Tag Archive | Review

Veterans Field Review

To this point in the Cape League review series, I have been remarkably positive. I’ve not found many faults in the parks I’ve visited. And today, that line will continue. I might be spoiling the review a bit, but I find Veterans Field in Chatham to be on par with Brewster and Orleans. Does it surpass them? Let’s take a look. This is Veteran’s Field, home of the Chatham Anglers. 

One brief word on past experience at this place. I’ve come here for many games in the past. Two things I remember clearly: Watching 8 bats break in one game in the late 2000’s with my dad. Maybe 2009? Somewhere around then. The other thing is standing behind the plate with my friend Jim who was raised on this field and told me stories of Thurmon Munson blasting a ball to beyond the hill in center. For context, the center field fence is 385 feet away. The top of the hill is even further. He’s got tons of stories like that. Anyway, on with the review! 

Location: 10/10

I wish I could give this a higher mark. The location is absolutely superb. Every ounce of praise I gave Orleans regarding location applies here. For starters, Veterans Field is right on Rt 28 and Depot Street, the biggest street in the town and another fairly big street. There’s no way you can miss it. It’s well signed, but it’s so obvious as you drive in that there isn’t any signage needed. 

To make it even better, it’s just a short walk from downtown Chatham. The business district of Chatham is where the rich and fancy go to hang out. So one word of warning, don’t be shocked if you burn a hole in your wallet, it is THAT expensive. That’s about the only issue there. There’s plenty to do, buy, see and enjoy. My favorite movie theatre I’ve ever attended is in town, there’s an excellent stage there, and all of it is a stone’s throw away from the ballpark. You can park at the field in the afternoon, enjoy the town, and catch the ballgame at 7pm. No other field in the league can provide you with such direct access to a complete town experience the way Chatham can. 

The only thing that can kind of be complained about is the parking. There’s one small lot right in front of the field that fills up painfully quickly and another one at the adjoining Chatham Community Center that’s only a touch bigger. For the crowds that Chatham can draw, that is a decent complaint. But it only holds up if there’s no where else to park. And there are other spots. The lot near the elementary school and fire station on Depot street is a good place. There’s plenty of side street parking in that direction too, and some of the local businesses that close before game time let people park there for the game. The only complaint that can be lobbed against Chatham can be easily diffused by either showing up early or parking above the field. The location is nothing short of perfection. 

Seating: 9.5/10

Veterans Field has the best variety and some of the best general seating in the league. Like Orleans, there is a hill for seating. Chatham’s is in right and center field. It’s steeper than Eldredge, but I actually think the views are better than in Orleans. In general. There’s no net and you’re not over the dugout, which can obstruct the view on the first baseline if you’re close to home plate. The hill is also not the only seating section. There are extensive and distinctive bleachers behind home plate that provide an excellent view and a beautiful backdrop for the outfield crowd. There’s also picnic tables on the right field foul line near the visiting bullpen. They provide a good place to sit and see the game while eating some food. 

Chatham has the best mix of good views and variety of seat type in the league. You can get any kind of experience you want here. The Only downside is the fact that some individual places are badly obstructed. Outfield seats behind the light towers, the edge of bleacher seats behind the dugout, and picnic tables hidden behind other picnic tables. There’s not enough for me to be mad about it, but it’s still kinda annoying. Everything else is pretty much perfect. 

Food: 10/10

The consessions stand is right down the first baseline and is a short walk from everything. It’s perfectly located. The food is also good. No exceptional menu options other than the chili dogs, which I’m not a big fan of myself (I don’t like chili dogs in general) but it all tastes good and they get it to you quickly and with a smile. Their popcorn comes in souvenir cups that you can keep and the costs of everything are fairly low. And they have one touch that I absolutely love: they play Angler’s home radio broadcast at the concessions stand. You can get food and still keep tabs with what’s going on even when you can’t see it. Plus they do $1 hot dogs in the ninth inning. Chatham gets this part absolutely perfect.

