Trial by Fire at The Landing

Golf is a humbling game. How do I know? I played my inaugural round of the year and my first as a Golf Road Warrior yesterday on The Landing at Reynolds Plantation. While I wasn’t exactly slain on the field of battle, I saw what a top-notch, well-defended course could do to a rusty snowbird. On the other hand, I got to watch fellow warriors Peter Kessler and Jeff Wallach resume their ongoing grudge match. I can’t report the results of that match for fear of retribution, but I can tell you that Peter Whyte, the Scotsman who filmed our efforts, plays with the skill and abandon common to his countrymen.

I’m guessing the Landing is well-liked by an avid, hard-core segment of the membership, for this reason: It’s tough, unyielding and will punish the wayward. The better player will always prevail at The Landing, a Bob Cupp design formerly known as Port Armour. Bulkheaded corners of Lake Oconee must be crossed at several points on the front nine. The bunkers are well-positioned. Some of them, like the deep trench fronting the green at the par-3 17th, are very penal. The right of punishment, as Bernard Darwin once said, should be reserved for a higher authority. The longer, more wooded back nine has one hole, the 15th, with a blind water hazard at the bottom of a hill, an architectural no-no. The greens are very swift and heavily contoured in places. Get above the hole on a few of the greens, and you’ll be asking your fellow warriors, as I did, to kindly lie down behind the hole to impede the progress of your ball.

Broken but unbowed, I go forward guardedly optimistic that things will go better today than yesterday. I’m hoping I won’t need, as I could have used yesterday, a canoe, a camel, a priest (or rabbi) and a tourniquet to survive the National.

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