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Where are you playing tomorrow - Chicago (Round 3)


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Naperbrook yesterday. I probably came in with unrealistic expectations given how much of a treat Prairie Bluff was. Just completely different levels of conditioning, not really comparable. That being said, course was nice, some variety of holes. Some weird outcroppings of penalty areas like on 3rd tee shot. Pet peeve of mine is when tee boxes are not level, it is hard to convince yourself that you have a bad lie on the tee...lol. I would play it again, as it was fun, good value and pace of play was great.

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The rating for The Preserve Black/Blue Hybrid is 71.5 (6431), and the slope is 136. Maple Meadows Blue is 70/122 (6438 yds). So yes, on paper The Preserve is a stroke and half harder. However, Maple Meadows is a par 70, so the rating differential to par is zero, whereas The Preserve plays easier than par for the scratch golfer.

I have no idea where they got that 136 slope. A few of us seem to believe that MM has narrower landing areas, and more trouble off the tee. Later today I'll do a comparison of the similar holes.

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Sitting with a nice cup of coffee, and looking at the two courses. Here's my breakdown.

Par 3's: MM has two short par 3s, 2 and 5. Both are benign. TP's 8th has a tough two-tiered green, so I'd give a point to TP. MM's 9th and TP's 3rd are about the same for me, so no point to either. MM's 16th is long with a narrow green. I think it compares to TP's 10th. Again, I'll call it a draw, although I think MM's plays a bit tougher. MM's 13th and TP's 17th are again similar, so another draw.

Par 5's: MM's 8th has a narrow landing area, and junk on both sides. I stack it up against TP's 2nd, which has a very generous fairway, even though it can appear small. The 2nd has a tougher layup if one wants a wedge in, but you can easily lay back at 140 yds without bringing trouble into play. I give a point to MM. MM's 1st has a somewhat difficult tee shot, as there's marsh left and right. TP's 5th has a very generous fairway. You really need to slice one off the course to find the PA on the right. I'll call it a draw. MM 11th is long, but fairly benign. TP's 13th has a bunker left, and PA right, so the point goes to TP. Since TP's 13th doesn't have a matching fourth par 5, I'll give TP the point (vs. MM's par 3 5th).

Long 4's: MM's 15th is a long and narrow hold with junk right, and trees left. TP's 9th forces one to lay back, and hit a long shot into a tough green. I'd say both are ripe for bogies, so no point awarded. MM's 6th has a bunker right, and PA left. TP's 18th has a nice speed slot, so even though it's long on the card, it's usually a mid-iron into the green. I give the point to MM. MM's 12th has tall trees on either side of the fairway. One must be dead center in the fairway to have a clear shot at the green. TP's 11th is so wide that it's rumored that several planes landing at O'Hare have mistaken the fairway for Runway 9R. Point to MM.

Mid 4's: I'd say MM 10th and TP's 1st stack up well against each other. TP has the trees, so I'll give TP the point. MM's 4th and TP's 6th are similar length, but I'll give the point to TP for the trees again. MM's 7th has a PA right, but TP's 14th is generous. Point to MM. MM's 17th doesn't have a similar hole on TP, so I'll use TP's 16th, and call it a draw.

Short 4's: MM's 14th and TP's 4th. TP actually has a very generous fairway right, which still leaves only a wedge or 9i into the green. MM's green is small and undulating. Point to MM. The trees on TP's 7th give it a point over MM's pushover 18th. MM's 3rd has a PA right, and OB and a fescue-ridden mound left. TP's 12th has a PA right, and trees left. No point awarded.

If I count right MM has a one point advantage. There are a few holes that I called a draw, but think that MM is a bit more difficult.

The Preserve has much better drainage (thankfully) than Maple Meadows. In wet conditions MM seems to play a lot longer than TP.

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Maybe you need to have a bad cup of coffee Argonne because that is way too much thought.

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I played Midlane as my home course in high school before they redid the layout and built that other nine. I loved that course. Only reason I go out there anymore would be to use the range and chipping area. It's a shame really but all in the name of building houses and trying to make a few bucks I guess.

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We were one of the first off on White so I probably saw you and didn't even know it. The conditions have been really good out there all things considered. The greens roll really nice and aren't too fast or too slow in my opinion. The sand is always nice in the spring and then washes out. The fact there are no rakes hasn't helped much. You mentioned a few spots that get wet and washed out, specifically #16 on the blue and a few holes on the white. I know that is in the budget to fix in the off season from what I have heard. It's too bad you got stuck behind a twosome like that, it can definitely be frustrating.

