Welcome to our five-part installment of our Golden Tee 2016 course preview. As is tradition, we will be taking a deep dive into all five new courses and what you can expect. Tune into Goldentee.com to read all five.
I can honestly say that I have never been to Newbury—a small town in England that, by all Google image searches, looks rather lovely.
It is a place that has no issues appreciating classic elegance, as seen by the magnificent architecture and detailed gardens. It is where “old” is celebrated and honored, and I mean that in the most complementary way imaginable.
When done right, “old” can be so original that it makes itself impossible to duplicate.
Perhaps that’s the best way to begin as we dive into Hawthorne Manor—our first in-depth course preview for Golden Tee 2016. It is my job to tell you how different and unique each and every course is from things you’ve played previously.
The hazards are not deep lakes, but a foot or so of standing water. They do the same thing to your scorecard, though. Trust me on that.
Everything about this course is wonderful and different. I love it, and I believe you will, too. Here are some of the items that stand out.
Look Out For the Walls—Both Enemy and Friend
When’s the last time you played a Golden Tee course with man-made walls plastered throughout? That is indeed the case on Hawthorne, and the end result is something that absolutely works in the setting. Oh, and you won’t miss them.
You will have the opportunity to hit over these walls, a handful of which will directly protect greens. If you come in contact, the outlook might not be so promising. (Trust me, I know.)
On the other end of the outcome spectrum, however, these walls can also serve you well. Shots over greens can occasionally use these structures as a backboard, and for all the bad they can do to your golf ball, they will also do plenty of good.
As a result, the YouTubes on this course will be magnificent. And this seems like an ideal transition to our next point.
Plenty of Concrete to Go Around
It’s not just the items standing upright. Yes, you’ll be fixated by the magnificent buildings in the backdrop along with the solid items directly in play. But the actual surfaces at the Manor will also be vastly different from what you’ve seen before—and perhaps nothing on this course will impact your score more than concrete.
It is strategically placed, of course. And much like the walls, the concrete on this course will generate frowns and smiles.
Concrete is significant for this very reason: it will completely nullify your backspin, making your shots much more difficult to control. And because the surface can be found around par-3 greens and drivable par-4s, it can drastically alter a shot that is just a smidge off the mark.
The par-3 17th hole stands out most as it pertains to the surface. If you hit the green, there will be no issue—hopefully. Come in contact with the concrete first, and there will be problems.
The Magnificent, Terrifying, Strategy-Packed 18th Hole
Greetings from the beginning of the end.
The final hole on Hawthorne is perhaps the poster hole for all of Golden Tee 2016. It is detailed, gorgeous and a shot that will ultimately shape your round one way or another.
The star-like shaped green is what stands out first. It is not necessarily small but it’s not large, either. And considering you have a large building in front of you to navigate around left or right, the green feels a bit smaller when you stand at the tee box.
I love this aspect of the hole, the idea that you have options with your fairway wood depending on wind or tee box.
Oh, and there’s water all around the green. That part is important. And with a unique texture surrounding the edges of the short grass, you are bound to get some unpredictable bounces on shots that don’t touch down on the green first.
This has everything you look for in a closing challenge. It provides you the opportunity to layup but also a chance at hitting an exceptional shot that can be fairly rewarded. These designs are why we love Golden Tee.
We’ll explore the next course soon. Stay tuned to Goldentee.com for more.