Holes to Note
Secondhole, 430 yards; Originally the thrilling Home hole, this downhiller isvisually dramatic off the tee with the golfer needing to skirtseven massive fairway bunkers that are in clear view – four bunkers line the inside of the gentle dogleg left with another three on the far side. The approach is to a typically (and wonderfully) gigantic6,900 square foot Raynor green, whose back to front pitch places a preminum on keeping the approach below the hole.
Fourthhole, 225 yards; A Biarritz hole of the highest order, with the right bunker as deep as twenty feet (or as Brian Silva would point out, the green is as high as twenty feet). Raynor’s drawings clearly indicate that the five foot swale wasnot initiallyintended to be kept as green but hopefully, the current Club Board can convince the membership to extend the green some forty yards toward the tee.
Fifthhole,390yards; A blind drive to a left to right sloping fairway is actually the easier of the two shots. The approach is to a ‘dustpan’ green (it is not quite a punchbowl as the front is open) with a fearsome amount of back to front pitch. Anything above the hole is dead; conversely, anything short of the green is likely to be gobbled up by a fifteen foot greenside bunker. What’s a golfer to do?
Sixthhole, 125 yards; Perhaps the most intimidating Short hole in Raynor’s portfolio, the green is perched on granite and is the consumate island target with eighteen foot drop-offs right and long. The object is simple: hit the putting surface or else. Such was always Macdonald’s intent for his Short holes and Raynor pulls it off brilliantly here. Interestingly enough, one of the complaints about the greens at Fairyland in the late 40’s and 50’s was that they were ‘surrounded by these steep slopes, and some of them looked like top hats.’ Thankfully,such greencomplexes as at the 6th were too formidable to be bulldozed by less well informed committees.
Tenthhole, 565 yards; An ingenious three shot Cape hole that follows the sweep of the hillside from high right to low left. Seven fairway bunkers dot the way butnot handling the sloping fairway is generally what keeps the tiger golfer from getting a’four.’
Eleventhhole, 400 yards; A spectacular Alps hole, with the blind, boldlycontoured green aligned to the mountain peak in the far distance. The thrill of scrambling to the top ofa hill to see where your approach shothas goneis something that modernarchitecture sadly lacks.
Thirteenthhole, 200 yards; In a unique touch, this Redan plays downhill some 25 feet. Distance judgement is tricky butcrucial as the deepbunker behind the green was faithfully restored and is no place to find oneself.Silva is particularly pleased withthe removal ofa flash bunkerthat had been installed at some pointright in the right side of the kick-back area and how they reworked’the approach of the Redan to get a better Indy 500 turn at the right front of the green so that folks can play the appropriate shot to the green.’
Seventeenthhole, 395 yards; Patterned loosely after the 11th at National Golf Links of America, this Double Plateau green must be seen to be fully appreciated. Silva says ‘we compared notes on double plateaus we had seen – Chicago, Essex County and Hackensack, among others – and combined this information with members’ pre-flattening recollections of the original 17th in our re-design.’Silva’sresearchpaid off handsomely and numerous interesting hole locations make this hole. The back hole location is used every fourth day and is a fine example of an architect dictatingthat alow trajectory, runningball is optimum. Also,Silva’s attention to aligning the grass face of aforward bunker near the tee to that of the fairway bunker in the distance that is really in play is to be commended.
Eighteenthhole, 385 yards; Banks considered this the finest hole on the course from a ‘technical golfing standpoint.’ By that perhaps he was referring to the risk/reward element of the tee shot. The extreme sides of the fairway offer the more level stance to approach the green and the better anglebut that is exactly where the trouble lurks. On the left side of the fairway were bunkers/broken ground and on the right side, the out of bounds stakes for the public road threaten. For those who play it’safe’ and head down the middle with their tee ball, an awkwardstance with the ball above your feet will greetthe golferand make getting the approach near the hole on this contoured green difficult indeed.
This is the final point that must be made of the challenge at Lookout Mountain: more so than even at Yale, the golfer battles uneven stances for his approach shot. Mind you,nothing that issilly but rather just enough to test a golfer’s true knowledge of his swing.
The setting of Lookout Mountain GCis unique in the world of golf, andso can bethe course. Much work has been successfully done already to return theRaynor features to this course, but work remains. The Board, Brian Silvaand Superintendent Mark Stovall are working hand in hand. Trees are being felled, vistas are opening up, native fescues are being encouraged to give the courseadditional texture. All in all, it is one of a handful of most exciting reclamation projects in golf. With the right attention to detail, its success will yield a course of uncommon pleasure for golfers of every level – and a must-see for all Raynor fans.