For Geoff Haynes, Carlton Oaks Superintendent, “This golf course is such a great mix of beauty and challenge. The relatively flat river valley layout is easy to walk, but mounding and hazards are used to create such a dramatic effect. All the holes have great character, move left and right and possess strategically placed water, sand and railroad ties as deadly, yet beautiful hazards.”
Haynes continues, “Sycamore Creek is the dominant feature on the front nine, as it directly impacts play on five holes. While you’re concentrating on your ball, be sure to also watch for the local residents who call the creek home, like herons, egrets, ducks, coyotes and the occasional deer. The local wildlife really adds the nature element to the property, the way golf was meant to be enjoyed. My favorite hole on the front nine has to be the short, risk/reward par four fifth. This hole looks easy enough, but there’s trouble waiting for you from tee to green in the form of both regular and waste bunkers and some extreme mounding. Even with a solid drive, the green is the smallest on the course and is well protected by bunkers all around.”
“The back nine is a more traditional parkland style routing, with six of the holes lined on both sides by mature Cottonwood and Eucalyptus trees,” adds Haynes. “The short par three, 17th continues Dye’s tradition of designing an island green toward the end of the round, such as is found at the TPC at Sawgrass and PGA West. The difference is our version uses sand instead of water as the surrounding, main challenge. The Stadium course’s hole is called “Alcatraz”, so I’ve named our own island green 17th “Rikers Island.” You don’t even get time off for good behavior here!”
“Water does come into play though on holes 11, 12 and 18,” Haynes warns. “And speaking of hole 18, it gets my vote for best hole on the back nine. I will even put it up against any other finishing hole in the county in terms of having that perfect blend of beauty and difficulty. The 439 yard par four plays into the prevailing wind with bunkers and gigantic Sycamore trees guarding both sides of the fairway. Hitting safely from the tee allows you an unobstructed view of your final challenging approach shot, one final carry into the wind over Sycamore Creek to a large, railroad tie buttressed peninsula green with the most slope and movement on the entire golf course. The perfect ending to a memorable round of golf at Carlton Oaks!”
About Geoff Haynes
Geoff Haynes began his tenure at Carlton Oaks in August…just in time to take on the task of replacing all the old poa annua turf on the greens with fresh, new creeping bentgrass! The entire maintenance staff worked extremely hard while the course was closed to complete…read more.