Featuring attractive Alister MacKenzie-style bunkers, the Gary Nicklaus-designed course at The Dalhousie Golf Club is quite a departure from what many might consider a typical Nicklaus Design layout should look like.
Dalhousie was the fourth golf project to be developed by the Golden Bear’s design firm in Missouri – following Top of the Rock in 1996 and a couple of new millennium layouts, Winghaven and Porto Cima – and the layout occupies land originally settled on by Scottish immigrant Rebecca Ramsey, sister of the Earl of Dalhousie, in 1798.
Zoysia fairways, fringed with fescue and bluegrass rough, are laid out on an undulating, forested landscape that’s punctuated by several large, natural water hazards.More observant golfers will also note that bent grass greensites have bunker complexes modeled on those at another Nicklaus Design course, The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Florida.
I was between 4 and 4 1/2 stars for Dalhousie. It is very much a modern cou rse. While it was built as by Nicklaus to have certain aspect of a Scottish links course, it does not have that feel to me. From the start to through the middle of the round, the property is quite open with native grasses as hazard areas. There are some great views, and while it is a residential development, the homes are very spread out, sort of like Wild Horse in NE if you have played there. I would not say that the houses take that much away if anything because of the large lot size.
While there is definitely some quirkiness off the tee, there are still a ton of great golf holes, and a couple of bad ones. #10 and #14 were mishaps that I'm sure Gary Nicklaus would take a second stab at 20 years later. There are a couple of tree lined holes on the back nine lat in the round that were fantastic and a change of pace from what is seen early in the round. The final hole has an enormous green that is probably a 100 yards long. I didn't hate it but the best word I could use to describe it was interesting.
Dalhousie is a gorgeous course, certainly worth playing. I will say in regards to where it is ranked here and in other publications is probably a bit high considering some of the great courses beneath it in MO.
Dalhousie is easily the best course in Missouri. Having played the course twice now, once in mid-May and once in early August, I feel comfortable giving a five star rating.
Pros: The course has a tremendous combination of rewarding length and accuracy. Many of the holes offer different options off the tee, and the par-4s and 5s offer great variety. Dalhousie offers consistent elevation changes, with golf holes that twist and turn up and down and left and right. The greens are quick and challenging without being obnoxious.
Cons: The 18th is quite strange, with a green that extends around 100 yards in length.
Very nice modern course, rolling countryside and nice views. The course is long from the championship tees, but playable. Takes a bit of time to get there, but if you are in the area play the course, you will not be disappointed.
Cape Girardeau is not a place where one expects to find a top-notch golf course, but Dalhousie fits the bill. It’s a residential layout but the houses are mostly non-obtrusive. The greatest quality of the course is the wide variety of holes and shots required on those holes. There’s open holes, tight holes, strategic short par fours, brutal long par fours, a handful of blind shots, some tricky layups on par fives, and a set of four memorable par threes. I’ve never found Jack Nicklaus courses to be anything spectacular, but being under the impression Dalhousie was Jack’s design when I played, I felt like it was different than any other Nicklaus design. Finding out later that it was designed by Gary Nicklaus instead wasn’t surprising. Good job, Gary!
My favorite holes included: #3, a difficult long par four down a creek valley with a semi-blind shot back up to the green; #7, a wild dogleg right par five which requires two very smart shots to set up the approach; #11, the “signature” Nicklaus par three over water, #14, a cool short par four with all sorts of options off the tee (including trying to drive the green!), and #18, a short par five with a crazy 50-yard-long four-tiered green.
Played June 7, 2017