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VivanTee's 2024 Golf Course Reviews


Time to read: 13 min

Introduction to Golf Course Reviews by VivanTee

2023 was a great golf year for me, was able to shave a few strokes off of my handicap, and experience some beautiful courses.  Our, first annual golf course review article has now arrived.  In total, I logged 74 golf courses, across 3 countries, and multiple states, and had a blast doing it.  Some of the most beautiful and hard golf courses I played this year will be included, as well as their stats, which we cover what they mean in our beginner's guide to golf.  Here is my list of top 5 golf courses this year.  

VivanTee 1st Place Golf Course Review: Arrowhead - Littleton, CO

Tucked away in a corner of Littleton, Colorado, Arrowhead Golf Course stands as a must see among golfing destinations. Know for its breathtaking scenery and red rocks, this course offers a unique blend of natural beauty and challenging play that is fun for seasoned golfers and beginners alike.   The altitude will surely show a significant difference in your play, 10-15% increase in distance.  This can be a pro or a con as further distance is better, but many are equipped with the knowledge of their club distances.  Making adjustments on the fly can be tough for some!


Course stats from Blacks: 

Par: 70

Yards: 6,639 yards
Rating:  72

Slope: 139 

My score for the round from whites: 100

Cost of the round: $250 

Perks included in the cost: Beautiful scenery, drink ticket, and shirt or hat from pro shop.

Favorite Hole: #13 - 140 yard Par 3 (whites)


Scenic Beauty: Arrowhead's most striking feature is its stunning backdrop. The course is beautifully integrated into the natural terrain, with elegant red sandstone rock formations creating an almost otherworldly golfing experience. Each hole offers a new visual delight, making a round of golf here as much a nature walk as a sporting activity.  They're most popular hole is #13 their signature Par 3, downhill and around 173 yards.  Below I included a video of my shot from that Par 3, only because it was one of my few decent shots!


Course Design and Playability: Designed thoughtfully, the course balances playability with challenge. It caters to various skill levels through multiple tee options, ensuring that both low and high-handicappers can enjoy their game. The fairways are well-maintained, offering clear paths to the greens, while strategic bunkering and occasional water hazards add to the course's challenge.  

Amenities and Facilities: Arrowhead Golf Course is well-equipped with amenities that enhance the golfing experience. The pro shop is stocked with a range of golf gear, my friend bought a TaylorMade Stealth 2 Driver off the rack.  Primed to take advantage of a tourist, but it ended up working great for him!  The practice facilities, including a driving range and putting greens, are ideal for warming up before a round. The clubhouse offers a comfortable space for relaxation and dining, with a menu that complements the luxurious feel of the course.

Customer Service: The staff at Arrowhead were fantastic, cracking jokes with my friend and I. From the pro shop to the caddies and clubhouse personnel, visitors are treated with a warm and helpful demeanor, adding to the overall positive experience.

Overall Experience: Playing at Arrowhead Golf Course was hands down my favorite golfing experience of 2023.  I had to put it at the top of our golf course reviews for 2023 and going into 2024. It's an immersive experience that combines the sport with the serenity of its natural surroundings and beautiful red rock, in the almost always sunny state of Colorado. The course layout, coupled with the stunning visuals, makes every round memorable. It's a must-visit destination for anyone looking to enjoy golf in one of Colorado's most scenic settings.

Two images of Arrowhead golf course to showcase the beautiful scenery for our 2024 golf course reviews.
Golf course review and pictures of Arrowhead golf course scenery continued with more backgrounds of the landscape.

VivanTee 2nd Place Golf Course Review: Riviera Cancun Golf Resort - Cancun, MX

A completely different golf course review for Jack Nicklaus designed Riviera Cancun compared to Arrowhead as this had less to do with beautiful scenery and more to do with experience and course difficulty.  This course closed out my 2023 and had the opportunity to play 3 rounds here because we enjoyed it so much.  Hands down the hardest course I have played all year, the narrow fairways leave a lot to be desired, but the challenge is fun if you are up for it.


Course stats from Blacks: 

Par: 72

Yards: 7,060 yards
Rating:  76.2

Slope: 146

My score for the round from whites: 117, 106, stopped tracking

Cost of the round: $150-180

Perks included in the cost: Unlimited drinks, food, and transportation from most hotels to the golf course.   

