Lancaster Country Club
Broken Tee Society Event
Meet my caddie - Hayden. He’s been looping at Lancaster Country Club for 2 1/2 years and just finished 10th grade last week. He forgot his range finder and was obviously wondering about carrying this old Hack’s bag. When he saw my golf ball stamped “Golf Hack”, I could see his eye’s roll and feel the angst. We had to fix that - quick.
It’s Monday, June 6th and I had driven to Lancaster, PA the night before to play in a Broken Tee Society event, sponsored by the Golfer’s Journal. We were playing 36 holes at Lancaster Country Club, an historic William Flynn design which hosted the US Women’s Open in 2015 and will again in 2024. The morning round was better ball of partners and I was randomly paired with Nick, who had also played on the Tour on the Shore back in the day. After lunch, we would head back out for the 2nd 18, but it would just be a skin’s competition.
The morning round started on hole #2, a relatively short par 4 with a fairway that sloped severely right to left. Haydon told me to aim for the right side of the fairway because the ball would kick left big time. Because I always follow orders from 14 year olds, I did just that only to watch my ball bounce left and left and left into the first cut of rough. With only a lob wedge to the pin, I left the ball right and above the hole, leaving about 15 feet for birdie. My partner made a routine par while our playing partners - Chris and Justin from New Jersey - made par and double bogey respectively. Looking over my birdie putt, Hayden gave me the read and then said it would roll at “kamikaze speed”. To say the downhill putts were fast doesn’t do justice to fast. I hit my putt about a foot and it accelerated downhill like a Japanese zero heading for a US aircraft carrier. Luckily, it slammed into the middle of the cup and stayed in the hole - we were one under. Hayden smiled, grabbed my putter and walked with purpose to the next tee.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get up and down from the fringe on #3 and made bogey while Nick made a double and we were back to even. Nicholas struggled on the front nine and we used my score on each of the first 8 holes. I lipped out another birdie putt, but added two more bogeys and we got to the 10th hole 2 over for the day. Nick made par on #10 when I missed the green from 140 out. Two bogeys on #11 and we slipped to 3 over. I bounced back with pars on #12 and #13 and Nick added a birdie on #14 to get us back to 2 over.
We ham & egged it perfectly over the next three holes with Nick going par, par, par and your Hack going bogey, birdie, bogey. I was getting tired - Lancaster is built on rolling hills and it was up and down all day - and my legs were shot from the walk. We came to the 18th hole only 1 over as a team. My drives were bleeding to the right and I couldn’t get through the ball. Nick doubled #18 and the best I could do was a bogey from the deep right rough and we lost another shot. My partner came through on the last hole of the day with a beautiful par on #1, while I limped into the finish with a double bogey.
We’d shot a 2 over 70 in the better ball format, while I shot 79 finishing my round with 2 bogeys and a double on the last 3 holes. We finished in 2nd place with the winners carding a 2 under 68. Our playing partners came in at 18 over for reference. Tough, tough course.
As is usual in these types of events, your Hack was the oldest player in the group. Each of my playing partners were 35 or younger. Nicholas could blast a driver, while Chris and Justin could pump it out there as well - they just had trouble with direction and finesse. On most holes, I was consistently 10-20 yards behind them.
My driving highlight of the day was on the par 5, seventh hole. The tee shot plays over water into a valley with rocky hills on the left and water along the right. A large tree protects the right side of the fairway off the tee. I asked Hayden about hitting a drive over the tree with a draw. Thinking I was kidding, he handed me the driver and just said “left of the tree, sir”. A few moments later, as my ball soared high over the tree and drew into the middle of the fairway, he just shook his head and mumbled “nice shot” the way any 14 year kid would do when you do something unexpected. It was fun. Just to finish the story on that hole, I hit a nice 3 hybrid directly over the pin that landed in the middle of the green and rolled into the rough just short of a back bunker. My downhill chip was played with the timidity of an old man worried about blasting it into the water fronting the green and stopped 10 feet above the hole. Routine par after two wonderful shots - another birdie that got away.
After lunch, we headed out in the same groups for a skins game. I decided to ride this round as my legs felt like lead and I was developing some solid blisters on my heels. The skins game was fun, but was really just silly golf. Coolers of beer dotted the tee boxes and everyone picked up once a par was beyond reach. We only had one birdie in our foursome and it happened on the 193 yard par 3, 8th hole. Uphills shots into the wind made the hole play more like 230 yards. Nick hit an awesome 4 iron that faded slightly right and stopped about 4 feet above the hole. Justin’s shot was long and right of the green, but he flopped a wedge onto the green and it rolled in for an unlikely birdie. Nick looked at me and whispered “now I’ll probably 3-putt this shit!” He did, not even hitting the hole on his first attempt.
Lancaster Country Club is by far the best golf course I’ve played in a number of years. We played the Blue tees, 6,300 yards with a 71 rating and a slope of 129. They are undergoing a bunker renovation that is almost complete on the original Flynn course - Meadowcreek and Dogwood. There were a couple of bunkers that played as ground under repair, but they never came into play in our group. Playing with a caddie definitely saved your Hack a number of shots, especially on approach and on the greens. I putted much better on the first round with Haydon than I did the second time around in the skins game. Tough course, fiery greens and awesome shot values - I could play this course everyday.
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That’s all for today. I’m heading out to play an inter-club match at Cripple Creek versus Plantation Lakes. Keep it in the short grass and thanks for following along.