|Culture with Camoluscious Gally||
This view of the Desert Dunes Golf Course in Palm Desert, California shows the clubhouse from the ninth hole with the huge complex of windmills used to generate electricity in the area. It shows that at times the winds in the area make this a much more challenging course. When we played, a light breeze kept us cool in the cooler spring morning. While at times the course features wide open fairways, these often narrow down with desert landscape on both sides. The good news is the desert landscape offers many sightings of wildlife, even if it eats your balls.
The above picture features some of that desert landscape midfairway, just in case the Robert Trent Jones, Junior designed course isn't tough enough. You can see that there are moguls and hills everywhere that usher your ball into the desert. Most of the desert animals are friendly cottontail bunnies or jack rabbits or squirrels. The birds are quiet, our only spotted ones were a yellow-crowned sparrow and a roadrunner who posed glamorously and a Red Tailed Hawk soaring overhead. More fun was the spotted back with narrow tailed California Ground Squirrel. Play moved fast so we didn't have much time to really examine all we saw. This photo hides some of the superb landscape on the golf course, so I will provide more examples.
This particular photo above offers a view of the golf course I had most trouble with namely the sandless traps that guard most of the greens. They didn't stint on traps and didn't make them shallow. The winds, we were told, suck the sand out of the traps on a regular basis. So they tend to be hard pan mucky holes that require you to pick the ball out. The better plan is to not get into them. To do this, plan your shots carefully. Don't hit a long shot to get on the green, it will rarely happen. Instead, play to make a short chip onto the green and carefully place your fairway shot so it ends up on the fairway.
Don't be surprised to find the Desert Dunes Golf Course has a lake in the middle. The above photo shows their signature 17th hole with the beautifully xeriscaped gardens behind next to the natural desert.
The brown golf jacket belongs to my husband. He received it from me as a Christmas gift that I had to search all over to find one that met his requirements. He normally just uses layers, a long sleeved shirt over a golf shirt with a windbreaker over that. This year, the temperatures have been in the 50-60's in the morning which is cold for us.
When I went looking it was for a warmer jacket with enough give that when hitting a golf ball it doesn't pull. Most golf jackets for sale are either lighter weight or are pullovers. My husband has difficulty with pullovers since his backward reach is stiff due to arthritis, so he wanted a zip up jacket. LLBean had a jacket that would work and for once he is wearing his gift, surprise!
The second jacket is a surprise gift in January from my husband to me. We went out golfing one morning and it was 60F about but the cold wind cut through my clothing. I made it part of the round but was shivering so bad, I asked, please, can I get a jacket?
We were playing golf at Cocoa Beach Country Club and the clubhouse had a sale on jackets and one fit me! The cost was very low but it was a lifesaver.
When considering buying a golf jacket, some things to think about include:
Sand Hazards are not all built alike. They often vary in depth, sand quality and type, edging, and placement. The shot out of a sand trap may require additional loft in order to make it out safely due to the depth. A sand wedge gives that loft, but if the hazard isn't all that deep, a different iron or driver can be used. It requires the judgment of the golfer to decide which club to use based on that initial depth but also the distance the golfer would like to go.
The picture above taken at the former Walkabout Golf Club, now the Indian River Preserve Golf Club in Mims, Florida, shows one of the nastier type of sand hazards, one dug into a hill situated in the middle of the course. The golfer must hit over the hill on their fairway shot with enough loft and distance to avoid landing in the sand hazard.
If a golfer is unlucky enough to fall within the sand hazard, they must hit without knowing where to place the ball. A walk to the top of the hill will often be enough to site the flag on the green, but they must choose a tree or other feature of the course to act as the target. This sand hazard is deep enough that club with more loft is needed. The penalty for the golfer that finds their ball is this hazard is that the loft needed may make it impossible to reach the green on the next shot, so their penalty is extra shots.
I've always managed to miss this particular golf hazard known as the church pews at Royal St Cloud Golf Club in St. Cloud, Florida but I've seen others fight it. The green grass pews sit within a relatively flat sand hazard but they are curved and the grass is hard to mow so it is often deep grass. If the ball lands near the sand-grass edge, the golfer faces interference from that edge. If it lands in the deep grass, it may have an uphill or downhill lie due to the curvature. Downhill lies often result in a flat hit without loft so the ball might end up in the sand. If the golfer doesn't hit out of the sand with enough distance, they are likely to hit out of the sand again, and maybe again. This one has more pews than are shown, with the green grass sections perpendicular to the direction of the flag.
Some sand hazards are more decorative, like these at Washington National Golf Course in Auburn, Washington. Here the purpose is to show off the UW Husky "W" while also guarding the green. Shots directly to the green that fall short will fall in the first sand hazard, while the ones to the side will pick up any shots that veer left. They are somewhat deep and the distance from the trap to the green is not as short as a player might wish.
Phil Mickelson's book "Secrets of the Short Game" on how to get out of a golf bunker or sand hazard made the most sense to me when I read about how to do it. His video below offers some helpful tips:
One of the most pleasant aspects of Bay Tree National Golf Club is that while challenging, many features of this course makes it a win for newer players. The fairways tend to be wide near the tees on most holes. Although there are many lakes and traps, these tend to be harder to get into. My husband and I played here recently and only had one or two golf balls roll into the palmettos. The wide fairways can be a relief for newer players who hit hooks or slice from the tee. If your first ball hits fair, that's half the battle.
A few of the back nine holes have narrower fairways and more of the trickier shots. Some holes require the golfer to hit over ditches so chipping up is sometimes needed. A couple of the back nine holes have hills along one side. The first time I played here it was in late summer so I worried about rolling out of bounds. I thought, hit high on the hill, the golf ball will roll down. This doesn't work. It's far better to avoid the hills, my husband and I found there was plenty of room for the golf ball to land away from the hill as the fairways opened up down range. The last hole features a real surprise, you hit toward the green and have to drive way around a small lake before walking onto the green from the back. It's a fun golf course with a lot of variety in how your ball lies and with a lot of scenic views. Located in Melbourne, Florida, 32940, it is near I-95. For a better view of how the golf course plays, see the video below.
The golf club has a good restaurant with friendly help.
Sheri Fresonke Harper
Sheri loves to golf, travel and to write.
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