Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Round at Jonathan's Landing

Jonathan's Landing
Magnolia, Del
Yards: 3062/2575 - 5637
Par: 36/35 - 71
Rating: 65.8, Slope: 106
Score: 48/47 = 95
Date: September 4, 2008

I had always wanted to play Jonathan's Landing, a links-style golf course located just a few miles south of Dover, Delaware. The course is visible as you dive along Delaware Route 1 heading to or from the Delaware beaches. In fact, the course probably sits less than a mile from the runway at Dover Air Force Base, a fact that you are constantly reminded of as huge cargo planes rumble low overhead. I became even more determined to make the course one of my destinations this year after visiting their booth at the Victory Golf Show back in March. So I made the 45-minute drive up from the Rehoboth Beach area for the final round during my week-long vacation at the Delaware beach.

Jonathan's Landing Scorecard

The front nine at Jonathan's Landing is very open, with water and/or wetlands coming into play on eight of the nine holes, while most of the back nine winds through a housing development and water/wetlands being a factor on only three holes. Because the course is so open, wind is often a factor, making club selection difficult and crucial. The clubhouse at Jonathan's Landing, which opened in July of 2001 is quite a site; a replica of the Port Mahon Lighthouse. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. The course also features a driving range, a pitching and chipping practice green and a 12,000 square foot short game area.

The 16th, a 454-yard Par 5 with the Clubhouse in the distance

The course was in excellent condition for so late in the summer season. Because of the lack of rain however, carts were permitted to driven in the fairway, but not in the rough on the day I played. The greens had been aerated, but were still pretty smooth and medium fast.

The 13th Hole, a Par 3 where trouble looms short left and to the right

My round started on the back nine. Because this was my fourth round in seven days, and considering what happened at The Rookery, I took a cart for this round. As I was teeing off, a threesome drove up to the hole that included Bill, Bill, and his brother Dave; three retired locals who are regulars at Jonathan's Landing. I asked them if they cared to make it a foursome and they gladly accepted my invitation. And boy, am I glad they did. Besides being three great guys, their knowledge of the course proved invaluable, as there are many blind shots and hidden dangers on the course. An example was the 12th Hole (our third), a short 241-yard Par 4 in which the green is visible from the tee, but two long bunkers to the right of the fairway and green are not. After pointing this out to me, I teed off with my hybrid to about 15 yards short of the green, then chipped to four feet, which I made for a birdie. Or at the 13th, a Par 3 where they told me don't miss to the right and I, of course, hit it right, which slopes severely away from the green and down into wetlands.

The 3rd Hole, a short, tight Par 4 with a persistent wind and wetlands all around

I started out playing well at Jonathan's Landing, with a bogey, par and birdie on my first three holes. After that, I made the game more challenging that it need to be by repeatedly having difficulty off the tee. The wind was definitely causing me problems. And when I did play well from tee to green, I almost always managed to throw in an extra putt or two. But after playing, or struggling, through the first 14 holes, once again I managed to dig deep and pull my game together over the last four holes, going 4-5-3-5. The two pars and two bogeys helped me salvage a 95 for my round.

The 7th Hole, a Par 4 that doglegs right over water

I think over the final few holes, I finally realized what my problems have been with my swing. It has become too around my body as opposed to more upright, which is how I swing when I am playing at my best. It certainly gave me something to think about, as well as reflect on Jonathan's Landing as I drove the 45-minutes back to the Rehoboth Beach area to have dinner and enjoy the finals few days of my Delaware vacation.

Some more photos of Jonathan's Landing:

My playing partners: Bill, his brother Dave, and Bill

The pride of the U.S. Air Force streaks overhead

The 2nd Green. Behind runs the road back to Del. Rte. 1

The 5th Hole. Approach shots play over wetlands fronting the green.

The 10th Hole, with houses lining the fairway

The 15th Hole, a 138-yard Par 3 that played into the wind

The 18th Hole and the magnificent Clubhouse
Photos by The Muni Golfer