Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Panorama Golf Course, Senica, CZ

www.panoramagolf.cz in Kacov, CZ

Expectations are that it will “peg-out” the slope factor meter . . . at the max 155 . . . 8^0 . . .
Each hole has 6 tees, ranging from Kids to Championship . . .
3 Nines: Meadow, River & Forest.
Elevation change from the lowest point on the River 9 to the highest point on the Meadow 9, is ~120 meters.
Tomas Malec, Sport & Marketing Manager, told us that when the rating committee evaluated the course,
They said they usually spend about 10 minutes per hole,
But at Panorama they spent 45 minutes per hole . . . I can imagine, after a short tour.

We were sort of agog that we could see the course’s highest holes from the highway . . .
Usually CZ courses are sort of “tucked away”, but this will be a sort of landmark . . .

We stopped on the side of the road and walked down to a green we could see . .  .
I marveled at the touches I saw, design wise . . .
There’s a huge, deep bunker that the green wraps around . . . a pin back-right would be very difficult to attack, but the green *might* sort of lean that way so you could land in the middle and let the ball drift over there . . . maybe . . . a ways down the fairway back toward the tee, on our right there was a severe, nasty looking kind of a roughy ridge sticking out into the fairway . . . I don’t know how it will interfere with the landing area, but it would tend to make me stay to the other side, which for a right pin position sure brings the greenside bunker into play . . . after a weekend at Penati, I wasn’t *shocked* by these contortured greens, but I think they will fill the duffer with a grim resignation after the long slog up this hill . . . the funny thing is, we later found out from Tomas that this is #10 on the Meadows 9, which I inferred was supposed to be a kind of short, breather in preparation for 12-13-14, but I think not. Uphill with a tough green and deep bunkers. Very challenging.

The new clubhouse (with a crane still looming over it) is on the top of the hill on the left here.

should be open to the playing public in Spring of 2018.
Now open to members only for a restricted number of holes around the to-be-clubhouse, which will be finished by the middle of July.

 Ok, so I *think* that makes this #11, another par 4, downhill, back towards the club house, but that seems a little strange to me,
But here, recollecting in tranquility, I think that’s right . . . LOOK at this  . . . imagine you’ve even managed a bogey
On the breather # 10, and here on the next hole you have to steel your nerves for this shot . . . 8^D . . .
Tomas promised it was nerve-wracking the first time, but by the second time, you would realize how much room there actually was . . .
All I see is a postage stamp landing area over the trash, between the traps, short of the pit-depression . . .
Don’t know the yardages, but it would put me into defensive mode,
Trying to steer-job something less than a driver into the fairway?
Multiple ways to mess  up this hole, too, I’d say . . .
 contact information . . . 
The pensione they currently use as offices will become a B&B,
And they will have 14 rooms in the clubhouse complex for visitors,
And a gourmet chef in the restaurant.
 So to some really *terrible* holes, 12-13-14 . . . 8^D . . .
Maybe the duffer has managed a couple of scrambling, very nerve-racking bogies,
He must muster his depleted resources now for a man-sized challenge.
Again, I don’t know the yardage for this L-o-n-g Uphill Par 5, but it could play close to 700 yards from the championship tees.
So let’s say 505 from the yellow tees (for duffers J), playing somewhere between 550m to 600m . . . 8^0 . . .
You can *just* make out the back 3 tees between the little white structure and the trees back down there on the other end of the fairway.
The green is rather huge, and has 3 tiers . . .I’m gonna say the green has an elevation change front to back of meter & a half.
4 shot hole to say the least for most duffers . . . followed by a missed green and a 3 putt,
If I introspect my own expectations.  

