The real title of this post should be My First Time Playing With a Caddie.
For varying personal reasons, golf has had to take a back seat lately. However, when I was presented with the opportunity to play Losantiville Country Club back in April, I didn’t hesitate to accept. When I learned that I could have a free caddie, I was quick to accept that offer as well.
Losantiville Country Club’s golf course was built in 1902 by Tom Bendelow, who also did Western Hills CC in town as well as the original course at Maketewah CC. At 6419 yards, it’s not the longest course in the world. However, it plays to a par 70. Add in the very difficult, small greens which mostly slope back to front, and you really have to work hard to score well here.
The club has had a very interesting recent history. A few years ago, Losantiville merged with Crest Hills CC to become The Ridge Club. Eventually, they closed the Crest Hills CC course, and both clubs played out of Losantiville. The hope was to sell the Crest Hills land and built a development on the course. Amberley Village, where Crest Hills was located, put a stop to that. For many years, the land at Crest Hills remained vacant, and the course overgrew. Eventually, Losantiville took back its name, the parties settled, and Amberley Village bought the land from the club, preserving it as a park with no development.
Anyway, back to Losantiville…
I ended up not taking a lot of pictures when I played. I think part of that is because I felt awkward going towards my caddie/bag and pulling out my camera too often. The other part is there really aren’t that many holes that photographed very well. In fairness, it was the beginning of April.
Probably the best chance to score is at the double dogleg 472 par 5 1st. The fairway is pretty wide, though there are bunkers on either side to capture wayward shots. Since I hadn’t played in about 8 months, I did find a bunker; too bad it was the one on the 18th hole. Aside from the greenside bunkers, there really isn’t too much trouble here. Must birdie for the better player.
My favorite hole on the course was probably the 178 yard par 3 2nd. There’s plenty of room to lay up to the right; though go too long, and you’ll find the greenside bunker right. A pin position to the left will challenge the player to take the sucker pin, guarded by water right.
Looking back on it, one hole I do regret not shooting was the short par 4 4th. Playing 355 yards and slightly uphill, the long player can attempt to take one over the trees. Miss, and you’re in a lot of trouble. The safer layup shot will force a player to hit a long fade into the green. Not a guaranteed par.
One thing that I did not expect from Losantiville was elevation. Its neighbor, Maketewah, has some hills, but nothing too bad. Losantiville on the other hand, has quite a bit of elevation. It would be a tough walk in the summer carrying your own bag. I must say I was glad to have a caddie when I played and walked the 18 holes. The views of the surrounding hillsides, however, are very good.
I got a good shot of the type of elevation at number 8 (par 4, 423). It’s all the par three you’ll want, starting downhill, but then going sharply uphill. I’m told the 300 yard bombers can reach the bunker in the middle of the fairway. I suspect I will never have that problem.
At 9, you’re getting more of the same. I really like how the fairway angles on this hole. The safe shot is to the left, though too much will find a heap of trouble. The approach shot must find the green, or else your ball will roll down quite a bit.
14 offers some of those views I was talking about. It’s also a fun, downhill shot, though there’s plenty of protection at the green.
15 and 5 play similarly, though one doglegs right and one dogleg left. Both are shorter par 4s, but require an uphill, all-carry approach.
Some of my playing partners didn’t enjoy Losantiville as much as I did. I think the green slopes and speeds really through them off. Even though it was early April, they were fast. The putting green was certainly an indication of the speed, as some putts were rolling back after their apex. The message was clear: keep your ball below the hole!
The Caddie Experience
Simply put, playing with a caddie at Losantiville made it one of the most enjoyable rounds of golf in my life. The caddies in my group were all younger men. My caddie was especially informative and helpful. Despite my lack of skill, he remained professional and positive. One of my playing partners decided he would take his GPS device out after his caddie had walked the yardage. I asked my caddie if he got offended by stuff like that. He said he didn’t, though we did have to chuckle when my partner checked his device from 220 out in a bunker; for his 3rd shot. We also talked about different clubs in town and where he had played. Very professional and bright young man. Looking back, I wish I had caddied at Western Hills CC in my youth, when I lived less than a mile from it. I will certainly recommend caddying to my daughters.