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Why I love the "dog tracks"


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#1 skiballs

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:37 PM

Now before anyone gets all bent outa shape about the "dog track" moniker, I said I love 'em. It's like shooting pool in the local dive bar. No pretentious attitudes, just folks having some recreation. My seven year old and I play for $20 bucks with a cart, hell it cost more than that to go to the movies.

I've qualified for a few USGA events and have played at some of the finest golf courses. That being said, I find myself enjoying the laidback atmosphere ( putting your golf shoes on in the parking lot is not frowned upon ). A buddy of mine was playing the US Senior Am. After the round he goes into the clubhouse with one of his playing partners. One of the clubhouse staff asked him to remove his hat, as it is club policy that no hats are worn in the clubhouse. The guy says to my buddy, " I wonder how they would feel if I brought my dog in the clubhouse, like I do back home".


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#2 ben w

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:49 PM

I learned how to play golf on what's probably considered by most avid golfers to be a "dog track". The fairways are rock hard, mostly clay, and the greens are spongey and slow, without a true roll. There's not a single bunker on the course because "they cost too much to maintain and nobody rakes traps" (words of the owner and man who built the courses).

That being said, I agree with you. There is a certain sentimental value for me to go back to that course and play it, because I remember riding around with my dad and learning how to play the game. There's also a relaxed atmosphere, people have music blasting, their dogs are running all over the course, and it's not unheard of for someone to play barefooted in a tank top and jorts.

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#3 DoYouKnowTheMuffinMan

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 01:59 PM

It doesn't matter between a too notch private club and a "dog track"... You still have to hit the shots. Private courses are somewhat easier to me... The greens always roll true and consistent and you can almost guarantee a lie with grass under the ball around the green. "Dog tracks" you get really crappy lies constantly and the greens are always bumpy, slow, unpredictable.
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#4 oldschoolrocker

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 02:14 PM

Am lucky to live in the state of a bizillion golf courses.   There are some great unknown gems that I have been turned on to throughtout the years.  Some of my most joyous golfing days when I travel have been at the local muni.

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#5 nando

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 02:17 PM

We call them goat ranches here in Texas, but, the same thing.


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#6 MountainKing

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 02:24 PM

The biggest thing I like about some of the local dog tracks is I can get on them almost any time and get on them for not much coin.

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#7 chiguy

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 02:36 PM

I like myself a nice course, though you can't beat the experience of the local muni in my opinion. The laid back attitude and joy of the game lifestyle of the muni can't be beat.
I mean, I like golf balls
but not that much.

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#8 Gotblades

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 02:42 PM

I too enjoy a nice round on a so-called DT!!!  :-)

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#9 EJ Mac

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 02:46 PM

We have one in my small town that I don't care to play but am starting to realize it is gonna become a necessary evil to get my game back in shape.
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#10 DaBigSaus

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 04:00 PM

I learned on a dog track as well. I love Em. I'm sure my son and I will get lots of rounds in at our local DT.


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#11 Playaway

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 04:08 PM

I play on a couple of those.  One is short 9-holer, has small greens that have humps and are sloped around the edges.  I call these "farmer redan" holes, because this course was not designed by anybody with golf design knowledge.  You play a lot of wedges to these greens.  They are rock hard, and to keep it on the green you have to hit a spot probably 20 feet in diameter; or run it up.  I love it.

On paper (or scorecard) this place looks easy.  But the local private is easier.  No little sloped greens, no bad lies, and all the greens are the same speed.  

"Street" golf makes you think and play shots.

Another 9-hole place I have is also short and out in the sticks.  Some evenings I am the only one out there.  Only in decent shape, but nothing like hitting a dozen drives, a few approaches and dozens of chips around the green.  It ain't in great shape but I can find some great micro-places to play from that are perfect.  Plus, some hardpan or rough practice never hurts the game.

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#12 spazo

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 05:04 PM

wait...do courses frown on putting golf shoes on at the car?

Edited by spazo, 02 July 2013 - 05:04 PM.


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#13 HoldTheLag

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 07:25 PM

I love mine, can't beat $2 beers!

