The morning round was at Forest Ridge which was one of the courses that I really wanted to play on the trip. According to Golf.com the course is ranked as the 4th best public course in the state of Oklahoma. In addition, the course is well ranked by Golf Digest, Golfweek, and Golflink so I was expecting something impressive. The folks in the pro shop were very pleasant and included some free range balls which I always think is a nice gesture at higher end courses. The green fee turned to be about $60 which is a very good value for this caliber of course and the cart had a nice GPS system. My opinion of the course might be jaded as we started on the more difficult back nine but the short of it is that I found the course frustrating to play. In a way it makes me sad to say that when I think of Forest Ridge I also think of Amana Colonies in Iowa, The Ledges in Maine, and Sanctuary Cove in Georgia which were all beautifully conditioned but maddening to play.
It seems that the course was designed to host a high level amateur event as the design was too much for me as a 5 handicap to handle. We played the Gold tees which played 6826/74.1/145. As my round went along I realized that it wouldn’t have mattered which set of tees that I played because I could hit it into the woods from anywhere. The course has narrow fairways, thick rough where the ball nestled down, and fall offs on some of the greens. The 1st hole is flat par 4 with an approach over a hazard, which won’t come into play unless out of position off the tee, to a green that slopes off on its sides. The 2nd has a green that is surrounded by trouble, the 3rd has a green complex with tiers designed to challenge the scratch golfer, and the 5th is a double dogleg par 5 with trees all down each side. That hole required trying to work the ball on at least one shot. I thought the easiest hole on the course is the par 5 9th hole as it is open off the tee and short enough to allow for a decent score. If the whole course played like the front nine it would have been a better course in my opinion. The front was challenging and pretty fair except for a few shots. As I mentioned, we started on the back and it put me in a sour mood from the beginning. The 10th is a 406 yard par 4 with trouble everywhere. Even if the fairway is found, trees hang over the fairway and there is a forced carry to the green. The 11th is a long par 5 that moved right, but a driver would run through the fairway. This forced me to lay it up on a 586 yard hole or try an impossible carry over the fairway bunkers off the tee. The 13th is a 175 yard par 3 with no room to miss. There is a hazard right and mounding left of the green which made chipping very tough. The 14th is the shortest par 4 on the course but needed a layup to a sliver of fairway with trees on each side of the hole and another forced carry. The 15th is a pretty par 3 over a lake which was my favorite hole on the back. The 16th and 17th both had odd tee shots. The 16th has a forced carry over one hazard before the fairway ends and a lake begins. The miss is right off the tee but then a tree short of the green could come into play. The 17th is another tight hole off the tee to a corner of the fairway.
The course has some interesting elevation changes to it and the homes are not a problem except for a few holes. I don’t think me whining about how difficult a course is ever makes for a good review, but I got tired of losing balls. I could have lost multiple sleeves of balls from any set of tees. I see the course borderline unplayable for those with higher handicaps as there are too many big numbers lurking. My final knock about the course is that every par 4 played between 369 and 422 yards. I like a short par 4 and don’t mind a monster par 4 as long as there is room to miss if I have to hit my approach with a 3 wood or hybrid. The conditions were great and the course would go on a list of the top 10 or 15 courses that I’ve played maintenance wise within the last 12 months. Every golfer probably has a few preferences when picking a course and this one just turned out to be too tough for me.