It has been described as “Stars and Stripes all the way” and the name of this place might just give the game away. The Patriot Golf Club, opened on Memorial Day in 2010, is a proud tribute to the many thousands of ordinary American people who serve their country in the military services.
Next to the clubhouse stands the Folds of Honor Foundation, a national charitable organisation conceived by Major Daniel Rooney, an F-16 pilot who served in Iraq and is also a member of the PGA of America, and this organisation provides support for families of military members killed or disabled in service.
Two years in construction, the course itself winds through a number of distinct landscapes: marshland, woodland, limestone canyon and prairie. And due to the general rocky nature of the terrain, a substantial acreage was capped with a 10-inch layer of sandy-loam topsoil during the build.
The routing starts and ends on a cliff with the opening tee shot dropping more than 130 feet to the fairway on the 566-yard 1st hole, named “George Washington”. Holes wind past streams and rocky outcrops until the 6th rises up to the elevated terrain again.
The journey from the higher ground to the basin is revisited at the 14th with another 120-foot drop before hole 17 climbs back up to the bluff, where golfers are greeted by one of tallest flagpoles in the country, bearing one of the biggest American flags in all of the United States.Suitably fired up on the 18th tee, thoughts of achieving a par four at the 432-yard closing hole (“Dwight David Eisenhower”) will be on the mind of many but the home hole’s a really tough one, played along then over a steep canyon, so walking off with a “4” on the card is certainly cause for some patriotic celebration in the clubhouse.
The Patriot is a wonderful golf club with a very modern, enjoyable layout. RTJ II and company did a great job on a beautiful site.
- Great variety. Three of the par-5's (1,4, & 15) are unique, exciting golf holes. The course even features a pick-em par-3 at the 6th.
- Perfect turf. For someone who grew up on Zoysia, to actually see firm and running is a treat. The club used a new-aged strand (Meyer) to increase short-game options.
- Fun. This course is a blast to play, and birdies are to be had for those playing well.
- No course is perfect. There are certainly a handful of holes that just fill in the gaps (3,11, & 16 come to mind).
- The course is for all intents and purposes carts only.
Overall, I was very impressed. The course is both memorable and beautiful. I could certainly see The Patriot contending for a spot in the Top 200 lists.