The Bachmann family, who operated the land as a dairy farm before a barn fire led to a change of events, handed Nicklaus a palette of 418 acres encompassing thick forests, wetlands, a stretch of the Onion River and a dramatic ravine and said, “Build the best course possible.”
The finished product exceeded their expectations and it’s easy to see why. The Bull measures 7,354 yards from the back tees; with a course rating of 76.3 and a slope rating of 147 it’s among the most challenging in the state.
There are five sets of tees, however, so The Bull can be enjoyed by players of all abilities. It can play as short as 5,087 yards.
After No. 1, a straight forward par-4 that plays with a prevailing tail wind – Nicklaus’ idea of a warm-up hole – The Bull keeps coming at you with one spectacular hole after another.
The hole with the biggest “wow” factor is No. 5, a beautiful but intimidating 432-yard par-4 that doglegs left around the 40-foot ravine and is framed all along the right side by trees.
Miss left on your drive or approach and you’re looking at double-bogey. The bail-out right on the approach actually funnels the ball toward the green, but you can’t see that from the fairway because a huge bunker hides the swale.
Yes, it’s brand new, but this could be the best two-shot hole in the state.
Par-3 holes don’t get any better than No. 6, a thread-the-needle 193-yarder, and No. 12, a 236-yard knee-knocker from an elevated tee. No. 13, a 581-yard par-5 with an elevated green, requires three precise shots and is Bachmann’s favorite hole.
No. 18 is a classic Nicklaus finishing hole, an unrelenting 485-yard par-4 that calls for a tee shot over water and a long approach to an elevated green.