LINKS CORNER REVIEW
Reviewed by: Chuck Clark
Background: This is an update of the Muirfield Village course file by Mr. Frydrak. The original course was done by Mr. Hill back in December of 2001 and was called Muirfield Village Golf Club v2. According to Mr. Frydrak he ďchecked with KevinĒ and then proceeded with the update. Besides updating the 17th hole Mr. Frydrak (aka Sixwood) also did the following: ďupdated to some of the newer textures; seam blended the bunkers; replaced the playerís paths on most of the holes with rough that is mowed back to the tee areas, this is the way the course was mowed for the 2003 tournament; added some bird sounds throughout the course; added some rocks in the creeks in some areas; on the 12th hole, I moved the back tee to the left hand tee area. The pros play from this tee on the weekendĒ.
Overall Impression: Muirfield Village is one of the better known and better loved golf courses in the world. It was designed, built and is constantly tweaked by Jack Nicklaus. Itís truly a spectacular golf course in real life. This update/rendition is very well done and should give you good Ďplay alongí value when the Memorial Tournament is played there. However, this rendition is not spectacular in any way. Although it is a 2003 course there isnít much seam blending. The water hazards are simply built, there are redundant trees and there isnít much in the way of bells and whistles. Itís a good solid effort but wonít make you go wow!
Playability/Shot Values: This is a fascinating golf course and this rendition captures these shot values quite well. Muirfield Village is a hilly, tree lined golf course in the American Midwest (Ohio). There is a lot of water in play in the form of small creeks and ponds. Like a lot of Jack Nicklaus golf courses, you need to drive it long and straight; and your approach shots need to be high and land soft. Jack has always built golf courses which fit his style of play, so donít expect to run up many shots here. He was famous for spectacular, high, soaring long irons. If you want to play well on his courses you better be able to fly it from point to point. This isnít a links course; there is no ground game needed here.
Visuals: This rendition of Muirfield captures the look and feel of this course very well. It always seems to be raining during the tournament here, so itís usually very green. The textures and deep forests of trees capture this lush/dark look very well. However, there isnít much in the way of other visual eye candy here. There are a few houses here and there; and the clubhouse looks pretty good as well, but there isnít anything that makes you stop and want to inspect it further. I know a lot of people like to play with crowds and tournament objects; but I like to play a course without them (like I was a member). I noticed a number of tournament objects around the course (especially on 18) that appeared despite my not playing it with them turned on. This detracted a bit from the appearance for me. I also didnít notice a pano in any view I had. Now I know that Ohio is pretty flat so there probably isnít much in the way of a view anyway; but a good rolling Midwestern pano would have added a bit to the look.
Technique: The technique here was ok, but not great. At this point in time we are getting pretty spoiled by the masters of the APCD (like Mike Jones and the Dark Horse guys); so itís hard to measure up if you donít put in the effort. There were lots of sharp texture transitions and redundant trees. The water edges were very simply done and there wasnít much additional planting other than the trees. I have never been to Muirfield Village but Iíve watched it on TV many times. I canít say for sure but there were a few places on the course where the elevations didnít look quite right to me as well. Some of the greens were elevated a bit too much in my opinion; but this probably makes the course play more like the real thing in Links.
Favorite Hole: This is a hard decision to make since I really like a lot of holes at Muirfield Village. My favorite hole here has always been the 11th hole which is a par 5 with a creek in play on every shot. You need to drive it near the creek on the left if you want to go for the green in two. The green is perched just over the creek again; so this can be a risky and difficult shot. No matter how you play it this is a fun but tough hole to play.
Summary: A well done rendition of a real PGA Tour golf course. Itís not the greatest course ever built for Links, but its good one to play along with the pros. I would love to see this rendition brought up to the full standards of todayís designers; but this rendition will do fine in the meantime. I fully recommend it to players who like real course renditions; especially you guys who like to play along. For those of you who are only looking for the best of recreations and techniques you may be disappointed.