Welcome to the fifth annual edition of the GolfCourseHome Network Dream 18 — great residential golf holes representing the best in golf course design. This post features the final third of the 2011 GCH Dream 18–holes No. 13 thru 18. Read about Dream Holes Nos. 1-6 and Dream Holes No. 7-12.
No. 13, River Landing (18th, River Course), Wallace, NC par 4 417 / 408 / 350
Gated and private, River Landing is a golf community covering over 1,700 unspoiled acres along the banks of the Cape Fear River. Residents enjoy easy access to historic Wilmington (35 minutes by car) and a state-of-the-art Sports and Fitness Center for bracing recreation. Without leaving the property, residents enjoy walking, hiking and nature trails, plus some of the nation’s best fishing, boating and gardening.
It’s doubly hard to choose a Dream hole at River Landing, with its splendid, 36-hole golf complex. But there’s no doubting the playable, memorable excellence of the 18th on the River Course, voted one of the best finishing holes in North Carolina and now a member of the 2011 class of GCH Dream 18 golf holes.
The approach shot on this medium-length, left-curving par-4 reveals a small, elegant waterfall in a wide pond your shot must clear, with the grand, gabled clubhouse as a backdrop. Send me more information about River Landing!
No. 14, Moss Creek (7th, Devil’s Elbow Course), Hilton Head Island, SC par 3 148 / 139 / 126 / 109
Along with its family-fun reputation, Hilton Head also carries a tradition of genteel luxury and casual sophistication. Think Moss Creek, with its formal equestrian center, classy clubhouse design and the English garden-look to its landscaping. When you swing into action, it’s on either of two superb Fazio golf courses, fast-dry composition courts, boating and fishing waterways, at resort-style pools or just out on the nature trails.
The two championship courses enjoyed by Moss Creekers include one—the North Course, a.k.a. Devil’s Elbow—that annually hosts a major collegiate women’s championship. Last spring a Furman University player aced our Dream Hole, the perplexing par-3 seventh.
She had to play a slightly downslope shot to an undulating green guarded robustly at the left and front by bunkers. If you can’t hole your tee shot here, beware a bold ridge bisecting the putting surface—it’s an infamous cause of three-putts. Send me more information about Moss Creek!
No. 15, Grand Haven (15th), Palm Coast, FL par 4 471 / 460 / 433 / 373
Spreading lavishly across 1,400 acres along the Intracoastal Waterway and close by Atlantic beaches is Grand Haven, a top-tier private club and community featuring Jack Nicklaus golf and an expansive clubhouse.
The amenities also include two recreation centers with everything from cardio to one-on-one competitions. Homes range from smaller cottages in low-maintenance neighborhoods to grand waterfront estates. The Signature golf course Jack Nicklaus built for Grand Haven features full-length water hazards along several holes. But in Dream 18 selections, we prefer the more deft psychological effect Jack’s 15th hole produces.
It’s a par-4 with just a modest pond you can easily clear with your drive, then another small pond curling around the greensite on this long and slender par-4. Golfers can steer away from the aqua-dangers easily, but may not–if they fail the mental challenge. Send me more information about Grand Haven!
No. 16, Hilton Head Lakes (12th), Hardeeville, SC par 5 518 / 485 / 460 / 420
The pleasures of a private lake with community docks and open water for boating and kayaking draw active families to this Hardeeville haven. There’s a “summer fun” theme at the Lake Club, a residents-only fitness-and-sports center with pools, a small waterpark, plus tennis and basketball courts.
Golfers enjoy an inspiring and possibly daunting layout (if they play it from way back at 7,300 yards) crafted by Tom Fazio II. We’re saluting the strategic ingenuity young Tommy crafted into the par-5 12th hole, which is clustered among holes that are rated as No. 16, 14 and 18 on the handicap chart—i.e., definite birdie holes.
Therefore, par is a good number on the three-shot 12th, which you approach from the left side of the fairway to skirt hazards. The green has a half-pipe contour, so avoid leaving it between you and the pin on your putt. Send me more information about Hilton Head Lakes!
No. 17, Victoria Park (17th) Deland, FL par 4 366 / 334 / 305 / 288
Forming a triangle with Daytona Beach and Orlando, each 30 miles off, the quiet university town of Deland stuns many first-time visitors with its charm and its pinehills-style terrain. The community of Victoria Park is the area’s prime address—a well-planned enclave with lake frontage, a fine clubhouse, tennis center, fitness complex and a resort-style pool and spa.
The clubhouse features a full-service golf shop, restaurant, and tavern. Victoria Hills is the Ron Garl-designed championship golf course here, and it’s heartbreakingly pretty. Garl brought artistry to this very un-Florida terrain of rumpled hills and high-rise oaks and pines, carving 107 stylish bunkers into the routing. It’s a layout with multiple shortish par-4s, but No. 17 is perhaps the classiest.
Where its fairway doglegs, a gang of deep and ragged-faced bunkers will intimidate some players and rev up others to try and shoot over. The green is puzzling array of subtle and dramatic breaks, framed by more of Garl’s compelling sand hazards. Send me more information about Victoria Park!
Hole No. 18, Farm Neck Golf Club (8th) Oak Bluffs, MA par 5 512 / 486 / 453 / 358
This Dream 18 hole, and the community where you’ll find it, requires a ferry ride for most visiting golfers. Farm Neck Estates is a neighborhood of wonderfully situated residences in the historic Martha’s Vineyard town of Oak Bluffs. The group of homes borders a beloved Vineyard golf course favored by U.S. presidents and traveling golfers of all skill levels. Tennis at Farm Neck is nearly as popular as golf.
The club has four outdoor Har-Tru courts and an active program of lessons, clinics and tournaments. Overlooking the first tee, the Farm Neck Café offers casual dining from April through November. In addition, the Café is available for private parties, receptions and weddings.
The golf course was routed by architect Geoffrey Cornish to make optimal use of rolling woodland, lower-lying meadow and the proximity of what seems to be Nantucket Sound but is in fact Sengekontacket Pond. That hazard comes into view for the first time as you play No. 4.
It then looms large on the par-3 No. 7 and even more so on the wonderful eighth, a tricky-driving par-5 whose fairway turns and dips gracefully as it plays along the sparkling pond from stem to stern. Shots that favor the safe left side of the fairway on No. 8 get the courtesy of a bounce or roll downslope toward the centerline. Click here for more information about Farm Neck!