|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.
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.
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.
Clubhouse at Forest Lake Golf Club, Ocoee, Florida
We visited Forest Lake Golf Club and because it was rather warm out, we decided to skip out on our putting practice. This is a very bad idea. My husband and I were not the only golfers coming in with three and four putts a hole--putting this badly is a serious ouch for your score. So what can you do to help our your putting at Forest Lake Golf Club?
One thing that will improve your putting on a golf course such as Forest Lake Golf Club is to make use of a golf range finding device. Each golf cart at Forest Lake Golf Club comes equipped with a ProShot Golf GPS device. Not only did it give the distance to the hole from your current location, but it also gave the distance to several spots on the green and other hazards such as sand traps. We still augmented the advice provided by the ProShot Golf GPS with our exact distance ranger finder. What both of these devices are supposed to do is get your approach shot as close to the hole as possible. That only works if your chipping is close to exact. So good chipping practice and club selection is in order.
The photograph of one of the greens at the Forest Lake Golf Club shows some of the difficulties involved with golfing this course:
So how do you handle putting on such surfaces:
When our group started paying close attention to our putting, our putt count went down.
One reason that my husband and I report our scores as the number of strokes / the number of putts is to remind ourselves how much our score would go down if we dropped out putt count for the eighteen holes to below 36.
The photograph to the left shows one more reason why putting at Forest Lake Golf Course is difficult--complicated approaches insure that your chipping can put you into difficulties such as blocked by a tree, by a bunker, rolling into a lake, or sandy area on the lake fringes, sand hazards, and woods.
Overall, Lake Forest Golf Club is sure to test your skills as a golfer.