Welcome to the fifth annual edition of the GolfCourseHome Network Dream 18—great residential golf holes representing the best in golf course design. As a bonus they also provide the fun and challenge of magnificent golf holes available literally in community residents’ own back yard. What a wonderful perk to have a world-class golf course literally steps away from your own front door!
The winning holes were selected from
more than 4,500 golf holes & 250 courses
These havens of the country club lifestyle have been selected from the more than 4,500 golf holes, 250-plus courses created by more than 50 different golf course architects featured on GolfCourseHome.
Many of the courses are highly ranked by the leading golf publications and have been crafted by the great names in golf course design. That’s only part of the story, however.
The GolfCourseHome gallery of Dream 18 holes for 2011 was assembled not just as an all-star list of standout selections, but also with the fun factor more in focus.
It’s always possible to collect holes that are rated as the No. 1, 2 or 3 handicap holes on their respective courses, but experiencing a course like that would surely be dispiriting.
If you’re an inveterate golf traveler and tournament player with lots of friends living in top-rated golf communities, you may have played a fair number of the holes featured below. The idea of playing every one of them, and completing the Dream 18, however, is a lofty goal that we would love to hear someone has completed.
Each of the 18 winning holes’ description include a parenthetical denoting which number hole on the original course our selected hole represents. For detailed information on any of these courses or communities, just click on the highlighted name of the community. The first six holes are presented below. Read about holes No. 7-12. Read about holes No. 13-18.
Hole No. 1, Chapel Ridge (17th)
Par 4 324 / 311 / 300 / 293 / 233
Hidden in the Carolina hills but with easy access to Research Triangle attractions, Chapel Ridge stretches across more than 1,000 acres of rolling hills, delighting residents with sweeping panoramic views.
The community’s most celebrated asset is The Golf Club at Chapel Ridge, but residents also flock to the exclusive property owners’ clubhouse and its swim/tennis center, sports courts, fitness center and athletic fields. Minutes away is Jordan Lake where you can boat, fish, camp and water ski.
The Golf Club at Chapel Ridge offers premier facilities including an 18-hole championship golf course, practice range, short game area, along with a clubhouse/grille and golf shop.
Hole No. 17 gives us a go-for-broke par-4, short and attackable. The aggressive shot requires a precise line and 262 yards to carry the hazard at the center of the green. The sensible play is a long iron down the right center of the fairway, which will leave a short iron or wedge to the green. The green slopes in several directions and finding the right angle of attack will lead to your success.
Hole No. 2, Sanctuary Cove (13th)
St. Simons Island, GA
Par 3 195 / 151 / 114 / 105
Any golfer’s fantasy 18 could include a hole from along the Golden Isles, where we find the waterfront community of Sanctuary Cove. Hard by the Little Satilla River on the Georgia coast, it offers miles of pristine waters to explore in scenic intra-coastal waterways, crystal-clear private lakes and The Little Satilla River.
Resident’s gather in the Owner’s clubhouse, play tennis, enjoy the club pool and tie their boats at a day dock where long days of fishing and boating begin.
The golf course, by Davis Love and Fred Couples, identifies its signature hole (and our selection) as the jewel of a par-3, No. 13. You come to it after a front nine that cuts through 300-year-old oak trees, lakes and preserved wetlands.
On the back nine you play a links design with fine views of the Little Satilla River and the marshes. This hole’s green is elevated above the tee grade and surrounded by marsh—one small bunker is all it needs to complete its defense.
Hole No. 3, Ford’s Colony (17th)
Par 3 192 / 173 / 125
By providing the cultural richness of Williamsburg and setting sky-high standards for cuisine, Ford’s Colony showed itself as a community ahead of its time. This little golf kingdom of 54 holes, by the underrated Dan Maples, was chosen by GOLF Magazine as one of the “Top 20 Places to Semi-Retire.”
It has recently added a state-of-the-art learning center to its amenity package, which includes multiple clubhouses, two sites for tennis, a five-star dining room and wine cellar plus two private swimming pools.
Of all the great golf here, we give a slight edge to the beautifully wooded new nine at the Blue Heron course. Its quartet of par-3 holes is highly praised, and we’re pinning a ribbon on the par-3 No. 17, though we don’t advise that you play from all the way back at 220 yards, given its full water carry. Clearing that hazard, with just one hole to go, is a pulse-quickening experience.
Hole No. 4, Penn National (5th Iron Forge) Fayetteville, PA
Par 4 384 / 362 / 318 / 301
Founded in 1968 and developed with care ever since by the same stable ownership, this 36-hole redoubt in national-park-style terrain is now home to more than 1,000 families.
All amenities are in place and available, including the two courses, a fine clubhouse, swimming and tennis clubs, the Penn National Inn and a seasonal farmers market. The Gettysburg battlefield and other historic sites are nearby, along with antiquing, outlet shopping, fly fishing and kayaking.
Designed by Bill Love and opened in 1997, the Iron Forge course at Penn National has a rabid following, both for its views of the Michaux State Forest and the great variety of shotmaking challenges.
Hole No. 5 is a par-4 that gets lots of psychological mileage out of its moderate length of 384 yards from the back tee markers. What you may not recognize from the tee, with many a bunker flashing into view, is the fairly safe area for landing your drive down the left side. The fairway makes a graceful “S” curve, from the tee up to the greensite, where there’s an interesting symmetry of pot bunkering left and an elongated bunker right.
Hole No. 5, Solivita (14th, Oaks)
Par 5 564 / 530 / 485 / 444 / 411
Few golf communities have developed a programming concept as comprehensive as Solivita’s approach to wellness and longevity. Sub-titled “The Younger Next Year Community,” this 4,300-acre property features discrete neighborhoods for 55-and-up residents and a true integration of amenities and activities, all geared toward a high quality of life.
The fun quotient here includes hitting the links at Stonegate Golf Club, which is Solivita’s on-property golf amenity. Of its two championship 18-hole golf courses, The Oaks, by Ron Garl, and The Cypress, an original Joe Lee layout redesigned in 2006 by George Clifton, we make our Dream 18 at No. 5 on The Oaks.
This hole has got a visual of the tee but that hazard isn’t much in play. The prevailing wind is against you here, so focus on avoiding the scrubby “natural” area guarding the left side. There’s also a large bunker formation on the right to negotiate as you play along. For all that, it’s “third-shot” par-5, because the green has a combination of dramatic and subtle undulations that put a premium on hitting your approach shot with accuracy and some touch.
Hole No. 6, Glenmoor (15th)
St. Augustine, FL
Par 4 360 / 334 / 311 / 302
Glenmoor is a haven of comfort and security for ages 55 and up at the heart of the famed World Golf Village near historic St. Augustine. Natural forests and lush scenery surround the community, which provides popular amenities like a health and fitness center, clubhouse and lounge, activities center with library and an aquatics complex with junior Olympic-sized pool.
Venture off this 40-acre campus and the unique attractions of the World Golf Village greet you, including golf’s Hall of Fame museum and two championship golf courses designed by legends of the game.
The Dream 18 selection committee likes to play its Florida golf in late afternoon, when shadows and dusk make a hole like No. 15 on the King & Bear course at World Golf Village seductively pretty. Arnold Palmer, co-designer of the course, chose this right-curving par 4, with water down the right and a compact, fieldstone-fortified green, as his favorite.
The yardages are modest as you read them on the card, but that slender pond on the slicer side (for righties) stretches the distance as players steer their shots leftward.