Friday, April 29, 2011

Course Review: Ray Richards Golf Course Grand Forks North Dakota

Alright here we go my first golf course review.  Yesterday a friend and I decided after we finished our homework and studying for the day to try out the university's Ray Richards Golf Course.  For UND students it was $11 so we figured why not try it out.  First a little info about the golf course.  Ray Richards is a 9 hole par 36 golf course.  It also has a driving range and chipping and putting green.  The club house has snacks in it and that is about it.  Now back to the review.
I called up at 4:30 in the afternoon to try to set up a 5:30 tee time.  The lady told me that she we could have a 5:30 tee time but we would have to be paired up with another group.  I told the lady I would ask my friend and call back.  Within those 5 minutes before I called the golf course back the soonest tee time we could get now was 6:20, so it was pretty busy at the golf course.  We decided to show up 15 minutes early to check in at the clubhouse and spend that time warming up a little.  We didn't plan on warming up much just enough not to hurt ourselves.  When we went to check in at the clubhouse and they are ahead of schedule and sent us straight to the first tee since the other two people in our group had already teed off.  A review on the course said that this course is a challenge.  I really didn't know what that review meant until I played there.  This course is really you get what your paying for.  For $11 the course is in pretty bad shape.  I know it is the beginning of the year and you have to give a lot of courses the benefit of the doubt, but I really don't know if that is the case with this course.  It has been open for over a week now to my knowledge and it hasn't been below freezing here for a while.  This course is hard due to the conditions.  Every part of the course is really inconsistent.  It felt like you were playing in a park what had some really odd and different things going on with it.  You really could not tell how the ball was going to travel when it hit the ground.  Some places on the course were so wet that there was standing water and you were walking in puddles and mud.  Then some places where so dry the ball bounced and rolled for an extra 100 yards.  Usually the fairways were the dry ones with lots of dirt patches.  It was really easier to hit the ball out of the longer grass than the fairway.
The greens were something else as well.  Some were living some were dead depending on if they were on top of a hill or not.  That was expected, but there was more of a problem to the greens than that.  You know how for the most part when you strike the ball on the green it should roll.  That is not the case on the greens at Ray Richards.  The ball bounces skips and hops all over the place.  You could be the greatest person ever at knowing the break, it would not have helped at all.  You could have a 3 foot straight putt and put the ball and it hits some random tiny small bump in the green and it jumps in the air and never goes anywhere near the hole, and this is just a slow 3 foot putt.  The atmosphere of the golf course was fairly laid back with some college kids playing catch and music behind their apartment complex.  You expect a golf course at this price to be laid back.  It was very busy though, and the holes were built with almost nothing in between the fairways.  These two things made sure there were a lot of "FORE"'s screamed out from almost everyone on the course while I was playing on the course.
I didn't fare so well on the course as imagined, but I did even worse as I expected.  Apparently the winter has caused me to get a little bit rusty causing me to have inconsistent ball striking, and I got my slice back if I don't pay real close attention.  So I have some things to work on with the BirdieBalls and at the driving range trying to fix that problem.  I hope I get it fixed before I go back to Wisconsin for the Summer.  One thing I am quite proud of was I put a solid hit in my $4 1 iron I got off of ebay.  That's right I said 1 iron and solid hit in the same sentence.  Hopefully more on the 1 iron in the blog post later.  I was typically going 3 or 4 over par on the hole between my unpredictable drives and bad ball striking getting me to the green in 1 more stroke extra than needed, and the horrible greens causing me to putt over and over again.  I think the worse I did was getting a 9 thanks to the green on one of the only two par 3 holes on the course.  I see I have a lot to work on still.  Now back to the conclusion of the course.
Overall I would have to say you get what you pay for with Ray Richards Golf Course.  The course is in not so good shape and has drainage issues.  It is a challenge that will surely test your nerve for $11 ($14 if your not a UND student).  According to some online reviews the course takes almost all Summer to get into good shape and is a great late Summer and early Fall.  I guess we will see when that time of the year comes, but as right now it is a rough course.  Still though this is the cheapest course for a college student in Grand Forks, so I am sure I will be back there again probably sooner than later even with how horrible the course is.  That said I've been at a lot better courses for the around the price of $11 in Wisconsin.  For example the twilight rate at Butternut Hills Golf Course, and the par 3 course at Voyage Village.
In conclusion I would say if you are really aching for some golf and are would not like to pay a lot go golf this course.  I would tell everyone to try to it out at least once just because of the price.  I hope this course actually becomes a good course towards the middle and the end of the season like some online reviews maybe I could suggest to golf at this course more than once.  Until then I am just going to say you get what you pay for for this course and maybe even less.

