Saturday, September 15, 2018

Vacation Finale at Rookery North

The Rookery North
Milford, DE
Yards: 3030/2916 - 5946
Par: 36/35 - 71
Rating: 69.0, Slope: 126
Score: 55/46 = 101
Date: September 6, 2018

My third and final round during my week-long Labor Day vacation in Delaware was played at The Rookery North in Milford. Originally built as a private club, Shawnee, in 1957, it was acquired by the owners of The Rookery Golf Club a few years ago and re-branded as The Rookery's north course. I had previously played the course when it was Shawnee nearly 20 years ago, shooting a 99.

My original intention for my vacation finale was to play at The Rookery's South Course in Milton, Del.,, but an outing had the course closed. So I took a chance and drove to the North Course, about 20 miles north of Lewes, for my round. I felt confident as I teed off, but my opening drive found trees on the left side of the fairway. It was a foreshadow of how my opening nine holes would go as I struggled to find the fairway, and when I did, I could not take advantage. Again, par 5s were a nightmare, as I triple-bogeyed both on the front nine. I made double-bogey or worse on seven of the nine opening holes. It added up to a 55.

The Rookery North Scorecard

The back nine was a good bit better. I actually made a birdie at the 114-yard par 3 Thirteenth Hole and parred the long, 198-yard par 3 Tenth Hole. But a quadruple-bogey 8 at the 327-yard Twelfth and a double at par 5 Seventeenth blunted any real momentum, though I did manage a 46 for the nine. That gave me a disappointing 101 for the round.

Overall, my three rounds were fun. Except for a three hole stretch at the American Classic I would have shot a fantastic round. And one nine holes--the back at Jonathan's Landing and the front at The Rookery North--kept me from shooting better scores. I was also happy that I got to play two courses that I haven't played in a very long time.

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Rough Landing

Jonathan's Landing Golf Club
Magnolia, DE
Yards: 3062/2575 - 5637
Par: 36/35 - 71
Rating: 65.6, Slope: 110
Score: 47/50 = 97
Date: September 4, 2018

My second round during my Delaware vacation was at Jonathan's Landing Golf Club in Magnolia, Del., just outside Dover, and about 35 miles north of Lewes. I had played the course once 10 years ago and I was looking forward to giving it another try.

Jonathan's Landing Scorecard

The two nines at Jonathan's Landing are starkly different. The front nine is more open and is often bounded by marsh areas and wetlands, while the back nine is tighter and winds through a housing development. The two nines have been reversed since the last time I played the course.

Par 3 Third Hole

My round couldn't have gotten off to a worse start: I hit my lay-up second shot at the par 5 First Hole into a marsh area and made double-bogey. I followed that up with double-bogey's at the par 5 Second and par 4 Third Hole. I righted myself a bit with back-to-back pars at the Fourth and Fifth holes, with another par at the 137-yard par 3 Eighth. I shot a 47 on my opening nine and felt somewhat optimistic heading to the second and easier nine.

My ball sits on sand on the Sixth green

One thing that made scoring a bit difficult was the fact that the course was topdressing the greens with sand in preparation for aerating them. This made putting to the hole difficult on many greens. The course's fairways also showed the effects of all the rain and extreme heat from this summer with many bare spots.

The Sixth green being topdressed with sand during my round

My back nine was worse than the first nine, as I double-bogeyed two easy par 3s in the first four holes. I also missed a 5-foot birdie putt at the 241-yard par 4 Twelfth Hole. After hitting my tee shot right and out-of-bounds, I made a triple-bogey 7 at the Fourteenth Hole. A bogey at the 138-yard par Fifteenth was the last gasp, as I proceeded to double-bogey the last three holes. This was especially frustrating since the Sixteenth and Seventeenth holes are par 5s where I hit perfect tee shots, but chunked easy layup and pitch shots. It added up to a back nine 50 and 97 for the round. This was two strokes higher than the 95 I shot in 2008, when I made a birdie and four pars.

The par 3 Thirteenth Hole

The most disappointing things about my round at Jonathan's Landing was I didn't take advantage of the easier holes on the back nine, I double-bogeyed every par 5 and I wasn't warned about the greens being topdressed before teeing off. I was happy, however, that I managed to shoot under 100.

