Tim Gavrich

Senior Writer

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for Golf Advisor. A student of course design since he took up the game at age six, he also played for his college team at Washington and Lee University and still tries to tee it up in competition whenever possible. He has been involved in the golf industry since graduating in 2011, and has written full-time about golf travel and architecture since 2014. A native of Avon, Connecticut now residing in Vero Beach, Florida, he has played golf on two continents so far and is not too bad on Bermuda greens for a left-handed New Englander. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.

  • 4.0 stars from 5

    River Hall Country Club

    "Classic, thoughtful golf in SW FL"

    Let's face it - there are a lot of fairly forgettable, fine-but-not-great, throwaway-type golf courses in Florida. Hundreds of them, in fact. But River Hall is not one of them. Davis Love III and his team have a good eye for classic, enjoyable golf course design, and they applied it here. River Hall manages to strike that balance between challenge for lower handicappers and playability for weaker players. Greens tend to be open in front, bunkers tend to be strategic more than penal in nature, and there's not a lot of water on the course. It was firm and fast when I played in late April, which helped the course shine. I can imagine it might be a little less exciting after rain. My only complaint was that the routing is a bit spread-out in places, keeping the course from being as walkable as I'd like. Still, though, it's Florida, and cart-ball dominates. I'd definitely recommend playing River Hall as part of a Ft. Myers-centric golf trip. Have fun tooling around the three-hole pitch-and-putt loop, too. more »

    5.0 stars from 5

    Keney Golf Course

    "Top-notch - a model for what muni/public golf can and should be"

    It's deceptively simple. Create (or revive) a fun, walkable, well-kept golf course in a place with a long history of golf, keep prices pretty low, give golfers (and non-golfers) a nice place to eat, and watch the business roll in. Lo and behold, that's exactly what's happened ever since the City of Hartford reinvested in Keney Park. Now, the course is one of America's best munis, and because it's charging no more than $40 or so for green fees, it's a valuable local amenity and well worth the trip from just about anywhere to play. It's that good, and that successful a project. more »

    5.0 stars from 5

    Nemacolin Woodlands Resort - Mystic Rock Course

    "Big-time golf at a big-time resort"

    Pete Dye's place in the golf firmament is well-cemented, and it's because of courses like Mystic Rock. It's maximalist but playable. It's thrilling but gettable, though on its own terms. It's at a relaxing resort, but if you take a one-swing vacation you're likely to pay dearly. This is evident from the first tee. You can play safely out to the left and have a longer approach, or you can challenge the right side and risk going down into one of many deep, big bunkers, which are juxtaposed nicely with typical Dye pot bunkers, as well as profuse rock outcroppings that sometimes and sometimes obscure the best path to a given hole. For a course with so much blatant visual drama, there's a lot of subtlety, too, and that's what makes Mystic Rock stand out. more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    Bay Hill Club & Lodge

    "Enjoyable round at Arnie's place"

    The King is gone, but his legacy endures, especially at Bay Hill. The course has its own interesting history, which helps buoy a layout that is idiosyncratic in places but overall stronger than I expected. The par fives, in particular, are very strong, requiring thoughtful shot planning in order to give up birdies and better. There's more elevation change than you've noted on TV, which helps matters as well. But Bay Hill's biggest strength is its vibe. From the perfectly understated locker room (including bar) to the Lodge rooms to the convivial arrangement of the practice facilities relative to the first and 10th tees, it's just one of those places with high intangibles, and it feels good just being there. more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa - Shepherd's Rock

    "Solid second-fiddle to Nemacolin's headliner"

    "Second fiddle" may seem like an insult to perfectionists and snobs, but many great musical works don't function without a killer countermelody. Shepherd's Rock is not quite up to the standard set by its 20-year older sibling, Mystic Rock, but its presence is nevertheless important to the overall success of Nemacolin's golf offerings, because it presents a strong second option where in the past, it was not a consequential course. Shepherd's Rock, however, is a fun ride. While it's not as sophisticated as Mystic Rock, it does occupy the more dynamic (almost to a fault in a couple places) site at the resort. This creates a few shots you won't see most anywhere else, like the plunging tee shot on the par-5 fourth or the oddball tee ball at the 10th, where a creek emerges from a hillside and is completely surrounded by fairway. Figuring out how to handle situations like this is a big part of the fun of playing the course. more »