Mike Nuzzo

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Black Mesa Golf Club
« on: May 13, 2003, 03:47:56 pm »
Without many of you seeing Black Mesa Golf Club, I thought I'd start an introduction to the course.  Here are the things I like most about this fantastic place (Hopefully Baxter and Mr. Ward [who was there this monday] will expand a bit):

Overall:
Location - It's beautiful, often windy, free from housing and very few trees.
Varried often complex green sites that blend into their surrounds.
Crushed stone cartpaths that blend into the terrain.
Very different holes (with descriptions of what I like most).....

Routing:
Great use of natural features
Many shots in significantly different winds
Very walkable (I do) but get ready for a little altitude (less O2)


The first (par 4):
Blind tee shot over native area to a large fairway
Green site resembles CPC's 8th with the exception the green is left to right

Looking across the 9th green during construction.  The 2 bunkers are directional from the back tees.

Greensite

The second (par 4):
Good change of direction from one.
Greensite is in a saddle surrounded by ridge (see picture) and native area, with a great fall away back that runs to a collection area
It is difficult to discern how much room is open on the left side of the fairway, yet the further left the tee shot, the more receptive the green appears.


Approach

Green site

The Third (par 5)
A stout drive brings a huge swale in the middle of the fairway into play, swing away
Good use of native arroyo protecting green

Tee shot

Green

Note the contours

More to follow
Cheers
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:05 am by -1 »

Michael Dugger

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2003, 09:44:23 pm »
Nobody seems to want to discuss this, eh?

I'll go.  It looks frickin great.  I especially like how the archie has chosen to extend many of the bunkers right into the native desert.  I'm sure it makes maintenance a bit of a pain, but so what.  

This place makes me want to quit my job and come to the gathering in Sept.  WOW!  Baxter da man.  Look forward to seeing his next work.

It's still desert golf, though.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »
What does it matter if the poor player can putt all the way from tee to green, provided that he has to zigzag so frequently that he takes six or seven putts to reach it?     --Alistair Mackenzie--

George Pazin

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2003, 10:02:56 pm »
I didn't think we were allowed to comment on photos if we hadn't played the course. ;D

Mike, you said the course is walkable - that routing you posted looks like pretty long walks between greens & tees. Any guesses how long the walks are? How long does it take you to play if you walk?

Can a wild hitter like me play from the brown area, or is it unplayable or protected?
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Dan Kelly

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2003, 10:05:32 pm »
This looks like the perfect setting for the bunkerless course upon which I regularly muse.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »
"There's no money in doing less." -- Joe Hancock, 11/25/2010

Mike_Sweeney

Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2003, 01:37:39 am »
Mike,

After seeing those pictures, I really wish I could make it work. It is a tough time of the year with kids and work.

Thanks for the posting.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

DMoriarty

Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2003, 03:39:06 am »
Mike,

Thanks for posting the terrific pictures.  

I was a little surprised to hear that the Santa Clara Pueblo was building this course.  First, I thought that "Black Mesa" was technically located on the San Il Dephanso (sp?) Pueblo, down the road.  Second, I thought "Black Mesa" (the real thing) was sacred and an important symbol of Pueblo independence and resistance.  Third, much of the Santa Clara land was (is?) off limits to non-members-- it used to require special permission from tribal leaders, and an tribal escort, to step foot on large sections of the land.  How close does the course come to Black Mesa? To the Pueblo?
 
For those that have never spent any time in the Santa Fe area, the Santa Clara Pueblo and its surroundings are worth a visit even without the attraction of the new golf course.  The landscape is spectacular, there are easily accessible architectural ruins both excavated and unexcavated, and a long (and still active) cultural heritage.  Some of the most famous pueblo pottery came from Santa Clara artists, with the descendants of famous Tafoyas and Naranjos still producing beautiful, hand made black and red clay pots.  

