|Culture with Camoluscious Gally||
The very friendly Brookside Golf Course in Ashland, Ohio, offers students at Ashland University a great chance to unwind from their studies. Played mostly by the local community, this pleasant course is open to the public. The Clubhouse is small and inviting and offers snacks for players and some golf supplies.
One of the main challenges on the Brookside Golf Course are brooks that cut across the fairway; I love this roofed bridge show in the photograph! Other challenges include variations in height (see photo below), surprisingly wet fairways and slow greens due to the unusual 2014 rains, all those beautiful trees along the fairway, and sand traps that are ordinarily easy to miss.
The rains weren't really a problem for us, we just put on our wet weather gloves and continued along our way. Luckily for us the lightning and thunder was brief, the rains very light, and quickly disappeared. Most other players also continued.
The above photo shows why many golfers walk this course which is like a park almost. After paying fees, golfers practice a fee putts then check in at the starter then play with few delays.
I thought Sweetwater Golf & Country Club's golf course was going to be easy to play until I reached hole 10. This is not to say that the front nine holes lack challenge.
The Sweetwater Golf & Country Club in Apopka, FL is friendly to visitors. The golf clubhouse is split between several buildings--the snack shop for instance shares quarters with the pool crowd. Dining at the snack shop is very good, I liked the turkey sandwich just fine. There's a separate place for the pro shop and another place for dinner dining. We didn't get golf cart service but they provide drinks vending machines at the bathrooms halfway along each nine.
The golf photograph above is about half of hole number ten. The hole travels uphill through the trees and when you get to the top, you find the lake and the hole curving around it to the left. This hole is pretty tricky since the side hill lie tends to want to put your golf ball in the water as does any roll.
The golf photograph to the left shows one of the tricky par 3's on Sweetwater Golf & Country Club. Three of the par three's require a drive over 150 yards, including this one that has a deep gully and pond. Other challenges on the golf course include a sand trap hidden in front of one green, another long sandtrap beyond a tree that allows golfers to shorten the distance to the green.
This golf club is pretty lively with many events, an upcoming Thanksgiving Day buffet, and a long time on the golf course--5+ hours for our round.
The Deltona Club in Deltona, Florida, offers an unexpected golf course in Florida, one that has no water hazards.
So will you find a golf course with enough challenge?
The answer is of course, it's a golf course.
The best part of the Deltona Club golf course was starting off on the number ten tee and ending up on the number nine green. Why? Because after a tough round, I got to play an easy par 4 followed by this par three in the golf photograph.
The hole shown above shows the sense of humor that the golf course architect had in creating the Deltona Club golf course. Sand is used to save costs and to make it very difficult to do anything but land on the green.
Other golf course challenges at Deltona Club includes holes that climb uphill, downhill, very substantial doglegs including one surprise hole that wasn't right in front of us but off to the right.
The best way to handle Deltona Golf Club is to use plenty of sun protection, pick the right club for the distance to avoid trouble and to use a firm but dug in attack out of the sand trap if you do get into one. Check out Amateur Golfer Benefits to Phil Mickleson's Secrets of the Short game for more help.
The golf course at Rock Springs Ridge Golf Course, Apopka, FL is still suffering from the economy in the form of weeds in the fairway, but the greens were in good condition and the course mowed and sand traps maintained. Both restrooms mid-nine were operational. The cost when we played in October 2013 was $20, so it was a good golf green fees and golf cart golf deal.
One of the major ways Rock Springs Ridge challenges the golfer is their use of Live Oak trees mid course and protecting the green as seen in the golf photograph above and to the left.
To place the ball near the flag on the green in the photograph above requires chipping below the tree but over the sand trap.
To get past the trees mid fairway in the golf photograph to the left requires that the ball travel over the tree or under the branches or if luckly, finding the air and going through the live oak.
What club to use? To chip over a tree, use a pitching wedge with the face almost parallel to the ground. To drive beneath the trees, use a three wood or four iron, or use a club that is almost 90 degrees to the ground.
