A Journey to Old South
This past week I was a guest of my friend Paul Cohen for a round out at Old South Country Club in Lothian, MD. Never one to miss the opportunity to check out a course I’ve never played, I am happy to say that Old South is worth the drive from DC.
Old South Country Club (http://www.oldsouthcountryclub.org) is about a 45 min. – 1 hour drive outside Washington, D.C. The course is a par 72, playing 6723 yards. It has a slope of 134, with a rating of 73.3. It is a very traditional layout, with some elevation changes (particularly a few of the par 3 holes), some blind shots, but greens that hold and provide ample space for errant approaches.
From a conditions perspective, the course was in excellent shape. We lucked out on our day, with the weather being a perfect 75 degrees and sunny with a 7-10 mph breeze. Given the time of year, we had the extra bonus of fairways dotted with cherry blossom trees in full bloom.
Note.. as I sit here writing this post I am watching Anthony Kim blow a 3 footer on 18 to force a playoff at the Shell Houston Open. I happen to have AK to win the tourney this week, so he’s killing me right now. I’m hoping a playoff will provide him the kind of atmosphere that will motivate AK to hunt this win down… and he did! I’ve just won my golf pool for this week!
Back to Old South. On the down side, I was late arriving to the course so I was unable to take advantage of what looked like some decent practice facilities. Old South sports two practice greens, bunkers and what looked to be a matted driving range. The staff is extremely friendly and the clubhouse facility is great.
The first tee really sets the tone for Old South, leading you out on to a 2 part fairway that dog legs left, then right, making it a thinkers par 5. As I ran from the parking lot to the tee box, I had already written off any chance of a decent start. To my surprise, I was able to put a decent stroke on the ball, but wound up driving it 30 yards through the first dog leg. Unable to play the hole properly, I scrambled with a second shot from the second fairway to just short of the green, ultimately finishing with a par.
On the whole, the course sports easily accessible fairways and short rough. Rarely will you find yourself in jail if you miss, but I did have a guide to let me know which sides to avoid.
There are a few blind shots, including the signature par 4, fourth hole which requires a smartly placed iron shot, leaving an easy wedge into a rolling, lilly pad green. I left my shot up on the hillside in the right rough but was able to manage an accurate wedge onto the green for an uneventful 2 putt.
If I have one quip with Old South, it is that the bunkers are in pretty poor shape for a private club. Lucky for me, I was only subjected to one of the green side beach fronts on the shotmakers ninth hole. They are in need of a little more powder, which may be an effect of the recent heavy rains this past month.
Overall, Old South was a great time and a nice relaxing round of golf. Now, if you’re one of those masochists who is looking for a rehash of your round at Whistling Straits or Pinehurst, this isn’t it. But if you are looking for a solid round that will push you to make some smart shots and reward you risks, I think you will find Old South to be an enjoyable track.
On the round I ended up shooting a 43 on the front 9 (posting a triple bogey 7 on the 9th hole). I’d like to thank Paul Cohen and his son Ben for a great day on the course and a fun trip around the 19th hole. Ben is 18 years old and a senior in high school, with a nice swing and a heck of a good putter.
Keep ’em in the short stuff!