Developed by Greg Norman and originally designed in collaboration with Pete Dye, Medalist has become Norman’s pet project and he has continued to tweak the layout over the years to the point where today’s track is probably best described as by Norman alone. Most of his changes have involved softening some of the more extreme design features of the original layout, some critics suggesting in the process he has made the course more playable and fair but robbed it of personality and charm.
On the positive side the general design ideals employed here are very sound, holes are mostly strategic and the greens are often angled toward preferred approach lines and typically pinched at the front or bunkered along the flanks to tighten the landing area. Most are open to a well-struck chasing approach, however, and also feature plenty of interesting chipping areas and short game dilemmas. The front side is wider and flatter than a more impressive back nine that houses most of the Medalist’s better holes. These include the mid-length 10th, which bends around a hazard toward a green strategically arranged to be approached from near the trouble, and two short par fours at the 11th and 14th which feature drivable greens that become nasty targets for those too conservative from the tee. The 14th green is miniscule and would be a super hole if it weren’t so severe for the average golfer.
Given this is Norman’s flagship design, some of the bunkers and holes here are strangely bland, and the orientation of greens tends to get a little repetitive. That’s not to suggest this isn’t a good course, it is, but it’s a long way from the most outstanding layouts crafted by Norman’s Australian design team.