We all have courses we desperately want to play once sometime in our golf lifetimes.
Then there are the rounds where we desperately want another shot.
I call this the "Redemption" bucket list. Rounds that, for whatever reason, leave us wanting another chance. It might be because of the weather or poor scheduling or playing partners or how you played. Sometimes circumstances prevent us from feeling fulfilled.
For this edition of The List, here are five courses where I crave a mulligan for various reasons. What courses are you itching to get back to? Let us know in the comments.
I've played the Old Course three times - that's three more times than most golfers will have the chance to experience it. I'm not satisfied.
The truth is, I keep going O.B. on the first hole: two out of three times. It's an embarrassing percentage for the widest fairway in golf. I also missed a golden opportunity for par at the Road Hole last time around with a sloppy three-putt.
Old Course memories - good and bad - are more vivid on the Old Course than anywhere else. It simply gets better every time you go around. The next time you are fortunate enough to play it shouldn't be your last.
I think a lot of folks believe Chambers Bay could use a mulligan. I visited back in 2009 as part of an ambitious northwest tour. Chambers was my last round of the trip and I mistakenly booked my flight for that afternoon. It's a tough course to play quickly, there were some temp greens and I ultimately had to be raced off the course after 14 holes. Jettisoning early was no match for I-5 gridlock and I still missed my flight.
I returned to cover the U.S. Open there and my thoughts on this place remain conflicted. Word is that after a decade-plus the greens have finally turned the corner now that they have committed to poa annua. Is Chambers a cautionary tale or a brilliant modern muni? I think I need another look to decide.
Whenver I see news of a golfer - amateur or pro - shooting a round so bad it makes headlines, my mind veers straight to Faulkwood Shores. It's the venue for the worst score I ever recorded in a high school varsity match: 54 for nine holes.
Who knows what teenaged insecurities were swimming around in my brain that afternoon. I found O.B., water, three-putts, all of it. I recall a lot of awkward forced carries and trees in the middle of fairways that threw me off. The 73.4 slope from the whites is pretty high.
There are a lot of courses in Michigan that are worth playing before Faulkwood Shores. Still, I have an all-time stinker I must avenge.
It was one of my all-time favorite rounds of the last five years but a distracted one. I was in New Orleans for a work-family hybrid trip and the two converged on a twilight round at Audubon Park. The zoo closed early and my wife needed reinforcements with our one-year-old daughter.
So they tagged along last minute. It was a blast. My wife playing barefoot in a dress, Penny crawling around on the tees and bunkers. Our host Allen enjoying/tolerating it all.
I love NOLA's Uptown and Audubon Park so much we booked an Airbnb there this past spring. We walked the trail that encircles the course and even wandered the empty grounds at sunset. But dad duties precluded me from golf.
As fun as it was, I really wanted to devote my full attention to the crafty, par-62 layout. Feels a little selfish to write it, but that's life as a golf nut.
I psyched myself out on this one.
Knowing I'd be playing Michigan's famed Crystal Downs for a few months, I took lessons and spent evenings at a nearby practice green. My trip also included Arcadia Bluffs (no slouch!). But airlines are undefeated when it comes to losing new swings in transit. My game was out of sorts all week and it burned to the ground here. They may talk about Alister Mackenzie designs having "width" but you wouldn't know it when you're on the Downs with a two-way miss.
I left a lot of nuggets behind in the heather there and my only par came on 17. We vacation around Frankfort regularly and I drive past the stone entranceway to the club often. I will be back. Oh yes, I will be back.