Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crimson Creek Golf Course in El Reno, Oklahoma

Well, we've done it; we've finally played golf in all fifty states by playing here in El Reno, Oklahoma this week. Not that we'll stop playing golf or anything, but we have accomplished that goal.

The reason we picked the Crimson Creek Golf Course in El Reno was a simple one; it was close to where we are parked at the Lucky Star Casino. There were no Internet specials, simply a decent rate of $30 to play eighteen holes with a riding cart. Seniors age 62+ play for $24 dollars. There is a twilight rate starting at 2:00 PM, but that's a little late to be starting a round of golf since sunset is now at 5:20 PM.

Normally I would give you yardage from the longest tee box to the shortest one but the golf course was "out of scorecards" so there were only self-printed versions showing distances from the blue (second) tees and the red (fourth) tees. From the blue tees the yardage is 6490. I have no idea of the rating/slope. Red tee yardage is 5140 and no information on rating/slope.

This time of year the fairway grass is dormant although the greens are still green. The course was in fairly good shape although recent long and hard rains left several sections a bit mucky. Play was slow here as they allow fivesomes on the course and there were at least two sets of five guys ahead of us and one set behind us. Fortunately Denny and I picked the warmest day of the week to play golf here in Oklahoma so sitting around waiting to hit our next shot wasn't a problem. Annoying, but not a huge problem. The greens themselves were pretty fast and several of the holes have elevated greens so if you hit a rather flat shot to the green chances are your ball is going to roll right off. At least, that's what mine did on most of the holes on the front nine. Most of the greens rely on those slopes for the difficulty although there were a couple two-tiered greens on the course. There are sand bunkers and grass bunkers scattered throughout the course but we managed to stay out of most of them. Men will have to play over water a few times; almost all of the women's tees are set on the other side of the water. Fairways have quite a few knobs and slopes to play off and the course was made much more difficult for Denny and I since there was no map or description of the individual golf holes either on the scorecard or the marble hole number markers at the tee boxes. We were playing blind on several of the holes and therefore were off-course a few times. Speaking of off-course, there are several interior roadways and walking/biking paths meandering through the golf course and a couple of times Denny and I were unsure of where to drive to get to the next hole as there are no signs indicating which direction/path to take when there were intersecting walking/cart paths. It would be nice to have a few small signs with arrows and a hole number placed at these intersections for those of us playing the golf course the first time.Despite my whining above, Denny and I did enjoy playing this golf course and would like to try it again sometime when the fairways are green and lush like the pictures on the website. Although the golf course looks like a cow pasture on the very first hole, there are enough slopes, hills and elevation changes over the golf course to make it interesting and sometimes a bit tricky. Certainly it's worth the price.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Heron Point Golf Course, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach has a lot of golf courses. Of course, they are not all in Myrtle Beach proper, nor are some of them even remotely affordable for Joe Blow the Rag Picker or those of us managing on one pension. If you have Internet access, then you also have access to special deals, like playing some of the more expensive courses at 4:30 (!!??!!) in the morning for the discount price of $90. I kid you not. October is prime golf outing time for the area because the humidity and temperatures are down making playing a round of golf a lot more comfortable. Unfortunately, when the temperatures go down, the price of a round of golf goes up around here.

