Australian golfer Graham Marsh and American course builder William Kubly have led a new thoroughbred out of the paddock in Kentucky's horse country.
Old Silo Golf Course, located 30 minutes east of Lexington, races across 200 acres of former farmland and is named for the remains of an aging agricultural storage structure that sits hard by the 16th fairway.
Old Silo promises to be the first of several courses from the Aussie/American duo, which jointly owns the track. Marsh -- winner of the 1997 U.S. Senior PGA Championship and a total of six Senior Tour events -- designed the par-72 layout, which ranges from 5,509 to 6,977 yards. Kubly's Landscapes Unlimited, one of the nation's leading golf course contractors and developers, built the new facility.
The most memorable feature of Old Silo may be the 98 bunkers that dominate the course. "The only thing I tease him [Marsh] about is all these sand traps," Kubly says. "When we set out to build this course, I had a budget of 60 bunkers. When the first design came out, there were 80. I said, 'Graham, we have to cut some out.' He promised to cut a few during construction, but somehow we ended up with 98."
The bunkers come into play early in the round, particularly on the par-four third hole, where 15 of them lead the way to a wide, slightly elevated green. But Old Silo is not just a desert. The view from the sixth tee may be the prettiest of any course in the region. The golfer looks down into a small valley carved by Somerset Creek, with the remains of the silo off to the left. The downhill tee shot must carry 80 yards of tall grass and the four-foot-wide creek, which meanders in from the left and then doubles back in front of the landing area, roughly 260 yards from the tee. A well-placed drive leaves a 150-yard uphill approach to an elevated, undulating green guarded by bunkers to the right.
While somewhat expensive by local standards, Old Silo's green fees (including cart) are relatively modest. Stay-and-play packages are available through local hotels, including the Fairfield Inn by Marriott (859-498-4050), Ramada Limited (859-497-9400), and Days Inn (859-498-4680).
Old Silo is also home to Graham's Grill, a high-quality restaurant named for the Aussie golfer, that serves everything from cheese quesadillas to baby back ribs. Marsh hopes to have the Graham's Grill concept franchised into dozens of courses within a few years. Golf shop: 859-498-4697; 877-653-7456. Web site: www.oldsilo.com.