True Blue: Friday August 6. Tee time 2:30. Temperature 96 sunny. Blue Tees 6812 yards
This was our first time playing True Blue. We had heard mostly good things about the layout and conditions: but a few negatives about pace of play. (Sponcia) Arrived about 1:50 and were told to head right over to #10. There was a father and son twosome about to tee off. They noticed us approach the tee and told us to play thru as they would be "playing slowly". Standing on the 10th tee we realized immediately that we should have bought a yardage book. The 10th is such a severe dogleg that the green can't be seen from the tee. But off we went. We soon realized something else. Conditions were almost perfect. In fact, in 14 years of July-August golf the conditions at True Blue were the best I've ever experienced. Fairways were like carpet, greens cut low making them fast and true. The course is designed to become more penal as you get closure to the green. Wide inviting fairways taper to well trapped and guarded greens. After a couple of holes the wind began to pick up and we kept one eye on a darkening sky. But we were both playing well (I birdied 12 and 13) and playing quickly. As we arrived at the 17th tee we could hear thunder in the distance but no lightning. We both hit our t-shots and as we were standing over our approaches all hell broke loose. The wind gusted to easily over 40 mph and black clouds seemed to close in above from all directions. We left our balls in the fairway and headed back to the 17th tee where there is an a-frame shelter about the size of a 1-car garage. It's open on all sides but looked like it would be sufficient to wait it out. After about 15 minutes it was apparent that waiting it out was not an option. The shelter is actually lower than the tee in front and the road to the rear. Water began pouring in rising almost above the cart wheels. We had to make a break for it so we drove back thru waste bunkers most of the way. I don't know how the cart didn't quit. But we made it back. When I walked into the pro-shop the guy laughed and asked how many we got in. I told him and he gave us 9 hole rainchecks. We returned the next day to much better conditions but much poorer golf. IMHO the front is much more difficult. #3 par 3 over water. Very difficult into the wind.
I ended up with 40-47-87 My son shot 36-39-75.
Overall course conditions 9.5
Service 7 (they didn't have to do much but they didn't tell us about the twosome already on #10)
Pace of play: 3 hours
Southcreek @ Myrtle National: Tuesday August 10. Tee time 1:08 Temp mid-90's (as usual)
Sunny, Blue Tees: 6416 yards. Bag drop is a little quirky and confusing. They need to take a page from the legends and divide the bag drop into different sections for different courses. We were told to head over to #1 then were re-directed to #10. I hadn't played here for about 7-8 years and wasn't expecting much more than mid-tier conditions considering the price. Was I wrong. Southcreek was in almost as good shape as True Blue. The only difference seemed to be that Southcreek gets more wear and tear with more unfilled divots and improperly or unfixed pitch marks. At 6400 yards it's not long but not a pushover. The t-shot is the key to scoring well here. Wayward t-shots will find the trees or the neighbors backyard. Shots into the trees can usually be found but usually result in a punch out. I played with both sons and younger brother from Richmond. Everyone enjoyed the layout and conditions. I shot 42-42-84. 19 year old son shot 79. But we were really just spectators as youngest son shot career low 32-35-67. Southcreek was an excellent value. We got way more in return than we paid.
Overall course conditions: 9
Service 6 (starter was a nice guy. Had a nice chat while waiting at first tee)
Pace of Play: 3 hours 45 minutes
Indian Wells: Wednesday August 11. Tee time 2:30. Temp mid-90's. sunny. Back tees: 6624 yards.
We wanted to play somewhere close today and chose Indian Wells. Don Quixote had his windmills, Monte Python had his holy grail. I have Indian Wells. I've played here 4 times now and 4 times i've been crushed. I may be in the minority but I love the layout. IMHO it provides unique challenges with sneaky little parallel creeks and inconveniently placed perpendicular creeks and ponds. I came to realize though that it's the greens that get you. If you miss the green it's very difficult to get up and down. Everything seems to roll away from the hole. The greens had been punched but i've played on a lot worse. The rest of the course was in excellent condition. I played with both boys again. They really enjoyed the layout but both though it was very "hard". I shot a humbling 93. 19 year old shot 84. 17 year old returned to earth with an 82. Don't avoid Indian Wells. Relish the challenge. Just play the correct tees. It's still a good value for a unique layout.
Overall course conditions: 8
Greens: 5 (punched)
Service 5 (cart girl MIA on a brutally hot day)
Pace of play 3 hours 15 min. (played through a 3-some and twosome or it would have been a long day)
Shaftsbury Glen: Thursday August 12. Tee Time 1:00 Temp mid-90's sunny. White tees 6445 yards.
I was trying expand our horizons and look for a new course within reasonable driving distance. Always wanted to give Shaftsbury a shot. I noticed that it was all highway driving 17-31-22 and we were meeting the girls at Broadway for dinner. So Shaftsbury fit the bill.
When you drive in the first thing you notice is the contrast between the very green turf and the bright white sand. The old english style stone clubhouse is a nice touch as well.
Bag drop kid was very polite and pleasant.
Shaftsbury is very wide open off the tee. Most fairways are flanked with sculpted fairway bunkers that give the holes a very aesthetic frame to them. All the greens are elevated and usually surrounded by sculpted (and much deeper) bunkers. We really enjoyed the course. Although we were a little suprised to see that the greens had been punched fairly recently. However, they still rolled smoothly and putting was relatively un-affected. This course would be an excellent choice for a large group with a wide variety of handicaps. The layout and conditions make for a very pleasant round of golf. I had to drain a 10 footer to shoot break 80 and did it! 39-40-79. 19 year old shot 39-40-79. and 17 year old went 34-37-71. My father shot 97 but played much better than that as he faded in the heat late. He loved it and will be recommending that it be put on their spring trip list.
Overall course conditions: 8.5
Greens: 7.5 (healing nicely)
Pace of play 3 1/2 hours
Blackmoor: Friday August 13. Tee Time 1:06 Temp upper 90's Back Tees 6614 yards
Decided to get one last round in. Blackmoor has always been a favorite with our group. Played as a twosome with my 19 year old. Claims he looks forward to playing Blackmoor every year to get a crack at #8. I love the layout. No two holes are even close to being the same. Always a chance to spot a gator or two. Not today though. Even too hot for them.
I've probably played Blackmoor 10-11 times. Best conditions I've ever seen here. Greens were fantastic. Rolled smooth cut low even in all the heat. Only quirk was that they are rebuilding the tee at the par 5 13th. Consequently It has been reduced to about 380 yards. However, the position of the temporary tee limits a right handed golfer to a tee shot of no more than 165-175 yards. So it still kind of works out the same. My son is left handed though and was able to hit a huge draw around the corner. He ended up making an easy bird. Despite being stuck behind a clueless 4-some on the front the day was very enjoyable. Made more enjoyable by the fact that we both ripped drives down the heart of #8. My son birdied I had a dissapointing par. I shot a 41-45-86 as I wilted down the stretch. Son shot 38-42-80. Very enjoyable day
As long as we continue to come to Myrtle Blackmoor will remain on the menu.
Overall course conditions: 9.5
Service: 9 guys have always been great.
Pace of play 3 hours 15 minutes.