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If You Like Challenge and Beauty, Check Out Pound Ridge Golf Club
If you want to be challenged, I mean really
challenged, by a golf course, the owners of Pound Ridge Golf Club in Pound
Ridge, N.Y. have just the course for you.
Almost dastardly difficult, Pound Ridge, which
opened in June of 2008, features over 100 bunkers, wildly undulating greens,
severe elevation changes, doglegs, water, and deep rough lining most of the
fairways. Once you’ve completed your round a feeling of either total frustration
or exhilaration will flow over you like a tidal wave. Pound Ridge is that type
Pete Dye’s only design in New York State, the course
is full of the master architect’s signature flairs, such as difficult green
complexes that place an emphasis on short game skills. Of course, those skills
come into play only after you’ve reach the putting surfaces, which is no mean
Even played from the third set of tees down (6,229
yards), where most all visitors should play this incredible track, the course
is an extremely stringent test of one’s ability. Not just on one or two holes
but on all 18. There are a number of forced carries at Pound Ridge, not your
garden variety, but massive natural areas that demand tee shots be hit at least
200-plus yards to find the short grass.
We played the second set of tees down, 6,787 yards,
and the course ate our lunch. It isn’t that each hole when taken by itself is
too difficult. It’s more the cumulative effect of facing complicated shots
every time you step up to the ball--both on the tees and the somewhat wide
fairways--that wears on the amateur golfer.
Visually, Pound Ridge GC is as stunning as it gets.
The owners spent millions of dollars carving a magical routing out of a rocky
landscape. Yet, despite massive amounts of earth moving, the course looks quite
natural and in keeping with the local terrain. The conditions are impeccable.
An example of the challenge Dye imbued the course
with can be found explicitly on the fifth hole, a par-four that looks inviting on
the scorecard, measuring just over 300 yards from the tips. But stepping onto
the tee one is greeted with the sight of over a dozen bunkers scattered about
the fairway, to its side, and by the green. Just where do I hit the ball and
what club should I choose?
The ninth, a 573-yard par-five that winds up a hill,
calls for a tee shot of well over 200 yards to carry a natural area. The 10th,
again, looks unimposing enough on the scorecard at around 400 yards from the
back. But the hole doglegs left down a hill and there are nasty bunkers
guarding the landing area. The tee shot must clear another natural area.
The 11th, a 208-yard par-three, may be
the best short hole on the course. There is trouble all around and a lusty
long-iron or fairway wood will be needed to reach the slightly elevated putting
The 13th Hole
The 14th, a 426-yard dogleg left par
four, calls for another long tee ball across a waste area, with the approach to
a green complex that slopes off severely to the left and right.
Talk about tough finishes!
The penultimate hole is a 460-yard par-four that has
deep fescue lining both sides, and the 477-yard 18th is a monster
that demands a strong tee shot and a long iron or fairway wood to a green
protected by bunkers and water to the left.
Make no mistake about it; Pound Ridge GC is one
special course. Just check your scoring expectations at the bag drop. Enjoy the
challenge and the views.