The Country Club of Landfall offers 45 holes of golf for fortunate members. The first 18 of those holes came from the pen of Pete Dye, at his titular "Dye" course, and the other 27 came from his friend Jack Nicklaus. The “Marsh” and “Ocean” nines are most often combined as the “Nicklaus Course,” the more celebrated 18 from the Bear (he also designed the newer “Pines” nine).
Although finding land seems to be the theme suggested by the club’s name, the “Ocean” nine makes a line for the coast right out of the gate. It finally meets the ocean on No. 4, a short par three tucked around a marsh. On the following holes, players will need to choose whether to shoot for the shorter or longer fairway, with a watery grave being the punishment for choosing poorly. No. 8 is the final coastal hole, requiring a long hit over open water on the way to this 230-yard par three’s green.
As the “Marsh” title suggests, players will be no more safe from drink on the back nine at the Nicklaus. No. 16 features one of the most daunting greens in the architect’s collection: a skinny shepherd’s crook that reaches back into the lake the players drove over to reach the fairway. Many will opt to “lay up” to green’s entrance...which is ironically behind the green.
Landfall has a little bit of everything with 45 total holes. I only played the Nicklaus 9s and they each have a unique flavor.
The Pines starts with a straightaway par 4. Favor the left off the tee. The 2nd is a dogleg right par 5. Big hitters can get home in two. A high fade is the best drive or cut some of the corner, but be wary of the large fairway on the right side. The small elevated green slopes front to back and is difficult to hold. The 3rd is a short par 3. The 4th is a short birdie oppty, a decent drive should leave you with an attack wedge. The 5th leans right. Off the tee aim left of the tree in the middle of the fairway. The approach is downhill so club down. The 6th is a long par three and it is just about all carry over the water hazard. The 7th is a short par four and a good birdie oppty. Favor the left off the tee to avoid the right fairway bunkers. Pay careful attention to the pin location as the green is multi-tiered with a ridge bisecting it. The 8th is a reachable par 5. Favor the right to avoid the large left fairway bunker. The 9th is a dogleg left aim between the two bunkers off the tee. There is a water hazard right protecting the green. Good hole.
The Marsh starts off with a good birdie oppty. A slight S shape par 4 with a large waste bunker running down the left side. The green slopes hard left to right. The second is a mid-length par 3. It has a two tiered green and balls will go left. The 3rd is a long par four with a broad landing area. The approach is downhill to well-guarded green, bunkers left and right. The green is receptive to shots landing short and rolling on. The 4th is an uphill slight dogleg left. This hole utilizes a bunker in the sky on approaches from the left. The 5th is a dogleg left par 5. Long waste bunker down the left side. For big hitters this green is reachable in two but on the left is another bunker in the sky and the green slopes front to back. I think a better play is to layup right to give yourself a short pitch. My second pitch was much better than my chili dip. The 6th is a mid-yardage Florida par three to a two tiered green. I really liked the right slanting 7th. Water all the way down the right to a peninsula green that appears to be a hanging chad in the water hazard. Generous landing area, a decent drive should give you an attack iron. When we played there, I was just coming back from a bike accident and had 115 yard greenlight approach. Splash! I turn to my buddy Peter, and say I got this. Drop a ball, splash! Drop another ball, same thing. Peter says, you got it all right. We moved on as the water level was rising. The 8th is a reachable par five with a split fairway with trees in the middle. Left has more real estate, but then you will to carry a large left bunker. Right is tighter, but does provide a beeline to the green. This 9th hole is also a good one. Hole leans right with a large waste bunker and OB left. This is another peninsula green.
The Ocean 9 starts with a tough par five, so hopefully, this is not your first hole. Off the tee there is water left and an assortment of pot bunkers right. Your second shot will need to carry the water hazard, favor the right side to take the bunkers out of play. The 2nd tilts left so a high draw works nicely. Aim at the right fairway bunker. This is a narrow two-tier green with a bunker front right. Here comes your birdie stretch. The 3rd bends right, aim left of center to avoid the right fairway bunker. Take one less club on the downhill approach. The 4th is the shortest par 3 and is right on the intercoastal waterway. The 5th has a water hazard on the right that you cannot see from the tee box. Aim left of center and while the carry over the marsh looks intimidating it is much shorter than it appears. Hopefully, the pin is cut right when you play. There is a large slope on the left that lead to my demise. The uphill 6th is the longest par 3. Trust me, it is okay to hit driver. The 7th is the shortest par five and while there is a water carry I have no idea how/why this is the number one handicap hole. There is water all the way down the right that them cuts across the fairway at a 45 degree angle. Off the tee aim at the left fairway bunker. A decent drive will leave with 225 yards to the center of the green. If you have a lousy lie or are short on courage you can layup left or over the water to the right. The 8th is a fun hole with an island green. Consider laying up off the tee and be wary of the fairway bunkers left. A decent tee shot should give you an attack iron to probably the most severely undulating green on the course. The 9th is the weakest closing hole of the three nines in my opinion. Still, a decent hole, a high fade is preferred off the tee with an approach over water.
Landfall has 45 holes and I only played 60%. Of the 3 nines I would recommend Marsh/Ocean over Pines. My challenge to you is play all 45 in one day.