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Friday, October 20, 2006

Mattaponi Springs - Wowza!

Last Monday, I took the morning off (actually it ended up being the whole day) to play Mattaponi Springs Golf Club in Ruther Glen, VA, which is outside of Richmond. Some of my friends had been urging me to play it, and since I need to do a few more course ratings in '06, I figured it was worth the 75 minute drive.

It was more than worth it. Mattaponi is one of the better "daily fee" courses that I've played in a while. It's tough, but fair. Quirky, but also traditional. Intimidating, but user-friendly.

Mattaponi starts off with a tee shot down a HUGE hill to a wide fairway (it doesn't seem so wide from the tee bos) that doglegs over water to an elevated green. It's not for the faint of heart and definitely not a wimpy opener like many courses feature. The second hole is a doozy of a par 5 -- uphill and long. If you can get through these holes in 2 over, you're in pretty good shape.

After that, you come to a fun, short par 3. It's a breather, but beware of over or underclubbing. I parred it, but it didn't prepare me for #4, a 470 yard, uphill two-shotter (it's even longer from the back tees). It's one of the most difficult holes I can remember playing that's not tricked up. Bogey is a good score.

The course eases up a bit after #4, but it has plenty of challenges on the last fourteen holes. Some of my favorites are number 9 and 18, doglegs in which your second shot plays steeply downhill to the green (both over a creek).

Probably the best feature of the course is the greens. They are WILD rides. There are humps, bumps, swales, triple-tiers, and punch-bowl sections. Lots of fun. Be careful of the speeds, and definitely play the breaks.

In the spring, I'll be ready to tee it up again. With a little bit of local knowledge, I should do better than the "scrambling" 90 I shot last week. I give Mattaponi at least a 7 out of 10.


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