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Playing a "Goat Track"?


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#91 ThinkingPlus

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 01:50 PM

View PostDaveGoodrich, on 25 June 2016 - 08:08 PM, said:

By far, my favorite goat track here in the IE of SoCal is Shandin Hills. I basically learned to play here. Reasonably priced, good layout (few parallel fairways, and some elevation changes), friendly service, "regular guy" clientelle.  They always have good greens, and if you hit your ball where you are supposed to, there will be grass there to meet you. Otherwise, it's dirt and gopher holes.

They were hit pretty hard by the drought and water restrictions last summer, but the course is in excellent "goat track" condition right now.

Lived in Palmdale for more years than I care to remember.  Goat track heaven.  Played Shandin a few times, Victorville muni, a couple 9 hole tracks in Palmdale, Cal City (elevated greens surrounded by hard pan), Sycamore Canyon in Arvin (site of the great Coot hunts of Central CA - LOL), Tehachapi, and the Wasco Valley Rose in Wasco, CA (those farmers can flat out grow grass).  What is crazy is that we drove more than an hour to get to many of those places and we were not bypassing nicer courses (maybe some private ones) along the way!  We used to say Palmdale wasn't Hell, but you could see the gates from there.

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#92 DaveGoodrich

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 03:24 PM

View PostThinkingPlus, on 15 January 2017 - 01:50 PM, said:

View PostDaveGoodrich, on 25 June 2016 - 08:08 PM, said:

By far, my favorite goat track here in the IE of SoCal is Shandin Hills. I basically learned to play here. Reasonably priced, good layout (few parallel fairways, and some elevation changes), friendly service, "regular guy" clientelle.  They always have good greens, and if you hit your ball where you are supposed to, there will be grass there to meet you. Otherwise, it's dirt and gopher holes.

They were hit pretty hard by the drought and water restrictions last summer, but the course is in excellent "goat track" condition right now.

Lived in Palmdale for more years than I care to remember.  Goat track heaven.  Played Shandin a few times, Victorville muni, a couple 9 hole tracks in Palmdale, Cal City (elevated greens surrounded by hard pan), Sycamore Canyon in Arvin (site of the great Coot hunts of Central CA - LOL), Tehachapi, and the Wasco Valley Rose in Wasco, CA (those farmers can flat out grow grass).  What is crazy is that we drove more than an hour to get to many of those places and we were not bypassing nicer courses (maybe some private ones) along the way!  We used to say Palmdale wasn't Hell, but you could see the gates from there.

I played Sycamore Canyon a few times when working in Bakersfield. I thought it was actually pretty fun. Looked to play there last week, but it seems it is now closed for good. Too bad.
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#93 ThinkingPlus

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 04:42 PM

View PostDaveGoodrich, on 15 January 2017 - 03:24 PM, said:

View PostThinkingPlus, on 15 January 2017 - 01:50 PM, said:

View PostDaveGoodrich, on 25 June 2016 - 08:08 PM, said:

By far, my favorite goat track here in the IE of SoCal is Shandin Hills. I basically learned to play here. Reasonably priced, good layout (few parallel fairways, and some elevation changes), friendly service, "regular guy" clientelle.  They always have good greens, and if you hit your ball where you are supposed to, there will be grass there to meet you. Otherwise, it's dirt and gopher holes.

They were hit pretty hard by the drought and water restrictions last summer, but the course is in excellent "goat track" condition right now.

Lived in Palmdale for more years than I care to remember.  Goat track heaven.  Played Shandin a few times, Victorville muni, a couple 9 hole tracks in Palmdale, Cal City (elevated greens surrounded by hard pan), Sycamore Canyon in Arvin (site of the great Coot hunts of Central CA - LOL), Tehachapi, and the Wasco Valley Rose in Wasco, CA (those farmers can flat out grow grass).  What is crazy is that we drove more than an hour to get to many of those places and we were not bypassing nicer courses (maybe some private ones) along the way!  We used to say Palmdale wasn't Hell, but you could see the gates from there.

