Colonial Country Club
by Eric Dorsey
|Links Corner Course Database ID Number - 1434
LINKS CORNER REVIEW
Reviewed by: Chuck Clark
Background: This is the first and only course released to Links Corner by Mr. Dorsey. Talk about coming in with a bang! There is an extensive and interesting read-me included with the zip file for Colonial. I suggest you read it; for there is a lot of good background information about Mr. Dorsey, the golf course and the various tournaments that have been played here. He also included a number of old historical photo's, tournament records and a few other things as well. This is probably the best read-me ever included with a real course rendition around these parts. Thanks Eric for including all this information. I will share some of the read-me here for your information:
'Welcome to Colonial Country Club for Links 2003. It's been 16 months in the making as this is my 1st course designed and officially released to the public, so please allow for some 'rookie' mistakes. In 2001, I regained some interest in playing Links after learning of the new course-architect as I had given it up after 1999's release. A self-confessed golf course architecture and history nut, the idea of designing a golf course for Links sounded amazingly sweet. Being an AUTOCAD/Microstation/Photoshop/Bryce guy for architectural and civil engineering firms, I knew of all the software for 3D modeling and knew there wasn't one available that was worth a damn for designing golf courses. So I dove into the APCD head-first; problem was I hit my head in the shallow-end and couldn't get going - it was simply too hard and intimidating to even get started! - even for someone like me who had a lot of experience with CAD-like software. I found Links Corner, and started checking out the list of courses designed. Lots of fantasy courses I had never heard of, and then I found the course that started it all for me - John 'South Florida' Anderson's Doral Blue Monster. I couldn't believe how great it looked and how much fun it was playing the course I had seen every year on the PGA Tour. And then I saw, Augusta National - Wow! Couldn't believe I was actually playing Augusta! Later came Spyglass, Medinah and more.I knew right then and there I had to do Colonial. I lived just 1 mile from the course after all.I jogged by there 5 times a week! I emailed John Anderson, Mike Jones, Jack Hart, and a few more, and to my surprise they were more than willing to help. John Anderson's incredible patience with me in the beginning is the single reason Colonial is here for everyone to enjoy today - Thank you 'South Florida'.
I am very pleased with the way Colonial came out. I told myself from the start I was going to do this course right, all the way. Everything I had collected over the years from the MasterCard Colonial was going to be put in. And after looking back on it now, there are some things I wish would of came out better, but it's simply impossible or would take many more months of doing - and frankly I'm sick of working on Colonial. I'm ready for more, bigger fish to fry.
The decision to do Colonial's clubhouse totally 3D was a huge turning point in this course - this took me months to do as I'm sure I'm no where near as fast as the other 'pro's'. Colonial's clubhouse for you who may not know, is up next to #16 green, #17 tee, #18 green and #1 tee - it's a giant, long building, that combined with the adjacent men's locker room and exercise facility would never work as a 2D object, and is in close proximity to the playing surfaces.
My goal from the start was not only to bring Colonial to everyone, but to bring the Colonial Invitational PGA Tournament to everyone as well. In the 6 years that I was there, the first 5 were sponsored by Mastercard, the last being taken over by Bank of America and they're new logo. I had no material on this sponsor as I didn't get to go - we moved right before it was held. This is why everything is Mastercard and not Bank of America. Sorry about that, but couldn't be helped.
Colonial was created with a 2' contour map shot specifically for the purpose of refurbishing Colonial's golf course in 1999, so this was as accurate and up-to-date as one could get. It took a couple of weeks to map in all the elevations, which I did vert-by-vert, but it turned out extremely accurate. I wouldn't recommend this method though - remember, this is my first course and I definitely learned what, and what not to do. So the elevations on the course you are playing are almost exact! This wouldn't of been possible if not for the contour map.
Colonial's pano was done in a last minute, spur-of-the moment plea to Rick Weathers who graciously accepted my task and gave me a great pano with Fort Worth's skyline placed perfectly within just a few days. My attempts at a pano failed miserably and I've found they take a lot of practice.
Colonials textures were all created by me on Photoshop 6. I had digital photos of Bermuda-grass while in Orlando and used them for everything. The sand in the bunkers is modified stock-'sand' and color-matched to Colonial's tan-sand. Colonial does not have white sand as portrayed in EASports Tiger Woods 2k3.
There is a lot more going on during tourney time around the practice-green and tennis building and courts - beer tents, corp. tents, PGA and vendor tents, etc - that it would be almost insane to put in. 99.9% won't care it's not there, and it would only add to the file size.