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#14 Big Ben

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 07:51 PM

View Postspazo, on 02 July 2013 - 05:04 PM, said:

wait...do courses frown on putting golf shoes on at the car?
If you are being serious yes the nicer tracks bum out about it, hell I change cloths while jamming tunes at the DT's and nobody gives 2 turds...BB
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#15 Ballgofarboy

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:03 PM

View PostDoYouKnowTheMuffinMan, on 02 July 2013 - 01:59 PM, said:

It doesn't matter between a too notch private club and a "dog track"... You still have to hit the shots. Private courses are somewhat easier to me... The greens always roll true and consistent and you can almost guarantee a lie with grass under the ball around the green. "Dog tracks" you get really crappy lies constantly and the greens are always bumpy, slow, unpredictable.
Gee, I must be playing at a dog track as that is a fairly adept description!  :pimp:

it is a public track so you take what you can get.   Now the definition of Dog Track was the Amador Golf Course in Panama, there you would show up, no tee times, we normally had 15 to 18 guys, we would pick teams on the first tee, make all your side bets then tee it up and have at it.   Some of the most fun and entertaining golf I have had in my life have been on courses like that!

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#16 TexMex36

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:28 PM

How many strokes do you think the 'dog tracks' cost you versus playing the same course with country club like conditions?

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#17 S.A. OSO

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:45 PM

I think the strokes cost is much more for the scratch and professional golfer. For a 10 handicap, it is probably 1 to 3 strokes, but more if you shoot close to par. Here is what I am basing this on....

I think I remember that Steve Marino, PGA tour pro, once played Langston golf course in DC and there was an article in a local magazine about it. Langston likely qualifies here. it It is a public course near RFK stadium and Capitol HIll in DC, and from the tips it is 6,600 yards. He said that he thought the best score he could possibly shoot on this course was 67-68 because of the greens. This is a short course (for him) with little trouble and most of the holes are right next to each other. If the course was in country club conditions he would likely break 60.
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#18 skiballs

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:47 PM

View PostCelticFan3, on 02 July 2013 - 08:28 PM, said:

How many strokes do you think the 'dog tracks' cost you versus playing the same course with country club like conditions?

It depends what you define CC conditions as. Fast greens and thick rough tend to make courses play harder.

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#19 TexMex36

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:55 PM

View PostS.A. OSO, on 02 July 2013 - 08:45 PM, said:

I think the strokes cost is much more for the scratch and professional golfer. For a 10 handicap, it is probably 1 to 3 strokes, but more if you shoot close to par. Here is what I am basing this on....

I think I remember that Steve Marino, PGA tour pro, once played Langston golf course in DC and there was an article in a local magazine about it. Langston likely qualifies here. it It is a public course near RFK stadium and Capitol HIll in DC, and from the tips it is 6,600 yards. He said that he thought the best score he could possibly shoot on this course was 67-68 because of the greens. This is a short course (for him) with little trouble and most of the holes are right next to each other. If the course was in country club conditions he would likely break 60.

Thought so. I usually shoot around 72-75 at this course I play. I shot a 72 today with 3 birdies. Made an 8 on a par 4 with OB about 10 yards off the left edge of the fairway. Slam dunk into the water and dunk my iron approach into the water also. Not a tough course on paper, but SOOO narrow and the fairways are hard pan. I have trouble hitting a lot of greens but figured I could break 70 if it were in great condition.

Edited by CelticFan3, 02 July 2013 - 08:55 PM.


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#20 TexMex36

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 09:09 PM

I guess I could do a test for my self and play ball in hand next time I go out. If I get a pretty decent lie in the fairway I'm sure I could hit more greens. It sucks when you hit almost every fairway and only get one decent lie the whole round.


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#21 skiballs

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 09:30 PM

View PostCelticFan3, on 02 July 2013 - 09:09 PM, said:

I guess I could do a test for my self and play ball in hand next time I go out. If I get a pretty decent lie in the fairway I'm sure I could hit more greens. It sucks when you hit almost every fairway and only get one decent lie the whole round.

Kudos for playing it down. There's no shame in playing preferred lies if the fairways are that bad. The tour guys are playing at CC's and play ball in hand more than you know ( they tend not to show them cleaning and placing the ball on TV ).

Edited by skiballs, 02 July 2013 - 09:30 PM.


