The Meadows Golf Course Review -Iowa

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The Meadows Golf Course
Dubuque, Iowa

Grade: B
Teacher’s Comments: An enjoyable course with (for me) surprising amounts of elevation change.

I took detour on a road trip this past summer just so I could add Iowa to the list of states in which I have played golf. With no particular destination in mind, and no guidance but my GPS, I ended up at a course in Dubuque named the Meadows. It turned out to be a worthwhile stop.

I had no idea what to expect from Iowa golf. I had never been to Iowa and my primary mental image was of flat, featureless expanses of corn. As it turns out, that particular section of Iowa is quite hilly, which made The Meadows more interesting than I anticipated.

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As the name suggests, The Meadows is an open layout, with few obstacles to hinder a bombs-away strategy. The holes are generally straight, and the fairways generous. The occasional stands of trees are never a real threat. The strategy in the course comes mostly from negotiating the surprisingly hilly terrain.

From the back tees, the Meadows plays to a 72.9/129 and stretches to 6,675 yards. The blue tees measure 6,256 and play 70.2/125. The whites are 5,540 and play 66.2/117.

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My favorite hole was par five 15th (above two photos). Measuring 525 yard (from the back tees), the hole begins on one hilltop and ends on another. The tee shot plays steeply downhill to a landing area bottlenecked by two stands of trees. From there, two more solid shots are required to get back uphill. The green is guarded by two bunkers in front and framed by two small stands of trees.

Not much strategy there, but it was a lot of fun. Hit it as hard as you can, and then hit it again.

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Another fun one was the par four 16th (above). My two playing partners—both of whom were regulars, including one who lived in a beautiful home just off the seventeenth fairway—said that it was known as the Dolly Parton Hole. That’s because the sides of the fairway are defined by two large conical mounds. A good tee shots splits the twins, which leaves a second, sharply downhill shot to a green located on a precipice above a creek.Good distance management is everything here. Drive the ball too far, and you’ve got a tricky downhill lie. Club selection on the second shot also needs to be well managed.

Conditions on the day I played were decent, although it was not what you could describe as lush. There were some damaged areas in the fairways and the grass was struggling. The rough areas in particular were brown and in some spots, bare. As with many courses I play, I wonder why the groundskeepers don’t just let the rough grow out some more. During the dog days of summer, we let the grass grow longer in my yard so that we don’t stress it out. Longer grass also would likely hold the moisture on the course better and probably help the adjacent fairways.

The greens, on the other hand were in great shape. In general, the entire place was tidy.

In all, I had a good time at the Meadows and thought it a good ambassador of Iowa golf.

More photos follow

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