On my first trip to Alabama, I was struck by the rolling hills of the Birmingham area. With two rounds up lined for the weekend, I knew that I would need to mentally prepare for side-hill lies. After experiencing Ross Bridge, my playing partner and I headed to the Ridge Course at Oxmoor Valley.
Cut through a dense forest over a topographically interesting piece of land, the property itself at the OVRC seems ideal for golf. The course conditions were solid. For me personally, I left my round expecting quite a bit more than what the course delivered given the fabulous terrain.
When writing reviews on this website, I usually like to highlight memorable holes that stick with me from my round. Often, those holes’ impression are so strong I can remember features years later. Unfortunately, even after going through a virtual tour of OVRC, and reviewing my notes from the round, few holes stuck with me from an architecture standpoint.
The one hole which I found to be unforgettable was the par five 3rd. While the player cannot hit driver off the tee, there is still the important strategic aspect of playing as close to the lake as possible if you want to reach the green in two. Cut out of a quarry, there are three distinct areas to play the second shot up fascinating terraces. I have played almost 3,500 holes and have never seen this type of shelving incorporated into the playing field before. One must think their way through the entire hole.
One of my favorite aspects of reading reviews, especially on this site, is comparing and contrasting notes with other golfers. Frank’s write-up below captures the essence of the course well, and I love his admiration for his home club. Bottom line: different golfers have different preferences in golf courses, and that is healthy and normal.
Personally, I prefer courses that offer a little more width off the tee for strategy – that absolutely has to do with my game! At OVRC, many tee shots and approaches only have one successful route, and the course is a test of your ball-striking from the first tee to the eighteenth. With almost every putting surface elevated, fronted by bunkers, and surrounded by rough, it is imperative to fly the ball and control your spin. Generally, I prefer a bit more variety in green complexes and enjoy holes with run-up options. Additionally, for such a great piece of land, I thought some of the manmade mounding was unnecessary on certain holes.
If you are a shot-shaper who enjoys the challenge of a golf course with exact targets, you will love the Ridge Course at Oxmoor Valley. While this was not necessarily my favorite round, I completely understand why many golfers offer such positive praise.
Date: May 01, 2020