But there are still bargains to be found if you are willing to play the older courses, the non-professionally designed by a well known golfer or golf architect courses, the golf courses that are set in the middle of a housing/resort complex. Heron Point Golf Club fits the bill on two of the last three criteria. You will drive into a gated community of small and large homes, townhouses and apartments to discover a heavily played golf course that's actually a lot of fun if you are able to hit a straight drive most of the time. Playing from the blue tees the golf course measures 6477 yards with a rating/slope of 70.9/129. The yardage from the white tees is 6080 yards, rating/slope 69.2/121. The gold senior tees measure 5335 yards, 65.7/109 and the women's red tees finish out at 4734 yards with a rating/slope of 69.2/121. The tee boxes are in fairly good shape and wonder of wonder, the golf course maintains the women's tee boxes as well as they do the men's which is a rarity in the less expensive golf courses. For a course as heavily played as this one the fairways and greens are in pretty good shape although golfers here don't always rake the sand bunkers. They do seem to fix their divots since all the golf carts are provided with sand and Denny and I were surprised at how few ball
marks were left unrepaired on the greens. Nice.For the first nine holes we were teamed up with a couple of local golfers who reminded us of where to aim our shots for dog legs and where to avoid water hazards. It had been several years since Denny and I had played this course and the information was helpful. There are small ponds and water filled ditches crossing several of the holes but we found the sand traps to be more of a problem. On this course the designer was enamored with placing those sand traps smack dab in front of the greens, beside the greens and even hidden behind low hills along the sides of the fairways. In other words, I was in the sand a LOT here on this course. There are times the houses lining some areas of the course do come into play on errant fairway shots but for the most part they are not obtrusive. There are some smallish man-made hillocks on the fairways but for the most part this is a very level course. The grass on the greens seemed to be going dormant so they were very slick and the two of us never really did figure out the speed of the greens very well, much to our chagrin.For the privilege of being frustrated by those oh-so-fast greens (and playing golf in the company of a couple of great guys) we paid the price of $27 per person to play eighteen holes of golf with a riding cart. This also included a ticket for a free hot dog and beverage. These we gave to Gabe and Bill for allowing us to play with them and because they were only playing nine holes to our eighteen, so I don't know how good the hot dogs are. Not a bad deal in a town full of high priced golf courses.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

An Afternoon at Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club

There are several golf courses in the area of Front Royal, Virginia but the photographs on the web site of the Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club intrigued me the most so I looked for online specials to play there.  Normally a golfer would pay about $40-44 to play a round of golf using a riding cart, but checking online through a web site that offers discounted tee times if you pre-pay I found a coupon deal to play for $22 plus tax per person.  The tee time was for 2PM, but that was doable in the somewhat cooler temperatures we had been having.  I received an e-mail from both the scheduling web site and Blue Ridge Shadows confirming the tee time (this had been an issue in Chula Vista a year ago) so we were good to go.

Set in the rolling hills outside of the Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club has received several awards for best course, best course for women, new affordable public course, etc.  There is a huge clubhouse with a nicely stocked pro shop plus a restaurant and bar.  The golf carts don't have GPS systems, but they are stocked with free tees and a couple of towels for wiping off your clubs.  Our special deal also included a free bucket of range balls, but we passed on that due to the later tee time.  

From a distance the course appears to be in wonderful shape.  Close up, the damage from Hurricane Irene and T.S. Lee is evident in a few boggy areas of fairways and dead spots in several of the greens.  However, for the most part the fairways are in good condition and greenskeepers were out in force as we played. 

Sandtraps were everywhere and water hazards were cause for carefully played shots on nine of the holes.  The grass of the rough was links-style long and it was a good thing there were only about five sets of golfers on the entire course while we were there because Denny and I did have to spend a little time looking for golf balls in the long grass.  If you play a straight shot, then this will be a fun course for you.  There are enough slopes and hillsides to challenge you and distant vistas of the mountains add pleasure to the game here.

There are five sets of tee boxes per hole here at Blue Ridge Shadows; from the longest (black) tees your yardage is 7315 yards with a rating/slope of 75.5/143.  From the blues it's 6787 yards with a rating/slope of 73.1/138; white tees have a yardage of 6204 and 70.4/130 for the men and 75.9/142 for women who want to play a slightly longer course.  Seniors tees have a yardage of 5551 with a rating/slope of 68.2/122 for men and 73.3/128 for women and the shortest (red) tees have a yardage of 5006 and 70.0/120.  Greens here are cut short but run deceptively slow and those slow rolls will find dips and breaks in the greens that you'll never see.  Denny had a tough time with everything breaking left on his putts whereas I could never get the speed right.  The greens are also larger than what we're used to seeing on less expensive public courses which lent a more professional feel to the golf course.

