John Daly off to a bad start as a golf course designer
John Daly is off to the kind of start as a golf course designer that the Colorado Rockies enjoyed in the World Series. That’s no start.
Daly, who’s wasted more talent than any athlete since Mickey Mantle, is already on his fourth “Signature” design in his second career. I’ve played two of the four - Wicked Stick in Myrtle Beach and Thundering Waters in Niagara Falls.
To call them underwhelming is putting it lightly.
Wicked Stick isn’t a bad course, but it’s faux links design is a little disappointing - doubly so when you realize you could have been playing a Barefoot Resort Fazio or Pawleys Plantation. But at least, Wicked Stick is one of the most convenient courses in Myrtle Beach, almost impossible to miss as you drive the Grand Strand.
Thundering Waters provides even more of a letdown with the crazy hype it receives and its hotel brochure claims of Falls views - which could only be seen from the course if you took a helicopter ride off one of its tees. You’d have to be from Buffalo or a blogger just happy for a comped greens fee to love Thundering Waters and its opened-too-soon fairways.
Now, not even Daly himself pretends he did the major design work lifting on his courses. But they still have his name on them first and he bears some responsibility.
I’m cautiously optimistic about Daly’s newest so-called signature course though - Sevillano Links. It’s out in the middle of California olive country, 90 minutes from Sacramento at one of those casinos dying to become a destination. Sevillano is the first course with Daly’s name all over it that actually appears it will play like you expect a Daly course to play: Long and longer.
It’s 7,813 yards from the back tees and in one of its quirky (i.e. publicity-seeking) features, all of its holes can be turned into par 5s for a 9,000-yard course for special tournaments.
To hear from Daly on Sevillano and discover why it’s such a gamble for him and the area, stay tuned to GolfCalifornia.com for a news story. I’ll also be out to review the course - and to let you know whether Daly finally gets one right - later this year.
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