What I love most about this area of New Mexico are the cultural incongruities standing side by side: the Opera House adjacent to the flea market; the ruins of ancient civilizations adjacent to Los Alamos.  Now we have a golf course obviously catering to outsiders located near and named after one of the great symbols of Pueblo independence-- In the late 1600's the Spanish were unable to conquer the Pueblo Indians who took refuge on Black Mesa and defended themselves from this holy high ground.   For those curious about the Pueblo, the course webpage provides this:  http://blackmesagolfclub.com/history2.html

An anecdote from the Santa Clara Pueblo:

While I was driving through this area with an Indian friend from Santa Clara, she became extremely disgusted upon seeing a Christmas tree that had been discarded in a ditch on the side of the road.  She explained that it was extremely disrespectful to discard an evergreen in this manner, since the evergreen is sacred to the Pueblo people as a symbol of strength and eternal life.  I expected her to say next, "That's why pueblo Indians don't cut down Christmas trees."  Instead she said, with only a hint of a wry smile, "That's why we throw our old Christmas trees off the bridge into the river--  the river is also a symbol of life."  No point to this story, just an example of  the type of peculiarities you see and hear in this area that make the place so interesting.

mdugger wrote:
Quote
This place makes me want to quit my job and come to the gathering in Sept.  WOW!  Baxter da man.  Look forward to seeing his next work.
Why wait for his next work?  I think Baxter Spann has been designing courses for over twenty years as part of Baxter Dye Spann.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Mike Nuzzo

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2003, 03:41:00 am »
Dugger -
Baxter and Pat Brockwell will have tons of information for y'all.  Baxter should be chiming in any day now....
How important is work anyway?
His next new project is in Colorado.

George -
The elevation (5600 ft) takes away a bit of oxygen, but it doesn't take any longer to walk.  There are a few short direct walking paths, rather than following the cart paths.  The only walks of significance (from the tips) are: 6-7, 16-17 & 17-18.
I might ride the second round, depending on wind.
The native areas allow for finding all but my most wayward.  And the areas aren't protected, but you'd be prudent to settle for getting the ball back in play.  Baxter commented yesterday that the fairways are playing receptively, and not rejecting balls.

David -
You'll see Black Mesa in the background of some of the images on the back nine.  There is room for another 18, so it's not that off limits.  Baxter and Eddie can offer more information than I.  
As for Baxter's design experience... he has been at it for just about 25 years now.
Great tree story.  The course is so good, I haven't had a need to visit the older treasures.  Hopefully in years to come with the family.

All-

Your welcome for posting the pictures.
Thank you for viewing.

4-6 tomorrow.

Cheers
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:05 am by -1 »

DMoriarty

Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2003, 04:25:55 am »
I meant Finger Dye Spann.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

ed_getka

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2003, 11:00:00 am »
Mike,
FYI
D is for David, not Don. :)
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »
"Perimeter-weighted fairways", The best euphemism for containment mounding I've ever heard.

john_foley

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2003, 03:53:56 pm »
Mike,

Place looks pretty incredible. One question is playability. I looks like the surrounding are'sa re all native and w/ the wind it could be a tough day w/ someone who is a little wild. Is the surrounding area playable?

David,

Great story!!
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away

Mike Nuzzo

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2003, 04:10:59 pm »
Things I like most....

Fourth (par 3)
Arroyo about 12 feet deep short right, don't go there

You can see the arroyo best here during grow in.

From the tee

From above the back of the green, looking off towards 17.

Five (Par 4)
From the black tee, it's a 2nd blind tee shot where you can swing away, don't go too far right.

Green site. (the fall away back of the 2nd green in the distance)

Six (par 5)
Makes good strategic use of the ridge on the left of the fairway.  The more aggressive the play, the harder the 2nd shot is (often for the green with a wind from the south).

Looking back
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

George Pazin

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2003, 04:45:04 pm »
Does the back of 6 fall away as dramatically as it appears?

Am I gonna get attacked by rattlers when I inevitably hit one into the gunk?
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

ed_getka

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2003, 05:23:14 pm »
Mike,
  Keep the pix coming, especially showing the green contours. This is going to be fun.

George,
   Don't worry about the rattlers, walk slow and carry a wedge and you'll be fine. :)
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »
"Perimeter-weighted fairways", The best euphemism for containment mounding I've ever heard.

