The Strategic Fox
If you are a realtor, you might say that the most recent addition to the Fox Hills triumvirate of courses has curb appeal. Opened in June of this year, the par-3 course has proven to be ready to take on all comers.
Upon arriving at the Plymouth course, one first reflects upon the rolling terrain that dominates the landscape. Given the recent recognition of the Golden Fox by the Audubon Society, this beauty and the incorporation of the natural environment within the course should surprise no one.
The landscape features enough gentle hills that your first inclination may be to view it as a links course. And while it has some of those characteristics, it is without the heather, gorse, and tall rough that dominate that type of course. But it does incorporate a bit of water and a small wetlands area. The water poses a hazard on a couple of the longer holes. More problematic are the bunkers that encircle many of the greens. Speaking of the greens, many are quite large. Putts of prodigious length are a distinct possibility. Many greens are also two-tiered, so an accurate tee shot is essential if one wants to post a low score. Surprisingly though, with few exceptions, putts are relatively straight, but potentially devious pin positions, especially if the greens are cut a bit shorter, can present new challenges.
Course conditioning is exceptional. Despite hot, dry weather, the greens, fairways, and tee boxes are green and lush. The greens were very receptive to the high iron shots that dominate your shot selection. In fact, when playing the back tees it is virtually impossible to hit a topped shot and have it fortuitously roll onto a green.
The Strategic Fox has the familiar three sets of tees: red, white, and blue. The tee boxes are well marked and from each set of tees, a marker indicates the distances to the middle, front edge, and back edge of the green. On every hole, the golfer has a better opportunity to measure distance to the hole so club selection is made easier - the way it should be on any course that positions itself as a "strategic" course.
The array of tees makes the course appropriate for golfers of any skill level. The more proficient players can hone their short game. Beginners and less skilled players will hit a variety of clubs and certainly get work on their game around the green. Those playing from the forward tees are often provided with a line of sight to the green which is free of the significant hazards. From the forward tees, the holes range from 50-141 yards with only eight holes of 100 yards or more. When playing the back tees, the holes range from 91-195 yards.
The front nine is short, even from the back tees. The back nine is a bit longer, although the final five holes on the back side range from 165-195 yards. Rounds end with a bang on the Strategic Fox. The signature 17th hole has two great qualities - cascading water and the wooden bridge create a stunning panorama that is certain to catch any golfer's eye. But hopefully, that attention will soon be focused on the 171-yard tee shot that has to carry about 155 yards over the water. Finally, No. 18 is 195 yards with considerable sand fronting the green.
A look at the players there during a recent round highlights exactly what the owners of Fox Hills are trying to do. There were a few groups of players who would feel at home on most area courses. However, there were several twosomes playing as well; these groups appeared to be comprised of couples, a parent and a child, and kids who could make their way around the course on their own. Players working on their game, new players learning, this is the essence of the Strategic Fox. It is certainly worthy of attention. There are few par-3 courses that can rival its combination of aesthetic appeal and the ability to accommodate players of such varying levels of skill. Master it and your scores on your regular course will most certainly improve. MG
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