Friday, December 7, 2012

Wicked Stick Golf Course, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

A lot of the golf courses here at Myrtle Beach are out of range of our budget but now that we're into December, Denny was able to play at John Daly's Wicked Stick in Myrtle Beach.   I have to admit that this would be a golf course I would like to play but my back still isn't in the proper condition to swing a golf club, so I just went along for the ride.

During the first week of December, it cost Denny $27 (tax included) to play 18 holes of golf using a riding cart after 12PM.  The cost before noon is $32 plus tax.  Since we weren't paired up with anyone, the staff did not charge me a fee to ride, although there is a $10 fee normally.

The layout of the golf course itself is pretty wide open being a links style course, but since we're in Myrtle Beach there are a lot of holes that have water running beside them or in front of them or around them.  Play the ball straight and you'll find this course quite easy.  If you tend to turn the ball a bit, be prepared to have a few spare golf balls with you.  Out of bounds in the areas of houses means no going after your ball--if it lands out of bounds in someone's yard it is now their golf ball.  Just to let you know.
 Denny likes to play from the longest tees, which in this case are the yellow "Daly" tees.  The yardage from these tees is 6913 yards with a slope/rating of 72.2/129.  The blue tees have a yardage of 6507 yards and a slope/rating of 70.0/122.  The white tees have a yardage of 6080 yards and a slope/rating of 68.2/117.

Many of the senior and women's tees are set well ahead of the men's tees; the black tees have a yardage of 5040 yards with a slope/rating of 69.2/109.  The red tees have a yardage of 4911 yards and the same slope/rating as the black tees.  
 As you can see in the photos there are water hazards galore on this course although any trees are set well off the fairways and the greens aren't surrounded by sand traps, although Denny did manage to find a few of them anyway.

 This time of year there may not be a beverage cart making the rounds so the course will allow you to bring your own cooler, but call first to confirm that.  They do have coolers available.  
 There had been some rain recently so on four of the holes the score card was marked "cart path only" but normally the rules are 90 degree for most of the holes.  If you were in good shape and on a cool day like we had you could certainly walk this course since it is basically a flat course, but you do have to navigate a bit around the plats of homes making for a longish walk in addition to the course itself. 
 For the amount of play the course gets it is in very good condition.  The golf carts are supplied with sand for your divots and most players seemed to be good about fixing their ball marks on the greens.  Each golf cart is provided with a ball cleaner and golf club cleaner which is nice. 
Denny and I were surprised and pleased by the lack of Canada geese on the golf course since there are so many ponds on the course.  The geese can create a heck of a mess with their droppings at time.  Instead we found cormorants, herons and egrets which for the most part stayed right around or in the water.  They weren't a problem at all.

I hope to have a chance to play here before we leave in January; the golf course wasn't crowded, it was open and it looked like a lot of fun to play.  Or it was according to Denny. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Hills Course, Community Golf Course, Dayton, Ohio

Once we decided to return to our home area of Dayton, Ohio Denny told me he'd like to play two area golf courses; WGC in Xenia and Community Golf Course in Kettering, Ohio.  Last week he played WGC so this week it was time to check Community off his list.  My compression fractures in my spine are still not healed, so I went along to play golf cart driver and flag tender.  Community Golf Course is one of Dayton's three municipal golf courses and has thirty six holes; the "outer" course of The Hills and the "inner" course of The Dales.  This is an older golf course but we were surprised to find that management has added some water features in the fifteen-plus years since we've played the golf course.  Since it is a city course both the Hills and Dales receive a lot of play but the course is in amazingly good shape this year.  Apparently having access to city water for irrigation helps.

The yardage from the longest, blue tees is 6304 with a rating/slope of 70.1/127.  The white tees (called the senior tees here) have a yardage of 5877 with a rating/slope of 68.2/122.  The yellow women's tees have a yardage of 5187 with a rating/slope of 70/123.  Prices to play eighteen holes during the week are $36 with a riding cart or $30 with a riding cart for singles.  I was charged $14 just to ride along with Denny which we thought was a bit steep.  We joined up at the first hole with a gentleman who was walking and offered to take his golf bag with us on the cart because the outer course does have a lot of hills.  A lot of hills.

