Golfing Lake Powell Is No Bluff
If touring the American Southwest bring your sticks, open your golfer's guide to Page, not just any page, but Page, Arizona. Snuggled amongst the colorful sandstone cliffs of beautiful Lake Powell is a must-play public course, aptly named, the Lake Powell National.
Designed by William Phillips, built and managed by First Golf Corporation and opened for business in 1995, this gem is positioned on a mountainside overlooking the massive Glen Canyon Dam. The course, with it's optional four tee boxes, is designed to challenge the most skilled golfer, but it can also be adjusted to accomodate any level of play. The tips are laid out at over 7000 yards while the blues are set at around 6400 and the whites at 5800 yards. Now laddies, don't think for a minute that you are in for an easy time of it because even at 5100 yards the reds are more than enough of a challenge for any game.
Combine changing weather patterns with vistas only found in the canyonlands of the Great Southwest and it's almost too much visual beauty, making concentration on your game difficult. I found myself gazing on the Lake Powell horizon. On most golf courses are your typical hazards, such as grass and sand bunkers, water, trees, rolling fairways and the course boundaries. In my numerous years of playing golf, I was never reminded that it was my turn to hit. I would have even given up honors to sneak a peak at the burnt orange cliffs and towering monuments. Of course this didn't help when it came time to markmy partner's drive off the tee - he should have been in the fairway anyway, right?
Now somewhere down the road of golf there must be an unwritten rule that states, "If you play a course that's new to you, take along a local, or let your playing partners hit first." Fortunately, for my group, we had a local guide to assist with shot strategies. For those without the aid of a local hustler, the Lake Powell National does provide an excellently designed pocket guide to the entire course. It lays out each hole, recommends shot location, and provides beautiful color diagrams from most landing locations, their hazards, and all of the distances. A picture in a little pocket book is not going to make this round a snap - but wait until you meet the real National.
Remarkably, the front nine is set lower geographically than the back nine. Unfortunately, so was my score. I can't say if it was the long sweeping fairways with their waste bunkers and bright sandstone escarpments, or the various bi- and tri-level greens. I found that our golf course superintendent, Mr. Wil Mortensen , does indeed know his business. From the maintained fairways, to the manicured first cut around the greens and roughs, right down to cutting the hole and its placement, I was delighted with the care and condition of the course. A word to the wise, as the weather warms up, the grass length is extended to protect the growth. Averaging in the mid 90's throughout the summer, which is actually quite nice in a dry climate, you may find yourself playing an extra club to reach some of those second shots. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that this course plays with numerous elevated and dropped greens for approach shots? Well, if I didn't, then make sure the clubbing rules are understand when standing above or below the target. It will help. Other than that, the course is a snap.
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