The pins @ CCC are as follows: EASY (Day 1 & practice rounds). MODERATE (Day 2 & 3). HARD (DAY 4).
See accompanied pin-sheet.
#13 is a scenic par-3 over water that you see during the TV broadcast a lot. This hole presented a problem as in the distance - some 500 yds - there are apartments in view with their red-tile roofs. I chose not to put these in and it looks better with them not in anyway.
Trees - Colonial has more trees than I put in. But almost all of them are along the banks of the Trinity River, which you'll probably never see, so I chose to leave them out for file-size and sanity - hundreds of crashes during planting practically had me throwing things across the room! What is important is that every large, mature tree around the tees, greens and along the fairways was hand-planted exactly to the yardage book that I have - So the over-hangs should be spot on! The darker, brownish trees you see around the green complexes are the 'Cork' trees from Valderrama I believe. I used them to imitate the Southern Live Oaks that Ft. Worth has. These oaks aren't as tall as some other varieties, but have an extremely wide canopy, so they did a good job over-hanging the greens.
Colonial consists exclusively of live oaks, huge pecan trees, sycamores, cottonwoods, magnolias, a few hackberries, and 1 or 2 weeping-willows.'
Overall Impression: Colonial CC is a classic tree-lined country club in the Fort Worth area of Texas. It is one of the better known and more highly respected golf courses in the United States. It is also the location of a regular PGA Tour stop every year; so it should be pretty familiar to those of us here in America. Colonial is a very level golf course which is tightly lined with mature trees. It is known by the PGA Tour players as a shot-makers golf course. The ability to work your ball right or left around the dog-legs and trees is an integral part of scoring successfully at Colonial. Mr. Dorsey has captured this look and feel very well. Colonial CC the Links rendition plays just like the real course as best as I can tell. Mr. Dorsey has captured the flavor of Colonial quite well in other ways as well. The textures used for the fairways, greens and bunkers look just about perfect to me. As anybody who has ever been to Texas in summer can tell you it gets hot down there! The Bermuda grass gets a tinge of brown spots in places when the sun starts beating down. The textures capture this look to a tee! Mr. Dorsey also captures the look with his use of features built out of the terrain; especially the clubhouse, the brick walls and the small bridges over the drainage ditches.
Playability/Shot Values: As equivalent to the real thing, this is a fascinating test of shot values and golfing skill. Placing your tee shots is paramount to scoring well. Many of the holes are tight dog-legs with large trees or deep bunkers guarding the edges. It will take you a few rounds to learn this course and where you should aim it. There aren't many courses where you actually have to work a draw or fade to get your ball in the fairway; but Colonial is one of them. Once you get on the fairway the fun isn't over. The greens are protected by deep bunkers and overhanging trees. Although this course doesn't have the wow factor that some of our other courses do; it will still keep you thinking from the first hole to the last.
Visuals: Mr. Dorsey has done an exemplary job of capturing the look and feel of Colonial CC. The planting, structures, textures and elevations are very well done. I have never been to Colonial CC; but I've watched it on TV many times over the years. It appears to me that this rendition is about as close as you are going to get to the real thing. Isn't that all you need to know about a real course version of a Links course?
Technique: The technique on display here is very good to almost perfect. Especially for a first time release! I can only tell you of a few small quirks and they aren't really worth worrying about. I have heard of some floating trees. I may have seen a few here or there; but I didn't go looking for them so I really couldn't tell you if they exist or not. There was a problem with some texture assignments when this course was first released; but Mr. Dorsey (much to his credit) quickly fixed them and re-released the course file. The 3d work and seam blending are all up to snuff; not to mention the 'Wall of Champions' next to the first tee. When you play here be sure to rotate about 90-degrees to the right so you can appreciate this nice addition.
Favorite Hole: Although I have heard and seen lots written about the 'Horrible Horseshoe' on the front nine; I have to admit that my favorite hole is the 9th. This is a tightly guarded tee shot with bunkers on both sides. You really need to get in the fairway; because the second shot is over a lake to a steeply sloping green. When the pros play this hole they usually lay up off the tee with an iron or fairway wood. It really makes for an interesting shot though when they miss the fairway and have to get it over the lake on the second shot. I can remember a few times in the past where the leader of the tournament was faced with this type of shot. Talk about a gut check!
Summary: A beautiful and well done recreation of a fine and famous golf course. What more could you ask for? I highly recommend it; even to those people who generally don't like the classic type golf courses. This course needs to be played a few times to really appreciate its strategy; but it's worth it once you do. It is a very large download though; so be forewarned! But if you can spare the time and disk space; then I don't think you will be disappointed.
|This course is available as a FREE download.
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