Tim Gavrich

Senior Writer

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for Golf Advisor. A student of course design since he took up the game at age six, he also played for his college team at Washington and Lee University and still tries to tee it up in competition whenever possible. He has been involved in the golf industry since graduating in 2011, and has written full-time about golf travel and architecture since 2014. A native of Avon, Connecticut now residing in Vero Beach, Florida, he has played golf on two continents so far and is not too bad on Bermuda greens for a left-handed New Englander. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.

  • 5.0 stars from 5

    Pensacola Country Club

    "“The toughest easy course anywhere”"

    One of the bag room boys at Pensacola Country Club told me that Champions Tour player Joe Durant calls it “the toughest easy course anywhere.” Spot on, Joe. Pensacola is a charming layout that lays burdens on the golfer patiently. It’s fairly wide open and not terribly long, but between the reliably breezy conditions, firm turf and just-right green undulations, it keeps the strong golfer off-kilter but is not that onerous on the higher handicapper. Holes like the short par-5 14th and drivable par-4 16th are tempting, but missing on the wrong side of either green is a great way to make a bogey. Pensacola, like any quality member’s course, bears some figuring out. I could play it every day. more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    TPC River Highlands

    "A smile and a head-scratch"

    TPC River Highlands has evolved considerably over the years, almost entirely for the better. After playing the course for the first time since its 2016 renovations - particularly to look, number and arrangement of the bunkers - I'm left to wonder if the course has taken a small step backwards. River Highlands continues to be one of the shortest PGA Tour courses (6,841 yards, par 70), but it's still not a pushover...usually. The renovation in 2016 was meant to "modernize" a course by turning the bunkers from scooped-out affairs with sloping sand faces to Golden Age-style ones with steep grass faces and flat sandy surfaces below. Unfortunately, several of these new hazards look overly abrupt and forced onto a land plan that has more gliding shaping. Furthermore, the contemporaneous resurfacing of the greens - and softening of the contours - makes putting less challenging than it used to be, although faster green speeds can now be pursued. It is no wonder that Jim Furyk shot a mind-blowing 58 in the Travelers Championship right after the course reopened. In soft conditions, the course is now more defenseless than it was. Luckily, TPC River Highland's bones make it one of the strongest Tour courses, thanks to brilliant holes like the short par-4 second, the long par-3 5th, the par-5 13th and the world-class drivable par-4 15th. It's just that the recent cosmetic updates have left a bit to be desired. Don't let these mild criticisms deter you, though - it is well worth playing if you score an invite. more »

    5.0 stars from 5

    Country Club of Mobile

    "Fantastic Ross “restovation” by Jerry Pate"

    Altering and updating Donald Ross-designed golf courses has become a significant industry-within-the-industry of golf course architecture. Talented architects like Ron Prichard, Kris Spence, Ron Forse and others have made a living in recent years recapturing and sometimes improving on the great work Ross left behind. The Country Club of Mobile is a bit of a hybrid project, capably handled by professional golfer and architect Jerry Pate, along with design associate Steve Dana. After updating Mobile’s Short Course to member acclaim in 2017, the pair were given a project that amounted to a) restoration of portions of a Ross course that dates to 1925, and b) some modest re-routing resulting in several new holes, nevertheless built according to the principles of Ross’ work. Ross’ original plans burned in a clubhouse fire many years ago, so Pate and Dana did their best to channel the great Scot of American golf course design. They succeeded. Mobile’s course drapes nicely over the sloping ground, with large, undulating greens and plenty of short grass around them. The roughs are low-maintenance, high-contrast Bahia grass, giving the course a crisp look. It is challenging and fun to play - just what the membership ordered. more »

    5.0 stars from 5

    LuLu Country Club

    "Play it before it goes fully private"

    Donald Ross was prolific, designing more than 400 golf courses in his storied career. And it’s natural to wonder whether his courses might start to blend a bit in one’s recollection. LuLu, which sits toward the beginning of his career (1912), stands out strongly, thanks in part to a site with some interesting character (upon some golf had been built before Ross arrived), including a memorable wedge par 3 (#4) in an old quarry. Other quirky features include several “dolomite” or “chocolate drop” mounds behind greens and along fairways, as well as a few blind shots. At this point the club is semi-private, so if you find yourself in the area, spend the $78 (or less, depending on time of day and week) and play it. more »

    5.0 stars from 5

    Jeffersonville Golf Club

    "Rare Ross muni is a gem"

    Few enough people have regular access to a Donald Ross course as members of a private club. Even fewer still are fortunate enough to live near a course of his that is open to the public and relatively inexpensive ($62 and below) to play. Thanks to stewardship by both the town and renovation/restoration specialist Ron Prichard, Jeffersonville Golf Club is one of the best municipal courses in the northeast. It’s a great example of how well Ross’ design philosophy holds up today for the golfing masses. Fairways are relatively wide, ball-eating hazards are few (but important when they do appear) and greens are approachable but reward good decision-making. Holes like 3 (drivable par 4), 13 (majestic down-then-up two-shotter) and 15 (long par 3 with the steepest green on the course) are a test for anyone and help make Jeffersonville a course anyone would be happy to have around the corner. more »