Lou_Duran

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2003, 05:50:26 pm »
Mike Nuzzo,

Can you give us some of the details (construction costs, earth moved, any special problems encountered, grasses, water source, irrigation system, etc.).  Also, what was your contribution to this project?  Hopefully, you didn't help Mr. Spann locate sites for tees, turning points, and greens by hitting shots prior to construction, though #10 at Whispering Pines may have been a better hole had it been routed as you played it- 100 yards left, with a 90* dogleg back right to the current green site. ;)
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Mike Nuzzo

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2003, 03:47:27 am »
John -
The native areas allow for finding all but my most wayward.  And the areas aren't protected, but you'd be prudent to settle for getting the ball back in play.  Baxter commented yesterday that the fairways are playing receptively, and not rejecting balls.

And as you've heard my most wayward, while strong, are quite wayward.  Thanks Lou.

George -
It's only a few feet, but with the early "hero" light it's quite apparent.  As for the snakes....  I've been to the top of just about every one of those ridges/mountains and am still here talking about it?

LOU!!!
Construction costs were quite low ~ $3MM including irrigation.  Very little earth movement.  Water source difficulties are what eventually led to this fantastic site.  My help can be measured in man days (not years), so I couldn't plant huge island fairways 100 yards left of the landing areas, but I tried....
Baxter, Eddie, Pat.... all are much more familiar with exact $$s and quantities, hopefully they'll chime in soon.

Adios
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

RJ_Daley

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2003, 08:15:13 am »
In deed the contouring looks very good, and looks like some great shaping work.  Who did the shaping dozer work?  Lou asked all the questions I also would like to hear answered.  I am wondering if the nature of the soil and the climate can support the same kind of maintenance meld that Barona Creek has with firm and fast nature.  My early guess is not, because of harsher climate and altitude.  Are the pics slightly touched up to brighten the sand and green the turf?  I suspect that we will see some inspiring color in September.  Are the aspen quaking golden around the third week of Sept.?
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »
No actual golf rounds were ruined or delayed, nor golf rules broken, in the taking of any photographs that may be displayed by the above forum user.

Mike Nuzzo

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2003, 04:05:48 pm »
RJ -
Apollonio "Paul" Ortiz was "Da Man" - Ortiz Earthscapes based in NM.
The images weren't "touched up" just a very vibrant slide film.
They're fast and firm so far, I hope it doesn't change, but we can get the skinny from Pat Brockwell.

More special features called out....

Seven- "Short" par 4 (250-350yds)
The middle portion of the green, try putting from the left portion....nice.  We'll see if we can't get a pin there come Sept.
3 or 4 options from the tee depending on wind.

Note the mid level to the green.

The grass is moving further up behind that ridge.

Eight - par 3 - longest
Matt Ward had to bust a 1 iron to get to the front edge in the wind.  With the wind rushing through the peaks, it can be hard to tee off on a 35mph windy spring day.


Nice contours..

Nine - par 4
Good tee shot, and large bunkering.



See you on the back
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:05 am by -1 »

George Pazin

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Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2003, 04:56:27 pm »
For what it's worth, BM doesn't look as extreme as Wolf Creek. WC is encased in unplayable rock and the elevation changes are so extreme as to be unnerving to some (including me). BM looks a little more open & more playable (from the photos - I've only played WC - I'll try to post WC photos soon).

Maybe Matt could do a comparison of sorts.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Matt_Ward

Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2003, 07:38:38 pm »
I had the good fortune in playing the front nine at Black Mesa last September and in meeting Pat Brockwell -- the course Superintendent. The back was in the final phase in growing in.

Well, I returned this past Monday to Black Mesa and I can without hesitation and reservation that the fanfare attached to Black Mesa is EVERYTHING AND MORE! I'm going to post more detailed info in a few minutes.

George, you asked about Wolf Creek and how it compares to Black Mesa. I have to say that BM takes the cake. WC is a fine test of "dare golf" -- there are holes where you say -- "Ah, what the hell" and then give it a whack to see what happens. I do enjoy WC because the "fun" factor is quite high but Black Mesa integrates itself to a higher degree with appropriate balance and, most of all, integrates itself with the existing land in a much more harmonious quality. Wolf Creek gives you the "plastic surgery" look that some on GCA detest but I credit Dennis Rider for making his dream a reality in dealing with such a harsh site and overcoming all the obstacles.

