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Banff Springs (2003)
by Microsoft

Links Corner Course Database ID Number - 1135
Release Date CRZ Filesize Par Course Length
2002-08-21  19,716,868  bytes 71  6612 yards
Type Style CRZ Filename
REAL  MOUNTAIN  Banff2k3.crz 
Course ID Course Key
19f6dc6861f645889526c6fcac32dff7  5a45edae47fe4be52372d2aeda25fd2b 

CLIPNOTES by Ben Bateson (ousgg)

Real, mountain course
Concept  7/10
Banff is one of North America's most scenic and beautiful courses. It is accommodating to all players, but still provides a stern test through elegant bunkering and hard-to-read greens. This course is laid out well, although the water only seems to come into play at the Par 3 holes, when it could have served an equally good purpose at the Par 5s, nearly all of which are two-shotters.
Appearance  6/10
On the whole, Banff is re-created well. The custom tee boards are a nice touch, and the water and bunkers are reminiscent of the Canadian mountains. My one big problem was with the panorama, which seemed very pixelated and quite a distraction.
Playability  9/10
Normally, I find endless tree-lined fairways a bit of a drag, but I really enjoyed my round here. There is just enough variation between holes, and just enough shape to the fairways to keep a player thinking. Several of the holes require shot-shaping, and I found myself in a dozen subtly different greenside situations, and had to call on a lot of resource to stick the ball near the flag. It's the sort of course that demands imagination and wit right from the first tee, and doesn't let up until you've hit the 18th green.
Challenge  7/10
The difficulty level has been very well fine-tuned on this course. Par 3s are rarely pushovers, and Par 5s will require advance planning in order to hit the green in two. Letting the side down are the fairways, which have been left too flat in places, and the approach shots, which rarely are more complicated than the up-and-on variety.
Technical  4/10
It's hard to believe this is a commercially released course. It looks rushed and untested. Unconvincing mounds and elevations complement the planar flatness elsewhere, and some objects are poorly planted. Rough areas are stretched and harshly butt onto fairways.The 18th fairway is covered in folds from the Top Cam. Rescuing Microsoft's technical department is some imaginative planting (not easy, given the proliferation of pine trees) and good bunker work, but the course on the whole is of a lesser standard than many produced by amateurs.
Overall A reasonable course; it certainly plays well, but there is an inescapable feeling of it cashing in on the paying public. 33/50
Please remember that Clipnote reviews are the opinion of one person and do not constitute an 'Official' Links Corner review of the course.

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