You never know what you’re going to get in a smaller town park course. I guess I should stop being surprised at some of the fun I can have in those courses! Council Grove was no exception. Having checked out DGCourseReview, I had an idea of the layout with no map. Holes 1 and 2 went as planned and then it got ugly… They had moved some of the baskets out from between the ball fields and I was struggling to find them. After some walking, I found some baskets/tees but not hole 3. Then I saw it. I walked right by the tee on my way to basket 2 and didn’t even see it because I wasn’t expecting it. Holes 4-6 played in the trees and were a nice break from the openness of the others.
Next stop was the Pomona Lake Course. It is a short course tucked into a small parcel of land with some trees. Although not greatly challenging, it did have some fun holes like 6 that had a huge evergreen shrub in the middle of the fairway and you couldn’t see the basket or 5 which had a fairway along some trees and the basket tucked into some tall evergreen trees. The day I was there, they were pulling the rings/chains so they could repaint them…they needed it!
I went around the lake to the Wolf Creek Park. Based on the description and pictures I’d seen, I was looking forward to it. It used a lot of tall native grasses off and on through the course and starts on a hill top for elevation. I knew right away I could have trouble because of the tall grasses. I made it to hole 6 before it got ugly…750’ hole with the first two thirds of the fairway about 10 feet wide and the grasses from 5-7 feet tall on each side. It was much narrower than the pictures. I lost two discs on that hole even though I knew right about where they went in and how deep. I took a 10 on the hole because I threw my putter straight in front of me until I could get out of the fairway. I lost my putter on Hole 7 which was more of the same. Overall, it was a pretty nice course, but a few holes ruined the fun for me.
I took a break at Breck’s Green Acres restaurant on the SE corner of the lake. The sun had come out and I was ‘stinkin’ it up’! I took a few minutes to change some clothes and sat down to a salad and chicken buffet.
Then it was off to Baldwin City to play the city lake course…with its tall grass!! Fortunately, it wasn’t as tall, but I managed to lose a disc there too. While a few of the holes had water in play, I had a more enjoyable time. Having just lost discs, I played a bit on the safe side. The course is on the SE part of town and you won’t accidently run into it. There were some people fishing while I was there.
It would have been nice to have called it a day, but I had one course left. It was a private course north of Baldwin City about 15 minutes by back roads. I feel very fortunate to have played it as the owner has stopped letting people on. Evidently I had caught him in Dillon’s when I called and on a whim he invited me to play when he heard about my journey. It didn’t hurt that he and 3 buddies were playing that night at 6:00. I got there just in time and even in my tired state, I had a great time! He had just finished mowing the area and his good buddy and he had just rearranged the course. They hadn’t played there in several months and so I got a new look at an old course and it was awesome. It was high on the north and south sides with a low area running NE to SW through the middle. Lots of mature trees and at the same time there were clear paths to each hole. I was pooped when we were done, but sat around on their deck and visited for 45 minutes enjoying the evening. I must have done OK, because he invited me back! I will definitely accept that invitation.
It was a long day…36,000 steps worth. I grabbed some food, a hot shower and crashed. I decided not to set an alarm and drop one course for the following day. The guys had all said that Eisenhower state park was a lot of fun and I was determined to enjoy it!
Friday dawned and I didn’t see it until after 7:00! My first park of the day was in Ottawa where I was staying. I had played it a few of years ago when it was only 9 holes and didn’t think I’d ever come back. They expanded it and have started hosting tournaments. It’s pretty open, but they do a pretty good job of using the trees that are there. It could benefit from some more trees. They were mowing the day I was there and it needed it. It appeared by all the dead grass already there, they don’t mow too often.
The last big course of the trip was Eisenhower State Park at Melvern Lake. As I drove into the park, three deer wandered across the course. It plays close to the lake on several holes and a boat dock and huge parking lot split the course into two parts. The first think you notice is how well taken care of it is. They were mowing the day I was there and on Hole 17 I talked to a guy who said they mow 400 acres every week. The second thing you notice is the HUGE tee pads. They were 5’ wide and 12’ long. I couldn’t run out of tee pad no matter how hard I tried!! Yes, it had tall grass, but it was much shorter than the others and the fairways were mowed much wider. It had a good mix of distance holes, it used a variety of terrain features and there were some tough short holes. Hole 15 dropped down to an inlet and then back up and around a corner of trees to a basket. Lay up or throw long! There were trees guarding the tee side of the inlet so if you laid up too close you had more problems. I took some extra time to enjoy this course with some rest between holes. What a great time and I hope I can play it again in the not real distant future.
I always look for local restaurants when I trip and had made contact with the owner on Facebook. Lunch today was at the Miracle Café in Reading. If you remember, this little town almost got wiped off the map in May of 2011. They have done a good job getting the town back together. I had a great time visiting with the owner and the food was very good! Unbeknownst to me, the owner’s son is dating the daughter of Phil, a guy I throw with on a weekly basis.
My last course was the little one in Reading. Fortunately, it wasn’t busy because the park is really ‘busy’. Lots of short holes with a lot of newly planted trees. If there is anything going on, you probably won’t be able to complete the course. When the park isn’t busy, it’s a nice little ‘get out and stretch’ kind of course. Plus some great food at the Miracle Café!
My last stop of the day was in Emporia at Dynamic Discs. Always try to stop in when I’m close. Having lost 4 discs, I thought I’d be making some purchases. I came out empty handed. Either they didn’t have exactly what I wanted or I decided that I wasn’t going to replace one I lost.