Aesthetics: 10/10

This is among the prettiest ballparks I’ve ever seen. The stands behind it are distinctive and serve as an excellent backdrop to the action. The hill is distinctive and green, the trees in left are a nice touch and the scoreboard fills out the rest of the picture well. Playing under the lights is also a lovely touch. It gets even cooler when playing in the fog, as long as it’s not a blinding fog. Basically, nothing to complain about here. 

General Atmosphere: 9.5/10

What a great place to see a ballgame. It’s an old park that has aged perfectly. You can walk in, sit, and enjoy the game easily and watch some of the best baseball in the country with absolute ease. There’s also a spectacular playground that has seen some recent renovation. It can keep the kids happy and active for hour and hours on end. I mean if I were a kid and I could play in this or watc the game, I may well choose this play ground. 


There’s also a Gaga pit and a Little League sized ballpark right next to the field with kids playing a game there. So all bases are covered for the kids to either play at the park, the sandlot, or watch the game with family. It’s pretty sweet. 

The only issue I can find is the occasional snobbishness of the Chatham fans. And mind you, I’m talking about locals, not the visitors or parents of the players. Chatham can be a snooty old money New England town and can be unwelcoming. I’ve seen it and my friends have too. But don’t let that point turn you away, it happens one out of every hundred trips. And the experience isn’t soured by the one obnoxious fan I can encounter infrequently. This is still one of the best experiences in baseball. 

Total Score: 49/50

I’m not exaggerating when I call this one of the best sports experiences I’ve had as a fan. This park gets everything right and in my opinion, not only serves as the best park in the Cape League, but is a beautiful slice of Americana that must be experienced. This is the definitive Cape League experience. You can go at any stage of your life and enjoy the park, the playground, the game, and the company you keep at the ballpark. Its the most versatile park with the most complete experience. I have only tepid complaints at best. Veterans Field is not only a must for any baseball fan, it is a must for anyone visiting Cape Cod. 

Eldredge Park Review

Finally, a road review! Took a while but I have finally gotten around to visiting a field other than Stony Brook and writing about it! I’ve been to everyone already, now I’m just writing about them. 

Out of all the parks in the Cape that aren’t Stony Brook, I’ve been to Eldridge the most. It makes sense, Orleans is close to my house and I’ve been to plenty of games here. Let’s put my positive history aside and analyze the park critically. Would you like this place? Let’s find out. This is Eldridge Park, home of the Orleans Firebirds. 

Location: 10/10

Eldridge is located at Nauset Regional Middle School, right on the corner of RT. 28 and Eldridge Parkway. Those are two busy streets in the town and the field is hard to miss. It’s easy to see from the street and frequently attracts attention. On top of being visible, the park also has plenty of parking. The school has a sizeable parking lot for the early crowd and a separate football field and track where they can direct overflow traffic to. It can be a bit hard to navigate lot traffic but that can be said if every large lot ever. Point is, there’s plenty of it for people who drive by, like what they see, and want to stop and watch for a bit. 

In addition, Eldredge is quite well located within the town. Orleans is a fairly small place. But it swells significantly in the summertime. It has a great business district for shopping, restaurants, and general merriment. There’s also a theatre, a few great beaches, and plenty of good entertainment for the whole family in town. A number of these things are a short drive from the field, but that’s not too much of a concern. It’s close enough to make everything doable in a weekend or so. The business district is also close enough that you could have a short walk to the field. It’s not the ideal setup, but you can do it. All things considered, I have absolutely no problems at all with the location of the field. It works as a part of the Orleans experience and can cap a great day exploring the town. Perfect marks here. 

Seating: 9/10

Eldredge can host some of the biggest crowds in the Cape League. I was at the highest attended Cape League game to this point, a playoff game between Orleans and YD in 2015. Why can it host so many? Well there’s a ton of space around the fences. Plenty of open grass and room to sprawl out on a blanket and make it a picnic. 

