Elmsley Island is a hybrid track with the style of a traditional rural course mixed with that of a links layout. Precision driving is not a critical factor for scoring low as the fairways are quite wide and forgiving. However, precision iron play is a must to navigate the fairly quick greens. Several of the par 4's are longer than average and can't be reached in a headwind. This is offset by easy par 5's and generally flat greens throughout the entire course. A few holes have difficult pin positions on hard slopes that can make par quite a struggle. But as mentioned, this is offset by fairly easy putts for birdies on other holes. All together, this leaves a nice balance across the course.
Elmsley Island, designed by Chris Lane, is a very enjoyable links theme course with exceptional planting and some really great holes. This one gets a 4.5 and comes recommended.
The first two holes really made me feel like I was around Lake Michigan. Excellent use of spruce trees and bushes can really turn the links theme into something else entirely, and Lane has a good understanding of that. Another common theme on this course is extremely wide fairways. This is a very welcome feature as the links theme winds tend to really whip around, and so having that little extra margin for error in a cross wind helps make this course that much more enjoyable. Two good examples of this are holes 3 and 4, which have very wide fairways, even though the 3rd has a split fairway with some tasteful bush planting.
Lane also really nailed the sight lines on this course, and there are few, if any blind shots. Even shots that are uphill (this course is relatively flat overall) still provide great views of the target. While many flat-ish designs tend to get monotonous, Elmsley Island is routed so nicely that it never feels bland or boring.
Another great feature of this course (for the most part) is the green contouring, especially on hole 6 and 10. Some places could have used a little more TLC, but Lane's greens are realistic and true-reading. A good shot is always rewarded with a readable and makeable putt. Lane also understands how slope needs to be used to stop the ball on a long approach, and hole 12 is a good example of this.
While there are not any "signature" holes that stick out, there are a few really exceptional holes that make this course worth coming back to time and again. Hole 10 is a really fun hole that plays along the coastline. A slight uphill approach is required, and getting on the low side of the hole is crucial. The green has great views of the surrounding areas and provides a wonderful sense of serenity. Hole 11 is a great three shot par 5, which can be tamed with two good long shots and a sweet little pitch and putt. Finally, the 14th, a par 3, requires a deft touch on the approach and tremendous focus on the green to make bird.
This course could use a little fine tuning. Many of the holes have fairways that are quite straight without much contouring. There are also a few holes with pretty flat, nondescript bunkers. These little touches could take this course to the next level, but do not inhibit it from being a very playable and enjoyable design.
Elmsley Island is a worthy 4.5 and a great course for players of any skill level.
|No hosted tournaments for this course.|