Finishing up on the eighteen hole you approach not only the very attractive plantation style club house, but the green is set up with a rocky waterfall as a back drop with a wide creek in front of the green for one last challenge to your shot making.

Blue Ridge Shadows would be worth playing even at the regular price; Denny and I would play this course again in a heartbeat if we were ever to stop in the area again.  It is fun, challenging, scenic and in pretty good condition for the extreme weather conditions the area has suffered lately.  This is a golf course we'd recommend.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Wet Day at the Marlton Golf Club

We had two days left on our visit to Maryland with both days having rain in the forecast and we had yet check off playing a golf course here. Remember, Denny and I are down to needing only to play golf in Maryland and Oklahoma to fulfill our desire of playing golf in all 50 states. On Tuesdays morning we loaded up our golf clubs in a fine mist and started heading for the Marlton Golf Club in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, only to turn around a few miles out when it started raining much harder. Since I'm recuperating from a cold, I wasn't thrilled about playing golf in 60 degree weather in the rain. So I called and cancelled our tee times and we drove home.

After our rather late lunch the rain slowed to a drizzle and then a fine mist and then it seemed to stop, so Denny suggested trying to get in a round of golf since the chances of rain on Wednesday were even greater than on Tuesday. I was agreeable so off we went to the course, just a few short miles west of our campground. Located on the edges of a housing development and built apparently as a member golf course, Marlton Golf Club is open to the public now. When we arrived, the man at the counter identified himself as the manager for the past year and explained that the fairways were being aerated that day and the golf course was in rough shape. He said that when he was hired the previous year the fairways had been reduced to dirt and he was working hard at getting the course back into its original condition. Fair enough. We had figured that we would be paying greens fees of $41 for me (adult) and $33 for Denny (senior) to play eighteen holes with a riding cart, but since we arrived at 2:30PM we were in the twilight rate period so we each paid $32 to play. And we were the only people on the front nine.Normally the rules here are cart path only, but on this day the manager allowed us to drive using the 90 degree rule. The fairways are indeed rough, as are the tee boxes but most of the greens are in decent shape. The sand traps are currently like concrete and it is obvious the prior management allowed the golf course to fall into near ruin. All of the recent rains and flooding from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee certainly haven't helped the condition of the golf course either. That being said, the layout of the course is fun; the sand traps (when in playable condition) would present obstacles on several holes and there are a couple of par 3 holes with ponds that make you have to be careful of your club choice. There are elevation changes, some sharp dog legs and deceptively slow greens so while the course is relatively short, it's also tricky. From the longest (blue) tees, the yardage is 6181 with a rating/slope of 69.9/122. From the whites it's 5751 and 67.6/116 and the red tee yardage is 4677 with a rating/slope of 68.2/115.

You cross the public roadway to access the back nine where there are a few more houses near the golf course but none that make you feel you might hit them with an errant tee shot. There is no feeling of being crowded by the homes at any point on the course.As a matter of fact, it's pretty darned quiet on the back nine, as evidenced by the young buck who stood on the 15th tee box with us while Denny teed off. As you can see, it was still pretty wet in the woods and underbrush on the golf course.Denny and I played winter rules due to the extremely rough conditions on the course but if the grounds crews can ever get it back into shape, this would be a course we'd definitely play again should we be in the area. In the fall it would be beautiful. I hope that new young manager is able to make his dreams for this course come true.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Old Landing Golf Course

Although the closest golf course to our campground is the Baywood Greens Golf Course, it was a little too pricey for our budget at $109 per person for an eighteen hole round of golf. If we had the funds to indulge, this would be the golf course we would play in the area of Millsboro, Long Neck or Rehoboth Beach, Delaware as the golf course is gorgeous as seen from the roadway. It appears they are also adding another nine holes in a links-type format.