The options you find at Black Mesa are very well done by Baxter Spann -- you always have a play away from doing the most extreme -- however, it's up to the individual player to decide what line of play / club selection will work for him / her.
Playing within the boundaries of your own personal comfort zone is an absolute must when you take on Black Mesa -- especially when the afternoon winds freshens a bit. ;D

Let me mention an example -- the 8th at WC is an absolute bear of a hole -- IMHO -- there are few long par-3's that I have EVER played that are that demanding. It's really "either or" golf because the options are quite limited -- you either hit it "pure" or you're going to be in big danger. That type of high wire type golf can be taxing for many people although I do love the show you get at Wolf Creek.

To the credit of Baxter Spann he took a site, and with very few exceptions (see me next post for details), just used the land as is to design holes that RIVET your complete attention. When you finish playing Black Mesa the first thing that pops into mind as you walk off the 18th is when are you going to play again! For a cost of $50 (a cart is extra) it's one of the best bargains in the USA and the layout is indeed walkable for those opting that alternative.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Matt_Ward

Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2003, 07:59:14 pm »
How good is Black Mesa?

IMHO -- it's no less in quality to such gems as Wild Horse, Rustic Canyon and Apache Stronghold. In my mind -- it's a tad above the three just mentioned. How so?

Consider this ...

Black Mesa uses the existing land in such a natural and free flowing manner. Each hole simply glides into the next.

The four par-5's at Black Mesa are ALL FIRST RATE HOLES. They provide immense challenge and no matter how far you hit the ball there is plenty of danger for those who dare to push the pedal to the medal! In many courses it's the par-5's that are the weak link -- especially for the better player. BM does not give away any cheap birdies on these holes!

The contouring of the greens is very sophisticated and just a tad below what one finds at Rustic Canyon. However, the tee game aspect at Black Mesa is beyond RC because you cannot simply overpower the holes without sound placement. RC provides plenty of width which is a great asset, but at Black Mesa you must "shape" the tee shot as called upon and in my mind the person who can do that "on command" is clearly going to enjoy the challenges presented at BM.

I have to say that the front nine is a step below that of the back. Why? Unfortunately, the routing is quite basic as no less than four holes (#4 through #7) follow the same direction. When played with the wind they are quite less than they might otherwise be. Let no one think that I am in anyway suggesting they are pushovers -- clearly, they are not. As Mike Nuzzo posted the short par-4 7th is a dandy and easily goes beyond the short par-4's you find at RC such as the 3rd and 12th there -- which are not as cleverly defended as the 7th at BM is. I drove through the green at the 7th and I had to fight hard for a birdie because the contours are that exacting given the pin position that day!

The contours of the greens on the front side are good, however, not as rigorous, or as well defended as the ones on the back. I enjoyed the long par-3 8th because it requires a fine stroke with a long iron or wood but the concluding hole on the front side is out of character because it is so clearly worked by man's hand as you leave the confines of the natural mounds from the previous holes played.

The back nine can only be described in one word --

                         A-W-E-S-O-M-E

Each hole (hopefully I can post later a full description of each) is utterly first rate. The great thing about BM is that with each hole your head hurts from all the decisions you must make. You can be aggressive or conservative. Either way the execution level must be present.

Hats off to Pat Brockwell and staff for the fine playing conditions as the fairways are nearly all grown in. The greens are very good and they roll better than a few of the better courses I played when I was in New Mexico recently -- including Pinon Hills.

Black Mesa is like an honest judge -- no bribes accepted -- a true tour de force. The layout is a "MUST" play because it gives so much of the total package -- it combines beauty and shotmaking at a level few courses can ever hope to match. If you travel to New Mexico and Black Mesa is not on the itinerary you will certainly be the loser. I can't wait to return and play it again ...

P.S. One last thing -- play the course in the morning when the wind is down and then in the afternoon when it does blow hard will demonstrate the depth of this first rate design. How it merits "only" a 73.9 and 141 ratings from the tips puzzles me big time.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

THuckaby2

Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2003, 09:43:50 pm »
Great stuff, thanks for the review and coming from you this is high praise indeed, as you tend to pull no punches (which I like).

Better than any of RC/Wildhorse/AS?  Wow... OK, if the GCA get together wasn't mandatory before, it REALLY is now.

