Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Putt Putt at Paxon Hollow

Paxon Hollow Country Club
Marple Township, Pa.
Yards: 2593/2824 - 5417
Par: 35/36 - 71
Rating: 66.2, Slope: 121
Score: 49/46 = 95
Date: June 6, 2011

On the 67th Anniversary of D-Day, I stormed the fairways and greens of Paxon Hollow Country Club, a wonderful municipal golf course in Delaware County. This hilly, 5400-yard, Par 71 track has gotten the best of me the previous two times I've played it; particularly the 519-yard Par 5 Eighteenth Hole, which is one of my "Nightmare Nine" holes. I've failed to break 100 in those previous attempts. But my game is brimming with confidence after my first three rounds of the season, so I looked forward to this challenge.

 Paxon Hollow Scorecard

My round started off with a topped drive, but I recovered for a bogey 5 at the opening hole, followed by a par at the short Par 3 Second Hole. The Third Hole is a Par 5 that doglegs right around a hill and plays uphill to the green. A bad drive and an overcooked layup with my hybrid put me in early trouble, But I manged to get on the green in five, however a four-putt left me with a quadruple-bogey 9. That normally would have been the beginning of the end for me at Paxon Hollow in the past, but I shook it off a made a bogey at the Par 3 Fourth Hole. Another bogey followed at the the Fifth Hole, then at the short 261-yard Par 4 Sixth Hole--after a beautiful tee shot left me no more than 60 yards to the green--I thinned a lob wedge well over the green for a triple bogey 7. I followed that with a double bogey 7 at the Par 5 Seventh Hole, a 441-yard dogleg left. But bogeys at the Par 3 Eighth and Par 4 Ninth Holes left me with a 49 for the Front Nine. Not bad considering that I left many putts well short and couldn't lag it close if I tried. This led to numerous three-putts on the day.

The Par 5 Third Hole

The Back Nine started off with a nice par at the short, 250-yard Tenth Hole, but again, a Par 5 caused me trouble as I double-bogeyed the Eleventh, which plays uphill. The Twelfth was a problem from the tee shot which hit a tree about 75 yards off the green and landed in the rough. I hacked it up the fairway and two-putted for a triple-bogey 8. It looked at that point like my round was about to spin out-of-control and triple digits loomed on the scorecard. But from there on in, I managed my game nicely. I bogeyed the Thirteenth and Fourteenth, escaping a deep bunker on the left of the Fourteenth Green that I found with my approach shot. Another par at the 150-yard Fifteenth was followed by a 6 at the Sixteenth after I miss-read the slope of my first putt and three-putted the green. Another par at the downhill, 115-yard Seventeenth Hole came when I was short of the green, chipped on, then made my par putt. This brought me to my nemesis, the closing Par 5 Eighteenth.

 158-yard Eighth Hole

The Eighteenth tee shot at Paxon Hollow is narrow, with trees protecting the right and a creek running down the left. Your second shot is uphill, over the creek, to a fairway that slopes severely from left to right, with the right side being protected by a huge tree that can cause problems for your third shot. A large, two-tiered green sits at the top of the hill at the foot of the clubhouse, with bunkers behind and to the left. Miss long or on the wrong tier and you could easily see your chip or putt run off the front of the green. Yesterday,  my tee shot found the light rough just to the left of the fairway, where I was able to hit my hybrid up the hill. It rolled just into the right round about 120 yards from the green. I hit an 8-iron approach that two-hopped onto the green about 20 feet below the hole. I then two-putted for a par! This gave me a 46 on the Back Nine and a 95 for my round. I had finally broken 100 at Paxon Hollow!

 Seventeenth Hole--A downhill Par 3

I was truly pleased with the way I played my round round at Paxon Hollow. I stayed mentally tough and didn't let a few big holes snowball into a very bad nine holes. Although I didn't play the three Par 5s very well--except for the Par at the Eighteenth--I balanced that out by taking advantage of the five Par 3s--three pars and two bogeys. My two main problems during the round was hitting my driver and 4-Wood off the tee and my putting. I couldn't seem to hit the ball anywhere near the hole on long putts, which led to numerous three-putts during the round. I did, however, continue to hit my new Wilson Staff Ci7s very well. I feel a great deal of confidence standing over the ball, whether on the tee, in the fairway or in the rough.

The Par 5 Eighteenth from the fairway

As for the course itself, except for gnats which seemed to be everywhere on the course, Paxon Hollow is in tremendous condition despite the very wet spring. The tee boxes, fairways, greens and bunkers were all in very good shape. If you have yet to play Paxon Hollow, I highly recommend you schedule a tee time in the very near future.


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