Sunday, November 4, 2007

Fall Classic: A Round at Walnut Lane

Walnut Lane Golf Club
Philadelphia, Pa
Yards: 4271, Par: 62
Rating: 59.9, Slope: 91
Score: 45/48 = 93
Date: November 4, 2007

Looking for a bit of change, I decided to try my luck at Walnut Lane Golf Club, a classic old layout located in the Wissahickon Valley. It is a short, hilly, narrow track that was desined by legendary architect Alex Findlay, who also designed such notable Philadelphia-area links as Llanerch, Reading and Tavistock Country Clubs.

Walnut Lane is a par 62 because it features 10 Par 3s, ranging in length from 125 to 227 yards. Because of this, I took my driver out of the bag and replaced it with a 2-Hybrid. Perhaps the most unique and difficult Par 3 is Hole 11, which plays 134 yards straight uphill through a narrow ravine. Miss left and your ball will kick off the hill and likely wind up in the small creek that also crosses about 15 yards off the tee.

It was windy and bit chilly as I made my around Walnut Lane. The ball didn't carry that well because of the cool temperatures and also because the wind also tends to funnels through the trees and several holes played dead into the breeze today. I also had the tendency to hit my irons thin today, both off the tee and the fairway.

I also made probably my weirdest par of year at the 316-yard Par 4 9th Hole. Your tee shot must carry a ravine and a tree line narrows the fairway from the right, requiring that you put you tee shot on the left hand side. Two bunkers guard the green, which slopes from back to front. I pulled a 4-wood for my tee shot and set up on the right side of the tee box, expecting to hit my usual draw onto the left side of the fairway. Of course, I hit it dead straight, hitting a tree on the right, which kicked my ball perfectly into the fairway on the left, about 115 yards from the green. I pulled a 9-iron, which I proceeded to thin--the ball never getting higher than two-feet off the fairway as it split the two bunkers and rolled to stop 12-feet behind the cup. I cozied the downhill putt, which broke right at the last second, to six inches and tapped in for par.

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