Yards: 4906, Par 68
Score: Practice Round/Front Nine
Date: May 30, 2009
Saturday we were in Easton, Pa., to watch our nephew's middle school matinee performance of You're a Good Man Charlie Brown. Following the play, while the rest of the family were doing the barbecue thing, I grabbed my clubs and headed off to Bethlehem Golf Club's Executive Course for a nine-hole practice round. The Executive Course is part of the City of Bethlehem's municipal golf complex, which includes the 18-hole Monocacy Course, the 9-hole Executive Course and a 36-bay Driving Range. The Monocacy Course, which I've played three times, has been rated four stars by Golf Digest. Greens fees for the Executive Course range from $16 for non-Bethlehem residents on weekends and holidays to a $9 weekday twilight rate for residents. Since I didn't arrive at the course until 5 p.m., I paid $13 to walk.
Like most nine-hole courses, Bethlehem's Executive Course features split tees: white for the front nine and blue for the back nine. The front plays shorter at 2325 yards, while the back nine plays from 2581 yards. There are seven Par 4s and two Par 3s for a Par of 34 per nine holes. Total, the Bethlehem Executive Course plays to an 18 hole Par 68 at a total of just over 4900 yards. While the course is fairly wide open, several holes play either uphill or downhill, and the greens are small, raised, undulating. They weren't as fast as usual given the recent rains, but they were a bit firmer and harder to hold than I expected. Because of the recent rains, the rough was moderately thick.
I met up with Bill, a local resident who works for the City of Bethlehem's water department on the 3rd Tee and we played the rest of the nine together. Bill and I enjoyed our pairing, although we each struggled off the tee and with club selection due to the wind. Because Bethlehem Golf Club's Executive Course sits atop and hill and is rather open, wind is often a factor during a round.
As I mentioned, I struggled off the tee, and often came up short on approach shots. One reason for the shortness with my irons is the difficulty in finding yardage markers and determining yardages. My pitching and chipping was fair, but I missed too many short putts. I seriously need to devote a practice session to chipping and putting.
Overall, the Executive Course is a great place to practice your game. But keep in mind, because of the rates, and the fact that the Executive Course is not a bear like the neighboring Monocacy Course, it gets a lot of play from higher handicappers, beginners and junior golfers, so rounds can very, very slow.
Photos by The Muni Golfer