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Miami Shores, Troy ohio
A nice Donald Ross course for the budget minded golfer in western Ohio. Fairways are wide open, play a bit longer than advertised due to lots of watering. Not too many bunkers, but since this is a mature course, trees can come into play. There's no yardage markers, so it can be a bit challenging at first. Check this course out, if you're in the area!
Fantastic value for golf near the water
Nothing that I'm about to say should keep anyone from playing this course at least once, but your expectations should be realistic if and when you do. What's great about it is the setting, the proximity to the bay and the value. On those fronts, it's hard to beat. What's not so great is the actual course itself and the pace of play.
This is a muni and it comes with everything you'd expect of one. There are golfers of nearly every degree of ability and seriousness. It played really slow when I was there. The course itself, if you just analyze the holes and don't factor in the surroundings, is unremarkable. There's not a single hole that I would describe as memorable, although the round itself was. There are approximately two sand traps on the entire course and the fairways are average to wide. It's pretty forgiving and not remotely intimidating to look at. The pro shop and cafe are about what you'd expect. That's it for the cons.
Now for the pros. My wife and I played at 1:00 on a Friday afternoon for $35 each, which included cart and a beer or soda. That price is tough to beat anywhere, let alone in full view of Morro Bay and Morro Rock. The fairways and greens are in pretty good condition for a budget course. We saw wildlife (deer, wild turkeys) throughout our round, which I always enjoy. You can see the water from over half of the holes on the course. And while it looks incredibly simple, there are more challenges on this course than meet the eye. For one thing, it changes elevation constantly, which I tend to like. There aren't many flat lies out in the fairways and if you stray too far, you'll very likely be stuck behind one of the bazillion mature trees. What I found the trickiest and most frustrating (kind of fun, though) were the greens. They've got contours, but most are far from what you'd call extreme. But what makes them really tough is the break toward the water. I've never seen so many putts seemingly break uphill. I've never 3-putted so many times either. The greens alone make me want to go back and get some of those strokes back.
The bottom line is that, as long as you're not expecting Pebble Beach, you can have a great time on this course and play it a dozen times for what it would cost you to play Pebble. It's very beginner-friendly, but offers hidden challenges for the more experienced golfer. I opened with a par and was expecting to shoot a low (for me) round, but found that there was always something that kept me from scoring the way I should. That can be frustrating, but also keeps the more experienced golfer engaged in the round. And as I mentioned before, the setting and views are worth it alone.
Beautiful, challenging, fair
One of the best values on the Monterey Peninsula, especially for NCGA members, as this is the organization's home course. Poppy is in the Pebble Beach area, but further up the hill from the ocean itself. You catch glimpses of the water from many of the holes, but it's not oceanside like Pebble. With that being said, the environment and atmosphere are still awesome and my recommendation would be to play your round at Poppy, then take the 5-minute drive over to Pebble Beach and have some Tap Room Ale and burgers in The Tap Room there.
Back to the golf course, I liked Poppy a lot. It's unfortunate that it will be closing for a makeover next spring, but you still have time to get a round in before that happens Overall, the course is fair, in my opinion. The fairways are generally wide and forgiving, but have lots of slopes and contours that put a premium on accuracy. Most of the greens have some tricky pin options, but the speed is consistent throughout the course and you can always count on that break toward the water.
There are a healthy number of bunkers on the course and they're well maintained and placed in logical areas. I ended up in fairway bunkers twice, but had acceptable lies once in them.
There are no holes running side to side really, where you've got people playing in the wrong fairways. The ones that are closer together seem to usually have a buffer of wooded area between them. The mature evergreens in the woods, along with the lush green of the course itself provide a beautiful backdrop. Lots of deer add to the tranquil feel of the course.
Pro shop, restaurant and bar are all nice and well stocked. Prices are pretty reasonable for 17-mile drive too. The driving range is pretty large and nicely maintained.
Here's what it comes down to on this course, as I see it at least. I found it to be pretty forgiving of most of my less-than-stellar shots. However, that just means that if I hit a bad drive or bad approach, I still had a realistic look at bogey as opposed to double or worse. At the same time, the greens have lots of character and are pretty well protected by bunkers. So just because it's fair, it's not necessarily easy. You're still going to have to make really nice shots to score and go low. Because of that, I feel it has a lot to offer low and mid-to-high handicappers alike. I'll be headed back as soon as I can.
Great condition, layout and challenge
Just played this with my brother and a couple of friends and got a great Labor Day special ($69 incl. car and a dozen Penta TP5 balls!), so it's not muni-cheap, but definitely a good deal with the balls thrown in.
This was my first time at Stevinson and I was really impressed. Driving in, the course is beautiful and really takes advantage of the valley's old trees, natural marshy areas, etc. The parking lot with covered areas and driving range give a great first impression. The pro shop and "saloon" are also very nice and have everything you could want.
