I played Saturday and Sunday on Wakonda -it’s convalescence from a replacement of her greens and fairways now complete. Many trees are gone, more have been planted, and it’s not playing any easier. I was playing in the 80’s and 90’s this spring on other courses. Coming back, I barely got through just 9 holes on Saturday in 38 degree wind chill and 25 mile/hr winds. Yesterday, I played in club 2 man best ball -was bested by a pair of brothers, but found a new friend in partner TR.
The greens -I can’t say enough about how
perfectly smooth the grass is and how wicked fast the ball rolls. On 14, a par three with two tiers, my ball on the fringe, on failing to roll up to the second tier, rolled back and off the green. It is like the surface of a very expensive billiard table -the never skipped or jumped but rolled end over end like on a glass surface.
The look of the course is sharply different on some of the holes. No. 11 which I blogged about last year (link) had what I termed an oaken shield wall -all gone. The before and afters are below. The hole plays the same, but you can’t rely on underbrush and trees to slow your progress off to the next hole with errant shots. You need a perfect tee shot to the left center onto an ever narrowing fairway to get an uncluttered approach, or if you go right, you have to deal with the tree of despair which, gratifyingly, has been kept with a high fade with a long iron or hybrid.
The course remains a relentless test of golf and character with no bailouts, no quarter given. There is no safe place to run up the ball, no place to bail out with a short slice, and no place to ever let your guard down. It’s stunningly beautiful.