December Poll Question: Do your visits to “big name” courses live up to expectations?

I submit that, short of suffering serious physical harm on the course, it's virtually impossible to have a bad time at Kapalua's Plantation Course.

I submit that, short of suffering serious physical harm on the course, it’s virtually impossible to have a bad time at Kapalua’s Plantation Course.

One of my guilty pleasures and great joys each winter is reviewing the lists of the major golf publications’ lists of “Top 100” courses and the like. I also enjoy some of the more static lists like the Golf Course Architects Top 100 and the The Links Association’s list of the 246 True Links Courses, for variety and a sense of thoroughness.

I’ve used a conglomeration of these lists to inform and guide my own choices when planning golf getaways, my own golf course bucket list, and even family vacations.

I’ve been fortunate over the past several years to play a handful of famous or highly ranked golf courses.  There’s always a special thrill and excitement when I’m been able to tee it up on courses that have hosted professional tournaments.

With only one exception, the experiences at these famous courses have met or exceeded my expectations.

The Kapalua Plantation Course is a truly special corner of God’s green Earth. The course, facility and experience is first class all around without any hint of pretense or snobbish nonsense.

Even under less than ideal conditions, Harbour Town was just a pure joy to play.

Even under less than ideal conditions, Harbour Town was just a pure joy to play.

Likewise, Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head is a first-rate course and facility. Despite near freezing temperatures, the staff could not have been friendlier or more welcoming The course was in immaculate condition and was a lot of fun to play, and has made watching the Tour Pros play there each April extra special for our household.

In Alabama this year, our group played the Lakes Course at Grand National one week after the PGA Tour’s visit, and played Capitol Hill’s Senator Course just weeks before the LPGA visited.

These were truly unique experiences for our troupe of hackers, as we will rarely have occasion to play top-notch courses under truly tour professional conditions.

The Lakes Course at Grand National is special in its own right, but getting to play it while it was still conditioned for the PGA Tour pros once a truly awesome experience.

The Lakes Course at Grand National is special in its own right, but getting to play it while it was still conditioned for the PGA Tour pros once a truly awesome experience.

The only real outlier, on the other hand, was my experience on Dubsdread at Cog Hill outside of Chicago.  If you aren’t on the top of your game, the golf course can quickly become an absolute slog. The staff was friendly enough, but I played terribly on a course that was too difficult for me, which sapped all the fun out of the round.

However, I’m curious if my experiences at these types of courses are typical.  So, Dear Readers, I put the question to you: When you have played “big name” courses, be they world-famous public courses or an elusive, exclusive country club, have the courses and golf experiences lived up to your expectations?

Please take a second to vote below, and as always, any comments or anecdotes are welcomed.

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