The layouts here on both the Hills course and the Dales courses are pretty open, relying more on elevation changes and hillside slopes as challenges rather than with the usage of water hazards or sand traps.  Over the last couple of years there have been some strong straight line winds come through the area so a fair number of trees have been removed from the golf course. 

If you normally hit a pretty straight ball, you're going to have a lot of fun on this golf course.

It's hard to tell from standing at the tee box but this is the infamous "Suicide Hill" for snow sledders; steep and full of humps it sent many a sledder to the hospital over the years until the city finally put a stop to the sledding here.

The seventeenth hole boasts a new pond.

Community Golf Course is located next to Hills and Dales Park with its statue of NCR (National Cash Register) founder John Patterson.  

The City of Dayton also operates Madden Golf Course and Kitty Hawk Golf Course.  Kitty Hawk has two regulation eighteen hole golf courses and an executive golf course.  Denny and I have played Madden and Kitty Hawk also and can recommend both if you're in the area.  Actually, the Dayton area has many good golf courses that are very reasonably priced, especially if you sign up for the ubiquitous online e-mail discounts offered by most golf courses nowadays.  I'm sorry to have to have missed this one.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

WGC Golf Course in Xenia, Ohio

 WGC Golf Course in Xenia, Ohio has always been one of our favorite places to play golf.
 Originally built as a nine hole course, in 1982 another nine holes were added which gives you two different golfing experiences on one course.  The front nine holes are more level and open while the back nine are hilly and have more mature trees lining the fairways.
 Considering that most of the Midwest and West have been suffering from drought conditions, Denny and I were pleased to find the course in decent shape.  Yes, the rough was a bit dry, but the fairways were nice and the greens were in really good shape.  There have been some changes; at one time the golf course had an electric fence type of system around the greens and tee boxes which caused the electric golf carts to shut off if you drove too close to the tee boxes or greens.  Those have been removed.  Currently one of the ponds on the seventh hole is almost empty while the staff digs a deeper base to hold more water in case of future drought conditions--in the meantime, it's a great place to grab a few now-exposed golf balls that had been sitting at the bottom of the pond. 
During the week there is a senior (60+) rate of $19 for the green fee and $9.39 for a riding cart to play eighteen holes.  This time I had to ride along at an additional cost of $6.57 as a non-playing rider due to the fact I am healing up from a compression fracture of the T7 and T12 vertebrae suffered in a fall.  I am truly sorry I didn't have the opportunity to play today because I know I could play the course much better than I did when we still lived in the area.

Played from the blue (longest) tees, the yardage is 6565 yards with a rating/slope of 69.3/128.  The white tees have a yardage of 6226 with a rating/slope of 67.8/124.  The gold or senior tees' yardage is 5479 with a rating/slope of 64.1/115 and the red or women's tee yardage is 4671 with a rating/slope of 66.3/109.  A new fun feature is the "family tees", a set of green tees placed much closer (perhaps 100-125 yards from the green) which allow young and or new players to play a shorter, easier course.  So kudos to the management for thinking of the upcoming generation of golfers.

There are sand traps and a couple of water features but not so many to impede your enjoyment of the game.  The greens aren't all that tricky by appearance but there are some deceptive slopes on a few of them that keep the putting interesting.  Play was a bit slow as this is a popular golf course but we had a beautiful Ohio fall day of bright sunshine and low humidity so Denny and I just enjoyed being out in the fresh air while one of us played golf.

