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Your definition of "Goat track"?

Discussion in 'General Golf Talk' started by Wi-Golfer, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. Wi-Golfer

    Wi-Golfer Golfer on hiatus. Supporting Member

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    WBL's & Esox's posts got me to thinking, what is it about a course that defines goat track? Is it lack of amenities? Poor layout? Unkept shaggy fairways?

    I have played over 60 courses so far & there are a number of them which would make my goat track list for various reasons. My home course used to be one but the new folks running it have really stepped up & it's never been better.

    Pacanica is definitely one, horrible layout with half the hole not having any signage. You need to study the little map on your score card in an attempt to figure out where the next hole is & even then it's very easy to get it wrong.

    Whitelake has the same issues as above combined with carts that are junk, gravel cart paths that have almost no gravel left & are severly rutted.

    I can on & on but would like to read what defines a goat track for you.
     
  2. mddubya

    mddubya Hybrid convert

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    Interesting topic WG. I've been guilty of accusing my home course of being a Goat Track, where it is probably only a borderline one. It has the potential of being an excellent 9 hole course, but they seem to refuse to cut the greens short enough. Their excuse is that they will burn up if the cut them shorter, yet all the neighboring course's green are shorter, and run faster than these do.

    The closest I've played on to being what I'd really call a Goat Track is a course called Niknar, in a neighboring town. The cart paths are crumbling asphalt and gravel. The course itself is poorly maintained occasionally. One day you'll play it and think you're playing in a cow pasture, the next time its like a completely different course. I guess it all depends on how the superintendent feels that day or week? Also, on this course, the front 9 appears to have been designed by a 12 year old. Super easy and wide open, but the back 9 is like they realized their mistake, and tried to make up for it. I can almost shoot par, 36, on the front 9, but the back nine I'm lucky to shoot a 48. They are that different.
     
  3. N.V.M.

    N.V.M. now...a cartoon

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    a goat track is where you'll never see me. waste of time and money. what fun is putting through weeds on the greens?
     
  4. BStone

    BStone PGA Class A Professional Supporting Member

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    I played in a charity outing for a friend and the course was terrible. There was no difference from rough to fairway, it was all about the length of the first cut on our course. There was no sand in the bunkers, and the greens were the worst I had played since high school. Length is not a requirement in my opinion, I have played short courses that were beautifully maintained that I would call great courses.

    I just want to see some attempt at creating decent course conditions and I will more then likely say that the course is adequate, but this course was awful.
     
  5. SilverUberXeno

    SilverUberXeno El Tigre Blanco

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    Bstone has a good point. Here's a list:

    1.) Not enough differentiation between fairway and first cut.
    2.) UNKEPT OR UNLEVEL TEE BOXES! YOU BASTARDS! Hitting it out of the rough ON THE TEE sucks.
    3.) "Sand" bunkers; hold the sand.
    4.) Excessive hardpan in the rough/fairway, especially the fway.
    5.) Poor course markers/scorecards/maps
    6.) GREENS. The speed is second to the ability of the ball to roll smoothly. Slow greens are okay if the ball rolls predictably. Overgrown clumpy greens are unacceptable.

    If a course has GREAT greens, I'll play it regardless most of the time. The bunker thing is negligible to me (I live in the north... for the time being!). The fairway/rough thing is second to the greens. Tee boxes REALLY bother me. The heirarchy to me is:

    Greens
    Tee Boxes
    Fairway/Rough

    As long as the greens are good, hitting out of the rough in the "fairway" is just good practice :)
     
  6. Wi-Golfer

    Wi-Golfer Golfer on hiatus. Supporting Member

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    But how do you kniow until you get there? Would you pay your $$, get the 1st green & decide it's shit so you leave?
     
  7. Wi-Golfer

    Wi-Golfer Golfer on hiatus. Supporting Member

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    BTW, what defines a level tee box? There is one tee box on my home course which was built up by the prvious owners a year before they ended up losing the place. It's a par 3 hole & the box is the oddest thing around. It's probably 10-12 yds wide & the length is about the same, but it's a sloping tee box. It goes from being level with the fairway & the back is about about 3' high.

