At Buena Vista Country Club, the heartbeat of the facility is the golf course. In July of 1957, the golf course was completed, and aside from some minor changes, the layout and design have remained as William Gordan, the course architect, had originally contemplated. Many golfers have played this track in the last 7 decades. And many will attest to the longevity of the design; the golfer, of all skill levels, never seems to tire playing it--every round is a challenge unto itself.
Low handicappers, senior players, hackers, golf professionals, women, juniors, moderate skill players, and any other type of golfer you might think of has played this golf course. This fact alone lends itself to the uniqueness of the challenge from the different tee markers. One can choose to play the course from as short as 5300 yards to as long as 7100 yards. Each of these tee markers provides a different experience as you make your way through and make your club and shot selections.
There are seven (7) different tee markers, or teeing positions and (8) different courses. The scorecard reflects the yardage that each hole plays from each of the different tee markers. Additionally, and more importantly, the different markers have been rated by the South Jersey Golf Association to the USGA standards to develop a course rating and slope that is used in handicap computation. All of the markers are rated for men and five of the markers are rated for women. So, when you play from nearly any of these markers, you can be sure that your score will be properly utilized when determining your handicap index.
Although there are seven markers, by general standards, you might only find yourself playing a certain marker or markers. The Red markers are our Forward markers. Typically, women play from this set of markers, yet it is rated for men and sometimes seniors will play from these markers. The Forward markers play a total course length of 5303 yards. Although it may seem a bit short, sometimes there are those that might like it a bit shorter.
The next longest course length is set by the Yellow or what we call the Contender markers. This set of markers provides a bit more level of difficulty, and plays from 5760 yards. And while it may appear to be more difficult than the Forward tee markers, like many things, it is all relative. Certainly, playing these markers is a big relief to those that prefer not to play near 6000 yards. The Contender tee markers are mainly played by senior golfers, but you may find women playing them from time to time. As you move from hole to hole, the challenge moderates between short, simple holes, to average, to the very difficult; again relative being the operative word.
New for the 2016 golf season, an additional course based on two tee markers is being introduced. Although there aren't an actual set of tee markers for the Emulator Course, there is an official rating and slope. The Orange course is played by teeing from select holes of both the Contender (Yellow) and Forward (Red) tee markers. As you might suspect, by playing the Orange course, half of the holes are slightly more difficult than the other half. On the scorecard, each hole is marked by one of the colors, Yellow or Red. When teeing off choose the respective marker and enjoy a little of both.
Yet, the most common tee marker among golf facilities throughout the world is the White tee marker, which we call our Medalist course. This course, while sometimes played by women, is mainly a men's set of tee markers. At BVCC, this course offers a distance of 6090 yards. Now it is not necessary to be a long ball hitter to play the Medalist course, but you will have some long iron shots on several of the holes. Many golfers that play Buena Vista prefer the Medalist course, yet your round is no less authentic if you choose to play from any of the shorter markers.
Moving backward on the tee is where you find the low handicapper and golf professionals. Although we encourage every golfer to challenge himself/herself, 165+ yard distances into the green are much more commonplace from this course. This course is marked by the Blue markers or Championship. This course will demand a long drive on several holes. After accomplishing this feat, you will often be rewarded with an 8-iron or better shot in to the green. If you have a good up-and-down game, then you just might be a candidate for the Championship course, which plays a distance of 6485 yards.
If the Blue course doesn't present enough of a challenge for you, you can try to take on the Eliminator Course. The Silver tee markers, at 6808 yards, play an additional 323 yards beyond the Blue tee markers. There will be many holes that demand long drives and a number of them that will penalize your shot if you can't control your slice or hook. This course definitely provides the challenge that the scratch golf hopefuls crave.
For the very select group of golfers, that can count their handicap on one hand, we have the Black markers otherwise known as the Tournament markers. This course moves the stakes up quite a bit. It plays from 7111 yards. Whatever challenges the Eliminator course may have overlooked, the Tournament course picks up the slack. On most holes, the need for a solid drive will surely be followed by a good command of low irons. Still, on some holes, the distance off the tee needs to be near 285 yards to consider yourself in the hole. This is where you should have honed your short game into top form as you likely won't be hitting too many greens in regulation. However, there is a certain satisfaction in playing this course, especially if you can manage to break 80 when you might normally play to a 2 handicap.
And so you may be wondering where does that eighth course fit in. Certainly, the golf course can't get any longer, could it ? Well, surely it can't, at least not for the time being. However, we are always working on it.
Our eighth tee marker is our Violet or Dark Horse course. This course is actually much more on the shorter end of distance at 5566 yards. What makes this course unique and a nice complement to the original course design, is that you play the same golf course, but on half of the holes you play from completely different places. Additionally, on the remaining nine holes, no matter which tee marker you may be familiar with, the Dark Horse course does not follow convention. For example, where you might play one hole from a relatively short distance, commensurate with the Contender course, you might find yourself on the very next hole playing somewhere between the Medalist and Championship markers.
Many of our golfers have been playing Buena Vista for decades. And it occurred to us, "wouldn't it be interesting if somehow that par 4 turned into a par 5 or par 3, just for this round ?" Well, this is what you get with the Dark Horse course. For example, Hole No. 2, a 391 yd (Medalist Markers) par 4, is one of the most difficult holes on the golf course for all of the men's courses, and the most difficult for the women. Yet, when you play the Dark Horse, you play it as a par 5, and all of a sudden it is the 13th most difficult hole for the men.
No matter which course you choose to play, it is always an interesting adventure in matching your skill against the golf course. Sometimes it is your best friend, and on most occasions, it is a bitter, revengeful, and heartless foe. Yet, that is why we play the game and wouldn't want it any other way.
We hope that you find these course options to be of value and a good way to challenge your game. And when you would rather take it a bit easy, just move one marker down.