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Coogans Bluff
by Gary Campbell

Links Corner Course Database ID Number - 1597
Release Date CRZ Filesize Par Course Length
2005-07-01  60,993,536  bytes 72  7224 yards
Type Style CRZ Filename
FICTIONAL  WOODLAND  Coogans Bluff_locked.crz 
Course ID Course Key

Coogans Bluff is located on a large lake and is a second shot golf course that has gradual elevation changes, generous fairways and large multi-tiered greens. The lake comes into view on eleven holes and can come into into play on nine of the eleven holes. The fairways may be generous in size but on many holes you must be in the proper spot to give yourself a clear or shorter approach shot. The large greens can play smaller due to the many tiers and occassional run-offs around the edges and you can have some challeging putts if you are out of position.



Reviewed by Chris Gormley

Background Info:
This is 2nd course released by Gary Campbell with the first being Los Lagos which was received very well by the Links Community. I have heard some very nice things about this course and am really looking forward to reviewing it. Here is a little excerpt from the Coogans Bluff readme:

“Coogans Bluff is my second design and first time with APCD 1.5 and creating hole previews. It is a 7,224 par 72 fictional course where you might classify the style as a combination woodland/lakeside. There are holes along a large lake and tree lined holes where all provide generous fairways and large multi-tiered greens. The lake comes into view on eleven holes and into play on nine of the eleven if you hit an errant shot. On certain holes just off the fairway, and behind or around the greens there is a hazard, marked by red stakes, that runs down to the lake and can come into play if you are a little wide or a little long on your drive, approach shot or both.

Each hole has a different look with an assorted amount of straight holes, doglegs right and left. There are moderate elevation changes, a par 4 that is drivable and par 3’s that vary both in appearance and yardage The fairways may be generous in size but you must land in the preferred spot to give yourself a direct line to the pin or for a considerably shorter approach shot. Coogans Bluff is a second-shot golf course where club selection will be the key with the elevation changes, side hill, uphill, and downhill lies. You may find that it won’t be an automatic choice picking a club for the required yardage and you also may find yourself using every club in your bag for the round. There are some holes where in order to reach a preferred landing area you have the option to choose a fairway (holes 13 & 18) or carry bunkers or trees to give yourself considerably shorter yardage to the pin.

The challenging greens are large in size but play smaller due to the many tiers and occasional run-offs around the edges. If you find the proper tier you will leave yourself a relatively straight flat putt, if not, you may have some lengthy uphill, downhill and/or sharp breaking putts. For those using the MOD I may suggest MM or MS under Breezy conditions. “

Overall Impressions:
After playing many rounds at Los Lagos over the past months I could tell that Gary Campbell had some talent when it came to designing courses for Links. But I had no idea he was this good, and his release of Coogans Bluff only proves that he is one of the masters of the APCD. Coogans Bluff is an awesome design, one of the better ones this reviewer has seen, and I have seen a lot of courses in my day. The dividing line that separates good designers from excellent designers is how “real” a course looks, and Coogans Bluff looks very real, and this is partly due to the terrain of the course. It is probably one of the best layouts from a terrain standpoint I have seen. Everything is so smooth and natural looking that the course feels and plays great.

The hole layouts are very interesting and always give the player something new visually to take in while playing a round. There is plenty of risk/reward to tempt player to go for those really good scores. But players must be careful when picking their shots as there are many obstacles scattered throughout the course to hinder them in their quest for a great score. Most holes are laid out to give a player some spectacular views off of the tee, hole 15 is one such hole. I have not seen a more realistic hole in a fictional design for quite some time.

The APCD technical work that Gary has done is almost flawless. Gary has show with Coogans Bluff that he has further honed and practiced all of the various techniques it takes to produce a quality course. The level of “polish” in this design could only have been achieved with hours of work not only in the APCD but in beta testing as well. My congrats to Gary on achieving new heights with Coogans Bluff.

