|by Mark Sculati
The little things. Its always the little things. A foursome visits a new course and you can bet that all of the little things will be noticed and expounded upon.
Andrew Cunanan? Never heard of him. Sand trap not raked? Somebody shoot that sinner.
Little things to golfers become bigger than Don Kings hairbrush. Add up all the little things from the best golf courses around the state and what do you get? The Classic at Maddens.
This golfer had heard many glowing reviews about The Classic prior to our visit, ranging from the "Common Man" Dan Cole to my boss (no, its not Arnie). I am happy to report that at The Classic the reality matched the hype.
Its the Sand, Man
The Classic has beautiful, white Pebble Beach-type sand - the kind where one of our foursome was heard to say, "Its so nice I almost want to hit into it." The par four 304-yard second hole dazzles golfers eyes as the approach shot is studied. Seven to eight layered traps form a backdrop on three sides. Looking out from 130 yards and then putting on the green with the bright sun reflecting out of the traps, it dawned on me not to make fun of David Duvals wrap-around sunglasses anymore (only his Saturday/Sunday scores).
A golfer actually becomes better the more he hits into these traps - they are that good and consistent. Another comment made was that The Classic and The Wilds seem to be the only courses in the state using this pristine sand.
At most resort courses if you miss left or right you find yourself in Sherwood Forest. The Classic has areas of trees left or right but the brush has been cut and replaced with inch-high rough. Miss a little and you can still find your ball and punch out. This added greatly to the layout of the course and helps speed up play.
The greens are big, with many contours. The 165-yard par three third hole is one such green. As the Players Guide puts it: "Placing a ball on the correct side of the hogsback is paramount to prevent three putting." This golfer managed to three putt from the correct side.
The front nine at The Classic is unique in that it has three par fives and three par threes. The back nine features the more standard two par fives and two par threes.
Lots of Help
The Classic officially opened this past spring. The original terrain was used and only about 20,000 cubic yards of earth were moved - well-known course designer Pete Dye uses that much on one hole. Scott Hoffman, the superintendent, designed The Classic (thank goodness; somebody other than Joel Goldstrand) with renowned amateur John Harris helping design the back tees.
The number of rounds played at The Classic are limited so the course figures to remain in excellent shape. Christopher Foley is the head pro and clearly is one of the nicest and most genuine hosts the SportsPage staff has encountered. The entire staff should be commended for making a visit to The Classic a terrific golfing experience.
As far as The Thes go (Classic, Preserve, Pines), The
Classic clearly rests on top.
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