Blogs > DSG's Affordabili-TEES

News-Herald Staff Writer David S. Glasier has been playing golf for over 50 years and writing about it for over 30. Always operating on a tight budget, Glasier is on a lifelong quest to find good courses to play at affordable prices.

Friday, June 24, 2011

DSG's Affordabili-TEES spotlight: Powderhorn Country Club

      Course: Powderhorn Country Club
3991 Bates Rd., Madison
      Par, yardages: 70, 4,881 (red tees); 5,679 (white); 6,004 (blue)
      Greens fees: Weekdays, $12 (9 holes, walking); $21 (senior, 18 holes with cart, weekdays); $27 (18 holes with cart, weekdays); $30 (18 holes with cart, Saturday and Sunday); Thursday special, $30, two players, 18 holes with cart.
      Phone: 440-428-5951
      Powderhorn Country Club is a heckuva nice course and a first-rate value.
      If you haven't made the drive to Madison Township to test your game there, you owe it to yourself to do so in short order.
      From the tips, Powderhorn measures just a shade over 6,000 yards. At least in my mind, it plays longer than that. Tee-to-green conditions are exemplary for a place at this price point.
      There isn't anything I don't like about Powderhorn, save for the fact that a couple of its holes almost always defeat my best-laid plans.
      Let's start with the par-4, 423-yard first hole. There is tree trouble left and right on the course's No. 1 handicap hole. Better get your drive out there long and in the right place or your brain will race as you ponder the approach shot over the pond that guards the front of the green.
      For argument's sake, let's say you knock it out there 240 yards in the short grass. You are left with a medium-to-long iron shot that places maximum value on distance control. There are only three paces from where the water ends to where the green begins.
A gut-check shot at any point of the round, it's a super-stiff challenge on the opening hole. I've made a couple of birdies on this hole, a few snowmen and more bogies and double bogeys than I'd care to acknowledge.
      The par-4, 391-yard third hole is a dogleg left that lends itself to a brains-over-brawn philosophy. Big hitters should leave the big stick in the bag. Dial back to the utility club or long iron, pick a spot and take your chances with a mid-iron approach up the hill to a well-bunkered green. Par here is golden.
      Accuracy from the tee is required on the par-4, 365-yard sixth hole. You need to get by the large tree guarding the left side of the fairway to set up the approach shot over a pond guarding the large, sloped green.
      As par-3s in this corner of the world go, the 210-yard eighth hole is a knee-knocker from start to finish. Stray left or right with the tee shot, you're in trouble. Missing short between the sand bunkers is good. Missing long, left or right is bad. Leave yourself a long first putt on the wrong side of the hole, and you're staring a three-banger in the face.
Nasty hole all around.
      Length and accuracy off the tee are a must on the par-4, 442-yard ninth hole. Shoot your drive into the rough on the left or tree line on the right, and your chances for hitting the huge green in two or finishing the front nine with a par are slim, indeed.
      The 460-yard, par-4 10th hole resembles the first hole - green guarded by water in front - and offers every bit as stiff a challenge. The card has this as the No. 2 handicap hole. I say it's no worse than 1A.
      "Sneaky'' is the appropriate adjective when applied to the par-4, 378-yard 12th hole. What looks easy from the tee is anything but easy if the drive doesn't finish in the short grass.
      The par-4, 248-yard 13th is one of the best holes in Lake County. Do you treat it as a long par-3 and bust the tee shot, aiming to fly it to the elevated green with devilish slope? Or, do you go with a 160-yard iron off the tee and take your chances with a wedge? This is a risk-reward special.
      A big gap between front and back tees - 140 to 176 yards - adds spice to the par-3 14th hole. Whichever tee you choose, you're hitting over a gorge to a slippery green.
      Big hitters certainly can navigate the uphill climb and reach the green on the par-4, 277-yard 15th hole. Still, I wouldn't call this an easy hole for the average player.
      The par-5, 547-yard 16th hole is my personal nemesis. It eats my breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snack no matter how diligently I work to get my brain in the right place.
      Challenges await on the par-3, 165-yard 17th hole. There is plenty of trouble between the tee and green, both elevated. The green is large and loaded with breaks.
      Don't hesitate to tee it high and let fly on the par-4, 265-yard 18th hole. This isn't a great finishing hole, but it offers the welcome opportunity to end the round on an upbeat note.



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