Golf course leaves no doubt that most golfers are honest souls

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Golf Swings Over America

Last Sunday (November 3rd) I left my hotel in Goodland, Kansas heading back toward Denver.  I had to get my rental car back before 4 and then grab a shuttle to my conference hotel in Westminster, northwest of the city.  I decided to play somewhere on the way back to the airport and I mapped out 3 possible choices.  Two of them were 9 hole courses, which I don’t normally play but since they were all relatively close to the Interstate, I figured I’d simply pull off, check the first one out and if I didn’t like it, then I’d simply continue on my way.

Box for green fees at Prairie Pines
Box for green fees at Prairie Pines

So it was that I pulled off I-70 around 9:10 in search of the Prairie Pines Golf Course in Burlington, Colorado.  I ended up missing a turn, but after about 10 minutes I managed to find it.  Well I thought I found it. At least I could see some greens and tee blocks that were really nice looking, but the fairways were just dried up and brown.  I immediately thought that I would simply turn around and move on to
the next course on the list.  But on further thought, I figured I’d give it a go because this would be a good “experience”.  I’d never played off crappy looking fairways before.  I would later find out that the grass was just dormant for the winter and
the fairways were actually pretty good to hit off of.

Why I said earlier that “I thought I found it” was because I had a tough time finding a pro shop.  There was a big building that looked more or less like a banquet hall,
but it wasn’t until the third pass that I finally noticed a small sign pointing to pro shop at the back of the building.  I pulled my car around, parked in front of the entrance and was horrified to see a “Pro shop closed for the season” sign.  I was about to back out and head off to the next stop when I started reading the rest of the sign.  “Please leave green fees in envelopes provided..and sign you name on envelope.”

Green fee rates and envelopes to deposit them.
Green fee rates and envelopes to deposit them.

Are you kidding me?  Curious, I walked over to the box, opened the lid and found the rates. I figured I could handle the $25 for non-members/guests.  Good thing I had cash on me, as I don’t normally carry very much. The only downside I realized was that I was going to have to walk with my clubs.  No big deal if I had my carry bag, but I purposely packed my cart bag with a lot of extra “stuff” in it.

A quick purge of unnecessary “crap” from my bag, including a club or two that I rarely hit and I was able to lighten my load down to the bare minimum.  After a quick change in the parking lot, I grabbed a couple of scorecards, a few ball
markers and off to the first tee I headed.

The temperature was a moderate 60 (F), fairly sunny with some cloudy breaks but extremely windy.  I thought I was accounting for the wind properly on my tee shot, but I watched in dismay as my ball went straight down the middle of the fairway
and then get carried way into the rough by the wind. “Well isn’t this going to
be fun,” I thought to myself.

Battling the wind proved to be the biggest challenge to this course.  I managed much better on the back nine as I was usually hitting way too much club with the wind at my back.  Meaning I played from behind trees a couple of times.

All in all I enjoyed my round.  I even enjoyed the “walk” and as it turned out, it would not be my last one of the trip (will talk about that later). I was alone on the course for quite awhile, but there ended up being a few members follow (or I assume they were members as they all had their own carts).

I’m not sure I would recommend this course as a must play, but the shear fact that they put blind faith and trust in the average Joe rates very high in my books.  So a special thanks to the powers that be at Prairie Pines.  It was another great “experience” on my quest.




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