Aesthetics - 3: Sure its scenic when it moves away from the clubhouse, but let's not forget about 10, 11, 14, 15, and 18. The back nine doesn't feel a lot different than a bigger Cherry Blossom to me. It's solid.
Ambience - 3: It's a subdivision course on the drive up. It's typically not very busy, and it's practically unplayable without a cart. If a course doesn't foster golf in its purest form, a game played against nature's challenges and topography on foot, I have a hard time giving it a high ambience rating. Still, kudos for good use of trees to isolate certain holes and buffer the sound from the interstate.
Conditioning - 3: The bunkers are a debacle, and have been for a long time. We've had posts going back years that complain about everything from poor drainage, unkemptness, and pebbles in the sand. But the rest of the course is usually in fine shape when I've been there.
Use of property - 3: 8 and 9 are really nice, as is 12. I love 17; it's one of my favorite short par 4s in the state. But I still think they blew it with the tee shot at 6 (sure it's a good view, but that stream below could've been used to make things a LOT more interesting), 14 feels like it ran out of room, and 15 is a forced layup par 4 with incredible elevation change that could've been used much more effectively. It's only solid in this category.
Risk/reward - 3: I've come around a bit on this category. Angles do matter at several holes. Cutting the dogleg bunker at 1 gives a chance at reaching the green. Challenging the right bunker on 3 gives a better angle of approach. I like that 13 has centerline bunkering even if I think it needs one more bunker to make the carry a little longer. But there are still too many extraneous bunkers that really don't affect strategy at all - they're out of the lines of play and only there to catch bad shots but not to force you to make a decision between the bold play with potential payoff and the safe play that leads to a tougher next shot.
Test of the full game - 4: It's still a course that favors the long, high ball. But accurate players have a chance because of the bunkers that pinch fairways, and players with a good short game can succeed with the varied green surroundings. It's tough for everyone, mostly.
Design variation - 4: The first two par 5s are pretty similar, but there's pretty good variety otherwise. It does sometimes feel like you're playing across the same terrain over and over, as several holes are routed parallel, but there's enough difference between the holes themselves that it's not really a problem.
Memorability - 3: I didn't love this course, and the things I remember about it are a bit odd. I remember the cart rides, utility boxes and gas lines around 11, and holes like 15 more than I probably should. But 17 is a great hole, I love the tee shot at 8, and there are a lot of interesting holes.
That's a 26, and it's probably about right. While I don't love the course, I also think it has few true weaknesses. Mostly, it's just very imperfect to me. It's hard for me to call a virtually unwalkable course "great." I wish the routing were more concise. I wish it made better use of some of its natural hazards. And I think a lot of the bunkering is arbitrary, which is why a lot of the bunkers are being removed.
Among my votes, it's two points behind Kearney and one point above Cherry Blossom. That seems about right.
"Focus on golf. Screw everything else." - Earl Woods