As with many golf courses now, if you sign up on the golf course's website you will have an opportunity to play at even more discounted prices.  I didn't bother to do that since we're only in the area for a couple more weeks and there are a ton of great golf courses in this part of Ohio.  Which I won't be playing, but next week we'll be on the golf course in Kettering, Ohio.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Perham Lakeside Golf Club

Our campground had offers of discounts at golf courses that were twenty miles away, but given that our Ford F450 diesel pick up with a 4.88 rear end doesn't get the world's best fuel mileage Denny and I opted to play at the nearby Perham Lakeside Golf Club.  At one time the golf course was part of the Golf Card International system and on the day we played the pro shop very graciously allowed us the 20% discount that was originally offered as part of the Golf Card affiliation.  This was simply a one time offer for us.  The cost for Denny and me to play eighteen holes of golf with a riding cart was $85.20, which is not a price we would normally pay to play golf to be sure, but it was cheaper than the $100+ it would have cost us without the discount.  Of course at that price, we wouldn't have played golf here.

Lakeside Golf Club actually offers twenty-seven holes of golf; they have the Pine course, the Oak course and the Maple course.  On the day we played, Denny and I were assigned to play the Pine and the Oak courses, starting with the Pine course.  On that particular combination of courses the yardage from the black tees is 6741 with a rating/slope of 72.7/133.  From the blue tees the yardage is 6395 with a rating/slope of 71.0/130.  From the white tees the yardage is 5778 with a rating/slope of 68.2/125 for the men and 73/3/131 for the women and for the red tees the yardage is 5141 with a rating/slope of 69.7/124.  

The Pine course is somewhat of a links style course although with the lack of rain in the area the rough areas weren't that bad.  Placement of sand traps didn't cause a problem for either of us and the fairways were fairly wide all the way through.  The course was in really decent condition despite the almost drought conditions being suffered by the Midwest. 

Denny and I played the Oak Course as the back nine; this course is more wooded than the Pine Course.  One thing we did notice about these two sets of nine holes is that the designer likes dog legs; some more sharp than others, but when you are playing the course for the first time it's always interesting to try to figure out where the heck you are supposed to hit.  At least we now have a handheld golf GPS (we use the Swami 3000) so we have an idea of the yardage on each hole.

On weekends this golf course is very busy but on a Tuesday morning we practically had the golf course to ourselves until noon/one o'clock.  The layouts have enough elevation changes, narrow to wide fairways, water and sand to be a challenge to any level of golfer depending upon which tee box you use and how straight you hit the ball.  It was a fun day with some holes of frustration and that's how it should be I guess, to keep you on your toes and from getting too complacent about your game.  This course is worth the money.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Surprised at Fountain Springs Golf Club

I have to admit, sometimes it's hard to find an inexpensive golf course, especially in a tourist area in the summer.  To find a golf course that's within the budget we arbitrarily set for ourselves here in Rapid City we not only had to use our Golf Card International discount but we had to play a nine hole golf course which is not our favorite thing to do.  That being said, Denny and I found playing Fountain Springs Golf Club in Rapid City surprisingly fun.

Using the Golf Card which gave us complimentary green fees for nine holes (we played 18 holes) Denny and I paid $50 for green fees and use of a riding cart.  Initially Denny was a bit upset by that price considering the yardage from the longest tees for eighteen holes is only 5760 yards, but the condition of the golf course and the lay of the land swayed his opinion by the end of our round.  If you play from the white tees the yardage is 5330 with a slope of 128 (as is the blue tees); playing from the red tees the yardage is 4752 with a slope of 123.  The course rating is 33.8.
After weeks and weeks of playing dry, winter condition golf courses it was a pleasure to see the lush green grass on the fairways, tees and greens here at Fountain Springs.  The golf course is dotted with small ponds and creeks that cross the fairways.  There are sand traps here but surprisingly neither Denny nor I found any of them so I figure their placement is such that they won't be a threat for most people.  Because believe me, I am a sand trap magnet for the most part. 
The fairways here are wide but the fourth hole has a 90 degree dogleg left that can confuse you as you can see the flag for hole 5 in your shot.  The guy behind the desk at the pro shop was kind enough to warn us of that so we weren't shooting at the wrong flag on the hole. 
Possibly my only complaint about this golf course would be that the players here are really bad about fixing their ball marks on the greens.  I probably repaired at least five balls marks per green during our round, even though by the turn Denny and I were the only ones left on the golf course.  The greens were well watered, making them a tad slow but once they started to dry out then things got a little trickier and the ball started to break more around the holes.
Again, this is an extremely short course but there are two par 5 holes on the course and there's enough visual interest and changes in elevation to make it fun.  Not especially challenging, but fun.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Day at the Raton CC and Golf Course

