Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fairways Test Drive

Fairways Golf Club
Warrington, Pa.
Yards: 2200/2248 - 4448
Par: 32/33 - 65
Rating: 62.1, Slope: 104
Score: 43/39 = 82
Date: October 7, 2018

Through most of this season, I have been switching drivers and fairway woods in and out of bag. So far, I have used four different drivers and 12 different fairway wood during the 17 rounds I have played. This round at the Fairway Golf Club was another opportunity to course-test a driver, a Wilson Staff FG Tour F5, and a Ping G25 3-wood.

Fairways Golf Club Scorecard

I had acquired the Wilson F5 driver earlier this season and had used it once, shooting a 94 at Juniata Golf Course at the beginning of June. During that round, I hit most of my shots with the driver either to the right and short or a duck-hook left. It quickly came out of the bag and has been patiently waiting for another round. It got the opportunity on Sunday.

I used the F5 driver on six tee shots during my round: holes one, two, eight, sixteen, seventeen and
Wilson Staff F5 Driver
eighteen. The first two times I teed off with it, my drives were anything but impressive: a low hook at the first and screaming worm burned at the second. Although I recovered to make a bogey and a par on those holes, I seriously considered whether I would hit the driver again during the round.

At the eighth, I decided to tee the ball a little lower and position it a little further back in my stance, just off my left heel, than I do with my other drivers. I proceeded to hit a low draw up the right side of the fairway, one of my best drives of the round so far. I teed the ball the same at the last three holes, and except for pulling my tee shot left at the sixteenth, I hit very good tee shots. In fact, I made par and birdie on the last two holes, where I hit the driver. So it will stay in bag for now as I give it some more testing.

A good tee shot at the 18th led to birdie

I hit the Ping G25 twice off the tee during my round, at the fifth and thirteenth holes, and I didn't like either tee shot. I will be going back to the TaylorMade Burner 2008 3-wood that I used for four rounds in August and September.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Saturday, Muddy Saturday at FDR

FDR Golf Club
Philadelphia, Pa.
Yards: 2865/2855 - 5720
Par: 35/34 - 69
Rating: 63.9, Slope: 105
Score: 44/51 = 95
Date: September 22, 2018

Despite September's overabundance of rain, I decided to play FDR Golf Club in South Philadelphia. One of the City-owned courses, FDR gets its name from Franklin D. Roosevelt Park, which is known to many native Philadelphians as The Lakes due to the numerous bodies of water found throughout the park. Rain tends to make the course muddy and soft; conditions that linger longer than usual.

FDR Scorecard

Teeing it up on the first day of the fall, the temperatures were just a little cooler and the sunny skies gave way to cloudy and windy as the round progressed. Still, I got off to a blazing start as I parred the first two holes. Of course, the Third Hole at FDR is a par 5, and as usual, I struggled to a triple-bogey six. Still, I played consistently through the front nine, parring both par 3s and finishing with a 44 despite a bad double-bogey at the Ninth Hole.

The Par 3 Fifth Hole

As the winds picked up on the back nine, I struggled off the tee, my iron shots weren't solid and my putting erratic. By the Seventeenth Hole I had figured out what I was doing wrong on the greens. I was using a forward press to begin my putting stroke, but that was causing me to miss putts to the left. It is something I need to work on moving forward.

The 418-Yard Tenth Hole from the Tee

I ended up making double-bogey or worse on seven of the nine holes, parring the par 3 Thirteenth and par 4 Eighteenth Hole. I shot a disappointing 51 on the back nine for a round of 95.

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.