- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 23, 2002

Most golfers spend a lifetime dreaming of playing Augusta National's Amen Corner, besting Oakmont's church pew bunkers or surviving the famed island green at TPC at Sawgrass.
Renditions, a new course in Davidsonville, Md., offers local daily-fee players an opportunity to challenge those classics all in the same day.
"This is as close as most people will ever get to exclusive Grand Slam courses like Augusta National," says Jeff Sheehan, part owner and golf director at Renditions, which features playable replicas of holes from some of the world's most prestigious championship layouts. "On a lot of these holes, you'll feel like you're in a pro's shoes."
Obviously, it's impossible to completely capture the mystique of a hallowed layout like Augusta National, from its backdrop of towering pines and erupting azaleas to its plummeting elevation changes, omnipresent greencoats and teflon-coated greens.
But when you stand on the tee of the seventh hole at Renditions, a replica of Augusta National's treacherous par-3 12th, it's impossible to look at the shallow green, kidney-shaped front bunker, stone bridges and exact copy of Raes Creek without Georgia on your mind. In fact, the entire layout provokes an indescribable combination of nostalgia and Grand Slam adrenaline as you confront one major championship gem after another.
Can you turn the corner at Augusta National's 13th (Renditions No. 8) and get home in two? Are you accurate enough to use Hogan's Alley to tame Carnoustie No. 6 (Renditions No. 12) by playing up the left side? Can you avoid dunking a ball on the 17th at Sawgrass (Renditions No. 13)? Can you reach the green from the church pew bunkers on Oakmont's third hole (Renditions No. 15)? Will you play safe with an iron off the blind tee at Lytham & St. Annes 16th hole (Renditions No. 4) or try to drive the green? Can you. Well, you get the picture.
"The key here is that the holes are close to being exact renditions," says Sheehan, who helped build Tour 18 courses in Dallas and Houston that copied holes from PGA Tour venues. "There are several other facilities around the country that offer copies of famous holes. Some people use coffee-table books and other pictures to achieve their replicas, but that can become very subjective. These holes aren't our interpretations of famous holes, they are as close to exact as technology and financial feasibility will allow."
The primary details which can't be mimicked at renditions are backdrop and maturity. There are no ancient stands of 80-foot pines lining the replicas of Amen Corner. And there aren't 50-foot sand dunes standing sentinel behind the layout's copy of the 15th at Birkdale (Renditions No. 5). Such natural limitations make the replicas of Lytham and Carnoustie, which are in reality flat, inland links, the most believable final products at Renditions.
The process Sheehan and his design partners used to remain true to their renditions involved taking aerial photos of famous courses, topographical maps of those pieces of land and the topography of the Davidsonville property and plugging all that information into a computer.
"Basically, what the computer then gives you is a three-dimensional model of exactly where your terrain differs from the holes you're considering," says Sheehan. "It's kind of like a paint-by-the-numbers operation at that point. Some of the holes, like Amen Corner at Augusta National, you know you want to use. Other than that, you have a list of classic courses and classic holes and you run through them until you get something that somewhat closely approximates the piece of property you have on your hands."
"The computer can get you within four inches of the actual elevation, and things like the position and size of tees, greens, bunkers and other major features are practically exact. It's not the real thing, but it's very, very close."
Such precision to detail comes with a hefty price tag, thanks to the extensive computer research and the huge volume of dirt which had to be moved to complete the project. Only the extremely low cost of the land made the project financially viable. For nearly 50 years before Renditions arrived, the Davidsonville property had been a 500-acre sand mine along the banks of the Patuxent River. The mining company who owned the land faced major reclamation costs before Sheehan and his partners came to the rescue.
"Frankly, we wouldn't be here if we hadn't found such a favorable real estate situation," says Sheehan. "The mining company was happy because they were spared the serious expense of reclamation. The state was happy because we converted stripped land into usable green space. And we were happy because we got a great price. That said, this little baby still cost roughly $10.5 million."
In light of that figure, the greens fee ($79-89) at Renditions qualifies as a solid value, particularly when you see the near-perfect conditions of both the bentgrass fairways and greens. Frankly, Renditions would rate as one of the top 10 publics in Maryland and merit must-play status if all 18 holes were originals. Considering its major hook and the care with which that intriguing concept was carried out, Renditions qualifies as an absolute Grand Slam.

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