We celebrated my friend’s birthday weekend and kicked it off by playing a couple “new” courses on Saturday! Our first stop was at Monterey County Club, which is a nine hole course in South Central Pennsylvania. My friend found the course online and fell in love with it, so we decided to check it out. Oh, and don’t get this course confused with the Monterey Country Club that is in California, as the proshop kindly explained to me when I booked the tee time! I wonder how many people actually call here thinking that they are calling the one in Palm Desert?! I guess it is possible, as both area codes start with a “7”.
Monterey’s claim to fame is that it is one of the oldest courses in the country, being established in 1885. It also boasts the fact that over the years three United States Presidents have played at the course! Apparently Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Dwight D. Eisenhower all have played here. Monterey is close to Camp David, so I’m sure the course’s location has something to do with our leaders golfing here. What a great bit of history! There is always something special about walking on the same fairways and greens that the greats of history, or the game, have walked!
I’m not up on my nine hole course terms, but Monterey is somewhere between a par 3 nine and a regulation nine. It plays as a par 32 with five par 3’s, three par 4’s, and one par 5. The total distance is 2,160 yards, but there are another set of tees if you wish go around again, and those are 2,084 yards. The rating and slope are 58.8 and 88 if you play both sets of tees (par 64).
As you may imagine, the design of Monterey is pretty simple. The course is a linear design with parallel holes off to the right and left of the clubhouse. The main challenge here is going to be the tiny greens! Seriously, these greens are temporary sized and it felt like I was trying to land shots on a surface only the size of a trash can lid! I joked with my friend that I’d be happy to have three birdie putts during a round here, and sure enough that’s what I ended up having! The opening holes have some hazards in play while the closing holes have a small bit of elevation change.
There is a nice mix of yardages at Monterey, the option of hitting some drivers, a driveable par 4, and par 3’s distances that vary. I hit some wedges and mid irons, none of them very well though! The par 3 5th and 7th holes were my favorites. The 5th is 156 yards and plays over a fescue covered mound, which gives the hole a nice look and obstructs your view of the green. The 7th is 122 yards and plays to a slightly elevated green which is surrounded by fescue and bunkers.
Based on conditions alone, you will want to steer clear of Monterey. I mean no disrespect to the course, just know that you’ll end up with inconsistent lies as you make your way around. I found it difficult to distinguish the fairways on the par 4’s and par 5, from the rough. The greens were slow and oddly much of the course was soft and held water. It was $14 to ride nine holes on a weekend so it was priced right for what we got. Anyway, if you find yourself here I doubt conditioning will be too high on the list for your visit.
Is it worth checking out Monterey? I suppose that depends on if you enjoy the history of the game. In that regards, Monterey won’t fail you! Plus, the course would be a good walk and I’d guess you will not find the crowds here that other local courses will attract. We played in an hour and a half, taking our time. Other positives include a friendly staff and that Monterey would be a good beginners course.
#1 (387 yard par 4):
#2 (172 yard par 3):
#3 (126 yard par 3):
#4 (491 yard par 5):
#5 (156 yard par 3):
#6 (288 yard par 4):
#7 (122 yard par 3):
#8 (317 yard par 4):
#9 (101 yard par 3):