Monday, December 27, 2010

Swiss Fairways Golf Course in Florida

There are a lot of golf courses in the Clermont/Orlando area but Denny and I are fairly parsimonious when it comes to paying golf fees so this time around he picked the Swiss Fairways Golf Course. For the two of us to play eighteen holes with a riding cart it cost $53.50 and by the end of the day we thought it well worth the money.

You will notice the sand hill cranes in the middle of the first photograph; I'd much rather have these birds with their prehistoric sounding croaks than the ubiquitous and very messy Canada geese.
The photograph above is of the second hole on the golf course. This is a par three hole and the picture was taken from the women's tee. At the men's tee there is a sign warning golfers to watch for boats which made us wonder since we appeared to be at the end of a channel.
The next thing we knew, there was a roar of engine and this:
Yeah, how many golf courses have YOU played where there are water skiers training beside the greens?

Skier distractions aside, Denny was playing the blue tees today at 6725 yards with a rating/slope of 72.3/126 while I played the red women's tees at 4691 yards with a rating/slope of 63.2/109.

While a few houses came into play for Denny because of wildly errant shots, for the most part the fairways are wide open albeit lined with water on a few holes. It is the sand traps that make this golf course evil, as shown by the eighth hole, a par 3, below. The entire front half of the green is ringed with a long sand trap. Rather than deal with it, Denny and I both parred the hole, a first for us (parring the same hole.)
On the back nine the course started backing up with players and Denny and I ended up pairing up with Vincent and Jerry (the Americanized versions of their French names which I couldn't pronounce.) Vincent and Jerry are from Orleans, France and are spending the month in Florida. They both have traveled extensively in the western part of the U.S. in the winter time and both absolutely love the vast and scenic beauty to be found in our country. Denny and I agree! We spent the rest of a very pleasant afternoon on the golf course with these two gentlemen and followed our game with a great meal at the Oakwood Smokehouse which serves great BBQ. Denny and I tied scores (under a hundred but that's as far as I'll share) and we had a great day. We'd love to go back but the temperatures have dropped here in Florida and I don't think we'll be going out in 40 degree weather to play golf. We don't love the game THAT much!

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Torrey Oaks Golf Course

For the second week of our stay in Wauchula we decided to play golf a little bit closer to home at the Torrey Oaks Golf Course in Bowling Green, Florida. This time we paid $23 each to play eighteen holes with a riding cart and we were able to pay those rates for a 10AM tee time. Credit cards are accepted for that rate also.

The fairways and rough is a little rougher at Torrey Oaks than what they were at the Bluffs. It is a much shorter course, playing shorter than the distances given at the tee boxes and on the score card which was rather confusing for us first time players. Per the score card, the blue tees have a yardage of 6335 with a slope/rating of 128/70.7 while the women's tees have a yardage of 5075 yards and a slope/rating of 116/68.1. As I said, the course played shorter than that, as I ended up with four pars and that is unheard of for me--I am a bogey/double bogey golfer through and through. So I for one, had fun on the course.

There are a several holes with water hazards although they really don't come into play for the women's tees. There are plenty of sand traps and this is a course where they make sure to have a rake attached to the back of the riding cart so there's no excuse for not raking the sand traps.
There are houses built on the course and they can come into play with errant shots as can some of the trees but if you hit the ball straight this is an easy course for the average golfer. We were joined on the back nine by a French Canadian couple whose grasp of English wasn't terrific but who played some really good golf and we managed to have a good time despite a bit of a communication problem at times. For my golfing ego, I'd play this course again simply to see a lower score than I normally shoot.

Although we didn't check out the daily/weekly rates since we're staying at a free-for-us membership campground, Torrey Oaks Golf Course also has an adjacent RV park that is very attractively set up and maintained with spacious RV sites. Stay and play, as it were.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Bluffs Golf Course

Although there is a nine hole golf course near to our campground, we decided to drive ten miles south of Zolfo Springs to the Bluffs Golf Course, 8037 US Hwy 17S, (863) 735-2363 to play its eighteen hole course. I think it was a good decision.

The Bluffs is a shorter course so Denny played the blue tees at a distance of 6254 yards with a slope/rating of 116/69.9. I stayed with the women's tee for a distance of 4809 yards and a slope/rating of 108/67.2. On a bright, dry day we had to remember to play one club longer in distance due to being near sea level, something another golfer told us years ago. It's an easy rule to remember when the weather is humid but harder when the weather is so beautifully dry.

