John F. Byrne Golf Club
Yards: 4883, Par: 67
Score: 49/50 = 99
Date: August 5, 2007
It was a hot and humid August Sunday as I played a round at John F. Byrne Golf Club, my second venture this season around the City of Philadelphia-owned golf course located in Northeast Philadelphia. I put the TaylorMade Burner in the golf bag, with mixed results. My ball-striking was off through most of the early parts of the round, but I did make a discovery: my swing needs to be more upright. I have gotten into the habit of swinging around my body, which causes me to push shots to the right instead of hitting the draw I have been accustom. My short game was also off today as it always seemed I was one club too long or one club too short on chips and pitches. The highlight of my round came at the 516-yard Par 5 12th Hole. I hit a huge drive in the fairway, then hit my newly re-shafted 3-Wood to about 15 yards shirt of the hole. I chipped to about 30 feet past the hole, then drained the slightly downhill putt for birdie! It is my second birdie on a Par 5 this season. But I am disappointed I was unable to take advantage of any of the four Par 3s on the back nine, playing them in a combined 9 over par! Still, I am extremely happy to have grinded my way around in under 100 strokes.
Although John F. Byrne is only a Par 67, it sits in a valley and many of its holes play either uphill or downhill, including both Holes 9 and 18, which cross a small creek about 140 yards off the tee, then plays severely uphill to narrow greens that slope from back to front and are well guarded by bunkers on each side. The creek, which wanders through the course, comes into play, or potentially comes into play, on at least half of the holes on the course. Perhaps the toughest holes is #4, a short Par 4 that plays less than 300 yards. Tee shots must carry the creek at about 145 yards. However, to carry the creek, you must also put your tee shot through a very narrow opening in the tree line and then the fairway slopes uphill and to the right. The green, which juts out of the side of a hill, is probably the smallest on the course. Overall, John F. Byrne will test your accuracy, your short game, your patience and your stamina if, like me, you chose to walk the course.