Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jersey Meadow, Houston

 .6671 Yds, Par 71, Slope 136, by Carlton Gipson.

They say:
"Jersey Meadow Golf Course sits on part of what was once a 1,236 acre ranch owned by Clark W. Henry.
The ranch was originally home to the F & M Dairy and one of the world's largest and best herds of Jersey dairy cattle.   
In failing health Mr. Henry and Mr. Leroy Kennedy began a joint land venture that took the old ranch and laid the groundwork for what would become the City of Jersey Village.   In the late 1950's a parcel of land was sold and earmarked as an employee only course for Cameron Iron Works. That course would become 
Jersey Meadow Golf Course. 

"In the late 1980's well known golf course architect Carlton Gipson redesigned the course and helped make it the outstanding test of golf it is today. "

Ohhhhhh, I played Jersey Meadow because it was sort-of the closest to my brother house . . . I wish I'd gone down to Memorial Park, in a way, instead, especially when I re-remembered Houstonians suffer  from a spatial disability . . . anything 20 minutes away on a freeway is deemed "close" . . . 8^D .. . but I'd played JM several times back in the 90s so I tho't I might enjoy it  . . . I knew it would be flat, but da-a-a-a-a-a-a-ng. The wind did get up a bit,  the live oak trees crowding the fairways, and the generous amounts of water intruding into play make it not a total dog-track, and since I didn't break par, I guess you could say it was tuff enuff . . . 8^) . . . 

They've suffered from the drought here, too, and in winter they let all the grass go dormant, even the greens, instead of over-seeding, which they had done at Brackenridge, also -- apparently new Greenskeeping Theory in Texas -- but it was all playable, fairways had good lies, tees in good shape, bunkers well sanded, and greens rolled true and pretty quick . . . but you need to have those trouble shots in your bag, like off the hardpan out from under the live-oaks . . . 8^D . . .

#1, an easy starting hole. . .I didn't realize it was a par 5, tho't I could cut the dogleg and wound up in the hardpan under the liveoaks . . .fatted it out, then chunked a wedge short of the green . . . many of the pins seemed to be in the middle of the green this day, which you'd think would be easy, but since so many are hump-backed, it turned out to exagerate any putting inaccuracies, long/short, left/right -- like you can see here in the gree. Bogey.

#2, a rather easy, longish hole, dogleg right. I arrogantly and successfully cut-off the dogleg this time, then blew my half 7iron past the pin. 3putt bogey. I played this day with two young flat bellies. They hit the ball far as me, but suffered from direction-control . . . 8^D . . . a little nervous at the start, but intent just on having fun, good companions.

#3, somehow -- on some holes I just step up, see the shot, and try the shot successfully, leading me to the false impression that I know what I'm doing . . . flattened my swing, hit a tight low wind-cheating draw away from the water into the middle of the fairway . . . then thinned my shortiron into the face of the elevated green, so that it trickled up 12 ft short of the pin . . . mirabile dictu! and uphill put for birdie that I converted! Invoke Hubris.

#4, not PBFU, exactly, but let's be honest, yes: thot my shot was all over the flag and instead it plugged into the bunker. double bogey.

#5 dont remember a thing, an unremarkable hole . . . I had a camera glitch here, so these photos are captures from video I unintentionally took instead of stills. . . 8^/ . . .

#6, shortish par 4, chunked the shortiron, 3putt bogey.

#7, a very reasonably lengthed par 5, with the wind. . . my t-shot drifted off into the right rough, which I tho't was fair enough, but . . . that hid the green behind a copse of trees, which made not for a playing obstacle, but a strategic obstacle, since I mistook a neighboring green for my target since I couldn't see the correct green . . . I hit an awesomely majestic 3wood pin high 60 yds left of the pin . . . 8^( . . . wedged over to where you see in the green shot for a 2putt par, dangit.

#8 -- I could *swear* that this used to be #17, but I am old and prone to misremembering . . . I recognized it right away, but the uncertainty still threw me for a loop . . . I hit a midiron, but a fairway wood would have been better . . . against the wind I didn't get around the corner, and my second shot fairway wood clipped the tops of the trees on the corner and fell into some tall grass, from where I chopped the ball out into a bunker, then over the green and up-up-down for a 7. . . .shoot .  . 

#9 hit a reasonable drive on this reasonable par 4, then mulling failures on the previous hole, actually shanked a shortiron into the #1 fairway . . . even more upset, then, chunk,chunk,putt,putt,putt for another 7.

The flatbellies stopped for a hotdog and bag of iced beer cans, and I gave into the peer pressure for my own hotdog . . .hadn't had one in a couple of years, and I tho't it might assuage my back-to-back triplebogeys. . . got some cheetos, too, to make my guilty pleasure complete.

