I played a course a couple of days ago which I’d played dozens of times, many years ago. It isn’t on my current rota of regular stops. It was fun to get back there and play for a good change of pace. Somehow I managed to birdie the first three holes. Of course after that the golf gods clamped down on my joy and let me have it. Taught me a lesson. It didn’t hurt that much because that’s exactly what I knew they were going to do. So I outsmarted them.
On the first hole I had about an 80 yard approach shot to a back pin. I hit it 85. The ball landed behind the green and bounced backwards to about 6 feet. That was odd, but I wasn’t complaining.
They’re overwatering the golf course and the road!
Through the rest of the round I couldn’t help noticing how soggy and wet the course was. Approach shots all had to be long because they would not bounce forward. Chipping was difficult because the shots would hit such soft ground and stop almost instantly. The greens were so soggy that player footprints made putts bounce all over the place. If I stood in one place I would slowly sink, leaving a large depression.
The course was nice and green though. Sigh. I get that we are no longer in a drought, but good hell ease off on the water. Let the ball bounce. Allow the player to run up some shots. Every course doesn’t have to be as green as Augusta National Golf Club. Take links golf in Scotland for instance. The ground is very hard. The golfer can be creative by running the ball and using the contours of the ground, rather than just having to fly shots to the target.
It’s got to cost more to maintain courses that are so wet. First there’s the water cost. Second, the grass has to be cut more often and something has to be done with the clippings if they’re not mulched. Then there’s the mud issues like I saw at this course. There were areas so wet they had to be roped off.
Please rake the bunkers, in your scuba diving gear…
I ended up in one of those roped off areas short of a par-4. At the time I was in the midst of an awesome round at -3. I had to take a drop because there was standing water. Nearest relief was in the fairway. I hit my chip and the ground was so wet that the club sliced through the turf and went under the ball entirely! I don’t think the club actually touched the ball.
Take it easy with the watering. Let your members have some fun with longer distance and more creative ground game shots.
I must make a shout out to Utah’s Impact Golf Center and my buddy Jordan there. They’ve helped me quite a bit with club testing, club fixing, club maintenance, re-grips, and golf simulator/launch monitor time. I often get clubs in for review which aren’t setup right for me, or need different grips because of my tennis elbow etc. They’re great with helping me get setup to do my reviews.
In my last trip I did some sim time with Jordan who was helping to determine a shaft for the new Cobra driver which recently came in for review. Often times stock shafts are not, shall we say, consistent. I found a good shaft for my dual chicken with granny over the top swing and will be attempting to get a demo for my review. Once I had that Cobra setup right my accuracy and spin rates really dialed in.
Above are some swings with a bunch of different shafts as seen on the simulator. Strangely, I never went left. Always right or straight. That’s not the way it is on the course for me. I’d love to be that consistent and be able to ignore one side knowing it isn’t in play. Unfortunately I also learned that my swing speed is not what it used to be. Average 96mph and maxed at 99 once. I’ve lost 5mph in the last year or so.
I also had the shop take a look at my old Hogan Apex Edge Pro irons. They checked the lofts. I had to put those back in play because right now I can’t hit the Miura baby blades.
If you’re in northern Utah and need some work done on your golf gear, or need new gear, check out Impact Golf Center. In the winter they have simulators for those of us who need to play any kind of golf we can when we are buried in five feet of snow.
In an 18 hour period I played 36 holes on two golf different golf courses that were the same golf course. Sound confusing? I played the Red and Black courses which comprise Forest Dunes’ “The Loop.”
The Loop is a new course which was designed by golf architecture genius Tom Doak. It is one of three courses at Forest Dunes, in northern Michigan. The Loops is an 18 hole, par-70 course which plays one direction one day, and the opposite direction the next.
This reversible course quite a feat of engineering and creativity on the part of Doak, and I anticipate more and more golf courses will be doing this in the future. Two courses, same acreage.
I’m still mentally processing my rounds on the Loop for a future full blown review after I return from this current World Tour event in Michigan. Stay tuned. If you have questions about The Loop and/or Forest Dunes, let me know.
