Oh well, here goes nothing.
For some time, I had a signature below my name taking a light hearted jab at Eagle Ridge's Golf Expo offer last year of a $1 round. Well, today I went back for the first time since all the earth moving gear and plastic tape cordoning off all sorts of capital works is long gone. In other words, a look at the final product without impediments.
Well, it goes without saying that a few strategically placed front end loaders, cranes and other major earth moving machinery should come back. Not just to fix the golf course, which may now be beyond salvation, but if they are positioned around greens or in place of some existing features, they would actually improve the look and architectural merit of many holes. Sorry, this renovation has long since crossed the barriers of being comical, gone past helplessly laughing, and is now somewhere between crying and just shaking your head and walking away. It is to the extreme benefit of Eagle Ridge that I know not as yet how to transfer phone photos to ultimately posting them, because I have a file that if they had any brains, they'd pay me a large sum for my phone and destroy it.
I have to point out that the turf management and therefore conditioning of the course is quite sound. Not up to the peninsula's best, but the greens are firm and quick enough considering our recent rains and the fairways present good lies. The maintenance failure is in the lack of level tees. But the CCFAD golfer who is impressed by condition, flower beds, fake waterfalls (there are now three!) and the like will have fun. But going on the aforementioned special, and also the current one that throws in soup and a cart for $26, not enough ever want to come back. Seriously, if you can't get people for under $30 green fees without the free cart, something must be wrong. And it is.
Firstly, the resort loving golfer, who values beverage carts and pretty flowers over design strategy at least likes to use his driver. There are too many holes here where players must either lay up off the tee, or are faced with extremely narrow fairways with ball losing junk lining each side. In an attempt to avoid competing with the typical peninsula style courses which in some way emulate a bit of the UK in oppenness and a "dunesy" or "linksy" feel, Eagle Ridge went for the Florida resort style. Only they missed. The course is unforgiving, and few of the all or nothing forced carries or tight shots have at least that exciting fun factor you might get from other tricked up features at other resort style courses.
And the bunkers. Oh brother, where can I possibly start. Their only redeeming feature is that they have been constructed to make the motorised raking easy.
Major Examples of Horror
I will be kind here. I know a few sound architectural minds on these boards who will criticise me for leaving too many out. But in all honesty, to list them all would make for a review too long even by my standards. I'll start with the first tee shot! Now a long iron or rescue mid for me from the tips (so that's about an 8 iron from the regular white tees). Or alternatively, longer hitters can bomb it into the front bunker complex (all of about an acre and a half of it). No risk/reward, and no drama from the sand.
Then comes the second hole. About 210 to reach the water, so there's another rescue mid for me and 4 iron for my playing partner. Anyway, nothing inciting brain damage happens again for a while. I look forward to the par 3 6th, a hole I have always liked. It is played over a ravine to aslightly elevated green 170m away. But always had a good look. Then it happened. After putting out on #5, we rolled our carts up to th sixth tee and all four of our jaws dropped. The bottom of the ravine, less than a hundred yards off the tee and almost as far to the green, there is an enormous bunker complex, complete with ornamental fern plonked within for good looks. And about a million other acres of bunkering elsewhere, and a new two tiered green. How can the designers be proud of this. Its like inviting Better Homes and Gardens to photograph your interior designing prowess at a new hotel, and letting them in an hour after a thrash metal band stayed and had an after party.
And this crap is repeated on all par 3s. How is this? On a so-called public/corporate outing type course, every par 3 has dead trouble in front of the green. The kind of trouble that makes 5-6 a really tough score for a twenty marker. The 100m carrying women, juniors and seniors out there please note, there is actually not one par 3 on this course you can play!! After #6, #8 is ringed by bunkering and has a re-vegetation area short of the green. #11 has a tiny ornamental pond (needed something for the fake waterfall to trickle into) short of the green. And the very long #17 has a large blob of very thick rough in the middle of the fairway cut, shaped like the hideous wavy fingered bunkers.
Take all this with some supremely narrow fairways on some of the few holes that should let a player hit driver, as well as other strange forced lay up shots, more hideous bunkering, water in wierd places, heck I'm going to stop now before I just get depressed.
To sum it up in short, do come down during the special and have a look. After all, you have to see it to believe it. And besides, for $26 in a cart, it still beats an average day at work (I didn't say a good one). But forget what I think. Nobody else in my foursome today will return either, even if the $1 special returns. Such a pity, because the resort concept can work. Nice clubhouse, nice feel about the place in a resorty kind of way. Pity the course is a try-hard poor copy of a resort course.