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Wow, never would have thought I'd read Maple being considered on the same level with Preserve, let alone being called harder. Respectfully yet completely disagree, but I'll admit I'm very familiar with Maple given it was my go to sneak away twilight spot when my kids were much younger and napping, so I know how I play it best. I could easily sneak away for 2-3 hours and hardly miss nap time. I knew Oak Meadows very well, but I haven't played Preserve since the opening season, in which it was very firm still and hard to hold, added to which they had some crazy high rough around greens. It was a tough play at that point, maybe things have grown in somewhat.

To me, Maple plays ridiculously easier, particularly for a longer player; I can see where more issues come into play if you're not able to cover some of the trouble spots. There are maybe a couple of holes that concern me there, being 6, 15 and 16. The rest are pretty straight forward and IMO score-able, par 4s are for the most part driver-wedge and par 5s are all reachable in 2, with the first being very short with a good tee shot. There is some trouble there should you go wayward, but I've found there's a lot more room there than you realize and the fairways are quite large. In addition, the greens there (again, compared to 2017 Preserve greens) are always softer and slower, making recovery quite easy; the only thing difficult about them is the considerable wear and tear from the rest of the golfing public.

Preserve plays tighter off the tee for me as the course tightens up at most of my landing zones, so there are more hazards in play off the tee, and more trees in play should you go astray. The trees when you find them are mature, taller and thicker and there are more of them as opposed to the handful of short and skinny little guys you find on Maple. Additionally the course requires some thinking and planning out your route, where Maple you can just bomb away on; I definitely pull the driver far less often there than on Maple. Some of the par 4s are tight and require planning and positioning off the tee, the shorter ones are not easy nor guaranteed birdies like short 4s usually are seen. The par 5s have trouble both off the tee and on the approach. 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and 9 all have either trees or hazards, if not both, in play off the tee. Back 9 is much the same, albeit a bit more open; I still don't know the best way to play 16; you can throw 4 in that category too. 10 was dead into the traditional wind out of the west both times I played it, and at 200 yards with a full carry over a hazard to a shallow green it played silly tough. 18 can play fine if you bomb one down there, but if you go astray suddenly you've got a difficult challenge coming in, Maple's 18 is a cakewalk straight away and nearly drive-able. Maybe I need to play Preserve a few more times to get an idea but I know the score range I'm hoping for when I step on the first of both courses, and it's definitely higher in my mind on Preserve than Maple.

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Got out with my dad, brother and bro in law this weekend at Eaglewood, formerly Nordic Hills. It's a place my dad always liked and enjoyed going to for more than just the golf so he suggested it and we went along. I hadn't played it in 20 some years. It's a nice course for a resort, and I'll leave it at that, and not in a bad way, it's just fitting for a resort destination. Course was short, very short, but the property is pretty cool with the old oaks and maples around. The card said 6000 from the tips, and I think that was mighty generous as my GPS often measured 25-40 yards shorter than the card stated, a couple par 5s were 450 or less. The greens feature the typical old school heavy slope that made downhill putting in these dry conditions pretty tricky, but otherwise the course was pretty simple. One thing I noticed is that all the holes are right on top of each other, and fortunately we got out ahead of the music playing bros behind us as any stray approach shot could challenge the next tee box.

The resort itself appears closed at the moment, and I can't help but wonder what its future is given that it's no longer in the getaway destination territory it was at the time it was built, and the new flight path into O'hare really takes away from the setting IMO. A shame as it has the potential to be a cool little place, more so than Pheasant Run is/was.

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Ended up playing the Ravines on Wednesday and Beeches on Saturday.

 

Ravines was in the best shape I've seen in a long long time. Everything was immaculate and the weather was gorgeous. They reserve some tee times before what's advertised so that singles can get out and fly, which is much appreciated. The let a 3-some out before me, but they let me play through on #3 so no biggie. Was flying through the course and playing great until I got to #16... to my surprise I saw 4 carts all with singles. Waited for the group to tee off and then chatted with one of the guys who said to play through but I may run into a two other groups that shotgun started off the back 9. What? I was so confused. Ran into the next group who didn't seem happy I was on their tail... played through after a long wait since the group ahead of slow to clear out. Apparently they let this group of 12-16 "members" shotgun start every Wednesday morning... would have been nice to know, spoke with the pro shop about and they didn't really seem to give a sh*t. The 18th took over 10min to play which was extremely frustrating. The wait got to me and I tripled #18 for a 80, very disappointing, but still a great morning overall. No pool noodles in the cups and no one (except me) was wearing a mask in the club house.

