I was dismayed when Golfweek rated the Red & Black loops as one course in their 2018 Modern Top 100. This self-confessed box ticker felt he’d played two courses not one and I’ve got the dent in the bank balance to prove it.
Having read the reviews for the Black course, my feeling is that the Red edges the Black but both are enough fun and different. Tom Doak may see both courses as one, but I don’t. Each greensite is very distinct depending on the direction you play and only on a reversible course will you approach the same green from its backside and frontside depending on route. My opinion is that the Red is the best course at Forest Dunes but only just, all three are good but not great courses when compared to the conventional offerings at Bandon, Streamsong and Sand Valley.
It’s a clever trick to construct two courses from one piece of land, but I think just concentrating on one circuit could have created a much better single course. There’s something a bit contrived about having closely mown areas at the front and back of the greensites, so there’s no harsh penalty for being long and most greensites feel as though they are trying hard to be good enough from two directions and miss the point. Trying too be too clever can result in gimmick and that’s what I think has happened here.
Date: October 23, 2018