The most distinct feature of Eldredge is the hill overlooking the first baseline all the way from home plate to the foul pole. It’s common practice to bring chairs, blankets, and other stuff and mark off spots on the hill the morning or afternoon before a 7pm first pitch. It serves as excellent advertising before the game and a great place to watch from. You can see everything, you can sit in a comfy lawn chair or blanket, and enjoy one of the prettiest baseball sights you’ll ever experience. Similar points apply to the area behind the third baseline. It’s not as high a hill or as distinctive, but there’s just as good, if not better, a view there. It’s actually my favorite place to sit for a game here. There’s also room to sit in all parts of the outfield. So in terms of locations and spacing, there’s incredible variety and quality in every place. 

The only point I’m taking off is for a lack of variety in kinds of seating. There are four bleacher seat areas. One’s in close to deadaway center, one’s in right field and two are near home plate on the first base side. The issue with these is that most of these are kinda useless. The outfield ones are partly obstructed by the top of the outfield fences, so you can’t sit on the lower parts and see the game. And the ones near home plate are in front of each other, thus making the back one kind of an obstructed view. Yeah, an obstructed view behind home plate, that actually exists in a park without pillars. There are also some picnic tables in right field, and while these are pretty good, they feel like an afterthought. They’re just kinda there without more being available to do or see under the trees in right field. 

All this is to say that Brewster does a better job of seat variety. To get a great experience at Orleans, you have to bring a chair or blanket, or be ok with sitting on the grass. Here’s the thing though, if you’re cool with that, you’ll find better views, and a better air to enjoy the game, especially under the lights. 

Food: 7/10

Like Stony Brook, Eldredge’s food is managed by volunteers from the Nauset Public Schools. It is a ticket system for cooked goods and functions in a similarly efficient manner to Brewster. Things are pretty similar except in one major way, the location. Orleans’ food set up is behind the hill on first base, above the majority of the crowd. And it is very set back from the field. It feels remarkably separated from the action and takes you out if it while you wait and are distant from the game. It is the weakest part of the field and can be averted by not going there for food. Just go to some place in the business district. 

Aesthetics: 10/10

Without hesitation this is one of the prettiest baseball fields I’ve ever seen. The field was renovated in the offseason and it looks gorgeous, green, and luscious. There’s greenery and trees around the field without feeling like you’re in a forest. Games start at 7pm, so there’s normally a pretty sunset to welcome fans at the start of the game. Playing under the lights is a lovely touch. It feels like big time baseball, and makes the experience feel like a scene from Field of Dreams. It’s also the most distinct field in the league, hosting the most unique set pieces. Rt. 28 gives the chance for foul balls to hit cars, the hill is a lovely touch, and there’s a band stand in right field that serves as the view for the Orleans bullpen. It’s a unique look. The outfield decoration isn’t as good as Brewster, with few patterns in the grass, but everything else about this park is so perfect that any complaint would be a useless nitpick. This park is beautiful. 

General Atmosphere: 10/10

Again, this is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at a baseball field. Every point from the prior category applies here. The chance to sit at a unique looking ballpark under the lights watching teams of excellent college players is a marvelous experience. The kids can enjoy running on the flat grass between innings, playing on the playground in left center field, and siting with their parents and grandparents a the ballgame. The crowds are big, the chance to sit out on the grass and picnic is a lovely chance, and the air around the park is wonderful. Perfect marks again. 

Total Score: 46/50

This is one of the best baseball experiences you can have. I am not exaggerating. The field is perfectly located, wonderfully set up, and absolutely beautiful to look at. It does require a little more work to get a great experience out of this than at Brewster. You pretty much have to bring a blanket or a chair to sit on the hill and get the best experience. But the best times at this field are among the best in the sport. This is not just a required visit for the Cape League, this is a required trip for any baseball fan. 

Stony Brook Field Review Revisited

Well, this is fitting. The first time I tried to make this little project happen, I got as far as the first post and got derailed by other things. Now, let’s get the project started by revisiting the only field I touched on in 2015. This is my look at Stony Brook Field, the home of the Brewster Whitecaps. 

