September 5, 2008
I think the way the four of us played the thirteenth hole at The Peninsula Golf and Country Club was perhaps the best single example of what it was like to play this challenging Jack Nicklaus Signature layout.
John Brown, the marketing manager for the resort development, invited me to bring a few friends and play a round at the Millsboro course. I attended the grand opening ceremonies in June 2006, which included a press conference with Nicklaus and Peninsula developer Larry Goldstein, but I hadn’t yet played their new gem.
Thanks to Brown, a gracious host and former college golfer at Hofstra and West Chester Universities, that was no longer an issue. I teed it up on August 29 with John Eustis, Kevin Conlon, and Nick DelCampo.
The 13th hole from the silver tees measures 148 yards to the middle of the large green, with a tee shot over a large pond and steep-sided slopes on the front and both sides. The green is 40 yards deep, however, and DelCampo’s yardage indicator said the hole was just over 130 yards away from us.
Conlon had the honors, and hit a 9-iron that landed just to the right of the hole, bouncing further right and off the green into the rough, just above the embankment.
Knowing the difference between Conlon’s iron game and mine, I was confident that my 7-iron would go past the hole to a safe spot, and perhaps even back up toward the flag.
I didn’t take the strong winds into consideration enough, apparently. The tee shot climbed high in the air, looked great for the longest time, and then made a SPLORCH sound as the ball disappeared into the lily pads at the greenside edge of the pond.
After laughing at my expense, Eustis put his tee shot about pin-high on the far left, and DelCampo landed his ball about 30 feet above the hole. I chipped on from the drop zone behind the green.
DelCampo then made a smooth putt on the very fast greens, and the ball rolled directly into the cup for a birdie. Eustis’s putt was nearly as good, and he made a par. Conlon had a little trouble in the rough, and ended up with the same double-bogey I did.
Here’s why that hole was emblematic of the entire course.
Good shots are nearly always rewarded, as is a steady stroke on the slick greens. On the other hand, shots that are not quite right may earn you an unexpected penalty, and hitting well out of the rough is not something to be taken lightly.
In short, this course is no cream puff, and at nearly every opportunity invites the players to bear down and play their best.
At 6248 yards from the silver tees for the par-72 layout, with a course rating of 70.4 and slope rating of 136, the Peninsula provides plenty of tests for the golfing skills of your everyday bogey golfer. As a group, our combined best ball score was 7-over par, with DelCampo adding another birdie to his collection at the first hole. I can’t imagine what my score would have been from the black tees, set at 7302 yards with a 75.4 rating and 143 slope.
Rookery Golf League completes 2008 season
The Rookery golf course near Milton sponsored another golf league this summer, with an eleven-week season that began in May and recently finished.
The regular format is a best ball of two match play for the team record, with a stroke play contest for the nightly sweepstake prizes among the six divisions based on handicap. The season-ending playoffs used single-elimination matches for a 16-team bracket, with a play-in contest among the four teams with the worst records.
Ron Parsons and Mike Lee took first place for 2008, defeating Mike Gorski and Richard Tiikkala in the finals. Third place went to Tim Hammond and Mark Harris, who beat Joe Sexton and Bobby Dehaven in the consolation match.
Head golf pro Butch Holtzclaw expressed the Rookery’s appreciation to Miller Lite for their continued support for the league, in addition to the league’s many competitors.