Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Return to My Roots

Juniata Golf Club
Philadelphia, Pa
Yards: 2805/2185 - 4990
Par: 34/31 - 65
Rating: 63.2, Slope: 106
Score: 50/45 = 95
Date: June 8, 2012

Whenever I am having trouble with my game, I like to go back and play a round at Juniata Golf Course. My familiarity with the course where I learned to play golf always helps me steer my game in the right direction. So on Friday, I teed it up looking to re-kindle my game from 2011. Although the golf course is still technically owned by Fairmount Park Commission, Juniata has been undergoing a stunning transformation the past few years under the guidance of the Juniata Golf Foundation. What was once a laughingstock to many golfers is suddenly a hidden jewel.  You can see everywhere the work that is being done. Tee boxes that no longer look like a chewed up football field, defined fairways, rough is penal yet fair, new cart paths and fencing, and greens that could compete with many high-fee suburban courses. If you haven't played Juniata in a while, you be in for a surprising treat.

 Juniata Scorecard

As for my round, my struggles continued through most of the front nine. I hit my opening tee shot fat and the downhill Par 3 First Hole. At the Second, I hit a 5-wood off the tee into the Eleventh fairway, took three to get out of a bunker and made a 9. In fact, I didn't hit a fairway until the Ninth Hole, an uphill, 380-yard Par 4. I am putting a lot of pressure on myself by continually missing fairway. By the Sixth Hole, I was setting up to hit a fade instead of my natural draw. At least I cashed in at the Ninth by making a par after finally landing my tee shot in the short grass.

 The Fourth Hole now has a fairway bunker

The back nine was a lot better than the front, even if my score wasn't that much better. I made a second part at the 165-yard Par 3 Tenth Hole after just missing the green short, then pitching to tap-in range. I lost ball at the Eleventh led to a double bogey, which could have been a lot worse. I made bogeys at the three holes, before hitting my tee shot at the 150-yard Par 5 Fifteenth Hole way right. But I got up and down for a par. The Sixteenth Hole now features an elevated tee, which has stretched the hole to 400 yards. This has caused my a real problem as the tee shot comes out of a narrow chute, with no room to the right for me to set up and play my draw. Two balls hit into those woods led to another 9. I hit a good draw at the Seventeenth, but three putted for another bogey, but fatigue led to a triple bogey 6 to close out a back nine 45.

 New tee box at the Sixteenth Hole

Although I shot a 95, I felt my swing got much better as the round progressed. I started hitting better tee shots from the Ninth Hole on, except for the Sixteenth and Eighteenth Holes. While I am not happy with the 95, I am happy with the way I feel my swing and my game responded. The magic tonic of Juniata Golf Club strikes again.

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