As the golf course boom in the St. Louis area waned in the late 1990s, many new developments in rapidly growing St. Charles County northwest of the city evolved away from public golf towards residential private clubs or worse, housing developments without golf courses. Persimmon Woods went against the trend, opening in 1998 as a true “golfer’s club”, a Keith Foster design with no residential component whatsoever and even without typical modern American country club amenities such as a swimming pool or fitness center. To their credit, they’ve maintained that distinctive character twenty-some years in.
The course itself is solid, probably one of the better strategic layouts in the area. The green complexes are large and undulating, and the bunkering is superb. The front nine is more open and takes advantage of the hillier portions of the property, while the back nine takes the player through denser wooded areas along the creeks that bisect the layout. The best holes include: #6, a long, sweeping dogleg right par four with a berm partially obscuring the fairway and a green with a few nasty pinnable areas; #7, a dare-you-to-try-it par short par four guarded by water that features a centerline bunker right in the middle of the layup area; #13, another solid short par four with many options; and the home hole, a risk/reward par five featuring a whole mess of mounds and yet another a centerline bunker in the layup area.
If I had any criticism, it’s the penal nature of the native grass areas, which lay a bit too close to the edges of the fairways (as close as 6-8 yards in some places); balls are rarely findable in there, much less playable, as is common in the lush humid summers around here – so the criticism isn’t really unique to Persimmon Woods. That said, it’s a unique modern layout with some cool holes and immensely fun to play. I’d consider it narrowly better than Lake Forest as the second-best course in St. Charles County, behind only the sublime Boone Valley.
Date: October 06, 2020