Key Biscayne, Florida, United States
Architects: Robert Von Hagge & Bruce Devlin (1972)
Yardage: 7,354 Yards, Par 72
My Quick Review: Interesting 'tournament style' greens but overall a disappointment with too many doglegs, bizarre mounding and a shortage of ocean views.
The drive to Crandon GC is gorgeous. Crossing over the Rickenbecker Causeway, I was treated to phenomenal views of downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay. I had no idea if the golf course was any good, but hopes were high for at least a few jaw-dropping vistas.
|View from Causeway|
I have no idea if the golf course was designed with the intention of hosting professional golf tournaments in mind, but it certainly felt as though it was. Many of the greens had little fingers and/or bowls. On many greens I got the sense that Devlin/Von Hagge were thinking, "ok, Thursday pin on that finger on the left side of the green, Friday pin is the bowl at the back of the green..." The greens were very formulaic. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as some of these fingers/bowls make for some very fun pin positions, but it is something that should be noted.
On many holes (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 11, 13, 15, 16) the fairway doglegged around a series of bunkers/trees. These holes look almost identical from the tee. In each case the hole doglegs much more than it appears, and in each case taking an aggressive line gets you in trouble. BORING! Below are the tee shots on a few holes, see the similarities?
Framing was a very popular design style in the 1970s, and unfortunately, Crandon is plagued with many framing mounds. Almost without fail, the greens are backed by bunkers benched into artificial mounding. The intention is to give each hole a sense of isolation, but the result is a completely unnatural and artificial greensite. A good example is below:
|Mounding behind 12th Green|
This is not a huge one, but I am a fan of golf courses that differentiate the difficulty between sets of tees by using both length and varied teeing angles. Donald Ross did an exceptional job of using different teeing angles at the Biltmore Resort Golf Course, but the runway teeing style used at Crandon does not do this at all.
|A 100-Yard Long Runway Tee on the 13th|
Holes to Note
Hole 3: Par 3, 193 Yards
After a forgettable start to the round, the 3rd hole is one to remember. The tee shot on this par-3 requires the golfer 'thread the needle' and carry a water hazard to try to find a green that looks almost un-hittable. There is a lot of visual deception here as the green is much larger than it appears, and the water hazard ends some 40 yards short of the green. The green is also surrounded by bunkers, none of which are visible from the tee.
|3rd Back Tee View|
|3rd Back Tee View Zoomed|
|3rd from Behind -- Note the Gaps in the Trees, those are the Teeing Areas!|
Hole 11: Par 4, 450 Yards
With bunkers left and water right, this is not the easiest tee shot, but there isn't a whole lot of thinking either. Anything in the fairway works.
|The 'Nose Bunker'|
|Shots will Collect into the 'Nose Bunker'|
|11th Green from Front of Green|
|11th Green from Behind|
|11th Green from Left|
|12th Short of Green|
|12th from Behind|
|18th Tee Zoomed|
OK, back to the golf. The second shot must avoid the trees right and a bunker 100 yards short of the green on the left. As far as I'm concerned, the bunker is unnecessary -- the hole is hard enough as is, but it is there and must be dealt with.
|18th Second Shot|
|Green from Front|
|Green from Right|
|Green from Behind|
|Green from Left|