PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

A Castle Course Critique

November 30, 2008

The Castle Course, designed by the same guy who built Bandon Dunes in Oregon, David McLay Kidd, is the new seventh course at St. Andrews. They threw the cover off the Castle Course, which is located on eighth century hunting grounds just up the street from the Old Course, in late June of this year.


I haven't made it over there yet, but the feedback making its way to my Inbox--only our current President could relate to the approval rating.

One trusted reader, I'll call him B.Cooper, sent me this:

__Matt--Concerning the Castle Course, the following was overheard during our peripatetic "peregrinations" over and around the site of the former Kinkell Castle:

"It's like playing in a wind tunnel with weeds."

"They (perpetrated an aggressive carnal act)-up a perfectly good potato farm."

"The greens are like blue runs at Big Sky."

"That sumbitch (Kidd) should be sentenced to playing this effing course every day for the rest of his natural life."

"Whodahelldoeshethinkweare, some kinda Ben By God Hogan?"

"If they forced prisoners to play 36 holes every day on this course, there wouldn't be a criminal in Scotland."



Other than that, it has spectacular vistas, is majestic, and is convenient to the "Auld Grey Toon," and it's a worthy experiment--in mega need of a serious makeover, especially some of the green complexes. Our concern is that it will not fulfill the Links Trust's stated purpose of relieving the congestion on the other courses by enticing locals and visitors to play the Castle as often as the other six. I want to play it on a more benign day (I know--"If it's nay wind, it's nay gawlf") with a mere zephyr of less than 60 mph this time, and maybe from a different set of tees. However comma I ain't paying $250 a pop too many times to be a lab rat in their little experiment.

So, there you have it--A slow swinging cowbell of a ringing endorsement. But it sounds like a stiff wind was a factor for Coop and his band of ballers. I remember playing Doonbeg in Ireland before it officially opened. It made Pebble Beach look like Peter Hay. Word was that Norman's first pass was so tough he was brought back to soften it some. The Castle Course is currently closed from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. Maybe they're making some necessary adjustments.

--Matty G.