surrounded by pot bunkers. Fifteen had been a drivable par 4 of less than 300 yards, but P.B. was called back to lengthen it to 345 yards to keep it competitive. He said it was "the first mulligan” he’d ever been given by a client.


Holes 18
Length 6944
Slope 140
Facility Type Private
Designer P.B. Dye, ASGCA


Best Courses in Every State

Best in State: Top 10 in 1995 and from 1999-2003. Top 5 in 1997 and since 2005. Ranked first from 2011-2013.
Previous ranking: 4th.
Current ranking: 4th.

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