Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Majestic Springs Golf Club

Yesterday shortly after lunch Denny suggested we go play golf at the Majestic Springs Golf Course which is just a few miles away from our current campground. I suggested we wait until morning, but after checking the weather forecast for the next few days and seeing that rain and/or thunderstorms were predicted for the remainder of the week we decided to play while we had still had sunshine.

The Majestic Springs Golf Club is located at 1631 Todds Fork Road in Wilmington, Ohio. Probably only a mile or so from the Thousand Trails campground as the crow flies, it's a couple of miles further by country road but it's the closest golf course in the area. Carved out of farmland and built as a links style course, the golf course itself has a surprising number of elevation changes, hills, valleys and slopes to deal with. It's walkable, but on a hot, humid Ohio day I'd definitely take a riding cart. Because Ohio summers are killer humid.
Denny and I paid the surprising amount of $15 per person to play eighteen holes of golf using a riding cart, which is their after 1PM price. Since the golf course just opened after the last few weeks of torrential rains there were quite a few folks out there who had also jumped at the change to play some golf so we ended up joining up with a husband and wife duo who play the course frequently. That was a good thing, because we had only played the course one time previously and that was five years ago. Denny didn't remember playing here at all, but I remembered because the sprinklers had been turned on while we were playing and I got soaked on hole number five. The things you remember, right? But I didn't recall the ins and outs of the golf course and that's why it was nice playing with someone who could point out the hidden dangers on any particular hole. And there are some tricky holes here.

There are four sets of tees to play from; championship, men's, seniors' and women's. The yardage from the championship tees is 6464 with a rating/slope of 70.9/129. From the women's tees the yardage is 4487 with a rating/slope of 65.9/106. Par is 71; there are four par 5 holes, nine par 4 holes and five par 3 holes on the course.Because it has been raining in the Midwest for the last six weeks, the fairways weren't cut as carefully as they normally would be, the rough was higher than normal and there were soggy, boggy areas still. At the fifteenth hole which is a par 5 hole we had to stay on the cart path which ran along a ridge line and slip, slide down the muddy hillside on foot to the fairway to play. Normally this would be a fun hole but it was a bit too squishy for my liking on this day. There are nine ponds on the course and a creek wanders back and forth across the grounds, especially on hole number two where the creek crosses the fairway not once but three times. The creek was really high and the current was quite strong as local creeks and rivers are all still flooded here in Ohio so there was no looking for balls when Denny and Dan hooked their balls into the creek. On this hole depending on where you were, you could hit the creek whether you hit a slice or a hook. Fun hole.

Currently the sand traps aren't in play due to the fact that they are filled with water, but the course has 58 of them scattered around so they could be a problem on nice days. The guys clipped a few trees also here and there so there are plenty of challenges on this course. And the noisiest thing we heard was a peacock screeching at the farm next to the golf course; no road noise, no trains, no planes. Nice.
This is definitely a golf course we'd play again.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Holly Hills Golf Course

What happens when your husband trusts the Weather Channel instead of the visual evidence of black clouds? You play golf in the rain. Badly. Goodness knows, we needed more rain in Ohio right now. And yes, that was me being sarcastic.

As we were returning home from a trip to the grocery store we drove past the local Elks Club golf course and noticed that there were golfers on the course. Since Ohio has had rain for the the last three weeks all of the local courses have been closed or not available for play. We stopped in at the course to check the cost (very reasonable with a BOGO free special over Mother's Day weekend) and the pro shop employee told Denny that Holly Hills might be open also.

Well, that's all it took. Holly Hills Golf Course at 4966 N.State Route 42 in Waynesville, Ohio is the first place Denny took me to play golf. We went as a foursome, me and three men. I had never played golf in my life, had never even swung a club so Denny rented a set of clubs from the pro shop. Understand, I am left-handed. What was available to rent were sets of men's right-handed golf clubs, so that's what Denny got for me. He took me to the first tee, handed me the driver and said "swing away!" And that was my introduction to golf. To this day I play right-handed, but last year we finally broke down and bought me some ladies golf clubs.

Since that time, Holly Hills has been on of our favorite golf courses. From the men's blue tees the course is 6785 yards with a slope/rating of 126/71.6. The yardage from the women's tees is 5402 yards with a slope rating of 117/70.3 There are also white and yellow (senior) tees. The golf course is mature, having been built in 1962 and over the years the only real changes have been the height of the trees. When we first started playing here we walked the course which is a terrific workout since the course is aptly named; there are quite a few hills and slopes to climb. Now, we take a golf cart.

There are sand traps here on the course but they are avoidable. A couple of tiny creeks (little more than washes) cross a couple of the holes and there is a small pond to the side of the fifth hole which doesn't shouldn't come into play. With the design of the course, sometimes you are hitting uphill to the green and sometimes you are hitting down to the green and all of the greens are pretty fast, even when sodden with rain.Currently, the course is badly waterlogged but overall for just coming off the winter months it was in surprisingly good shape. Right now the act of the groundskeepers cutting the grass is tearing up the fairways a bit but I'm sure once this area dries out they will be hard at work getting it back into shape.
The sun did finally come out yesterday, but only after we were thoroughly drenched. I would like to think our scores would have been much better had the course not been so boggy and we weren't rather stiff and tense from the cold and wet. The double dog leg at the second hole continues to challenge me with its par 5 length, but this time around I actually conquered my nemesis--hole number thirteen.
Hole number thirteen is a par 3 hole where you have to hit your ball through a small opening in the trees and over a small creek to the green. The tee boxes are on a hill and the green is on a hill with lots of room to lose your ball in between. For the first time in all of our years playing here, I almost parred this hole, which almost made me forget how cold and wet I was.

Prices to play golf at Holly Hills are reasonable. Before noon a senior (age 50+) will pay $25 to play eighteen holes using a riding cart. After twelve, the price drops to $21 for seniors. Not a bad deal for a course that will challenge your playing skills.