Forest Dunes is a golf resort in northern Michigan you should definitely put on your golf bucket list. There are four courses on the property, if you count The Loop, which is a reversible course by Tom Doak. Yesterday morning I had the thill of taking on the Forest Dunes Weiskopf course and oh what a beauty she is. I would have made a blog post about this Tour stop sooner, but the resort is quite remote and there’s not much connectivity there. Plus, I spent most of my time there golfing, eating, and sleeping in between.
I can’t quite recall if I’ve played a Weiskopf course before this one, but I must take my HOG hat off and salute Tom for such a fantastic design. Tired and a bit jet lagged I still managed it around in 80 without losing a ball, and there are massive forest areas everywhere one can do that.
The greens were spectacular and terrifyingly fast. It took quite a bit of skill, patience and green reading to navigate them.
I’ll be posting a full review of the Forest Dunes Weiskopf course here in the near future. I’m still in northern Michigan on a golf press trip which will last another five days or so which isn’t giving me much time to write or process images. Stay tuned. Until then enjoy some Forest Dunes photos.
Above: dew sweeping.
Below: panorama showing the 19th hole. Yes there is a 19th hole.
I may be fooling myself, but I like to think I hit certain clubs fairly accurate and consistent yardages. When I have an exact yardage to my target it helps me confidently pick the right club and put a solid swing on it. That’s one reason I typically prefer laser rangefinders over GPS devices on the golf course. I can shoot anything and get a number. Top lip of the bunker guarding the front of the green is 127 and the pin is 135. Perfect. I know just what to hit.
Laser rangefinders are not typically inexpensive. The Bushnell Pro X2 laser I recently reviewed is $500! That’s a lot of dough for golfers on a budget or who only play a few times a month or even a few times a year. Luckily the more affordable laser rangefinder space has an excellent player in it, TecTecTec. TecTecTec makes several “affordable” lasers which start in price from $149 and max out at $249.00. Many of the features found in the more expensive laser units come standard in TecTecTec lasers. Today’s review is the VRPRO500S.
The VRPRO500S is not the least expensive offering from TecTecTec. It’s the next level up, and can be found on Amazon for only $179.99. This model comes in a very small and convenient size. See the photo below.
- “Flagseeker Advanced Pinsensor Technology” – (LOL, not pinseeker) technology locks onto the pin (see critiques)
- Slope – not legal for tournament play but can be turned off
- Yards or Meters
- Measures up to 540 yards (good for you long hitters)
- Very nice zippered case with elastic quick release
- Compact size
- 6X monocular magnification
- 2 year warranty
On The Course
The VRPRO500S performed fairly well on the course for me. Keep in mind I’m used to gaming lasers that are 2-3X the cost. I found that in most situations I was able to get an accurate yardage quickly. The numbers on the display are clear and easy to read. The visual through the 6x monocular multi-layer coated lens is clear and bright.
I don’t typically use slope when getting yardages with lasers because my rounds are almost always legit handicap or tournament rounds. But for fun I used the slope a few times to get the hang of it. The slop can be turned on or off via the “mode” button on the top. The slope is quite cool. The actual yardage is shown as normal, but under it is shown the yardage compensated for change in elevation. For instance on one par-3 at my home course the yardage was 145 downhill. With the slope turned on the unit told me the yardage would play like a shot of 137 yards. The top of the display also shows the number of degrees in the slope, which is interesting.
There are also other modes and settings one can use the mode button for. One is a kind of “scan” mode where you can hold the button down and the numbers will automatically update as you move it around.
Naturally the main mode I used is “Flagseeker” mode. LOL, doesn’t sound anything like Pinseeker.
One weakness this laser has over the expensive higher end brands is a situation I’ve ran into a few times. The Flagseeker mode has a hard time locking in on the pin when there are trees close behind the pin. More often than not the unit gives me the yardage to the trees, not the pin. Bigger target. In events like that all is not lost though. I’ll just shoot the ground at the bottom of the pin, or shoot the false front, or better yet shoot players if they’re still putting.
At $179 the VRPRO500S is a great value in golf laser rangefinders. It’s difficult to find many with slope in that price range, if there are any others at all.