This past weekend, as Brooks Koepka overwhelmed Erin Hills on his way to a three-stroke victory in the U.S. Open, golf obsessives on Twitter debated whether the venue was any good and, more interestingly, whether the tournament could use a new identity. Beneath all of the bellyaching and inexplicable rage, there was actually an engaging discussion.
- Aetna Springs Golf Course
- Pope Valley, CA
- Par 35, 3057 Yards
- Opened in 1891, redesigned by Tom Doak with Jim Urbina in 2006
UPDATE: On January 14, 2018, just seven months after I posted this review, Aetna Springs Golf Course ceased operations.
I first heard about Aetna Springs Golf Course, a nine-holer in the northern reaches of Napa County, in volume two of Tom Doak’s Confidential Guide to Golf Courses. He rated it a 6 on the Doak Scale (by comparison, he gave TPC Harding Park, future host of the PGA Championship, a 5) and wrote, “there are a lot of good holes for such a little piece of property; it’s a lovely place to go and play.” Doak’s firm also happens to have redesigned the course, so my first thought was, What shameless self-promotion. My second thought: Hey, that’s pretty close to where my in-laws live.
I don’t get to play Tom Doak courses very often, much less for $23 per nine.