Springfield, IL – this is where the story begins – please bear with me. They kept getting it wrong. The signs around town stated, “Welcome to Springfield” – not one correctly phrased…
“Welcome the Springfields”. If you have been following our sibling journey, you may realize that our family name is “Springfield”. Didn’t anyone tell the town we were coming? Hadn’t the word spread? Obviously not, as Always Time for 9 could not even get a tee time at the local 9-hole course – Long Bridge Golf Course. It looked like a beauty, but we’ll just have to give Springfield, IL a second chance.
Never to be deterred by failure, the Springfields (Scott, Sally & Steve) packed up, drove west on I-72 and made our way to the Illinois/Missouri (or if you prefer, Missoura) border. Two very nice women at the Hannibal, MO Welcome Center helped us to determine our next stop in search of a 9-hole course in northeast Missouri. Even though neither of them knew anything about golf, they directed us to Mosswood Meadows Golf Course in Monroe City, MO.
“Hello, anyone home?” The sign on the door read, “back at 9” – it was now 1pm. We were, however, welcomed to Mosswood Meadows by a big bottle of Corona. Nobody to greet us; no place to deposit our money; still not deterred by failure, so off to the first tee and we shall see if anyone finds us.
Still not a soul in sight as we tee’d it up at Hole #1. The sound of our booming drives must have alerted someone to our presence as we were finally greeted by a course employee/volunteer. He told us that someone should be at the clubhouse at the end of our round. We continued down the fairway avoiding most of the tree trouble that guards each side of the fairway, but somehow found the bunkers that surround both sides of the green.
Please take time to study the scorecard (we had to scour the cart barn for a used one) carefully at Hole #2. Not being the “sharpest tool in the shed (or cart barn)”, I totally misplayed this hole. I carelessly reviewed the routing of the hole on the scorecard from the perspective of the red tee box. From there (red) the hole has a slight dogleg to the right (the route I took). Surprise, if you are playing from the white tees, the hole has a dogleg left – another senior moment! To play this hole properly you need: 1) to read the scorecard properly; 2) play with someone who knows how to properly read a scorecard; 3) carry the pond; 4) hit your best draw; 5) thread the trees on your 2nd (or 3rd) shot(s) to the green; and avoid the front, right bunker at the green. Somehow with all the things I did wrong, I was able to record a par. I’m not exactly sure what happened to the other two, but I think Steve was searching for his ball in the pond and Sally was just laughing at her two brothers.
After that last hole, it was comforting to see an easy par 3 at Hole #3. Another senior moment at Hole #4 – I took no photos at this hole so I am working from my rain-smudged notes. This par 4 of 380 yards has trees and railroad tracks (which I don’t recollect) down the left side; twin bunkers to dodge at the 150 yard marker; and three bunkers surrounding the green. Four holes in and I am impressed with this course – the serenity; the sibling company; the price; and the course routing. You need to find your draw again at the dogleg left fifth hole – just a nice hole, unless you find the creek.
As long as you are straight and airborne at the par 3 sixth hole you should be fine. The fairway was in terrible shape today, but you shouldn’t be there anyway! It is extremely important to choose any club that you can accurately land in the fairway at Hole #7. Let me emphasize that last statement, it is extremely important to choose any club that you can accurately land in the fairway. Right is death, left is worse than death – I should know because I had to chip out to be able to find a way to hit my approach to the green. Have your sand wedge at the ready because there is sand everywhere at Hole #8. We also learned at this hole that there would be nobody at the clubhouse to take our green fee, so the round was on the house. Now we really felt welcomed.
Hole #9 is a 395 yard par 4 and is the number one handicap hole. This dogleg left fairway has tree-trouble left and pond-trouble right. Our advice – just hit it straight down the middle.
Birdie: For a course that we only played by accident, it turned out to be a very pleasant experience. I have written about the I-70, Eastern Colorado, Small Town Golf Trail – I may need to add the new Northern Missouri, Highway 36, “The Way of American Genius”, Small Town Golf Trail to the list.
Missouri’s stretch of Highway 36 or known to the locals as “The Way of American Genius”, is it’s acknowledgement of the great Missourians – and their contributions to the world – who once called this area home. Mark Twain, Walt Disney, Gen. Omar Bradley, Gen. John Pershing, J.C. Penny, the guys who invented sliced bread, and the home of the Pony Express all have ties to this stretch of four-lane road in northern Missouri. History not your thing? How about hiking the Lewis and Clark, Mark Twain, Thousand Hills, Long Branch, Pershing, or Wallace State Parks. Walking not your thing? How about drinking? Visit Tipple Hill, Windy Wine, Gridstone Valley, Black Silo, Pridle, Western Wine, and Riverwood wineries along the way. Please remember to have your designated driver at the wheel.
We didn’t have a chance to explore this stretch of asphalt, but since our new friend at the course said we could pay the next time through, I guess we shall return. Springfields’ – what do you think?
1315 Lakeview Dr., Monroe City, MO 63456; 573-735-2088; www.mosswoodmeadows.com