Hidden Gems
I apparently kind of struck a nerve with Friday’s post about the cost of golf. I’m happy to report that we had a great time on our trip to Door County, and found a couple of really nice little courses, in addition to the one Thursday. Friday we were guests of some friends we met on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama a few years ago, at their club, Horseshoe Bay, outside of Fish Creek, WI. Very nice course and we had a great time.

Saturday we played at Peninsula State Park, which was a wonderful trip back in time to a course that was built in the early 20th century and hasn’t changed much. The views over Lake Michigan were spectacular, the course was what you would expect from a small municipal that gets about 55,000 rounds a year, compressed into a short season. It was in nice condition and the feeling was very “un-manufactured”, as compared to most modern courses. From the tips it was just under 6,400, and they have no real estate to grow it. But we had a great time. Wish I’d had the old 1960s Hogan blades and “Speed Slot” persimmon woods to really take me back in time.

On our way back to Milwaukee on Sunday, we played at The Bog, an Arnold Palmer design that was very nice. Great shot values, interesting architecture with a few blind shots, excellent condition and smooth fast greens.

What this tight-fisted German is happy to report is that our entire trip – rental Cadillac SRS (thanks to a no-cost upgrade because they didn’t have the car I reserved!), three nights in hotels, and three rounds of golf we paid for, plus meals . . . for about the same as what that afternoon at Whistling Straits would have cost. Sheesh. I think we did fine without that.

The course at the Peninsula got me thinking about how many wonderful hidden gems there are in our country. Courses that were built decades ago, never compelled to modernize, and still offer a great test of golf and a very neat experience. We have one right here in Victoria, Texas, our old Riverside Golf Course. It was nine holes from the 30s to the 50s, expanded to 18 then, and a third nine added in the 1980s. I like the original 18, very similar to the Peninsula. Simple, straightforward and not “mean”. A place to go relax with the golf ball, friends and a beer or two. Won’t lose a bunch of balls, and won’t be exhausted when you are finished.

So, what “hidden gems” do you guys know about that you can share? We should build a database of them and do something with that, don’t you think? Andrew, can you help with that? It would be fun to all go back in time every once in a while to stay connected with the real roots of what this is all about.

That’s my $0.02 worth, anyway.
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[ comments ]
Johnbs7257 says:
Wawashkno (sp) on Mackinac Island is a nine hole course built in the late 1800's and still pretty much as it was then. Fun to play and go back to small greens, sand tees, pot bunkers and a War of 1812 burial in the middle. Said to be the oldest active golf site in the state of Michigan.
PDADoc says:
Struck a nerve with whom? The golf clubs you mentioned? Some other golf club? Who cares what they think! I happen to agree with your sentiment, it IS too expensive, and living in the NYC area, it's even worse in general. I'm almost moved to tears when I go somewhere else to play on a really nice course and pay less than $50, as opposed to the $100+ I pay in my area. It's ridiculous.
mustang6560 says:
@PDADoc- I think he meant his post resonated with people, in a good way.
surfer63 says:
Yes, it's hot here in Arizona, but in the summer there are so many courses that practically pay you to play on their course. I played a nice course called Coldwater Springs yesterday for $18. Tomorrow I am playing a course called Falcon Golf Club for $9. Both greens fees include cart. And I plan on finding lots more courses in the area to pay for cheap. We just moved to Arizona from Montana and I'm having fun finding these courses to play for so little. I can't imagine paying more than $40 to play anywhere, although I would pay that to play Pebble Beach!
Golfwaco says:
Hey Doc, it only cost you about $55 to play Bethpage Black and you can make tee times 7 days in advance. I've been lucky enough to play there 3 time only because 3 people were calling and thank goodness for redial. You have a great deal there at Bethpage so no more whinning.
P.S. That is by far the toughest course I've ever played, of course we had to play it from the tip.
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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