Cons: Golf balls are marked up crazy high, if possible bring your own.  Callaway Warbirds were their cheapest at $60 a box and TaylorMade TP5s were priced at $110!  Not Pesos, American dollars!

Favorite Hole:  #3 - 480 Yard Par 5 (whites)


Course Difficulty and Design: One of the standout features of Riviera Cancun is its degree of difficulty. The course layout, characterized by narrow fairways and an abundance of hazards, demands precision and strategic thinking at every turn. For golfers like myself who enjoy testing their skills and taking risks, this aspect was particularly enjoyable. The narrow fairways forced me to carefully consider each shot, while the presence of water hazards and carefully placed bunkers added an extra layer of complexity.  Their handicap 1 hole, a devastating Par 5 with water on your right, jungle on your left, and sand bunkers littered across 200, 300, and 400 yard checkpoints, makes it easily the hardest hole I have played to date.

Course Conditions: The course was a little more like your local muni in terms of conditions.  This was a hot tourist destination and got a lot of traffic.  While still well maintained with fast greens, it certainly wasn't on the level of some of the other courses on the list.  Despite the challenging layout, the course was fair, rewarding well-placed shots and punishing errors, as a good course should.

Wildlife: This course is legitimately a jungle.  You get to see some amazing wildlife, including exotic birds, crocs, iguanas, and more.  

Customer Service: The staff was unbelievably nice and helpful.  Including going out of their way to make sure we didn't pay for Ubers and took advantage of the transportation.  And on the last day the transport didn't come, so we had to take an Uber.  The course compensated us for our Uber, truly a 5-star experience, I can't highlight the level of service enough.  

Overall Experience: For golfers looking for a challenging round in a luxurious setting, and who like to get a little more than just tipsy on the golf course, Riviera Cancun Golf Resort is an excellent choice. The difficult yet fair course design, combined with unlimited food and drink, makes for a memorable golfing experience. It's a course that tests your skills and rewards careful play, all while you enjoy the stunning natural beauty of Cancun. I left feeling both challenged and pampered, a combination that's hard to beat in the world of golf resorts.


Image of a golf glove driving a golf cart and the backdrop of the course design at Riviera Cancun to compliment our Riviera Cancun golf course review.
More images of Riviera Cancun Golf course, one image showing an alligator and wildlife, and another showcasing the tee box of hole 5 to accompany our golf course review for 2024.

VivanTee 3rd Place Golf Course Review: TPC Louisiana - Avondale, LA

Our 3rd golf course review consists of TPC Louisiana.  We played this right after the Zurich Classic, about 2 weeks after.  This sits in my top 3 due to a couple of factors.  First, the stands were still up from the event.  Second, it was a bachelor party weekend, so already you are in a good mood then.  Third, it was a course that truly laid out the variance of difficulty from the rough to the fairway, with a significant change in playability in the rough.


Course stats from Blacks: 

Par: 72

Yards: 6,978 yards
Rating:  73.8

Slope: 136

My score for the round from whites:  118

Cost of the round: $250

Perks included in the cost: No perks, a smile, and slap on the butt.  One notable feature is the rental club opportunity was extensive, from shaft selection to brand of golf clubs.  You can certainly feel more comfortable renting down there (cost of the round doesn't include golf clubs).

Cons: Hard to get tee times, we did book last minute and took a 6 am tee time right after a night out.  Ouch, our mistake, but worth it!

Favorite Hole: #9 - 150 Yard Par 3 (Whites)


Feeling of a Professional Tournament: One of the most unique and exciting aspects of playing TPC Louisiana at this time was that the stands from the Zurich Classic were still up. Playing amidst these structures provided a thrilling illusion of being part of a professional event. There's something quite special about teeing off and making your way through the course with the towering stands around you. It adds a layer of exhilaration and, admittedly, a bit of pressure, as if you're playing in front of an audience. It also introduced some unique obstacles, altering some of the play strategies we might usually employ on a more familiar course layout.

Bachelor Party Weekend Vibes: Our visit coincided with a bachelor party weekend, which undoubtedly contributed to the overall enjoyment. The festive atmosphere and the camaraderie among friends added a layer of casual fun to the day. It’s not every day you get to combine such a significant life event with a round of golf on a course as prestigious as TPC Louisiana.

