There are some great golf holes in the world but there are not many that when you step onto the first tee your jaw hits the floor, Portstewart in Ireland comes to mind and for those who have never played there you will see it at this years Irish Open, but as I step on the tee on the Judge course at Capitol Hill on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail this is right up there with the best, it is truly stunning.
After a start like that the course has a lot to live up to and the dogleg right 2nd hole with the green sitting next to the lake helps keeps that momentum going. The par 5, 4th is another great designed hole with a river running down the left of the fairway and tall mounding on the right, but itís from the fairway that the risk and reward element comes in, with the green sitting on a peninsula.
The Judge course can be set up extremely tough and that comes into evidence when I stand on the very back tees on the par four 5th and the par three 6th both play over water, the later to an island green, but with the five teeing options you can choose from 229-yards to 120-yards with each tee offering its own challenge.
The front nine comes to a close with some impressive bunker sculpturing, the tee shot is played to a downhill fairway and then back up to a green that has the sculptured bunkering on both the right and left sides of the fairway starting at around 100-yards out of the green.
Water features on fourteen of the eighteen holes here and comes into play again on the 11th and 12th holes with a river running down the left of the fairway on the par 4, 11th hole and you play over another lake on the par 3, 12th hole. Again you can choose from playing 231-yards to 94-yards, but it is another visually appealing hole.
The par 5, 15th where water features twice first on the risk and reward tee shot Ė yes Iíve just tried to cut off a bit too much and paid the price Ė and then again in front of the green, which brings you to another stunning par 3, again played over water. This one is the toughest of them all weighing in at a eye popping 256-yards from the black tees to 126-yards on the teal and remember from the back itís ALL carry!
The 18th is a fitting finale to what has been a wonderful days golf with water again featuring on the left and a babbling brook that runs like a small waterfall from the right over stones and across the fairway just short of the raised green and feeds into the water that runs along the left.
The Judge will test every part of your golf game and every club in your bag, but standing on the first hole and smashing one down the middle will be a life sentence but one that I will happily live with.
Top The stunning 1st hole. Three of the par 3s on the Judge course the 6th, 12th and 16th