The front nine holes are wide open although there is water along several of the holes. Hole #7 is a par 3 with a green that slopes towards a small lake (and folks playing the blue tee have to hit over the lake.) While the open fairways makes getting to the greens fairly easy, the greens have enough slope and tilt to be tricky. The back nine has several holes that have narrower fairways lined by trees so you can hit into a little more trouble there. It was on the back nine that Denny mentioned that there were no sand traps to which I replied "yes actually there are, you just haven't hit any for once". And of course, on the next hole he ended up in a sand trap. Go figure.

Denny and I had a tee time for 1:11PM and we were the last people on the course although we had to wait on every tee because of all the foursomes ahead of us. We paid $30 each to play 18 holes with a riding cart and to get that price we had to pay cash. The cost would have gone up if we had used a credit card. All in all, I think this is a course we would play again.

Edited 12/17/10: We actually paid $15 each to play 18 holes of golf after 1P for a total of $30. My error.
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Lovely Day at Legends Golf Course

After waiting two longs weeks for my strained muscle in my back to stop seizing up whenever I bent over, I finally felt loose enough to try swinging a golf club again. We chose the Legends Golf and Country Club, 1700 Legendary Blvd, Clermont, Florida (352) 243-1118 for our outing since we were able to play for $29.00 plus tax each after twelve noon, down from $35 + in the morning. And since it turned out to be a very cool day, having an afternoon tee time allowed the sun to take a tiny bit of the chill off the air.

Run as a country club the pro shop doesn't allow any jeans/jorts (jean shorts) or collarless shirts and you can't drive the golf carts into the parking lot. There are bag boys to assist you with your bag at the bag drop off and they will put your head covers back on after cleaning off your clubs at the end of your round--always a nice touch. We started off at the tenth hold and had only a threesome behind us for the first two holes and then they dropped well back so Denny and I felt no urgency to rush our play which is always nice and makes for better scoring for both of us. Denny played the blue tees (white at most courses) for a total yardage of 6491 with a slope/rating of 71.1/125. I played the purple (red) tee for a yardage of 4859 and a slope/rating of 68/108.

While the golf course itself is set within a housing development, the fairways are fairly wide in the areas of the homes although the houses can come into play with an errant shot. There are ponds to play around and over, lots of sand traps and the greens are can be tricky as many have slopes and shelves that don't have anywhere near as much break as they appear. Be forewarned!

The only time you'll hear any noise is when you are playing the two holes near Hwy 27, otherwise you'll play the course in near silence, at least at this time of year. The golf course is fairly well maintained although some folks were a bit remiss in taking care of their ball marks on the greens. I think when we come back to the area in two weeks we'll probably come back to this course to play again rather than look elsewhere, although there are certainly other courses that are also within a ten mile radius of the campground. I just played the course so well I'd like to try to do it again!

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Half Round at Coastal Pines Golf Course

Wednesday we traveled about 20 miles down the road to the Coastal Pines Golf Course near Brunswick, Georgia. On what would have been a terrific golf course to practice my game, I was only able to finish nine holes before a pulled muscle in my back made me quit for the day. Denny was able to finish the full eighteen holes of this rather vanilla golf course. What I mean by "vanilla" is that the fairways were wide open, the trees lining the fairways weren't too thick to hit from, and the hazards were avoidable for the most part. The greens were a bit tricky, having some undulation and slopes that were deceptive so there was some challenge involved there.

For the men playing the white tees, the yardage is 6347 yards with a rating/slope of 70.3/128. For seniors the yardage is 5964 yards with a rating/slope of 68.4/121. For the ladies at the red tees, the yardage is 4998 with a rating/slope of 69.1/120. The fairways on the back nine started to get a little rough and weed-infested towards the last few holes. Denny and I had no one in front of us or behind us for most of the afternoon although there were a lot of people on the driving range. There is no restaurant or snack bar at the clubhouse, only a pop machine and a small display of snacks for purchase if you get hungry or thirsty and there were no water coolers on the course, only a drinking fountain at the restrooms midway through the course.

I was able to find an online coupon to play for $30 a person with a riding cart and there were specials listed at the clubhouse including a special rate for Sundays. I'm sorry I couldn't finish my round here because I enjoy not being pushed or rushed on a golf course and the condition of the course wasn't too bad overall. Perhaps we'll get back this way again to give the golf course another try. Certainly Denny played well here, so that's an incentive to return.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Rainy Day at Whispering Pines Golf Course

We gambled against the predictions of rain on the day we were scheduled to play at Whispering Pines Golf Course in Myrtle Beach just north of the airport and unfortunately we lost the bet. It's a shame, because this is probably a great course when you're not being drenched in a sudden downpour. Unlike many of the courses in the area, there are no homes along this golf course, just tall trees, well placed bunkers and some water holes to make it interesting.

