The Bogey Golfer © Course Guides
The Olde Course at Loveland - Overview
The Olde Course at Loveland is a parkland style course with mature landscaping (full-grown trees), and water in play on 11 holes. The layout is interesting - good variety on the types of holes, placement of hazards, and types of shots needed. For Bogey Golfers, the white tees will challenge you, but will let you score well if you can manage your game. For Par Golfers, there are some spicy challenges on 7, 9, 14, 15, and 18 because of the blue tee placements. The practice facilities are excellent - a huge putting green, a driving range, a separate chipping green, and even a practice sand trap. The staff is friendly and professional, the pro shop is well stocked and priced, the parking lot is large and not in play (except for truly awesome bad shots from the #1, #4 and #5 tee boxes), and the beer is cold. It was built, so Iím told, in the early 60ís, and is only ďOldeĒ in comparison with the city's other course, Mariana Butte, which was built in the early 90ís. If you live in Denver, itís well worth the drive up, comparing favorably with the Broadlands, Thorn Creek, Buffalo Run and Raccoon Creek.
If youíre rushed for time, forego warming up on the driving range in favor of hitting a few putts. The greens at the Olde Course tend to run pretty fast, especially downhill. The practice green by the clubhouse is almost always the same speed as the greens all over the course.
If you can keep your ball in play, and stay out of trouble, mostly by leaving the driver in the bag where thereís trouble to be had, you should be able to stay below 90. Practice your chipping and putting, and you should be able to get up-and-down pars on #2, #4, #7, #8, #10, #13, and #18. If you get nothing but bogies everywhere else, thatís 83 (or maybe 87 if you donít make all those up-and-downs). And if you get greedy or careless, youíll give up lots of strokes on #5, #6, #9, #11, #12, #14, #15, and #16.
The Olde Course, Blow by Blow
This guide to the Olde Course at Loveland is written from the perspective of a bogey golfer. It assumes you have some control over the ball, and that you know your own tendencies (which way do you miss most often, etc.). If you have absolutely no idea where the ball is going to go when you hit it, this probably wonít help much.
It also assumes youíre playing from the white tees. If youíre good enough to play from the blues, youíre probably a little better than a bogey golfer, and donít need the help.
Most of us bogey golfers suffer from inconsistent play. Sometimes we can make pars and even a birdie or two. But sometimes we blow up and make doubles or triples. Most of my advice will be focused on staying out of trouble. If you wind up making a lot of bogies, thatís okay (hence the name ďBogey GolferĒ) as long as you arenít making really big numbers.
Hole 1 is a par 4. Itís fairly short, and you donít need much distance off the tee, so the important thing is to hit the fairway. The driving range is on the right behind a row of trees. Itís not out of bounds - if you go into the driving range, you can certainly play your second shot from there. But it is a driving range - watch your headÖ If you hit a slice, the ball will often get hung up in the trees, which is no fun. On the left of the fairway, there are lots of trees too. If you get lucky there are some good lies in the woods on the left, with open lines to the green. But there are more places where youíll be stuck in jail, and have to chip sideways to get back to the fairway. So the whole point of this dissertation about trees is to suggest that you take it easy off the first tee, and hit a club that youíre confident will go straight, even if itís only a seven iron. Two seven irons and a wedge will easily reach the green. Once you get to the green, there are some tricky undulations, but generally itís tilted from back left to front right. On your approach shot, remember that itís far better to be short than long. If you go long, the chip shot coming back is very very difficult (plus youíll have to put up with dirty looks from the people you almost hit, who are standing on the second teebox behind the green).
Hole 2 is a short par 3, playing anywhere from 145 to 160 yards. Thereís trouble left (the beach) and long (bushy pine trees). The par shooters play a high shot, landing softly in the middle of the green. Us bogey golfers are often better to play a lower shot, landing short, and running up to the green. If youíre going to miss, miss it to the right side in order to avoid the sand. This green often fools you about the break because it looks steeper than it really is.
Hole 3 is a little longer than the first hole, and so you want to try for a little distance, but you donít want to give up straightness. The driving range on the right is still in play, along with another row of bushy pine trees to worry about. Thereís also a humongous cottonwood tree on the right side of the fairway that manages to annoy nearly everyone except left-handers that hit a draw. Thereís lots of trouble on the left side too, including out-of-bounds if you hit it way far left. So again, let it take three shots to reach the green, as long as you donít wind up in the trees. The green on #3 is very tricky. Itís pretty steep at the front, and you really want your first putt to be up that hill, not down it.
Hole 4 is very short, and even us bogey golfers can reasonably aspire to get there in two shots. The trouble on this hole is all down the right side. Trees, cart paths, and even the road into the clubhouse are all in play. So favor the left side of the fairway. The green is very roomy, but the breaks are very subtle. It tends to break away from the mountains, so be sure to read your putts from both sides of the hole, because itís easy to misread here.
