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My round at Hawktree, Bismarck, ND with Bames

Rockford35

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Just got back from a family outing down to North Dakota. The wife wanted to check out some stores for clothes and baby stuff and Dad got a hall pass to try out Hawktree Golf Course, a stellar track carved out of a valley just outside Bismarck, ND.

Needless to say, I'll be back. I don't have a hole by hole recap, but I snapped a few here and there that DO NOT do this place justice. It offers a series of 5 tees, which can be combined for different holes that give it a unique feel. We played the Blues (next to the tips).

Overview

Brandon (Bames) and I have always wanted to get together and have a round. Over the last few years, we've never really beed able to meet up and make this happen. Until last Friday.

The weather was PERFECT. Absolutely no excuses. Wind was minimal at best, sky was blue, course was green and the grass was wet from an overnight dew. Just perfect conditions for two Masters of the game.:emot-ange (I'll give you a hint - we need work on our games. Especially me. LOL.)

We arrived just short of 8am, parking lot was sparsely filled, the course beckoned to be conquered. After taking care of the unpleasantries (I paid $0, how sweet is that?) we set off for the first tee. No warm up for these studs.

After a few rusty gate swings, both of us were out of the gate wishing that the range was full of our divots. We really should have hit a bucket. LOL. By the 3rd hole, my pants were soaked from looking for stray balls in the hay. This course is PUNISHING of you're off the beaten path. When it rounds out in the summer, it's a no look, hit another from the tee. Impossible to get a club on anything that's more than 15 yards off the short stuff. It's a shotmakers course and makes you think rather than reach back and pound one out there (I came to find this out after a few weak swings on the front 9 - be careful, this place will eat your lunch and ask for seconds if you're a big hitter that is any bit wild.)

I finished the front nine 15 over. I carry a 6 handicap. Outstanding work. We had a battle of three jacks, I think Brandon won with 3. I had two, and made a couple putts that saved my ass from many more. The greens are slow, but sneaky. Pins were often placed where touch is absolute - no throwing it through the break and hitting the cup or you're 7 feet past in a heartbeat. Very subtle breaks that catch you looking the other way. I like this style of course. And the greens are small, very small. A couple of par 5's are 3 shot par 5's by the green design alone. You just can't carry a 3 wood or hybrid there or you're over the back. Very well designed.

The back nine I came around a little, but i still wasn't out of my funk. If it weren't for some lucky putts, I would have shot the lights out again. Brandon played much better on the back 9 as well.

The course is generally surrounded by housing lots that don't give the feel of encroaching on the course at all. I like that. I've played several courses where I feel I could snap a bikini strap or have a Bud Lite with Lime. Not cool. This is not the case with Hawktree. They've gone out of their way to make this course inviting, yet cozy as well.

I ended up shooting 89 (by my math), which was flattering by the way I struck the ball. Both of us needed some warm up time, or less idiocy. Whichever. LOL.

Overall I had a blast with Brandon and would advise giving Hawktree a go. And, if you ask nice, Brandon might tag along and give you sound advice. His group did all the pump work and irrigation on the course, so he knows just about every nook and cranny around the joint. Plus he's a great guy, so that's a bonus. :D

I'm two for two with wonderful trips with ST guys. This doesn't surprise me one bit.

Oh, you'll notice that Brandon took some pics of me. So, don't yell at me because I traditionally forget to take pictures of myself while swinging the sticks.


This is the tee of hole#1. (B, if I screw some of this up, chime in.) Wonderful hole, and would be very easy if a guy wouldn't thin his drive up the right, then underclub coming into the green to an impossible lie, then 3 putt. Solid golf.

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The sand at Hawktree is black. Yes, black. It's a cool large grained sand to keep it from blowing away in the wind and is awesome to play out of. Not that I'd know...

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Brandon, addressing the ball on 3. I hit a nice little draw on this hole. One of the only pars on the front nine for me. Sad...

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Brandon, in action on 3...struck this well.

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Par 5, uphill and stupid long. I smoked a drive on this one and then smother hooked a 3 wood into the garbage leaving me nowhere to hack out to. User error....

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This was my par attempt on the par 5. Brandon said he was taking the pic, so naturally I left it 20 inches short. Story of my life...

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This is me hitting a sweet shot out of the aforementioned black sand bunkers. Man, it is so easy to get out of that I flat chunked this into the water about 18 feet in front of me trying to hit a PW from about 115. I'm the greatest ever.....(what a douche.)

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Green from aforementioned 115 yard PW failure...

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This is Brandon's place. Nice shack, Eh? ;)

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Brandon, approach on the same hole....wondering if he should change the den decoration to Sante Fe or something more inviting...;)

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A couple of shots from up top overlooking the valley. The first shot shows the big, giant par 5 that I was putting on earlier in the pic sequence.

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This is hole # 18. I played this pretty well and smashed a huge drive to put me into scoring position. I'll have a par please. :dead:

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If you get the chance, check out Hawktree. You won't be disappointed. I'm already salivating at the chance to challange that course again because it soundley kicked my arse. I wil admit, that if you aren't playing blind from your first time there and play with some smarts, this course could play alot easier. But it finds a way to punish you if you at any time challenge it and try to sneak on by it. Gotta love this game. :)


R35
 

Wi-Golfer

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Holy Shit, nice friggin house. Now I know who has all the damn money, or maybe just a real hefty mortgage.