Now a few points before I get into the actual review. I love the Whitecaps organization. They gave me a chance to be a writer. That chance started me on the career I have today. They’ve allowed me to meet amazing athletes, fun fans, and among the best people I’ve ever encountered. I love the memories I have made at this field. They are among the best I ever have in sports. That being said, I will keep my blissful memories out of a critical analysis of the field’s merits and flaws. A little spoiler, most of the review will be praise, but I am not blind to possible improvements. Let’s get started! 

Location: 9/10

Brewster has a bigger year-round population than Orleans or Chatham, but it doesn’t have a real “downtown” or business area. So there isn’t a truly central place to put the field. They put it at Stony Brook Elementary School, which works well enough. The school is on Underpass Road, between the two major roads in Brewster, 6A and 137. It’s signed well on both roads, so the location works. It’s right on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, so bikers can come by and see the crowds and come on in. There’s also a few bike shops, a pizza place, a mini golf course, a fish place, and a popular taco place right next door, so there’s plenty of stuff right around the field. There’s also plenty of parking around the field, including overflow parking at Eddy Elementary, just a short walk through the woods away. The only location point I’m taking off is a general issue with Brewster: it’s way too spread out and doesn’t have a central business area the way other towns do. The only other issue is that it’s in a residential area and the locals don’t want lights on late, so there are no lights at Stony Brook. Those slight issues aside, the location works well and I quite like it. 

Seating: 9/10

Brewster has incredibly varied seating. There are traditional metal bleachers up the first and third baselines that get you up close to the field. You’re behind a fence, but you kinda have to be for safety. Foul balls can be hit hard. There are also a few hills you can bring chairs to sit on. The biggest one is over the first baseline and makes for a great chance at foul balls. There’s also a smaller hill on the third baseline, but you have to get there EARLY to grab a spot there. Lastly, there’s a hill in center field that overlooks the whole field. It’s a cool place, but there are two issues. First, it could be mowed down a bit. There are too many weeds and it’s quite messy. Don’t sit there without a blanket or a chair. Second, it is far from the action. That’s an issue with any baseball game, but it feels more away from the game in Brewster than at other fields I’ve been to. 

In addition to all that, there are picnic tables down the first baseline that provide a different feel completely. Unless you have food with you or have a young family, I wouldn’t recommend sitting there. It doesn’t give the best viewing angle if the game. 

Stony Brook has remarkable variety in style of seats and viewing perspectives. It can give you two completely different perspectives of the same game. The only point off is split between the listed issues for center field and the picnic tables. Otherwise, the seats are excellent. 

Food: 8/10

For many years, the Whitecaps had the assistance of the Brewster Skippers, a jump rope team that did fundraising by selling the food at Whitecaps games. They had a trailer along the third base line that they operated out of. It was unique, and the food was excellent. Last year was the last for the skippers, as they had a hard time getting a crew together for it, and the food set up is now different. 

Now the food is done by volunteers from the Nauset Regional Schools. They have a tent set up right next to the school, on the hill overlooking the 1st base side. It’s the same set up as Orleans and, spoiling that review a little, it works nicely over there. The new set up is quite good. It’s a ticket set up for grilled items. The selection is rather elementary but they do everything well and get it to you in a timely fashion while being courteous. Only points off are for the location being away from the souvenir trailer and the rather simple selection. Otherwise, it’s pretty good. 

Aesthetics: 10/10

This is a pretty field. The layout allows for some breathtaking sunsets over the third base side, the scoreboard is the best and most complete in the league, and the lack of lights takes nothing away from how pretty a field this is. Especially with Ryan Smith as the best creating patterns in the field pregame. No problems at all here. 

General Atmosphere: 9/10

This is an excellent baseball atmosphere. The public address announcer is the best in the league, The fans are excellent, and the playground behind the press box is outstanding for the kids. The only point off is for small things, like how the lineup posting is a piece of paper in a bulitin board on the back of the press box instead of a larger and more asthetically pleasing form like a whiteboard or chalkboard or how there’s no speed gun showing how hard the pitcher is dealing. Otherwise, it’s outstanding. 

