Old White offers up great spots to watch
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS - After a half-dozen West Virginia Amateurs and one very unexpected PGA Tour event - and another on the way - I am starting to consider The Old White TPC home.
Shoot, I want to grab my newly acquired secondhand Lynx clubs and sneak onto the track after Sunday's final round of The Greenbrier Classic ... you know, see if I can break 75 on the front nine.
But I'll be content watching some really, really good golf. Dirty sportswriter secret: The worst day at Old White beats the best day at football practice.
Shhhh ... that's off the record, OK?
There is something special about this setting that the Met Life (or whoever) blimp can't even capture. Players and caddies are typically awestruck over the resort, where they don't have to leave the grounds to have one heck of a good time.
(Well, unless they want to take in the Peas. Boom, boom, pow.)
Let's put it this way: I had the privilege of taking in The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village near Columbus, Ohio, this spring. Splendid event, splendid field, splendid course.
But I kept looking for mountains, for ambient scenery. I looked for that mountain-style hospitality.
Found none of it. OK, I have no complaints about the hospitality. But face it, Ohio: You can't hang with us in that department.
And I'm not sure Muirfield Village, as a whole, is as good of a spectator course. That's a strong statement, because Jack Nicklaus built that course with his fans in mind and several holes are superior spectator venues.
But still. Old White is fan-friendly from 1 through 18. Those who have been there probably think I'm Captain Obvious.
Even if you have, I'll throw some good spots to take in the action, if you haven't toured the entire course. Grab a course map and tee times and check out some of my favorites:
If you want a change of scenery, your back is to the 12th fairway on the course's other par-5. That's a fun risk-reward 568-yarder, which will tempt a few to go for the eagle.
From No. 2, you can slide down to No. 3, the 205-yard par-3 with the coolest "Valley of Sin" green. Wait long enough and you'll find a tee shot in the valley or the wrong side of it - thus witnessing a putting challenge you won't even find at Myrtle Beach's "carpet golf" hotspots.
No. 6, right side: This is the longest hoof from the front gate, but will gain you good elbow room. Bathrooms, concessions and a cell-phone call zone are near the tee of what was a long-driver's paradise last year. With the left rough brought inward 8 yards and the contour of the green changed, this may play differently (and tougher). Get up to the green and you can witness downhill tee shots at No. 7.
Bathrooms, concessions and a cell calling zone are near the No. 9 tee. The concession stand brings one downside: The ninth tee is the most difficult on the course for enforcing quiet, so please cooperate there.
Almost nowhere else on the PGA Tour will you find a par-3 finishing hole, and a relatively easy one at that. Nobody building a new course would do it.
But Charles Blair Macdonald did it 97 years ago and, by golly, it works. The whole place does, really, for golf fans both casual and serious.
I think it simply feels like home. Keeping coming here and you might agree.
call zone are near the tee of what was a long-driver's paradise last year. With the left rough brought inward 8 yards and contour of the green changed, this may play differently (and tougher).
Reach Doug Smock 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.