I played Sycamore Canyon a few times when working in Bakersfield. I thought it was actually pretty fun. Looked to play there last week, but it seems it is now closed for good. Too bad.

Unfortunate.  We always liked it as well.  Not overly sophisticated, but a good layout.
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#94 Caddykev

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 09:21 AM

View PostThinkingPlus, on 15 January 2017 - 01:50 PM, said:

View PostDaveGoodrich, on 25 June 2016 - 08:08 PM, said:

By far, my favorite goat track here in the IE of SoCal is Shandin Hills. I basically learned to play here. Reasonably priced, good layout (few parallel fairways, and some elevation changes), friendly service, "regular guy" clientelle.  They always have good greens, and if you hit your ball where you are supposed to, there will be grass there to meet you. Otherwise, it's dirt and gopher holes.

They were hit pretty hard by the drought and water restrictions last summer, but the course is in excellent "goat track" condition right now.

Lived in Palmdale for more years than I care to remember.  Goat track heaven.  Played Shandin a few times, Victorville muni, a couple 9 hole tracks in Palmdale, Cal City (elevated greens surrounded by hard pan), Sycamore Canyon in Arvin (site of the great Coot hunts of Central CA - LOL), Tehachapi, and the Wasco Valley Rose in Wasco, CA (those farmers can flat out grow grass).  What is crazy is that we drove more than an hour to get to many of those places and we were not bypassing nicer courses (maybe some private ones) along the way!  We used to say Palmdale wasn't Hell, but you could see the gates from there.
I grew up playing and working at shandin, and still love it even though it is in the worst shape I have ever seen it when I was just home visiting.  I still have a nostalgic love for the other true goats of the ie like Jarupa hills, San Bernardino gc, and some that are no longer with us like el rancho verde, riverside golf club, and palm meadows.

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#95 DaveGoodrich

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 06:26 PM

View PostCaddykev, on 07 February 2017 - 09:21 AM, said:

View PostThinkingPlus, on 15 January 2017 - 01:50 PM, said:

View PostDaveGoodrich, on 25 June 2016 - 08:08 PM, said:

By far, my favorite goat track here in the IE of SoCal is Shandin Hills. I basically learned to play here. Reasonably priced, good layout (few parallel fairways, and some elevation changes), friendly service, "regular guy" clientelle.  They always have good greens, and if you hit your ball where you are supposed to, there will be grass there to meet you. Otherwise, it's dirt and gopher holes.

They were hit pretty hard by the drought and water restrictions last summer, but the course is in excellent "goat track" condition right now.

Lived in Palmdale for more years than I care to remember.  Goat track heaven.  Played Shandin a few times, Victorville muni, a couple 9 hole tracks in Palmdale, Cal City (elevated greens surrounded by hard pan), Sycamore Canyon in Arvin (site of the great Coot hunts of Central CA - LOL), Tehachapi, and the Wasco Valley Rose in Wasco, CA (those farmers can flat out grow grass).  What is crazy is that we drove more than an hour to get to many of those places and we were not bypassing nicer courses (maybe some private ones) along the way!  We used to say Palmdale wasn't Hell, but you could see the gates from there.
I grew up playing and working at shandin, and still love it even though it is in the worst shape I have ever seen it when I was just home visiting.  I still have a nostalgic love for the other true goats of the ie like Jarupa hills, San Bernardino gc, and some that are no longer with us like el rancho verde, riverside golf club, and palm meadows.

I've been playing at Shandin for about 10 years.  I don't think the condition now is any worse than it has been during that time.  The greens are actually better than any of the "nice" public courses around here (Oak Valley, Tukwet).  Smooth, and pretty firm and fast. With all the rain we have had recently, I would have thought the bare spots in the fairways and rough would have filled in some, but those spots have been dead for too long to come back on their own during cool weather, and grass seed is expensive.  I really think they do a good job for the prices they charge.  Right now they have a "special" going (unlimited golf and range balls, breakfast and lunch, for $26 during the week, and $40 on the weekend).  They say they are making money, even at those prices.

