Destination Golf - November 2016 * - Page 45

the terrain, and he allowed those holes to dictate the remaining traces. Something not seen as much on classic nor neo-classic courses, is the early-break dogleg. Packard utilized this technique frequently on Copperhead, so love it or hate it, you shall play it! On this type of hole, a 430-yard par four would dogleg around the 200-yard mark, rather than the more common distance of 240 yards. As a result, the golfer needs to place the tee ball over a corner, in order to reach a spot from which to access the green. Packard used this element on par four and five holes across the course. Not too far away from Innisbrook, in Palmetto, one finds the unassuming Buffalo Creek. About seven minutes off the interstate, the Ron Garl-designed course flies quite under the radar of course in the sunshine state. What it offers is an interesting blend of open, windswept holes, both with and without water; a few tree-lined fairways for those who miss northern courses, and a sampling of the ubiquitous, over-the-water tee shots and approaches (there are at least a handful.) The golf course maneuvers beautifully through a generous stretch of property. At no time does it ever feel constrained or hemmed in. Being from western New York, any name with the word “Buffalo” in it is sure to catch my attention. I wasn’t certain what to expect when I arrived on a crowded weekday afternoon. My host had warned me that snowbird season was in full bloom, and that I would be sure to encounter massive crowds of deliberate golfers, nearly anywhere I played. Buffalo Creek was no exception, although I must admit that the golfers negotiated the layout with a certain dexterity, at least until the sun began to set. By that time, I recognized that I would not finish my round, and that securing photographs of the entire course took precedence over my scorecard. I’ll make this assertive statement: with the approach shots into the first two greens, Buffalo Creek had my attention and my support. The opening hole runs leftward a bit, toward a fairwaylevel green that accepts low and high approach shots with equal glee. I bumped a mid-iron under the wind, toward the flag, and was pleased to find it on the putting surface when I arrived. The second hole continues westward, playing along a course boundary on the left and a bit of brush on the right. The green sits elevated above the fairway, protected in a manner by four bunkers. You see, they occupy the slope that leads to the green, but none cuts into the putting surface in the classical manner. Instead, they rest below the green surface, like moon craters meant to punish a wayward approach. Place on top of a mesa, the putting surface is the highest point on the course and a joy on which to roll a ball. The Tunica National sits quite north in Mississippi, over the border from Memphis in southern Tennessee. To the west, the great Mississippi river twists and turns, making westward passage difficult. To reach Arkansas, which lies closer to Tunica than does Tennessee, one returns northward to Memphis, then turns to port to resume the journey. More on that later, as we’ve an interesting Volume 3 • Issue 36 45