However, Denny and I drove the few extra miles to the Old Landing Golf Course in Rehoboth Beach to play at a much cheaper price. Normally the cost is $49 per person to play eighteen holes with a riding cart on weekdays, however we chose to play after 2 PM which lowered the cost to $37 each. It was a hot and muggy day and the golf course staff had turned off the drinking fountains that were placed around the golf course and there are no coolers of water on the course. Fortunately Denny and I had brought our own water although it would have been nice to have water on the course.

We had actually driven out the day before to play golf but discovered the golf course was closed for aeration, even though we had called on Saturday and were told the course would be open and no tee times were necessary or even taken for those who play after 2PM. They were aerating the greens but not the fairways. At the current time, this golf course is in pretty poor condition, with dying fairways filled with crab grass. Granted, the area has received a lot of rain with Hurricane Irene and leftovers from Tropical Storm Lee, but the conditions of the greens, tee boxes and fairways would indicate a problem long before all the recent rains. That's a shame, because the golf course is nicely set up, plays well for the golf who hits shorter, straighter shots and has enough ponds and sand traps to make the golf course interesting.

When we arrived at 2PM there were only three other cars in the parking lot and only 2 golfers in one golf cart in view on the hole ahead of us. The two men ahead of us played rather slowly so we allowed the single golfer behind us to go ahead of us, thinking the twosome would also allow the single through. Instead they joined up to play and thus managed to slow us up through the entire front nine. Play went more quickly on the back nine when two of the three eventually left the course without finishing (it may have been another single we allowed to play through who was hitting in to them when they refused to allow him to play through also.) Considering there was no one ahead of this threesome it was the rudest behavior we've seen on the golf course in a while.
Two of the holes on the back nine were roped off to golf carts due to soggy, boggy conditions. On these same holes you also have a few houses along the fairways but there is a thin stand of trees to help protect them from golf balls. I don't know if the soggy conditions have helped breed mosquitoes, but they were thick yesterday as we played so bring mosquito repellent with you if you decide to play here.

The condition of the golf course was disappointing for the price we had to pay to play. The layout of the course is nice, with the yardage from the blue tees being 6097 yards with a rating/slope of 68.7/114. From the white tees it's 5830 yards and 67.6/111 and from the red tees the yardage is 5494 with a rating/slope of 70.8/115. The shorter yardage granted us a few pars although I must admit we were playing "winter rules" due to the condition of the fairways and greens. At times the fairways were like playing on hard pan and at times a mud pen. But it allowed us to check yet another state from our list, leaving us with Maryland and Oklahoma yet to play.
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An Island Green

We hadn't planned on being in Gettysburg, but Hurricane Irene forced our evacuation from our campground in Lancaster, Pennsylvania so here we were. Years ago we explore the national park and battlefields here so getting out on the golf course sounded good to us. I chose the Quail Valley Golf Course in Littlestown, PA because of its online coupon specials and because the golf course was about ten miles away from us (it would have been closer, but Taneytown Rd is closed at Rt.15 for repair near our campground.)The coupon allowed Denny and I to play eighteen holes with a riding cart for $28 each. That is a bargain compared to the $70+ prices of some of the area golf courses that are closer to our location. The front nine holes have some narrow fairways lined with tall trees while the back nine is more of the "cow pasture" ilk, but the wicked fast greens more than makes up for any advantages the wide open back nine provides. It's been a long time since Denny and I have played a golf course with greens this fast and we considered ourselves lucky when we were able to get off the hole with two putts. There are also several ponds scattered throughout the course, with the most fun/frustrating hole being the island green on hole thirteen. Quail Valley boast five sets of tee boxes with the longest tees having a yardage of 7027 yard with a rating/slope of 74.2/139. The "normal" men's tee box has a yardage of 6202 yards with a rating/slope of 70.5/130 while the shortest tee box has a yardage of 5095 yards with a rating/slope of 69.3/122. Well placed shots can avoid the many sand traps while the ponds are not so large that any level golfer can't play over or around them. The course is in pretty good condition for the weather we've been having lately, although they were just starting to aerate the front nine as we were playing. It's that time of year. The pace of play was a little slow on the back nine but players moved right along and the day was pleasant enough that we didn't mind the wait. This is a course we would play again.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Long Day on a Short Golf Course

