Rees Jones laid out the course at Lookaway Golf Club, fashioning holes through open and forested terrain, with many of the fairways flanked by trademark sets of multiple bunkers.
Rees Jones has created a number of outstanding courses but as is common with many architects there can be times when a final product is nothing more than an effort that is simply a rendition of what's been done previously.
Lookaway Golf Club is presented very well -- the turf quality is certainly first rate. But the architecture is not in the same league with the top tier efforts that Jones has created at other sites.
The routing is nicely done to get to all corners of the property and there are a few holes of note -- the 4th and 7th are both done well and each are par-4's under 400 yards from the championship tees.
The saving grace for Lookaway comes with the final hole. Playing 434 yards the 18th generally plays back into the prevailing wind during the season. The visual dynamics are very good and the need to properly play one's tee shot is an absolute must, as the hole swings gently from right-to-left. Unfortunately, the insertion of a cluster of bunkers in the front before the green is just overkill.
The greater Philadelphia area is one that includes a very rich, diverse and deep roster of top quality courses. Lookaway is sufficient in what it provides -- it's just not especially noteworthy given the high bar of courses in the region.
by M. James Ward