Monday, April 22, 2013

White Clay Creek Golf Course Is Beautiful And Should Be Avoided Like The Plague That It Is

Just A Wee Bit Of Carry
The following is going to sound like a lot of whining, and, well, it is. But had I read something like this review a few days ago, I'd still have $50 and a couple of dozen golf balls in my possession, and would not have wasted what turned out to be a solid day of Saturday weather and four hours with two good friends enduring pointless pain. So let's get into it.

White Clay Creek Golf Course is the on-site match to Delaware Park, which is one of the better places to play a tournament on a Saturday night where I live, because the game is relatively soft and the buy-in fairly tame. So with the eldest getting a major sleepover as her birthday present, and filling the Man Cave with home imvaders, I got clearance from the Shooter Wife to do the biathlon of middle aged white guy fun.

I am OK -- honest -- with a hard golf course. I love the eye candy of undulating greens and fairways, get that water on a course can be prevalent (a creek is truly in play on 14 out of 18 holes here), admire the theatrics of a deep bunker and don't have a real problem of seeing my usual 100-110 sad play once a month golf getting pushed out to the 120-130 range. Honest, I don't need to score a few bogeys and pars to be happy playing golf. For the most part, I am just happy to be playing golf, and have had great times playing courses that are miles above my weight class.

White Clay isn't golf, and the reason why is that the vast majority of the area where your ball could land is more or less unplayable OB, where you will not be able to retrieve your ball. And since the carries are all major -- my 3-wood is a reasonable club off the tee for me, but it doesn't go more than 225, and that's with some roll -- that just means you are just going to lose ball after ball, until you just give up. (For us, that happened at Hole 16, when we were all so beaten that we couldn't even get the ball off the tee. I've never given up on a round before, by the way, and I was thinking of doing that on Hole 12.)

The course should not exist, basically. It's on a flood plain, which means that every green is elevated to protect against that; this also means that the yardage is a lot more than quoted, since you have to fly every green. Oh, you also have to fly every green because the fairway tends to just cease, just to enforce the idea that you can't play here unless you have your club lengths down to 10 yards or less of variance.This also means that you are shooting blind a lot to greens, which means that your high iron approaches can also produce lost balls, since anything that doesn't hold the green can bounce off and get swallowed by the Cut By Passing Helicopter rough. Even if you see the ball land, you can lose it; I almost lost one with a freaking sand wedge on a 70-yard approach by being one yard more than the trap and five yards short of the green, and watching the ball plug into an easy foot of chaff-like cover. I eventually found it by using my feet like a Zamboni. Good times!

Oh, and just in case that doesn't sound like enough fun... Keep in mind that it's something like 5 miles from end to end, which means that you're going to be in the cart for a good hour or more of your 5-hour round. (At least the carts have GPS, which is awesome, and parts of the course are so isolated in spots that we saw fox and deer.) Carts are restricted to the path only, so having it doesn't mean that you aren't going to be running a few miles back and forth to your shotss. And the sheer psychic toll of all of this means that if you can actually finish a round here, assuming you've got the few dozen balls and patience to spare...

Well, you must like golf a lot more than I do. Or pain.

It's pretty. If you are a singe handicap player, you might enjoy it. The staff is great, the locker room facilities are world-class, and it's truly pretty. I wish I was good enough to play here.

But, well, I'm not.

And I don't know anyone else who is, either.

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