Robert Trent Jones Senior’s 18-hole Masterpiece course is the premier layout within the massive 81-hole golf complex at the Treetops Resort. The 180-yard 6th is the signature hole on the card, with its elevated tee offering wonderful views across Pigeon River Valley.
Robert Trent Jones “Masterpiece” at Treetops is anything but. The first hole is a reachable par 5, however, I do not think the risk reward justifies it. Semi-blind uphill tee shot, right is better. The redan green is guarded by a water hazard in front and right with a bunker left. There is a small throat. It is fantastic to start red, but …. The 2nd is a slightly uphill par 3. This hole feels as if it was squeezed in with a ravine right, couple of bunkers in front and a road running parallel. Things get difficult on the number one handicap 3rd. There is a ball eating ravine left and the fairway narrows and feeds into this ravine about 150 yards. Check your yardage off the tee to avoid this double bogey fate. The mid-length par 3 4th is somehow rated the number 11 handicap hole. Yes, you have to a carry a ravine and there are two bunkers in front, but I don’t get it. The 2nd is longer with more trouble and is rated the #17 handicap and this is rated #11. The par 5 5th is a dogleg left with the hole on top of a ridge. Yes, that means, left or right is not so good. The fairway narrows the closer one gets to the green and there are three large bunkers in front. Favor the right off the tee and play it as a 3 shotter. The 6th is the signature hole, a steep downhill par 3 to a guitar pick shaped green with two bunkers left and right. The 7th bends slightly left and is uphill. Take an extra club on your approach, also validate pin location as this is a very long green. The 8th is probably the best hole on the course, a dogleg right. You can drive through the fairway so cut a wee bit off or go down the right treeline. One of the few holes at Treetops with a water hazard, this peninsula green will find many golfers wanting. The9th starts with an island tee, favor the left to avoid the fairway bunker right. This is another long green with two bunkers left and right.
The back starts with a monster uphill par 5. Don’t even think about it. The green has a large bunker right and grass bunkers left. The 11th is a downhill then uphill par four that lists left with two bunkers on the inside elbow. As tempting as it may be to fly them, right is the play as the terrain will bring the ball left. The 12th is a long dogleg left with lots of landing area with bunkers on the inside elbow. Another green with bunker left and right. The 13th is a mid-length downhill par 3 over a puddle with bunker right and front. The 14th is a long par 4 with a steep drop-off inside of 150. Check your tee yardage and left of center is best. Some folks will think they can drive the short 15th. I think a better play is to lay up to your favorite wedge yardage. This green is surrounded by five bunkers. The uphill 16th is the shortest and easiest hole on the course. Right is death, there is a long bunker in front and one left. I would suggest taking an extra club. On the 17th your natural inclination will be to go down the right side of this long dogleg right. There is more room left and less trouble. This green is protected by 3 bunkers and a north south ridge that creates two tiers. The par 5 18th is only reachable by the few and the brave. For the rest of us the second shot will determine our fate as the fairway narrow significantly the closer one gets to the green. Instead of getting as close as possible, best to lay back around 125 yards.
Another non-walking friendly course. Two memorable holes and not much else. I would not play it again if you paid.