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Look-Alike Links

Can't Make It to Augusta or St. Andrews? Not a Problem
Larry Olmsted
From the Print Edition:
Raquel Welch, Jul/Aug 01

(continued from page 3)

RLR Golden Ocala

Ocala, Florida

352-622-2245, www.goldenocala.com

Considered the mother of all replica courses, this Ron Garl design, which opened in 1986, features eight replica holes, plus one composite "pattern" hole based on three Pine Valley holes. Not only are the copies very accurate, but the nine original holes are excellent as well, making Golden Ocala a fun course regardless of your stand on replicas. The re-created holes include two-thirds of Amen Corner plus the 16th from Augusta, the first hole and Road Hole from St. Andrews, Troon's Postage Stamp, the ninth from Scotland's Muirfield, and the fourth from Baltusurol (all four par-3s are replicas). Golden Ocala has long had a loyal local following, and during Masters week, many golf lovers at Augusta undertake the five-and-a-half-hour drive, a pilgrimage to play the Augusta replica holes here.

Golden Ocala recently changed hands and has closed for a top-to-bottom, 21-month renovation, including new fairways, tees, greens and irrigation systems; the course will reopen in January. The new owners are perfecting the replicas, changing one Augusta green to mirror changes at the real thing, and adding details like thousands of flowers and the elaborate stone bridges from Augusta, an intricate stone wall along the Road Hole, and sod-walled bunkers on the Old Course holes. A new clubhouse is also being built. A second Garl course will be added, a tribute effort patterned after styles of existing courses, and the first and 18th are being built now to serve as practice holes when the original layout reopens.

 

Royal Links

Las Vegas, Nevada

888-397-2499, www.waltersgolf.com

A new course consisting of 18 famous holes from British Open venues, this has quickly become one of the most successful replica courses in the country by paying attention to detail, right down to offering caddies who dress in the uniform formerly worn by their counterparts at the British Open. While the usual suspects, the Road Hole and the Postage Stamp, are represented, designer Perry Dye also chose interesting holes from lesser-known venues like Royal Liverpool and St. Georges. Attention to detail is high, both on and off the course, with suitable substitutes for gorse and knee-high rough mimicking the British Isles playing experience. There's even a Swilcan Bridge so authentic that golfers stop to have their pictures taken on it, just as they do when playing the real Old Course at St. Andrews. More than 120 deep bunkers, many of them with sod walls, line the course. The clubhouse is a fantastic castle-like structure with a pub, and the yardage books are the best in golf: spiral-bound keepsakes that explore the layout of the replicas and the history of the original holes.


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