You have to work a little harder to find affordable golf courses in New Jersey, but about 20 miles from our campground I located the Green Tree Golf Course in Egg Harbor Township, operated by the Atlantic County Division of Parks and Rec. Green Tree is a short course, although it is a regulation par 72 golf course. From the longest (blue) tees the yardage is only 5574 yards with a rating/slope of 67.2/112. From the white tees the yardage is 5347 yards with a rating/slope of 66.2/110 and for the women's red tees the distance is 4459 yards with a rating/slope of 66.2/107. Very short, although the golf course surprisingly boasts a par 6 hole on hole number three.

While there are no online specials for Green Tree Golf Course, there is a senior rate, a resident rate vs. a non-resident rate, twilight rates, etc. For Denny and I to play eighteen holes of golf with a riding cart the cost was $64; $19 each for the greens fees and $12.15 each plus tax. Certainly this is a walkable course and there were many seniors (in their 80s) out there with their pull carts. Play was exceedingly slow when we were there; Denny and I teamed up with a pair of sisters to help speed things up but we still were on the golf course for five hours.One of the first things the foursome ahead of us told Denny and me while we were waiting to tee off was that there is a lot of water on the course. There are creeks and ponds scattered throughout the course, some of which are in play but most are avoidable with well played shots. Other than one extreme dog leg on a short par four (which had well placed signs with yardage to the dog leg) the golf course is not a difficult one and apparently is favored by those just learning to play golf. Hence the slow play. The sand in the traps is soft but balls can be putted out near the green since most of the sand traps don't have big lips.

At the turn there is a tiny hut selling hot dogs so you can grab one and head on over to the tenth hole without losing your turn which is nice. And the golfers here seem to all play here regularly so they are friendly and helpful with information about the course and where to try to land your shot for the best line. Thanks to pairing up with Kathy and Jane, Denny and I spent a slow but enjoyable day on the golf course. This one we would play again.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Quarry Ridge Golf Course in Portland, CT

Course description: hilly. Best advice? Stay in the fairway. Duh.

Denny and I drove a little further afield this week to take advantage of an Internet special price at the Quarry Ridge Golf Course in Portland, CT. If you "liked" the golf course on their Facebook page, you could play eighteen holes with a riding cart for $26. So I grabbed the coupon online and Denny paid the senior price of $42. That's a little bit more than we normally spend (2 golfers, one pension, remember?) but this was also the first time we've played golf in Connecticut so we were going to be able to check CT off our list of states.There are actually three golf courses in very close proximity to each other: Quarry Ridge, Portland Country Club and Portland West Country Club. The gentlemen in the threesome in front of us said that the Portland Country Club was a bit shorter but was always in good condition. When Denny and I had driven past the course on the way to Quarry Ridge the parking lot was packed.
There are four sets of tees at Quarry Ridge, the longest being the black tees with a yardage of 6389 and a slope/rating of 124/70.9. The blue tees which most of the men used have a yardage of 6049 yards and a slope/rating of 119/69.5. The red women's tees have a yardage of 4852 and a slope/rating of 117/68.7. As you can see from the pictures, on the first few holes the course slopes steeply off to the right and on others you might find some granite outcroppings to bounce your ball off.Just to make things entertaining, we discovered a couple of foxes resting and later playing on the seventeenth fairway. It appeared that one of the foxes just might have been playing with a golf ball.Water really doesn't come into play on this course. There are some thick woods and a few areas of thick weeds where Denny lost a ball or two but for the most part the challenges of this course comes from the uphill/downhill lies and not being familiar enough with the course to know how/where to play the dog legs. Play was a bit slow as there were a lot of golfers out on a Wednesday but the golfers were friendly and pleasant and Denny and I had a nice day despite the length of time we were out there.

