I’ve wanted to play at Arcadia Bluffs for years and this summer was finally the time. When looking at the course, Jere and I noticed The South Course was opening August 1st, so we decided to stay the night on the property and play both courses. Golf Digest did an early review of the new course.
We arrived a couple of hours early, but our room wasn’t ready yet, so we ran out for a quick lunch. The driving range isn’t open yet at the South, so we drove over to the Bluffs to hit some balls and then drove over to the course, which is about a mile down the road. As we drove we couldn’t see many people out on the course and the parking lot wasn’t anywhere near full. We checked in, had time to hit a few putts, and headed over to the first tee.
They actually give you yardage books, which is extremely rare. Even when you’re paying over $100 to play the courses usually make you buy the yardage book.
With the limited time we had on the putting green, I was impressed with how firm, fast, and true it ran. With the course not even being open for three weeks yet, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
We were only a twosome, so we got paired up with an older couple. They were walking and each paid to have a caddie. They were nice folks, but they obviously play courses like this all the time and enjoy a much higher cost of living than us. Having six people in our group was annoying at times, especially on the greens. There were a few times where we overheard a tip about the course or their caddies pointed something out to us as well, but I’d much rather just have a group of four on the course.
The tees, fairways, traditional rough, greens, and bunkers were all in excellent shape. You’d never know the course just opened. When you got off the rough into the heather, that stuff was all still extremely new. When it grows in, the course will play a lot different in a couple of years.
The course is extremely flat and runs fast. It’s a different style of golf, which is a fun challenge. I really liked the greens and my speed was great all day, except for the single 3-putt I had. I had a hell of a time in the bunkers though, and almost every green was heavily guarded by them. If your ball was near the edge by a bunker, it almost always rolled off and into the sand. Most of my bunker problems seemed to start on the par three 5th hole. I hit my first bunker shot past the hole, it kept rolling and went in the bunker behind the green, Then I did the same thing coming back and went back in the original bunker. Then I barely made it out of the green, it rolled back and thankfully got caught up in the sidewall. I ended up taking an 8 there! After that I think I got in my head and I had several bunker shots that I hit too much sand and didn’t get out.
In addition to the 8 I had three 7s, which killed my score. I shot 48-45 from the white tees, which play 6,380 yards. Overall we enjoyed the course and it was cool being some of the first people to ever play it since it was so new. I’m not sure I’d pay that kind of money ($100 since we were staying on Arcadia property) to play there again though. I’d much rather go back and play The Loop at Forrest Dunes.
Really glad we played The South Course first though, before playing The Bluffs on Sunday. It allowed us to judge the South on its own, which is a much different type of course.