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MayWood Golf Club: A Bit of Southern Hospitality in Kentucky

By Kiel Christianson, Equipment Editor and Senior Writer

Bardstown, KY - Golfers from Ohio, Michigan, and Northern Illinois looking for a bit of Southern Hospitality-and more importantly, a longer golf season-don't have far to drive to get to Kentucky. The Bluegrass State has a variety of courses to offer frostbitten Yankees, each with their own distinct personality. Case in point, MayWood Golf Club in Bardstown, which has the feel of a country club, along with a few idiosyncrasies that may leave newcomers scratching their heads.

Established in 1995-and voted one of the Best New Golf Courses by Golf Digest that year-MayWood has some impressive credentials. Course architect David Pfaff (The Bull at Boone's Trace, Quail Chase) has spread this track over 450 acres of rolling terrain. The practice facilities, clubhouse and proshop are all nice, as are the McMansions lining many of the fairways.

Unfortunately, recent weather trends and some quirky holes conspire to penalize first-timers here. In particular, the dry weather of late has left the course fairly burnt-numerous dry patches on the ryegrass fairways, and ryegrass rough not nearly as lush as it is wiry. The three-inch rough is to golf balls like roach motels are to roaches: They go in, but they don't come out.

More disturbingly, on the day of my visit, neither I nor anyone in the 28-man group with whom I was playing could get a true roll on any of the greens. They were achingly slow and uneven (the greens, that is-although the same could also be said about a few of those 28 guys). Obviously the bent grass had been allowed to grow to save it from the drought.

The severity of the rough puts a premium on hitting fairways and greens. And this, in turn, creates headaches for first-timers who don't know how to handle the peculiarities encountered on a few of the holes. At 6,965 yards from the tips, there's not a par 4 under 390 yards. On the other end of the spectrum, only one par 3 measures over 200 yards. All the par 3s are steeply downhill, and a few of those par 4s play on such steeply-pitched sidehills that you need to play the perfect tee ball just to stay in the hard, dry fairway.

Hole #1-a 535-yard par 5-is benign enough, but it is followed immediately by the decidedly malignant 391-yard No. 2. This par 4 has OB to the right, a ditch to the left, and a fairway that slopes madly down toward the ditch. The green is slightly elevated, and is fronted by a gully and large bunker.

The par 3s, Nos. 3 and 7, both practically require repelling equipment to get down to the greens from the tees. Actually, repelling down the hillsides would almost be preferable to bumping and lurching over the exceedingly rough cart paths.

The back nine starts out like a monster, with two straight par 4s of 440 and 438 yards, and then-just in case you hadn't completely lost your will to live-a 504-yard par 5. The 13th is a gorgeous hole, requiring a big tee shot long enough to carry a rather deep ravine in order to reach a decent point in the uphill fairway.

The 424-yard, par-4 16th calls for another precise tee shot. As on No. 2, you'll find an elevated tee looking down on a partially blind landing area. A creek runs along the left and the fairway funnels everything straight down into it (including your golf cart, if you're not careful). The green here is quite attractive, tucked up behind the creek and some trees, just as on No. 2.

The 18th is also quirky: yet another viciously pitched fairway with OB right (McMansion McYards), and a pond short left off the tee. Once you get to the intended landing area, the approach to the impressively elevated green is far from routine, either-bunkers to avoid and contouring to putt over.


Conditions: C-
Layout: B-
Service: B
Practice Fac.: A
Club House/Pro Shop: B
Pace of Play: B
Value: B
Overall Rating: B-

Kiel ChristiansonKiel Christianson, Equipment Editor and Senior Writer

Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.

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