Most Unusual Golf Sign plus a Tot Hill Farm Rating

This sign is perhaps the most unusual sign I’ve ever encountered on a golf course and I found it at the Tot Hill Farm Golf Club west of Pinehurst in Asheboro, North Carolina.

Have you ever seen such a sign?

You might have thought that they knew I was coming.  Seriously, when a golf course has a sign that completely disregards the Rules of Golf, something is amiss with the design.

Tot Hill Farm is a very striking design by the late talented Mike Strantz on a dramatically beautiful piece of property.  While I admire his work particularly at Tobacco Road, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, and Monterey Peninsula Country Club, he really got carried away here.  You will find all sorts of odd-ball challenges and weird shapes and angles at this very scenic layout, one that “Golf Digest” once rated the 7th toughest golf course in the US – quite a ranking for a public-access layout.

Anyway, the layout is “Strantz on Steroids” or something over-the-edge.  While it is a layout that a few do love, it is simply too difficult for most, and even advanced players will tire of this as a steady diet.  That said, Tot Hill Farm is a course that everyone should want to play once for its unique challenge and beauty.  It’s really fun if you don’t take your golf seriously.

I met and talked with Mike before he died from throat cancer, but I had not yet played Tot Hill Farm.  I would have loved to have asked him about his intentions with Tot Hill Farm.  Was he instructed to build an “extreme” golf course or was the final product his idea?

All or nothing - the little par-3 sixth at Tot Hill Farm.

Fagan Rating:  C. Tot Hill Farm is a course of extremes that with its location and design will continue to struggle as a sustainable golf course.  I liked it, but most people will lose too many balls and take too many strokes to want to be regular customers.  While it succeeds admirably on some accounts, it fails badly on others, hence its “average” grade.  That said, Tot Hill Farm is anything but an average golf course!

4 Responses to “Most Unusual Golf Sign plus a Tot Hill Farm Rating”

  1. Rich

    I would like to agree with your evaluation, but I have played this course several times over the last two years and have never seen this sign at 14 or any other hole. Even though 14 is probably the trickiest green on the course. Also, your picture is of #15, not 6. Not sure how extreme it is. Just a good test of concentration.

  2. Bob Fagan

    Rich, I have no doubt that you are right on both counts, but so was I. This staff reported to me that they have since taken down the sign, but I can assure you that I personally took these pictures and the sign was at Tot Hill Farm the day I played. I’ve never seen anything like it. Secondly, when I played the golf course, the nines may have been reversed so I don’t doubt that what was my 6th hole has become the 15th. Thanks for your attention to detail.

  3. Stan

    Rich and Bob I played THF about 4 years ago and the sign was there at that time. Every year we come back to play Mike other creation TR I’m done with THF Balls cost too much. LOL

  4. Thomas Smith

    I can assure you there is no sign on the course like that now and thf is as difficult as u make it this course is designed to make u a beter golfer and think about each swing that you take

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