Yesterday we played 36 holes on a gorgeous day in Western Pa. We went north of Pittsburgh and started with Pheasant Ridge which is about a 50 minute drive from my house. This course plays about 6500 yards from the tips and was in excellent shape. The fairways were great, the rough had very little areas of sparseness, and the greens were perfect. They ran a 5 on the stimpmeter and were extremely smooth. This course is very hilly but most of it is on the par 3’s and the walks from the green to the tee. It is a well designed course and has a nice variety of holes. The par 3’s on this course are very challenging. It has a lot of tree lined fairways and the shorter par 4’s are tight. The hot dog at the turn was ok but nothing special. Overall a very enjoyable course to play and definitely worth the trip. The group played ok. I had a 78, Pete had putting trouble all day and shot 85 and Donna had a 91. This course was also a very lady friendly course with tee markers moved well forward. Next we headed a little further north to Rittswood. This course also plays 6500 yards from the back tees but that is where the similarities end. This course is much flatter and more wide open. It was not in as good as shape as Pheasant Ridge but was ok. The fairways were good and the rough was good but it was courser and more difficutl to hit out of. The greens were slower as they ran at 4 and were a little bit bumpy. Overall this course was enjoryable to play and had enough variety of holes to make it interesting. No sand traps. The hot dog at the turn was better here very tasty with some nice condiments. Even though I feel Rittswood was the easier golf course the group played about the same or slightly worse. I shot 80 going on a 6 hole bogey train on the front, Pete contiued to have putting woes and shot 87 and Donna shot 90. Another course that is lady friendly. This is a nice solid little golf course but not really worth the trip. I am not any closer to any answers let alone golf. That corner I thought I was turning around last week, turned out to be just another golf hallucination. The last hole of the day was a great example of why this is such a goofy game. It is a 413 yd par 4, with a slight dogleg to the left. With the ball teed up I hit my drive a good 75 yards right of where I was aiming. I was directly behind a pine tree and just had to pitch out straight across. I didn’t hit it hard enough to get it in the fairway. I am in the rough with the ball sitting a little bit down. I am about 215 yards from the green. Since I have nothing to lose, I take my 3 wood and hit down on the ball perfectly and knock the ball on the green about 40 feet from the hole. Now I ask you, how can you do that? How can you hit a ball that accurately out of the rough, when just before with the ball teed up perfectly from a level lie you hit it across state lines. If you can find the answer to that the search is over. Twenty nine courses down and 61 to go.
Today we played course no 27, Fort Cherry which is in McDonald Pa and is about a 30 to 35 minute drive from my house. Fort Cherry is a solid little golf course which plays 6200 yards at the tips and has a par of 70. The first hole is one of the toughest par 4’s in Western Pa. Another first hole that is the toughest hole on the course which I find very strange but it does seem to be a trait of many of the golf courses that we have played so far. Many times the first hole is one of top 4 handicap holes. The greens were running a 5 on stimpmeter and were very smooth. The hot dog at the turn was very good as it had that good snap when you bit into it and was very tasty. This course has been around for a good while and it has always had a good and loyal following. This course has a couple of other unique things about it. There is a motel associated with the course and at one time they used lights so there could be play at night. I am not too sure why this is but it seems worth mentioning. It is also worth mentioning that I had an extremely good ball striking day. Unfortunately it did not equate into a great scoring day because I was hitting it so good that I did not have very good distance control and this cost me. I managed to shoot 78, Pete shot a steady 79 and Donna had a 92. We had very good weather although the first two thirds of the day was very windy. For the first time in about a year I am feeling that I am turning a corner, time will tell. If you live in the area this golf course is worth visiting. It has a nice variety of holes and is in good shape. Twenty seven down and sixty three to go.