Not just bugs buzz around the course

One interesting aspect of the course is its location. It is on the approach to Dover Air Force Base and throughout my round, Air Force transport planes continually flew literally overhead.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A Classic Warmup

American Classic Golf Club
Lewes, DE
Yards: 2017/2017 - 4034
Par: 32/32 - 64
Rating: 60.2, Slope: 107
Score: 46/36 = 82
Date: September 2, 2018

Labor Day week means vacation time and a week at the Delaware beaches, where the Muni Golfer has plenty of family. While the week means beach time for Mrs. Muni Golfer, it is a min golf-getaway for me. The week offers me the chance to play three rounds at three different courses.

American Classic GC Scorecard

Since I hadn't played for two weeks leading up to the getaway, I decided begin my golf vacation with a warmup round at the American Classic Golf Club in Lewes. A nine-hole course that plays to a par 32, you can play around twice for 18 holes.

When the course was first built by the Heritage Inn, it was a nice par 35 that played to 2,359 yards and featured two par 3s, seven par 4s and a par 5 whose green was an island. But eventually, development won out and housing was built around the course, forcing holes to be shortened. Maintenance seemed to get less and less, to the point where you could play all for only $10.

Tee shot at the Second Hole

A couple of years ago, the course was purchased from the Heritage and it has undergone a transformation. Upgrades have been done and conditions have improved. I paid $35 to walk on the Sunday before Labor Day.

My round started off with pars and the First and Second holes. I was playing well until I reached the par 4 Sixth Hole, which used to play as a long par 5, with an island green. I duffed the ball down the fairway and deposited it into the pond. I would making a 10. I splashed my tee shot at the Seventh and wound up making a triple-bogey 6. That was followed by a double-bogey at the short par 3 Eighth. I finished off the front nine with a par and a score of 46.

The island green at the Sixth Hole

The second nine couldn't have been any more different. I made a birdie at the last hole to go along with five pars. If I hadn't triple-bogeyed the 175-yard Fourth Hole, which used play as a 400-yard par 4, I might have broken 80. As it was I shot a 36 on the back and a score of 82. A good warmup round to begin my Delaware golf vacation.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Ecco Bravo!

For the past few seasons, I have been looking to replace my go-to black Adidas golf shoes, which had been getting more and more beaten and worn with each round I played. Because I like how the black golf shoes looked, I wanted to stay with that color. I also wanted a shoe that featured replaceable spikes as opposed to a golf shoes that had molded spikes in the sole. So I began a search that has lasted for several seasons.

Ecco Men's Cage Golf Shoe

I looked first at Adidas, which I have worn exclusively since the late 1990s, but I didn't like the contemporary styles that now popularize their brand. The same was true with Foot-Joy, one the most popular golf shoe on the market, and Nike. With those virtually eliminated, I began to focus on off-brands such as New Balance, Skechers and Ecco. I wear New Balance trainers at the gym and was intrigued by their Golf 2004 model. Skechers has been carving out a niche on the professional golf tours, and a few of their models seemed worth exploring. But I have always been fascinated by Ecco, a European-based company, whose golf shoes are worn by pros such as Fred Couples, Ernie Els and Graeme McDowell. While they had several models I strongly liked, I always had concerns over sizing (I wear a 9.5, but Ecco is 9-9.5) and their high price was more prohibitive.

The shoe features Champ Zarma spikes

The weekend after July 4th, I was in Rehoboth Beach, Del., for a family celebration. There are several outlet stores there, including New Balance, Skechers and Ecco. I decided this was possibly the opportunity to pull the trigger on finally replacing past-their-prime Adidas golf shoes. Fortunately, my cousin was also looking for a new pair of golf shoes, so we could possibly take advantage of any discounts that were being offered. After he struck out at the Nike outlet, we ventured over to Ecco. I quickly zeroed in the Men's Cage model in black, which was on sale at $60 off the regular retail price. I tried on the 9-9.5, but they felt a bit big, so I moved to the 8-8.5 size, which felt better. Ecco was also offering a deal that if you bought one pair, the second pair was 40 percent off. My cousin also found he liked so we were able to split the discount and each get another 20 percent off our purchase!

I have worn my new Ecco golf shoes now for three rounds, including one walking 18 holes. They look and feel great. The Champ Zarma golf spikes on the sole provides a great base and traction from all types of stances on the course. It was definitely worth the wait in replacing my old golf shoes and I give these Ecco shoes a high recommendation. I can see now why Couples, Els and McDowell trust their feet to Ecco.