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?

Enhanced by Zemanta

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.
Enhanced by Zemanta