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#96 Puckoon

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 04:52 PM

I want the job where you just are driving past and think "I think I'll play golf right now"!

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#97 DaveGoodrich

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 06:50 PM

View PostPuckoon, on 24 February 2017 - 04:52 PM, said:

I want the job where you just are driving past and think "I think I'll play golf right now"!

Unfortunately, that's not how it works for me.  I was working out-of-town in Bakersfield several summers ago, and my project (in construction) was working 6:00 - 3:30 (its hot in Bakersfield, so contractors start early if they can).  I played quite a few rounds between 4:00 and 8:30 that summer. What was I supposed to do, go back to the hotel and work on my paperwork?  That would be a waste of daylight.
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#98 mo_golf_joe

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 01:32 AM

Dos Lagos in Anthony, NM would be our nearest goat track. But it's always fun and challenging during the prime watering season. I've played it a few times in our 'winter' season here in NM, and it gets dry.

Some have wondered why the owner's have not ventured into using 'gray water' from the very small water treatment plant on its north side. A cash infusion would do wonders here, as I don't see this course lasting more than 10 years. I don't know when it was originally built, however I know I don't want to see it go. Ever.
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#99 1puttAU

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 11:55 AM

There is a par 3 course where I'm from called Godwin Creek.  It's a nine hole course that actually has 3 par 4's.  They are very short.  It is absolutely a goat track, but when my home course (Country Club of Columbus in Columbus, GA) was being renovated in 2001 that is where I played a good bit.  It definitely helped you work on your mid iron game and your short game.  Haven't been back since the CCC's renovation was completed though.
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#100 mp.14

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 12:02 PM

i am fortunate enough to play a goat track everyday of the year during golf season.  white bear yacht club in mn, doak considers it one of the most unique and best courses out there.

if anyone is ever visiting minnesota during golf season, i am always happy to have fellow wrx'ers out!

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#101 qtlaw

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 03:07 PM

Grew up near one, find out 30 yrs later it was a McKenzie original!    Tree lined fairways; never knew.

Admittedly after playing nice greens it's discouraging to play greens where I feel I have no chance to make a putt.

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#102 RipVan

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 09:02 AM

Playing a "Goat Track"?  Sounds like Ireland or England if you just look from a far. Sort of a Ginger or Mary anne thing.  Flowers on the driveway don't mean much unless the zip code is 08021.  


I learned to play as a caddy and my practice was only ever hitting the ball off of dirt.  Literally. A full shot out of a divot is not a big deal and goat fairways are fine.  

I mostly only play goat tracky places now but have played many of the top ones many, many times.  The only thing that really matters to me is true greens, reasonable green fees, and fast play.  Slowish greens (say not much slower than 8) are ok if true.  If the greens are lousy, I'm never playing it again.  Mercer Oaks near Princeton NJ comes to mind.  Greens were dogtrack material when I played it a few years back

Edited by RipVan, 11 March 2017 - 09:03 AM.


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#103 SmiterOfPv1x

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:43 PM

Ahh, I have landed upon a new site and as such this is my first post. The goatiest of the goat tracks is no doubt near where I live in North Central Ohio. It's so goat-y that the course itself doesn't have a name, instead the complex goes by "Shelby Par 3 and Driving Range". I haven't touched the place in twenty years but played several of my first rounds there. I doubt it has changed too awful much since they were advertising 18 with a cart for as low as $5.00 on Golf Now. Top rates seem to be $10.00. It's only nine holes so to play 18 you simply play it twice. I'd say it's a great place to take beginners, but really it's not. It's just basically a cow pasture with single car garage sized greens strewn about. It's rough and greens which is ok with a par 3 but when they built the tiny greens they had the foresight to put down a truck of dirt or so, raising them. It's almost impossible to get your ball on them to begin with, they don't hold worth a darn, and they're slow slow slow.