Hole 5 is a par 5. It goes up a long hill, and then back down an equally long way. Itís got a slight right to left dogleg, but trouble really doesnít come into play until the second shot. If you tend to hit to the right, you canít get in too much trouble, so go ahead and give your driver or three wood a try. If you tend to hit to the left, there are lots of trees that will make this hole seem really, really long, and maybe you should play more conservatively. Now, on your second shot, there is trouble everywhere. Thereís a row of poplars down the right hand side of the fairway which separate #5 from #9. Those trees are out of bounds. On the left, in front of the green, thereís a pond. And if you come in determined to clear the water with an extra strong approach shot, the pond wraps all the way around and in behind the green too. So, using our principle of staying out of trouble, a two-hundred yard tee shot, followed by a 150 yard second shot will leave us somewhere in the fairway 150 yards out. From here you can either brave the direct shot over the pond (if you are comfortable with that shot), or you can play it safe and lay a shot out to the right of the green, from where you only have a short chip. On in four, with two putts saves a bogey. Or if you hit a decent chip, you can even get up and down for a par. But playing at the very edge of your abilities is a good way to draw a lot of penalty strokes on this hole. Slicing your three wood on the second shot will send you out of bounds with a two-stroke penalty. Trying to make the green with a three iron from 200 yards is a good way to get wet. Play safe, think ďstraightĒ - a bogey is better than an 8 or a 9 anytime.
Hole 6 is a par 4 of about 360 yards. The fairway slopes to the right, so you want to favor the left side of the fairway, especially if youíre a right-hander with a bit of a fade. There are lots of trees, both left and right, and staying anywhere in the fairway is key. Again, if you have to hit a mid-iron to guarantee youíre straight, do it. Straight is even more important on the second shot, since there is a pond on the right of the green. Landing short and chipping onto the green with your third shot is a good strategy. The green has a real optical illusion thing going for it. It looks fairly steep, but thereís not much break from any direction.
Hole 7 is a short par 5. Thereís some room on the left if you want to go for it, but the pond on the right is going to gobble up any long balls in that direction. Even if you land in the fairway bunkers on the left, you can still reach the green in regulation with a couple of short or mid iron shots. The green is very steep, making down hill putts very scary, and sidehill putts nearly impossible. Land short of the pin, and come at it from beneath.
Hole 8 is another short par 3. Stay out of the beach on the left and you should be fine. The low shot and a bump and run is a great strategy. This is another green that is fairly steep, so watch the speed on your putts.
Hole 9 is where it really pays to keep your head. Itís not a very long hole, but thereís trouble everywhere. Itís a sharp dogleg to the right, with out of bounds (remember that row of poplars on #5?). The two seven irons and a sand wedge is a good strategy here. A well hit driver will actually go through the fairway into the trees on the left. A badly hit driver can curve out of bounds on the right. Donít go for distance on this hole. As you step off the tee box, take a quick look behind you across the irrigation canal at where they have the blue tees. Gnarly, huh? The green is also difficult, with a steep ledge across the front. Itís protected on both the left and right by trees.
Hole 10 turns out to be easier than it looks. The fairway is wide enough that if youíve been hitting the ball well, you can haul off and smack it a good one with your driver. But if youíve been hitting a bit wild, thereís lots of punishment for bad shots. Thereís OB on the left next to the shed, followed by an irrigation ditch, while the right rough is full of trees. But again, the fairway is plenty wide - take advantage of this, and land there! The second shot is made a little bit more interesting because of an old tree that sits in the middle of the fairway about 50 yards in front of the green. The tree is not very tall, and if youíre inside 150 yards, itís not too difficult to fly over it. If youíre not comfortable with the high shot, just play a bump and run to one side or the other. Do NOT hit the ball long into this green, because thereís a brick wall behind the green that leaves you no room for your backswing. The green is the only ďeasyĒ green on the back nine. It doesnít have any undulations, and the prevailing tilt is from back right to front left.
Hole 11 is a very challenging par 3. It plays about 180 yards from the white tees, and thereís lots of trouble on both sides. Down the left is a row of trees, backed by the irrigation ditch. Down the right are scattered trees, which can interfere with your line to the green, as well as block out any high wedge shots with their canopy. So straight is the name of the game. The par golfers just hit their four and five irons straight to the green. Bogey golfers can either hit a mid iron and let it be 30 yards short, and chip on with their second shots, or try a chipping motion with a fairway wood (again - hit it straight!). The green has a lot of undulations, so be sure to read your putt from both sides of the hole, and pay close attention to your speed. Bogey is a good score on this hole, so donít get greedy.
Hole 12 is difficult for right-handers with a fade, because it doglegs left. The fairway is kind of narrow, and the green is kind of small, so accuracy is always at a premium here. Because of the dogleg, thereís a strong temptation to cut the corner on the left side. This is dangerous because a) there are trees down the left that are waiting to gobble up your ball if you hit it too thin, and b) thereís an irrigation ditch further left if you really get under the ball with any left spin at all (hooks for righties, slices for lefties). Conversely, the trees on the right are pretty thick too, although you at least donít have the ditch to deal with there. The fairway is the place to be, and itís worth your while to give up distance if you have to. Assuming that youíre still short of the hole on your second shot (again, sacrifice distance in favor of accuracy), your chip shot becomes very important, because this is another difficult green. There is a ridge across the middle of the green, and you donít want to be on the wrong side of that ridge from the pin. If the pin is back, donít leave yourself short. Conversely, if the pin is up, do not be long. Itís real easy to three-putt this green if you get on the wrong side of that ridge. The prevailing tilt to the green is from right to left (toward the irrigation ditch). Bogey is a good score here - focus on accuracy, and it doesnít need to be any worse.
