Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ah, we love Augusta in Houston in the springtime. It reminds us of Scotland outside of Dallas and Maryland's TPC at Sawgrass.

Replica courses give you a taste of the game's greatest, priciest and most exclusive layouts with holes that look a lot like the real thing.

These courses may not equal the originals, but they are great pretenders. -- Evan Rothman


The Tribute Golf Club, The Colony, Texas

Greens fee: $80-$105; 972-370-5465, thetributegolflinks.nemexinc.com

Homage - Eighteen great Scottish links holes repositioned just north of Dallas.
For - Homesick Scots, golfers afraid of flying
Keeping it Real - Tribute begins and ends with No. 1 and No. 18 from the Old Course, echoes the Road Hole for its own 17th, and takes the Postage Stamp from windy Troon to windy Texas. The Old Tom Morris Pub serves Scottish cuisine, though no haggis -- so count your blessings.
Huh? - No. 8 pays tribute to the fourth at Moray Golf Club, famous for, um, beats us.


Bear's Best, Las Vegas, Nev.

Greens fee: $110-$245 866-385-8500, bearsbest.com/vegas

Homage - Every hole is a remake of a Jack Nicklaus favorite from one of his own designs.
For - Jack junkies, Jack's ego.
Keeping it real - No. 11 reproduces the second at Old Works in Montana, right down to the black slag in the bunkers.
Huh? - Nicklaus also used Old Works' second hole for Bear's Best, Atlanta -- talk about an architect repeating himself.


Tour 18 Houston, Humble, Texas

Greens fee: $40-$90 281-540-1818, tour18golf.com/houston

Homage - Based on holes used on the PGA Tour (past and present).
For - Tour wannabes
Keeping it real - "Amen Corner, that's our trademark -- well, not our trademark, but you know what I mean," says head pro Adam Goodwin. "Even visiting Tour pros have told me they're amazed by how much it looks like the real thing." Harbour Town successfully sued to have them remove the iconic candy-striped lighthouse from No. 7.
Huh? - No. 6 on Disney's Magnolia Course? That's Mickey Mouse!


The Architects Club, Lopatcong, N.J.

Greens fee: $65-$100 908-213-3080, thearchitectsclub.com

Homage - Each hole is designed in the style of a different architect, from Golden Age greats to Robert Trent Jones Sr. Not exactly a replica course, but a theme park nonetheless.
For - Geeks and architecture buffs (but we repeat ourselves).
Keeping it real - You get a ball marker that's a flat miniature bust of a featured architect. So that's what Devereaux Emmet looked like...
Huh? - Two Donald Ross holes but no Tom Bendelow? An outrage!


Renditions, Davidsonville, Md.

Greens fee: $49-$89 888-451-4144, renditionsgolf.com

Homage - Every copied hole has a major-championship pedigree.
For - Players who think great courses are an a la carte buffet.
Keeping it real - The bag-drop guys wear knickers and the lockers sport nameplates of past major champions.
Huh? - Royal Lytham & St. Annes and Royal Birkdale get a nod but the Old Course and Muirfield don't?

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