None of that would truly discourage taking a youngster there for a round. What would discourage me are three holes in particular. One is listed at 250, but is really only 180 or so. Imagine my surprise when I hit a five wood there the first time I played and ended up in the barn that was 80 yards behind the green. It ended up being a strong 8 iron or a 7, depending on wind conditions. That's a minor gripe as not all courses have actual yardage but to be that far off is just wrong. The next deal breaker hole is a 235 yard hole which is actually about 265. No biggie there other then it's 265 yards of forced carry over a lake, which is NOT marked as a lateral hazard. So have fun teaching the rules to a youngster when they literally could not ever sign a legit scorecard. The third hole, and it more because it's a gigantic safety problem is the 9th (and 18th if you book the hot deal and can stomach two turns without walking off). The entire course is by a very busy state route. The 9th is 180 and it runs 10 ft off of the road. Tee to green. It's busy enough that you could wait a long time to hit if you were waiting for a pause in traffic. I broke par 4 times last season and I wouldn't hit that tee shot with a car going by. I don't even drive by that side of the course during daytime hours. No way.

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#104 nix

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 08:32 AM

Gotta love playing goat tracks. It's a good reminder that golf is still golf regardless if the greens are running a 15 on the stimp or if you can barely tell there are fairways, because they are just kind of gras mowed a little shorter. Still fun.

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#105 SmiterOfPv1x

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 06:42 PM

View Postmp.14, on 01 March 2017 - 12:02 PM, said:

i am fortunate enough to play a goat track everyday of the year during golf season.  white bear yacht club in mn, doak considers it one of the most unique and best courses out there.

if anyone is ever visiting minnesota during golf season, i am always happy to have fellow wrx'ers out!

Golf season in Minnesota, AKA June 30th-August 1st:)


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#106 thug the bunny

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 09:54 PM

I miss my goat tracks that I learned on. I did go back to one a few years ago, a 9 hole w 2 par 3s and the rest 4s, the longest of which is like 320. It was fun remembering that I used to hit driver on a lot of them. It was almost like going back to your elementary school, you feel like a giant and the school is so small...

This thread made my mind up, I'm going to play 3 of them in the next month or so. They can be in decent shape this time of year.
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#107 b_smith07

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 09:50 AM

Im a member at a club with two nice 18-Hole tracks, but before I joined I definitely played a ton of goat tracks. I really don't mind at all so long as the greens aren't slow. They can be bumpy, half dead, whatever, just not slow. There's a track here that apparently was really nice 10-15 years ago called Nueva Vista. Typical links-style course with lots of mounding, native areas, and creative green complexes with not a ton of bunkers...just where you need them. Couple of lakes on the back nine, but you would swear you were abroad if not for the housing and view of downtown Midland on a few holes. Super fun track, and some of the best Par-4's anywhere Ive seen. Lots are driveable (even at 380-400 yds) due to the current conditions of rock hard fairways and pretty much desert hardpan in the  "rough" but since they usually keep the greens running true its still a good test...and the lack of grass in the rough will allow your ball to careen into the closest thing Texas has for gorse, which is thick mesquite bushes. Its not worth more than about 20-25 bucks with a cart, but an absolute blast to play.

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#108 falken19150

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 09:56 AM

Gotta love the goat track. Have one in East Bay called Boundary Oak, play there all the time.  The driving range is all dirt and the range balls look like burnt meatballs.

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#109 Burt Chance

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 06:47 AM

We have a "Goat Track" about five minutes from our house that I'm about to join. I use the term "Goat Track" loosely. While it definitely is one, it's nicer than 99% of goat tracks out there.