The fairways are shaped and contoured very well with no real tight areas to trap a player off the tee. There is plenty of variety to the shapes and every hole brings something new for the player, which keeps the players interest up and will offer many enjoyable rounds. Sometimes with fictional designs the designer will get into a rut with their fairway construction and the result will be holes that all sort of look and play alike, but that is not the case with this design. It would be safe to say that Gary had fallen into 18 different ruts when he laid this course out.

The greens are large and roomy with many contours to make a player think before making that approach shot. The contouring is not so extreme though to limit players on what conditions they can use when playing a round. I feel that this course is very MOD 1.06 friendly and although the faster conditions would be tough, they are not impossible if the correct pins are selected.

The hazards scattered throughout the course are constructed very, very well. Every hazard has a purpose and I especially like the use of water all throughout the course(especially hole #15). A lot of thought has obviously gone into where to place the hazards, just another reason why this course is a step above the rest.

The textures, like everything else, just add to the realistic feel to Coogans Bluff. They look wonderful and fit very well together.

Probably the best part of the design IMHO is the planting throughout the course. It is some of the best work I have seen, and if I had not known better I would say that either Mike Jones or Wayne Hewitt had planted this course, it looks that good. The underplanting is especially good and really adds to the courses realism.

Now I normally pick the best 3 holes on the course, but I cannot decide which I like best so I am just going to say that all 18 holes on this course are a joy to play. I have played 6 rounds on this course over the past couple of weeks and each time I have new favorites. So I will leave it up to the rest of the Links Community to decide where are the best holes on Coogans Bluff.

Closing comments:
When I first downloaded this course I knew it was going to be good one, but I did not know it was going to be this good. This is an excellent design and one that every Links player should have on their hard drive. Everything about the design is awesome. I highly recommend that players download Coogans Bluff and see for themselves that Gary has created a masterpiece. I cannot wait for his next release. Great job Gary.

"I am writing this review from the viewpoint of not only a player but as a Tour Director. Although I am not a designer I understand the work that goes into a design as I have beta tested many courses and my review is simply how I as a player/Tour Director would view this course."

CLIPNOTES by Ben Bateson (ousgg)

Fictional, lakeside course.
Concept  9/10
This is picture-perfect golf. A course winding its way around a picturesque lake amid rolling hills (possibly in an Irish setting?) gives an idealistic environment. The individual holes are all carefully crafted and enclosed with some beautiful and natural planting. Several holes stand out with wonderful design – the natural-looking island 15th most notably. This course doesn’t stand head-and-shoulders above the rest, but is very, very well designed for all that.
Appearance  10/10
The look of this course can’t be faulted. Everything looks natural, there are umpteen stunning views, and the planting is superb. The bunkers are among the best I’ve ever seen on Links. Textures are immaculately blended into one another (the fairway has not only a first-cut, but a second-cut too) and are customised throughout. Fantastic stuff.
Playability  7/10
This is fun to play on the back of the course look and the number of holes that do not offer a clear-cut route of play. Perhaps a couple of the Par 4s are a bit same-y, but quite a few holes offer a risk-reward choice, and good recovery skills should be taken onto the course as a must. It’s gentle rather than riveting stuff, though.
Challenge  6/10
A 7-under round indicates that perhaps this course is a little easy. The fairways are generous and unprotected, and I had many very flat putts. All the Par 5s are reachable in two, and I averaged under 4 shots a hole on the long ones. Ideally, to provide a suitable challenge, the risk/reward element of the 5s should be upped and the greenside shots made a little more challenging.
Technical  10/10
There is a lot to praise here, and nothing to criticise. Immaculate planting; clever and subtle elevation work; immaculate and loving seam blends; and a lot of custom textures and objects. All these combine to make Coogans Bluff a beautiful and enjoyable course. Two thumbs way up!
Overall One of the best-looking courses in town. Fun to play, but not particularly challenging. It’s worth taking a walk around for the views alone, of course. 42/50
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
Ace59 %90
Eagle39 %60
Birdie0 %0
Par2 %3
Bogey or worse0 %0

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