Posts Tagged ‘70s’

Merion Golf Club (East)

Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA

merion golf club east

Me, my dad, Larry and Robin

The Stats

Tee Time: July 28, 2015, 9:36, 90 F, sunny

Designer: Hugh Wilson, 1911

Playing Partners: Robin Baggett, Larry McNabb, my dad

Tees: Middle, Par 70 (71.3 rating/144 slope/6,126 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (8.2 index)

Stats: 79 (44-35); 34 putts; 6/14 fairways; 9/18 greens

The Course

I had the extremely good fortune of getting to play Merion Golf Club’s East Course in Ardmore, Pennsylvania to get to 23 states completed. Known for its unmatched collection of great golf holes, several memorable US Opens and those wicker-basket flagsticks, I looked forward to this on my calendar for three months. Christmas came early. A couple of things about the club first. This is the first club I have been to with this much history. Built in 1896, the heritage and tradition run deep. Caddies are mandatory, there aren’t any yardage markers. No golf carts. No hats indoors. The course is always kept in championship condition. Slick greens, long rough and narrow fairways. Pace of play isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a requirement. Members who don’t complete rounds in under 4 hours get reprimanded and repeat offenders are temporarily benched. They honor the rules here. Not even a breakfast ball. I have a few friends who would struggle with that one. And really, if you’re going to knock it around at a place as esteemed and historic as this, the letter of the law is the only way to go. The club works hard to keep Merion the same as it played when it first opened, and it’s awesome to think you’re experiencing the course just as Bobby Jones did. Fortunately, they don’t go completely old-school and make you play with wooden woods and feather-stuffed balls.

merion golf club hole 11

The 11th, in 2015 as it was in 1930

The best thing they made me do was leave my cell phone in the car so I had nothing distracting me from the experience. The men’s locker room has an air of antiquity that’s like walking back in time a few decades. Located upstairs where the heat gathers, it has metal lockers probably from 1965 that look like they were once used by at Philadelphia Eagles training camps. And the post round shower, which you will need if playing in the summer, is as refreshing as a Costa Rican waterfall. Trust me. On the short drive to the practice range, around 8am, we noticed the flagsticks were adorned with actual flags and not the wicker baskets. Turns out they have to bring them in every night before sundown due to thieves running out and taking these unique souvenirs. They replace them as play progresses in the morning. I hadn’t thought about stealing a flagstick, as cool as they are, and when when the idea entered my head I realized it wouldn’t fit in my travel bag. Would’ve looked pretty sweet in my garden, though. The other thing about the wicker flagsticks is that the poles are noticeably thicker than your standard flagstick. I hit one dead center with a chip and it had no room to drop into the cup. Oh well, I’m clearly over it.

merion golf club east hole 1

The 1st

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Wasatch Mountain State Park Golf Course (Mountain)

Mountain Course at Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway, UT

wasatch state park mountain course

Me and CJ, who went straight from golfing to riding his bike up Guardsman Pass apparently

The Stats

Tee Time: October 26, 2014, 10:42, 68 F, Calm

Designer: William H. Neff, 1972

Playing Partners: CJ Phelan

Tees: Blue, Par 71 (70.4 rating/125 slope/6,459 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (7.8 index)

Stats: 77 (35-42); 34 putts; 6/12 fairways; 11/18 greens; 3 penalty strokes

The Course

CJ and I closed this course down. I beat him so badly (5 & 3, 12 strokes) that the police opened up an investigation. In reality, it was the last day of the season before another harsh Wasatch winter sets in. I did beat him though. Once it does reopen next spring, the Mountain Course at Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway is definitely worth the trek into government lands. It’s short, fun and offers dramatic views. As far as mountain vistas go, only Lake Tahoe surpasses Utah in beauty. And the best part about the Mountain Course is that you get to enjoy all those incredible views of the peaks and Heber Valley without even having to hike, thanks to those lovely gas carts. The front nine plays into the mountains. Today, every green was framed from behind by naked aspen trees waiting for the snow to come. The back nine comes out of the mountains and gives awesome views of the valley below, dotted with chimneys puffing smoke, maple trees desperately holding onto their yellow leaves and large expanses of open land.

wasatch state park mountain course hole 13

Check out this view of Heber Valley at the 13th

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Park City Golf Club

Park City Golf Club in Park City, UT

park city golf club utah

CJ and I, next to one of Park City’s many moose

The Stats

Tee Time: October 25, 2014, 1:30, 71 F, Windy (gusts of 44mph)

Designer: William H. Neff, 1963

Playing Partners: CJ Phelan, Ashley, Josh

Tees: Middle, Par 72 (69.7 rating/129 slope/6,277 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (7.8 index)

Stats: 83 (40-43); 36 putts; 6/14 fairways; 6/18 greens; 2 penalty strokes

The Course

Fun fact is that if you go back through the last four years, basically since I started trying to golf nationwide, Park City Golf Club is the course I’ve played the most. It’s been three years since I moved down to Arizona, but that still holds true. When I got to make a quick work trip to Salt Lake City in late October, I had originally tried to get on one of the top flight private courses in the area, such as Glenwild, Promontory or Red Ledges. Having no luck, I booked a tee time at a respected course in the Salt Lake region. But as soon as I landed and all those memories of being outside in the fresh mountain air of Park City came back to me, I called a quick audible for an afternoon tee time. By the end of the round, it was 6pm with temps in the 40s and gale-force winds. That’s a big drop from the 90s I had just flown in from, but I loved every second of it. CJ and I paired up with a couple around our age. Since she was actually better than him, he took every advantage he could to have a chance and we ended up playing the middle tees. At 6,700 feet, the altitude made the 6,277-yard par 72 play like the junior’s tees.

park city golf club utah hole 2

Hole 2

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