From the men's white tees the yardage is 6245 yards with a slope rating of 70.9/192. For the red tees it plays 5176 yards with a slope rating of 70.0/119. If you play the most difficult tees, the yardage is 6771 with a rating of 73.4/131 and the senior tee yardage is 5497 and 66.8/115.
On a sunny day, this would be a fun course--we had to head for the parking lot early when the skies turned black and we knew we were in for it. Should we return next year as planned, I'm sure we'll give this course another try because the opportunity to play without fear of hitting condos and townhouses is rare in a reasonably priced golf course in this town. The only distraction is the noise of the airplanes taking off on a few of the holes that border the airport. But the airport isn't that busy so it's not much of a problem. We enjoyed this course even if we didn't get to finish our game.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Island Green Golf Course

I'm a little late with this one, but last week Don, Gary, Denny and I played the Island Green Golf Course. They had a special rate of $28 to play 18 holes with a riding cart that also included lunch and a beer/fountain drink (more on that later.) We were able to get a late morning tee time, the weather was ideal and our playing? Well, some of it was good, some not so much.

The course plays 6043 yards from the white tees with a slope/rating of 69.1/120. From the red tees the course is 4656 yards long with a course rating of 63.6/108. There are some houses along the course, there are a lot of old growth pines and waste bunkers as well as some deep lipped sand bunkers around the greens. The greens themselves are incredibly fast--none of us ever really adjusted to the speed of the greens and so our putting was rather abysmal.

This is a pretty golf course and the rate of play isn't too bad. When Denny and I played here in the past, you would sometimes see an alligator sunning himself on the island green at hole eighteen. This year he was nowhere to be found. Be advised that you are NOT supposed to stop and eat your free lunch at the turn--it messes up their timing or something. The four of us did stop for lunch and were chastised by the starter when we came out of the clubhouse. Lesson learned. Eat after play.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Out and A Round

Don't we have some amazing views out of our windows?

However, I digress. This post is about the tiny 9 hole executive course at the Maple Grove RV and Golf Resort--the only game in town. Literally. For miles.

Denny and I stayed here five years ago and we played the course at that time and I have to admit it was in much better shape then. The course is a par 31 course for 9 holes, par 62 for 18 holes with a slope/rating of 53.0/70 for the men at 3268 yards. For women, the slope rating is 56.8/80 over 3169 yards. This year, playing later in the year, the rough and fairways are in bad shape but the greens are surprisingly pristine. While playing short the greens are a tad evil with enough slope and curves to make putting interesting and a little challenging. You must walk this course as the pro shop has only a few battered pull carts to rent. Most of the campers/RVers who are members of the park (the golf course is open to the public) have their own power carts or pull carts.

In very little time we played nine holes (and yay! I beat Denny thanks to his not-so-good putting today) and were back at the rig with plenty of time to run some errands. While not an exciting course, it was a chance to hit some short irons and get a little exercise. And I beat Denny. Heh.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Terrific Municipal Golf Course--Indian Canyon

I wasn't anticipating a good day at the golf course since the high temperature for the day was supposed to be 90 degrees and I tend to suffer from heat exhaustion if not careful. Thankfully, the skies were overcast which made for a much cooler day and so we were able to really enjoy playing at the Indian Canyon Golf Course in Spokane.

Recommended to us by two different golfers, we decided to give it a try and we're glad we did. Indian Canyon is hilly but water hazard-free and the sand bunkers aren't too evil nor too many. Denny played from the blue tees at 6255 yards with a rating/slope of 69.8/124 while I played the reds at 5336 yards with a rating/slope of 70.2/125. I have to say I was amazed at the number of hardy golfers walking this course because it is not but hills, slopes and inclines the entire eighteen holes and there were times I found myself huffing and puffing as I walked up to a green to putt out.

The par 3 fourth hole.
The ninth hole. And no, my camera wasn't tilted, that's the actual slope of the fairway.The tenth hole.Of course, there were a few visual distractions, like deer and the fact that the golf course seems to be in the flight path of the Spokane airport, but that just added interest. The city of Spokane maintains four municipal golf courses, plus there are many others in the area. When we played with Mike, a Spokane native two weeks ago he was kind enough to list some of his favorites with comments so I've listed them below in case some day you'd be in the area and want to enjoy some great golf.

