|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.
This particular photograph was taken at Providence Golf Club in Davenport, Florida. This card is posted in the golf carts there so that golfers will know where the golf will be on every hole.
The starter at Providence Golf Club informs golfers which placement the flag will be for the day. Just before chipping on to the green, golfers can check the car to get an idea about how the green is shaped and how much space on the green there is for the ball to roll to the hole.
Other golf courses may not be as sophisticated in their pin placement. Some golf courses don't have starters and the club pro or person at the cash register when ringing up your green fees will tell you.
Some golf courses only use the color of the flag to indicate pin placement. Again, the golf cart, or the score card will tell the golfer what the color of flag means. Not all golf courses change their flag color or provide a map. Then it is up to the golfer to estimate based on experience (and sometimes a sneak and peek drive ahead) to determine where the hole is.
Why is it important to know pin placement if you have a distance reader?
Pin placement maps show you how much space surrounds the flag. Depending on the space around the flag, you may choose to have a chip with more or less loft. Hazards will also affect the decision.
Celebration Golf Club makes golfers feel right at home and relaxed. On arrival, while my husband paid our greens fees, I waited outside near the beautiful gardens, listening to a crooner belt out tunes. The atmosphere said we have plenty of time.
The starter met us and gave us plenty of time on the really tricky practice putting green. Spend time on the practice putting green at Celebration Golf Club because their greens are even tougher than the practice green. The good news: the back nine holes aren't nearly as tough.
One thing to expect at Celebration Golf Club is a course in fine condition that has been sculpted by Robert Trent Jones to offer all the challenge to your golf game that you can desire.
This dogleg hole is a so-so example; not the worst, not the easiest. Where there isn't a water hazard, you'll likely find sand or a mogul.
We were paired up with another pair of golfers who played here often and were very helpful in letting us know which way to go. They had as much of a challenge on the greens as we did.
The Windmill Restaurant at the golf course isn't open until 9:30. Right now, rates are easy on the budget. The whole facility is on the outskirts of Orlando at the Disney Complex.
We tried out the Celebration Town Tavern for an after golf lunch. The result: good beer, great seafood--I tried their fish and chips and my husband was extremely pleased by his lobster. The waitress was a real sweetheart and efficient, too.
Sheri Fresonke Harper
Sheri loves to golf, travel and to write.
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