Wilmington Golf Course

Fifth hole, 360 yards; Nothing overtly complicated about the hole, nonetheless it shows the range in difficulty that the course can be set up. The green is open in front and with the hole location on the front or left portions, the daily player can expect a par. However, when the City Championship rolls around, the hole locations are invaraibly on the back and right side of the green. Many participants mistakenly fly their approach shot all the way onto the green only to see it take a couple of bounces and go over, from where a shot is likely to be dropped.

The 5th hole looks simple from here but given the firm playing conditions, the golfer doesn’t need to clear this bunker by much on his approach. Also…

…right or long of the 6th green leaves a difficult recovery.

Seventh hole, 345 yards; Wilmington Golf Course benefits from gently rolling topography and in the case of the 7th hole, there is a bunker at the 230 yard mark that is invisible from the tee. While many a public golfer might cry ‘Foul!’ based on having a blind fairway bunker, it does make the hole. Plus, it shows that the powers behind the restoration project never wavered about reconstructing this bunker to its original depth.

The tee ball on the 7th must fit between the bunker above and the sandy area on the far side of the fairway.

Eighth hole, 145 yards: Perhaps the prettiest hole on the course, this little beaut is tucked into a corner of the property. Four bunkers surround the green and make the green a hit or miss proposition, which is reasonable on a hole of this length.

The forward bunker was faithfully restored and makes depth perception tricky at the 8th.

This four foot deep bunker stretches the length of the right side of the 8th green.

Tenth hole, 405 yards; Similar to the parallel 1st hole,a four foot ridge bisects the fairway at the 240 yard mark and many a tee ball dies into its slope. The approach must clear an array of diagonal bunkers (which are pictured at the start of this course profile).

Seventeenth hole, 350 yards; Sandwiched between the 240 yard 16th and the 430 yard eighteenth, the seventeenth may appear as welcome relief but a bogey is just as likely here if the golfer stops thinking for one minute.

The ideal angle into the 17th green is protected by these two bunkers.

When Devane originally sent his Descriptive Plan of Action to the City, Prichard made sure that the plan was morecomplete in scope than just the bunker work that the City had approved. By doing so, Prichard hoped that perhaps the City would not look at the bunker project as all that was needed and that over time, the City may elect to do more.

While no work is being considered in the near immediate future, hopefully the City will consider expanding the greens back to their original size. Many have shrunk,and collectively the greens don’t possess as much short game interest as is normally associated with a Ross course (save for the grainy Bermuda greens, which require plenty of local knowledge). Several interesting hole locations could be perhaps re-introduced just by mowing further out on the green fill pad.

Though the mighty 18th hole provides a fitting finish, this picture is indicative of how the greens have shrunk in size and have pulled back from the greenside bunkering.

Regardless of whether additional restoration work is carried out, the muncipal golf course at Wilmington reminds the American golfer that good golf need not be expensive. The next time you receive your six hundred dollar monthly club bill, ask yourself how much of it is going to over-watering your course … or planting ornamental trees… or over maintaining the non-playing areas. Then, drive to Wilmington Golf Course, plop down the out-of-town fee of $14.00 for 18 holes, and go have fun playing golf the way it is meant to be.

The End