Total Score: 45/50

This is an excellent ballpark. It does everything well and is a must see for anyone privy to the Cape League. Brewster is not a summertime destination in the same way Orleans or Chatham are, but people staying at Ocean Edge or in the area are doing themselves a gross disservice not going to a Whitecaps game. Go to Stony Brook and take the kids. They will love the playground and stay for the great baseball too. 

My Home Ball Field: Stony Brook Field Review

My jobs on Cape Cod are underway now. Work at camp is treating me nicely, if only the kids would not be so messy… Well hopefully they learn how to be cleaner as summer goes along! I have absolutely loved my work with the Brewster Whitecaps. We’ve had our first two games and we won both of them. I get to watch the games, write stories about them, interview the players, and sing the national anthem when needed. I absolutely love my work here, and I’m sure that I’ll be writing more about my baseball adventures on this blog over the summer.

This post is one of those baseball adventures, but not about my work specifically. When I published this post back in May, I said that I would be offering reviews of the golf courses and baseball parks I play at and visit over the summer. I’ve done a few golf course reviews and I have one more to write in my cue now. With the start of the Cape Cod Baseball League Season, I can begin the Baseball Park reviews. I’ll be judging the parks, for now the ones of the Cape League, based on a few different metrics: Comfort of Seats, Food, Sightlines, General Amenities, Total Baseball Atmosphere. Each metric will be on a 10 point scale, for a maximum of 50 points for a ballpark. Let’s begin with the park I’ll be spending the most time at this season, the home of the Brewster Whitecaps: Stony Brook Field.

Comfort of Seats: 7/10

With this ballpark, there are metal bleachers, like any high school field. There are also open places that you can set up chairs that you bring yourself. There are grassy hills above each of the baselines, and a hill in centerfield overlooking the field. The grass is comfortable to set up a blanket on, and the field is pretty nice to look at from these hills. But the metal bleachers cost points for how unforgiving they are on your back if you sit for long enough.

Food: 9/10

The food is provided by the Brewster Skippers, an intrepid group of girls from Brewster who competitively jump rope across the country and internationally. They sell candy, popcorn, and various ballpark staple foods like hot dogs and burgers for a pretty good price. Plus the profits are split 50/50 between the Whitecaps and the Skippers. It helps the team, the skippers, and keeps us fed with pretty good food. And I’m a pretty big fan of all that. The one point off? Not a great selection of hot foods. But the smaller selection is all pretty good food, so I can look past that.

Sightlines: 7/10

If you’re sitting above the field on one of the hills, you have an excellent view, for the most part. Center field allows you to see everything, and the 3rd base hill has a good view of the field too. Most of the hill above 1st base allows a good view, except the part furthest down the line right above the dugout, which can block your view of 1st base. The real problem with the sight lines is the poles and chain link fence right around the plate. It keeps people from being able to see parts of the field depending on where you’re sitting. That costs some real points.

General Amenities: 8/10

Everything that is needed for a ballpark is accounted for. Bathrooms, food, seats, and parking. Everything is here. Only points off are for the bathrooms being school bathrooms, as the field is attached to Stony Brook School. But that’s not really too bad.

Total Baseball Atmosphere: 9/10

The Whitecaps are a smaller organization in the Cape Cod Baseball League. It makes sense, seeing as how Brewster is one of the smallest towns on the cape. But the atmosphere for baseball is absolutely fantastic. The park is intimate enough for a ball game, comfortable on a sunny day, and the sound of kids playing on the playground and then going to enjoy a ballgame with their parents is fantastic. Plus the PA announcer, for the Whitecaps, the incomparable Jim Nowak, is the best PA man in the league, and among the best PA people I’ve ever seen. Only bad point? Seats are a bit uncomfortable, but not so terrible that it hurts the atmosphere.

Total score: 40/50

An excellent ballpark, with good fans, good food, enjoyable atmosphere, fun place to be for kids and parents alike. My complaints are relatively minor ones. You should go here if you can! Take a look at the schedule to see when our games are!  http://www.brewsterwhitecaps.com/2015-schedule.html

Mohonk Golf: Woodchuck Golfing at its most Fun!

