Black Creek

Seventh hole, 215 yards; A well constructedmirror imageRedan that possesses what many lack: enough left to right slope to feed the ball down to the far right hole locations. A wellstruck long ironwill land the ball in the neck and to watch it as it takes the slope and slowly rolls across the green for what seems like days is a sheer delight.

Note the sufficient tilt of the Reverse Redan green.

Eleventh hole, 180 yards; As exemplified here, golf at Black Creek is about playing the angles well. This one shotter is in the midst of a series of two shot holes (the 9th, 10th, 12th, and 13th) where there is either deep bunkers or a stream that cut across the left face of the green at something like a 45 degree angle.Properly judging the approach shots in this stretch is at the heart of the challengeof Black Creek.

The ten foot deep bunker behind the Redan green is barely visible. A draw that hits front right will release across the green.

Twelfth hole, 460 yards; Many people’s favorite hole on the course because it has it all: natural beauty, fairway bunkers that create strategy/uncertainty, a perfectly situated green site withDry Branchcutting across the fairway and hugging the left side of the elevated green, and heaps of short game interest. A first rate golf hole that highlights how well Silva routed the course around the numerous creeks and gullies. Silva had to reroute the creek once (50 yards short of the 7th green)but otherwise, the creeks and gulliesat Black Creekare precisely where nature put them.

15th hole, 355 yards; An original version of a Cape hole, a spine in the fairway will kick any ball that hits left middle further left, giving it a good chance of bounding onto the green. However, the golfer knows for sure that he wants to avoid the wetland areas down the left, and many a steer/block drive can result. From anywhere long rightin the fairway, the angle of the pitch is nothing short of horrible. Indeed, the golfer may struggle to just hit the green and get away with a two putt par. Thus, some players elect to play an iron off the tee. By staying back in the fairway, the right hand greenside bunker won’t cripple the angle as much. Coupled with the original version of the Alps/Punchbowl 6th hole andthe drivable 10th hole, the Raynor fan appreciates that Silva’s original adaptations are some of the best holes on the course.

The clever version of a drivable Cape Hole.

Seventeenth hole, 210 yards; As fun to play as any hole built in the past fifty years,it shows the commitment of the founders: such a green is neither inexpensive to build nor easy to maintainbut they never once considered having anything other than a full length Biarritz green. To see a ball hit the front shelf and then disappear into the swale…only to eventually reappear and take the slope up to the back shelf, is as good as golf can get. The full length Biarritz green canmake club selection varyas much as five clubs (!) and the Club consciouslypresents the one shot holes each day in a mannerthat requires as much diversity in club selection as possible.

The Biarritz green as seen from the right.

The founders of Black Creek are members of Raynor’s nearby Lookout Mountain. Their dream of paying tribute to Raynor’s design style was made possible by making Black Creek part of a housing development. Without the housing, the course would never have been built.

Momentarily, until thetrees and shrubs fill in on the edge of the property, the housing competes with the golf holes for the attention of the golfer’s eye. Interestingly enough, though, Raynor’s engineered look helps hold the attention of the golfer. Regardless of the housing, based on any hole by hole analysis, this design sticks out as a gem, even if you have never heard of a fellow called Raynor.

Looking back down the 13th fairway toward the 12th green, the appeal of back nine's rolling terrain is evident.

The End