Thursday, April 19, 2012

Round #14: Alabama - Robert Trent Jones at Capitol Hill: Judge Course

Monday was supposed to be a day of rest. The plan to sleep in late and take a leisurely drive into Alabama was cancelled when I checked the weather forecast for Prattville, Alabama. The forecast called for an 80% chance of severe thunderstorms for Tuesday. I called the course to verify they were open for play on Monday, and we decided to drive 315-miles and take our chances on a 30% chance for showers in Prattville on Monday afternoon.
There were moments during our trip when it looked like we made a good decision, but they quickly dissipated when we drove into more rain. The radar maps showed a break in the storms so we remained optimistic in my chances to play golf. We arrived at the course at 1:30 in the afternoon; a heavy shower had brought with it the first lightening strikes we had seen. The golfers looked like rates deserting a sinking ship as they scurried off of the course. We turned around and headed for the quilt shops in nearby Montgomery. The rain eventually let up while Julie was shopping and I decided to give the golf one more try. We drove back to Prattville under intermittent showers. The radar map still showed heavy rain headed into the area, but I paid for the round of golf and teed off anyway.

Round: #14
Location: Prattville, AL
Golf Digest Best-In-State Rank: #4
Date: 16 Apr, tee off at 4:00 PM
Conditions: cloudy, 1 MPH wind, 72 degrees
Yardage: 7,082
Lost balls: 1
Score: 83 on a par 72
Naturally, I expected to be playing alone after the rain had emptied the course. I knew I had made the right decision when I arrived at the #1 tee box; If I could only play a few holes before getting rained on it would be worth it.
400-yard par 4 hole #1 (bordering on Cooters Pond)

Hole #1 (view from the green back up the fairway)

In my haste to begin playing, I had not taken a moment to look at the score card. I teed off from the 2nd set of tees as I normally do. The Judge course was not a normal course as the distance from the 2nd set of tees was 7,082-yards, about 500-yards longer than I usually play. My skill set does not include the ability to drive the ball long distances, so adding 500-yards meant I hit long shots into the greens all afternoon. In addition to the extra distance, the rain had softened up the course and the ball was not rolling after it landed. Needless to say, I missed a lot greens in regulation. My chip shots and putting were on target which enabled me to play well.
416-yard par 4 hole #2 

 View of approach shot to hole #2 green

 View of approach shot to hole #4 green (579-yard par 5)

 625-yard par 5 hole #7 (I barely carried over the water on my tee shot)

View of approach shot to hole #7 green

I saw a few other groups playing on the course, but I was able to play at my own speed until I caught up to some other groups at the #12 tee box. I fully expected to see golf balls hitting some alligators as I watched the group ahead of me tee off. The par 3 holes did offer plenty of opportunities to lose a ball in the water. A few boats were moving about in the back waters, trying their luck fishing on Cooters Pond in the back waters of the of the Alabama River.

 190-yard par 3 hole #6

 215-yard par 3 hole #12

 Hole #12 (view from the green back toward the tee box)

 223-yard par 3 hole #16

Backside view of hole #16 green (too short & too long are never good outcomes on this hole!)

The still, humid air was probably a good sign that the next rain front had stalled out. I completed the round of golf without getting wet. It was starting to get dark as I finished #18, which is why I qualified for the twilight rate to play golf which saved me $45. It was quite dark when Julie returned from shopping to pick me up at the course. We stopped into a nearby Applebee’s for dinner where the late hour meant we qualified for the “Late Night Specials”. I was just glad to have played golf without being rained on.

 338-yard par 4 hole #18

Hole #18 (view from the green back up the fairway)
A nice shot into the green enabled me to finish with a birdie on this hole.

Footnote: there was no rain on Tuesday morning when we woke up. The forecast called for a 60% chance of showers but the radar map did not show any threatening rain fronts. As it turned out, I would have been able to play golf in 76 degree temperatures under partly sunny skies.

1 comment:

  1. Jim,
    Ran across your blog after a google search, great job.
    Had to comment here since I've played The Judge on several occasions, once from the tips. On number 10 I hit a decent drive (250+) but barely cleared the ladies tee. The course is a beast, but fun.