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Justin Leonard's new course: The Old American

Old American Golf Club

Credit: Matthews Southwest

Artist's conception of the Old American Golf Club.

by JOE TRAHAN/WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on July 12, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 12 at 11:18 AM

The biggest thing you need to know about Old American Golf Club right off the bat is you have to use the yardage book.  I'm not suggesting you use it, you HAVE to!   This is not a course to just grab your driver and start bombing away.  I know, I know, how hard can it be, right?  Its not necessarily difficulty, its that ball placement off the tee is at a premium on this course, and I like that.  It might be against your norm, but take a minute to review the yardages off the tee, and then try to attack this thoughtful layout along the shores of Lake Lewisville in the Colony.

In golf course design, its seems as though there has been a rush to add length to courses to handle all of the new technology.  The Old American bucks that trend, and I'm hoping against hope that more designers will follow the lead of Tripp Davis and Justin Leonard.  It makes sense when you consider how Leonard was able to carve out his career on the PGA tour.  Never known for length, Leonard instead excelled at course management and being able to execute with laser-like precision the decisions he'd make.  You don't have to be that precise on The Old American, but you can see that's part of the influence Leonard had on Davis, the project's lead designer.  Davis and Leonard's philosophy - give a nod to the great American golf courses that came online in in the early 20th century.  Be prepared to navigate numerous bunkers that dot the fairways, hence, the yardage book.  Most of the greens are elevated, but still receptive to shots with even the smallest amount of spin.

I've played Old American twice within the last month.    First and foremost, it was a great walk, err ride.  From water on the first hole to the final few that wind around the lake, it offers you a chance to get away and forget about work for a few hours - which is why we play the game anyway, right?  The most memorable and awesome holes on this course take place once you get on the back nine.  The par three 12th is nestled along the shoreline of Lake Lewisville and is as tough and breath-taking as can be.  And the par five 14th's green seemingly puts you right on top of the lake - close enough to make anything hit too far left as dead as can be.

The course is open to the public and its pricey, but perfect for what I like to call a "reward round."  You been working hard at your game and improving, and you'd like to play a really nice course that cost more than you'd normally pay and will be a challenge.  Be prepared for one other thing - when the wind blows out there, its all the golf you need or want.  Scores and highlites please: my first round with no wind - a smooth 77.  When the fans were turned on, a different story - I held on for dear life to shoot an 87.  So, bring your yardage book and treat yourself to a challenging, but memorable round of golf at the Old American golf club.  I think you'll be glad you did.

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