Hole 1 – Willow
The first hole is a short opener that give players a good opportunity to start off with a birdie. The inspiration for this hole is the second hole at Prairie Dunes Country Club. Our version will be a mirror image of the original, with a high ridge along the back left setting up the green which is benched into the hillslope. A sharp drop-off on the front right side and a grass hollow back left will put a premium on distance control. The undulating green surface itself will also put a premium on accuracy as shots that don’t end up close to the hole location will leave players with sharply breaking putts, a tribute to the famous “Maxwell rolls” that defined the green surfaces at Prairie Dunes and other courses designed by Perry Maxwell.
Hole 2 – Short
The second hole is inspired by the 8th hole at The Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. As a short hole the intent is to test the players skill with a short iron and the putter. The green surface is fronted by a small pot bunker at the front right that guards the righthand side of the green. Players will need to determine whether to challenge the pot bunker for holes located on the right side of the green, or to just run a shot onto the left side of the green and then rely on their putting skills. The green is wider than it is deep, with a defining slope running through the middle creating an upper right half and a lower left half of the green.
Hole 3 – Golden Bell
The third hole is inspired by and named after the world-famous 12th hole at Augusta National. Another short par 3 that is characterized by a small green and swirling winds that play havoc with players club selection and confidence even though it is a short hole. Our version will have a similarly shaped, small green with the fronting center bunker to contend with. It will also play towards the south and southwest, into the prevailing wind. As with the famous version, players will need to have very good distance control and confidence to execute their shot to hit and hold this small green. Doing that will leave players a relatively straightforward putt, with the entire surface sloping towards the front. Misses over the back will leave a tough up and down.
Hole 4 – Redan
The fourth hole at Tower Tee is inspired by the 15th hole at North Berwick Golf Links in Scotland. This hole is considered by many to be one of the best par 3 holes in the world, and thus it is also one of the most copied holes in the world. Ours is a shortened version, but it maintains the key attributes of the original hole including: being a slightly uphill shot from tee to green creating a semi-blind shot in which the player can not see the green surface from the tee; the green is set on a roughly 45 degree angle from front right to back left with a deep bunker running along the left side; a high plateau in front of the green, setting up a green surface that runs away from the player to the back edge and also slopes from right to left. The proper play on this hole is to play a shot onto the fronting plateau and let the ball run out towards the hole. Players will learn to gauge how much run-out is needed depending upon how deep into the green hole location is.
Hole 5 – Tower Tee
Our fifth hole is a Tower Tee original. Laid out across some of the most dramatic ground on the property, the hole plays across a deep valley and low area to a green perched at the top of a bluff. Playing slightly uphill, the green surface will mostly be hidden from the players on the tee, with just a small false front visible at the front left corner of the green. The green is one of the larger ones on the course, but it is divided into an upper right plateau and a lower left level, which will require an accurate tee shot to get on the right level for a good chance at making birdie. The right and back edges of the green will help funnel shots into the green, but the steep approach slope will leave shots that come up short down below the green with a tough recovery shot to salvage par. Overall, the objective will be to use the strong design influences and concepts present in the other eight “famous” holes to create a ninth hole with its own individual character providing another engaging, fun challenge for the golfers to experience.
Hole 6 – The Dell
Our sixth hole is inspired by another sixth hole, the 6th at Lahinch Golf Club in Ireland. Named “The Dell”, the green sits in a low hollow amongst a trio of high hills, completely blind to the player from the tee. A white rock is positioned on the fronting hill on a direct line between the tee and the day’s hole location, so that players will know where to aim. The green surface is a “punchbowl” shape, with the majority of the green sloping towards the middle from the edges. It’s a unique hole that creates a fun sense of anticipation if players get their shot on-line over the white rock. Knowing that the front and back edges of the green slope towards the middle, and thus towards the hole locations, they’ll walk around the hill with the hope that they see one less ball than they expect, leading to an immediate glance into the hole for the missing ball.
Hole 7 – Biarritz
Our seventh hole is inspired by the 3rd hole at the no-longer-existing Biarritz Golf Club in France originally built in 1888. This is another very famous and many-times copied par 3 even though the original hole and course have been long gone. The main characteristic is in the distinct configuration of the green. A very defined and deep trough runs across the middle of the green, creating a distinct plateau in front of the trough and another distinct plateau behind it. The effect is to create three distinct “greens” within the overall green. Players need to find the proper section of green otherwise they leave themselves a very adventurous putt through the deep trough in the middle.
Hole 8 – Postage Stamp
Our eighth hole is inspired by the famous 8th hole at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland. The name is a reference to the small green size as well as the additional perception of the green surface being small due to the hazards and challenges immediately surrounding the green surface. A high ridge along the left has a narrow “coffin” bunker cut within it, aptly named as shot played into this bunker could leave the player “dead” with a bunker shot being played onto a green that slopes away to the far side, where two other bunkers wait to gather any mis-played shots. While it is a short hole, it will require the players full attention in settling on a proper strategy and proper execution with their tee shot.
Hole 9 – Eden
The round at Tower Tee finishes up with a hole inspired by what many consider to be one of the greatest strategic par 3’s in the world, the 11th hole at The Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. The strategy of the hole is derived from a combination of the slope of the green surface and the position and difficulty of the bunkers. The green has a strong tilt from back to front, putting a real onus on the player to keep their tee shot below the hole to have any type of reasonable putt for birdie. Keeping the tee shot below the hole brings the two bunkers into play though. The front right pot bunker is deep and small, making for a challenging recovery shot. The left side bunker leaves a player playing their bunker shot to a green that is generally sloping away and towards the front pot bunker. Like the original hole on The Old Course, our hole will play into the prevailing wind, adding a little more challenge and consideration on the final hole.