We have all been there before. It’s late in the day, or early in the morning, and you are the only one on the golf course. You can take your time and lay down a couple balls here and there, or even stop and fish for some lost balls in the creek. All without the hassle of having the group behind riding you.
This would seemingly be a normal day at The Preserve.
Hidden back along a 20-minute drive is maybe one of the best conditioned golf courses I have played. Is it because there just isn’t a whole lot of play, or maybe that’s just the standard they live up to? Either way, the facilities at The Preserve were impeccable.
After checking in upon our arrival, the pro made sure to let us know that we were on “Preserve time” now, and that we would be accommodated to tee off whenever we would like. We hit the range, and had the staff waiting on us hand and foot. Washing our clubs, getting our balls, and offering us waters. It truly felt like we were some sort of exclusive guests being hosted by the club president or someone special. Nonetheless, it made the experience more pleasurable. After all, we were still the only players on the grounds at 10:30 am on a sunny and 68-degree day.
The Preserve offers many different vistas from start to finish. As you stand on the first tee and look off in the distance, the terrain is heavily wooded with trees. It gives you the feeling you are playing in Tennessee or West Virginia. Other times you stand on the tee and it feels as if you are playing desert golf by what surrounds you. The course spans for miles and miles through the property, where you may run into all sorts of wildlife, and see a few houses sprinkled here and there.
Although many people out there are not “fond” of a Fazio design, I personally do not bat an eye at it. I enjoy all designs alike, no matter who was behind the creation. I love playing golf, and I love playing different places. I think there is something to be said about someone who has the imagination to be able to go out to a blank piece of land and find something. I know all of us have sat there and day dreamed at some point in our lives about designing a course just how we want it, out of nothing. That’s how Fazio finds his designs a lot of times, as he is willing to move dirt to find the shape that fits his eye. All designers are different, and that’s what makes each golf course so unique. All the great artists had their own techniques, and the same goes for our golf architects. Each of them creating a masterpiece, just as an artist would with a brush. In their own way.
Fazio found something here, along the Saint Lucia Preserve. A course out in the middle of nowhere, and a course that offers true challenge and demand, from start to finish. As a course, The Preserve has its tricks, but rewards the player with large fairways and favorable greens. There is always somewhere to aim off the tee, and even if you cannot take one of the aggressive lines, you may be able to play some of the slopes in the fairway to gain a few extra yards. The greens are big, and offer a wide hitting target, but they also contain a lot of slope. Our caddie was very adamant about where to aim on approach shots for each green because of the slopes. Getting on the wrong side of some slope could make for a very interesting day on the greens. For someone who was seeing the course for the first time, I saw my fair share of 3-putts, as my playing partners did as well.
The Preserve was still one of the lushest pieces of property I have seen. You can tell that it is tediously cared for, and nothing is taken for granted. Some of the tee boxes barely had a divot to be found. It is a true experience at The Preserve all the way from the 20-minute drive up the mountain, to insideclubhouse, and last, to the fabulous golf course. One of the great first class experiences that I have been able to enjoy.
Opening tee shot. Hole 1
Hole 3 tee shot
Hole 6 Par 3
Hole 8 Par 5
Hole 16 Par 3
Hole 18 tee shot with the clubhouse lurking in the distance