The closest golf course to our campground located at the top of Raton Pass is the Raton Country Club and Golf Course.  Raton's only golf course is a nine hole course which plays to 6081 yards from the longest tees if you play eighteen holes.  The only information I have on the rating/slope is 68.6/120 for the men's tees and 69.4/113 for the women's tees.  There are four sets of tees to vary the length of the front nine and back nine.  There was a gentleman who was apparently playing eighteen holes who was walking the golf course but since it sits at about 6600 feet of elevation I would suggest making sure you are used to that before you take off.  I have to admit that walking up slopes on the course made us huff and puff a bit and we've been camping in higher elevations for the past six weeks or so.  

The normal price for a senior and an adult player who wish to play 18 holes using a riding cart would be $66, but I went online to the golf course's website and found a Golf18 deal for a 10:30AM tee time for $44.24.  It turns out we were the first people to actually take advantage of that special price too.  The manager then walked us outside and showed us where to hit our first shot, explaining that there was water about 172 yards out and down the hill.  He also told us how far out the dogleg was on the third hole which was helpful also, and explained a bit about the set up of the holes and how to get around the course.  That is always nice the first time you are stepping onto a new course.

As Mr. Rogers would say, it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  There were only a few of us on the golf course, so Denny and I were able to take our time and enjoy the scenery.  One young man we allowed to play through had driven 60 miles one way to play here as it was the closest affordable golf course to his home.  Ouch!
Like so many areas of the west, New Mexico has been suffering drought conditions and so the golf course has some rough patches but it is in much better condition than several of the golf courses we've played in California and Nevada recently.  They had just aerated a couple of the greens and the greens keeper actually apologized to us for that.  Wow!  We have played on greens much, much worse than that in the last few weeks, for sure.

The next two photographs are of the eighth hole; the first is taken from the women's tees and the second from the men's tees.  It is a par 3 hole and while the distance isn't long, the fast greens make it tricky.  Denny and I had gotten used to very slow greens lately and having much faster greens meant we had to adjust our thinking and out putting quite a bit.
You won't find a snack bar here, or any hot food although there is a cooler with energy drinks and soda at the pro shop.  What you will find is a nice little course with a friendly staff, great weather and nice mountain views while you play your round.  Just the kind of place we enjoy although we normally prefer a regular eighteen hole golf course over a nine hole course.  We'd play this one again.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Late Afternoon at Fox Run Golf Course

If you want to play golf in the Gallup, New Mexico area, you have the choice of Fox Run or Fox Run.  So we played at Fox Run.  Built in 1965 the course was formerly known as the Gallup Municipal Golf Course.  Fox Run seems appropriate as we saw several large fox holes on the golf course.  

The price to play a round of golf depends on whether or not you sign up online for an email account; Denny and I each paid $20 after noon to play eighteen holes with a riding cart.  The next morning I received a notice by email of a variety of discounts including a tee time at 11:20 AM at a cost of $15.20 per person for eighteen holes and a riding cart.  So there are some good bargains.

The golf course itself is apparently recovering from mismanagement and lack of proper care so it is rough.  Two greens were lost and a couple others are a little dicey.  But the new course supervisor is working hard to get the golf course back in shape.  The day we played golf the rule was cart path only; I don't know if this is standard until the golf course recovers a bit or not.  But it was a beautiful breezy day that was in the mid 80s so the extra walking didn't bother us, although we're still adjusting to the elevation here.

