Monday, May 23, 2011

Major Props to Salina Municipal

Every now and then in life we come across a diamond in the rough. In Swedish we call this a "Smultron-ställe", so named after the very tasty miniature strawberries that grow wild. To a golfer, a place like this may be a course who's inner and outer qualities belie the expectation based on it's appearance and location.
I came across a place like this last week, when I stole away from a set of very elaborate High School graduation events to play a quick 18 holes in Salina, KS. I didn't know anything about either of the local courses, so I decided to give the Muni a shot. I couldn't have been more pleased. First, the course itself: 18 holes at par 70, with the Blue tees measuring 6,500 yards and the Whites 6,212 yards. The two nines are fundamentally different in character. The front nine is pretty flat and open; while the back nine don't have a flat hole in the bunch. The rough is open, and it's easy to locate your ball even if you miss the fairway. There is no water, and the biggest risk is where OB cuts fairly sharply into the playable areas on three holes of the back nine (two of which I found with my own ball). The holes are close together, making it a great course to walk, and I did note several walkers when I was out. I would caution you to make sure you mark your own ball, as there's a good chance it'll wind up on a different hole if you're not accurate. For as early in the spring as it was when I was there (temperatures in the upper 40s), both the greens and fairways were in VERY good shape. The greens rolled true and consistently, and the fairway was dense. Secondly, the people were great. Very friendly staff in the shop, and the groups I came across on the course were very prompt and courteous about letting me play through. Thirdly, the practice facilities were very accomodating. A large putting green that appeared to be very consistently prepared as compared to the course. They also had a well manicured pitching and sand green, as well as a large range. The course also has a close connection with the First Tee program. Salina is located where I-70 and I-135 intersect in East-Central Kansas. You may or may not have much reason to be in that neck of the woods, but if you do I highly recommend this course for a casual round. Their website is Keep'em in the short stuff.


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