A majority of Mark McCumber’s work has occurred in the American South, and few locations are deeper south than his original design at Timberton Golf Club. The region surrounding Hattiesburg, Mississippi is full of wetlands, and McCumber almost didn’t have a choice but to incorporate ample water hazards throughout his design.
Although the opening hole is gentle enough, the course’s true identity emerges at No. 2, where a creek flows along the entire left side of the par four. That creek empties into a pond, where McCumber built the tee box on an island. Continued creek-crossings and forced carries ensue.
The second half of the course has more property to roam than the first, and players in carts may enjoy the drives through wooded wetlands to get to the next bit of playable land. Players will be relieved to know that the island green off of the No. 15 green isn’t actually part of the Timberton routing, but they’ll be in for a similar experience soon enough. If the long forced carry to a perched green on the par three No. 17 seemed bad, it’s just a warmup for the closer, which requires two carries of the lake to a similar green.
Timberton is a Mark McCumber design that opened in 1991. It has won a plethora of awards and best of all it is a great value. However, it is not a very walkable course with some treks green to tee. I walked over 6 miles. Also, there are not a lot of water stations on the course.
The first hole is welcoming a downhill par four. The 2nd is a little more demanding, favor the right off the tee. The par 5 3rd is potentially reachable, but you would bring a lot of trouble into play. A safer play is right off the tee and choose your favorite wedge yardage. The 4th is a short par 3 and certainly a birdie oppty. The 5th is the number one handicap hole and rightfully so. Slight dogleg right, favor the left, but there is a stream on the left side. The mid-length par 3 6th is another birdie oppty as is the par 5 7th. There is a large water hazard left. It sneaks into play behind the furthest left mogul. Don’t be a victim. The par 4 8th is ranked much harder than it is, what you see is what you get. The 9th is a birdie oppty with a split fairway and bunkers in the middle. I think left is the better approach, certainly shorter.
The back starts off with a relatively easy par four. Slight dogleg left with a stream down the left side to another well protected green. Actually, 10-13 tilt to the left. The 12th is the longest par five, favor the right side. The 14th is the longest par 3 and is actually uphill. Make sure you take an extra club. The last par 5 the 15th is rated the easiest hole on the course. Not sure that I buy that, but it is reachable. Sharp dogleg right and you can drive through the fairway. If you hit driver you MUST cut the corner. Not sure about the knucklehead who built a house on the inside elbow of a short par 5. If you find the fairway it should be green light to go for it in two, but there is a stream in front of the green providing a mild deterrent. The par 4 16th is also a dogleg right. You have to be a real big hitter to cut any off and I do not see the upside. The 17th and 18th are two good finishing holes. The 17th is a mid-length par 3 with mostly carry over water. The 18th is tough. Water hazard on the right that wraps around the fairway and protects the green. There is more room left off the tee, but this provides a tougher angle into the green.
Overall a nice course, good value but a tough walk.