|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.
When we played golf in Baden Baden, Germany at the Baden-Baden Golf Club, we ended up playing with rental golf clubs. The MacGregor golf clubs were much different from our usual golf clubs; I play with Kunnan Golf Clubs and Bob normally plays with Callaway Big Bertha golf clubs.
Is Renting Golf Clubs Worth it?
Yes and no. You do pay plenty to rent golf clubs, but to ship golf clubs via the airlines is usually at least $30 per bag and more like $50 per bag each way, while rental golf clubs cost from $20 per bag on up. If you play once, you've saved a bundle on shipping fees and saved annoyance hauling them to the airport and you don't take the risk of loss or damage of your golf clubs. Anytime we've planned to play golf several times on a vacation, we've deemed it well worth our time to ship them.
Here's a comparison of two golf bag covers we've used; in general they cost from $30 to $1000 depending on the quality.
The main difficulty I had playing with the rental golf clubs was due to a lack of golf glove; without a glove, the golf club reverberated in my hand and I had more slippage and less control. Also, the surprise with rental golf clubs is that most golfers keep their glove, tees, balls, hats, golf ball markers, golf repair tools, golf ball retriever, suntan lotion or sun block, lip gloss, golf shoes, golf range finder, etc. in their golf bag. Most rental golf bags don't provide any of this golf equipment.
Yet, we did rent golf clubs and I am glad we did so. My golf score was off a little from my golf handicap, but we got to experience golf in a foreign country at a golf course we would never have visited. It's a rather fun experience to find golf culture pretty intact around the world.
Mini MacGregor Golf Club Review
From my husband's view, he liked the MacGregor golf clubs better than his Callaway golf clubs. I've wanted to get a set of Callaway golf clubs because they were heavier than my Kunnan golf clubs and a heavier club cuts through wet turf much easier. I haven't needed a heavier set since I moved to Orlando, Florida because the grass rarely gets as thick and heavy as it did in the Seattle area during the wetter months.
I was less happy with the MacGregor golf clubs since I found it more difficult to get any loft. They also exchange my favorite fairway drivers, the five wood and seven wood for hybrid clubs and these weren't as effective on the fairway. Hybrids are good for heavy turf so if we'd played earlier in Spring I might have like them better. The edges of the clubs seemed soft and the club head didn't launch the ball as well. I did keep pretty straight on my shots which is the reason I don't like many other brands.
Choosing a Golf Club
When I chose the Kunnan golf clubs, the manager at ProGolf Discount found me the correct size and told me the ladies clubs tend to have a lot of flex in them, especially with graphite handles which the MacGregor also used. I tried about six brands of golf clubs at the ProGolf discount driving range in the store. The Kunnan golf clubs gave me the cleanest hit and straightest drives. A club that is good for a straight hit saves a golfer a great deal of grief on the golf course.
Well, for me it was easy because I had a husband who made all the arrangements for staying at the Barcelo Bravo Palace Deluxe Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic including all of our tee times online the internet (the link takes you to their webpage where you can arrange a room and a tee time). That was the first step.
The second step involved getting our golf clubs to the golf course. We took the resort train from the pick up stop at the end of our hotel building (the place is very large) but I think perhaps getting the golf cart first and picking the clubs up in the same spot would have been much easier.
The third step is checking in with the pro shop--lunch is available in the dining room right next door and since our first tee time was late in the afternoon, this mean lunch first was a great choice. The restaurant here has a dubious reputation for being really slow with some of the people we met, but for us it worked out fine. The restaurant didn't open until 12:30 so we had drinks first until they opened. Barcelo Bravo Palace Deluxe is an all inclusive so the beer (Presidente), Coca Cola light, hamburger, roast beef sandwich, and a dessert had we wanted it were provided without charge. The tee time cost us a charge for use of the golf cart. Had we played 5 times instead of three, the cost would have been less but as it was ended up at $40 per person.
