Beyond a golf course being absolutely pointless the next worst thing is the insertion of a very simple but direct word -- dull.
Saucon Valley is an immense complex containing three 18-hole golf courses and the facility has a rich history in hosting a number of top tier events -- especially USGA Championships.
The architecture at the Grace Course is a throwback to the period of time in America -- the 1950's and 1960's -- when the focus was on creating large-scaled courses with plenty of length, distance and difficulty. The Grace Course is bereft of any meaningful topography. Think being in Florida while actually in Pennsylvania. That's hard to imagine when the other layouts at Saucon Valley do have land elements of note. Interestingly, the Gordons did provide a superior layout with their work on the Weyhill Course.
Amazingly, the layout was ranked in the Top 100 by Golf Digest for a time and my initial visit to the club was because of this. I actually played another of the layouts first -- The Old Course -- before playing the Grace. I enjoyed the former and then after finishing the round at the Grace I was shaking my head in total amazement on how the raters could come to such a conclusion.
The style of architecture that came to fruition in American course design during that time frame is no longer in fashion -- thankfully replaced with more imaginative holes and courses that feature shotmaking and creativity at their core and often blessed with terrain that adds to the experience when playing.
The Keystone State has a number of top tier courses that have quite rightly been reassessed for their qualities. For too long they were in the shadows. The Grace, for me, would not sniff a top 25 position.
For total transparency, my review comments predate the recent bunker renovation,
but I feel the issues with the Grace course go way beyond a dressing up of the
by M. James Ward
Date: February 20, 2018