Maple Meadows’ East 9 hole course is one of my personal favorites to play. It is long, well kept and most every hole challenges your decision and shot making abilities. Course management is important, whether it is avoiding water, which comes into play on 7 of the 9 holes, or fade/draw/lay up decisions to line up your approaches on the dog-legs (holes 2, 4 and 6), or just plain-old trying to stay out of the fuckin’ trees (5-8 holes, depending on your accuracy).
More important than the physical attributes or value ($14 to walk during the week), I love this little course because it is always nice and wide open. Never need to set up a tee time, and never need to stand around and wait for more than one group ahead of you. Furthermore, unlike at Streamwood Oaks, I can, with almost 100% assuredness, promise you that you will not run into some asshole ranger, starter or fellow golfer. I don’t know what it is…but something about the place makes everyone happier, even when they are playing off of your fairway or if you are playing off their’s.
I got out their on the 20th for my first round of the season with my Dad and my brother Alex. Pops had just picked up a pretty nice oversize Prince driver from Meijer, and I was anxious to do my best John Daly impression (I have been working on the gut for quite some time, now).
After slicing my 3 iron into the trees of the 220 yard par 3 3rd hole. This green is severely sloped from back to front and the only good play off the tee is straight down the pipe, as you cannot control the roll if you end up over or on either side of the putting surface. I ended up with a triple bogey on this hole.
I drove the ball surprisingly well. Well…surprisingly accurately, I should say. I put the ball where I wanted and was able to control my fade fairly well, which is not something I normally do with the big drivers. The only problem was that I was skying the hell out of the ball. I probably only gained 10 or 20 more yards total with the big stick than I could hit my normal Wilson driver. It is somewhat frustrating to finally stop slicing balls into the next county off the tee with a 450cc driver but not actually gain that extra 40 or 50 yards you expect. More galling than my still-short tee shots, though, was my short game. I finished up last season with a fantastic round at the Arboretum Club, a round where I went 18 holes without a 3 putt, due largely in part to my effectiveness around the green with my pitching and sand wedges. Guess a few long and cold winter months did well to cool off that streak, though, as I could not put it within 10 or 15 feet all day, and I did not know where the ball was going with the flat stick. Could not get a good read on the greens, which are not particularly tough there, and my pace was all messed up.
At the end of the day I beat both my Dad and Alex, but not by more than a few strokes (or one stroke, depending on whose card you are going by…mine read 54 and my Dad’s 57). More importantly, I just did not feel well about how I played. I was steady, but short off of the tee and my short game was beyond stupid. I did make solid contact with my mid-irons, but I did not always know where they were going. I suppose it was not bad for my first proper round of the season…but I was hoping for something a little better than 6 strokes a hole.
Next planned outing is for Twin Lakes this Friday with my brother in-law Chris. Nice little course, and I am looking forward to getting some short game practice, as well as golfing with Chris again.