A Rekindled Golf Club
After a recharging day, which basically involved a lot of laziness which I think was well deserved, we were geared up to play a course that was receiving high praise from the golfers around the RV Park where we were staying.
The typical and most frequent comment included the word “green” which for me is a positive reinforcement of what the course and day was going to be like. Joining us for our outing were some new friends we met at, at Bingo night, here at West Wind RV Resort. Lyman and Penny Sargeant from the good ‘ole Saskatchewan prairies, Weyburn to be exact, who kindly picked us up in their truck and off we went on a quick 10-minute drive.
The very first feature of the golf course that we set our eyes on was indeed green, the practice putting green to be exact. Oh, did it look nice! Some often use the word “juicy” to describe really nice looking greens, and these could be described as really juicy. Also visible upon arrival was the first tee box with a portion of the first fairway and the brilliance of the green color really popped.
The clubhouse and surrounding practice area was bustling with carts going this way and that. People were chipping, putting and hitting balls; all adjacent to the clubhouse. I left Myra and the Sargeants to loosen up. I went and checked in with Tony, a very friendly transplant from the UK, at the pro shop counter and also to say good morning to Director of Golf, Paul White. The course had been purchased just a few years ago by Steve Olefson and Shannon Mason. Paul White and Bill Forden, the Superintendent, were brought on board to turn the struggling and admittedly run down facility back to life. It has been transformed to be sure and falls in to our own personal “we could play every day” category.
The practice facility is really a quality spot and one of the many efficient aspects of the operation. Manning the starter role and keeping everyone on time and in line was Jim. After a 20 minute warm up, he called out to me by first name and asked, “Are you ready get the show on the road?” Wow, packed full of golfers and we were getting out ten minutes early. The foursome of ladies had just barely teed off and rather than mull about chomping at the bit, we took advantage of another great feature of the course, a practice putting green right beside number 1 tee box.
It was a quintessential Arnold Palmer design which is typically styled with smallish greens, circular bunkers and generous landing areas off the tee. Everyone got off to a solid start which is a testament to the value of a good solid warm up on the range as well as gauging the speed on the practice greens. We were moving along at a steady pace. Although the foursome of ladies were always right there in front of us, we never felt it was a slow round. In fact we finished in about 4 hrs 15 minutes, very good considering the place was packed.
There were numerous highlights in our round. Two amazing green side bunker shots from Lyman, numerous high lofting approach shots by Penny and Myra’s almost predictable putt, draining a long bomb this time a good 50 footer uphill for par on the Par 4 10th. Mine at least for the front 9 was consistency as I started off the round with 8 straight pars just missing a short downhiller for 9 in a row. Nevertheless 1 over 37 is as good as it gets these days; after all I’m now in my 60’s.
I faded a little on the back and combined my 37 with a 43 for an even 80. Myra was consistent and played exactly to her handicap of 32 going 53/51=104 and the Sargeants were neck in neck until Penny decided to wash two golf balls in the pond on 17 and Lyman nipped her at the end. He with a 93 and Penny 94.
As they say “this is not my first rodeo” so I could initially see that the course had been revamped from the interior to the boundaries. Meaning the critical playing areas had been rejuvenated; greens, fairways and tee boxes. Dormant Bermuda rough is basically maintenance free and the most peripheral areas on the outlaying boundaries are of little importance from a playability standpoint. While there were a few hard, dry pan spots advancing the ball back into play was not difficult.
For one shot I just used my driver like a hockey stick and gave it a little slap and it rolled along about 100 yards back into play. As you can see by the photos the course is a really well maintained and just hard enough to make you have to think, but not so hard that the thought is “what the heck am I doing playing here?”.
The back nine is a little tighter in spots and there are a couple of true sharp dog legs so hitting it to the corner got you half way there. The sun had joined us to start the day, then the clouds made an appearance for about 9 holes only to head west which allowed us to finish under the blazing hot sun that Yuma is renowned for. It was all the excuse we needed not to rush away, but to sit out on the tiled patio and enjoy a cool drink. While the rest of the group settled into their chairs, I went and shared a few more minutes with Paul White to share the positive comments from all four of us. I wanted to personally share with him my appreciation of the greens and fairways. At the fear of boring you, the reader, I will minimize the technical terms Paul shared with me like ferrous nitrate, phosphorous, effective syringing and let you know that the greens, like a loving pet, are fed and nurtured daily.
They run a tad slower than they look and for good reason. With a predominantly senior clientele, the pace of play is maintained when eliminating the 3 and 4 putts that accompany slick, super fast greens. The fairways have just that little bit of extra growth; again to the benefit of almost everyone which allows for picking the ball off to get it in the air. The alternative being to cut them really tight thus forcing a downward often bone jarring striking of the ball.
Mesa Del Sol Golf Club is in great hands with a friendly, helpful customer service staff along with a great greens keeping crew and very talented people at the helm. It’s easy to see why it’s not only busy but successful too. Long may it continue.