Indian Canyon * (* means favored by Mike) Hills. $28 Municipal course.
MeadowWood * Water. $28
Liberty Lake * Water. $28
Hangman * Hard. Water. $28
Circling Raven *** Best in area. $80 (leaves us out!)
Qualchan Hard. Water. $25 Municipal course.
Downriver Shady. Small greens. $25 Municipal course.
Esmeralda Easy. Open. $25 Municipal course.
Fairways Links style. Fast $25 See my post.
Coeur D'Alene Resort (Idaho) Resort style. $150 (yeah, let's play a couple of rounds!)
Wandermere Resort style. $25

There you have it--enjoy!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Playing at The Fairways-West Terrace Golf Course

Seeing that there was a golf course within about 2 miles of our campground and adding to the mix that is was in our discount Golf Card book, Denny and I decided to give The Fairways Golf Course in Cheney, Washington a try.

A links-style course, the fairways are slightly rolling but mostly open. There are a few ponds and some bunkers but for the most part the course is pretty open and fairly easy IF you stay in the fairways. But isn't that the way of most golf courses? Denny played the blue tees at 6546 yards with a rating/slope of 71.3/120. I played the red tees at 5168 yards with a rating slope of 69.5/123.

Our cost with the golf card (2 free rounds with the rental of an electric cart) was $26.00 and our only complaint would have been that there were no water coolers on the course, nor did they have a snack cart driving around with beverages and it was a very hot day. We did have a small insulated water bottle with us fortunately, otherwise I might have been in trouble since I get heat exhaustion easily. Someone we played golf with in Blanchard, Idaho had told us that a lot of courses in Washington no longer provide water coolers on the course due to health risks, so it's something to keep in mind if you are going to play golf in this state.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Birthday Outing at the Stoneridge Resort Golf Course

That's the first hole of the Stoneridge Golf Course in Blanchard, Idaho located 13 miles from our campground in Newport, Washington. A sign near the white tees warns of a landing area 220 yards down, but doesn't tell what's down there. The score card has no map of the holes of the course as most score cards do, so we shoot and cross our fingers. Turns out, there's a pond on the far side of the green so if you shoot too far you may end up there. That's how the course went all day--no idea whether the fairways turned gently or sharply into a dogleg past the trees so you crossed your fingers and tried to hit the ball where you thought it would be safe.

At the first tee we were teamed up with Mike and Karen who live in Spokane, Washington. Right off the bat, native Alaskan Karen told us it was her birthday. Bright and bubbly, she was a joy to play golf with because as a beginner she was relaxed about her game as I always am so we had fun. Mike wasn't one of those competitive types of golfers, so he and Denny could try to outhit each other, but it wasn't cut-throat.

The golf course was challenging without being killer, although we all could have used a few less sand traps because one or the other of us was always in one. Rolling hillsides, uphill fairways, fast greens and scenery to die for; it doesn't get any better than this.

We did note a bit of discrimination however; a motorcoach only rv park within the resort where you owned/leased the lots. No fifth wheels, class Cs or travel trailers allowed. Sigh. They did it right when creating this space right on the golf course.

At the end of the round Mike and Karen had to leave since they had planned the entire day around her birthday, but as we were playing Mike had been writing down all his favorite golf courses in the Spokane area since Denny and I are going to be near there next week. So we have a heads up on the best places to play--bonus!

Since we were playing on the "Senior Special" day (Monday, Wednesday and Fridays) we played 18 holes of golf with a riding cart and then had a free lunch at the clubhouse grill all for $40 each. After our round was finished, Denny and I each had the bleu cheese/bacon burgers with the thinnest shoestring french fries I had ever seen along with some good, strong iced tea. Our day was complete.

This is a place to return to someday.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

An Afternoon at Arrowhead Meadows Golf Course

Graced with a break in the storm clouds on Tuesday, Denny and I decided to try the small golf course located on Hwy.89 in White Sulphur Springs, just a hop, skip and jump from our campground. First, however, we had to locate one of the town's two ATM machines, but a lot of places here don't take credit or debit cards, the golf course included. The price for two of us to play 18 holes with a riding cart was $54 total.