Denny played from the black tees which were the longest at 6634 yards with a slope of 121 and a rating of 71.05.  The distance from the blue tees is 6203 yards with a slope of 114/134 and a rating of 69.1/74.6.  The white tees have a yardage of 5879 with a slope of 104/128 and a rating of 67.62/72.8 and the red tees are set at 5029 yards with a slope of 118 and a rating of 68.  In good condition, this is a links style course, complete with the mandatory southwestern rattlesnakes, I'm sure.  At this time the course is pretty open and there is ongoing construction/earth moving going on as you play.

The first tee.
The par 3 eighth hole.
The par 3 eleventh hole.
The thirteen hole. 
The course is flat enough to be walkable if you are used to the higher elevation. The layout is fun, the distant mountains provide a nice backdrop and the employees are helpful and friendly.  Denny and I would come back and play this again, even in rough condition.  The employees seem to be working hard to bring this golf course back and we hope they are successful because it's worth it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

An Afternoon at Sierra Sage Golf Course

Upon our arrival in Reno, Nevada I started checking the prices of local golf courses online.  I noticed that the Sierra Sage Golf Course mentioned that winter prices were still in effect so I called and made a twilight (after 1:30) tee time.  I was told that it would be $25 per person to play an eighteen hole round of golf with a riding cart, which is very reasonable.

The unexpected good news when we arrived at the pro shop was that we were actually only charged $40 for the two of us to play golf: $15 each for the greens fee and $5 each for shared use of a riding cart.  Better and better.

We were teamed up with a local couple, which is always nice when you are playing an unfamiliar course because they can tell you where to try to land a shot or even how a dogleg runs.  Play was a tiny bit slow ahead of us, but that gave us a chance to talk to Mike and Jan about the Reno area and each other while we waited.  Denny and I commented that the course was a bit rough, especially the greens, and Mike said that normally the golf course was in much better condition.  When I say the greens were rough I'm talking recent aeration, bald spots and burned spots. Three putts were almost a given on these greens.
Sierra Sage Golf Course is a links style course complete with rattlesnakes in the summer.  The distance from the blue tees is 6604 yards with a rating/slope of 70.4/122.  The white tees have a yardage of 6230 yards with a rating/slope of 68.7/119 and the women's tees have a yardage of 5597 yards with a rating/slope of 70.3/120.  

Depending on your shot shape, water can come into play on five holes although only two holes have water directly in play.  The setting is scenic and the course is walkable due to its flat and open nature.  With the recent lack of rain and snow, the brush area is open enough that you can locate errant shots especially at this time of year when it's too chilly for the rattlesnakes to be out.  Later in the season, Mike says he doesn't bother to look for balls in the rough--the snakes can have them. 

All in all, due to the company we had an enjoyable afternoon on the golf course but we really had a problem with the very rough greens on this course. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ridgemark Golf and CC--Gabilan Course

We've been traveling in southern Arizona and southern California for a while and it's not easy to find inexpensive golf courses in either location unless you want to play executive courses or 9 hole courses.  Neither of which we like to do.  We were holding out for a (relatively) inexpensive 18 hole golf course and we finally found one at the Ridgemark Golf and Country Club in Hollister, California.

I made a mistake and used the Golflinks tee time scheduler only to discover they are now adding a fee for making the online tee times.  So our cost for this round of golf for us was the $7.90 reservation fee and $34 each for greens fee and riding cart.  I later found out that I could have made online tee times directly through the Ridgemark Golf Course website for the same time for $35 each, thus saving myself $6.  Live and learn.  In the past, the Golflink tee times were deeply discounted and the best buy.  I will now check more carefully in the future.

