Thursday, January 25, 2007

Galveston Island Municipal...

The sky is blue and the sun will start to dry things out today. Tomorrow we’re making the short trip down to Galveston to play Galveston Island Municipal Golf Course just a few days before they close the doors and begin a work on a year long renovation of the course.

This golf course has been on my list of courses to play for quite some time. I’ve never went because other courses offer better value. I’ve read that Galveston Island Municipal Golf Course has ranked in the top five Texas public courses many times. I’ve also read that the course conditions are often hit and miss. I'm playing the course because the course has history. I never played Clear Lake Golf Course for the same reasons I've never played Galveston and I regret it. Galveston Island Municipal Golf Course as it was played by Ben Hogan, Jimmy Demerit, Harvey Pennik, and Lee Trevino will be closed starting February first. I don't know how extensive the changes will be, but it will become a resort-class course (to be named "Moody Gardens Golf Course on Galveston Island, a Premier Public Golf Course.") with $50 to $100 greens fees for weekend play.

Now, courses around Houston have a lot of water, and Galveston is the undisputed water winner with many holes nearly islands in themselves.

The layout is very challenging, here are the course numbers:

Tips 73.0/131 6969 yards (Par 72)
Blues 72.5/125 6739 yards (Par 72)
Whites 70.0/119 6244 yards (Par 72)
Reds 71.4/121 5336 yards (Par 73)

I looked the course over with google maps and google earth and even though there is water everywhere, the front nine looks very tame compared to the back nine. The first hole that raised my brow was the tenth. I thought I’d share how I review a layout prior to the first time I play a course. The first thing I do when trying to come up with a game plan is see what the landing area looks like. I measure 250 yards off the tee box and look at the landing area. In the image below, I drew a triangle for both 250 (green) and 200 yards (yellow). I looded at the 200 yard option because the driver option has a very narrow landing area (about 35 yards in the fairway). The driver option requires more accuracy off the tee, but offers a better line to the green and a shorter, more managable second shot. The 200 yard option has a much bigger landing zone, but the second shot will be considerably more difficult.

Now my drives are often a push or a push-fade, so I tend to aim for the left side of the landing area. In this case, should I hit the ball straight, which I do maybe 40% of the time, That said, I’ll have a possibility of hitting the cart path and bouncing into the water with either choice. To further complicate the shot, there are no windless days on Galveston Island. The wind is forcast to be out of the NNE which will push a straight shot down into the target zone.

Finally, the red lines show how I intend to execute the shot. I’m going to try the driver and hold off on my release just a tad, maybe put the ball just a bit forward in my stance. The top red line shows a well executed shot and the bottom line shows a push fade.

Now you can all remain in suspense while you wait for me to post the actual shot sometime in the days following the round. Obviously, I don’t go into this detail on every hole and I certainly don’t draw little diagrams. I do use google earth and I usually start at the green an work my way back to the tee to determine which club I need to hit to get to a desired approach shot distance.

I’ll be playing from the blue tees and Martin will be playing from the whites. Robert will be joining us with a friend who is just a beginner. There’s not much room on this course for indecision. I’ll have to pick my shot and execute – no second guessing!!

Check back for a recap of the round and a diagram of how I actually played the tenth. If you need something to keep you busy while you wait, take a guess at how many balls I’ll hit into the water and post your guess in the comments. My record is 11 at The Battleground. I’ll be happy if I can keep it below 4.

Hoping to soak up some sun on a soggy golf course,


At 5:13 PM, Anonymous The Armchair Golfer said...

Hi Greg,

I just discovered your blog through another golf blog and wondered if you would be interested in exchanging links. You can contact me at

The Armchair Golfer

At 9:24 AM, Blogger The Hacker said...

I recently started my own blog: "the golfing hacker's blog" ( It all about playing better golf. Years ago I played to a '2' handicap; I'm now a 25+. I'm dedicating this year to getting back to a single digit handicap. That's what it's all about. I recently added a link to 'New 2 Golf' and I wonder if you'd be interested in exchanging links? Check out my blog, if you will, and please offer any advice that comes to mind.
Ron "The Hacker" Olson

At 12:56 AM, Blogger srinidhi said...

Fascinating golf course! I would have loved to play and see if my hydrophobia is cured with so much water around. I guess about 8 balls in the drink.
All the best

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At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to add that there ARE windless and low wind days (7 mph or below) in Galveston. Departing fronts, morning play up to around 10:30am and evenings after 7.
I live across from the course and mostly play those hours. The new layout of the front nine are impressive and challenging (except for #3 par 4, pretty easy, if you remember the old #3 par 3 it was the toughest hole on the course!)
If you play a hook your going to be tested for sure. Nice how it sets up for the FADE. (or slice if you know what I mean)


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