I’m on vacation in Upstate New York, specifically at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. It’s a fantastic vacation spot, and I’ll be writing about it when I get home from vacation on Thursday night. My dad, brother, and I went golfing yesterday on a fun 9 hole golf course that the resort runs. It’s a fun, quirky golf course. In the title, I called it a woodchuck golf course. What does that mean? Well it refers to a golf course in Vermont called the Woodchuck Golf Course that is flat out absurd and plays in a way that golf is just not meant to be played. A woodchuck style course is unusual, a little zany, but is consistently entertaining. This course is no normal course, but as it is a golf course, I will give a review of it. Admittidly, it’s not as high a quality golf course as I will usually be talking about here. Again, the categories I’m talking about are as follows. Facilities, Fairway Play, Greens, Aesthetics, Overall Difficulty. Without further ado, here comes the review.

Facilities 7/10

There are a few things you can expect to find at a golf course in the way of warming up. Things like a clubhouse, a practice green, and a driving range. On this course, well there’s a clubhouse. It feels like a regular house and has everything you need in a golfing clubhouse, so that’s good. There’s a practice green with plenty of holes to shoot at with all different slopes and angles to shoot at, so that’s good. There is however, no driving range. Therefore, there’s no way to warm up before your round. Points come off for that.

Fairway Play: 6/10

I know I should be kind to this course, but I have to be honest about this all. These fairways are not designed to produce great scores. They are designed to be wonky and make the golfer think “Wait huh?” about the hole that’s presented before them. Steep par 3’s, long par 4’s that go over incredibly steep hills then back up, trying to drop the ball onto the green from above, etc. These are some fun, yet rather frustrating holes to play. At least it’s entertaining. But, the golf quality of the fairways is not that high…

Green Play 7/10

The greens suffer from similar problems as the fairways. They’re designed to be a bit wonky, with funny hole placement, clever slopes, interesting angles to play on, and fun approaches. They have an entertainment factor which is certainty there, but the quality of golf on the greens is not the highest. So points come off for some absurd lies and hard ways to play the hole.

Aesthetics 8/10

It’s a pretty course. The shade provided by the trees you have to fight your way through is a fun touch, and it’s in upstate NY. There are some awesome vistas on the course. The points that come off are for there being way too many bugs, to the point where I felt like I was being eaten alive by bugs and for making the use of a cart effectively required and difficult on this course. It’s too hilly to walk around, and the hills that require you to use a cart also make it tough to use a cart.. Logic.

Total Difficulty: 7/10

This is quite a fun course. There’s plenty of difficulty, but the challenge comes from how unusual the course is. This is a fine way to get a challenge, and it is wildly different from any course I’ve played this year. But at some point, there has to be a regular golf challenge. There has to be a long tee shot that’s just a straight long shot, or a hard placement of a bunker, instead of dropping off a cliff or dropping into a ravine then climbing back out of it. At least that’s my thought, and while this course has some real golf challenges, I don’t believe there are enough to make up for a few too many gimmicky moments.

Hardest Hole: 7

A long tee shot, down a hill, trying to drop a ball on the green from above the hole. That messes with the psyche of the golfer and can mess you up. It did me.

Favorite Hole: 9

Good length, fun gimmicks(like trees in the middle of of the course), a proper green, and a good golf challenge. The perfect resort woodchuck golf hole. Plus I had my best shot on this hole. I chipped an 8 iron between two trees, over a hill, and landed the ball inside 3 feet from the hole. That wade a great end to a wonky but fun golf day.

Final Score: 35/50

This is not intended to be a great golf course from a pure gold standpoint. It’s a fun course, a good way to spend a vacation day at a good course, and a worthwhile part of my time. Check it out if you come by these parts!

    

Quechee Lakes Golf Review: 2 for the price of 1! 

Last week, I was up in the great state of Vermont. My dad’s company had their annual Off-Site event, and they took the show to Quechee, VT. As part of the entertainment, me and dad took people out to the golf course to play one of the two golf courses available for play, the Lakeland Course. On Sunday of that weekend, after everyone else left and before we got on the road, I went to play the other course, the Highland Course, with dad. So I have two courses to review here. I’ll do them both in one review, as they share some similar pieces. A reminder of what I’m judging the courses on.