Once out on the course, we were treated to fairways that were in excellent condition, extremely "healthy" rough, and a bunch of pot style bunkers with good sand in them. The greens had turned pretty brown, because we've had an extremely hot summer this year, but to our surprise, they rolled very nicely and the speed was consistent throughout the round.
Granted, it was hot, but even on Labor Day, we had no one holding us up during the round and the group behind was never on our tails. We played the entire 18 in just under 4 hours, including a run into the saloon for beers and sodas at the turn. Pace of play, on this day at least, was excellent and couldn't have been better.
Even though I'm personally in the midst of a swing change with my coach and not playing very well through the transition, I had a blast and cant' wait to go back to this course. There's not a boring hole on it and there are no adjacent fairways. You've got fairway, rough, waste area and sometimes O.B. You're never hitting slices into the wrong fairway or having people on other holes hit into yours. It's kind of linksy in that way. The fairways have some nice undulation to them, even though the course is built on the flat valley floor. There's water on several holes and "natural areas" on just about every hole that guard the greens and break up fairways. It's definitely a course that rewards the accurate golfer, but there are 5 sets of tees, so I feel it's pretty accessible for anyone.
There are bathrooms out on the course and cold water stations. It's just one of those courses that you feel is set up by people who know how to provide a good round of golf. We enjoyed it so much that we're considering going back for an overnight trip to stay in the small cabins and play an afternoon/morning combo.
Souhegan Woods Golf Club - Watch Your Back!
Souhegan Woods Golf Club located in Amherst, NH is a very pretty 18 hole golf course, that is the only good thing I can say about this place.
If you do decide to play golf there, watch your back. The grounds keepers, made up mostly of arrogant and defiant teen aged kids, always seem to be in your way on their tractors. I have been told this repeatably by other golfers who used to play there.
In fact I played there recently and politely asked one of these young lads to turn the engine down so we can putt when the kid totally ignored me and kept on tractoring in the greenside bunker, engine blaring. I then got a little upset with his demeanor and asked him more firmly to which he remained defiant and told me to walk away, which I did.
In fact later on, his tractor actually got hit hard by another golfer because he was in the middle of their fairway.
A little later I saw the cart girl and asked if I could report a complaint about this kid, and she said she would tell manaement.
Ahh, the story gets better folks....
To my astonishment two gentlemen who work there as club pro and manager came barreling toward me with their cart in a very intimidating manner. The young grounds keeper told these two gentlemen(who were both large and intimidating men) that I had threatened him. I then received a verbal tongue lashing from both of these guys. When my golf pal (who had witnessed the whole thing) tried to explain our side of the story they wouldn't listen and actually told him to shut up.
This kid's story is an absolute and pure fabrication and my 3 other fellow golfers (who were only a few feet away when I spoke to the kid) can corroborate my story.
And it gets even better...
A few hours later while I was relaxing in my home, I heard a loud knocking on the door, it was the police! Apparently this young lad and management had filed a police report, stating that I had threatened to beat the kid up. My golf pal and I went down to the police station to tell our side of the story and the officer was very dismissive to us, she didn't even take any notes. We both felt like we were bothering her. The officer then told me I am no longer welcomed at Souhegan Woods Golf Club, and if I do return, I will be arrested.
So, you have two options folks if you do decide to play at Souhegan Woods Golf Club located in Amherst, NH;
1. You can ask one of these young grounds keepers to get out of your way and risk getting arrested, or
2. You can accidently hit one of them with your golf ball and risk getting sued.
The choice is yours...
Or you can simply stay away for ever.
Great value for a course that's in pretty good shape
I used to play this a lot when I was a teenager, but have stayed away for the past 15 years or so, because I wasn't a fan of the conditions. A few years back, however, the course underwent some improvements, most noticeably the addition of a large lake to help provide more consistent irrigation. I just went back and played it for the first time a couple of weeks ago and had such a good time that I went back again last weekend.
The course is pretty long and you need to be used to walking if you're going to hoof it on this one, especially when it's hot. We've walked/carried the last two times with temps just under 100 degrees and I've been completely exhausted after both rounds.
What's nice is that, even in the worst part of summer, the fairways are acceptably green and the greens themselves are actually in really good shape and play consistently throughout the course. Water is really only in play on one hole, but there is O.B. sprinkled in here and there. Most of the challenges come from the rolling fairways that look like they've got moguls in them (rumor is that the course was built on a really old dump and that's why there are so many "bumps"), where you'll find a lot of good shots leave the ball either above or below your feet. Bunkers are smartly placed to protect greens.
Overall, you'll find some challenges, but Riverside is a good course to hit if you'd like a less stressful round where you have the opportunity to score well, despite some long yardages. The pro shop is OK as long as you don't need more than tees or a spare sleeve of balls, but their selection isn't very extensive. Restaurant is a classic "muni" cafe with the usual fare, decent prices and pretty friendly staff.