Hole 13 is a pretty straightforward par 5. It does have a forced carry over water, so be sure to make good contact with the ball off the tee. A driver is a good choice here, because you want all the distance you can get. If you stray left or right, thereís still time to recover. Be sure youíre aware of players in the fairways on #7 and #14, so you can yell ďforeĒ if you do happen to spray it a bit! The green is easy to reach in three shots, even for us bogey golfers, if youíre able to stay in the fairway. Itís easy to reach in four shots, even if you stray on your tee shot. Stay calm and donít get greedy. The green is very challenging, with several undulations, some very steep places (front left), and an overall right to left tilt. Donít miss the green to the right, because that right to left tilt makes it very difficult to make a chip shot even stay on the green coming from the right, let alone get it close to the pin.
Hole 14 is another par 4, but most bogey golfers would do better to think about it like a par 5. It has an island green, which is very intimidating. Iíve seen mis-hit shots trot safely across a causeway, but itís not a good idea to actually plan on that. The best approach is to take a deep breath, and hit a normal tee shot that you have confidence in. If youíre right handed and youíve never hit a hook shot in your life, go ahead and hit a driver. (Thereís another irrigation canal down the left that you donít need to deal with). Then (and repeat this very carefully), LAY UP ON YOUR SECOND SHOT!!! Youíre going to have to fly over the water, and onto the island green, so do it from 70 to 100 yards, not from 180!!! Also, donít use that brand-new Pro-V1 that your brother-in-law gave you for Christmas - nobody likes to see a $4 ball make a splash, and the water in the moat is pretty murky. The green has a couple of steep places, and itís generally kind of dish-shaped, with the bottom of the dish in the middle of the right-hand side.
Hole 15 (like 12) is another par 4 dogleg left, with the added attraction of being uphill all the way. This is another hole to thank your lucky stars youíre not playing from the blue tees. Donít hit anything to the left side here, because the fairway tilts left, and that pesky irrigation ditch runs up the left side. The trees on the right can also be pesky, and cost you a sideways chip. But the piece de resistance here is definitely the green, which has another of those optical illusions going for it. This one look pretty flat, but actually has a severe right to left roll that fools everybody. If the putt looks dead straight, aim it to whichever side is away from the ditch.
Hole 16 seems at first to set up well for a right handerís fade, but the insidious left-to-right tilt of the fairway usually turns a fade into an unpleasant experience - too many bushy trees on the right side of the fairway. So it pays to favor the left side of the fairway. Since this hole is about 407 yards, thereís a good chance you wonít reach the green on your second shot. This is okay, especially since it might make it easier to land on the correct level of the green. You see, #16 has a two-story green. If you land on the wrong story, you could be dealing with a four-putt. While a double is never a good score, on #16, itís not all badÖ
Hole 17 is a par 5 with a gradual dogleg right. Right handers with a little bit of fade will feel like theyíre in hog heaven. The operative words are ďa little bitĒ. Too much right hand spin lands you in the woods. The fairway is plenty wide, so make sure you take advantage of it, and land in it. Thereís always a temptation on your second shot to smack your three wood heroically. Once in a great while, you can make the heroic shot, and have a fighting chance at a birdie. However, more often you will wind up in the woods or the sand, and have a fighting chance at a double bogey. 17ís green is well protected by bunkers, so the bump and run approach will only work if youíre pretty close in. So get close in, and do the bump and run. Landing on the green, and making it stick is pretty difficult because the relatively small size of the green, not to mention all the bunkers.
Hole 18 is the second par three on the back nine. Itís about the same length as #11 (180). Thereís a cavernous sand trap to the right, with a huge lip to clear. Thereís another bunker to the left. The green is huge from front to back, but not so large from left to right. So if you wind up in either sand trap, or wide of either sand trap, youíll have a very difficult time landing on the green without rolling across into the other bunker. So landing short, and doing the bump and run is the best way to avoid the trouble.
Is that the way I play? WellllÖ not necessarilyÖ. I got a 7 this morning on #10 (yanked a five iron into the creek on my second shot, instead of laying up with a mid iron). But then I turned around and made par on #12 by going for it with the same club, and making the shot - hoo-hah! I reached the par 5 #13 in two shots (great drive, solid three wood) - and then three-putted (hey - it happens, right?) I made a double on #17 because I picked a greenside bunker shot too clean, and then three-putted. But I also managed to put together a string of pars on 2, 3, 4, and 5. All told, it was an 82, which is about as good as it gets for a Bogey Golfer.