The back9 at JM is definitely more open & windblown than the front9 . . .doesn't mean that there's no trees, they're just not so tight, which is good, makes it more interesting.

#10 posed a hyperbolic poser of this condition right away, with the stiff cross-wind wanting to blow the ball OB right. This is an ugly little prospect here with the cart barn right at hand, but, well, there it is . . . I aimed left and just let the wind bring my shot back -- all the way to  the right rough, less than 5 yds from the OB . . . tough  .. . both the flatbellies were over the fence . . .OH! This is the #1 handicap hole . . .I pulled some fairway wood pin-high left of the green and didn't get up and down.

#11 is a nuthin' par 3. I 3jacked from the front fringe. I wouldn't waste 2 pix on such a hole with such results except that it demonstrates the heinous center pin positions on this course, if you can see it in the photo. . . my lag putt 1 foot offline rolled 9 ft away off the mound in the middle..

#12 presents the opposite problem of the first two holes of the back9, vis a' vis wind-management, which I failed, and wound up in the copse of trees left of the fairway . . . with a strange confidence based (I speculate) on vaguely-remembered past experience on this very hole I punched a scuttled 3iron off the hardpan, from under the trees, between the traps, so that it rolled right by the pin. . . I tho't it might go in. . . It wasn't as close as it had looked from back there, but I nailed that 15ft uphiller for a birdie, too . . . filling me once again with that magical illusion of competence. . . like the Rainman: "I'm an Excellent Golfer!"

#13 looked to be tougher than on paper, since it was against the wind, when it would normally be with the prevailing wind . . . that made it easier for me, I just hit directly into the breeze at the water and came up safely short, a few yards from the pampas grass you can see from the tee. But I foozled my 3wood still trying for the green in 2, then in irritation blew my approach w-a-a-a-ay over the pin, 3putt bogey.

#14 maybe the most interesting hole on the course, in that the way the water intrudes into the landing area *might* take the driver out of your hand . . . I was confident I could manage the wind and aim at that big tree on the right, which was mis-placed, as I promptly one-hopped into the water, wind-blown, 7 yds from safety . . . dummy. . . dropped a new ball by the water and hit 7iron up on the green, 2putt bogey.

#15 - don't remember a thing . . . simple flat slight dogleg.
#16 with the strong wind behind us, and gusting, I just let out a belt-loop and hit it as hard as I could . . . kinda leaked out to the right, almost pin high. . . like my 3wood on the front9, *IF* it's online, I am putting for eagle . . . sigh .. . lobbed up for a 2putt par. I was on the otherside of the far green in the picture . . . 8^D . . .

#17 this was a nasty, link-style par 3 against the wind . . . I would've come up short still, tho' I took pains to absolutely get over that bunker, aimed left against the crosswind, but there's a slope there where I landed and the ball trickled down almost to the water on the right. I guess that's why that guy in front of us is over there too. . . 8^D . . . bogey.

#18 with the wind is just not as worrisome as it would be, against. . . Aware of my last tee shot this day, and for a while in the frostbitten europe, I made sure to hit it exactly square. . . perfekt . . .I was right in the middle, but I was surprised to see the young flatbellies had outdriven me, slightly over in the right rough . . . with the wind, I was thinking I needed to hit a 3/4 wedge into the green, and promptly chunked -- twice -- into the water, which I could not abide, so I dropped a 3rd ball and hit a full wedge that stopped where it landed 4ft left of the pin -- not exactly in its pitchmark, but closeenough . . .a tough-sidehill kneeknocker. . . easy tap-in, which I have generously counted myself for a par, since I am on vacation, and out-of-training . . .I have to be good to myself, or who will be? . . . 8^D . . . 

so: 48-40=88* (with an asterisk), with 2 birdies, two triple bogeys to finish the front9, two missed greens (1 par5 in 2 (#7) and 1 par4 in 1 (#16)), if you see how I mean. A middling 3 on the Scottsdale Scale . . . it's so flat, without any wind it would be defenseless . . . 

but I AM intrigued in ways I can't quite articulate, the way that I happened to birdie the 3rd hole on both sides, and almost hit the green under regulation on the 7th hole of both sides. There is some science to golf course layout where the sides should resemble each other, resonate with each other, without being too identical, and in such a course, apparently almost-featureless, to have such resonance cannot be accidental and must have been the result of some skill of the architect, making the most of an unremarkable site.

before I teed off, I enjoyed a breakfast sandwich, a pleasure denied me for almost 3 years, in Europe . . . bacon-egg-cheese on a jalapeno bun . . . not quite a rave, but good.