Cedar Rapids Country Club pg. ii

Fifth hole, 150 yards;  Toner enthusiastically expounds on the transformation of this one-shotter: ‘The fifth green complex has taken on a new life. Trees had encircled the green and dictated its small, round shape. After their removal the green was expanded in all directions, recapturing much of its original characteristics. Bent grass was extended front right of the green to provide another option for the player for a front pin. This slope plays like a Redan kicking the ball forward and to the left. With the target of the green enlarged by nearly 50% and the added Redan feature, the hole plays much easier for a novice player. However, for the tournament player it can be extremely difficult as we saw in our Golf Week Challenge. The shortest hole on the course played that day into the wind to a back left pin and finished the day as third most difficult!’ Think about the magnitude of that statement. A bland, modest length hole evolved into an option-filled classic with teeth. What more could any club possibly ask for?!

The beautifully presented 5th. Note the rise and complimentary graceful swoop down, left and onto the putting surface.

The tee ball becomes more difficult once the golfer appreciates the strife that befalls him should he be long.

The different landforms intrigue the eye as the hill of the 5th gives way to the river valley at the 6th.

Sixth hole, 440 yards; The course was inaccurately described to the author as ‘an interesting mix with the front nine set through hills and the back nine in a river valley.’ That statement isn’t precise as we head into the river valley now. Indeed, the seamless interplay between the hills and the river valley occurs on both nines, making variety a cornerstone of the overall design. A trio of bunkers arise 65 yards from the green and diagonally front it without ever abutting the putting surface. They constitute the perfect hazard for a three shotter of modest length as no one wants the dreaded 45 yard bunker shot.

Today, the 6th is open and expansive, not to mention a back tee that makes the hole nearly 500 yards. From near where this picture was taken, 14  holes are visible. Previously, the teeing area was encased in trees and the golfer had no sense of place.

The presence of wildlife always speaks well for the environment a course enjoys.

A bridge crosses the river that bisects the fairway 190 yards from the green. An attacking golfer has to clear two diagonal hazards to reach the green.

Even if the golfer clears the three bunkers, he may find this soft fall-off, which collects many a shot. Rae gently raised the green and added character to what was one of the least interesting putting surfaces on the course. As with any Ross design, par is defended at the green.

Eighth hole, 180 yards; What an interesting play on greed with a lake left, field right and a large putting surface in the middle. Say what you will about blind shots and the nuance they may create (the author loves them and cites the next hole as a prime example why), but when everything is clearly revealed, the result is on the player and not in the lap of the Gods.

How much duller would this hole be if the water was flush with the green or if deep bunkers were on the right? As it is, imprudent tactics are encouraged, a far more clever way to undo a player.

The golfer who misses the green right has short-sided himself today and will need good fortune (and likely a ten footer) to get up and down.

The drop in elevation is apparent from this view toward the tee.

Ninth hole, 520 yards; Typical of many Golden Age designs, the clubhouse sits on the property’s high point and the opening holes of each nine cascade down while the closing holes stampede uphill. Three shotters are a fine way to cover both dull ground (e.g. Pacific Dunes) or severe terrain (e.g. Yale). This is an example of the latter as the hole climbs mercilessly from the tee before ending at one of the course’s most clever green complexes. Prichard’s created a wonderful, soft punchbowl green after expanding the putting surface by as much as 20 feet in some directions including the high shoulders at the rear. The green slopes predominantly from back left to front right affording a vast number of hole locations. Uphill holes can be demoralizing but if there is an amiable target for the elevation, it is surely a gathering punchbowl.

Both the 9th and 18th return the golfer uphill to the clubhouse.

After a big drive, the golfer launches a shot up and over the crest of the hill in hopes that it takes the far slope and tumbles some thirty yards downhill …

…  to the open green. Be it the second or third shot that clears the crest of the hill, the golfer enjoys the stroll and the tantalizing prospect that his approach is close.

This view from behind conveys the thrilling opportunities provided by the forward portion of a punchbowl green.

Tenth hole, 375 yards; Sure enough, back down we go. Just like holes one and two, the contrast between holes nine and ten could not be more refreshing. The tenth green and the ninth tee are at grade to one another and the same is almost true for the ninth green and tenth tee. The tee ball at nine is stunted due to the fairway’s uphill nature while at ten maximum run out is afforded. In fact, the good player might be keen not to get too close to the tenth green under certain circumstances.

All is on display at this sharp downhiller, including the day’s hole. A forward location may well tempt one to lay back a bit to leave the prescribed distance for the desired spin for the approach.

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