Here are some pictures of the course.  I also went back today and played around on the free putting green and some of the pictures are from that.
The third hole I love the Fighting Sioux logos

My friend on the tee box

One of the greens

My friend again

Another green

A water hazzard

Look how close the road is to this fairway

another hazzard

sunset at the course

The practice putting green

The first tee from the putting green.  The back of the driving range is on the left.

The Clubhouse

Practice putting green again

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Win a FREE two week membership at King's Walk Golf Course in Grand Forks

King's Walk in Grand Forks is giving away a free two week membership!  The entry deadline is April 22 and the membership will be valid from April 23- May 6.  King's Walk is an Arnold Palmer Signature Course run by the Grand Forks Park District.  It is rated 4 stars by Golf Digest.  If this isn't inexpensive golf I don't know what is.  I suggest anyone in the Grand Forks area should enter.  Click on the link below to enter.
Win a FREE two week membership to King's Walk!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Masters Tournament Schedule

I am just as excited about the masters as everyone else and can not wait to watch it on T.V.  So here is the T.V. schedule for your knowledge and enjoyment.
Wednesday 2-4 P.M. Central Time on ESPN
Thursday 2-6:30 P.M. Central Time on ESPN
Friday 2-6:30 P.M. Central Time on ESPN
Saturday 2:30-6 P.M. Central Time on CBS
Sunday  1-6 P.M. Central Time on CBS

I know for a fact I will be glued to the T.V. all weekend between watching the Fighting Sioux in the Frozen Four and The Masters.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Product Review: BirdieBall

Recently I purchases some BirdieBalls on clearance at Scheel's and have played with them enough to now give you a review.  So first I'll open up myself some Arnold Palmer from Arizona.  I just found it at Wal Mart for a buck had to buy a few.  Which I am now finding quite good and I don't like iced tea, and get this review started.
Arnold Plamer
Add vodka to make it a John Daly

Last weekend I had just gotten paid and was wandering around Scheel's looking at their golf stuff and saw 12 BirdieBalls on clearance for $14.99 and figured well I just got paid I might as well take a chance.  I knew a little bit about BirdieBalls from looking up every golf thing imaginable in my spare time.  I knew they were limited range practice balls and they looked odd but that was about it.  Well let me say these things are fun!  In case you were wondering how fun they are my girlfriend who hates golf (I'm still working on fixing that) thinks that they are fun.  
BirdieBalls I got at Scheel's

The BirdieBall is best described by other reviewers online as round napkin holders from restruants.  That describes them about right they don't look like a ball at all.  It sure feels and flies like a golf ball though.  Especially compared to the wiffle ball practice ball which I have used before.  The ball feels a little light when you hit it compared to a golf ball, but not enough to make me think less of the BirdieBall.  The one thing I love about the birdie ball is it will show hooks, slices, pushes, and pulls just like a real golf ball even though it is a limited range.  I've logged about 4 hours using them now even though it is wet out in North Dakota currently.  The BirdieBall is very durable I can attest to that.  I hit the same 3 BirdieBalls for those four hours and one of the hours I hit the BirdieBalls onto cement due to how wet it was outside.  Through all of that the BirdieBalls barely got a nick.  They go about 40 yards.  That makes the birdie ball distance to long if you are in a regular sized back yard unless your chipping.  I cannot emphasize how fun it is to hit these though.  They make a buzzing sound when you hit them right which after a while becomes satisfying.  The BirdieBalls fly high enough where if you were hitting them at someone they have time to get under them and catch them since they fall harmlessly to the ground.  The possibilities of games you can make up with the birdie balls are endless.  If you go on their website they have quite a few suggestions.  There are other things BirdieBall sells other things such as their strikepad and velocity tee, but I do not have them so I cannot comment about them.
BirdieBall after 4 hours of abuse still looking fine just a little dirty.  Shows how durable these things are.

Now for the bad.  The BirdieBall is expensive typically.  They are $27 on Amazon for the same thing I got on clearance for $14.99.  I would have never bought them at $27 no matter how durable they are, but at the price I got them at I say it is worth the price.  Their other things like the strikepad and velocity tee are expensive on amazon as well.  It seems like everything is slightly overpriced, but they are a good product.  In the end I suggest the BirdieBall to anyone that has the money, and has a large backyard or park nearby.  It is really fun and you might get some people interested in golf that were not originally interested.
What I always keep in my trunk from now on an 8 iron and 3 BirdieBalls