$150 / month for all the golf you can play (walking and riding) and unlimited range balls. The course is 6400 yards long. Hard to beat that deal.
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#110 Chris_P

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 08:16 AM

Here in SE New Hampshire we have the picture perfect "goat" course aka Rockingham Country Club. In spring time its sopping wet in the low lying areas with a 50/50 split of dirt and wild growth around the greens. The greens are not mowed often enough so sometimes it feels like you are putting through your front yard and you actually need to read the grass length as it varies and can push your ball. All that said, I still play it a few times a times a year because it is so cheap and the people who own the place are very welcoming. I secretly enjoy it (aside from the price) because it actually forces you to change your game as you approach the micro-greens as any ball that is long or lands on the wrong side of the green can quickly turn into a sixer on a par 4. No one wants to walk away from this course admitting they shot anything over a bogey but it happens as it often exposes weaknesses in your short game.


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#111 thug the bunny

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 08:59 PM

View Postfalken19150, on 20 April 2017 - 09:56 AM, said:

Gotta love the goat track. Have one in East Bay called Boundary Oak, play there all the time.  The driving range is all dirt and the range balls look like burnt meatballs.

I lived in the E Bay for about 5 yrs, worked in Walnut Creek, and used to play Boundary Oaks after work a lot. It was always packed in spite of 100* heat or sloppy rain. I also played Sunol, San Ramon Royal Vista, and what was that other track just east of Boundary Oaks? That one had some unusual holes. All great goat tracks.
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#112 easyjay39402

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 07:19 PM

I belong to a private club, but I regularly play at a goat track up the road with 3 other geezers. It reminds us of our youth 60 years ago when the goat track of today was the standard ... before watering systems, hybrid grasses, and sophisticated equipment.

Edited by easyjay39402, 30 April 2017 - 07:20 PM.


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#113 Neverfadeaway86

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 05:56 AM

Played National Road Golf Course in West Jefferson Ohio. It's a short course around 5,300 from the back, no real hazards to speak of but all of the greens are mounded up which makes it a little bit harder. Nothing wrong with it for just a casual round but is a Goat Track for sure
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#114 Andrew Bond of Glencoe

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:46 PM

Greatest Of All Time?

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#115 CHuntsman

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 03:37 PM

View PostSmiterOfPv1x, on 21 March 2017 - 07:43 PM, said:

Ahh, I have landed upon a new site and as such this is my first post. The goatiest of the goat tracks is no doubt near where I live in North Central Ohio. It's so goat-y that the course itself doesn't have a name, instead the complex goes by "Shelby Par 3 and Driving Range". I haven't touched the place in twenty years but played several of my first rounds there. I doubt it has changed too awful much since they were advertising 18 with a cart for as low as $5.00 on Golf Now. Top rates seem to be $10.00. It's only nine holes so to play 18 you simply play it twice. I'd say it's a great place to take beginners, but really it's not. It's just basically a cow pasture with single car garage sized greens strewn about. It's rough and greens which is ok with a par 3 but when they built the tiny greens they had the foresight to put down a truck of dirt or so, raising them. It's almost impossible to get your ball on them to begin with, they don't hold worth a darn, and they're slow slow slow.

None of that would truly discourage taking a youngster there for a round. What would discourage me are three holes in particular. One is listed at 250, but is really only 180 or so. Imagine my surprise when I hit a five wood there the first time I played and ended up in the barn that was 80 yards behind the green. It ended up being a strong 8 iron or a 7, depending on wind conditions. That's a minor gripe as not all courses have actual yardage but to be that far off is just wrong. The next deal breaker hole is a 235 yard hole which is actually about 265. No biggie there other then it's 265 yards of forced carry over a lake, which is NOT marked as a lateral hazard. So have fun teaching the rules to a youngster when they literally could not ever sign a legit scorecard. The third hole, and it more because it's a gigantic safety problem is the 9th (and 18th if you book the hot deal and can stomach two turns without walking off). The entire course is by a very busy state route. The 9th is 180 and it runs 10 ft off of the road. Tee to green. It's busy enough that you could wait a long time to hit if you were waiting for a pause in traffic. I broke par 4 times last season and I wouldn't hit that tee shot with a car going by. I don't even drive by that side of the course during daytime hours. No way.

