If you go to Renditions expecting to experience firsthand the beauty of Amen Corner or the grandeur of the Road Hole you will, of course, be greatly disappointed. However, if you’re looking for a well-kept course that will present a number of interesting holes and shots… you certainly could do worse.
The greens may have been in the best condition of all the courses I’ve played this year. The tees and the fairways were extremely playable as well. The superintendent – unlike many of his competitors judging from my experience in August and September – was somehow able to get through the worst of the summer without losing much turf.
The memorabilia in the clubhouse and on the course is worth a mention as well. Fans of golf history (assuming such creatures exists outside of, I don’t know, Gullane or something) will find it fun to look at some of the photos and read of their favorite player’s exploits.
Finally, the price was certainly reasonable for the quality of the course, particularly given its current condition.
The Not-so Good:
‘Not so good’ is too nice a descriptor for the pace of play at Renditions. A 5 + hour round for a twosome teeing off on a Tuesday morning is unacceptable, to put it mildly. We did not encounter a single marshal during our epic, which leads me to believe our experience was not atypical. Sluggish play certainly abounded on the adjoining fairways, but at the same time there appeared to be nowhere for many foursomes to go. Was a single group a few holes ahead holding everyone up? Bunched up tee-times leading to congestion? Mulligans galore in an effort to hit the “island green” or to clear “Rae’s creek”? Unclear, but management here has a big problem that they appear – on the day of my visit at least – uninterested in fixing.
Again, I certainly didn’t expect to come away with a subtle appreciation of the challenges the pros face at championship courses. It’s not feasible to expect, say, Georgia pines along three holes, or hard and fast conditions on the British Open replicas. And, for all that the course isn’t, you do walk away from the round having played an island green (17 at Sawgrass), a reachable dog-leg left par 5 with a creek along the side that bisects the fairway in front of the green (13 at Augusta), and a number of blind holes where you have no idea where the fairway is or what traps may await (the three British holes). You can even attempt to hit out of something resembling the “church pews” bunker if you’re (un)lucky enough to find it (Oakmont 3/4).
Still, I will say that many of the holes are unmemorable (the “renditions” of Medinah, Inverness, Southern Hills, Oak Hill, and the Country Club, to name a few, looked to me like they could have been pulled from any moderately priced municipal course) and there’s no way I would have ever successfully placed the replica of the one hole I’ve actually walked (#16, Shinnecock).
It must also be said: the average golf fan will find many of the hole choices to be odd. There’s actually no Road Hole, or Swilcan Burn… no Carnoustie finish or ‘Postage Stamp’. No #18 at Pebble (is it that hard to replicate the Pacific Ocean?) Nothing from Pinehurst…
Of course, I don’t pretend to know how difficult it is to come up with a layout for this type of course. I’m sure space, the vagaries of the land, legal wrangling, and the whims of the owner conspired to dictate the particular holes chosen, and their order…
I recommend venturing out to Renditions if you have friends or family coming into town and you’re looking for something more interesting than a typical higher-end public course. One can certainly have a very enjoyable time playing the course with the right group. That said, I probably would not play it with my regular foursome and have no intention of running out there again as a single.
Of Renditions however, one thing is clear: if you do decide on this course, just be sure to set aside about six hours of your day.