There were some boggy areas on some of the fairways that were in a valley due to recent rains and some of the tee boxes were a little rough but for the most part the golf course was in decent condition for the amount of play that it gets. We had fun, and that's the whole point of being out there.

In The Beginning

Hi! We're the RV Vagabonds and we've been on the road since September of 1998. I've been blogging for six years about our travels, including writing posts about the golf courses we've played in several states and decided to transfer those posts to their own blog. Because strangely enough, not everyone enjoys golf--who knew?? My thought process for creating this blog was to share information about affordable golf courses for those on a tight budget like us.

I've only started blogging about the golf courses we've played the last few months although at one point in our travels I had a shoebox full of golf course scorecards to keep track of all the places we've played. After our third transfer of belongings due to buying a new RV over the last few years, I finally threw out all the scorecards. (I wish I had scanned them first, but oh well.) When Denny and I first hit the road, we had no specific destination in mind. I planned our travels based on two criteria; the campground had to be a part of the Passport America organization (50% off camping fees) and the campground had to be close to a Golf Card member golf course (Golf Card discounts back then were normally either 2 for 1 green fees or complimentary green fees with the rental of a power cart.) This worked well for us for a couple of years until both RVing and golfing became more popular with the crowd and the discounts became a little less discounted.

While we still use the Golf Card discount where we can, now I scour the Internet and the golf courses' websites for online tee time specials or information about ladies' days or senior days. In this way we're able play a round of golf once a week (remember, there are two of us on one pension) unless we're in a high tourist area and then we'll pass on playing golf. Because while we enjoy being out on the golf course bashing that little white ball around, we're not fanatics and we won't pay a ridiculous amount of money to play a course simply because it was built by a big name golfer (hi Jack!) or famous golf architect. Denny and I are from southern Ohio, where you can play a lot of good golf courses at extremely moderate prices. The Dayton, Ohio municipal courses are all fun, especially Community Golf Course in my hometown of Kettering, Ohio where there are two courses; the longer Outer Course and the shorter Inner Course. And now that I see what I have written about those two courses, I have to laugh. Anyway, in the Dayton area you can find a ton of golf courses in a 20 mile radius that are all fun to play and challenging for a variety of skill levels. Perhaps one of my posts will be a listing of those we've played dating back to the 80s but first I'll have to research prices because it's been a long time since we've played back there.

These posts will be weekly, because that's our schedule of play.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Find at Foster Country Club

There are two golf courses within five miles of our campground; the nine-hole Coventry Pines Golf Club and the regulation 18 hole Foster Country Club. Given our druthers, we'd druther play an eighteen hole course any day for the variety.

Located in Foster, Rhode Island Foster Country Club is set among tall trees and gently sloping landscape. This is a walkable course although you would get a workout doing so. There are three sets of tees; blue, white and green. Your scorecard gives two slope/ratings for the white tees and two for the short green tees; one for men and one for women. From the blue tees, your yardage is 6221 yards with a rating/slope of 70.7/116. From the white (men's) the yardage is 5754 yards and 68.8/114. The green tee box yardage is 5130 yards and 69.0/114. There are creeks lined with tall, thick weeds throughout the course as well as a couple of ponds. Some of the sand traps have some pretty high lips for more of a challenge in blasting the ball out of the sand. The fairways and greens are very well maintained with the greens being a lot larger than what Denny and I are used to seeing on public golf courses. Some of the rough is a little dry and burned out but it doesn't really come into play that much as that is the rough that is pretty far off to the sides.

