The first thing an early-season visitor to Bobby Jones might notice, when looking down from the temporary clubhouse into the large bowl in which the course sits, is dormant Bermuda, and lots of it. It’s a matter of taste whether one believes in the old U.S. Golf Association turfgrass adage “Brown is beautiful,” but what’s truly appealing is the entire sward is mowed at fairway height – a broad creek, a manmade lake and a number of bunkers serve as hazards, but there’s no rough.
Bobby Jones is just the second course to employ a new drought-tolerant strain of bermudagrass known as TifTuf – the first was the highly touted Ohoopee Match Club, about three hours down the road in Cobbtown, Ga. The firm turf allows for a pleasing array of shots around the greens, which are grassed with a complementary TifEagle bermuda. In contrast to the aforementioned Loop, the greens at Bobby Jones are of the St. Andrews-style, double-green variety.
They average a massive 12,000 square feet, so while critics might carp about taking an 18-hole course down to a reversible nine, nothing has been lost when it comes to the variety of hole locations.
The tees at Bobby Jones also are worth mentioning. There are nine sets – a startling number – and looking at the course map online it would be easy to be fooled into thinking you’ll be staring at pushed-up cake boxes all day. Nothing could be further from the truth. The tees are mostly built at grade and melt pleasingly into the landscape.
Cupp’s design is managed so that golfers can play each version of the routing (Magnolia and Azalea) on back-to-back days, though the facility also has begun arranging well-attended shotgun events in which the hole locations and direction of play are switched after nine holes.
The pros and cons of Cupp’s reversible design should be apparent within the first nine holes, though. Architects prize bold landforms in creating conventional one-way routings, but they can be a liability in the design of a reversible course.
The most consistent golf at Bobby Jones is found in the flattish field that defines the property’s southern section. Here, double-green complexes such as No. 1 Azalea/No. 8 Magnolia and No. 3 Azalea/No. 6 Magnolia showcase the kind of pleasant surprise that comes from seeing details that one may have missed while playing in the opposite direction.
To read the full article, visit golfweek.com.