Friday, June 29, 2012

Round #33: Vermont - Okemo Valley Golf Club

The course I originally selected in Vermont was the Green Mountain National Golf Course in Killington, rated at #7 in Vermont by Golf Digest. When I contacted the course for a tee time, I was scheduled to play at 3:00 PM on Tuesday. The course was closed on Monday and I was unable to play on Tuesday until round 1 of the Killington Junior Golf Championship had concluded. No hotel rooms were available in Killington with 144 prospective champions in town so we booked a room 15-miles away in Rutland. We drove to Rutland from New Hampshire on Sunday evening where we awoke on Monday morning to rain showers in the area. The forecast called for continued rain through Tuesday; I became worried that the tournament would interfere with my ability to play Vermont and move onto Maine. After looking for an alternative and I changed to the Okemo Valley Golf Club, a short 25-mile drive from Rutland. 
 Okemo Valley pro shop

Okemo Valley club house

Okemo Valley ski runs

Okemo Valley had a tournament as well, but it was a 1-day 18-hole best-ball format sponsored by the local tavern in Ludlow. I was given a tee time 30-minutes following their 12:30 shot-gun start (they only had enough players to fill 12-holes). Julie dropped me off at the course, I warmed up, ate lunch and was preparing to go out when it started to rain - - - heavy rain with lightening to match. Julie was still in Ludlow when the rain started; she returned to Okemo Valley and picked me up. We dove off to find quilt shops  under a sky filled with lightening and clouds that promised more rain to follow.
By the time we arrived at the first shop the sun broke through, providing a ray of hope for playing golf. We returned to the course, I paid my greens fee, and teed off of #1 by myself. I fully expected to get wet sometime during the afternoon, but it was a chance I was willing to take.

Round: #33
Location: Ludlow, VT
Golf Digest Best-In-State Rank: #3
Date: 25 Jun, tee off at 2:30 PM
Conditions: cloudy, 3 MPH wind, 69 degrees
Yardage: 6,104
Lost balls: 1
Score: 81 on a par 70
The golf tournament had gone off late due to the rain. The couple I had been scheduled to tee off did not show up, as had almost every other sane person (the men in the tournament drank beer during the rain delay so their sanity would have been thusly influenced). The ranger stopped by on hole #2 and informed me of another single player ahead. I caught up to him on the 3rd holes where he was being held up by the best-ball competitors. We paired up.
 522-yard par 5 hole #2

 175-yard par 3 hole #4

 167-yard par 3 hole #6 (view from the green back toward the tee box)

 173-yard par 3 hole #8

347-yard par 4 hole #9

My playing partner for the remainder of the round was Jim Agostisi. He is an Italian boy from Queens, New York who now resides in Fairfield, Connecticut. Jim is married with two boys; a 16-year old who is working as a lifeguard for the summer and a 10-year old. The wife, the boys and two friends of the 10-year old son were all back at their RCI time-share condo. Jim was employed for 19-1/2 years as a fund manager for New York Life. When that portion of the business was phased out, he went to work as an independent financial advisor. Jim’s wife also worked in the financial consulting business until just last week when she turned in her resignation. I thought it sounded natural that she might begin working alongside Jim, but he assured me that was a recipe for divorce if they ever tried working together professionally. I took him at his word.
Jim standing on the 196-yard par 3 hole #17 tee box

Jim played golf at a fast pace, but we were not going anywhere with 12-holes filled with tournament players in front of us. The skies never did clear. When the thunder started on hole #6 I was ready to start reaching for my rain gear, but it moved on without dropping any rain on us.
 305-yard par 4 hole #10

 502-yard par 5 hole #11 (view of approach shot to the green from the rough)

 371-yard par 4 hole #12 (view from the fairway back toward the tee box) 

View from the hole #12 green back up the fairway

The course was in excellent shape with some challenging holes. Although we did occasionally wait for the group in front of us, a relaxed pace of play and pleasant conversation made the round pass by quickly.
 205-yard par 3 hole #14

435-yard par 4 hole #16 (view of the green from the left rough)
In spite of radar maps that showed rain coming at us and skies that always looked threatening, we finished the 18-holes under dry conditions.  A heavy shower did hit a few miles away where Julie was shopping. Julie & I drove into rain shortly after leaving the course on the road north into New Hampshire.

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