Last week I wrote about Black Diamond Ranch’s Quarry Course, one of the best golf courses I’ve ever had the pleasure to play. During that trip we also played Black Diamond’s other masterpiece, the Ranch Course.
The Ranch Course is another of Tom Fazio’s design that was completed in 1997. Reminiscent of George Arthur Crump’s Pine Valley, Black Diamond’s other masterpiece puts an emphasis on strategy and is designed to utilize every club in the bag.
18 holes of golf on the 6,921 yard Par 72 Ranch Course pits you against numerous sand traps, waste bunkers, rolling meadows, pristine lakes, two-tiered and three-tiered greens and dramatic elevation changes over 100 feet that will keep your mind running at 100% analyzing and planning your next shot.
The course was crafted to gently blend into it’s natural surroundings, epitomizing what one would expect from a Florida golf course, and then some. The front nine is pure golf — no tricks, no blind shots, no hidden greens. Whereas the back nine finishes with three holes the man himself, Tom Fazio calls, “the three best finishing holes I’ve ever designed.” Coming from a man who has crafted over 150 golf courses world wide, that’s certainly saying something.
Whereas the Quarry Course tends to be “America’s” favorite course, the Ranch course is considered the “members” favorite. I’ll take it a step further and say that it’s also some of the owners favorite. We played with Escalante Golf‘s David Matheson, and he said “the Quarry is great, but I think I prefer playing the Ranch Course.”
To walk away from Black Diamond’s Ranch course with a decent score you’ll need good distance control and your precision irons in the bag. Most approach shots leave little to no room for error and you’ll feel like you’re trying to thread a needle to make it to the green whilst avoiding the guardian bunkers.
It’s funny, reading Black Diamonds Course Tour, many of the hole descriptions of the Ranch Course finish up by saying “Par is a good score” or “Par should be attainable.” For me, Par is ALWAYS a good score, but these sayings are pretty accurate as my +2 golf partner John Duval can attest to.
If you manage to make it to the green avoiding most of the hazards along the way, you’ve got some tricky greens to contend with. Especially the two and three-tiered monsters.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed playing Black Diamond Ranch, both the Quarry and Ranch Course. They are both superb and challenging tracks that are in fantastic shape.
If you’re interested in touring the facility and taking a crack at the completely private Black Diamond Ranch golf courses, they have some 3 day and two night stay-and-play packages available that include a round of golf at each course. I recommend, if you take advantage of this, that you play the Ranch course first.
If you’re interested, I’ve posted up all of the pictures from The Ranch course on the our Facebook Fanpage.