Thursday, June 21, 2012

Round #28: New Jersey - Plainfield Country Club

Rain always poses the threat of changes to my schedule. The shower that moved in late Sunday as I completed play at Mystic Rock continued into Monday. Luckily that was an off day and it did not impact us. We drove into Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where we visited the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War. The fields surrounding the town of Gettysburg are well maintained with wooden fences, artillery guns and statues that help the tourists visualize battles that took place on 1-3 July, 1863. Causalities from both sides of the 3-day conflict totaled 53,000 men killed, wounded, captured or missing in action. You could spend days in Gettysburg absorbing all of the details of the battle that at one point claimed 5,000 lives in 1-hour alone. Our visit to the museum and a short drive were enough to put us in a somber mood. We did enjoy some battlefield fries at a local diner before leaving town; I should have asked how they differ from regular french fries because they sure tasted the same.
Abe Lincoln holding his "Gettysburg Address" speech 

The hillside battlefields surrounding Gettysburg 

 Evergreen Cemetery

Battlefield fries at Hunt's Cafe

The next destination was Lancaster, Pennsylvania; home to the Old Order Amish and Mennonites, also known as the "Plain People". The Amish have been employing horse-drawn power since the days when horsepower had a whole different meaning. We drove through Lancaster to the smaller town of Intercourse, where Julie found a quilt shop on every corner. In addition to the beautiful quilts for sale, the shops were also selling humorous post cards with a central theme involving the town’s name.  Julie shopped while I watched the horse drawn buggies pass by on main street. Before we left town, I noticed several Amish boys pass by with baseball bats tucked in the basket of their 2-wheel scooters. I drove around a few blocks before finding them practicing baseball in a dusty, dirt-bare barn yard. They stopped playing ball as I approached them to take a picture; I took that as a sign to just turn around and leave well enough alone. 
Sign at the edge of town (to prove I did not just create a fictional account for your amusement!)

 Log Cabin Quilt Shop (Bird in Hand, PA)

  Log Cabin Quilt Shop (Bird in Hand, PA)

  Log Cabin Quilt Shop (Bird in Hand, PA)

The Old Country Store (Intercourse,PA)

We drove through the countryside before leaving the Amish area. It was a throw back to early Americana, with small farms dotting the landscape. The presence of livestock and gardens were a stark contrast to what we see in present day Iowa with the large corn & soybean farms. There are various degrees to which the Amish people adhere to the old ways; some farmers were starting to utilize motorized equipment.
These steel tires might be a little hard on the paved roads

 Unhitching the horse after returning home

 Traveling down "Old Philadelphia Pike" in Intercourse, PA

 Back yard herb & flower garden

Customer parking for the local meat market

Before I start to write about golf, there is one more tidbit of interest from our road trip out of Pennsylvania. Julie stopped at a quilt shop just outside of Gettysburg.  Across the road was a home that landscaped their yard with several new varieties of maintenance-free evergreen trees. 
I am thinking artificial turf might be the next step before selling the lawnmower

The Barclays is a golf tournament on the PGA tour that generates millions of dollars for local charities in surrounding communities. It began in 1967 as the Westchester Classic. The name of the event evolved to the point that by 1990 it no longer contained the name of its host course or location. Starting in 2007, the tournament took on its current name and was played in late August, to lead off the PGA Tour's new playoff system for the FedEx Cup. Beginning in 2008 it left the Westchester Country Club and began a rotation amongst different clubs in the New York metropolitan area. The Plainfield Country Club was the host site in 2011, and will again host the event in 2015 & 2019.
The main course at Plainfield was designed in 1916 by Donald Ross. The Club has hosted two U.S. National Championships as well as a number of State and Regional Championships. Over the past 10 years Plainfield Country Club has undergone an extensive restoration and renovation program under the direction of architect Gil Hanse.

Round: #28
Location: Edison, NJ
Golf Digest Best-In-State Rank: #3
Date: 20 Jun, tee off at 10:40 AM
Conditions: sunny, 5 MPH wind, 90 degrees
Yardage: 6,616
Lost balls: 0
Score: 82 on a par 72
Every so often the swing gods look down upon me and just make everything look very easy. Today was one of those days. Plainfield Country Club is a walking course which helps keep me loose, as does the high temperatures. I was hitting some great shots and scoring well with two birdies within the first three holes. With two birdies and four pars, I carded a  2-over par 38 on the front nine (a double bogey on hole #7 was the only problem I ran into). 
164-yard par 3 hole #3 

 141-yard par 3 hole #6

 Lady Luck kept me from rolling into this deep bunker at the backside of hole #6 (the white spec is my ball)

457-yard par 4 hole #7 (view of the green from the left fairway approach shot)

The starter sent me out as a single player, accompanied by a young caddy named Austin. This was the 6th year of caddying for Austin, but his first year at Plainfield. He will be a sophomore next year at the University of South Carolina where he is majoring in accounting & finance. The front nine holes were played at my own pace, after a foursome let me play through them on hole #5. I caught up to a two-some and joined up with them on hole #11  for the remainder of the round. 
 136-yard par 3 hole #11

Caddies Jeff & Austin

Matt Michallow and Josh Basinger were from Columbus, Ohio. They were on a golf trip trying to hit four courses on the Golf Digest Top 100 Courses list. Josh has played 38 courses on the list with plans to further increase the number when he visits California later this year (Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and the Olympic Club). Both men are PGA professionals who teach at the GolfTEC Columbus facility. They promised not to tell me all of the things I do wrong - which I am sure would have taken a long time! It is always a pleasure to watch players who hit the ball really well. They played from the back set of tees, and both hit their tee shots on the par 3 hole #14 green (248-yards from the back tee box). Their tee shots on hole #16 were within 10 feet of each other in the middle of the fairway. It was quite evident that they could not only teach golf fundamentals, but also execute them on the course. They were accompanied by a caddy named Jeff, who was quite adept at reading the greens.
Josh Basinger & Matt Michallow

 411-yard par 4 hole #13 (view of the green from the left fairway approach shot)

 186-yard par 3 hole #14 (played 248-yards from back tee over a small pond in front of the green)

554-yard par 5 hole #16 (view of the approach shot to the green)

My game began to wilt on the back nine as the heat of the day wore me down. I chunked several shots on hole #15 to produce a double bogey. Luckily, the halfway house was located just off the green where I bought a Gatorade to help get me back on track. 
 409-yard par 4 hole #17 (view of the approach shot to the green)

380-yard par 4 hole #18 (view of the approach shot to the green)

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