 

Beeches Saturday with my brother for the first time. Very cool course and definitely a TON of land. Interesting holes and nice layout. We tee'd off and there was a 4some in front of us and a 2some a few more holes ahead. 4some let us play through no problem and we were cruising through the course on a beautiful Saturday morning. Tripled the par 3 9th, after an errant tee shot, for a 38. Apparently the theme of the weekend was tripling last holes! Front was great, then we saw the 2some sitting on the 10th tee box for what seemed like forever. Couldn't see what was going on due to the hole layout, but once we got in the fairway we saw two 4somes out ahead which was bringing the 2some to a halt. Apparently they started letting groups go off the back 9. Frustrating since the pro shop said "you can get through 18 as fast as you can play" so we thought we'd be off the course in 2 hours. We had a bit of a time frame to be within for the morning, so we ended up skipping 3 holes on the back 9 to get around the 4somes. Will definitely be back to Beeches. It's certainly a step below Ravines and Hawkshead, but still a course I really liked. They had noodles in the cups, no face masks in the pro shop.

 

All in all it was a nice week to do some Southwest Michigan golf, and always fun checking out a new course. Disappointing pace of play became an issue at both courses, especially considering the tee times were before 7am both days. Even considering that and my blow ups on #18 and #9, it's tough to complain.

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I've actually come to not mind the pool noodles at all. As long as they are deep enough for the ball to drop, easier to get the ball out lol. I wouldn't mind that staying and mandatory pin in, as well as no bunker rakes after all of this. It sucks to get in a foot print in a bunker, but you should be penalized for hitting it there anyway. And most people brush the sand over for the most part with their foot before exiting.

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... Not sure where you are playing but I certainly have not found "most people" smoothing over footprints. Some for sure, but especially a bunker that already has some deep foot prints where someone dug in, hit their shot and then just left so others think why bother. Naperbrook and Prairie Bluff seem particularly guilty. A bunker rarely entered so few, if any footprints do get smoothed over, but the popular bunkers look like dunes at a crowded beech. Prairie Bluff has done something (nothing?) with their bunkers this year because there is very little sand and then hardpan beneath the dubious layer. Not like Phoenix desert hardpan but that packed, dark layer that call for a square face and some touch instead of aggressively using the leading edge because it will bounce right off the "sand". Penal enough for me.

... But like you I kinds like the noodle and pin staying in. I have always liked to pull the pin for short important putts but Covid has forced me to putt those with the flag in and I have gotten used to it.

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I try to smooth over marks in a bunker but there's only so much you can do; if you have to walk a long way into a bunker it's a difficult walk out trying to smooth over prints as you go. I've definitely found that most people aren't doing this and they are truly a hazard if you're playing it as it lies, but I've also seen most courses are saying lift, clean and place or preferred lies or something along this lines for bunkers due to the circumstances.

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Surprisingly, the Ravines which most people would agree is the nicer course had no noodles and did have rakes in the bunkers. Then Beeches had noodles and didn't have rakes. So it seemed that Ravines was being less cautious and Beeches was more in line with what we see here in IL.

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... I get that and I don't mind the shallow enter/exit footprints, it is those that dig in and take their sand divot and then just walk out. Or the knuckleheads that step out on the high side and leave a crater instead of walking out one the low side. Saturday I saw some 20somethings driving their cart almost on the fringe and not smoothing anything in the bunker where 3 of them landed. One even got pi$$ed off and took a few extra swipes at the sand and then just walked out.

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Prairie View and Glen Erin tomorrow. If one of us ends up with heatstroke, my money is on Bear. At Glen Erin we can walk through the parking lot and reload on water after 5 and 9 and there’s some shade on the back, so I don’t think either one of us will pass out or worse, but I guess we’ll find out.

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Thanks for the concern. I got in a nice hot round yesterday afternoon at Prairie Isle. The sun was beating down and the air wasn't moving. Managed the walk just fine.

Biggest danger I faced was when some bro hit a nasty shank on #7 that almost took my head off as I walked up to the green on #5.

I will say, without the water coolers, you really do need to be thoughtful and prepared to supply your own hydration.

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Sergio syndrome

 

i hear ya.

golf etiquette, what is that?

