The past decade has seen newfound interest in restoring the classic works of Donald Ross. It’s interesting that Gaston Country Club saw a restoration much earlier than many of the others, namely because Gaston comes from the pen of Ross’s associate Ellis Maples, versus the Golden Age icon himself.
Maples professed an interest in defending his par fives with skinnier fairways than what Ross may have preferred, but the former architect’s interest in creating elements of risk-reward proves wisdom was passed down from the latter. All three par fives at this 7,000-yard course will be reachable for the biggest hitters but each faces one significant hurdle in doing so. At Nos. 1 and 13, the challenge is whether to carry a small body of water sitting ahead of the green. At No. 6, one must carry the bunkers at the inside of the dogleg in order to have a chance at an eagle putt.
The latter hole is a better anecdote for Maples’ appreciation of doglegs. Nos. 9 and 15 demonstrate instances where, using different forms of hazard (the former a large bunker and the latter a stream, players are challenged to bite off as much as they feel comfortable to chew.