I went out to play the new course on Monday evening and it is spectacular.
Forget all the preconceived notions you may have had about this course and 9-holers in general, because this course is a MUST-PLAY and absolutely worth the commute from wherever you're coming from to play it. At only about 25 minutes down the Northeast Extension of the Turnpike from the Lehigh Valley and requiring barely an hour to complete the nine holes, this course is well worth
The land that was available for this course was simply so tremendous that would have been hard to blow it. There is simply just some amazing elevation changes, open areas, woods holes that play through old growth forest, a beautiful water hazard that still allows people to retrieve errant shots into the drink, rock outcroppings, etc. to make this course an extremely fun and CHALLENGING layout. Even skilled golfers will be hard pressed to break 30 on this course, let alone par 28. While course designers can only do what they can with the land available, the Unami Creek course in Milford Township blows all other 9-holers in our region out of the water.
Course designer and builder Fred Retter did a simply heroic job whipping this course into shape. Remember those original distances he posted with hole lengths of 150', 210', 190' and 180'? Well those have been tossed out the window. The new course measures over 3100' with all but the three holes 300 feet or greater. One of those holes less than 300 plays over the creek, and the other gains about 30 feet in elevation so it actually plays more like 300'. The amount of weed-whacking and trimming that went into this course is clearly evident, and you'll be amazed at how great Fred has the course looking, with all such work done almost single-handedly. Perhaps the nicest touch are the really sweet frame-worked tee boxes on every hole, with soft crushed stone filler.
Here's a brief walk-through / rundown of the holes that you can expect:
Hole#1 - This is probably one of the few must-deuce holes on the course, but it ain't easy. The hole plays about 280' and in the open near the but over a small rise. The basket is located on the backside of the hill which slopes steeply towards impossibly thick rough. It looks further than it is, but plays shorter, especially if your drive carries over the hill. So while this hole can be deuced, there's also a world of trouble to be found for errant shots.
Hole#2 - Along with the creek hole, the possible signature hole. This pro par four drives severely downhill through a narrow sledding chute into a large field. After that, your next shot must carry all the way down into the corner of the field where the basket is tucked another 100' into the woods and is heavily protected. Be very happy with a four here - I took a bogey 5.
Hole#3 - Playing back across the open field, the polehole is tucked into the woods way up on the hillside with only a narrow opening to the basket. There is plenty of room to land a drive in the field, but too far left blocks off your approach angle and too far right and missing the field will find heavy rough. At 387' feet and gaining 20' or more in elevation, this hole plays like a gold level par 3 that only the gorilla arms in our sport will likely deuce.
Hole#4 - After a pleasant walk through the woods, you come to the water hole! Playing over a bend in the creek, the hole plays 258' downhill with a low ceiling and a hard fade left at the end to the polehole. Your disc will carry water about 85-90% of its flight before you hyzer off to the basket. You'll need to keep your drive low enough below the canopy but high enough to clear the rocks on the water's edge. I parked this one for deuce with a Cro, woo-hoo! Lefties will need a really good turnover disc here.
Here's an look at the hole from early in its construction. Please note that the area around where the red polehole has been drawn is now completely
open, with perhaps a 100-ft. diameter green around the basket.
Hole#5 - At 354' and mostly flat, this one plays straight ahead but through tight woods. The fairway is hourglass shaped with a "pinch-point" at about 150' which is no more than about 10 feet wide. I chose to throw a midrange and land at this mark rather than go for the gusto. Again, with the distance and tightness of this hole, I think it plays like a gold level par 3 that only a very skilled player will likely deuce. It was very nice running into Fred and his son on this hole, who were still doing work and clearing ground cover at 7:30 in the evening even as it was getting dark.
Hole#6 - "Rock Island" This hole is about 310' feet and is fun if only for the polehole being placed behind a Volkswagen Microbus-sized boulder. Seriously, this rock formation is about 9-10' high and 15' long and just sticks up kind of out of the blue. Neat!
Hole#7 - This hole plays slightly uphill and 366' long through an ample fairway but it seems more like 400+. After the fairway travels straight for about 300', it curves hard right to the basket. I think only very strong left-handed players will be shooting for deuce here.
Hole#8 - The polehole position is what really makes this one fun. The hole plays 306' uphill, but there is a huge rock formation on the left hand side and a steep drop-off down the hill on the other side of it. The basket is located towards the end of these rocks. When you're on the near side of it and just short, you're faced with an uphill putt similar to hole#8 at Jordan Creek which is the one after the frog pond. If you should fly past the polehole on the far side however, you could roll hundreds of feet down the hill.
Hole#9 - The final hole is the shortest but plays sharply uphill through heavy woods. The green is fast here and you don't want to go left where the hill slopes away. Be excited if you can finish with a birdie, and after you walk up the hill past the pavilion, you're back at hole#1 and ready to play another round of nine.
Again, my hat is off to Fred for single-handedly spearheading this project, and the results are nothing short of amazing. I can only salivate at the prospects of an eventual additional 9-holes at this course. I sure hope that the course is well-received and gains the necessary approval and backing by the parks commission to proceed with this endeavor!
As you make your way through the new course, please keep a couple of things in mind:
As with all new courses, there is heavy rough to the sides of the fairways, especially on the first three holes. When I arrived at the course on Monday, the Laboski family and Jason Davis were on the tee of hole#2 while I drove, and I promptly launched my drive on #1 into the schule behind the basket, never to be found again. On the next hole, someone in their group threw short left and apparently lost their disc. I recommend throwing for accuracy instead of distance on hole#2, because an errant tee shot on the drive has a very good chance of being a lost disc.
The course is still a work in progress. There are tee boxes and tee posts, but no tee signs, directional arrows, or a map. However, Fred has installed hanging shards of white material from trees to guide you to the next tee. If you just follow the white cloths hanging down, you'll easily make your way through the course.
Please note that there are hiking and biking trails that run through the park and in some cases directly along holes or through them. Watch and listen for other park goers in order to avoid interferences. Hole#9 is one such spot - any shot that fades left on the drive could encroach a popular path which runs down from the pavilion.
Also, while it was totally dead on the Monday evening when I was there, I can imagine that hole#1 could be a huge safety concern if there is a group using the pavilion or if people are walking up the steps on the right from the baseball fields. I would imagine that on the weekends is when this could really be an issue, and one might want to skip the hole altogether if it looks unsafe.
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