Fairways & Greens
June 25, 2017
|Timber Creek Golf Course - Offering A Challenge For Every Level Of Golfer|
By Colin RitsickIf you want to play golf at its purest and truest form - thinking a shot or two ahead instead of just gripping and ripping it down a straight fairway every time, then do yourself a favor and get out to Timber Creek Golf Course.
Timber Creek is nestled amongst corn and soybean fields, if you're messing with your radio you may miss it. Quiet, contemplative and bold, it offers a relaxing atmosphere and a challenging, yet score-able day of golf. There's no grand entrance here, no bag boys to dote on you at your car, no mouthwash in the locker room - just you and the course.
Looking at the scorecard, 6,621 yards from the tips and a 72.9/138 rating/slope with hardly any water in play, it doesn't seem like much at first. In fact, co-owner Brooks Ellingson acknowledges that his course gets judged far too often before it's played. He said that in a recent junior tournament full of top players in the state, everyone assumed low scores and an easy course. But at the end of the day, nobody really lit up the scoreboard.
You need to be mentally sharp here. You can't go driver-wedge, driver-wedge, driver-wedge on every hole. Twists and turns, perfectly placed trees and traps force the golfer to think two or three shots out. Maybe your five-iron isn't the sexiest shot off the tee on a 330-yard par four. But it sure is sexier than hitting out of the woods or dropping a shot because you were greedy and drove the fairway. There are few, if any, straight and easy holes. Short holes, yes. But easy ones? No. I don't know about you, but I get bored easily. I would almost rather not play golf than play on a course where I can see the green straight in front of me on every hole. You won't get bored at Timber Creek.
Doglegs in every direction, a few blind tee shots, winding and sloping fairways and traps in all the right spots, there aren't a lot of simple shots off the tee. There are some holes that a big driver can put you in spitting distance from the green, but you've got the have the marbles for it.
Coming into the green is where you can make a living. If you have above-average accuracy into the greens with anything from five-iron on down you will be rewarded for it. The bent grass greens roll true, what you see is what you get. A few holes have different tiers that can make a miss seem bigger than it is, but for the most part the greens are less daunting than the tee shots.
Timber Creek has pushed their course to the property line so the greens here are medium to small sized for the most part, and nearly every one of them has no wiggle room off the back. I repeat, do not hit it over the greens. That will be a mistake you will almost certainly pay for both in strokes on your card and new balls for your bag. When in doubt, club down. Timber Creek, if played patiently and smart, can become your low round.
While all of the above is true, Ellingson will be the first to tell you his course isn't perfect. What he can do is work as hard as he always does to make it better every day. Ever since he took over three years ago, the course has seen constant improvement efforts and he's nowhere near done either. He and his team have fixed major drainage issues over the past few years and have fixed/are currently fixing some blind shots that put the tee box lower than the rest of the hole. The greens were about 70 percent bent grass when he showed up. He says it's closer to 90 today with the goal of 100 percent bent in the near future.
Timber Creek is a hard-working, honest-living sort of place where the owner does maintenance and the patrons seem to know each other well. Just don't judge it by the scorecard.
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