When it comes to making the turn while playing a round of golf, most golfers have mixed emotions. Those playing well on the front nine do not want to take a break of any kind. For those who are struggling with their game, the hope is that the back nine will treat us much better.
For guys like me who tee off around mid-morning, the turn means one major positive. Food! It really doesn't matter how one is playing when the noon hour rolls around. That alarm clock in our belly has been beeping for several minutes and has to be turned off. In many cases we have hit the snooze button a couple of times, now we want to placate that hunger.
In my mind, making the turn involves some 30 to 35 minutes. From the eighth hole through No. 11 seems about right. How difficult those holes are, coupled with the chow you will consume, determines whether making the turn will be good, bad or dare I say it - ugly.
A couple of bad holes before lunch can spoil things. A bad start to the back nine will have you fuming as well. Then again, eating is invariably part of the equation, so making the turn is frequently one of the cool parts of a round of golf.
I have compiled a list of six golf courses that came to mind when I was thinking about "the turn" with an explanation that only I can bring to life. Perhaps I should say that only I would even want to try to explain.
Green Hills, Clyde. You are strolling along on the front nine and come to the eighth tee. This is the number one handicap hole on the course, a lengthy par-4 that requires a tee shot over a pond and a long second shot uphill into an undulating green. By now you are starting to salivate, not out of fear of taking on the toughest hole on the course, but you are anticipating lunch.
Despite the fact that you have hit the green in regulation, you three-putt your way to a bogey. Not to worry, food is coming. No. 9 is a relatively easy par-4 if you hit your drive in the right spot. Just getting this hole over is the goal, because the food at the turn is a jumbo deep fried hot dog.
Maybe not the healthiest item, but it is outstanding. A little horseradish sauce and you are ready for anything the back nine can throw at you.
The 10th is an easy par-4 - again, that's if you hit a straight drive and land on the right level of the two-tiered green. Eleven is a longish par-3, but playable and the next three holes are very short. The turn has been made, the stomach satiated and all is GOOD.
Sycamore Springs, Arlington. The eighth is a par-3 that involves carrying a large body of water, yet it is short enough that it can be a birdie hole. No. 9 is a longish par-4, but if the drive is in the fairway you can score on it. Now it's off to the clubhouse to get an awesome shredded chicken sandwich.
When they hand you the sandwich on a paper plate together with a napkin AND a fork - well, you can imagine our delight. Couple this great food item with a reasonable par-4 and reachable par-5 on holes 10 and 11 - and this turn rates a GOOD.
Country Acres, Kalida. Hole No. 8 is a par-5 that can be birdied. The ninth is a long par-4 that requires two long wood shots, but awaiting you in the clubhouse is something not found at most golf courses. Hamburgers have been grilled and are kept in a warmer. You don't often get a burger at the turn, so this is a treat.
The 10th is a relatively easy par-4, but the 11th is a difficult 200-yard par-3 with water left. You can usually smile on this hole mostly because you just had a burger. I'd rate this turn GOOD.
Valley View, Galion. This is one of my favorite courses for a variety of reasons. It is a postcard waiting to happen for one thing as it always is in good shape and has some beautiful holes. The eighth is a par-4 that forces you to drive the ball over a hill where the fairway will dogleg to the left. A good drive and you will likely have a birdie putt.
The ninth hole is a picturesque par-3 with a neat flower garden behind a sloping green. Stay below the pin on this hole and another birdie is possible. Now it's time to head for the clubhouse and awaiting you will be chili dogs complete with mustard and onions.
The 10th is a short par-4 while the 11th is an uphill short par-3 that will make you wait until you get to the green to see how well you struck your tee shot. That's OK, though. You will have to wait that long to see if you spilled chili or mustard on your golf shirt. Even with the inevitable stains this is a GOOD turn.
Apple Valley, Howard. A tough quartet of holes make up the turn at this picturesque golf course. Eight is a long par-4. Stay left on the tee shot and do not go right on the second either or par-will be nearly impossible. No. 9 is a par-4 that can be scored on if you stay out of the trees off the tee.
Into the huge clubhouse and another outstanding shredded chicken sandwich will make its way to the 10th tee with you. The two starting holes on the back nine require a straight drive or you will be playing ping pong in the trees. The approach shot on No. 11 will take you over a large pond adding to the difficulty of these holes.
This turn depends on the trees. Stay out of them and its GOOD. Find them and the chicken sandwich will not be enough to prevent a BAD rating.
Loudon Meadows, Fostoria. Let's rate this one now. It is UGLY - at least more often than not. These four holes are nasty. You can be sailing along on the front and then No. 8 bites you. A 200-yard par-3 with a trap, out of bounds lurking and a green that slopes severely - there are no straight putts on this green when you finally find the putting surface - can silence the hunger pains.
The ninth is a tough par-4 unless you can drive the creek - I can't - and another sloping green awaits you. These two holes have ruined many a good front nine score causing some golfers to eschew lunch in favor of a few cold ones. That's in part because the toughest hole in the area awaits you on No. 10.
This par-5 is fraught with danger on each shot. A bogey can make you smile because double figures are a distinct possibility on this monster hole. Eleven is another 200-yard par-3 so it doesn't get any easier at least until the turn is completed.
There is hope for a better rating at Loudon though. No. 10 is being changed. The green is coming down off the hill and it will be a much easier hole after that change is made. I would also suggest that having specialty sandwich might take our minds off our golf game.
Waldo bologna salad sounds pretty yummy. Just saying
Al Stephenson is The Advertiser-Tribune's golf columnist.
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