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Babylon Ridge
by Mike Jones

Release Date CRZ Filesize Par Course Length
2017-06-30  55,046,392  bytes 70  6521 yards
Type Style CRZ Filename
FICTIONAL  MOUNTAIN  babylonridge.crz 
Course ID Course Key

Re-released as a free download June 2017



Reviewed by: Chuck Clark

Background: Well, what can you say about Mike Jones that hasnít already been said. As the top practitioner of the APCD (canít imagine you would get an argument from any other designer on this) his work is widely known and loved. His courses are universally well done, beautiful to look at, fun to play and cutting edge in their use of the program. From Northern Dunes to Pacific Breaks to Burnís Old Links we have come to expect (and get) the best there is available for Links golf courses from Mike. Babylon Ridge was released last July during an amazing flurry of brilliance from Mr. Jones. In the last 8 months we have been lucky enough to receive six (6) outstanding Links 2003 courses from this master. Every one of them is a gem and completely worth the measly few bucks it costs to download them. Babylon may actually be underrated by some people, if such a thing is possible, because of Mikeís never ending perfection.

Overall Impression: Babylon Ridge is a bit of a departure from Mikeís normal type of course. Babylon (strange name by the way) is a western US course set in a valley with high mountains all around. It is a very American type course, if you know what I mean. There are lots of trees, big flattish bunkers and lots and lots of water! I would guess that water comes into play on Babylon more than any other Jones course to date. I didnít count how many holes it does come into play; but it seems like itís around almost all of the time. The other thing about this course that jumps out at me is the coloring and naturalness. This course environment is very green. If you are looking for eye candy here, you may be disappointed, but itís impossible to not feel ďhome on the rangeĒ here. The water and wood (bulk-head) walls make you think of a Pete Dye course. But the bunkering makes you feel youíre on a Robert Trent Jones Sr. golf course. Thatís a pretty good combination right there!

Playability/Shot Values: This is a very playable golf course with great strategic golf holes. If you donít mind making pars you can easily work your way around this course. If you want to make birdies and eagles though you will need to position your ball carefully. There are many holes where precise placement of the tee shot is required to get your approach shot close to the hole. The ninth hole is a good example of this. Your drive must be kept very close to the right edge of the fairway, if you want to go for the green in two. If you leave your drive on the left side your second shot is blocked by a tall stand of trees. The 16th is also a similar type hole. Again you want to be down the right side, but there is a ratís nest of bunkers which will ensnare you if you get too bold. Playing safe on this drive makes for a ticklish approach shot to this narrow and angled green. All of Mikeís courses have great strategic golf holes, but on this course they are a bit more apparent for all to see. One other thing I would like to mention about playability here is the abundant use of deep grass. I seemed to get into it a lot, so be warned it is out there. Playing from deep grass is a bad way to shoot a good score on any course; but it can result in some unmitigated disasters at Babylon!

Favorite Hole: This is a tough choice on any course, but especially hard on a Mike Jones course. I guess Iíll have to pick the 7th. The 7th at Babylon is a medium length par 4 with a grassy gully/creek angling across the fairway. This hole reminds me of the 5th hole at La Costa Resort and Spa where they play the WGC Match play tourney most years. I have always loved this hole since the early Tournament of Champion days which were also played at La Costa. Anyway, back to the 7th at Babylon, you need to plan your drive carefully. If you decide to try and carry the gully then careful execution is required. If you aim for the left side of the fairway and push your drive just a bit, it will end up right where you donít want it. Laying up is no bargain either, since the crapola is still along the left side of the fairway and some bunkers guard the bail out side to the right. The green here is pretty fun as well, with a great back left pin position on a small lower shelf. The hole is very striking to look at and great fun to play! What more could you ask for?

Visuals: As mentioned above this is a beautiful and natural looking golf course. It looks very much like courses I have played in real life. It is very green in a lot of ways. Other than the sand and water, everything on this course is different shades of green. The textures are all green, the undergrowth is all green, the bushes are all green and the trees are all green. They look and mesh perfectly well together which makes this course look strikingly natural. But if you want flowers or trees changing colors in the fall, then this is the wrong place to be. This looks like a real western golf course in the middle of summer. I do think it would be neat for Mike to do a fall addition of this course. For those who donít know, in the Fall the Aspen and Willow trees will turn brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange; but the pines and furs will always stay green. This unique blend of greens and colors is remarkable to see if you ever get to Colorado in the Fall.

Anyway, back to the course; besides the planting and beautiful textures the other thing you notice a bunch about Babylon is the water. It is prevalent throughout the course and is very well created. Mike uses a wood railroad tie wall to bulkhead many greens. You almost feel like Pete Dye was looking over Mikeís shoulder!

Technique: Well, do I really need to tell you that the technique is total perfection! I didnít think so. As usual Mike used some cutting edge techniques here. His use of blending and texturing around certain features (like the bunkers) makes his courses look more natural and believable than any others around. The other area which Mike really excels at (is there any that he doesnít?) is in planting. Mike hand plants all bushes and trees on his courses. Now this alone is not enough to explain how perfect his courses look. I can hand plant a course too, but it will never look as good as his! He just seems to have an innate feel for how to make the planting look realistic. This is truly on display at Babylon again!

Summary: A beautiful and strategically fun golf course. Just more of the same from the one and only Mike Jones! An essential part of any Links connoisseurís collection. If you donít already have it then what are you waiting for? Go get it today! Do I still have to say I completely and totally recommend it?

CLIPNOTES by Ben Bateson (ousgg)

Fictional, estate course
Concept  10/10
Mike Jones, here, goes all-out to produce an American championship target course and Ė as usual Ė hits the nail pretty much bang on the head. With water used almost to excess, lavishly sculpted bunkers and nary a long blade of grass in sight, it is totally convincing as a Western ex-Open course still lavishly kept manicured by its owners. Many tremendous target holes mark your path, from an outrageous opener that would be a closing hole anywhere else, through to the lavish 15th and right up to the toughest closing stretch of three youíre likely to find anywhere.
Appearance  9/10
What is there left to say? Perhaps some more planting would have broken up the water features some more; perhaps a softer sand texture might be more apt. But these are tiny nitpicks, really: the textures are well up to Mike Jonesí normal standards and the Rocky mountain backdrop is sublime and perfectly-matched.
Playability  7/10
Those playing on Champ level may struggle here. Narrow fairways, frightening bunkers and a proliferation of water and nasty, nasty rough make missed snaps a disaster. There are some pretty tough greens thrown into the bargain, too. Luckily, the brilliancy of Mike Jones keeps you plugging on, but never pretend itís an easy ride.
Challenge  7/10
The balance is all wrong here for the most part. There are too many shortcuts, too many hazards, too many adverse elevations. In short, itís overkill. Luckily, with the insight and self-control of this particular designer, the course remains perfectly playable and scores might balance out to something approximating an even-par round. But you donít feel youíre being worked for the score: more that itís arriving at your doorstep through chance.
Technical  10/10
Itís a Jones. ĎNuff said?
Overall A break from the norm for the APCDís number-one man. Scores a resounding hit in places; misses the mark as far as your game goes. 43/50
Please remember that Clipnote reviews are the opinion of one person and do not constitute an 'Official' Links Corner review of the course.


 Votes cast
Ace62 %55
Eagle24 %21
Birdie7 %6
Par5 %4
Bogey or worse2 %2

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