Today we went to the local county course South Park. This course is only a 15 to 20 minute drive from the house. This was also the South Park senior championship which the 3 of us played. The course is about 80 some years old and almost takes care of it self and that is the key word almost. We have had a really hot and dry spell and the course was certainly paying the price. The greens were browning out and the fairways were brown and sparse. The course played about 6400 yards today and the greens ran about a 5 on the stimp. This course is not worth the trip unless your trip is very short like mine. The group did pretty well today. Pete shot a 73 and finished 2nd overall and 1st in our age group. I shot 79 and while I did not strike the ball well my putter and chipping were the main problems today. Donna had 91 and finished 3rd in her age group. The park has always been a course that has had condition problems but at times has been in excellent shape. This was not one of them. The course is fairly open but it is hilly with lots of uphill blind shots. Pretty boring and not the most enjoyable course to play but their rates are reasonable. Needless to say the search continues and now it is for some short game answers. If your just starting to play golf I would recommend the 9 hole course there. It is not crowded on Friday or the weekends and is good place to start to learn golf, that is, if you want to learn this game. I would not recommend it myself. The hot dog was pretty good but nothing special. Well 7 down and 83 to go.
Yesterday August 27th we played golf courses 5 and 6. This time at least we did stay in Pennsylvania but again we headed about 75 minutes north of Pittsburgh to play Tam O Shanter and Castle Hills golf courses. This was by far our most enjoyable day. The weather was perfect and both of these golf courses were in excellent shape. Both courses were very similar. Tam O Shanter played about 6500 yards and Castle Hills played about 6300 from the tips. We started with Tam O shanter in the morning. This course is fairly tight with lots of tree lined fairways and some excellent par 3’s. The greens were running little faster than 5 and were very smooth. The pro shop at Tam O Shanter has to be one of the most well stocked of any public course. If your looking for clubs I would suggest to play and look at this good selection. The only negative of the day was that the hot dog at the turn stunk. It was basically uneatable. In fact it was worse than having no hot dog like at Kensington. The hot dog at Castle Hill was fair at best but it tasted like filet mignon compared to the other piece of garbage. I only ate half of it and I only ate that much in disbelief. I thought maybe my mouth was dry and it was making it taste bad. As my Dad use to say” It was enough to make a buzzard puke”. Off we went to Castle Hills and again another pretty course with some excellent greens . The best we putted so far. They ran a solid 6.5 and you paid the price if you got above the hole. This course was not as tight as Tam but it made up for it with quicker and more undulating greens. [ To show you how similar these courses played, I shot 77 and 76, Pete shot 80 and 80 and Donna shot 92 and 93. I hit the ball very well today and I am working on something that may have a lasting effect on my golf game,we will have to wait an see. The most interesting thing about my play today was how the way the ball was lying on the grass affected the shot. Tam’s fairway were more lush than at Castle. This made iron shots particularly short irons fly farther at Tam and this cost me about 3 times during the round. When we got to Castle Hills the fairways were shorter just a little sparse in places and the short irons did not go as far. If you can play these courses as a tandem they are definitely worth the trip. The greens were spectacular and there is a good variety to the holes. My game has been improving and we will see if this new process with the swing will continue to progress. It could just be temporary solution number 387. The biggest thing I came away with from these 2 rounds because of the difference in the fairways is to pay attention to how that ball is lying and how much grass is underneath it. It can make a difference of 20 yards even on a pitching wedge. It was a great day and with some hope on the horizon. 6 down 84 to go.
August 11 we went to golf courses 3 and 4 and again we went into Eastern Ohio near the same area as last week. The first course we played was Kennsington Golf Club. This is a new golf course, about 4 years old and again connected to a housing development. This was the first time I had ever played this course and I had heard some good things about it. We played from tees that made the course play about 6600 yards and there are tees that will stretch the course to 7050 yards. The golf course itself is ok with some pretty nice holes, but it is a position type of golf course. We played the first 6 holes and then we ran into a green that was almost completely burned out. Then another and another and eventually there were 9 greens that were a mess. The greens that were ok ran about a 5 on the stimpmeter. Needless to say this took away some of the enjoyment of the day. The overall condition of the course was not great either. We only had a threesome today. I shot 77, Pete shot 86 and Donna shot 84. It’s hard not to be too harsh on a golf course that is in this bad of shape even a new golf course but lets just say that it is not worth the trip even if you just have to walk out your back door to play the place. We made the turn a little after 11am and there were no hot dogs to be found, a very bad day at Kennsington Golf Club. There’s potential here but they better start taking care of the place. The next stop was Reserve Run golf course which is about 15 minutes south and east of Kennsington and it is about 10 or 15 years old. This is the first of many courses that I will call short golf courses. From the tips it is only 6162 yards. This golf course was in good shape, with the greens running a nice 6.5 on the stimpmeter. This course is very enjoyable to play. The holes are easy to follow and it is fairly wide open but there are some holes that can be very tight. There are some blind shots but overall it is a nice course to play. Is it worth the trip. If you pair this course up with Copeland Hills the first course we played I would most definitely say Yes. The course is not difficult and greens are not severe so any level of golfer should be able to play here and have a great time. The hot dog at the turn was just fair but at least they had some. Man, I was hungry. I shot a 75 Pete shot 82 and Donna 82. It was another hot and humid day but clouds rolled in and it was better in the afternoon. Did we find any answers today. Obviously I am playing a little better. In rounds of the last 7 days I have shot 75 76 77 and 75. These rounds are not 2 handicap caliber but there is some improvement here. Have I made some adjustments? Yes. Will they be long term? Who knows. The second 18 at Reserve Run was interesting. I birdied the first hole a short par 5 and then made only 1 bogey and 6 pars to be even par as I headed to the 9th tee. For the next 5 holes I simply lost control of my body. I hit 3 horrible tee shots on the 9th, 10th, and 13th holes and had short game blues on 2 other holes to make 4 bogeys in the next 5 holes. I pared the 13th hole despite the drive and then bogeyed the 14th hole when I flew an 80 yard pitch shot over the green on a fly, from the middle of the fairway. Then I pared in from the there. Golf does this to you. You simply for whatever reason lose control of your body. From a 3 foot putt to a tee ball there is something in the thought process system that causes your body to do things that it would never do on the practice tee. I had a golf instructor tell me once “Control the body, control the golf club and you will control the golf ball. Can we do that we will see. 4 golf courses down 86 to go.