Other challenges at Rock Spring Ridge Golf Course include the heavy turf and moguls on a few of the holes, as well as hidden fairways, hidden greens, and water hazards.
The restaurant at the Rock Springs Ridge Golf Clubhouse was open on Saturday, offering up tasty 8 oz. burgers, chicken tenders, fries, and the usual sort of golf food.
My husband and I played golf at Deer Island Country Club in Tavares, Florida, just after record winds had knocked many trees down on the course and the golf course staff were busy removing all the debris.
We still had a wonderfully pleasant golf outing, despite a few lurking clouds. The golf course is in supreme condition and is lovely for many, many reasons.
Deer Island Country Club has many bridges that golfers cross as they travel along the course since the course has water on both sides of the fairway in many places and is sitting in the midst of several lakes. Several holes require golfers to drive over a creek or pond.
Water is not the only hazards to watch out for on Deer Island Country Club. The many sculpted sand traps over additional hazards on the course. The lovely sand trap on the left of this golf photograph has a nice ridge making a chip onto the green much more difficult.
The toughest par three hole required you to land on the green or else. It takes a straight accurately selected golf club to make your shot. The course is one of the most fun I've played.
The food at the Deer Island Country Club is also really good and the staff is really friendly. Expect to find bathrooms halfway through each nine and at the clubhouse.
Country Meadows Golf Club in Moncton, NB was a little worn out when we played it in late August, but still provided enough challenge to make a good game for a reasonable cost. They are quite unique in using carved birds as their tee markers and birdhouses for their yardage posts and some excellent flowers. When we played, a tournament for children was about to leave so we rushed out onto the course before we were trapped behind them all. Luckily, everyone is pretty friendly around here so we partnered with a walking single who was kind enough to make sure we didn't get lost.
The clubhouse, shown in the golf photograph above provides clean bathrooms and a simple golf club style lunch.
Most of the holes on this course are pretty flat, with challenges coming from the rivers, brooks, swamps etc. that line the fairways and cross the fairways. Once or twice we got into trouble with the woods. Watch out for holes that run along the woods like this one.
If you go, feel welcome to bring your children along, their likely to have a grand time.
Kebo Valley Golf Club , Bar Harbor, Me golf course has a great view and rates the course conditions from 1-10, we played when it was a 9, with the small loss due to extremely fast greens. Kebo Valley Golf Club offers a number of challenges to the golfer, starting with a course rating that is extremely tough for women, with many choices for the men that can be much harder. For golfers who can set aside their awe at the view, a fun time can be had.
Golf Challenge Number One: Raised Greens
One of the downsides of the raised greens at Kebo Valley Golf Club is they tend to be dry and very fast. To handle the small greens, high lofted shots are the only way to go. With enough backspin, they may actually stay on the green. Using a GPS device will help you identify the exact distance to travel. Part of the strategy should include getting as close to the green before chipping since drives to the green are likely to roll off or get stopped on the approach.
Golf Challenge Number Two: Hidden Fairways
One way to handle hidden fairways is to drive ahead and check out where the best place to hit your drive. A second way is to consult the handy course overview book provided with your greens fee, often it will show a point where to aim and also indicated the distances to any trouble you might find. A third way to handle it is by a sex change operation since the ladies tees are forward of this narrow tee. Another way is to pick an aiming point that lies in the area of the open space, especially if you can spot the 150 yard distance marker.
Golf Challenge Number Three: Bubbles Blocking the Fairway or Green
The name bubbles for the moguls in the pictures come from the celebrated bubble mountains at the center of Acadia National Park. If the ball lands on one of these, golfers will find they need to use an iron because the grass tends to be fairly heavy and the surface variable in direction. Take a practice shot and verify your follow through, chances are the ball trajectory will be angled.
Make sure you use a drive or a chip with a lot of loft to avoid these bubbles/moguls.
When visitors arrive at Legends Golf Club in Clermont, Florida near to Orlando, the elaborate waterfalls framing the entry gate may seem intimidating, but after you're through with a game of golf, you'll understand that this golf club was well designed to create wonderful memories of challenging golf. Legends is open to the public and during the warm summer off-season they offer a $179 all the golf you can play card May 1- October 1 after 1pm, after 3pm get a $10 deal on cart. They have a deal on golf balls for use on the large outdoor driving range, too and a large putting green.
