My game has already gone south for the winter. At golf's most glorious time in the Midwest, my driver snap-hook heads straight west the moment the ball leaves the club face. I've got 2 frost delays under my belt and have conceded that its' time to put 2011 to bed.
Having said that, and having played all the metro's public golf holes and most of the private ones, I think I'm ready to join a golf club. A summer strolling on manicured fairways, hardly waiting on tee boxes, and having puts roll on the line intended has me sold. My wife... she is not sold... not at all.
I've figured it out. In the past half a dozen years or so, I've played 1,818 different public holes and 468 private ones. That leaves me with 162 holes to play (9 courses).
Burl Oaks -- The website says Burl's buried somewhere in Minnetrista, but as advertised, it is barely a 20 minute drive west from Downtown Minneapolis. The land, I learned, used to be owned by an old wood worker who cherished the knotty grains of Burl Oak trees. 40 plus years ago, they carved a picturesque and idyllic course between the brawny trees.
The trees are the main defense here, but there is some water that beautifully frames a number of fairways and greens. 6 through 9 offered a great stretch of holes. The sixth green surrounded by trees and a creek might very well be the prettiest part of the property. The super and his crew were still working on the number 8 green, but the hole features a tightly framed fairway wrought with danger that ends at a green fronted by a deep and ominous looking water hazard. This is the hole you talk about making the turn.
I enjoyed every hole on the back, which is a little prettier than the front, and that's saying a lot. The sixteenth hole was my favorite on the property. It's a longer par 5 that is interesting, thought-provoking, and fun. The fairway is split by a massive tree that will force you to pick a path either right or left. There is also a greenside bunker splitting one of the club's massive and wide greens. 18 was another incredible up-and-down ride that has likely settled many a match at the burly Burl.
Final thought: I had the pleasure of playing the course with two long time members who are proud of their course, and who discuss the possibility of improving it during every round. A round with Chuck and Pat made me realize that there is another crucial element to private club golf. The course is key, but having an engaged, golf-fanatical membership can also make a club great. That's the case at Burl, as I'm sure it is at many other of the metro area's finest.
I'll pick up where I left off next spring. Hopefully the 2012 spring won't be as brutal as this year's. I've got one golf trip booked for January, and it's deep in the heart of Texas. I'll let you know what I find, until then... I'll be practicing my putting in the living room.