Today I went to Krendale golf course in Butler, Pa., which was about an hour drive. This is a 27 hole lay out and I played the North and West course today. I have played this course only once before and then I did play all 27 holes at that time. All three nine’s are pretty solid tracks. The only bad thing today was that this area has had a lot of rain lately and the the course was very wet, and this was probably the most careful I have ever been driving a cart, since they had virtually no cart paths. I feel my biggest accompishment of the day was not getting the cart stuck in the mud. The two nine’s today played about 6450 yards to a par of 70. The greens were very smooth and ran a 5.5 on the stimp. The course was enjoyable to play and overall the course was in good shape considering the wet. However there were a few oddities about the place. The clubhouse is old and you feel a little isolated out there like you are arriving at the Bates motel. The inside of the clubhouse seems to have little to do with golf. The the scorecards they have are only for each 9 and each card is no bigger than a playing card. They remind you scorecards that would get at a minature golf course. Then even though the cards are all only 9 holes they handcap all the holes like every time you go there you are going to play 27 holes. In other words there is a 22 handicap hole and a 26 handicap and so forth. I must admit I have never seen anything like that and it certainly would make for some intersting 18 hole matches. I wouldn’t say this course is worth the trip but it has lots of good holes. I went around today in 76 with some short game blues but overall it was a good day. I am working on something again and it seems to be helping some. I have done it now for a whole 2 rounds so you never know. The hot dog at the turn was just ok, and they only had mustard and ketchup, no onions or relish. Where is that garlic hot sause when you need it. On the way home I stopped at a place called the ice cream king, or something lile that, and they had my favorite flavor of ice cream, Chocolate Marshmellow and it was delicious. That may have been worth the trip. Fifty five down and thirty five to go.
Yesterday was a trip down memory lane as I played on 2 golf courses that I grew up on. The first course was Fairway River Links in Rayland Ohio, which is an hour and twenty minute drive from my house. This course was a 9 hole course back in the late 50’s and 60’s and my dad and I played it almost every weekend when I was a young boy and then when I was in high school I played it almost every day. A season long pass in the mid 1960’s would cost 70 dollars. To fill up your car can cost that much today. The course was owned by former Pittsburgh Pirate 2ond baseman Bill Mazeroski and he eventually sold it and the new owners were able to turn it into and 18 hole course. Six of the old holes remained virtually unchanged. The course is in fair shape with the greens smooth but slow barely running a 4 on the stimp. There is no definition to the fairways and lots of crabgrass but the course has a nice setting as it runs along the Ohio River and is very flat. From the back tees the course plays about 5800 yards to a par of 70. There are many interesting and picturesque holes and I found it to be an enjoyable course to play. Of course I had many memories come back as I played the 6 originals holes. The old number 2 hole was the sight of my first hole in one on July 31 1968. I went around the track in 75 yesterday as it was difficult to adjust to the slowness of the greens. The 4 reading was on the cut greens and I played a lot greens that were not cut yet which were even slower. I was done too early to get a hot dog. Next stop was a course that had opened in 1965 which I also played when I was in high school, Bec-Wood Hills about 15 minute trip down the road or should I say up and down and around the road. This course is much hillier and the greens were in great shape running a 6 on ths stimp and were very smooth. Lot more doglegs and again not really any definition to the fairways although on some holes I thought I could see a line between the fairway and the rough. The fairways were about the same as River Links but the greens were much better and more undulating. From the back tees this course plays about 6100 yards to par of 72. The hot dog at the turn was exceptional and they had a garlic hot sause to die for. It was so good that I had another at the end of the round. I shot 77 here with some adjustment problems on the much speedier greens and I made some strategic errors on some holes because I had not played them before or at least I certainly don’t remember that far back. All in all it was a very enjoyable day as the weather after some early fog was very nice and sunny with temps in the low 80’s by the time I finished. Fifty four down with 36 to go.