The clubhouse is reassuring to visitors since it is quite small and staff very friendly and helpful. The small pro shop stocks visors, socks, clothing, and the usual golf supplies and snacks. A meal with your golf ticket for $12 is available, I think to keep wait staff well up to the task of serving large groups. I had chicken tenders, my husband a club sandwich. Food was tasty and arrived quickly including refills on soft drinks and seconds on beer.
The tower advertising Legends Golf Course with the purple golfer is played on the back nine which is a bit tougher to play than the front nine. Legends Golf Course makes good use of the unusual for Florida hilly terrain.
Close up of the tower. Below, the Legends #14 par 3 hole can be tricky to play, hit long because the ball is likely to roll down hill (see golf photograph below).
This golf course is pretty favorable to women player's with the purple (normally red) tees playing an average of 108 for 5200 yards approximately.
Most tees have wide open fairways and usually you can avoid any but occasional trouble. The rough is pretty rough now due to all the rain--over 8 inches, bring extra golf balls. The course ends with several back to back uphill holes so make sure you have enough energy to get through this fun course.
The wonderful clubhouse at MetroWest Golf Club in Orlando, Florida features a snack shop downstairs and sit down meals upstairs. The golf course is doing major renovations on the sand traps so the cost is very affordable and the annoyance minor. Most of their sand traps are enough out of the way, experienced golfers won't even notice them (except around the greens). Soon though, with all the rain Florida has had (13" in June that usually comes in the afternoon to cool things down after hot sunny mornings) everything will green up.
The difference between a badly maintained sand trap and a freshly renovated sand trap can be immense. This golf photograph shows one of the most scenic holes at Metro West, on an almost island in the lake with sand traps blocking it. As part of the renovation, they've cut out the traps with a bulldozer, later they'll add more topsoil, refit hunks of grass over the top, dig a new sand trap hole with nice clean sharp edges and fill it with light sand.
On a bad sand trap, the edges can be clogged by grass, or have areas where the edges have eroded. When your ball falls into the edge, it can get caught instead of nestling amid the sand. When you try to chip out of an edge, chances are you will cause additional damage to the trap. You always have the option of pulling the ball out of a trap filled with water due to poor drainage or to remove your ball off a bad edge. The downside is the extra stroke. Sand that is wet is harder to get out of because your sand wedge doesn't cut into it easily.
The real challenge on MetroWest is all the uphill holes. A golf course with many uphill holes will play longer than its rated because you won't get as much role and for short hitters, that can mean extra strokes on every hole.
I found MetroWest very lush, well-maintained and well-managed. Despite all the work in progress, we were never bothered by noise or machinery delay. The lunch in the restaurant was quite tasty and my husband as usual loved his beer.
This photograph taken of the eighteenth hole at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, Florida shows way a golf game here can be a delight and challenge. They are one of the nicest courses near to Disney that you can find. They even have condos--I'm not sure if they rent them or not.
The keyword about this golf course is sand trap. It's an easier course to play then many of this quality, 4.5 star rating from Golf Digest because of the wide fairways. But the sand traps can make it less easy since they are strategically placed around the greens and at the usual driving distance where a slice or hook can land you into trouble.
Here's a close up of one of the worst sort of sand traps--it's not really filled with sand, instead its just a deep pit on rocky soil. There are regular sand traps, some even this deep, these little pits will test anyone's chipping skill.
Homes are being built on the back nine of the golf course. I assume this course may go private eventually. Right now its open to the public.
The food at the Belfry Restaurant is really tasty--I had a bacon, turkey, apple sandwich that was unusual and tasty--it normally also comes with carmelized onions and cheese which I don't do, but I expect some would find it really wonderful. Eagle Creek currently (5/31/2013) have a golf and lunch special, click here to find out more.
Sheri Fresonke Harper
Sheri loves to golf, travel and to write.
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