Traveling without your clubs is usually not a good idea. Sometimes it is just not convenient to bring them and this was one of those times. Rental clubs at small, municipal courses are either bad or really bad. College Park Golf Course was one of those courses*.
We grabbed our clubs (between the two sets, we were able to piece together a full set); found the last two pull carts (mine had a flat tire, DC Dave’s had a broken handle); and we headed to the first hole to see if the course was any better than the rental equipment. What we found was…yes, it was better.
As I pulled my Wilson driver from my bag at Hole #1, I took a closer look at my set. It contained a Preswick 3-wood; Wilson 4-hybrid; Dunlap 4-iron; Turbo Max 6-iron; Top-Flight 7-iron; Knight 8-iron; Wilson pitching wedge; and a Tour 2003 putter. Not what you would call a “matching set”! A hilly par 4 of 381 yards with a cart path that starts down the middle of the fairway before it eventually moves to the left. We wanted to walk but maybe we were stupid to take two broken push carts today. Let’s hope the rest of the course is not this hilly.
Hole #2 is a dogleg left par 3 with plenty of room to the right to allow for that big slice. The tee box was in terrible shape but not a big deal as the fairways and greens were in decent shape. This hole is a little uphill and we are now thinking…will my flat tire cart allow me to get through the round without having a heart attack?
What club to hit at the third hole? It’s about 400 yards but with a creek that bisects the hole at about 250 yards down the fairway. I took the creek out of play with a hook into the trees down the left side with my Wilson Ultra driver. But is it really a driver? At closer inspection it has a FW marking on it, so maybe it’s a Fairway Wood. It really doesn’t matter at this point as I am 3-over after three holes and more interested in the low flying planes as they approach Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The clubs, the cart, the planes, the humidity, the slick grips, anything more I can blame on my poor shotmaking? All that being said, I liked this hole and it is the number one handicap.
Hole #4 is the first par 5 and has tree trouble on both sides of the fairway and snake issues by a second creek that is hidden from view while standing on the tee box. Another hole that is up, down, and then back up again and not fun with a flat tire. Note to self: If ever playing this course again…take a motorized cart! No snakes this day, but my second shot could have scared them away as it had settled right next to the stone bridge that is a very nice touch at this hole. The bogey train continues!
Hole #5 is straight forward and a good birdie opportunity as it is only 271 yards long. I just decided to keep my bogey streak alive. The par 3 sixth hole has trouble down the right side. There is out-of-bounds and probably a few snakes waiting for you down by the water. I pulled my Turbo Max 6-iron out of my bag for the first time and all the grooves were completely filled with dried mud. Not having a wet towel (which probably wouldn’t have helped), and not daring to go anywhere near the water, I hit it anyway and recorded my sixth consecutive bogey. I may not be good, but I am consistent!
There is a river that flows in front of the white and blue tees at Hole #7. This was my favorite hole on the course. Even though it is straight and short (255 yards), you need to pick a club that will keep you out of the dense grove of bushes to the left and the right. Hole #8 is a par 3 with a dramatic slope left of the green. Anything left could find your ball rolling into the woods and scrambling for par (or bogey, double, or triple in my case)! If you are going to miss the green – miss right!
The ninth hole is strange but also fun and interesting. It’s a long par 5 with a dogleg to the left but also to the left is the driving range. It would be interesting to talk to the regulars to see how they play this hole. There is a high fence down the entire fairway (until the bend) that protects the golfers on the range but can you hit your second/third shot over the fence to cut off the angle to the green? I just scraped my ball down the fairway until I found the end of the fence and proceeded up the hill to the green. Walking up the last hole with a flat tire was not ideal. Did I mention I would rent a motorized cart next time? Now DC Dave did not take the conservative approach to this hole. His third shot was up and over the fence and landed in the driving range teeing area. Luckily there was nobody there at the moment or we would have been running for the car and making a quick retreat to Colorado. Like I said, a strange and interesting finishing hole.
Rating – Birdie (40 out of 60): As I said earlier, the course was better than the equipment. The holes had character and they were varied in length and configuration. I thought the layout of the course was excellent. Many of the holes had rough patches but it was still very playable. We met two staff members and they were both very pleasant. If you have some time around your flight schedule, I would recommend this course for a quick round. Of course you will probably need a shower after spending time in the hot, humid, summer air.
* After our round the course manager/pro mentioned they would be receiving new rental clubs the week after we played!
3711 Fairway Dr., College Park, GA 30337; 404-761-0731; www.collegeparkgolf.com