With the amount of fanfare that Robert Trent Jones’ Masterpiece gets, it would be easy to imagine that the other courses at Treetops Resort are just coattail riders – nice courses, but nothing special. That would be a mistake. The Rick Smith-designed Tradition Course has tons of character and is a blast to play.
The Tradition Course is located at Treetops North, just a short drive from the main resort. There, it shares a large multi-tiered driving range and numerous putting greens with the Premier, Signature, and Threetops Courses. The real highlight of the practice area is the Putting Course, pictured above. It’s a great way to test your skills before you play or settle those last couple skins.
Amenities & Customer Service
Throughout Treetops, the customer service is excellent. It is always easy to find a resort employee, and they’re helpful without being smothering.
I’ll get into the amenities of the entire resort in an upcoming feature, but the course itself has ample “extras” without taking the focus off the golf. The clubhouse is well stocked with soft goods, and it has a handful of clubs in case you need an emergency replacement or upgrade. It’s also worth mentioning that the staff does an outstanding job keeping the pace of play brisk. I had the first tee time, so I was able to play quickly, but I observed many golfers coming off the course after noon boasting of sub 4-hour rounds.
As was the case at all of the Treetops courses, the Tradition was in excellent shape when I played there. The greens were very smooth and ran at a consistent, quick pace. The tee boxes were in good shape, but the fairways were even better. Importantly for a course with a good number of bunkers, all the traps had plenty of sand and played very consistently.
Beauty & Scenery
Though it’s billed as a “links-style” course, the Tradition Course, with its tree-lined fairways, looks much more like a parkland course. Regardless of what you call it, the course is very beautiful. The elevation changes are not as dramatic as they are at the other Treetops courses, but the course still has plenty of character as a result of its curvy fairways and smartly placed bunkers.
Course Design & Difficulty
Don’t let the length of 6,350 from the tips fool you, if you’re not on your game you can expect to shoot well over the par of 70. Elevation changes come into play on virtually every shot, and they’ll often sneak up on you because they aren’t as stark as on other courses. The greens are on the small side, so your approaches will need to be precise. The putting surfaces have plenty of mild undulation, but none of the wild swings that make certain areas of the green death.
As you make the turn at the Tradition Course, you’ll notice that the character of the course changes dramatically. The front nine is short, narrow, and curvy. Though the fairways are tight and placement is key for good scoring, you can miss the fairways and still salvage par. The back nine is much longer, wider, and straighter. While these fairways are easier to hit, the penalty for missing them is much more severe.
The thing I like most about the design of the Tradition Course is that the difficulty is well balanced. Short holes challenge you with uneven lies and more elevation changes; the longer holes are flatter. The smaller greens have fewer ridges, but the bigger greens require more precision to make birdie. By keeping things balanced in this way, no hole is boring or diabolical, but every hole is a fun challenge.
One other thing that’s worth noting about the Tradition is that it’s a course that’s truly designed for walking. The distances from green to tee are minimal, and the mild elevation allows you to hoof it without being totally gassed by the turn.
The top rate for the Tradition Course at Treetops is around $70 which makes it one of the best values in resort golf when you consider the condition of the course and the quality of the layout. As with any resort, the best deals can be had with stay and play packages. Treetops also offers heavily discounted replay rates.
When you take your next trip to Treetops, make sure to book at least one round at the Tradition Course. While its designer may not be the biggest name at Treetops, you’ll forget all about that by the time you hit your first tee shot.
Below, you can check out a video of the course shot with our GoPro camera.