Well, after playing McHose Park for the first time, I'll give my review.
Upon driving into the park on a beautiful Sunday morning, it was immediately apparent to me that the park is a gem. It's a very well kept park, and the folks up in Boone take pride in it. It shows, and I definatley like seeing that anywhere I go.
Hole one is a bit of a teaser, a must deuce, probably 150ish feet across a ravine, with a couple trees in the middle that you have to navigate your putter around, or through, if you're real ballsy. Great hole to start on, it can make you feel a little confident before you get to the nitty gritty, or, on the other hand, if you have to go down into hole 1's ravine, you get a little taste of the devastation that could come your way, if you don't start hitting lines. Hole 2, 12, 15, and 16, IMO are very similar holes, with the exception that two of them (2 and 15) play slightly downhill, and 12 and 16 play back up a gently incline. These holes are all similar, at least in my view, probably because I played them all the same. They all are long (400-600ish), and have very low canopies to throw under, which is why I elected to throw rollers on these holes. It worked out well for my game to conserve the energy that would be expended throwing something on a rope 6 feet off the ground, especially after watching nearly everyone on my cards (both rounds) do so with little success. Actually the second round, watching Cole L. three hole 16 with two sweet rollers confirmed my assessment on the best way to play those holes yesterday. The grass wasn't long, so it was working pretty well.
Hole 3 is a motherfucker. More than likely the first time any decent player plays this hole, you won't think too much of it other than it's a neat looking shot over a HUGE gorge. Let me tell you----you do not want to have to negotiate that gorge other than on the railroad tie steps that the Boy Scouts installed. The walk on the steps is a little steep, but it's a neat hike through the woods, and adds a lot of character to that hole, and the course in general. I assure you though, if you don't get to take the whole trail, you're in big trouble, and good luck to you.
Hole 4 is a nice par 4, that is definately birdieable for a lefty especially with a long anny down the hill off the tee. I really liked this hole. Kind of reminds me of hole 21 at Westlake, but the tee shot plays more right to left. Then, at the bottom of the hill, it's back to the right ala 21 at WL. Then the pin on this hole is tucked up about 75 feet into a clearing back up a hill. Absolutely sick hole, but definatley threeable for a huge birdie.
Hole 5 is a 250 footer over a pond, that claimed two of my discs.. Good hole though.
The next several holes reminded me a lot of Wildcat Bluff, holes through the woods, making use of some old logging type roads or something.
Hole 8 is a round definer, with a tee shot across a ravine/creek to the fairway that runs perpendicular to the teepad. If you land successfully on the fairway, you then have about 5-600 to the pin, down a tunnel like hole 15 at Walnut, but dead straight. Good luck, I took my first circle 10 that I can ever remember and lost my best ROC.
Hole 9 is worth mentioning too, it plays literally down a winding creek bed to a small green on the left side of the creek. We did not play the long tee pad yesterday, as there have been some erosion problems with it. Fun hole though. Holes 10 and 11 are short, but very hard to birdie.
Hole 13 is another hole I used the forehand roller off the tee to get to a spot where I could layup for a three. THe green drops off severly directly behind the basket, so be careful on your upshots here. 14 is another should be birdie hole, that sets up for a lefty nicely. I birdied it once yesterday. 15 and 16 I described previously, they are part of the upper part of the course that more or less plays the same, one downhill slightly, the other back up.
17 and 18 are gappers, as I like to call 'em. Hit the gap! Shallow ravies (relatively speaking after hole 3) that if you can hit the line with some authority, you should yield a birdie to finish up feeling good about the round that just kicked you in the nuts.
Playing there yesterday was a blast, as I've been wanting to get up there for quite some time. Playing two rounds there yesterday reminded me (yet again) that I'm in pretty poor physical condition. I think that Clay winning the USDGC bid is definatley a testament to his conditioning as well as his game, as you have to have the complete package to play this course well on a 90 degree day, with that humidity, and those hills.
Bottom line is, I give the course two thumbs up, and it might make it into my top 5 as well, but I haven't decided that quite yet.
Thanks Steve and all that have put blood, sweat, and tears into this course. It's awesome.