Fighting The Golf Course

It is no surprise that every golf course offers its own unique challenges. Regardless of which course I played over the past 45 years, each track I noticed that they offer something. Many times, the bunkers or longer rough will play into the mix. Other times, the greens provide challenges I did not normally encounter. The list is endless. The best part about what each course offers is that provides a new and sometimes unique challenge to my game. It is those challenges that drives my desire to play different golf course and on a fundamental level, golf itself.

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Course Management From 150 Yards

150 yards out

Hole 1 – Loyalist Golf and Country Club

The first hole at the Loyalist Golf and Country Club poses many challenges. The tee shot vexes most golfers with a  210 yard uphill shot to the crest of a hill. Due to the elevation, it plays more like 230 yards. If struck properly, the average player’s ball will be at the 150 yard marker or closer with a good view of the green (see above). The next shot is very important and this is where your course management skills are really tested!

My assessment of the hole matched the course description, with the exception of the wind direction. It was playing right to left and slightly in my face. Loyalist Golf Club’s view on their first hole is as follows:

Your Loyalist experience starts with a straightaway par that normally plays downwind. Your tee shot must avoid two large bunkers to the left side of the fairway. Careful club selection is necessary as you play your approach into an elevated, two-level green. A good chance at birdie to start.

When approaching a shot such as this, it is important to see all potential aspects of the hole that will affect your shot. Or in other words, focus on course management. The following is what I saw and used to determine my club selection:

  • The green is slightly above my ball  location because I cannot see the bottom of the flag stick. Impact: playing longer than 150 yards.
  • The green slopes right to left. Impact: The ball will likely move to the left after contacting the green.
  • Wind is blowing right to left and slightly in our face. Impact: The ball will be pushed right to left. Yardage will play longer.
  • Deep Grass on the right with large mounds. Impact: Must fly the ball to the green. Avoid going right.
  • Bunkers on the left. Impact: Stay to the right.
  • Mound at back helps protect from going long. Impact: Can be more aggressive with my approach shot.
  • Flag is up front (red flag). Impact: Sucker pin placement. Most shots will end up short if shot directly at the pin.
  • Sharp drop-off in the front of the green. Impact: A short shot will result in the ball being 10 feet below the green for the next shot.
  • Points you cannot see, but must be considered: lie of ball on the fairway (in a hole, divot, or on the flat surface), is ball above or below my feet, is the ground soft or hard and the exact yardage using my GARMIN Approach6.

These are the things that should be considered when making an approach shot from 150 yards on the first hole at Loyalist Golf Course.

After considering all the variables (took about 15 seconds) I decided to hit my 7-1ron. It is my 150 yard club, which was the yardage to the back of the green. I estimated that the ball would travel about 145 yards. I aimed just left of the pin despite the wind and slope of the green. I made good contact; the ball landed on the front part of the green and to the left of the pin. The ball only traveled 140 yards, 5 yards less than I estimated. I was left with a 30 foot putt. After a two putt, I walked away with a par.

If I was to replay the shot, I would select a 6 iron to reduce the margin of error on a possible miss hit. Also, the mounds in the back would provide the protection required if I hit the ball a bit long.

So, the variables to consider can be numerous and the time to do so short. I have learned through the years to start the analysis of the variables before I reach my ball. This helps speed up play and keeps me focused between shots.

What would you do different if you were to play this shot? All suggestions are greatly appreciated.

I am a grateful golfer. See you on the links!

 

Loyalist Country Club – Review

Ready to Tee off! Congrats to Pete on his retirement!

Ready to Tee off! Congrats to Pete on his retirement!

On Friday, 06 Jul 14, I had the privilege of celebrating the retirement of a friend who dedicated 35 loyal years of service to the Canadian Armed Forces.  As part of the celebration, about 30 of us congregated for a round of golf and to swap stories at the Loyalist Country Club in Bath, Ontario, Canada.

This jewel of a course has played host to many prominent Ontario amateur championships that include the Ontario Senior Men’s Amateur (August 2011), the Ontario Women’s Mid-Amateur (August 2010), the Ontario Men’s Mid-Amateur (June 2009), the GAO Senior Women’s Amateur (July 2008), and the Women’s Amateur (2012) championships.

Par 5 second shot over water!

Par 5 second shot over water!

This 6584 yard track provided all amenities expected from a top-tier course. The staff was outstanding and portrayed a positive customer-service attitude that was very refreshing. My dealings with Jordan Babcock in the Pro Shop, Geoff James (CPGA Head Professional) and the staff in the lounge would warrant a trip back to the Loyalist Golf and Country Club. All the prices were reasonable, the food was fantastic and the ambiance was great. Overall, before even playing, I was very happy with my experience.

Warming up on the Range.

Warming up on the Range.

The practice facility was good. The driving range was very large and provided plenty of room for at least 20 players to hit balls. The practice green was a bit small and there was no place to pitch; only chip. However, the green rolled exactly the same as those on the course and this feature alone made up for the smaller putting/chipping green. Another bonus was the practice facility was located right beside the first tee. Personally, this is a great feature because a player can continue to practice until called forward by the starter. Overall, the practice facility was well suited for the Loyalist Country Club.

Approach shot to the first green.

Approach shot to the first green.

The course played like two different courses. The front nine provided a rolling, meandering layout that was challenging and yet playable. Most of the greens were elevated and had many hidden breaks that provided a level of difficulty that I appreciated. As we made our way around the first nine holes, the water hazards, sand traps, and dog-legs were well placed so course management was an important factor to score low.

Approaching over water!

Approaching over water!

The back-nine was less adventurous as it weaved through a subdivision of expensive homes. It was level and the greens were less interesting, but still posed a decent challenge. The fairways were flatter and good lies could be found everywhere. To score low, each player still needed to manage their shots and stay focused on their yardage to set up the next shot. Overall, the back-nine was still fun to play.

Great place to rest and talk!

The condition of the course was outstanding. The fairways were plush and well maintained. The greens rolled true. The hazards were well-marked and the grass was mowed in all areas. There was a washroom facility after the 13th hole. There was plenty of dirt to replace divots on the par 3 tee boxes (more of an issue on most courses than one would think) and there were many yardage markers on the sprinkler heads. Additionally, there were a couple of table and chair sets located throughout the clubhouse area which greatly enhanced my experience.

Korean Beef Salad! Delicious!

We arrived early to have lunch and sat in the lounge. The service was outstanding, the food delicious and the atmosphere perfect. The price of my meal, and the other selections on the menu, were very reasonable and worthy of another visit.

 

 

Overall, I would rate this course a 4.0 out of 5. My entire golfing experience was excellent and I would highly recommend this course to anyone in the Bath, Ontario, area looking for a game. Thanks to the entire Loyalist Country Club team for my outstanding golf outing.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!