Course Layout and Challenge: From a golfer’s perspective, TPC Louisiana is a masterpiece in showcasing the variance in difficulty levels from the rough to the fairway. It was also a very damp morning, so a well hit shot that didn't land on the fairway would dig into the rough.  There was also very well-placed hazards and bunkers throughout.  The rough was notably challenging, offering a stark contrast in playability compared to the fairway. This significant change not only tested our skills but also highlighted the importance of precision and strategic thinking. Navigating from the rough to the fairway required careful consideration and skill, making for a genuinely engaging round of golf.

Overall Impression: TPC Louisiana, with its beautifully maintained course, challenging layout, and the unique experience of playing post a major tournament, offers an unparalleled golfing experience. The scenary wasn't anything to write home about, and the overall views were less appealing than some of the others on this list, but the combination of playing in an almost professional setting, the joyous spirit of a bachelor party, and the intricate challenges of the course itself made for an unforgettable golfing adventure. It's a course that doesn’t just challenge your golfing abilities but also immerses you in an experience that’s about more than just the game. I left TPC Louisiana with great memories and a strong desire to return and relive the experience.


Collage of pictures from TPC Louisiana for our golf course review to show some of the scenic holes.

VivanTee 4th Place Golf Course Review: Fossil Trace - Golden, CO

A second Colorado golf course review is included in our top 5.  Fossil Trace, is a beautifully design golf course with amazing views and a challenging course design.  


Course stats from Blacks: 

Par: 72

Yards: 6,812 yards
Rating:  72

Slope: 141

My score for the round from whites:  102

Cost of the round: $100

Perks included in the cost: No perks here, driving range is included in the price is about it.

Cons: None that I can think of, great course, great experience.

Favorite Hole: #1 - 500 yard Par 5


Spectacular Views and Unique Features: The first thing to note about Fossil Trace is its extraordinary setting. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the course offers breathtaking views that are a feast for the eyes.  While second, only to Arrowhead's views in my opinion, but what sets Fossil Trace apart is its blend of natural beauty and historical significance. The course is named for the fossilized traces of prehistoric creatures found on-site, adding a unique, almost primordial feel to your round. Playing here, you're not just walking on a golf course; you're traversing a piece of Earth's ancient history.

Course Design and Playability: The course design at Fossil Trace is as challenging as it is beautiful. It's a layout that tests your skills with a variety of hole designs, from doglegs to elevation changes. Each hole presents its own set of challenges, requiring thoughtful strategy and precise execution. The greens are well-maintained, offering true rolls, and the fairways are lush and forgiving. The course's design cleverly utilizes the natural landscape, incorporating the rocky outcrops and natural terrain into the play, making for some truly memorable holes.

Overall Experience: Fossil Trace is more than just a golf course; it's a destination. The combination of its scenic beauty, challenging layout, and the unique historical aspect provides a golfing experience that is both enjoyable and memorable. Whether you're a local or a visitor to Colorado, playing a round at Fossil Trace is an opportunity to enjoy golf in a setting that is both visually stunning and rich in natural history. It’s a course that offers something for every golfer, from the novice to the seasoned pro, making each visit a unique adventure.  This was my second experience at Fossil Trace, and would highly recommend this to all. 


Collage of pictures from Fossil Trace Golf Club for our golf course review to show some of the scenic holes.

VivanTee 5th Place Golf Course Review: The Addington Golf Club - Croydon, UK

Our 5th ranked golf course review takes us across the pond to the UK at the Addington Golf Course.  Absolutely beautifully kept, with exceptional customer service, and the oldest golf course on this list.  


Course stats from Whites (no blacks): 

Par: 69

Yards: 6,300 yards
Rating:  70

Slope: 113

My score for the round from whites:  95

Cost of the round: $100

Perks included in the cost: No perks here, driving range is included in the price is about it.

Favorite Hole: #11 - 140 yard Par 3


Course Layout and Aesthetic: Addington Golf Club is a testament to the beauty and challenge of traditional links golf. The course layout is simple, seamlessly integrating with the natural landscape. The true links nature of the course is evident in the straw and long grass that fill the spaces between holes, creating a natural and rugged feel that is both challenging and visually appealing. The fairways meander through the landscape, demanding strategic play, while the greens are well-kept and true.

