September 1, 2014

Guy Stuff

My Best Game Ever

 

It’s breathtaking—like an exquisite jeweled necklace by Cartier. I’m speaking of the Tournament Players Club (TPC) Treviso Bay. This brilliant-cut gem is polished to PGA standards so you can “live the PGA Tour experience.”

Much to my delight, I was invited to play where legends like Woods, Palmer and Snead might play through. Would I do honor to that roster of famous names—or would I play this 18-carat diamond from the rough?

I journeyed across Treviso Bay’s stately five-arch stone bridge, through the ornamental wrought-iron gates and around a massive Italian-inspired fountain anchoring the entryway roundabout. Inside, a winding, three-mile drive led me to the meticulously sculpted course and the rising 70,000-square-foot clubhouse.

The links are reverently placed, like rare jewels in a platinum setting, next to the unspoiled 110,000-acre Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. In the beautiful isolation—home of deer, wood stork and perfect greens—I met my genial hosts: Sanjay Kuttemperoor, president of VK Development and visionary responsible for the $2 billion Treviso Bay community, and Bill Delayo, director of golf.

I asked about the immaculate appearance of the course. Delayo smiled and said, “This is a PGA Tour facility. We maintain it to tournament-caliber conditions.”

I nervously teed up on the first. I addressed my ball and took a swing. And just as I brought my club down, my mind wandered, and I felt the long shadows cast by legendary golf greats.

I barely made contact with the dimpled little sphere—it rolled 20 feet. But I felt OK because I was still on the fairway, and my golf mates provided appropriate empathy with remarks about the “unruly behavior of my chosen ball.”

My next shot connected. I drove the Titleist high and long, and my pre-game jitters subsided. A cooling breeze, the chirp of a nearby osprey and the eye-soothing vistas of emerald green helped me relax.

Like the facets of a diamond, there are many nuances that make TPC Treviso Bay challenging and fair. The course favors no particular shot or style of play—elevated greens and undulation test your strategy and ability to outthink the course.

At the next hole, we faced a 240-yard carry over water, or a safe play to the right around a curving fairway. I played conservatively and left the long job to Sanjay and Bill, who each hammered audacious drives over the hazard.

Three strokes later, I was in a bunker, 20 yards from the green. I selected a sand wedge and made an easy swing. The ball popped over the lip, straight to the target, and stopped 10 feet short of the pin. I missed the putt, but my gentleman’s handicap kept me competitive. Later that afternoon, I stopped counting strokes when my score exceeded 100 on the 7,367-yard, par-72 course.

This crown jewel, with its pristine beauty, cathedral silence and Technicolor panoramas, inspired this ordinary golfer to enjoy his best game ever. On the 18th green, I imagined television cameras, the hushed commentary of an announcer and boisterous spectator applause as we sank our final putts and tipped our visors to the admiring crowd.

 

The TPC Treviso Bay

• 7,367 yards, par 72

• Designed by world-renowned course architect, Arthur Hills

• Hal Sutton, PGA champion and Ryder Cup captain, serves as player consultant.

• Includes a 400-yard, all-grass driving range and a PGA Tour-quality, short-game “skills” area

• Membership is exclusive to residents of the Treviso Bay community.

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