Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Season's First Nine

Juniata Golf Club
Philadelphia, Pa
Yards: 4805, Par: 66
Rating: 63.2, Slope: 106
Score: Practice Round
Date: April 19, 2008

I finally got out to the course for my first practice round of the season. The weather was beautiful; a warm, sunny day with a bit of wind. I played the front nine only since I didn't want to overdo the first time out. I carried 16 clubs in my bag since I picked up some new ones over the winter and wanted to test them out. I carried my two new Nickent hybrids which I picked up at the Victory Golf Show, a Solus sand wedge I bought at Golf Galaxy's TaylorMade-adidas night and a Dunlop Loco 7-Wood I bought at Walmart. I also played the new Bridgestone e6+ golf ball that I was sent to test as part of my membership in the PGA Tour Partners Club.

This was the first time I had played at Juniata Golf Club since it became independent from the Fairmount Park Commission. The conditions were surprisingly good and you could see visible evidence that they are working hard on making the course attractive. A new, larger office has been built in the clubhouse and you could see that further renovations were underway. The bridge over the Frankford Creek between holes 9 and 17 had been painted and a path of astroturf had been placed in the middle of the bridge to make it easier for walkers. Some tee boxes had been closed off to allow grass to regrow and the bunkers were filled with playable sand.

As for my game, I tended to strike the ball better than I thought I would, although I did tend to slightly thin some early tee shots. Those turned into pulls or hooks later in the round. My short game was fair, but touch around the green is always one of the last things to round into shape, and my putting was pretty consistent. I made two pars and only had one really bad hole--the uphill 6th, where I thinned a wedge well over the green on my third shot and ended up making a 7.

Overall, I was satisfied. It was good to once again be out walking the fairways, swinging my golf clubs, although my body is feeling it a bit today. I met up with three guys on the first tee--Mark, Ruben and Ken--and we all had a great time playing as a foursome. A couple of more practice rounds and a trips to the practice range and I'll be ready to go.