 Sooooo, using myself as an example.
Following double-bogey, double-bogey, triple-bogey, and still huffing from the climb,
When I come to the Par 3 Lucky #13
It could be gruesome.
A 160m par 3 perched on a little bald mound, with trees on both sides.
I asked what was behind the green
As if I could ever be long on such a hole,
And Tomas smirked a little, and said that there was a little bit of slope away from the green, then forest.
We didn’t look at the green up close but I would say it does not look particularly receptive,
If you see how I mean . . .
 So, now, I figure I’ll be 9 or 10 over on this 9, bleeding from both ears and my *whatever*,
And facing this tee shot on a par 4 downhiller.
Tomas pointed out the bunkers on the right, that you might be able to use to calculate your aim . . .
But I reckon you would really want to go more towards that tractor,
Since the fairway seems to slope right, in addition to being severely downhill . . .
I think this hole is long enough that you need to hit driver, even down hill as it is,
And Tomas said that even tho’ it seemed like there was no room,
You would be pleasantly surprised when you went to your ball at how much room there was . . .
I am not sure I believe him . . .
The good news, I think for me, would be that at the green on this hole #14,
I would be close enough to the Clubhouse and parkinglot to quit
With a minimum of inconvenience . . . 8^D . . .
I shrudder to contemplate what they have done on the waterholes along the river . . .
I predict a dozen balls will not be enough . . . 8^/ . . . 8^( . . . 8^D

Penati Legend by Nicklaus Associates

6313m, Par 72, Slope 145, by Nicklaus Associates
5523m, Par 72, Slope 138 (Yellow Tees)

We thought about not playing the Nicklaus course, as we had planned:
  1. we were just SURE that we could do better, having seen the course once
  2. because of a Professional Tournament, they did not allow carts on the course, and the day before had been so hot, and the Legend is more hilly than the Heritage, we didn't think we could make it, and enjoy it .  . 
but , it was cloudy, forecast for rain, so we said what the heck . . . 
they had electric hand-carts .. . apparently a czech design, with motorcycle speed control on the handle, and an engine plus battery totally within the small axle for the back wheels, and that helped with the hills, but juggling my water, the cart, my clubs, and my camera left me short handed all day.

#1 Par 4 . . .so SURE, I am going to beat this Nicklaus design, I feel like racing to the first tee . . . it should be a short hole . .. it is relatively short, but dogleg right so if one hooks his 3wood into the left woods, that leaves a long approach . . . decided to leave the 3wood in the bag for the rest of the day . . . . 

 #2 Par 5 -- still spraying my drives left or right with the borrowed driver . . . found my ball justinside the line of trees on the right, with an awkward uphill stance blocked by trees . . .clouted a 5iron pure, straight at the green, but it clipped a stem on one of the trees no bigger than a pencil, and fell straight down, up and putt-putt for a second bogey, but now my confidence is shot . . .

 #3 par 3
Pulled my tee shot, well hit, left of the green into the bunker.
KiwiMike hits his, then groans with disgust as he picked up his tee-- Long! he grumbled . . .
but even as we started off towards the green  
 his ball was still moving, slowly picking up speed on the huge tiers that formed a bowl around the pin location, till his ball had rolled within inches of the cup.
 till his ball had rolled within inches of the cup. 

then, after his birdie, KiwiMike scorched  his drive over the traps in the middle, short of the traps on the sides, w-a-a-a-a-y past my drive, for an easy par, while I floundered to another double bogey . . . 

#5 Par 4, so i knuckled down on the short hole
and hit a drive as far as Kiwi Mike,
but then he stiffs his short iron, 
while mine jumped over the back of the green . . . 
i made an up-and-down-par,
but HE made another birdie . . . 8^D . . . 

#6 Par 5, so now I AM grumbling . . . 
Partner is out-driving me AND has made 2 birdies already . . . 8^D 
 something untoward happend here, tho', we both had "other" scores on this hole.
PBFU for KM, not sure what my excuse would be . . . 8^/ 

 #7 Par 4 , just ordinary bogeys on an ordinary hole . . . 

#8 Par 3 .. .  
KM Plonked in the water, I pureed another iron totally over the green . . . as i did all weekend with the borrowed callaway irons . . . co nadelas? . . . what can you do ? 

