The plane was so low over the first fairway as it approached St. Louis Lambert International Airport that I could hear the flight attendants review the final landing instructions. We cleared the fairway for a potential landing of a 747 or the booming drive by our playing partner Jeff. Luckily the planes stayed in the air and most of the drives landed on the fairways!
Hole #1 starts with a par 5 and with a set of rental clubs it’s always a good sign to hit the first drive flush and down the middle. Your first shot better be down the middle because left in the trees is dead and right in the trees is not much better. I always like to record a par on the scorecard after spending seven hours traveling (this time, across I-70 through Kansas and Missouri). Hole #2 is a par 3 of about 120 yards and just like #1, the trees to the left are ball eaters.
If you have a “duck hook” the first three holes may have you screaming at the golf gods. The third hole is no different than the first two – dense trees to the left. Hole #4 is the reason to have a local in your group to help explain the hole. As you stand on the tee at this par 4, it is not apparent which club to pull because the shot is blind due to a rise in the fairway. Looking at the scorecard (which I do too infrequently) is necessary because it will at least confirm that it is a 90 degree dogleg to the left. Dave saw a marker that stated 153 yards and thought it might be a par 3. I had pulled my driver. Our playing partners, Jeff and Chris, stepped in and noted that the 153 yards was the distance to hit your drive because the fairway ends at that distance. It’s a fun risk/reward hole. Who knows how we would have played the hole if not for their intervention. My drive would have sailed through the fairway…maybe!
At Hole #6 we return to the dense forest to the left but also add tree problems behind the green. Jeff received a locals bounce as he “wisely” played his ball down the cart path and was putting for “birdie” after his second shot. There are only a few bunkers on the course but there is one here.
Hole #7 is a par 4 of 395 yards. Aim your tee shot to the left as the fairway slopes from left to right. However, most of us have no idea where our shots are going, so any shot too far right will once again find tree trouble. Hole #8 is a par 3 that looks benign but can be a little tricky for the wayward tee shot. Any shot to the right will funnel down the slope and into the trees. Trees…have I mentioned there are a few trees on the course? Back and left shots are no bargain either but are the better choices. The final hole is a par 5 with a dogleg left that is guarded by more trees. So don’t try to cut too much off on your drive at this number one handicap hole.
Rating – Birdie (41 out of 60): After being on the road for about seven hours, this was a great place to stretch our legs. Rental clubs and push carts don’t always make for a fun round, but we muddled through it. The staff was excellent; the greens were in good shape; the fairways were a little bare in spots, but not bad; and our playing partners, Jeff and Chris, made for an enjoyable day. If it wasn’t for them, who knows what we would have scored at Hole #4!
It would have made for an interesting story at Hole #1 but alas, no planes needed the first fairway for their landings!
11919 Berry Hill Rd., Bridgeton, MO 63044; 314-731-7979; www.bridgetonmo.com