Since we are in Rhode Island where space is at a premium I guess I wasn't too surprised to see a graveyard just off the edge of the fairway on one hole. It is literally in the middle of the golf course.But I WAS a bit surprised to see a second cemetery a little later on, this at the edge of the green.
The pace of play was a bit slow here as the course gets a lot of play. Denny and I played for the senior rate of $38 each to play 18 holes with a riding cart. The golf course also offers special value cards that you can purchase online or at the pro shop for free greens fees and discounts at the club's restaurant.

We didn't mind the slow play too much because of the attractive layout of the course and the fact that the landscaper planted a lot of flowers and flowering bushes throughout the golf course. Denny and I were fortunate to have paired up with a couple of men who played this course a lot because there are a couple of holes that dog leg behind hills and we would have had no clue as to where to aim/hit our balls. It is nice to play with someone who can give you a general idea of distance to the hole or where to aim to lay up for the right line to the green. There is one hole on the course that practically doubles around on itself so having that knowledge was very helpful.
All in all, this is a golf course we'd recommend. And it turns out that there is a campground (Ginny-Bs) that is literally right across the road from the golf course and they offer golf scrambles for their campers. How handy is that?

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Golfing Among Cranberry Bogs

Denny and I chose this week's golf course after passing by it on our way to shopping in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Lush green fairways dotted with Saturday morning players tempted us to come back, so Tuesday I looked online for tee time specials and spotted some for Wednesday so I booked an eleven-ten tee time and we were set. Southers Marsh Golf Club was a drive of about ten miles from our campground and we arrived way too soon for our tee time but the young lady at the desk allowed us to pay, pick a riding cart, grab our golf bags and head right for the first tee.

The first thing I said to Denny was, "are those cranberry bogs out there?" Sure enough, they were. As always, you can click on any of my photographs to enlarge them for viewing.Our next surprise was that we were on an eighteen hole executive golf course. I was so busy looking for discounted golf fees that I didn't pay attention to Southers Marsh's web site to see that this was not a full length golf course. My bad. So Denny got to practice a lot of short irons here. From the longest tees the yardage is 4111 and from the shortest it's 2907 yards. The course has sand traps and a few hillsides and enough elevation changes to make it interesting. Since there are no ratings/slopes for such a short course (par 61), instead you can look at photos of the cranberry picking process at the golf course here. And yes, this is a close up of the cranberries growing next to one of the greens. As you can see, the cranberries are just starting to ripen and should be ready in plenty of time for Thanksgiving.
Water only comes into play on the first hole and that's not even a problem. What does come into play are the cranberry bogs; you are not allowed to retrieve your balls from either the bogs or the drainage ditches that surround them therefore you may find yourself with several penalties for a lateral hazard and a few lost balls (uh, that would be me!) The pace of play was slow as there were a lot of groups on the course walking since it is a short golf course.

Luckily for us, the humidity had decreased after a passing rain shower the night before so even though we had to wait (and wait) on each hole, it was a beautiful day, the golf course was in fine condition and Denny and I managed to hit some good shots. Afterwards we had a really good lunch at the Chinese Pilgrim restaurant (hey, what kind of name do you expect in Plymouth, Massachusetts?) so we were happy campers.
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Friday, July 29, 2011

Bay Pointe Country Club in Buzzard Bay

Many of the reasonably priced golf courses in the area of Rochester, Massachusetts are nine hole courses or very short courses. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with a nine hole golf course, Denny and I prefer to play golf where we get to play a different hole for the entire eighteen holes of golf. Thus our decision to drive to Buzzard Bay, Massachusetts to play the Bay Pointe Country Club course.

On this day, Denny decided to play the men's white tees rather than the "professional" blue tees. I was surprised to find that the red women's tees were on the same tee box tier throughout most of the golf course. Bay Pointe is not a long course, with the blue tee yardage at 6201 with a rating/slope of 70.3/118. The white tees measure out at 5720 yards with a rating/slope of 67.6/113. The red tees yardage is at 5380 with a rating/slope of 71.3/125.

