With all the restrictions from the Coronavirus Edicts you may be suffering from FGD (forced golf deprivation). Maybe your club is closed or you don’t trust the operatives at the local Muny to properly sanitize the pull carts or cart steering wheels after every use. Or maybe contemplating playing with strangers is just a scary proposition at this point in time. It is a sad moment for golf addicts.
So I decided to do something about it by getting back in touch with my young teenage golfing id with a DIY Approach & No-Putt Course at a local public park. Below is the descriptive of “The Old Course at Avenel Park”….a Golden Age track with all the architectural integrity my imagination could muster.
Played with two clubs-a wedge and a 53-degree sand iron-and two balls, so mulligans are built in. There are no holes just proximity to objects you aim at….and no putting…double leather is a one-putt, everything else is a two-putt.
#1 Par 3 45 yards (Go)
Since there is no practice ground for warm up it makes sense the opening hole is a simple short pitch into the left half of the double green it shares with the 8th. If you get it to within 10 yards starting with a par is a cinch.
#2 Par 4.2 140 yards (Garo Yepremian)
Gets it’s name from the trees that frame the drive as well as the soccer goal you can just make out in the distance that is your goal on this one.
The squeeze on the drive is mostly psychological but you want to get enough carry to leave a short pitch from the pitch to the left post of the goal. A bogey is a good possibility…thus the .2 increment from the analytic staff on the par.
#3 Par 3 65 yards (The Road Hole)
Like so many great links courses you need to remember this track is on public land so you have to share it’s access with parents with strollers, dogs on leads, power walkers, and lots of wildlife. This is a short pitch at the base of the red flowering tree but care must be taken since the road lurks just beyond the tight green complex.
#4 Par 3.97 137 yards (Wide)
The driving area on this one is as wide as the wild blue yonder (shown) so just let out the shaft on the PW to lay up to the end of the fairway just right of the pines. As you can see the approach is to a sand based complex that sits considerably below you with the pitching rubber as its target.
Hardest part is figuring the roll out once the ball lands on this very generous no-putt surface. You might want to think about a two-bounce tight spinner.
#5 Par 3.8 120 yards (Power Alley)
The teeing ground is just off the Home dugout adjacent to the 4th green (brown actually) with the target just beyond the asphalt warning track in left center. The second probably calls for a high flopper but getting within Double Leather for a birdie is a good possibility.
#6 Par 4.44 125 yards (Equestrian Jump)
Huge risk-reward decision here in that the target is just on the other side of that hedge row of pines but if you fail to clear who knows how much pine sap will be on your ball and what tree root on which it will end up. Alternative is to lay-up left of the pines leaving a back-door, steep elevation pitch into the pine straw complex.
#7 Par 4 101 yards (Alcove)
The view from this confined back tee gives the hole it’s moniker but it is the tight green complex just left of the pine stand on the right that creates the challenge. The second is a short pitch but, like on #3, the road and a trash strewn penalty area lurk just behind which can catch an approach with overzealous intent.
#8 Par 3.13 85 yards (Waste Management)
This is a very narrow approach that requires a high pitch with a parachute to fit into the right half of a double green wedged between the treed native area on the right and the bumper of the maintenance vehicle.
This part of the course is a bit of a bottleneck so you may have to wait for the group in front of you to clear the can and head for the next tee.
#9 Par 3.29 79 yards (Clown’s Mouth)
You can see by the daffodils and the spooky hardwood adorning the back tee box on the home hole that we spared no expense to create memorable ambiance for this classic track.
This one gets it’s name out of respect for a Mini-Golf Facility we used to play in those halcyon college days in College Park where the final shot required pitching the ball into gaping mouth of a circus entertainer. Your target is the narrow opening between the tree and the No Parking sign adjacent to the OB parking lot on the right. Take note that the hard scape runs diagonal to your target so anything wayward right could result in a big bounce into Sherwood Forest beyond which could end your day with a bad taste in your mouth.
All-in-all this stroll requires a little bit of golf acumen and a dose of self-delusion. It reminds me that so often it is not the quality of the golf course that matters, it is the quality of the golf experience….and in this case that is totally in the mind of the beholder.
Potomac, Maryland (2020)