Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Holiday Round at Green Pond CC

Green Pond Country Club
Bethlehem, Pa.
Yards: 3205/2949 - 6154
Par: 36/35 - 71
Rating: 69.4, Slope: 122
Score: 53/51 = 104
Date: July 3, 2009

While once again doing the family thing in Easton, Pa. during the holiday weekend, I finally got a chance to play Green Pond Country Club. Located just a short distance off Route 33 and Easton Road, Green Pond bills itself as "the public's country club." The course, designed by Scottish immigrant Alex Findlay and opened in 1931, is a classic layout with a lot of tree-lined fairways, doglegs, sand traps and medium-sized greens. Unlike many of the area courses, it is relatively flat--a few holes play slightly uphill or downhill, except the Par 17th--and is a very easy walking course.

Green Pond Country Club Scorecard

Conditions are Green Pond were excellent, except for the tee boxes, which could have been a bit more level. Nevertherless, the course was in great shape. It is a course where you definitely want to put the ball in the fairway as the rough was thick. The greens were fast, and I struggled with my speed throughout the round. They also featured just enough break to keep your full attention until the ball was in the hole. The greens are also well protected by numerous bunkers as I found out throughout my round. It is understandable why Green Pond is the host course for the Lehigh Valley Amateur Tournament each September. Green fees are also very reasonable: $32/42 to walk/ride during the week and $55 with a cart mandatory on the weekends. Twilight rates are $22/30 to walk/ride after 2 p.m. during the week and $32/42 to walk/ride after 3 p.m. on weekends.

The 1st Hole at Green Pond, a 342-yard Par 4

Since a lot of people had off Friday in observance of July 4th, the course was crowded when I arrived. The pro shop staff was very friendly, especially considering they were having computer problems. They informed me that there were presently five foursomes waiting to tee off. The young woman went out and spoke with the starter then came back to tell me he indicated he would be able to get me out, but that it might take awhile. I said I was in no rush and would wait. After about 20 minutes, the fourth foursome indicated they only had three golfers, so the starter paired me up with Mike, Rich and Robert. They welcomed me into their foursome and we had a great time throughout the round. Play was semi-slow through the first 7-8 holes, but moved along well after that.

Approach shot to the 9th Green

As for my round, I hit my 3-Wood off the 1st tee into the middle of the fairway and then a 9-iron to the back of the green. A good start, I thought, until I hit my first putt about 15-feet past the hole and three-putted. The 2nd Hole, a 544-yard Par 5, I hit Driver to the right side of the fairway, layed up, then hit a short iron onto the green in regulation...then again three-putted. So instead of starting par-par, a started bogey-bogey. At the 3rd Hole, a slightly downhill Par 4 that doglegs left, I hit my 2-Hybrid into the middle of the fairway, then left a 7-iron out to the right and into a bunker, the first of many I would visit at Green Pond. In fact, I spent more time in the sand at Green Pond than Charlton Heston did filming The Ten Commandments. I did manage to play out of most of the bunkers rather well, but I was never able to get the speed of the greens and three-putted numerous times. In fact, only made one par all day, at the 10th Hole, where I hit my tee shot far enough right that missed the dogleg and hit a 9-iron over some trees to the back of the green, then two-putted. I was happy overall with how I played off the tee and my iron game was pretty good, but my chipping and putting really let me down. It added up to a 104.

A pond fronts the 14th Green

One cool note: on the 16th tee box, a young red fox was playing around with what looked like a field mouse or some other small creature that he had captured. Unbothered by our approach to hit our tee shots, he sat and watched as we played through!

Our wild gallery of one on the 16th Tee

Green Pond adds another golfing option when visiting the Lehigh Valley and I look forward to returning to Green Pond for a round in the not too distant future.

Some additional photos of Green Pond CC:

The 3rd Hole, a 354-yard Par 4 that doglegs left

The 5th Hole

The 10th Hole doglegs right

The blind tee shot at the 13th Hole

The Par 3 15th Hole

The 17th Hole, a Par 3 that plays downhill

The 18th Hole, a straightaway Par 4

My playing partners: Mike, Rich and Robert
Photos by The Muni Golfer