It’s immediately clear that Rees Jones was working on the design for the Totteridge Golf Course at the same time that he was conducting his renovations at Bethpage Black prior to the 2002 U.S. Open. The same bunker style — long and often with Tillinghast “fingers” — can be seen here, looking to grab wayward balls. And, also like at Black, Totteridge is open to the general public, just east of Pittsburgh.
This course also comes with championship-caliber yardage, weighing in at more than 7,150 yards for the golfer who feels up to the challenge.
Although Totteridge was designed in tandem with a correlation with a residential community, the homes only come into sight along the east edge of the property, with the majority of holes playing away from them to the west, with more rural, and even forested surrounds. Situated amid rolling hills, albeit far from the most severe in the region, much of the course can be seen from the clubhouse.
The par three No. 8 is perhaps the most photographed hole on the property, but this is hardly a course that relies on water to enforce its challenge. The pond will be the only realistic water hazard you’ll meet during the round.
Totteridge checks all the appropriate boxes and there's significant "teeth" to test players of all levels. The missing link is that the Rees Jones style is once again in full view and nothing is present that clearly rises beyond what's been done in earlier efforts.
If one were to check out the work Jones has done in The Keystone State you see the likes of Huntsville which is clearly superior in a number of ways. The good news is that Totteridge is open to the public and given the low bar for high quality public courses in Pennsy that's a real plus.
Totteridge is generally in fine shape but for whatever reason it's rare to see Rees Jones design a stellar short par-4 and par-3. The template is usually the inclusion of lengthy par-4s and par-5 holes which often maximize the difficulty quotient but hardly engender a real rapture in wanting to return. Superior architecture plants a clear seed in providing lasting memories. Totteridge is worth playing but Rees Jones has done much better in a number of other designs.
M. James Ward