That being said, Denny and I thoroughly enjoyed our round of golf here.  Our tee time was for 1:15 PM which no longer means it will be dark before we finish our round now that the days are longer.  The course was not crowded at this time of day and this time of year so we played our round in well under four hours despite having to wait on every hole and that's been rare for us lately.  
The pro shop employee sent us out on the Gabilan Course; there are two different 18 hole courses here with the other being the Diablo Course.  The Gabilan course is slightly longer at 6721 yards from the blue tees; slope/rating is 132/72.6.  The distance from the white tees is 6336 yards with a slope/rating of 130/70.9, the yellow (senior) tees is 5949 yards and 123/69.4 while the red (women's) tees yardage is 5624 and 119/67.7.  On the Diablo course the longest yardage is 6582 and the shortest is 5441.
 The Gabilan course is lined with homes but the fairways are wide and mature trees provide them with some protection.  The sparkly sand in the sandtraps is dense and coarse with lips low enough that you can putt out of some of the greens-side bunkers.  This knowledge comes from experience.  Ahem.

 As you play there are vistas of distant mountains and close by the well landscaped homes are currently ablaze with color from lush rose bushes, irises, straw flowers and geraniums.  I love California's climate for flowers--the roses' blooms are always huge and fragrant and I even saw some tulips in one yard--it made me homesick for Ohio!
There aren't a lot of water hazards on the Gabilan course, but there's a small canyon shot and enough doglegs to test your driving/shot making skills.  The holes themselves are spread out all through the housing complex but the paths and directions to the next hole are fairly well marked (we only got lost once) and it's fun to look at all the different houses in the plat.  Despite there being a lot of rain recently (and a bad hail storm last week) the golf course itself was in pretty good shape.  Yes, there are thousands of tiny daisy-like flowers in many of the fairways but as a woman I enjoyed them and they certainly didn't bother my golf game.  The greens were the slowest we've played in months which meant that small breaks in your line became much bigger and we consistently played a lot of our putts shorts because the greens looked smooth and fast but were turtle slow.  A regular player warned us of that before we started so I'm going to assume that normally the greens play a bit faster.  

As we left the golf course we found ourselves wishing we hadn't lost a week to rain during our stay here as we definitely would have played this course again.  If we are ever back in the area, for sure we'll try it again.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quincy Golf Course Aka Colockum Ridge

 Denny and I played the Quincy Golf Course five years ago when we were here in the area last. It was basically a cow pasture, a little rough, with young trees and an unusual watering system.

Today, the course is named Colockum Ridge Golf course, it's still a cow pasture, the trees have matured a bit and they still have an unusual watering system. However, they also have a coupon on the Internet for $10 green fees on Wednesday so with the $10 per person golf cart fee, means the two of us played for $40 today. That's a deal. Colockum Ridge Golf Course is an 18 hole course with a few water hazards, some sand traps and quite a few small trees. The slope/rating from the blue tees is 110/67 and the course is 6102 yards from the blues. There is no listed rating/slope for the women's red tees, but the yardage is 5208 yards.

See that big metal thingamabob in the background? That's the pivot irrigation system that waters the course. It's quite unusual for a golf course-you'll see them in corn fields and other crop fields as watering systems. There's a water channel behind the irrigation system that acts as the water source.

What appear to be golf cart ruts in the fairway are actually the tracks that the irrigation system follows as it pivots across the fairway automatically to water the entire area.
Notice the tilted trees in the fairways. Our playing partner who is a native to the area told us that the trees are tilted due to the high and gusting winds that are a normal part of life here in the Columbia River Basin. 60 mph winds are normal, gusts to 100 mph occur. I appreciated the nice breezes we had that kept the high temperatures bearable.

  The course is in very good shape for the temperatures and lack of water in the area and the local players are courteous. Since we can play on the Internet coupon next week, we'll go back there, rather than go across the street from our campground and pay $80 for the two of us to play 18 holes on the nine-hole golf course at the resort. Where they allow this:
I don't care if you have 6 pack or 12 pack abs--this is not appropriate on the golf course. No way, no how. Ever. Put a shirt on it, guys.
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