Arrowhead Meadows is what I call a farm golf course--it looks like it was created from a farmer's field; flat, wide open, little water, few sand traps, few trees. Which makes it a perfect course for practicing your golf games without having to worry about obstructions and out of bounds. It's a short course, playing at 5894 yards from the men's tees (there's only one) and 5304 yards from the women's tees. The slope/rating for the men's is 67.3/107 and 68.7/114 for the ladies. For the only golf course around for miles, it's in decent shape and at nine holes you can play a really quick round. We finished 18 holes in two hours and we were taking extra shots just to hone our games a bit, simply because there was no one in front of us and no one behind us. Nice. I have to say, we did stop at the turn to beg mosquito spray from the lady at the counter--they were ferocious and I was covered in welts. Between the spray and the fact that the storm started coming in with some good breezes made the second nine much more pleasant to play.
And the scenery isn't bad either.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lander Golf Club

Normally I don't like to go golfing if there is a chance of thunderstorms, but since thunderstorms were forecast for our entire week here at Lander, Wyoming, we decided to give it a try.

Lander Golf Club is a municipal golf course and the only game in town, other than a semi-private golf course in Riverton which is 25 miles away.  Lander's golf course is an eighteen hole course with the first nine being a tree lined, carefully mowed course and the back nine being a newer, rougher, still undergoing work links style course.
Denny played the blue or longest tees at 6574 yards with the course rating/slope of 71.5/129.  I played the red or senior tees at 5191 yards with a course rates/slope of 69.6/127.  Conditions were a little rough on the course although the fairways and greens were being mowed as we played.  I think the delayed spring had a lot to do with the course condition.  I must say the staff was very friendly and helpful, even putting a cart cover on our golf cart knowing the rain was inevitable.
As evidenced by the photos, we were practically the only people on the golf course, which allowed us to take the time to look for lost balls in the creeks and rough and to take practice shots when our first attempts were ugly.  And there were a few of those also.
The scenery was a bit distracting also; this view from the eleventh hole shows the Wind River Mountains in the distance.  Certainly the course was convenient to us from the campground--we pulled out of the campground, turned right, drove a half block, turned right and followed the driveway to the clubhouse.  On the tee box of the ninth hole, you not only are making the turn, you could walk down to your rig for lunch.  That's us in the middle of the picture, partially hidden behind the tree.  Hi Beast!
I have to say that this is the most expensive golf course we've played in a lot of years (like since Hawaii in 1992?), especially considering the condition of the golf course itself, however it is a challenging golf course and we enjoyed our round.  Despite the rain, despite the roughness of the back nine, despite the occasional ugly, ugly golf shot.  Yep, had fun.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Day at the Rochelle Ranch Golf Course

As any golfer could see from this first picture, the Rochelle Ranch Golf Course is a links-type course.  Located at 2808 E. Rochelle Drive in Rawlins, Wyoming it's advertised as being the 29th hardest course in the country per Golf Digest Magazine.  Denny and I agree that that claim just may be true, certainly according to our play that day.

I don't think the course has been open long this season as there are four holes that have large areas of ground under repair.  And when I say large, I mean 125 yards deep large.  Since you can't retrieve your balls from the ground under repair area, we lost a few balls to the course.  But that was about the only bad thing we could say about this course.

There are five different tee boxes, the longest making the course 7925 yards long with a rating/slope of 75.9/182 and the shortest at 5763 yards with a rating/slope of 70.9/124.  I was tickled by the tee box markers, which were cast iron horse shoes, brands, spurs and silhouetted images of antelope and coyotes.  The price during the week to play 18 holes is $30 for golf, $15/person for an electric cart.  And this is a long, long course to walk.  As Golf Card members, we were able to get the 2 for 1 greens fees price, which was nice.

The skies were threatening to rain all day but it was the wind that got to us in the long run.  This course would be challenging at any time, but coupled with high winds it was a tough, tough course to play.  However, the scenery was wonderful and we were surrounded by wildlife.

This pair of pronghorn antelope were lying on the course watching us and prairie dogs were constantly popping up out of their burrows to check us out, but they were too quick to be photographed.

This American Avocet was a new breed to us and there were several pairs on the various lakes on the golf course. He is actually wading here, not swimming.  Other than some seagulls and red wing black birds, there were surprising few birds to be seen around the course, but of course there weren't any trees around for perching, either, just a lot of sagebrush.  We saw several large dens which I assumed were fox holes so there's a possibility of a large number of critter sightings here when you play.

This is definitely a course we'd play again.  When gale force winds aren't predicted for the entire darned week.