General Facilities, Fairway Play, Greens, Aesthetics, Total Difficulty. I’ll give a hardest hole and favorite hole for each course.

General Facilities: 7/10

The two courses share the same warm up facilities, so they share the same score here.

The facilities here are generally pretty good. There’s a good place to get dressed and ready before the round. The snacks you can get on the turn for both courses is quality and worth stopping. The meal you can get on the deck after is also very worth it. The chipping and putting greens are right next to each other, and they’re both excellent warm up areas. The driving range is also usually pretty good. The only problem is, and this is why it costs points on this review, that the range wasn’t open! There was a water problem that had to be fixed on the range, as it’s the hill used for skiing during the winter and there’s a snowmaking system for the hill that went wrong. Well stuff happens, but still, no driving range to warm up on! Points deducted.

Fairway Play: Lakeland 8/10   Highland 8/10

Both courses get the same score on this section. They have a great mix of elevation, length, width, and they keep the player entertained and challenged the whole way. Points do come off the board for stretches that aren’t maintained too well, but by and large, the fairways are pretty good.

Greens Lakeland: 10/10  Highland 9/10

They play well on both courses, they’re both good to reach, they’re both a good mix of enjoyable and challenging. The Highland course loses a point because they are frequently sloped and it affects the play a bit too much for my tastes. Still a nice set of greens though.

Aesthetics: Lakeland 10/10 Highland 10/10

Both of these courses are just gorgeous. The Lakeland course has a spectacular set up over part of the lake, as the name demonstrates.

  

The Highland course has some amazing views and set ups as well.

        

Both get perfect marks on aesthetics.

Total difficulty: Lakeland 7/10   Highland 9/10

The Lakeland course, though aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable to play, is a bit easy. It gets formulaic and easy to determine how to play it. The Highlabd course is much more difficult. There’s more changes in elevation and the two par threes on the back nine have deep ravines in the middle of them to make the hole more intimidating. It’s still a fun challenge and enjoyable to play.

Hardest Hole: Lakeland- 18  Highland 16

The last home of the Lakeland course is a long par 5 that you play after a long round. It’s a step up in difficulty from prior holes, there’s a lake right on the left side of the fairway to begin the hole, then a patch of trees to work through, then a sloped green. It’s a good time.

The 16th hole of the Highland course is a long par 3 with a deep ravine to shoot over, a steep drop in elevation, and it messes with the player’s psyche. Sweet.

Favorite Hole to play: Lakeland 11   Highland 2

Both these holes are long par 5’s. They allow for long irons and hybrid play, which currently are my best clubs. I posted great scores on both holes and hit my best shots here.

Final Scores: Lakeland 42/50  Highland  43/50

These are two fun courses to play. They’re excellent challenges, filled with entertaining holes, and worth an afternoon of play. I personally prefer the Lakeland Course on aesthetics, but the Highland Course is the slightly better course on aggregate, and only so slightly.


There’s no Place like Home: Wampanoag Golf Review

I’ve got some time to relax and enjoy my home state of Connecticut before starting my summer work. While I’m home, I may as well kick off my reviewing project with a golf course that’s near and dear to my heart: Wampanoag Country Club. It’s where I started playing golf. I’ve enjoyed many fond memories out here. Today was my first round of golf at Wamp this summer. This also serves as the first in my series of golf course reviews. I’ll grade it on a scale of 50 points with 5 categories, each category on a 10 point scale. The five categories for golf course reviews will be:

General facilities.      Fairway play.     Greens.       Aesthetics.       Total Difficulty.

Also included will be some miscellaneous things, including favorite hole and most difficult hole. So here goes the review.

