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Tee Times Magazine | Minneapolis/St. Paul

Craguns 2017

Fairways & Greens
June 25, 2017

The Castle Course, A Million Miles From Ordinary
The Castle Course #10
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The Castle Course #10
The Beach At Castle At The Bay Resort
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The Beach At Castle At The Bay Resort
By John Ehle


According to Mr. Webster, a "replica" is a reproduction of a work of art. According to that definition, our favorite golf holes at famous golf courses are unique creations which appeal to us for many reasons; playability, esthetic beauty, topography, location and innumerable other qualities. The shaping of a piece of property into a golf course is, no doubt, an artistic endeavor which is intended to please the eye and, hopefully, enhance one's sense of accomplishment when the task is completed. To be worthy of replication, a golf hole should qualify as something special in the array of literally millions of possible choices from the world's courses.

Selecting replica hole possibilities can be culled from the list of possibilities by using the following criteria: holes where championships are played, holes seen on TV, very challenging holes, holes with great history and dream holes which are too distant to travel to. The recreation of some of the world's most beautiful and difficult courses is a challenging pursuit. The topography must somehow lend itself to the replication process and the person charged with shaping the land to accommodate the creation must employ a wealth of knowledge. The measure of a successful replication is set at 90% accuracy; a high standard.

These challenges limit the number of courses that have replica holes. Although there are few replica courses across the country, there is one in our own back yard. For those tired of living vicariously watching PGA TOUR players play the worlds greatest courses on TV, the Castle Course at Castle at the Bay has come to the rescue. The Castle Course has seven replica holes bringing us the world's greatest holes. Numbers 13 and 16 at Augusta National, #17 at TPC Sawgrass, #18 at Bay Hill, #5 at Oakland Hills, #16 at Firestone and #3 at Oakmont are now just a short drive away. The golf course is located on a beautiful property and is next to Wisconsin's fourth largest lake (Castle Rock Lake) affording visitors a wealth of activities with which to while away vacation days.
The first of the replica holes is #3, the original being #16 at Augusta National. This par 3 may be most remembered as the site of Tiger Woods' amazing chip that forever memorialized the Nike logo and gave him the lead, which would carry him to his 4th Masters championship.

The 4th hole duplicates #5 at Oakland Hills South, the Donald Ross design that has been host to six U.S. Opens, three PGA Championships and the 2004 Ryder Cup. This number 1 handicap hole is a par 4, which plays to 465 yards.
The longest replica hole on the course mirrors hole #16 at Firestone Country Club. At 625 yards it is remembered for Jack Nicklaus' par, which led him to his 4th PGA Championship in 1975.

The 10th hole, a par 3, replicates what may be the most recognizable and difficult golf hole in the world; the 17th at Sawgrass. John Mahaffey quipped, that the Island Hole was "one of the easiest par 5s on the course". Standing on this tee, the possibilities are numerous and the adrenaline is abundant. Who has not dreamed of "smoothing" a 7 iron onto this daunting green and making a memorable par which will be included in the "highlight reel" of any golfer who has watched the final round of the Player's Championship. This experience is worth the price of admission at the Castle Course.

Number 13 at Augusta National is a relatively short par 5, which finds its duplicate in #11 at the Castle Course. Playing at 510 yards it encourages you long hitters to go for it in 2. This hole is the midpoint of what Herbert Warren Wind called "Amen Corner" in 1958 when Arnold Palmer prevailed over Ken Venturi.

Hitting a long drive up the right side opens the hole to the possibility of hitting this green in two and making eagle. Rae's Creek runs down the left side of this fairway, but anyone who has a chance to make the green will go for it and so will you as all it takes is a great second shot....which we're all capable of. Imagine the likelihood of playing this hole at Augusta and you'll go for it every time!

Oakmont has hosted many major championships and it is represented here at #12, #3 at Oakmont. Playing at 426 yards, Jack Nicklaus defeated Arnold Palmer on this hole for his first professional victory in the 1962 U.S. Open.

The 18th at Bay Hill has found a home at #18 at the Castle Course. The water on the right side of this 441 yard hole has drowned the hopes of many aspirants at the Bay Hill Invitational. Like the best and most challenging of the world's best finishing holes, #18 requires a good drive, leaving the player with a second shot to a narrow, right-arcing green flanked by bunkers and long grass on the left and the distinct possibility that the water on the right will provide a watery grave. But if you reach it in regulation, it will be an "aha" moment which will stay with you forever.

It's not just golf. Castle at the Bay has many activities for the whole family. While you're not playing golf, Castle at the Bay Rentals can provide you with pontoon boats, fishing boats, wave runners, kayaks, canoes and paddle boats. Sand volleyball courts, the beach and pool and the fire pits are places to get acquainted with your neighbors. Or you can just rent a bicycle for the day and sightsee. The kids can also burn energy on the basketball and tennis courts, at the playground and kid's pool.

Relaxing is easy if you just want to hang out in the Island View Restaurant which overlooks the golf course and the replication of the Island Hole at Sawgrass. The Tiki Bar is the place for socializing and relaxing after the day's activities have come to an end or are just beginning.

Multiple lodging options are abundant, Castle at the Bay has five bedroom homes and two and three bedroom condominium rentals available with several floor plan options on a daily basis or for longer visits.

As golfers we spend significant amounts of our leisure time selecting and playing our favorite courses and our tastes evolve as we refine our perceptions and think more and more deeply about what it is that appeals to us about courses and the people who create them. Golf course architecture is the final destination as our interests evolve around this fascinating and most difficult game. Make your golf dreams come true and travel to the Castle Course at Castle at the Bay. It's just a 3½ hour drive from the Twin Cities. Come to stay and play!

Additional information is available at castleatthebay.com.





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