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The Golden Tee RV is packed—with clothing and such but mostly beer and meat for grilling—and we’re headed down to Edgewater, Florida to explore our first course of Golden Tee 2014.
Around this time each year we explore each of the new courses in-depth before they launch. Although we won’t give the hole-by-hole, there are some items in here of note to get you excited for what’s ahead.
And so we begin with Pelican Grove.
A Different Kind of Florida Course
I don’t know how the Golden Tee design team does it. Even after hundreds of course creations—in various locations, with various surfaces, obstacles, etc.—virtual golfing journeys still feel new and original. Like this one.
I'm totally not sucking up, I promise, but I'm totally getting a beer out of this.
I preface with this, because Pelican Grove—the first course in GT 2014—fits that profile brilliantly. It’s a course in Florida, and I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, I’ve seen that before.”
No, you haven’t. It’s… different, and I mean that in a very good way.
There’s no ocean on this in-land creation, but there’s a rugged country club feel to it that really works. This, of course, means lots of other objects—like sand, water and trees—are featured prominently.
Palm trees aren’t everywhere (although there are a lot of them), but they have been strategically placed throughout. Water doesn’t line the fairways but you will know exactly where it is. Oh, trust me on that one.
And the sand, well, you’re going to have to deal with a fair amount of that, too.
It’s easy to say a course is different, because anything new will undoubtedly spark these feelings. But this one is different, and the subtle nuisances are going to be to your liking.
The Drivable (and Maybe Drivable?) Par-4s
The possibility for a big score is there, that’s for sure. That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to come by—but it’s there for the taking. Oh, I have your attention now, don't I?
Not only are your regularly schedule reachable par-4s in the picture, but there are a handful of designs that can be reached if the setup is right and you have the shot. For the record, I don’t have all those shots yet. But they are there, and they will be done.
With these moments, however, comes risk. It’s what makes these shots worth taking—and more specifically, it makes you think about them before you pull back on the trackball. In the case of Pelican Grove, the risk comes in the form of trees, which in turn come with water.
You’ll have to take your time one each tee box—as you always should, regardless of your buddy’s constant complaining—but you never know if there’s a shot that you’ll missing. And on Pelican, it’ll be worth a second look.
These holes won't always be reached in one, but there are going to be some fascinating setups.
The Par-5 17th
First and foremost, this is one of the most beautiful designs I have ever played. I exhausted the Fly-by button the first time through, taking in the scene.
It is beautiful, however, because there is plenty to look at beyond fairway.
Translation: Look Out.
Strategy will certainly play a huge role in how you decide to play this shot, but there is a lot of water and an island green. That’s the first part. The second is the large grouping of trees with a beautiful walkway headed towards the hole. Please note: You do not want to find your golf ball on this walkway.
If you end up there, something has gone wrong.
The green has a significant downslope, which means distance and spin control will be crucial. Club selection will also factor in, and tee shot placement is as important as the shot over all that trouble.
Add in a bit of wind, and you looking at a hole that will likely help make or break or round. Regardless of whether it makes or breaks you, it’ll sure be fun to look at.