Best of all, the rates are incredibly affordable. Weekend twilight is $19 to walk, and I think $29 to ride. Mid-week rates are even cheaper. The driving range is pretty decent and there's a large practice green, although not much space to practice chipping.
Nice for walkers, tight fairways
I play this course a lot, because it's close to home and the rates are really good. Weekend twilight is $25 for walkers and my playing partner and I take advantage of it regularly. In hot Fresno summers, this is one of the best courses to play, because the narrow fairways are lined with mature trees, making it one of the shadiest courses in the area. It's also next to the San Joaquin River, which adds to the (relatively) cooling effect. We generally get tee times from 2-3 in the afternoon and, even on 100-degree days, it's bearable.
What Fig lacks in distance, it makes up for with very narrow fairways and huge trees all over the place. If you don't hit it straight, you're going to have a hard time scoring. There's really no elevation change on the course. It's pretty flat, but the fairways are usually in good condition. The greens are decent, but I usually find them to be inconsistent speed-wise. Some are quick, others are painfully slow. Bunkers aren't overly abundant, but many of the greens are well-guarded from the front, presenting more challenge. The sand in the bunkers is fair-to-poor and is often very wet, which makes it really difficult to play out of.
The guys in the pro shop are nice enough. The driving range is small and you hit off of mats, but it's fine for a quick warm-up. The putting green is better than all of the greens on the course and doesn't give an accurate representation of the speed you'll find when you're actually playing. There are only a few holes with water, but there's plenty of O.B. and hazards near the river and perimeter of the course to give you things to think about on your tee shots.
This is the closest thing I have to a home course. While there are things that I don't like about it, the convenience and value keep me coming back.
Perfect for my wife's first round
Chose this course to play first on a 2-day anniversary get-away with my wife. It was her first round of golf and they have a set of very forward tees that were really nice for her. As far as Monterey area courses go (the ones I've played at least), it's pretty straight-forward, not long and relatively easy. I will say that there's plenty of sand to get yourself into if you're not having a great day off the tees, which I wasn't. I ended up scoring terribly, because I was hitting so poorly off the tees. Had I been playing better, I think I would have been really excited to have a good-for-me round.
The clubhouse/pro shop is decent. Nothing extraordinary, but nice. The practice facility is really nice with natural grass on the driving range and good chipping and putting areas. It's a few miles inland from the coast, so we actually hit it on a perfect, sunny, 65-degree day in July. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. The course has plenty of elevation to it, which makes it really pleasing to the eye, as do the mature oaks that are all over the place. There's not much water, but it does come into play a couple of times. The greens were pretty consistent when I was there and everything was in good shape, from tee to green. The sand in the bunkers wasn't the best and some of it was pretty wet, making it tough to play out of.
For some reason, the restaurant closed at 3:00, before we finished our round and I didn't see a drink/snack cart once during the round. Pace of play was really good, though. Even with my wife shooting 137 in her first round, we played in under 4 hours.
Great weather, beautiful scenery, fun layout, great value...I'd go back again in a heart beat.
Beautiful Layout. Memorable Round. A must-play course.
Played the Blackhorse course with my wife and it was only her second round of golf. That was a tall order, but she had a good time. There was a mini-tournament of 7 foursomes in front of us, which held play up, probably more than normal. The round took 5 hours and we had to wait on every tee and in every fairway. Again, this was probably just a bit of bad luck, because I'm sure that the course normally moves quicker on a Wednesday morning/afternoon.
With that being said, I enjoyed the course immensely. For one thing, it's beautiful. Mature cypress and coastal oaks accent the hilly layout. Navigating can be a little tricky in a few spots if you haven't been there before, because the Blackhorse and Bayonet courses are somewhat intertwined. What I really liked is that, while some of the holes are extremely challenging (heavily bunkered), there are others that are more accessible for mid-to-high handicappers and kind of balance it out. Set-up for normal play is reasonable. The rough can be challenging, but not ridiculous. The greens were quick and there isn't a flat one out there, but that just lends to the feeling that you're playing a pro's course and, in my opinion at least, makes it more fun than your average track.
Facilities are top notch. Our 5-hour round meant that the restaurant was closed when we finished (they close at 3:00 for some reason, we started at 10:40). That brings up another point. When you play Blackhorse, you do not make the turn near the clubhouse. In fact, you don't see it until you're done with the round. I only saw the snack cart once, so make sure you've got some trail mix or whatever you like in your golf bag. You'll need it.
Overall, this is one of my favorite rounds of golf that I've played to date and the bottom line is that I'd highly recommend Blackhorse to anyone considering it. I plan to go back and play Bayonet in the very near future.
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