A Golfer’s Dream
How a regular guy conquered America’s Top 100 Golf Courses
23rd September 2014
A Golfer’s Dream by Larry Berle tells the story about his extraordinary adventure that spanned 10 years, a journey which somehow transported him to the first tee at each and every one of America’s Top 100 golf courses.
A slightly above-average golfer, Larry has no handicap in networking skills and is not afraid to ask for help – especially when it comes to playing Top 100 golf courses.
This September, we asked Larry if he would rate the U.S. Top 100 for us using our simple 1-6 golf ball rating system. Larry agreed and also allowed us to post online a series of exclusive reviews, which are edited extracts from his book.
For the next 100 days there will be one of Larry’s reviews posted on the Top 100 website. Some of these reviews and ratings may surprise many golfers, because Larry has not rated the Top 100 courses against every golf course he has played, but instead he rated them in relation to each other within the Top 100. In some cases therefore, his rating may seem rather low.
Here’s a taste of what’s to come:
I was a very popular person with my golf buddies at home in the weeks leading up to my Cypress Point tee time. Cypress Point allows two unaccompanied foursomes every morning between 7:30 and 8:30, so I could bring three friends of my choosing to play on one of the most beautiful courses in the world.
It was my second experience playing a Top 100 course alone in wet conditions, but it was wonderful. Every putt left a trail on the green, and I took this opportunity to practice green reading. When I missed putts, I went back and putted again, with the dew trails teaching me their mysterious lessons. The overcast sky and mist-filled atmosphere made it feel like I was playing in a dream.
It played fine, but its appearance was a hot debate point among the members. It’s a bit strange to hear your playing partner say, “Good shot, you’re in the brown stuff”.
The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and hosted a U.S. Open in 1970, which brought it plenty of negative press when competitors such as Dave Hill said, “The only thing that Hazeltine is missing is 80 acres of corn and a few cows”.
The Honors Course sign was so small you had to look twice to see it. Why didn’t they just put up a big “Go away!” sign?
I hit my tee shot into the right fairway bunker, directly below Jack Nicklaus’ house. “I hope he’s not watching me through his front window,” I thought as I bladed my sand shot into the lip of the bunker and watched it dribble out onto the fairway. Then I hit a crisp 8-iron to that elevated green about 15 feet from the flag. “I hope you’re looking out that front window now, Jack,” I whispered as I proudly strolled up the fairway, imagining thousands of cheering fans surrounding this green on the final day of the Memorial Tournament.
I can’t understand why anyone other than the best of golfers who really enjoy being tested would want to join Oakmont. In my opinion, this collection of 18 holes is more like a penal colony than a golf course.
There are basically two velocities of wind here; windy and windier. On that rare occasion of calm, this would not be a very difficult golf course, so how difficult with wind you ask? Jack Nicklaus, in eight appearances here, never broke par. Sam Sneed, after his first look at the narrow fairway on Number 1, turned to the gallery and said. “Okay, folks, we’ll have to walk single file today.”
Riviera is not a club of celebrities like Bel-Air, but there are a few. O.J. was a member until his trial. And there’s the story about Dean Martin and two of his pals getting ready to tee off when Buddy Hackett spotted them and hurried over to join them. “Sorry, Buddy,” Dean said, “We already have a full threesome.”
23 September 2014 Respond to this article