This was my first round back at Waterford in many years. I had heard good things about conditions recently and they were in fact pretty good, especially the greens. The Bermuda greens were all in good shape, pretty consistent and fairly quick. The size, slopes and undulations in the greens make them challenging to putt but in my experience they roll true.
Tee box conditions were just okay, fairways were fine but some had rough spots, bunkers were good, but oh boy, the rough! Perhaps it was because of the U.S. Open last week, but the Bermuda rough had not been mowed throughout the course, even around the greens, which made those shots very penalizing. In some cases, you had to walk right near your ball to find it because they tended to settle down in the grass to where you could barely see the top of the ball.
The one thing I remembered about this layout that is still true – it’s very easy to lose golf balls here. Every hole feels tight and sloped, with trees, brush, creeks, rocks and other unplayable areas awaiting errant shots – many of which are blind. Several guys in my group hit seemingly good shots that bounded into trouble anyway. The “rub of the green” was evident throughout our round and it felt very British Open-esque.
There are some fun holes in this layout with risk-reward choices to make. So if you know the risk (because you’ve played here before or have a GPS phone app like TheGrint), then it’s cool to try for the reward on some of those shots. The par 5’s on the back 9 along with some of the short par 4’s were my favorite holes.
Pace of play was not good. Our group had a 1:10 tee time and times were running about 10-15 minutes behind when we started. We finished just after 6:00, a shade under 5 hours.
While the price was great ($56) considering the condition of the greens and course overall, I won’t be in a hurry to come back and play Waterford again. With so much trouble on every hole, it can be a frustrating round of golf.