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First visit out to River Point CC this morning. Meh. It's certainly not worth the hour long drive. I played the Red/White nines. The Red reminded me of Bliss Creek. It's short with plenty of mature trees, and tiny greens. Three doglegs in nine holes is a few too many. Felt like target golf. The White nine is more open, longer, but it too has small greens. Conditions were very spotty on places. Fairways were rather shaggy and had a few dead spots. The rough was cut to a decent length, but there were too many weeds. The bunkers had more dirt than sand. The greens were very nice, though. They were rolling at least 10, which is a plus. Pace was excellent. I went out as a single with a twosome 30 minutes ahead of me. They were moving at a good clip, as I didn't catch them until the 14th hole. After playing through I dragged my butt across the finish line in 3 hours. Heat stroke was gaining on me, but I beat it by a hole. I had my umbrella out by the third hole, but with little wind it was still rather unpleasant.

Awful day with the driver. I could not get the ball to fade, and wound up pulling the ball most of the round. 'Only 5 fairways. By sheer luck I managed to have a clear shot to the green on the majority of the misses, so I was able to still hit 13 greens. Two birdies on the day.

 

 

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The R&A and USGA issued guidelines that allow for "committee" to implement one of several options for bunkers when rakes are not available, including the option of allowing one club length relief. Many clubs adopted similar rules a few months ago. The R&A - Covid-19-Related-Guidance-on-the-rules-of-golf

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Played The Preserve this morning and would echo your comments about the Preserve being much more difficult than Maple Meadows. Other than 3, I can't think of a hole on Maple Meadows where you can get into trouble by hitting the ball too long off the tee while The Preserve has that challenge on quite a few holes. Forced carries are something that you don't see at Maple Meadows either. The Preserve has green complexes with some undulation that you don't find at Maple Meadows. Lots more slopes on the Preserve Greens and I think they're faster because they're still somewhat new.

If you go to the tee box for each course at 6,400 yards, The Preserve's rating/slope is 71.5/136 while Maple Meadows is 71.1/127. That pretty much says it all.

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Other than the 12th at The Preserve, what hole can you get into trouble hitting it too long? Sure there are a few narrow landing areas for the longest hitter, but only the 12th takes the driver away.

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Number 2 if it leaks right

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one can also run out of room on 7 in a hurry

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Bah. Hit a draw on the 2nd and there's no limit. The 7th has plenty of room with the right shot shape.

Having a hole that requires a good shot, or a particular shot shape is not the same as taking the driver out of your hands.

One could say the same thing about Maple Meadows' 8th and 12th. Hit a straight ball on the 8th and it brings the left penalty area into play. A fade is the preferred shot shape. The 12th is pinched on both sides by trees. Get too close to the left side and the green is blocked.

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... You play a lot as a single. How many golfers have you been paired up with that shape their shots off the tee? Once in awhile I have seen a one way flight like a power fade (rare) or a slight draw but I can't remember er the last time I played with anyone that worked the ball both ways. That includes some mini tour guys and some PGA Pro's.

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1st hole at The Preserve is the hardest tee shot for all 18 holes. Don't hit driver.

6th hole is the 3rd toughest tee shot. Don't hit driver.

7th hole is the 2nd toughest tee shot. Don't hit driver.

9th hole is the #1 crap hole. Don't hit driver.

10th hole is the #2 crap hole. Don't hit driver.

12th hole is the 12th hole. Can't fly driver 320yd? Don't hit driver.

 

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[size=3]Vapor Speed Driver
[size=3]TaylorMade 2017 M2 13* FW[/size]
[size=3]TaylorMade 2017 M2 15* FW[/size]
[size=3]Cobra King Pro Forged Black CB/MB 4-PW[/size]
[size=3]Callaway MD2 Tour Grind 52/9, [/size][size=3]56/10, [/size][size=3]60/9[/size]
[size=3]TaylorMade TP Collection Berwick
[size=3]BOOM![/size]

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Few players work the ball both ways. I do. I don't see how requiring a specific shot shape is the same as penalizing one for hitting the ball too far.

Ping G400 Max 10.5 - Fujikura Vista Pro 65 Flex-X 44.5"
TaylorMade AeroBurner Mini Driver 16 - Matrix Speed RUL-Z 60 Stiff
Ping G410 7wd 20.5 (0 Flat) - Alta CB 65 Stiff (43")
Ping G410 9wd 23.5 (0 Flat) - Alta CB 65 Stiff (42.5")
Ping G410 5h 26 (0 Flat) - Alta CB 70 Stiff
PXG 0311XP Gen3 6, 0311P Gen3 7-P (2 Deg Weak, 1 Deg Flat) - True Temper Elevate 95 S
Ping Glide 3.0 52-12 SS, 56-10 Eye2, and 60-10 SS Orange Dot (2 Deg Flat) - Ping Z-Z115 Wedge
PXG Blackjack 36" - SuperStroker Flatso 2.0

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