Afterwards, we were able to store our golf clubs at the Lakes Golf Course.
The fourth step is choosing the appropriate tee. My husband thought the blue tee distance was about his pace for his first game, the next two were played at the more typical white tee. The reason is on a couple of holes over the water, the distance can be pretty long. My husband had a much happier, less stressful time on the white tees. For women, the red tees play within a usual handicap.
Other hints about playing the course involve the challenges. One of the hallmarks (see photo above) of the Lakes Course at Barcelo Bravo Palace Deluxe are the scenic golf shot lakes especially the number 9 and number 18 hole with their wood braced raised greens.
Play it with the exact right club (the holes play long when faced with wind) with a high arching chip shot.
Another is the hidden greens (see photo to the left). Place your approach shot so that a high, arching chip shot that lands and stops is your best bet.
Another hint is to stay in the center of the course, choose the right distance club to stay out of the lake with any additional roll.
A last warning is to stay out of the sand traps. Many are hidden. You get over one sand trap only to fall in the smaller one hidden behind.
The Barcelo Bravo Palace Deluxe golf course is in excellent condition. We played after heavy rain and found you had to punch the ball hard to get it in the hole on the green and we also had to walk (most of the course was closed via cart path only rules due to soggy turf). Two days later, the greens were fast and driving on the course was allowed. Rain drizzled and was a relief from heat, the heavy rains came at night. Be prepared with sun protection.
Note: WiFi from the Barcelo Bravo Palace Deluxe resort isn't available on the golf course.
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.
Orlando Beach Hopping Visitors Might Like Golf at The Preserve at Turnbull Bay, New Smyrna Beach, FL
The clubhouse at the Preserve at Turnbull Bay in New Smyrna Beach, FL is not intimidating. This photo shows the clubhouse from the first tee. Coming into the club, you're met by staff members who help you load your golf clubs into a cart right away.
This photograph shows the challenging second hole, a par 3 across water that isn't as difficult as it may seem. The houses, also, sit well back from the golf course on most holes, so golfers don't need to worry about accidents or a big audience. There are many water hazards on this golf course.
The way to handle the narrow starts on some of the holes is to use a shorter club, anyone that golfers find are easy to hit straight.
The drives over water seldom result in lost balls, unless they roll off from the side.
We found play on this course was crowded so we were glad we had a tee time, especially since we started at about 9:00. Although we often followed the foursome in front of us, play moved well and we easily managed our round in under four hours.
The clubhouse has a small snack bar in the pro shop and we did have cart service. The bathrooms were available about halfway and at the clubhouse. Afterwards, there was plenty of time for lunch at BlackBeards in New Smyrna Beach and a stroll along the beach, too.
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.
When I lost my old Android telephone that I was having a terrible time with since it kept freezing and I wasn't sure how to clean up apps and the like, I bought a new Galaxy 3 Notepad Android phone at the Verizon store. This time, I bought lots of extra memory so I would't have as many difficulties.
One of the first downloads I made was of the FREE Golfpad App for Android. Many of my friends on the Central Florida Golf Club had mentioned they used golf apps to track their score, figure their handicap, and get the distance to the flag.
Before I downloaded the FREE Golfpad App for Android onto my phone, I read through all the descriptions of all the apps. I liked this one best since it seemed to be really free i.e. no additional download costs to load the layout of golf courses.
So what do you get with your Free Golfpad App for Android:
This is the good list:
This is the bad list:
Some other major points that I like:
Statistics fanatics can upgrade for a small cost to get more features and reports.
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.
Golf in Florida and other areas of the country can involve "casual water" on the golf course and a variety of of other problems after heavy rainfall.
This photograph shows the passing of a rain filled cloud in Florida.
Many golfers from the Seattle, WA area have a rule called "embrace the rain" since it's very likely people will encounter rain so rather than stop all life, you just go do. There are good reasons why golfers play golf after heavy rain, here's my best list why:
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.