Situated near and in a housing development, the residences really aren't too much of a problem. As I've noted in the past, if there are homes nearby Denny's golf ball normally makes a bee line right to them. The homes really don't come into play that much. Playing the white and/or red tees water comes into play only on the seventh hole which is an extremely short par 3 hitting to an island green.
This particular golf course seems to get a lot of play as we had to wait on every hole for the golfers in front of us. Of course, the two men in front of us started off taking 4 shots each to go 200 yards so it wasn't an auspicious beginning for them. The first hole is an interesting one going uphill to a 90 degree dogleg left to the green. Fortunately our scorecard had a map of the course layout on the back so we could figure out how each hole played because there were a lot of blind areas due to the hilliness of the layout.

Strangely enough we had to dodge sprinklers on a few holes--I'm not quite sure why the maintenance staff was watering the fairways in the middle of a very hot, steamy day. The fairways themselves were mowed but there was a large amount of crabgrass throughout the course. We did see signs that the groundskeepers were applying chemicals today so perhaps they are working on the problem. The greens were in pretty good condition. There are plenty of sand traps but we managed to stay out of all but one.

Denny and I were able to use our Golf Card discount to pay a total of $49 for the two of us to play eighteen holes with a riding cart. Online their prices show as $34 to play during the week if you use a riding cart. The course is hilly but walkable.

The pro shop has no golf shoes or supplies; I don't know if they were doing inventory or if they no longer bother. The two men golfing ahead of us followed us to a local restaurant for a drink after trying to get a drink at the clubhouse only to find there was no one there staffing the bar. Denny and I were able to get a hot dog on the turn so I don't know if the wait staff just stepped out or what.

Would we play it again? I think so.
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sanford Country Club in Maine

The Sanford Country Club in Sanford, Maine is about a 20 minute drive from the Moody Beach Outdoor World Resort in Wells, ME. While the golf course is a semi-private country club, it is open to the public and Wednesday is Seniors' Day with a reduced rate of $35 for eighteen holes with a riding cart. You have to go online and get the coupon on their website to get that price and you'll also find coupons for Men's days and Ladies' days.

Although Denny and I were second in line to tee off after our arrival, we were in for a long day because this very nice golf course gets a lot of play. After sitting and waiting for the foursome ahead of us to move up a bit, we invited the couple playing behind us to join us in play. Dick and Sue live in the area and play Sanford a lot so they were able to tell Denny and me the best place to play our balls for good angles to the green. Most of the time when Denny and I are out on a golf course it is totally new to us and there are times when we have no clue where the green is if the course is hilly or the hole is a dogleg, so it's nice to have the input from someone who plays the course a lot.
There are four sets of tees on the course and distances and slope/ratings on the seniors and women's tees are given for men and women both on each tee (I hope that makes sense). The yardage from the black tees for the course is 6703 with a rating/slope of 72.8/128. For the blue tees the yardage is 6151 with a rating slope of 66.9/125 . The white tee yardage is 5297 and 66.3/110 and the green tees yardage is 4901 and 70.4/122. The greens are some of the fastest we've played in months with very tricky reads. The course is in really good shape for the amount of play that it receives and it appears that most golfers here fix their divots and their ball marks on the greens. There isn't a lot of water on the course, but the twelfth hole is kind of fun with its double pond/island fairway thing going (the picture above.)
The fairway on the sixteenth hole reminded Denny and me of the golf course we played in Bethlehem, New Hampshire years ago where we came upon a huge granite boulder smack in the middle of a fairway. Here there were three sizable granite boulders in the fairway. Sanford CC is a scenic golf course with views of distant hills and valleys and it is very quiet. While Denny and I were very frustrated by the speed of the greens which caused us to make a lot of three putts, we thoroughly enjoyed the golf course and the company of Dick and Sue.
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