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Just a few cool courses

Published: Friday, July 5, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

As yours truly is somewhere in Missouri this week on vacation, I’ll be taking a break from the Links With Locals, but it should be back next week.

Who will I be playing with? Honestly, I’m not too sure, but I’m hoping to tie it in with the women’s and men’s Lincoln Highway tournaments in some regard. Stay tuned.

In its place, I had been soliciting reader responses the past few weeks as to what were some of your favorite places you had played golf.

The first, and most extensive, response came from Ryan Marshall, owner of The Stables in Dixon. Marshall cited four courses, in no particular order:

1. Rock Island Arsenal. “The first few holes play BELOW the Mississippi River – try hitting an approach with a barge above you,” Marshall writes.

2. Grayhawk Raptor (Scottsdale, Ariz.). “The long-time home to Phil Mickelson is one of the great plays in Arizona, was the home to the Fry’s.Com Open until last year, and has one of the best finishing holes I’ve ever played – a 530-yard par-5 with a lake that the fairway will roll you into if you aren’t prepared. The best part about Grayhawk: Phil’s Corner, rated the No. 1 19th hole in the country.”

3. Troon North (Scotts-dale, Ariz.). “Holy crap, the course is ridiculous. Not only are you playing around $7-20 million homes, but you are playing up the side of a mountain. We played it at close to dusk when finishing, and the views were some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.”

4. Grand Geneva Brute Course (Lake Geneva, Wis.). “A fun, well-laid-out course that creeps through the grounds of the former Playboy Club. Some office picture-quality views as you make your way around.”

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From Roger DeVries of Milledgeville: “Over the past 20 years, I’ve had the privilege of playing Medinah No. 3 several times. It’s a challenging, but beautiful and well-manicured course. Occasionally, I’ve been able to break 90. It does put in perspective the vast difference between amateurs and the pros who break par from over 7,600 yards.”

•••

From Matt Trowbridge of Rockford: “The General, in Galena. Huge elevation changes are a total treat for someone who grew up playing on flat courses in Minnesota farm country.”

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From Michael Martin of Rockford: “TPC Sawgrass. Wind was blowing 20-30 miles per hour, couldn’t see our feet in the rough, greens were rolling about 12 on the stimpmeter, and we played from the back tees. One word comes to mind – challenge.”

•••

As for yours truly, a couple of great courses where I have played immediately come to mind. The first is Tobacco Road Golf Club in Sanford, N.C.

I vacationed near there a few summers ago, and this place was unbelievable, and reasonably priced at only $50. If you’re ever in this area, just south of Raleigh, N.C., do yourself a favor and tee it up there. At least do a Google search and look at the course’s photo gallery.

No. 2 on my list is Skokie Country Club, which I had the pleasure of playing about 2 months ago. The Chicago area is full of great courses, and this gem ranks up there with any of them.

I was fortunate enough to play Cog Hill No. 4, or Dubsdread, as it is popularly known, and just felt beat up afterward. Skokie C.C. was much more playable, and enjoyable. Hopefully I’ll get to go back someday.

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