Disclaimer: I wrote this post back in June of 2008 under a different blog. My round at Western Hills Country Club remains one of my favorite rounds of golf ever. So, I’m moving this post to this blog. Enjoy!
You can’t even write stuff like this…
Today, I was able to play Western Hills Country Club — a course that I have driven past probably thousands of times, but never had the opportunity to play. Those of you that know me know my parents live right off of Delhi Par 3 — a pitch and putt that’s been in operation since 1955. Although WHCC was literally a half-mile from my parents house, I never had a desire to play it, although I often wondered what was behind the fence and gates. I didn’t take up golf until the first trip to Kiawah in 2002.
Regardless, Western Hills Country Club always remained sacrosanct and I was never sure that I would get an opportunity to play it.
The Greater Cincinnati Golf Association (GCGA) had two Open Play Days this year: one at Clovernook Country Club and one at Western Hills Country Club. Being a member of a GCGA club, I was able to attend both events. As excited as I was to be able to play Clovernook, I was ESTATIC to be able to finally have the chance to play Western Hills Country Club.
Unfortunately, I played my worst golf of the year at Clovernook. Since then I’ve worked hard on my swing and even harder on my mental game. After putting together a couple of good rounds, I was ready to give Western Hills C.C. my best shot.
Making the right turn into the club off of Cleves-Warsaw Rd. and passing through the gates was so weird for me. I was finally within the barbed wired fence. I would finally get to see more of the course than the road holes (more on those later). I arrived at the club at 2PM for my 2:30 tee-time.
So how did the round go? Well, the front 9, I had good rhythm, made birdie on #8 and went out in 43. As I don’t add score during my round, I did not know this. What I do know is all the work I had done on my game was paying off big time.
My concentration lapsed a bit on the first road hole (#11) and I probably hit my worst two shots of the day, ending up with a double bogey 6.
I made up for it on the next road hole, the 175 yard par 3 12th, hitting the green in regulation and nearly sinking the birdie putt, ending up with a 3. I told my playing partner, Jim, that I think the course was trying to tell me that it wanted me to join.
Bogeys at 13, 14, 15 were okay with me. On the last road hole, the par 4 16th, I crushed a drive and hit a 9 iron to 25 ft. Missed birdie by a foot and made par.
A bogey on 17 would bring me to the par 5 18th needing par or better to break my personal best of 87, that I shot at Brook Hill Golf Club last year. Again, I don’t keep score during my round, so I didn’t know this at the time. I crushed my drive, but messed up a bit on my layup shot. I had 165 to the middle of the green with a helping wind. I would normally hit a 6-iron from that yardage, but I went with the 7-iron because of the wind and because I’d rather be short than long. I hit probably the best iron shot I hit all day, a nice soaring draw that ended up 8 feet from the hole. I barely missed the birdie putt and wrapped it up with a routine par 5 for a score of 86!
Needless to say, it was an other-worldly experience. To be able to step foot onto ground that had been so long intangible; to be able to play the best golf of my life; I cannot explain the feeling I had when I finally went back through the gates to head home. My round at Western Hills Country Club was everything I wanted it to be and more. It’s a fantastic course. The staff and other members were very welcoming.
Final verdict: If I ever get the invite to come back, I would do it in a heartbeat. Each time I drive by the course, I’ll remember the great time I had there one late June afternoon in 2008.