Yes, it’s different and not your conventional 18 holes but I thoroughly enjoyed my day there, solo.
I showed up when it looked like they said they “opened” and met Patrick sitting on the ‘porch’ of the ‘clubhouse’ cranking a vape and coffee. After paying for 18, snagging a t shirt, and chatting about Ohio golf a bit, I was off.
You can see all 9 holes from the 1st tee, and at first glance it feels a little underwhelming – wide open, not much definition of each hole’s corridor, brown everywhere (November for me), gravel roads, and not a sound in the sky.
I read up a bit on the course and was getting my first dip into the #parisirrelevant #alp #punchbowl #doubleplateau #redannnn world, So I just said to myself that for the first lap, I would just play the shot I got and not think about my score at all.
1st hole is one of the 2 par 5s. If you can carry a bunker in the left-center of the fairway you can get home in 2, else you have a lengthy carry to the green because #angles. Mounding blocks your view of a right pin, however a left pin can be seen from the fairway. I had a front right pin that day, which actually sloped front to back. No matter what club I hit (5 iron to 9 iron). My ball fed to the exact same spot on the back of the green – an uphill 30 footer that was incredibly make-able.
I was hooked from hole one. I think the course is a textbook on how good architecture is achieved. It’s rough around the edges, but it gets to the point: your angle of attack will normally shift round to round on any given hole, and when that happens at Sweeten’s, you are playing completely different courses.
The next 8 holes contain some ( and more) of the following:
A tree boldly guarding a green, any shot in line with it requires some modified ball flight
A par 3 that could require either a wedge or a wood from the same teeing ground depending on the pin only
2ish drive-able par 4s by the above-average hitter, one with a green almost bisected with a deep bunker, and the other one with a purely diabolical green, unfortunately proving the value of laying up
The widest fairway imaginable with a double plateau green that is, literally, 2 plateaus with a swale
A phenomenal finishing par 3 with a giant kicker off the right
I thought I’d play 18 and move on to Sewanee that day, I played 54 instead, including some cross country holes I discovered after taking enough laps. I had some repetitive shots, but not nearly as many as I expected. The course was largely my own as an impending line of storms chased a lot of people off. By my last few laps, I was just dropping balls in places to hit shots that looked cool versus actually playing a round of golf. Patrick decided to mail it in early for the day and even offered that I could just keep going until the storm chased me away. I was Getting a little gassed by then so I declined, and I actually really regret not getting a few more in that day.
It’s been about 9 months since I went there, and it has changed my perspective completely on how I play golf. I drove 5 hours and stayed in a cheap hotel just to play it, and I’m trying to find time to do it again.