Great looking course, who woulda figured N.Dakota could look so nice?
 

MIKE1218

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Beautiful course. Cool how you can form such comeraderie with folks you met on teh internets.
 
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Rockford35

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Beautiful course. Cool how you can form such comeraderie with folks you met on teh internets.

It was my second ST outing. A great way to meet new people, to say the least. And play some stick at the same time!

R35
 

eclark53520

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Wow, fantastic course!

You should come on down to Wisconsin for a round with us man!!! We do have quite a few sheep farms around....;)
 

MGP

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Awesome course, I'd love to play it. I love courses that make you think about your shots and keep the ball in play -- it's a bit of an equalizer for me against the the 'bomb-n-gouge' guys.

Sounds like you guys had a great time, double awesome.

Beautiful course. Cool how you can form such comeraderie with folks you met on teh internets.

Yes indeed. I met my regular playing partner here a couple years ago. I play with Youngun5 all the time now and we're members at the same club. Great guy with a great game. For that alone, I'm extremely thankful for Shottalk. :thumbs up:
 

mont86

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You just missed the rain! 10 inches by what the news reported.
 
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Rockford35

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You just missed the rain! 10 inches by what the news reported.

Just reading that now. It was hotter than hell on Sunday when we left. Pushing 90* on the road back to SK.

R35
 

warbirdlover

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Great pics and comments. We played our Wis ST outing on a layout somewhat similar but nowhere near as nice. That fescue (spelling) is impossible if you get in there... which I frequently did. Looking forward to Brandon's comments. Met him this winter when he came to the Milwaukee area for a conference. I picked him up at his hotel, we stopped at an area with a Golf Galaxy and B & G Sports (another golf store) and were drooling at all the clubs. Then had lunch and dropped him and his friend off at the airport. Great guy and I envy you getting to play a round with him. Let's see.... that house in ND probably would run around $100,000. :D Much cheaper to live there I hear. (JK)...

Now I still need to meet R35!! :thumbs up:
 

VtDivot

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Nice round - remind me to give you 5 a side if we ever play... ;)


Course looks nice tho, from the pics posted the hay looks pretty long. What was the deal, was your long game just left at customs or what?
 
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Rockford35

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Nice round - remind me to give you 5 a side if we ever play... ;)


Course looks nice tho, from the pics posted the hay looks pretty long. What was the deal, was your long game just left at customs or what?

5 a side? Give me half a bucket of range balls and 4 minutes on the putting green and we're on.

I didn't find it terribly long from the tees we played. 6400 from the "Hawk" tees, 6900 from the tips. It plays a bit longer because of the geography tho.

I was pretty cold out of the gate, felt very tight. Brandon noted that he felt a sense of heightened excitement, but I'm sure that comes along with picking up your playing partner at the hotel and heading to the first tee. :D

I hit some long ones (Brandon can attest) that I didn't take much advantage of, but my swing got left in Estevan, I think. Couldn't get into the rythym. :faintthud

If I had another shot at the course, I'd play it much, much better of course.

R35
 

EddieC

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Those fairways and greens look like astro turf they're so nice. That big chuncky sand looks cool as well. I noticed that sort of big grain sand in the bunkers at the Presidents cup when I attended a few years ago. Thought that it "looked" like it would be easier to hit a ball out of....is it?
 
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Rockford35

Rockford35

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Those fairways and greens look like astro turf they're so nice. That big chuncky sand looks cool as well. I noticed that sort of big grain sand in the bunkers at the Presidents cup when I attended a few years ago. Thought that it "looked" like it would be easier to hit a ball out of....is it?

It is, very much so. However, you can easily scoop alot of sand and chunk it if you're not carefull.

One of the courses near here has Caribbean white sand bunkers. It's a dream to play out of, but same idea. Fat is no good, so you have to be on your toes moreso than plain jane sand.

I had limited fairway experience, but I'll take your word for it on the astroturf. :faintthud

R35
 

bames

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I feel bad that it took so long to respond to this. I spend my weeks not installing a pipeline where I don't have cell service let alone internet. I would like to respond by confirming what Rock said -- the day could not have been more perfect for golf. I thouroughly enjoyed the company, we had some great discussions covering topics from Obama to seafood. I actually think the conversation, weather, and course were so good that we forgot to play golf. We both started out a little...rough. We both had a quite a few good shots, but didn't seem to put more than two of them together. I think the best way to describe Hawktree is sneaky. It lulls you into believing that is is open and not that difficult. Miss the fairway once though and you realize you were dead wrong. Next time we play we'll both focus on scoring and get some redemption we deserve from the Hawk!
No - that isn't my house...it is just sitting where my house SHOULD be. I owned that lot but sold it last minute to invest into my business. It chaps me every time I play that hole, but what are you going to do right?
Rock is a great golfer, you can tell when someone is good but having a bad day or bad and having a good day. He is good. He has a respect for the game and I admire that very much. I cannot wait to do it again, and invite anyone to join us next time. Bring a few extra balls!

B
 

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