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

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