People's Top 18: Gibson Bay

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People's Top 18: Gibson Bay

Postby thurman » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:36 pm

Group 4 of the GKL People's Top 18 goes off today. Here's your chance to determine the best courses in the state! Next up...

Fore please, Gibson Bay golf course in Richmond (go Colonels!), KY.

If you've played it, you can rate it. Please use the following categories and rate on a scale of 1-5, as below (it's a tough scale, 3 is a pretty good score):

1 - Poor
2 - Okay
3 - Solid
4 - Very good
5 - Superb

Aesthetics – Is it scenic? Does the course “fit” its natural surroundings? Are the views unobstructed? Points off here for homes or buildings or power lines encroaching on the course, or other eyesores.

Ambience – Does the course feel “special”? Is it quiet? Is it a friendly, pleasant, or unique place to play in terms of atmosphere? Does it have intangibles that make you want to return? Points off here for loud highways, crappy customer service, pissy locals, and other things that negatively impact a course’s atmosphere.

Conditioning – Are the greens smooth? Do they run at the right speed? Are the fairways full? Does it play fast? Are the bunkers maintained? Points off here for slow or bumpy greens, dead spots in fairways, neglect, and unplayable bunkers.

Use of property – Does the course use its land well? Do natural slopes provide interest on shots? Are the course’s natural features used (water, trees, terrain, etc)? Does it drain well? Points off here for holes that ran out of room, constant drainage issues, unplayable slopes, wasted or misplaced features.

Risk/reward – Does the course give you opportunities to take a risk for some potential gain over the player who doesn’t take the same risk? Does the course extract a penalty if you fail? Does it make you want to hit dangerous shots? Points off here for forced conservative plays, cakewalk short par 4s and 5s with little danger.

Test of the full game – Can different types of players be successful? Does the course reward accuracy as much as it rewards distance? Is touch around greens as important as hitting strong full shots? Is putting as important as driving? Points off here for courses over-reliant on length, holes that don’t give short hitters a chance to put the ball in play, courses with interest tee to green but flat dull greens, etc.

Design variation – Is there a good mixture of short, medium, and long par 4s? Are the par 5s unique? Do you hit different clubs on the par 3s? Are there uphill and downhill holes? Are there doglegs left and right? Are different challenges present from one hole to the next? Points off here for repetitive shots, a ton of 380 yard par 4s, etc (note: It’s okay for a course to be cohesive. It’s ok if a course is “old school,” “wooded,” or “links style.” It just needs to present unique challenges throughout).

Memorability – Pretty simple: Do you remember it after you play it? Are there shots you replay in your head and think about before your next round? Do holes stand out for the right reasons? Points off here for forgettable holes or memorably bad holes.
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Re: People's Top 18: Gibson Bay

Postby Docugs » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:51 pm

aesthetics 4
Ambience 3
condition 3 only ok by my book plenty of clover to be found, slow greens, and I have played it with plenty of burned out areas.
use of property 4 above avg. tons of land, if the budget were a little larger when building the course then you could have had something really special.

Risk reward 3
test of full game 3
design variation 3
Memorability 3
This is a pretty good course, very good for a city owned course. I wish I could play the course just once with regular speed to faster greens so that you can really see how the course should play. I don't think it is overly hard, but I have only ever played it from all the way back. If i moved up I have a feeling that I could burn it up. There is just not too much that can get you into real trouble out there.
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Re: People's Top 18: Gibson Bay

Postby kygolf99 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:33 am

use of property-5
Risk reward-3
test of full game-3
design variation-4
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Re: People's Top 18: Gibson Bay

Postby JP » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:58 am

Good timing with this one as I just played there 10 days ago so it's fresh in my mind.

Aesthetics- 4. The views are lovely especially around the lake and on the holes at the highest elevations of the property. The course is always kept lush and green as well. There is plenty of roll to the property and Hurdzan uses it to good advantage.

Ambiance– 4. Located in a park, this place has a great natural setting located around Lake Reba. It's quiet here even though the place is always packed whenever I come for a visit.

Conditioning – 4. I have never played this course in anything other than excellent condition. It is always green. The greens are sometimes beat up from all of the play but still roll at a good speed and smooth on my visits. When the rough is allowed to thicken up it still contains few if any weeds. Fairways are like carpet although as with the greens they can get a little beat up from all of the play.

Use of property – 4. This is one of Hurdzan's strong points as far as I'm concerned. He took advantage of the elevation changes to create some nice shots throughout the course. He used the one creek to create a great risk/reward par 5, the slopes to create interesting features like the split fairway on #4. The course flows from hole to hole very well.

Risk/reward – 3.There are not a lot of these opportunities at least for my game but #7 may be the best risk/reward par 5 I have played. Tee shot puts you in range for a bomb to the green (from the proper tees of course) from 200+ yards but it's all carry due to the creek that cuts in front of and off the right side of a green recessed into a hillside and guarded by a stand of trees to the left. Outstanding hole design. There is also a par 4 (#5 I believe) where you have to choose your club off the tee by decided how big of a piece that you want to take off of this hole. You can be rewarded with hitting a nice long shot but you can also hit it too far into a creek or spray it off to the left and face a shot over/around a greenside tree or go right into some mounds and rough.