Historical Significance & Royal Prestige: Addington Golf Club has a significant place in golf history. Founded in 1919 and chaired by J.F. Abercromby until his death in 1935, the club has seen many notable figures walk its fairways. Most prominently, King George VI became the patron of the club in 1937, a testament to its prestige. This royal association led to the club being informally known as 'Royal Addington', adding an air of regality to the experience

Exceptional Course Conditions: What truly stood out during my round at Addington was the impeccable condition of the course. It was clear that the groundskeepers take great pride in their work. Every hole had multiple groundskeepers attentively maintaining the course throughout our entire round, ensuring that the playing conditions were optimal. This level of care and attention to detail provided a superior golfing experience.

Friendly and Accommodating Staff: The staff at Addington Golf Club were a delight. From the moment I arrived, I was met with warmth and professionalism. Their pleasant demeanor and eagerness to assist enhanced the overall experience. It's always a pleasure to visit a club where the staff are as passionate about providing a great experience as they are about the game of golf.

Overall Experience: Addington Golf Club is a jewel among golf courses, offering a blend of visual beauty, historical significance, and top-notch playing conditions. It was this course where I noticed some of the differences in etiquette across UK and USA, here for more.  The course layout is both a visual treat and a challenge, providing an immersive links experience. The dedication of the grounds staff is evident in every aspect of the course's condition, making each round a pleasure. Coupled with the friendly and accommodating staff, a round at Addington Golf Club is not just a game of golf, but a holistic and delightful golfing adventure. For anyone looking for a quintessential links experience in London, Addington Golf Club is a must-visit destination.


Two images of addington golf course, one show casing a hole design, second with a golfer mid swing to accompany our golf course review of the course.
Reviews of Addington Golf Club showcasing some of the memorable holes at the UK established golf course.

VivanTee Honorable Mention Golf Course Review: Mt. Airy Golf Course & Casino - Poconos, PA

Poconos being so close to NYC, it is probably the easiest place to get away with a multitude of great golf courses.  I had the opportunity to play Mt. Airy Golf Course multiple times last year.  Poconos also is home to a few amazing courses, Including Jack Frost, Hideaway Golf Course, and Pocono Manor to name a few.  


Course stats from Blues (no blacks): 

Par: 71

Yards: 6,400 yards
Rating:  72.4

Slope: 132

My score for the round from whites:  108, 104, 97

Cost of the round: $80

Perks included in the cost: No perks here besides that it's attached to a casino!

Cons: No driving range.

Favorite Hole: #9 - 140 yard par 3


Unique Course Design and Favorite Hole: The course is thoughtfully designed, incorporating the natural contours of the mountainous landscape.  Designed by architect Hal Purdy after Sport's Illustrated's “The Best 18 Golf Holes in America”, our course offers picturesque views.  The standout for me was Hole 9, an elevated par 3 that provided both a challenge and a visually stunning experience. The elevation offers a unique vantage point and adds an interesting dynamic to the game.

Attached Casino and Value: The proximity to a casino adds an extra layer of excitement to the visit. This combination is perfect for a getaway that blends golf with other entertainment options. Additionally, the course offers great value for money, making it accessible for a wide range of golfers.

Relaxed Atmosphere: One of the highlights of Mt. Airy is its relaxed approach, especially regarding attire and overall etiquette. This laid-back atmosphere makes it welcoming for both seasoned golfers and newcomers to the sport.

Exceptional Course Conditions: The course conditions are outstanding, with constant maintenance evident throughout our round. The presence of multiple groundskeepers on each hole ensured that the course was in top shape, enhancing the overall playing experience


Mt. Airy Golf course review, two images of random holes showcasing some fo the courses aesthetics.

Concluding our 2023-2024 Golf Course Reviews

2023 was an overwhelmingly great year, between starting VivanTee, playing over 70 rounds of golf, and experiencing new courses all around the US and various countries.  This year will surely be even better and am looking forward to trying new courses.  Please leave any recommended courses in the comments, would love to hear some of your favorites.  If you are looking for some great golf gloves for your next round, check out our designer golf gloves, and sign up for our newsletter to stay informed on more golf content!