On Wednesday June 15th we played 36 holes. We played Madison Club in the morning and Manor Vallley in the afternoon. Madison Club is in Madison Pa., which is about an hour drive from my house. This course was built about 20 years ago and is a decent course that plays 6800 yards from the blue tees and is in very good shape except for one thing. The rough is terrible and has always been terrible. What I mean by terrible is the grass is sparse with many bare spots and there is even rocks in the rough. Now it has been this way since day one. To correct this problem it takes very advanced technology, grass seed and a rake. It is a shame because the rest of the course is good. The greens ran a 6 on the stimp and were very smooth. But this lack of care of the roughs makes this course not very enjoyable to play. The hot dog at the term was good but nothing special. The group played ok I shot 81 Pete had a 79 and Donna a 92. Next we went to Manor Valley which is east of Pittsburgh in Export Pa. This is another hillly short course which is typical of the courses east of Pittsburgh. The course plays 5900 yards from the tips and was in pretty good shape. The fairways and greens were firm and this was the first time all year where there was a lot of roll on the ball. The greens were a 5.5 on the stimp and did have a few rough spots. The rough was not very deep and easy to play from, considering it had grass that was in all parts of the rough. I liked Manor Valley a little better than Cloverleaf which we played last week. A little more variey to the holes and greens were in a little better shape. The hot dog at the turn was better than Madison’s and I was even offered sauerkrat. I shot 76 Pete 74 and Donna 91. My game is on medication as I continue to struggle with the short game and some from very bad shots. I hit a lot of good shots but when I hit a bad one, it is really bad. We had one of the best weather days we have ever had with the temp around 80 and plenty of sunshine. Neither one of these courses is worth the trip but Madison could be. Twenty six courses down and sixty four to go.
Yesterday we played 36 holes. In the morning we played Cedarbrook Gold in Belle Vernon Pa. and then in the afternoon we played Cloverleaf in Delmont Pa. Cedarbrooke has 36 holes, and we played the Red last fall. The golf course is one of the more difficult courses, we will play. It is 6400 yards from the tees we played from, and the back nine has a really tough stretch of holes, beginning with 14, a 206 par 3, followed by a 448 yd par 4, and a 417 yard par 4 slightly uphill. The greens ran 6 on the stimpmeter and were in very nice shape. They had some burnt out areas on the fairways for some reason and the roughs were ragged and sand traps were terrible. The hot dog at the turn was very good and the weather was hot but not that humid with a little breeze. The group played ok but no one could get anything going on the greens. I shot 79 Pete shot 90 and Donna 93. I started out ok but my putting was a little off and staggered home with 3 bogeys on the last 4 holes. Is this golf course worth the trip. If you want to play 36 holes then I would say yes. This is overall, a very nice facility and they seem to run a very tight ship. I think this is the best course I have played that seems to keep running on time when it comes to tee times. The course used to be in really good shape but over the years that has declined somewhat. The afternoon course was Cloverleaf in Delmont which is about a 45 minute drive from my house. This is a shorter easier course, which I think is missing in new golf course construction. The course is 5800 yds from the back tees,and like Chippawa is practically devoid of sand traps. The greens ran a 5.5 and were very smooth. The fairways and the roughs were good and many of the holes were tree lined. The only negative about this course is there were many blind tee shots. The course was relatively hilly but overall enjoyable to play. The hot dog at the turn was very good and it even tasted better with a can of Rolling Rock. I had never played this course before and I made many bad decisions, got off to a slow start, ralllied a little bit on the back nine, but managed only a 79 on a very easy golf course. Pete also had a 79 and Donna shot 89. Of course this golf course is not worth the trip but if you live in this area it is a solid little golf course with a good variety of holes. I could not get anything going all day and really hit some horrible shots in the afternoon but at least I played all 36 holes. Twenty four down and 66 to go.
Today June 5th I went back to the scene of the crime Linden Hall, where I made my memorable walk off the course on the 12th tee. Since that Memorial day hike I have played 9holes at Mt Lebanon golf course on Wednesday, 9 holes at the same place on Thurday, 18 holes at South Park yesterday and 18 holes today at Linden Hall. Yes I played all 18 holes today. So much for taking some time off but with a bit of a new outlook and a totally new strategy for my game I have thrown in a couple of good rounds. The first 9 at Mt Lebanon did not bode well as I was litterly 9 over for 9 holes. On Thursday I had my ups and downs at the same course and managed to shoot 3 over par. But things began to perk up a little bit at South Park on Saturday when I started out with 3 birdies on the first 6 holes and then cooled off to shoot a 3 over 75. At Linden Hall I had another very good ball striking day but a couple of short putt misses and short game meltdown on the 2ond hole made me shoot 3 over on the front and then with help of 2 birdies on the back I shot 37 for a 4 over 76. This on a course only 6 days ago that I was not going to break 85. So what happened. Well right now it is too early to tell but what I like about this new process and it is a process, is that it seems to be progessing in the right direction. So I am back in the saddle again and the 90 golf course trek will be continuing in earnest once again. This game can drive you batty but it drives everyone batty at every level of play. I think the biggest problem with the game is that it makes you feel that you are not playing up to your capabitities. I think we all know that everyone can not be like a Tiger Woods. We all have pretty much established our games. It is when those games go completely south, that is the true mystery of the game. That is the answer we are searching for, to be able to play at the best of our abitities, no matter what the circumstances. Still holding at 22 down with 68 to go.