I was able to get in a twilight round tonight at my “home” course, Green Oaks. I teed off at 6:30 and finished at 8:45 — just as course turned on the sprinklers.
The round would have been much faster, but on the last five holes I got caught behind a threesome that was just not going to let me play through. There was a younger guy in one of the carts, and two girls in the other. The girls were terrible, and the guy must have been trying to impress them with his masculinity. Captain Macho was teeing off from the blue tees, taking mighty (and awkward) swings and spraying the ball all over the place. In the long shadows, being in the tall grass off the fairway is a very bad thing. So after teeing off, the three would look for their balls by driving their carts around at full speed in huge orbits, careening about like toddlers loose on their first Power Wheel ride. The girls managed to waste time by driving several times around trees, driving forward to the midway point of the hole, and then driving nearly back to the teebox, before turning about again. At one point, the morons even drove up on a green.
I thought about calling the clubhouse after that display, but at that hour, I wasn’t sure they’d have the staff to abandon the clubhouse to come out to eject the nimrods.
Adding to my frustration was that the trio of jack wagons dawdled on the tee boxes as I played up the previous hole, engaging in whatever passes for a mating ritual among millennials. Then, just as I was approaching the tee box, they would hop into their carts and swerve off on their mad ball search. I was then forced to stand on the box to witness the tomfoolery.
As I approached the group on one hole, I heard one of the women shout from her cart to Captain Macho on the tee box. “Oh, this is a 400 one. Can you hit it that far?”
A “Four Hundred One?” It was close to 400 from the red tees, but 540 from where Captain Macho was teeing it up. I’m sure he swelled with pride, however, at the thought that his harem believed he could muscle it like that. He then proceeded to hit a weak slice into the long grass.
Their play on the course was no better. The girls would take one-two-three-four practice swings and then chunk it fifteen yards. That then triggered a return trip to the cart for a different club. Captain Macho would then give a short demonstration. One-two-three-four practice swings. And another chunk.
One of the young women got down on all fours to put the tee and ball into the ground.
I only hope that there was alcohol involved, because if they were sober, they are among the biggest idiots I have ever encountered at Green Oaks. I like the idea that younger people are out on the course, but they’ve got to understand that a course is a shared space, and that their joyriding was cutting into other people’s time. There was a group behind me, but they gave up two holes into the stretch and drove off to replay previous holes.
For my part, in spite of the frustration of the antics at the end, I managed a solid round. Coming out of the winter doldrums, I’m starting to make much better contact. Distances on my irons are terrific, but I still can’t hit a decent drive.
Eldorado Golf Course
Teacher’s Comments:Twenty seven holes offer a lot of variety.
“Eldorado” is the legendary empire of gold sought by conquistadors and treasure hunters since the 16th century. Eldorado the golf course is a gold mine of golf holes in Mason, Michigan. Fortunately, it is not lost. It is, however, a bit off the beaten track.
Eldorado’s three nines are labeled the Red, White and Blue. Between the three, you’ll find just about every type of hole you could wish for: open, wooded, swampy, long carries, no carries, doglegs, straight as an arrow, tight, wide, uphill and downhill.
The Red is very friendly, with generous fairways, and not much trouble to get into off the tee. Two holes—the par 4 fourth and the par 3 seventh—require carries, but they are not difficult. This would be an ideal nine for a struggling or beginning golfer. From the back tees, it measures 3,160 yards and plays to a 34.3/105.
The White plays through woods, making the fairways tight and miscues penal. It also seemed to me to be the most hilly of the three nines. It is, however, also the shortest of the three, measuring 2,892 and playing to a 34.3/111.4. That it is 260 yards shorter than the Red and Blue, but playing six points or so more difficult speaks to the problems to the golfer posed by this nine.
The Blue is the longest of the three, measuring 3,168 and playing to a 114.1/34.9. That makes it the most difficult of the three. I thought the White harder, though. The Blue is less hilly than the White and less open than the Red. There are a few elevation changes, and some woods that could come into play, particularly on approach shots.The second and third shots on the first, for example, could find tree trouble, as could the same shots on the seventh.
If I were playing Eldorado again, I’d try to get out on the Red and Blue. Those nines were a lot of fun. My favorite hole on the course was the Red’s par four sixth (above). It’s a slightly dogleg right that starts level, dips down, then finishes in a sharply elevated green. Get your drive over the ridge, let it roll to the bottom, then add an extra club to get back up to the green. Fun.
Conditions on the day I played were mixed. The Red was in very good shape. However, a number of fairways on the Blue were in low-lying areas that were poorly drained. The areas just off the fairway were not well maintained and some of the greens needed work. The White also was in good shape. On all three courses, areas off the fairway and primary rough were often threadbare. I think the management should work to get those areas to grow out, and leave them long enough to thrive. Not every part of a golf course needs be regularly mowed.
All that said, there’s nothing particularly memorable about Eldorado. It is fun and friendly, but so are a lot of other courses. I am not sorry I played there, and would go back for an outing, but it is not one I would make a special trip to return.
(originally published Nov. 10, 2014)
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