Fred Couples and Brian Curley combined at the onset of the millennium to create the course at the Royal Oaks Country Club, and it can’t be denied that there’s a dramatic flair at many holes. No. 16, a short par three, is considered the signature hole and it also serves as a good representative for Couples and Curley’s style at the club. The green runs along a pond, within which there’s a well-planted island surrounded by waterfalls (as if water isn’t enough to spook the average duffer).
Similar island ornaments can be found near the greens to Nos. 7 and 18. No. 9 shares the waterfall features with No. 18, but also sets up as a strategic gambit coming out of the front half, featuring a very reachable par five. A broad centerline bunker prevents any shots from drawing in but a big hitter can try to cross the pond and get on the putting surface in two.
Despite all the water, Royal Oaks doesn’t imply itself as a punishing course. Rather, it celebrates inclusivity by advertising 10 different sets of tee boxes, ranging from 4,700 to just over 7,000 yards.