Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Round #43: Wyoming - Powder Horn Golf Club (Stag/Eagle)

My selection of the Powder Horn Golf Club was dictated in part by it’s location. The #1 rated course on Wyoming is in Jackson, which would have added several hundred miles to our trip. Playing Powder Horn meant I could catch Wyoming without going too far off our path to North Dakota. 

Powder Horn is actually three 9-hole golf courses. Designed by Dick Bailey, the Stag and Mountain courses opened for play in 1997; the Eagle golf course followed with a 2002 opening. I wanted to play the Stag/Eagle courses as they were the 18-holes rated as the #2 course in Wyoming by Golf Digest.

As you might expect, the best laid plans do not always fall into place. I was hoping for an early morning tee time so we would have enough time to drive into North Dakota the same day. On my first phone call to the club I was informed that I could play the course but they would not accept tee time reservations until 3-7 days in advance. When I called back on 4 August (7-days ahead) the message changed; non-members could only reserve a tee time 3-days in advance of play. My 3rd phone call took place on 8 August  (3-days ahead) when I was informed that a member-guest tournament would prevent any open play until early afternoon. Not wanting to begin changing the remainder of my itinerary at the last moment. I reserved the earliest available time at 2:10 PM.

Scattered light showers moved through the area during the morning of 11 August, the day I was scheduled to play Powder Horn. When I showed up at 1:00 PM I was informed that the showers had delayed tournament play - - - and I would not be able to tee off on the Stag course until 3:00 PM or later. I was determined to play, but it was also looking like we would have a late night driving into North Dakota. The pro shop provided me with the option to kill some time on the practice range or play the Mountain course while I waited for the Stag course to open up. I opted to play Mountain. With many of the members either playing in the tournament or shying away from the club due to the tournament, I teed off Mountain as a single and began playing the round by myself.

The clubhouse at the Powder Horn Golf Club

Round: #43
Location: Sheridan, WY
Golf Digest Best-In-State Rank: #2
Date: 11 Aug, tee off at 1:20 PM
Conditions: cloudy with spitting rain, 17 MPH wind, 61 degrees
Yardage: 6,732   (+ 3,189 on Mountain)
Lost balls: 2
Score: 80 on a par 72   (Mountain = 37)

The Mountain course was the easiest 9-holes of the three courses. It was nice to begin counting the number of pars, instead of keeping track of my bogeys. In other words, I was playing quite well. I shot 5 straight pars before missing a 4’ putt on hole #6 for my first bogey. I finished the remaining 3-holes par-birdie-par to go 1-over par 37 on the Mountain course. 

 400-yard par 4 hole #5 - Mountain (view of approach shot from the fairway)

172-yard par 3 hole #8 - Mountain

With the member-guest tournament was still underway, I started to kill some time on the practice range. The golf staff knew I was anxious to tee off and let me tee off as soon as the tournament players had all worked their way through the 1st tee on the Eagle course. I continued to play as a single player and my remained hot. I chipped in for a birdie on the 3rd hole after starting out with two more pars. I missed a makable putt on the 5th hole for my first bogey on the Eagle course. The next two holes ended with a par-bogey to go 1-over through the first 7 holes. The golf gods were looking over my shoulder.

 171-yard par 3 hole #3 - Eagle

 View from hole #3 - Eagle tee box (turning 90 degrees to the right)

 View from hole #3 - Eagle tee box (turning 180 degrees to the right)

393-yard par 4 hole #4 - Eagle

After the strong wind pushed my drive far down the 8th fairway I was looking at a 2nd shot of 110-yards to the par 5 green. Another birdie looked quite possible before the wind also helped carry the approach shot off the green into the surrounding water - an easy birdie turned into another bogey. I parred hole #9 to finish Eagle with a 2-over par 38. I was falling in love with the Powder Horn course!

 564-yard par 5 hole #7 - Eagle

 Hole #7 - Eagle (view of 2nd shot from the fairway)

 381-yard par 4 hole #9 - Eagle

 Hole #9 - Eagle (view of approach shot to the green from the fairway)

Hole #9 - Eagle (club house view overlooking the green)

Perhaps I was only destined to play 18-holes since my luck ran out on the Stag course. After starting with 2 pars and 2 bogeys, my approach shot pulled left sending the ball into the woods on the Stag hole #5 - - - my first double bogey. I finished Stag just as I had started with 2 pars and 2 bogeys. 

 310-yard par 4 hole #1 - Stag

 392-yard par 4 hole #5 - Stag

 Hole #5 - Stag (view of approach shot to the green from the rough)

 173-yard par 3 hole #6 - Stag

 345-yard par 4 hole #7 - Stag

Hole #7 - Stag (view from the green back up the fairway)

At times it looked like I would run into rain before completing the round. I was able to play 27-holes of golf at Powder Horn in 3-1/2 hours under cloudy skies that never rained on me. The dry conditions enabled me to start our road trip to North Dakota without any delay. 

The inability to play Powder Horn in the morning as planned and my reluctance to adjust the schedule resulted in a 5:15 PM departure on a 380-mile drive to North Dakota. With light traffic, 75 MPH speed limits and only one quick stop for food we arrived at the hotel in Dickinson, North Dakota at 10:30 PM. Evening rain showers helped clear the hazy skies to provide much improved scenery. We continued to see our share of wildlife: turkeys, pheasants, deer and antelope.

 Pinewood Cottage Quilt & Gift Shop (I am Julie's taxi driver when not on a golf course!) 

 Pheasants running for cover at Powder Horn

Scenery on the road to North Dakota (under clear skies!)

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