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Two for the Road
Timing may prove to be rough, given the economic climate, but two new public courses opened their doors in 2008, both south of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. Odessa National Golf Club in Townsend and Garrisons Lake Golf Club in Smyrna.
Dale Loeslein, director of golf at Odessa National, likens the layout to Inniscrone—so bring plenty of balls your first time out. The good news is that the aesthetics are excellent for a public course, and peak fees remain a short putt under $60.
“You won’t see anything but the hole you are playing,” says Loeslein, who had previous stints at Wilmington Country Club and Deerfield Golf & Tennis Club in Newark.
Though shotmaking and target golf may be the order of the day, Odessa does boast a beast or two. Case in point is the par-5 second, which plays at 632 yards from the tips. The tee shot should ideally be placed to the edge of the fairway fronting a creek that splits it in two. With little reward for attempting a very risky second shot over nearly 250 yards, the prudent play is a target iron to within 150 yards, setting up an easy approach and a two-putt par. This is one of those round-breaker holes that occur early enough in the circuit that you’ll be happy even with a bogey six.
With rebuilt green complexes, new undulation, increased bunkering and modern irrigation, Garrisons Lake—a former gem-cum-dog-track—has been reborn thanks to Delaware’s greenspace program.
“It’s still as tree-lined as old timers will remember it,” says head golf professional Barry Dear, “but they are well-trimmed to play out of, and we’ve removed some 300 trees overall.”
Routing is much the same as before, and a new clubhouse is in the works. Memberships are available. Weekend fees are $40 for state residents and $50 for out-of-staters, making this new track one of the best bargains in the state.
“What should have been done 20 years ago has been done now,” says member Jack Powell. “I’ve heard nothing but compliments. The staff is friendly and the course can only get better.”
For more, visit www.garrisonslakegolf.com and www.odessanationalgolf.com.
Page 2: Pepple's Choice | The owner of Wyncote has created a course that consistently ranks among the area's best. The key? Taking it slow.