Test of the full game – 3. Solid but not overly tough. The moguls are in place I'm sure to help out the weekend warriors and keep the ball moving toward the greens on this municipal links. There are several holes which offer short iron/wedge approaches and few if any long iron ones. It's a really nice course but not overly difficult. Several of the greens feature ridges which you want to be on the correct side of with your approach but most of the mounding is around the greens instead of on them. There is one par 3 that I think is pretty tough (#13 maybe?) due to the length and the visual look over the water.

Design variation – 4. While the holes are all fairly different there are a fair number where the approach shot is the same club. I think the design is excellent here especially for what I think he was trying to accomplish which is to create a links style feel with minimal challenge to the general public but still visually impressive. No two holes are alike and I think it it is really fun place to play. I'm sure Madison County is rightly proud of this course.

Memorability – 3. I love this course and every time I visit I wonder why I don't play it more times a year. I guess it's the drive.
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Re: People's Top 18: Gibson Bay

Postby wilma » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:38 pm

4,4,4,3,3,3,3,3 = 27

This is a personal favorite, because when it is just too cold to play in Cincy Winter, we often found it nice at Gibson Bay. I have often wondered why it is not ranked higher.

125yd hole out for Eagle at #7, Stonelick Hills, with a 9-iron. 6/13/06. 115yd Hole out for Eagle on #9, Stonelick Hills. 10/22/08.
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Re: People's Top 18: Gibson Bay

Postby LordofthePings » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:16 pm

DNP. Another course I don't know how I've missed. Been on the 'to do' list for many years.
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Re: People's Top 18: Gibson Bay

Postby A-Dub » Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:16 pm


Always enjoy the opportunity to play GB. It's always a great price for the product they put out and a fun course. Wish the greens always ran a little quicker, but everything else is usually great.
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Re: People's Top 18: Gibson Bay

Postby thurman » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:42 pm

Aesthetics - 3: Not a remarkable looking course, but it gets credit for uninterrupted views and minimal on-course housing.

Ambience - 5: Honestly, I don't think the spirit of public golf gets any more pure than at this place. It's an absolutely remarkable facility when it comes to growing the game. It's quiet, the locals are friendly, the par 3 course is a place for kids to learn fundamentals, and the championship course is excellent, accessible golf.

Conditioning - 4: I've always found it in very good shape. Flat out amazing considering the amount of play it gets. Some of the tees on par 3s get pretty beat up, but that's my only complaint. I'm always wowed at how well they maintain the greens in spite of all the rounds they do.

Use of property - 4: I don't see many missed opportunities, truthfully. As JP said, Hurdzan is a pretty good minimalist designer and tends to get a lot out of his courses with minimal earth movement. Gibson Bay is no exception, and that minimal earth movement no doubt contributes to the lower rack rate, which is a nice plus.

Risk/Reward - 3: It's not the most strategic course I've ever played, although 7 is probably one of the best risk/reward par 5s in the state.

Test of the full game - 3: It's certainly a challenging course, but it loses points for rewarding certain aspects of a player's game over others. It's a course where a player with a low ball flight is at a significant disadvantage, as many of the holes won't allow a running approach. Considering how open the course is to wind, I'd like to see the design reward a player that can control their ball flight and hit the low ball. The greens are actually pretty great for a municipal course, but the rest of the short game surroundings are less interesting. If you can hit the ball high and putt, you have a pretty huge advantage over a low-ball hitting, accurate player with a good short game.

Design variation - 4: Pretty good variation, though I'd like to see a short par 4 and perhaps a little more variation in the front side par 3s.

Memorability - 2: It's an excellent hole-by-hole design without a weak one on the course, but a lot of the back 9 is a bit forgettable for me. The round really starts strong but peaks at 7, with everything after being a little less memorable.

This is a fantastic facility and a really good golf course. Moe and Ron used to call Houston Oaks the best value in Kentucky. I'm not even sure it's as good a course head-to-head as this gem, even when you don't consider price. When you factor in the incredible rates at Gibson Bay, it's clearly the state's best value by my money.

We'll find out in a week or two though...
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Re: People's Top 18: Gibson Bay

Postby moe » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:14 am

3, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2 = 25

A very nice muni. Like many Hurdzan designs, it's better than the price would indicate.
And of course Moe wants more trees!

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Re: People's Top 18: Gibson Bay

Postby foreleft » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:17 am

I have only played it once. Nice course for the money but hope its not top 18. Would not say much for our publics. I won't rate on one round about nine years ago.
Not raking a bunker.
Littering is wrong too.
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Re: People's Top 18: Gibson Bay

Postby DVgolfa » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:58 pm

1 - Poor
2 - Okay
3 - Solid
4 - Very good
5 - Superb

Aesthetics – 3

Ambience – 3

Conditioning – 4

Use of property – 4

Risk/reward – 3

Test of the full game – 4

Design variation – 3

Memorability – 3

Total - 27
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