Last week was rough. I was coming off a great video lesson with FixYourGame.com and worked hard pounding balls in my backyard range all week. Saturday’s practice was seriously overdone as I started at one course in the morning for some short game work. Got kicked off there when they closed for a charitable event and went to my second course for some range work and putting practice. Finished up at home playing 18 simulated holes on the backyard range. When Sunday’s tee time rolled around I was popping Advil like SweeTarts.
Trying to play Sunday was mentally draining as I implemented the lesson changes and coped with the fatigue from the previous week of practice. I held it together for nine holes at even par but the tank ran dry and I faded to six over on the back. Oddly enough on Monday morning, I had no energy to book a tee time for the following weekend and have decided to take a badly needed break.
Two things became apparent. First, I got away from my routine of 75/25 practice time favoring the short game. Short game is easier on the body, is more varied so it holds my interest longer and allows me to play better the next time out. Second, it’s easier to focus on practice when you have a milestone event to prepare for. I got so psyched to play Myrtle Beach in the spring and loved preparing for Pinehurst over Labor Day this year, but felt rather deflated afterwards with seemingly nothing to play for. Definitely time for a break to get re-energized and focused on a new target. I’ve lined up Maryland National in early October and will head down to Ocean City, Maryland for a three-day trip in late October to finish up my season. Nothing but TV golf for me this weekend.
Maryland National is located in Middletown, MD about 45 minutes from my home in Rockville. While not overly long at 6,811 yards from the championship tees, this links style course has beautiful mountain vistas and significant changes in elevation on several holes. The course will test your ball striking ability, especially into some of it’s very small protected greens. There is ample room off the tee on most holes with the course’s main defense provided by creative green-side mounding and deeply contoured bunkers. Players enjoy GPS in all golf carts and five sets of tee boxes make the course a fun challenging experience for everyone.
Value (3.5 out of 5.0)
The club lists greens fees on the weekend after 10 a.m. at $74 but we were playing on a pre-purchased discount card that allowed you to play on any day/time for $50, which is an excellent value. Greens fees before 10 a.m. on the weekends are $94 which seem a bit high.
Facilities (3.5 out of 5.0)
The practice area is a medium length cart ride from the clubhouse and consists of a nicely maintained grass driving range, albeit on the small size, with about 15-20 hitting stations. Balls are included with greens fees. Adjacent to the range are two very small nicely maintained pitching (bunker included) and putting greens. I was left with the distinct impression that these practice areas could become very crowded during times of heavy play because of their limited size. There is a fully stocked pro shop and the on-site restaurant provides either sit down or walk up service.
Customer Experience (4.5 out of 5.0)
On Sunday, May 15, 2011 I found the course to be in excellent condition with all tee boxes and fairways nicely manicured and the greens running medium fast and very true. The course had received significant rainfall the night before but all bunkers were nicely raked and there was very little standing water as the fairways and rough appeared to have drained nicely. It was clear the staff takes pride in their course conditioning. Everyone from the pro shop staff to the beverage cart girl to the staff in the restaurant were very friendly and accommodating. My only complaint was a malfunctioning GPS. Once we left the cart path, a message to “Return to the cart path immediately” was displayed and could not be cleared until the cart was back on the path. When we questioned the clubhouse staff, they indicated the GPS was infected with a computer virus and had been for several days.
Overall rating (4.0 out of 5.0)