General Facilities 7/10

Wamp has generally good facilities. The locker room is comfortable, I can store my stuff efficiently there, and I can get prepped there well. The driving range can get a little cramped when it’s a busy day, as today was. But it doesn’t lose points for that. That’s a general point for all driving ranges. The food also was good on the 19th hole, which is golf lingo for post round merriment. A full meal of tremendous food and excellent beverages, while sitting on a porch as the sun rests in the western sky is a wonderful way to end a good day on the course. So what costs the facilities points? The practice green. First off, they don’t allow you to chip there. I understand why that’s not allowed on that green, but to chip, you have to go down to a chipping space which sits between the fairways of the first and second fairways and the green of the ninth hole. It’s out of the way, and inconvenient for all involved. And it’s quite possible to get hit by someone on any of those three holes. It’s a fine space to practice on, but the location is not optimal. The regular putting green is also not optimal. The location is excellent. However it’s in bad shape. Many patches aren’t seeded properly, and because of that, big parts of the green don’t have holes to shoot at. This means the holes that are available have more people shooting at them, which makes the green feel smaller than it is. This makes it harder to warm up on arguably the most important part of the game: putting. The green costs points on a category where generally Wamp is very strong.

Fairway Play 10/10

 

(Just an FYI, I’m counting drives in this category.)

No major complaints here. There is a proper mix of long, short, wide, narrow, and any other kind of fairway you could want. They play comfortably, and give the player enough of a challenge to be enjoyable. The only point I could take off would be for the 14th and 15th holes, which are in poor condition now. But the holes still play well enough that their conditions did not affect play and thus do not cost the fairways any points.

Greens 7/10

Most of the greens played fine. They mixed sizes, slopes, and were generally pleasant and fun to play. There were, however, a few greens that were in bad enough condition that cost points. Specifically, the 14th green was in terrible condition. Getting there was not the real problem. But the 14th green was patchy and poorly seeded, similar to the practice green. That affected how you played it and took points off the enjoyment of it. There were other greens that weren’t in the best of conditions, but the 14th was the worst. Also, there were green side bunkers on both 11 and 16 that had ground wasp nests in them that led me to pull the ball out so as to not agitate the wasps and get myself stung. So yeah, points off for that.

Aesthetics 9/10

I got everything I could have wanted out of the course aesthetically. It was wonderfully green, wonderfully colored, and had plenty of cool water features running through the course. There was shade enough to keep you from getting too overheated, and it’s a good course to walk, which I did. The only point off is for the wind, even though that’s not really the course’s fault, and for the ground wasps. I’m not a fan of those. I already took a point off the greens for the wasps, but they affect other aspects of the course as well.

Total Difficulty 8/10

The total course isn’t the hardest I’ve ever played. It still provides a fair challenge. The final hole is widely considered the hardest closing hole in the state, and the course gives plenty of chances to put a ball in deep brush or water. It also has plenty of wide fairways that can lead to a ton of shots as you casually work your way to the green. The only points I take off on this section are for a bit of repetitiveness and relying on a few holes to even out the challenge. A good amount of the front nine are fairly easy to play, and the more difficult holes, 2, 8, and 9 are a big enough jump that it is a little unbalanced. The final hole is the hardest on the course, and it feels like the back nine depends on the final hole to give the hardest challenge with many holes not giving that hard a challenge. On aggregate, it’s a fun challenge to play the course.

Hardest Hole: 18

 

As I said before, this is often regarded as the hardest closing hole in the state. It’s a long hole, with a big pond you have to clear, then you have to go up a sharp hill to get to the green. If you get to the green and hit it too hard going down hill to the pin, it’s possible for it to go all the way down the hill, forcing you to start this part of the hole all over again. There are plenty of ways to mess up on this hole and it is the hole that everyone who plays the course remembers most vividly.

Favorite Hole: 6

This has always been my favorite hole to play on this course. You hit a tee shot over a hill, then let it roll a ways down a hill as you descend through a forest and try to drop the ball onto a wide green without putting it into the frontside bunker. I have so much fun playing that hole.

Total Score and Final Comments: 41/50

Wampanoag is a fun course to play. It’s a good mix of challenging, entertaining, pretty, and fun. It’s an early season day, so the greens will get in better shape as the year goes on, but they were in tough shape today. They’ll get better. They always treat people well at this course, and I would recommend it to any golfer looking for a good course to play.