There is probably no better judge on the qualities of the golf courses at Stonewall than Tom Doak...after all, he designed both of them (we’ll leave the actual reviews to our readers’ less biased minds). That said, Doak was hired immediately with a handshake agreement after completing the Old Course at Stonewall, and he returned to complete the North course a decade later.
Although both play to the same par with the same number of long and short holes, there is difference in what each requires from players looking to score. Doak typifies the older of the two as the more difficult from tee to green, but those who prefer to challenge some aggressive greens, the North course is the better bet.
It features the same old world charm as its sibling, as the title wall makes a few noticeable appearances around the route, including at the par three No. 2, and the par five at No. 8 will require a shot over the wall both during the tee and shot and your second shot. There are some new world hazards as well, such as the closing par five where players must hit over two streams on their way to the green instead of two walls. As the course itself notes, “you will either love or hate this hole.”
Stonewall Golf Club kicked off with a Tom Doak design known as The Old Course back in 1993. Doak was invited back in 2003 to build the north course (also known as The Udder Course in a comical reference to the club logo).
When it came to building a second course, his brief was to build a course with wider fairways, but more challenging greens. He certainly has achieved that goal. And the north course is set up for carts, giving older members a kinder alternative to walking the Old Course
It certainly offers a completely different playing experience. It is a good course, but not as good as the Old Course in my opinion. While there are some good holes, the standout for me is the closing par 5 eighteenth hole finishing back in front of the old clubhouse. That was a memorable hole!
After playing the Old Course in the morning we took putters around the North course in the afternoon, and had a grand old time playing with those heavy contours. The greens are fun and challenging, but overall the north course plays a couple of shots easier than the Old.
The North is a nice contrast to the Old Course, and makes Stonewall a pretty decent golfing facility in anyone's language.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
Stonewall North is a course that is built for the older member or a member who wants to play a quick round of golf in a golf cart (buggy).
It is not at the same level as its sister course, the Old course, but it is one where Mr. Doak was able to put his own stamp on the green complexes in order to offset the shorter yardage than at Stonewall Old.
The land is not nearly as good as Mr. Doak had for the Old course, but the terrain does still offer plenty of challenges.
The first hole, however, is forgettable as you feel as though you are playing in a farmer's field to a downhill hole. It has adequate length for a starting hole at 415 yards.
The second hole is either relatively simple or a brute, an uphill par 3 of either 200 yards or 136 yards to a green that has a huge spine and hill that will feed the well placed tee shot to the right back of the green into the bowl in the middle. There are likely some good chances for an ace on this green but if you have a long putt, a bogey is very possible.
The third hole is one a player will either love or hate, a par five straight up a hill with a huge bunker complex near the top. The tee box points you right at this complex and if the wind is in your face, it is a difficult carry for the average length player. However, the members know - just aim to the left of it, there is plenty of room while the longer hitters don't give it a second thought and aim at the left side of them and carry it easily. The green sits down a hill and is well guarded by bunkers.
The fourth hole is one that visually looks straight away with bunkers on the left but actually those bunkers are on the right side of the fairway. Go right of those bunkers off the tee and you are in tall grass and weeds. Avoid the bunkers and it's a fine second shot confronting you to a green that has a bunker perfectly placed in the middle front of the green. I liked the hole once I knew the routing.
This is followed by a mid length par four slightly dogleg left with a green that is severely titled away from your approach shot, yet has a large hump in front. It requires a very precise second shot to hold the green. Most balls do not hold and go slightly over. I don't care for the green as I think it is too penal.
Then there is a short downhill par three, the sixth hole that again is well protected by bunkers in the front. The green has huge undulations in it with a shelf on the back left. Some would consider the green to be unfair such are the undulations or bumps. If you hit the green you have a reasonable chance for par; miss the green and a chip to save par is unlikely.
The next hole is a longer par four the seemingly plays into the wind every time and is slightly uphill at 450 yards from the back tees and 425 from the member tees. It has another big bunker complex on the right side of the fairway. The green is long and is uphill. Par is a fabulous score on this hold.
Next is the eight, the longest hole on the course at 600 yards from the back tees and 500 from the member tees. Your second shot is to be played over the corner of the stone wall whether going for the green or laying up. In the distance there is a flag pole detailing the right edge of the green.
The front nine finishes from the clubhouse playing downhill to a 160-180 yard par three with the flattest green on the golf course. The green is elevated with tree trouble on the right.
The tenth kicks off with a short par 4 with a wide fairway to the left and no real possibility to get to the green if you hit along the tree and bush line on the right. Its a nice hole, but not a terrific hole for a short par 4.
For the eleventh you cross the road and play a blind tee shot uphill to another green that can run away from you. It is a mid length par 4 so it does make some sense to have a green that is as difficult as this one.
For the twelfth you play a short par 4 to a biarritz green. Visually I found this hole to be lacking due to its background.
The thirteenth is a long par 3 well bunkered both right and left with water on the far right. The green is very undulated and I found it to be a bit overdone. Its a good match play hole but not a good stroke play hole.
The fourteenth is one of the two best golf holes on the golf course driving over the edge of the pond and with a lot of bunkers down the right side all the way to the green in three separate green complexes. The green is slightly elevated. It is a gem of a hole.
This is followed by another medium length par four where you drive over the fairway just completed trying to avoid fairway bunkers as well as two sets of bunkers fronting the green in separate parcels. The green has an enormous swale on the right front which all of us found to be unnecessary.
The 16th is a long par four at 470 yards basically for both the member and back tees driving over the pond to a dogleg left. It is another green with good bunkering both left and in front. It is a hard hole, but a fair hole as the number 2 index.
The seventeenth is a long par 3 of 190 yards from the member tees and 213 from the back tees playing slightly uphill to another well bunkered green complex. Again we found this green to be a bit overly done with its undulations given the length of the hole.
The 18th finishes beautifully with a very picturesque barn and complex behind the elevated green. It is not as beautiful as the barn and stone wall complex on the Old course. If the Old has a "10" rating, this one has a "7.5."
You have to navigate the stream a couple of times to a raised green that has bunkers around much of the right and left sides. The green is titled and has some undulations but is not overly done. This is one of the two best holes on the golf course and is a wonderful finish.