|Links Corner Course Database ID Number - 249
LINKS CORNER REVIEW
|Reviewed by Dave Campbell
Expectations: I had downloaded and played this course upon it's release but had not played it for a couple of months. It was still on my drive, which is a good sign.
First Impressions: Six Lakes by James Wood was posted on 1/26/01 and was his fourth release following Black Crater, Highland Lakes and The Reservoir. He has one subsequent release called Pagoda Run, which is the only other course of his I've played. It is a fictional parkland course with a bit of ocean coast thrown in on the opening holes. It is a par 72 playing 6,878 yards from the back tees.
Other than a few tight fairway holes, one of which is the 1st, this course is wide open. The combination of open feel with fairly dense fairway edge planting was a nice great. The holes were framed nicely. The ground under planting was particularly strong. As long as you keep it on the fairway, or just off the fairway, you can really fire away at the pins. The course played very smooth and the layout seemed natural.
Of course with a name like Six Lakes you know there is water (I'm assuming six lakes but I didn't count). I really liked the look of the lakes; most had great elevation work done around them that gives a sunken appearance to the water. Not only was it appealing but added to the hazard of hitting near them because the severe slopes could feed your ball right in if you even got close. There are several greens placed right next to these lakes making for great visual effects. Surprisingly the closest you get to an island green is the par 5 5th hole. I would call this a semi island green with rock border that with two good shots can have you looking at a great eagle chance. There were several force carry drives over water, a particularly pretty one on the par 3 7th hole (see screenshot). This is a 200+ yard hole with 185 yards of carry. Better bring enough club or you'll hit the gorgeous rock face cliff below the hole and end up in the drink.
I really like the bunkers on this course, something a bit different. Rather than an extruded lip and bowl shape you see on most courses Six Lakes bunkers are fairly flat. The technique James used was to round off the terrain in a well-done elevation to come down into the trap. I don't know if you can picture it from my description but the way it was done matches the elevation work I described earlier around the lakes. In my opinion it really ties the course together and makes it seem 'Real'. Bunkers are scattered throughout the course and placed around most greens. Most are fairly easy to play out of unless you were right up against the bank of one.
My test round was a -5 on the above conditions. I kept thinking I should have scored higher. The course is relatively short, particularly compared to some, and wide open like I mentioned but the greens keep you honest. They offer a good putting test, as there will always be some break in your roll. When I firmed up the greens they could be very treacherous. On the 14th, 16th and 17th green approaches the elevation is slowly going down all the way to a lake behind the green, as well as downhill lies to further lengthen your club. With fast green conditions you could easily end up in the water. Be very careful on these holes to take a bit less club or tick up on your trajectory to allow for the roll you will get. I really liked this design, after I hit the water once you were I of it from then on.
Not much in the way of custom objects here and seemed almost conspicuous in their absence. This may have been one of the reasons the file size was so small (just over 8 meg). I saw some ball washers and drink dispensers with no cart paths or buildings of any kind. I liked the first cut effect on the fairways (is that Munich-North I detect) and a texture called 'green brush' that I thought worked very well and had a lush look about it.
There is a cliff all the way down the right of the first hole, which doglegs left and looks imposing from the tee, as well as a gorge and a pond right in front of the green. The 2nd hole is a par 5 that can be reached in two but a lake on the left and a cliff down to the beach on the right keeps you honest, a couple of good opening holes. There are doglegs both left and right as well as some pinched fairway landing zones throughout the round to constantly give you a different look. Water is ever present over most of the course, particularly the back nine.
Drawbacks: On the first two holes when I did a reverse cam look at my approaches the hilly looking panorama winds around where the ocean would be. You can even see the sand meet up with the pano where water should be.
On the 3rd hole there is a forced carry of 260+ yards over water, although there is an elevation drop of 20'. Many powerstroke players don't even carry a driver in their bag so this could present a problem. When I played the hole in breezy conditions the wind was also in my face, which would make it even worse. I did clear the lake each time I tried with a driver but never made the fairway, mainly due to bad snaps.
As I mentioned previously I thought this course would have benefited from more object placement. With its open look a few more pieces of 'eye candy' strewn about would have been welcome. I'm sure this was James intention and this is just my personal opinion.
Some of the angles on the course (tee boxes, fairways, the beach, etc.) looked sharp. Not the sharpness setting of borders in the APCD but acute angles rather than rounded and subtle.
Best Hole: I liked all the par 5's since all were reachable in two if you chanced it. My vote goes to the par 3 7th with its forced carry to the green perched upon a beautiful cliff.
Comparable courses: Boondock Way by Eric Lintemuth, Craggamoor by Rob Moates, Gallup Municipal by Chris Carpenter and Royal Melbourne by Stuart Kahle. Much smaller in file size than any of these.
Overall: A nice parkland style course offering a variety of hole layouts. Technically sound with the APCD, specifically the elevations and bunkers. It suffers a bit because of a lack of objects that would have given it that extra sparkle, just my opinion. Suffers a bit in comparison to the great releases of late but considering the release date and file size is well worth a test drive. I happen to know this designer has another course waiting in the wings and I anxiously await its release. Every course he's released is better than the previous one. Well-done James, it was a very pleasant golf experience.
Course Info :
Cameo Screen? Yes
Splash Screen? Yes
Reviewed May 2001
|This course is available as a FREE download.
Please support Links Corner