Saturday, March 10, 2012

Victory Ranch Club Course Review

Victory Ranch Club 
Park City, Utah, USA

Architect: Rees Jones (2009)

7,599 Yard, Par 72

Rating/Slope: 74.9/133

My Quick Review: Thrilling shots, elevation changes and stunning vistas make for an exciting round of golf, though the course is dull architecturally.

My Thoughts

1) No picture of the routing anywhere (if someone could find one please post it or send it to me to post).  Course routing is a modified figure 8 routing, with holes 2-4 playing away from the clubhouse and holes 5-8 playing back toward it.  Holes 10-12 make a triangle.  Holes 13-17 go back and forth up the side of the mountain, making for some really cool holes, that are also unwalkable.

2) I really enjoyed this golf course.  It may not be the kind of course that likes, but I think it's the kind of course the general golfing public loves - lots of dramatic views and heroic shot opportunities.  It deserves a place on a top 100 you can play list without a doubt.

3) The greens have very bold internal contouring, generally in the form of tiering.

4) I don't get the 'waves' in the fairway cuts.  I know runway fairway cuts are boring and ugly, but random waves (in my opinion) are worse.

Scorecard Information

Black Tees: 7,599 74.9 / 133
Blue Tees: 7,153 73.0 / 129
White Tees: 6,726 71.2 / 125
Green Tees (M): 6181 68.9 / 123
Green Tees (W): 6181 74.3 / 131
Red Tees: 5422 70.2 / 123

Holes to Note

Hole 1: Par 4, 440 Yards
A gentle, downhill opener (remember, Utah is at elevation so the ball travels farther).  If the wind is blowing, there is not a ton of width, but there's enough.  The fairway runs out at about 330 yards.  Oddly, the bunker guards the right side of the fairway, while the ideal approach is from the left.
1st Tee
1st Approach
1st Green
1st from Behind

Hole 4: Par 4, 404 Yards

On the 4th tee you get a look at the amazingly dramatic 5th and can't help but wonder "hole sh*t, is that really a hole over there?!"

Though the hole is only 400 yards, it plays long as it is uphill and into the wind.  Anything missed to the right of the bunker will find a canyon (you ain't hitting out of there).  Most of the interest in this hole is found on the green.. unfortunately, the green's surface is blind from the fairway and only a player who has played the course before will know where he can miss on this green.
4th Tee
4th Approach
4th Green
The hump on the left of the green is (obviously) gigantic! And running along the back edge of the green are two more waves.  They may appear small, but if your ball is where mine was, navigating them is a daunting task.
4th Green with Increased Contrast
A look from behind shows how dead anything missed right is!
4th from Behind
4th from 5 Fairway

Hole 5: Par 5, 630 Yards

Standing on the 4th tee and the whole time playing the 4th hole, it is hard not to look to the right and stare at the hole on top of the canyon.  The view of the 5th from the 4th looks like this:
5th as seen from 4 Tee
...And from the 4th green one is treated with this view of the 5th green.  Rees did a very good job of 'previewing' a thrilling upcoming hole to assist in building the anticipation.

The tee shot is thrilling, with the back three sets of tees requiring a forced carry over the gorge to reach the fairway.  How much do you cut-off? It is very difficult to judge with no yardage guide and a significant wind (downwind, luckily).  I was fortunate I pulled my tee shot well left of my intended target over the bunker to find the middle of the fairway.  I am not sure the bunker is necessary.
5th Tee
The second shot will be a layup for most.  Plenty of width, but anything well left or right will be reload territory.
5th Second Shot
The approach is bunkered predictably with bunkers short left and right.  Great view beyond, though.
5th Approach
Not the boldest contouring on the 5th green, just a ridge separating the small front portion of the green from the back.
5th Green
5th from Behind

Hole 6: Par 3, 235 Yards

I could not imagine playing this hole from 235 - fortunately, the tees were all moved up.  The blue tees I was playing were at about 180, which is were this picture is taken from.  Another thrilling shot over a gorge to a significantly contoured green.

6th Tee
6th Tee Zoomed-In
6th Green

Hole 14: Par 3, 170 Yards

GULP! This is a scary hole.  Though some may not like the hole because it is somewhat all-or-nothing, it is another heart-rate rising tee shot.  The green is quite large and slope significantly from left-to-right.  Miss it way right and it's lost.  A bit right and it's gobbled up by the Colt-esque U bunker, or the crazy-deep pot-looking bunker.  Or miss it left and hope you can keep your chip on the green.
14th Tee
Green from Left
Green from Back-Left
14th from Behind
14th as seen from 15th Fairway

Hole 16: Par 5, 555 Yards

These last three holes are tons of fun.  16 plays straight downwind.  One is tempted to take it up the right to minimize distance into the green and have a shot to reach it in two.
16th Tee
Hitting a second shot from the right edge of the fairway is SCARY.
16th Second Shot from Right
Approach from the left is far more comfortable.
Second Shot from Centre
Approach to the Skyline 16th
Tiny front portion of the green with a wide back portion.  Back-right pin is difficult to get to as you have to flirt with falling off the edge of the world.
16th Green from Left

16th from Behind
The View Beyond the 16th Green

Hole 17: Par 3, 242 Yards

There are tees everywhere on this hole, 13 by my count, from all different angles.
17th from 260 Yard Back Tee
17th from 220 Yard Tee
Another Phenomenal View
17th from Behind
17th Green from Behind
17th Green

Hole 18: Par 4, 520 Yards

18th from 520 Yard Back Tee
18th from 475 Yard Member Tee
Approach to the 18th
18th Green from Left
18th from Behind

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