    While addressing the ball it doesn't really feel like it's unlevel, although it actually is. Put a pushcart on it & most definitely it will roll right off unless you lock the wheels.
     
  8. sssmokin

    sssmokin Retired and loving it Supporting Member

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    I have to give an example for my definition of a goat track...Thal Acres in Westfield, WI. The layout of the BACK nine has potential..........but the front nine is just a mowed hayfield........holes go straight....back and forth..........no elevation changes.............barns and cornfields along the course. Goat track.
     
  9. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Taylormade Ho' Magnet

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    A level tee box is one that is just that.. level.

    No divots, no un even ground.. If I can tee my ball up, and the ground behind it is even or higher and sloped down in a hole then it's not level.

    Low spots and high spots it in, suck. It limits where you can tee it up, and causes everyone to beat to death the same spots.
     
  10. SilverUberXeno

    SilverUberXeno El Tigre Blanco

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    Bingoooooo. If you can't give yourself a perfect lie on the tee box, it's not acceptable.
     
  11. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Taylormade Ho' Magnet

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    The tee box should be the one place on the course where I can guarantee that I have the most level, flat place to hit from. It should be in just as good, or better condition than the fairway, especially on par 3's where I shouldn't really need a tee.
     
  12. cypressperch

    cypressperch Well-Known Member

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    I have to have more information than just the condition of the course before I let out the "goat" word. If the green fees and other costs are so low that it is hard to believe, I would expect poor conditions compared to a place that is expensive to play. In other words, the one might be all that the place can afford to offer, and the other might be a rip-off though it is better.

    I am not a socialist, but lets face it, some people can afford any price because price is no object. Others have to go to a place that they can afford. I will also say that some of the greatest golfers started out playing on what many would term goat tracks. Local legends have done incredible things there and there is a history that is important to locals. Augusta and other famous courses have histories that many people know of. History is a part of golf. Traditions are important to real golf. I think it is great that even "goat ranches" follow this important part of golf and have their own legends, traditions, and history. Lafayette, Louisiana has many fine courses, but Shirley Picard walked MUNY thousands of times and is THE LEGEND of MUNY even if it is now named after Jay and Lionel Hebert who became well-know major champions and did play some at MUNY.

    In closing, I will paraphrase Will Rogers, "I never played a course that I did not like." Conditions may not have been great at some, but it was nevertheless, hallowed ground to true golfers.

    I find it sad when any course has to close down and be out of business.

    Sincerely, CP

    One last point, those golfers that play it down and follow all the rules while playing their goat ranch courses are some of the most noble golfers on this planet. And when they do that and still score low, you are talking about golfers of extraordinary ability. I take my hat off to them.[​IMG]
     
  13. fisher

    fisher Well-Known Member

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    Thankfully there really are no goat-tracks in my area. That's one of the benefits of living in a resort town. The conditions on all the courses in my area are average or better.

    What we do have is a couple of county owned courses that give rediculous discounts to senior citizens who live in the county. These two courses are swamped every day with senior citizens who are there to make a day of it. The pace of play is the slowest you will ever see. Both of these courses were once private or semi-private but were taken over by the county. The county has done their best to wreck these courses with poor care but they were both well built courses to begin with so they are pretty resiliant. These are the only two courses within an hour's drive that I would advise anybody to not go there.
     
  14. kevin markham

    kevin markham Irish golfer

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    I have to confess I've never heard the term 'goat track' before. It's not something we use over here. 'Dump' is what we use and, to be honest, there aren't that many of them (18 hole courses at least). Tee boxes can be a bit dodgy and, like a lot of you are saying, when they're unkempt it's a nightmare. Greens are a huge problem too.

    There's a course over here called Mount Temple (click for photos) and their website describes itself thus: "Mount Temple is a traditional Irish Championship golf course. It lies in the heart of Ireland and is renowned for its large links type greens and undulating fairways." As a visitor to Ireland you might think that sounds wonderful. It also claims that the course was "designed by God, polished by man." Is that a course you'd want to play? The reality is a long way from that and I think that's one of the problems with some of these places (everywhere). Websites like to stretch the truth and unless you know someone who can tell you otherwise, you're likely to get a nasty surprise when you walk onto the 1st tee (and after you've paid).