As for you CR/slope question, well... those numbers are pretty damn high as they are.  Just remember also that wind is sorta "averaged" - that is, the AVERAGE prevailing wind during summer is taken into account for ratings purposes... so no wind at all (morning) averages out with high wind (afternoon), if they do it correctly.

TH
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:05 am by -1 »

Matt_Ward

Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2003, 01:45:09 am »
In order to better understand the qualities of Black Mesa I will outline a course description of hole-by-hole.

1st 385 yards / par-4

Good starting hole. The player hits over a natural mound that requires about a 210-220 yard carry from the tips. The hole turns left and the green is nicely contoured. A good start is a definite possibility but not a guarantee if you sleep at the switch.

2nd 404 yards / par-4

Turns up the volume. Plays into the prevailing wind and the fairway turns slightly left and goes uphill. The green is rumpled like an old suit and the putting surface is long
and narrow. The best play is from the right as everything moves left. As I said at the outset -- the course is starting to i-n-t-e-n-s-i-f-y ...

3rd 603 yards / par-5

The first of four superbly designed par-5's. Arguable, I believe Black Mesa has the finest quartet of par-5's you will find -- particularly among new courses that have opened in the last few years. Here the hole plays again into the prevailing wind and it does go slightly uphill. The player must find the fairway and depending upon one's length there is the possibility for the longest of hitters to go for the green. HOWEVER, the second is ALL CARRY over a wash that juts over 2/3's of the pathway to the green. Even if you lay-up you must deal with a narrowing fairway and the approach must get to a green that is angled nicely. In most cases -- take 5 and run to the next hole ...

4th 203 yards / par-3

Mike Nuzzo has pictured this hole. The hole usually plays downwind and since the hole is set in a canyon it's best to come in from the right as the land tends to bounce shots towards the hole from that position. A good hole but a bit less in quality to the other par-3's at Black Mesa.

5th 496 yards / par-4

Solid long par-4 that begins from an elevated tee. The hole moves gently from left-to-right and the best play for those who dare is to drive th eball over the right half of the fairway (it's partially blind from the tee). If the drive is successful you open the approach to the green which is nicely angled from lower left to back right.

6th 565 yards / par-5

Plays with the wind and is a tempting treat for those who wish to risk just a bit. Follows the same direction as the preceding hole and with the wind can be reached in two. The key is hitting your tee shot down the right side -- however, don't even push the drive a bit or you find the junk zone at Black Mesa. If you do that you are then rewarded with a look at the green that sits below you. The second must then negotiate a series of bunkers that superbly guard the green. You can bounce the ball in from the left as a wise play. Wonderful hole that will reward the bold -- but SMART PLAY.

7th 356 yards / par-4

Could be the best hole on the front because so much is at stake. The hole starts from an elevated tee and with the wind can be reached. I actually hit my tee shot through the green and was lucky to escape with a par. The hole has a unique lateral bunker that protects the drive zone. You can stay to either side but be assured that it will catch those players who nap. The green is simply an awesome design as it slopes from left to right on a diagonal. If you hit it a bit too far left you will find more trouble. If you want to see a short part-4 that can do so much even with such short yardage the 7th at Black Mesa is a great example to emulate.

8th 238 yards / par-3

I've played this hole in both benign and windy conditions. In the former it was a 5-iron approach -- in the second it was a busted 1-iron just to get to the front into a 25 mph wind. You play from an elevate tee and the green is both long and somewhat set above the rest of the terrain that slopes quickly away from it. You must either hit the green or land immediately short. Push or pull it and your recovery will require Seve type talent. A great example on why long par-3's are so needed in the game.

9th 440 yards / par-4

The only real disappointment from a design standpoint on the front half. Yes, the hole has length, but it's away from the natural mounds you find the other holes and it's clearly the creation of man's hands. The hole usually plays into the prevailing wind and when I played it required a good tee shot and 5-iron. The real plus is that the putting surface is again well done with just enough slope and contour to keep you from getting too frisky.