Yesterday I went to Hickory Heights in Bridgeville Pa which is a 20 minute drive form my house. This golf course has been around for close to 20 years, has had many changes in ownership and the only reason I think this golf course has been able to survive is that it is located around a lot of poputlation. This course was designed by some well know golf architect and all I can say is he must have been on some kind of acid trip when he built this golf course. To get to the basics the course plays about 6500 yards from the back teess and the greens were running a solid 6.5 on the stimp and were very smooth. The fairways were in good shape and the rough was long but had a lot of bare patches. However the greens are poorly designed, the holes are very narrow and if you have a desire to see just how unfun golf can be I suggest that you buy 2 dozen cheap balls because you are going to lose at least half of them. I was charged 35 dollars to play this golf course from hell and when I got home their web site did say they have a senior rate but gave no details. I guess they only give you this rate if you look like death warmed over. On the web site there is guy on there that says that one of their holes is part of his dream 18. I almost puked on my computer. The only dreams you are going to have about this golf course would be classified as nightmares. I was so disgusted I didn’t bother having a hot dog. I went around the track in 77 which is 5 over par. I played well in the middle of the round and made some nice short game saves at the end when my swing went south. Still no closer to any answers but at least I have this course behind me. Fifty two down and 38 to go.
Today was course no 51, Rolling Fields in Murrysville Pa., which was about a 30 minute drive. I had not heard much about this course and this was the first time I had played it. I knew it was one of these short courses that would probably not be in that great of shape. I was right about that. The course was not as bad as some of the more recent courses but the fairways were choppy and sparse and the rough was about the same length as the fairways. The greens were not cut today but they were in pretty good shape but because of the dampness and not being cut they ran only about a 4 on the stimp. The course plays about 6200 yards from the tips to a par of 70. The first 10 holes were pretty much what I expected a lot of short par 4’s and a short par 5 and one really nice par 3 of about 180 yards over water. The 10th hole in fact is nothing more than an uphill par 4 of 270 yards. Then you get to the 11th hole and welcome to the PGA tour. 11 is a 420 yard par 4 a lot uphill, then 12 is 440 par 4 down and uphill. The 13th is a 375 yard par 4 with a tight dogleg to the left. 14 is nice straighaway par 3 at 180yds. 15 is a so so short par 4. Then we are back in business a 190 par 3 over a ravine. A short par 5 is then followed by a solid finishing hole a 410 yard par with at least a 230 yd. carry over water with more trouble on the right. I do not think I have ever seen such two contrasting 9’s. If the greens had been cut I would have probably enjoyed this course more. The hot dog at the turn was fair with another dirty mustard and ketchup tops. Needless to say I had only relish and onions. I had my typical up and down day with some really bad short game shots. I hit the ball pretty good overall but made too many bogeys against 3 birdies to shoot 75. I must say the back nine was quite a surprise but this course is not worth the trip. Overall it was a rather pleasant day even though it was a little cloudy and murky but at least I stayed dry. Fifty one down and thirty nine to go.
Today was course no 50 Lindenwood in Peters Twp. which is about a 25 minute drive from my house. This course has 27 holes and we played the older 18 holes. We have had a lot rain the last 2 days and the course was soggy but held up rather well. The greens were running a 5.5 on the stimp and did have some rough spots on them. The course was in good shape overall. Lindenwood plays about 6400 yards from the tees that we played. We did not play from the exteme back tees because the first nine plays over 3500 yards from the tips. Lindenwood has always been close to where I have lived but I have never played the course very much because generally they want too much to play it and the course is never in really great shape. The greens have always been just so so and today was no exception but they were a little faster than expected despite the rain. There was no hot dog at the turn today because there was no service even though it was 12:30 and 2 to 3 people were waiting. After 20 minutes I left. Lindenwood has always had their nose up in the air a little bit for a public course and most of the time its really been up their ass. Because of the weather we were one of the first one’s there and the lady at the pro shop took forever to ring us up and we gave her exact change. Then the starter said keep those receipts for the rain check and I who look at the radar said “Oh its not going to rain” Then he curtly said well ok then just rip them up. And then no service at the snack bar was the final straw even though people were yelling, anybody back there. Obviously this course is not worth even a 25 minute trip. The play was mediocre today as I shot an 80 and Pete had major putting woes and had an 86. I may have come up with something today though, and again time will tell. One of these blogs I will go through some the experimental swing ideas I have had during this 1 year trek so far. One of the reasons I haven’t gone into details on some of these swing ideas is out of embarassment. Some I have kept for a few weeks like the one I had at the end of last year and some have not even lasted a round. I may save all that for the end of the season blog. Fifty courses down and 40 to go.