    Conversely, there's a course called Silverwood that would, using your definitions, qualify as a Goat Track (tee boxes, fairways, greens), but the landscape is one of the best parkland environments I've seen. There was a rumour going around that Darren Clarke was going to buy it - with some proper attention and some design flair it would become one of the best parkland courses in the country.

    So you see the difficulties. Sometimes you just have to hope for the best
     
  15. N.V.M.

    N.V.M. now...a cartoon

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    we call them cow pastures, same difference i guess.
     
  16. Wi-Golfer

    Wi-Golfer Golfer on hiatus. Supporting Member

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    It's not always about the condition of the course, the greens & fairways can be perfect yet the layout can suck. Or perhaps there are houses to close, etc.

    There is one 9 hole course I play every once in awhile & it really is shitty, but the conditions for the most part are pretty good. The 1st 2 holes are a nice layout & fun to play, everything after that sucks. Driver, 6-7 iron then putter. No thought went into the layout at all, & it winds around a bunch of townhomes that appear to all be occupied by residents 75+ yrs old.

    Lake Windsor is another goat track, the back 9 isn't too bad but the front sucks. Back & forth you go & I-94 runs right along 3 holes. pain in the ass to play with semi's blasting 100' away from you at 70+ mph.
     
  17. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Taylormade Ho' Magnet

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    I play a course that compared to my normal course rotation, is a goat track.

    It's an older course, that 60% of the time, isn't in that good of shape. The carts are old, but they work, and the cart paths are concrete and have been maintained. The courses isn't always fresh mowed, each day. There are some hardpan spots on every fairway, and the fairway and the rough kinda blend into each other it some spots.

    Maybe twice a year, are the fairways ever really lush and mowed nice and flat.

    The bunkers are okay, some are thin, some are hard, some are fluffy as hell. The green are hit or miss. Some are great, some never had the pin moved and are beat to hell in one spot. Some have low spots that pool with water and are eaten up. But generally, it's good all around.

    You can walk the front, but the back is so long! Houses are SUPER close to the course, like.. the OB markers are the back yards, and you could easily be punching out of someones back yard while they play in the pool.

    The back nine is nicer.. It's a few years old, nice greens, fairways hard as a rock, and the tee boxes are almost dirt though. It's in a section of "new" subdivisions, that haven't had ANY houses built in 4 years. Just plain emptied lots around it. Real ugly.

    On the flipside though, I can walk it in the evenings after work, for $10.. Normally thats just for 9, but if we walk and it's light enough, they have closed up and we'll play another 2-3 holes if time permits. It's cheap practice.

    That is a goat track though..
     
  18. floggerrushmd

    floggerrushmd Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Most of what defines a goat track/ cow pasture to me is the greens. I prefer the greens to be fast. Slow greens have more opportunity to be irregular, and infested with weeds and other types of grass that don't belong, but if you can keep a green rolling true that is all that is really important. After that comes the fairway. If you can not while standing in the fairway tell where it ends and the rough begins, then that is a problem. Lastly comes to the tees. I can handle un-level tees, they aren't the most fun thing in the world to play on but I can handle them. I can't stand tees that are bare of grass, or so hard that you can't stick a tee into them. If a course has these three features I will play there again.

    Now the last thing that I will mention about what makes a course great (but not necessarily differentiates it from a potential cow pasture) are the people that play on it. If the people that play a course take the time to repair their divots and ball marks that makes all the difference in the world. I played the new course at NC State the other day (review to follow in another thread) and even though the course was only a few months old the greens were riddled with ball marks. It was really upsetting.
     
  19. zaphod

    zaphod Well-Known Member

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    That's the course I learned on. Yes it is truly a goat tract. Hayfield, shaggy greens, tricked up holes, swampy fairways, etc. The back nine is the most recent but it has more deficits than assets. 10 miles from me but I WILL NOT PLAY IT.
     
  20. PMay

    PMay Well-Known Member

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    Course in Evansville Indiana worst course I've ever seen. Fairways are nothing but crab grass and the same length as the rough. Golfballs bounce of the fairway almost like a ball off a cart path. Absolutely terrible!
     

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