When you're standing on the first tee box of the day, or pulling your ball up from the last cup, there are a select few places that feel better than the rest.  We all like stories, like a good book or movie.  The best get your attention early and finish fun.  The attributes that make a "best" opening or closing hole will differs for everyone. For me it's more how it looks than how difficult it plays.  Is it unique and does it show off the designer's creativity?  Do its surroundings entice you to soak it all in?  Amberwood 1 is a good example.  There's just something about it that feels good and makes me happy.  So much so that it's featured on the banner portion of every page on this website.  What are your favorite places to start and finish?  I've got ten.  Five on the first drive.  Five on the final.  And each drives home a smile, gratitude and appreciation!

Opening Holes:

  1. Amberwood 1 (pictured in the banner above)
  2. Gray Fox 1
  3. Loblolly 1
  4. Mira Mesa 1
  5. Tarpon Boil 1

Closing Holes:

  1. Gray Fox 9
  2. Pimlico 9
  3. Saddlebrook 9
  4. Sandhill 9
  5. Walnut Grove 9

Gray Fox is the only course with a best opening AND closing hole! No wonder it's one of my top five courses!


When you step away from the Amberwood Starter Shack you're in for a visual treat.  To your right is the 1st hole and the green across the water is where you'll be finishing in up in 90 minutes on the 9th.  The whole course is filled with trees, none better looking than your opening shot.  Best to be accurate or the borders of green will gobble you up.  

It feels like real golf when you get your driver out on the first drive of the day.  That's why Gray Fox 1 is a perfect opening shot - plus look at it!  It's a simply stunning backdrop.  You've got to carry or be right of that trap or your start will be looking bleak.  

Your opening shot on Loblolly 1 is unusual.  Many 1st holes seem like an add on - just a way to get you to the real start of the course. But the Loblolly course starts perfect with a challenging uphill shot to an elevated green with great views to each side.  It's a great way to start your game! 

Mira Mesa 1 may not look overly exceptional.  But there's just something about it that makes me happy.  Maybe it's because I'm a lover of history and this course is steeped in it. And the new palms behind the trap and the wider nicer green just makes it even better!

Tarpon Boil1's got all the ingredients for a cheeseburger in paradise!  Rolling green, grasses off the drive, sand to be missed and water in back - that's nearly as good as Jimmy's lyrics:

I like mine with lettuce and tomatoHeinz 57 and french fried potatoesBig kosher pickle and a cold draft beer

Well, good God almighty which way do I steer


Gray Fox 9 is the way all golf courses should finish.  A tough shot to an elevated green over a couple traps with a line of trees behind to put it all into perspective.  I never want to leave this place! 

Your last shot on Pimlico is a beauty.  Just hit towards the towering palms between the elongated bunker on the right and the large knoll on the left and be happy you're on the right side of Belvidere! 

Saddlebrook 9 at sunset is flawless! 

Sandhill is perched up on a hill of course! And the view in any direction is as nice as the one you're hitting toward.  I always love finishing a round with a view - and hopefully a par! 

The 9th on Walnut Grove is picture perfect with a great set of trees and a long trap on the right - it set up perfectly for my fade if aimed to the left of the green.  And it's downhill so the view and extra length are perfect for a closing drive.  Hope you too have an emotional connection to this perfect closer! 

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