Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Course Review: The Bull at Pinehurst Farms

I am very lucky to be living in an area with many great golf courses.  There are courses designed by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus within 30 minutes of my house.  I am going to rate The Bull at Pinehurst Farms, a Jack Nicklaus Design, for my first course review.

The Clubhouse at The Bull is a nice, modern building.  It is not spectacular or special or anything, but it is nice and practical.  The pro shop is small and offers logo apparel and a small selection of golf clubs.  The attendants at the desk were nice and friendly and started my day off very well.  When I was playing the driving range was all on artificial turf and mats, and not off the ground.  The range balls are included with the round, so it is nice to warm up before the round.  There are 2 practice putting greens and 1 pitching area for warm-ups.  The putting greens are very well maintained and are exactly like the greens on the course.

Arriving at the first tee, the view is excellent.  The first hole is a medium length downhill par 4 with a very wide fairway.  It is a confidence builder and really helps you get off to a good start.  It is nice to have an easy hole on this course since it gets a lot harder as you go on.  The next two holes are played along a small lake.  The long par 3 3rd hole is a fun tee shot, with a forced carry over water, and, like most Nicklaus designs, you have to fly a bunker directly in front of the green as well.  After finishing the first three holes, the fun reaally starts.  Hole 4 is a shortish par 5 that is reachable with a good drive.  The second shot is downhill and the green is elevated and perched in a small area of woods.

Upon reaching the 5th hole, you better have your A game, or you may be laying up on a par 4.  The tee shot requires a carry over a bluff, and the second shot is a forced carry over a longer cliff.  The cliff plays all along the left side of the hole.  Do not go left at all or you will be penalized.  This hole is one of the most exciting holes I have ever played.  The par 3 6th requires another carry over a canyon.  It is medium length and relatively straight forward.  Hole 7 is a signature Jack Nicklaus risk-reward par 4, where longer drivers can challenge the green.  An iron off the tee is all you need to have a legitimate birdie opportunity.  Hole 8 is another risk-reward hole.  The par 5 is reachable but requires a carry of the Onion River 15 yards short of the green.  The 9th hole does not offer you a chance to breath, as it is a straight-away long par 4 that plays straight uphill and usually in to the wind.

The back 9 starts where the front nine left off.  No rest is allowed with this long, dogleg right par 4.  I remember needing a hybrid to reach the green for the second shot.  The drive plays downhill, and there is a run-up area to land your approach short and run it up.  The 11th finally offers a little relent.  It is another driveable par 4 for the long hitters, or an iron or hybrid off the tee allows for a short iron or wedge to the green.  A lake runs along the right side of the fairway and in front of the green.  It is one of the only real birdie opportunities on the course.  This was the only hole that I birdied during my round.

Hole 12 is an unmemorable long, downhill par 3, pretty straightforward.  The 13th is a long par 5 that is definitely a lay-up.  The hole doglegs left, but has a very wide landing area both for the drive and the layup.  The green is elevated and blind to the approach.  I almost made a birdie on this hole but lipped out the 15 footer.  The course starts to fight back again with the long par 4 14th.  It is about as long a par 4 as I have ever played.  Right side is dead, so you better stay left.  Make sure you account for the couple bunkers up near the green.

Hole 15 is the most memorable hole on the back nine.  It is a medium length par 3 that is guarded on the left and front of the green by water.  Make sure to take enough club here or you will be in the water.  The wind can also be confusing on this hole as you are set back in the woods.  A bailout area is available to the right.  There is no better hole on the course than the 15th.  Bring your camera and take a picture at this hole.

Hole 16 is another fun hole, with an uphill drive and then a second shot over a ravine directly in front of the green.  During certain times of the year, the ravine is playable, but if you are too far out, it is smart to lay up in front of the ravine.  The 17th hole is my favorite par 5 on the course.  Take a driver or 3 wood off the tee and let it fly.  If you hit it far enough, you may end up near the end of the fairway.  The second shot is extremely downhill and definitely reachable.  To the right of the green and second fairway is a fescue meadow, and short of the fairway is water.  The water is not really in play.  If you are going to lay-up, though, make sure you stay left.

The walk to the 18th is very scenic.  You walk along meadow and along a lake.  The tee shot on the 18th is a carry over water with fairway bunkers along the right side of the fairway.  Stay to the left side and you have a long shot over a river to the green.  Bailout to the left, even though it is playable from the hazard along the right.  After finishing the hole, make sure you check yourself to make sure you are still breathing, and take a rest.

Overall, this is one tough challenge of golf.  The course is relentless and takes your A game throughout.  Though each hole is difficult, there is a proper place to bail out and try to recover for par.  For 60 dollars in the spring and less than 100 dollars during peak season, you cannot beat the course.  The carts are equipped with GPS and included with every round!  Make sure you check this course out the next time you are in the Southeast Wisconsin area.

The Bull at Pinehurst Farms


  1. Probably the hardest course I've ever played!!! Granted it was 40 degrees and 30mph winds, and the 1st tourney of the year (only played 9 holes prior). I really could have used a yardage book or something!

  2. Definitely the hardest of the Luxury courses in Sheboygan County (But the original layout of Blackwolf (Tournament Layout) was my worst round!)