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#22 golferdrmjr

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 11:01 PM

View PostBig Ben, on 02 July 2013 - 07:51 PM, said:

View Postspazo, on 02 July 2013 - 05:04 PM, said:

wait...do courses frown on putting golf shoes on at the car?
If you are being serious yes the nicer tracks bum out about it, hell I change cloths while jamming tunes at the DT's and nobody gives 2 turds...BB
I play a lot at Torrey Pines and golf shoe changing at the car is really your only choice. For a muni, it's pretty nice. :-)

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#23 sherwin1987

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 11:16 PM

Having moved to Charlotte, NC from Washington, DC, I've played my fair share of dog tracks. I've been in graduate school so I like to go play on weekdays (cheaper and less people) depending on my class schedule. One of my favorite things about these type of courses is that during the weekdays, they tend to be empty and I can have almost all 18 to myself. I HATE slow play so not seeing another soul during my round is fine by me. In Charlotte, I like Sunset Hills ($23 during the weekdays, $31 without a membership, including cart) and in DC I like Rock Creek Golf ($20 weekdays, walking). Both fit the bill for Dog Tracks (hard patches in fairway, bumpy greens, sand traps that have never been raked) but I've have some of my best times playing on these types o courses. The only thing is that DTs can wreak havoc on your handicap as most play much harder than the rating due to the conditions.
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#24 duffer987

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 11:25 PM

Funnily enough, before I took a golfing hiatus for most of my 30s, my local course was a very modest 5000yd par 67 in the middle of a horse track. The racetrack was OB.
Lost at 8I there and never got it replaced until Xmas 2011.

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#25 twoody40

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 07:21 AM

This course defines "Goat Track", but it's fun.  You have to walk, you have to bring your own food and beverage and you may not use a motorized cart.  It's only nine holes, but it offers interesting challenges and it's very cheap and a great place to take new golfers.  http://acworth.patch...nvine-golf-club


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#26 wmblake2000

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 09:49 AM

I play one of the doggiest of dog tracks in LA - Victoria, a county course.  The fairways are often bare (built on a dump site somehow makes it hard to grow the grass).  But the greens are in very good shape and reasonably fast & true (faster than most pub courses).  No one plays it these days (the parking lot is empty on a Fri afternoon, which is really strange to see) so it is a much faster round than most courses, and the last 6 holes (3 right into the ocean on-shore wind, and long) are very fun.
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#27 ricar1610

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 10:34 AM

This is golf for me. I play the high end courses in AGA tournaments and USGA qualifiers, and I have played some great courses throughout the USA and Canada. However, I find myself practicing and playing at Maryvale GC, one of the PHX munis. I like all the munis here in PHX but I have a soft spot for MV. It is old, tree lined, and about 6600 yards. The staff is great - they know me by now and it's nice to have conversations with them each time I go in. In fact a couple of them follow my scores in tourneys and checked up on my at the PHX City AM. It has a very nice pracatice area - separate putting green, chipping green, and pitching area that are kept up to normal course conditions most of the time. The range always has grass. My daughter is going to take lessons from one of the pros there and there is an old dog - "Ruby" - that roams the fairways and will usually be found nestling herself in the bunkers (but not in the summer - she is smarter than us and stays in the shade).

I can't tell how many rounds I have played there but it has to be in the hundreds. My dad started taking me there when I was 10 or 11.

For me this is golf. I love other places too but MV is my home. Just a great place to spend a few hours a week.

Edited by ricar1610, 03 July 2013 - 10:34 AM.

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#28 hayzooos

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 12:36 PM

Heck yeah, I love heading out to the goat ranch / dog track courses now and then. I grew up playing them as well and as many others, have very fond memories of learning the game from my Dad at these places. When I see guys in tank tops, jean shorts, flip flops, with a 30+ year old cooler unloading their car, I get a little smirk on my face knowing it's going to be a great round. If I don't hear 'FORE' at least a dozen times during the round, I know the place is desolate.
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#29 RJRJRJ

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 02:46 PM

View Postwmblake2000, on 03 July 2013 - 09:49 AM, said:

I play one of the doggiest of dog tracks in LA - Victoria, a county course.  The fairways are often bare (built on a dump site somehow makes it hard to grow the grass).  But the greens are in very good shape and reasonably fast & true (faster than most pub courses).  No one plays it these days (the parking lot is empty on a Fri afternoon, which is really strange to see) so it is a much faster round than most courses, and the last 6 holes (3 right into the ocean on-shore wind, and long) are very fun.

I'd never heard of it so I just checked it on google maps.  LOL
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#30 CassinoNorth

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 08:39 PM

I'd say on the whole, most courses in Northern NJ are for the most part pretty decent. There's a couple terrible ones in not so great areas that I wouldn't go to just because of the surrounding town...the course isn't terrible.

The local munis are actually pretty damn awesome around here. The closest on, Francis Byrne Golf Course was a private track for Essex County CC before they donated it and it kinda went to crap for a while but in the past 4 or so years they poured money into bunkers, tee boxes and grew the fescue out pretty nice which makes it really worth much more than $25 in county.

Pretty content with the course 8 minutes from my house.


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