Been several years but my dad took me there once when we were back home in visiting in Mansfield.  Probably 15 years ago.

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#116 newoodky

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 11:16 AM

I learned to play on a goat track when I was younger (Rackham Golf Course in Michigan).  The back fence sat about 4 blocks from my home.  During summer breaks, when I was in elementary and middle school, I would walk to the back fence, hop it, play 3-5 holes, hop back over and walk home.  Didn't even dawn on me that it was illegal :sorry:

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#117 FairwayFred

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 10:42 AM

View Postnewoodky, on 23 May 2017 - 11:16 AM, said:

I learned to play on a goat track when I was younger (Rackham Golf Course in Michigan).  The back fence sat about 4 blocks from my home.  During summer breaks, when I was in elementary and middle school, I would walk to the back fence, hop it, play 3-5 holes, hop back over and walk home.  Didn't even dawn on me that it was illegal :sorry:

Come on, The Rack Daddy is a solid track! 13 original Donald Ross holes, the back 9 especially is really good imo.  Fantastic set of greens.  Used to be in terrible shape but it's looking great these days.
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#118 baaron008

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 09:04 PM

View PostBurt Chance, on 25 April 2017 - 06:47 AM, said:

We have a "Goat Track" about five minutes from our house that I'm about to join. I use the term "Goat Track" loosely. While it definitely is one, it's nicer than 99% of goat tracks out there.

$150 / month for all the golf you can play (walking and riding) and unlimited range balls. The course is 6400 yards long. Hard to beat that deal.

I can beat that! $1800 a year or $168 a month for unlimited golf on the Robert Trent Jones Trail in Alabama (except Lakewood and Ross Bridge) and unlimited range balls st your home course.

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#119 Jimmy Mac

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 04:35 PM

Years ago my dad and I drove from Michigan to L.A. Drove 6-8 hours each afternoon, found a hotel wherever we were, in the morning we'd ask the front desk what the closest course was and go play it - didn't care what it was. We ended up on a couple great courses, a bunch of middle quality and one In Tucson that was the goat-iest track I've ever played. I think it was named El-Rio. Virtually no grass. Hit my first drive, found my ball in the middle of the fairway with nearly a quarter inch of desert dust built up on it from rolling down the dew covered "fairway". The rest of the course played pretty much the same. I'd have a harsh opinion of the place, but the impression I got was it was introducing the game to a lot of kids who might never be able to afford a lush green fairway kinda place. Dad and I had a lot of laughs over the crazy bounces and thinnest lies.

At home my goat track is a little par three, I don't play it often but soon will when my 3 y.o. son is ready to walk the course.

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#120 Gary8180

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Posted 02 July 2017 - 12:25 PM

My wife is from a small town in western Kansas. Seems like any town out there has a small 9 hole course most people would refer to as a "goat Track". Most have buffalo grass fairways that might get cut once a month and are as hard as rock. An extra fifty yards on a drive is pretty common.The only time they're green is in the spring or late fall but that doesn't change how they play. Most have bent or bermuda greens and some are very well looked after. Most greens are on the smallish size +/- 1000 sq. ft. making your short game that much more important. I played one course that had "sand" greens which was a new experience. They're actually more like a hard parked earth and very small. You're expected to "roll" the "green" when you finish a hole (it's fairly easy to mark them up). The best part of these courses is that you pay a relatively low greens fee (10 to 15.00) and can play until you drop dead from heat prostration or can't see the ball anymore. When I was younger I played 45 holes in one day several times. Most of the farmers and ranchers will play on the weekends and sometimes in the late afternoon so midweek mornings and afternoons you usually have the course all to yourself. Most of the courses have cart barns for privately owned carts. In my case there was always a relative or high school friend of my wife that would lend me a cart for a beer or sleeve of balls (most don't have picky standards for either one). I think I've had more fun playing these courses than some I've played at ten times the cost and near perfection in terms of conditioning.


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