When I came up with the idea for this site I pictured writing about Pine Valley, Augusta National, Bethpage Black, Pinehurst #2... the list of elite courses goes on. Unfortunately that's a dream and this is reality... I give you Bunker Hill Golf Course.
I'm going to start this with a disclaimer. It's early in the golf season and not every course is ready yet....
As you drive up the long driveway towards the clubhouse there is not much to see. On the right is an empty field that would make for a perfect driving range (hint) or practice facility (hint hint). When you reach the top of the incline you're greeted by a gazebo as well as the first tee. There is a bag drop sign and parking lot directing you to the left. I skipped over the bag drop and found a parking space close to the clubhouse.
I learned later in my round this is a new clubhouse, the old one had been destroyed by a fire. Inside the clubhouse is small proshop that had hats, shirts, shoes (if you bought shoes your round was free), and a few other items with the Bunker Hill Logo on it. I recommend stocking up on whatever you need prior to going in case they don't have what you're looking forward. The name that stood out in the proshop was "Ping".
At check in I presented my Tee Time Golf Pass which brought the Sunday afternoon rate from $35 to $25 (thank you to my girlfriend for buying that). I then decided it was a nice enough day to walk which brought my rate down to $16. I was sold. I walked out the door and headed over to the first tee.
The first thing I notice is the backup and no starter. It didn't matter much as I asked the 2-some in front of me if I could join in. They agreed. I'll say it right now, the best part of this round was the company. You never know who you're going to be paired with when you go alone. I was paired with Natalie & Billy. Natalie is a NCAA Division I golfer and Billy is her best friends father... her best friend was working at the course.
After about 10 minutes (2 groups) waiting, we were up. At first appearance this is not a challenging course. The scorecard says it's 5,973 from the tips. It's a par 72 with a 68.2 rating and 125 slope.
As I approach the tee box I realize there are no markers for the blue, white, or any other color. It's just a tee box. I compensate by teeing up towards the back but this becomes frustrating as you're trying to gauge distance on par 3's and when you have hazards to contest with.
There is little distinction between fairway and the first cut of of rough. This day it didn't matter much as most of my shots were clearly not in the fairway. The only hole on the front 9 worthy of mentioning is the 3rd hole, a 489, dogleg left, par 5 with trees protecting the left side and a reasonably long bunker along the right. While trying to lay up on my 2nd shot I managed to find this bunker although it was my 3-putt which ultimately caused my 8.
I didn't play well but managed to escape a rather forgetful front side by going out in 45.
At the turn we ventured back into the clubhouse to get snacks. The snackbar was attached to the proshop and offered anything a you could need at the turn and was priced well. The woman behind the counter was friendly and offered excellent service. My order of a hotdog, fountain soda, and bottle of water totaled $6.50. There is no beer or alcohol served or allowed on this course. There is no beer or alcohol served or allowed on this course... I felt that was worth repeating.
The Back 9
In my opinion this was the better of the two. The 10th hole is a narrow 335 yard par four with woods lining the left and an hill (sloping to the left) on the right. Tee shot placement is critical. Fortunately it wasn't an issue as I crushed my ball whopping 70 yards just passed the lady's tees. It is as impressive as it sounds as I escaped the hole with a 7.
The back was a little more narrow and well designed. The highlight came on 15 when a family of deer, I think 9 in total, hung out on the course before sprinting up the fairway and out of sight. It managed to grab the attention of all 4 groups in the area.
(The view coming up 18)
I put together a rather sad 47 coming for a total of 92. This included a few 3-putts and poor tee shots.
I need to develop a rating system so for now I'll say this course gets 2 out of 5 nomads.
I would pay $16 or $25 to ride here. I might even pay $35 on a weekend morning but if you look at the website (www.distinctgolf.com) it's going to cost you $63 and I would have been disappointed if I paid that much for this course. It's the little things that count. Having tee markers or rakes at the bunkers (I played out of 6 bunkers and not one had a rake) would help to make it a little more enjoyable. The sprinkler heads are not marked and the 200, 150, 100 marks in the fairway can be tough to find. This is a municipal course that Distinct Golf is trying to improve. I hope they do. The people were friendly and the course layout gives it potential. Use the Tee Time Golf Pass to save some money if you have to play here... it's good 4 times.
Date Played: 3/21/2010
Location: Princeton, NJ
Cost: $16 - $63
Tee Time Golf Pass: Accepted
My Score: 45 - 47 = 92
Play Again: No
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