 #9 Par 4, a very intimidating t-shot for the first timer . . . for me anyway . . . shot squibbed offline to the right with reasonable distance, but up against a root in the trees. . . a double bogey for me , and a strong par for KM, to finish off a strong 9 . . .

 #10 Par 4 . . . sort of a mirror image of #9 . . . 
which runs parallel there on the right . . . 
that water hazard was an unavoidable attractive hazard,
we both sliced in,
knowing full well the play was to the left side of the fairway . . . 
"Other" scores, again . . . 

when it came time to approach the green, 
bladed a flyer to the back of the huge green, 
while KM chunked a couple 
sigh . . .  

#11 Par 5 . . . a very nice hole, all in front of you, 
as per Nicklaus,
did me no good . . .
another double bogey 

a straight-forward par 3, #12,
but I was too freaked out from overflying all the greens on par 3s,
double bogey. 

#13, Long par 4, and treacherous looking,
but somehow i scraped out a bogey, 
KM  suffered a letdown, suddenly . . . .
we had these arrogant German duffers behind us,
impatiently trying to play thru,
so we stopped here and let them . . .
sort of threw us off rhythm . . . 
turned out they are austrian, splains that  . . .

#14 Par 4, 
irritation at the Ostreichers caused me a double-bogey,
but the ever-equitable KM got back on track with a bogey. 

 #15 Par 5 . . .
there may be plans to make this 
the most heinous par 5 in professional golf,
'twas a very long walk to this tee,
past other dormant tee-boxes . . . 
as it was, my best hole of the day,
by luck,
tomahawked my drive left,
but it wound up in the first cut, just past the hazard,

 bladed my 5iron just over a hump in the fairway

where those bunkers are,
ball caught that backside hump
and rolled into the 1st cut on the otherside
 thrombos├ęd a career 8iron over the bunker into the bowl where the pin was,
missed the birdie by a hair

 so I'm thinking "Strong Finish" 
par into the house, 
and be satisfied . . . 
both of us were on the left edge of this green
 we wound up hiking thru this big bunker / waste area
in front of the green, it was too far to go around . . . 
we were too tired .  . 
but two pars in a row for moi . . . 

 # 17 par 4 -- middling distance, and I am confident,
but a little perplexed with the bunkers in the middle . . . 
I dare not hit another 3wood,
which has betrayed me several times today,
so I tried to hit a half-driver, down left of the bunkers, or just short,
and instead, ploughed right in . . . 
KiwiMike was safely in the tall weeds on the right,
but he seemd sure he could find his ball 

 well he could find it , but hardly could get a club on the ball,
and when he did, finally, it flew into the water hazard on the left . . .
i floundered out of the trap, chunking and blading to the green . . .
double bogey for us both . . . 
and the cold comfort that we *knew* we could do better.-- next time.

 # 18 Par 4,
we had looked at this hole all weekend, 
from the terrace-tables of the restaurant
but it looked to us,
watching others play,
that you needed the Big Ball to get down far enough to attack the island green
but instead,
the problem is,
not to go into the water on this downhill tee-shot . . .

 I finally hit the same half-driver shot as on the previous hole

which positioned me perfectly in the middle of the fairway
85M away.
KM had hooked into the woods,
then hit a perfect 3wood (we thought)
but he only found it after much looking up in the weeds on the right side of the fairway. 
but I go in the water
so much for the strong finish . . .
In Europe the sprinkler heads are measured to the front of the green 
not the middle,
except on par 3s, where they are . . .
so i hit a perfekt shot that came up a meter short of the island green . . . 
when I marched forward 20 meters
and hit the same shot,
came up to a makeable distance to the pin.

Whether this is only the best course in Slovakia,
or indeed, 
the best two courses in Europe,
well, that's hard to say.
Perfect condition, 
very, very difficult in places,
hilly, woodsy, watery, grassy
beautiful bunkering and mounding.

The cottages we stayed in were very modern and comfortable,
the restaurant is excellent,
the staff is uniformly friendly,
if not english proficient
very pleased to have played here,
very sorry that I am unlikely to return
I *know* I can do better the second time . . . 8^D . . .