AMSTERDAM – If you haven’t yet played the Arthur Carter Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course, I suggest you give it a try. But please take a motorized cart, unless you are in terrific shape. The terrain on many of the holes here is extremely hilly. Walking will test your endurance.
Designed by famed architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. and open since 1938, this public course is one of the best around. You will be tested from the various tees, and you will also find that course knowledge comes into play on several of holes with blind approach shots.
One of the aspects of this course I enjoy is its unique layout. You start your round with a relatively simple par-4, where you drive from an elevated tee box into a valley and then veer uphill toward the green. Nos. 2 and 3 are straight-forward holes, but No. 4 gives players of all abilities a choice. It’s a tough par-3 that can play anywhere from about 90-yards to 170-yards, depending on which tee – or which green – you choose. The men usually use the more elevated green, which is all carry.
After a lengthy ride up to the par-5 fifth hole – believe me, you want a cart for this trip – some of the more demanding holes start to pile up. Good examples are Nos. 6 and 7, two quality par-4s that are the toughest two handicap holes on the front side. #6 plays longer than its listed 410-yardage, and unless you hit a perfect tee shot, your approach shot to a downhill green on #7 will be blind.
The eighth hole is a 213-yard par-3 that plays downhill, but then you end the front nine with an uphill par-4 that plays much longer than its listed 371-yards.
The back nine begins with a short par-5 that gives up plenty of eagles to the longer hitters. Keeping your ball in the fairway on the 11th and 12th holes is a priority before you reach the 211-yard par-3 13th hole, another challenging short one here.
On the famed 15th hole, which plays as a 393-yard par-4 from the white tees, make sure you have enough length off the tee if you decide to try to drive the creek, which is about 230 yards downhill. It might be prudent to lay up and then try to hit all you’ve got to an elevated green guarded by bunkers.
The par-3 16th is another excellent short hole over a ravine. Only about 150-160 yards, but it’s all carry. A hint here – if you go a little long, the ball will most likely roll back toward the cup. Don’t be short here.
Your round finishes up with a short par-4 guarded by a tricky bunker – some long hitters can drive this green — and then another severely uphill par-4 finishing hole that plays much longer than its listed 376-yards.
The greens here, many of them elevated, are faster than they look, and they have a few subtle breaks because of all the hills.
Head pro Joe “The Pro” Merendo is normally around to greet you. He’s bounced back from some recent health problems and is as much a part of this course as its rolling hills.
Enjoy the experience.