Overall, the front is a good introduction to Black Mesa but the real adventure and excitement begins at the 10th. I'll post that side likely tomorrow ...
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

Doug Wright

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2003, 02:13:37 am »
Matt,

You seem fixated on the par 5s at Black Mesa as the separator  from Wild Horse, Rustic Canyon and Apache Stronghold. Fair enough--I suspect there aren't too many courses that have 5 pars that can pique your interest since they're really all par 4s for you.  ;D

What, if any, other features of Black Mesa cause it to be a notch above Wild Horse, Rustic Canyon and Apache Stronghold, which is pretty rarified air indeed?

All The Best,
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »
Twitter: @Deneuchre

Matt_Ward

Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2003, 02:35:25 am »
Doug --

Good question -- let me try to answer ...

The overall pacing of the holes at Black Mesa is first rate stuff. Baxter Spann knows how to vary the menu when playing. There is no "comfort" zone at Black Mesa if you're struggling or if you play in the wrong manner (i.e. too aggressive, etc, etc).

When I say "pacing" let me mention it's no different than watching a quality pitcher throw during a ball game. Yes, he has the fastball but he can vary his pitches and his placement is not predictable. Baxter Spann did that at Black Mesa very, very well. It also helps to have a site that allows holes to be fitted within their "natural" location without hauling all the equipment and digging and digging and digging until you get it right. The only hole that I believe is somewhat out of place is the 9th.

Second, the greens are shaped to be much, much more than just flat uninteresting saucers. HOWEVER, the greens are not so pitched an dtilted to require the loop-to-loop and clown's mouth you see at some of the new courses today. I still give th edge to Rustic in that regard but the margin is not that much between them.

Clearly, the strengh of RC is the greens but the tee game aspect IMHO is much less so. Black Mesa forces you to shape tee shots with both adequate distance and superb placement. Being anywhere on the fairway is just not enough.

Doug, I have the highest respect for Apache Stronghold, Wild Horse and Rustic Canyon. I just Black Mesa takes many of those attributes and carries it further.

One other thing -- the variety of the par-3's and par-4's is also much more sophisticated than at the other courses already mentioned -- the only weak one at Black Mesa is the 4th and I don't think it's that bad -- it's just not as good as the other three. I've said before that all of the long par-4's at RC play down canyon and in the same general direction. That's not the case with Black Mesa.

Dinner is calling now -- so I'll return later ... hope this helps.  ;)
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

B_Spann

Re: Black Mesa Golf Club
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2003, 05:48:58 pm »
Matt and Everyone Else,

Thanks so much for all the interest in Black Mesa.  I'm really looking forward to seeing you guys out there in September.  Hopefully, we can work out the logistics for me to give you all a little bit of a presentation on the project's history and the design and construction process between or after the rounds on that Saturday.  I missed you, Matt, by only a couple of days, as I was out there last Friday and Saturday.  We played Friday in a 30 to 45 mile an hour south wind and Saturday in a 15 - 20 mph north wind, so I got a good dose of the variety of conditions that can be had out there!  I agree that Pat and his crew (and the wind) have done a fine job with keeping conditions firm and letting the ground game play the role it needs to on this course.  This time of year there is so difficult to irrigate and manage turf because of the high winds nearly round the clock, and still occasional frosts in the mornings.  By September, the course should be in prime shape.

Also, Matt, I appreciate your commentary on all the holes, especially #9.  An architect's newest work on the ground is always about 2 years behind his current philosophies/ abilities simply due to the lag time between initial design and the point at which the course opens for play.  I think I would now take advantage of the flattish expanse where nine fairway is situated to create a lower profile version of what we did, with the same strategy in place.  The idea was to force the bold player to carry the vertical arroyo wall on the left from the tee and skirt the hazard down the left side to position the tee shot left and beyond the big bunker complex on the right.  A safer play away from the hazard yields a somewhat graduated penalty - the shorter hitter is in a fairway depression short of the bunker complex with only the top of the flag visible, while the longer hitter could find one of the large bunkers right.  This bunker complex is a little busy, and I would definitely simplify it if I had it to do over again, but overall I am still pleased with the way the hole plays.

I am hoping to get the builder, Paul Ortiz to join us at the outing also, as he is a very intersting guy, is native to the area (lots of local knowledge), and will be able to offer additional insight into the course construction.

Hope lots of guys (and maybe gals?) can make it out there! See you all in a few months
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 05:00:00 am by 1056376800 »

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