Oak Meadows in The Friendly Skies
Tee Time: July 15, 2016, 6:08pm (scheduled), 8:28 (actual), 72 F, recirculated air
Playing Partners: Playing as Fred, who I pried from the clubhouse where it looked like he was flirting with another lovely golfer
Tees: Back, Par 72 (6,513 yards)
Stats: 83 (44-39); 36 putts; 12/14 fairways; 9/18 greens; 1 penalty stroke
I can only do so many crossword puzzles on airplane flights. Luckily for me, insie American Airlines’ free in-seat entertainment sits a golf game. I felt compelled to review it… and this might be my finest work yet…
Oak Meadows inexplicably opens with a 143-yard par 3. I don’t think that has ever been done on a premier course such as this before. Water protects the left of the green, but is not a real threat. The 2nd is a 340-yard par 4 with a narrow fairway and a green that’s hidden down the left side of the dogleg. Good tee shot placement should leave a chance at a close approach. Another par 3 is the 171-yard 3rd. Not much to it.
The stunning 315-yard 4th doglegs right to a hole surrounded by water and shoreline on three sides. Breathtaking. The 544-yard 5th is a monster three-shot par 5. Button-pushing accuracy is essential here. For some reason, Fred’s 3-wood travels 60 yards less than his 3-iron, and 20 yards less than his 6-iron. Hmmm…
The 6th is a risky, short par 4 with water about 190 yards from the tee. Go for it if you dare. Fred came up a bit short and had to take a penalty stroke. The 7th is yet another short, dull par 3. Next! The 8th is a thrilling, wide open par 5 with more water than a Louisiana bayou. The football field-wide fairways invite power swings, so hit the A-button and let her rip.It’d be reachable in two if Fred took lessons on how to hit a 3-wood. The front side closes with a 370-yard par 4 that is bisected by a creek. Too far to carry so you’ll have to lay up.
The back nine opens with a fun little par 4 with an approach over water. The greens are running hard today. Either that, or Fred’s bagged is stocked full of Top-Flites. Thankfully, the last par 3 is the bland 11th. This one has a token water hazard that won’t come into play. The long, par-4 12th looks like they copied and pasted the 8th and then narrowed it. Shortcuts… Stay to the right for the best approach angle. The 13th is a lengthy, dogleg-left par 4 with no water in sight.
The 14th is a dogleg-right over water that plays like #10 on steroids at 400 yards. The 15th is a sneaky, downhill 361-yard par 4 with a tee shot that will scoot down that fairway into the waiting creek. Be careful.
The final par 5 is 513 yards of alpine beauty looking out over that pixelated mountain lake.Even Edgewood can’t beat that view. The 17th is a 437-yard monster par 4 with elevation change. Fred got his shit together finally and made a birdie! After the breathtaking 16th I was disappointed that the par-4 18th featured neither water nor views. Just finish your round and open up the SkyMall, I guess.
The snack bar at Oak Meadows is very accommodating. The beverage cart provides peanuts, pretzels, soda, eye masks and blankets as well as liquor for a small fee. The roving marshals provide excellent customer service and the intercom above never hesitates to interrupt your round to let you know how much longer your round will last. I didn’t get a chance to play Riverside View unfortunately. I hear it’s even more scenic. Maybe next time, if American Airlines Country Club will have me again.
Time to make sure my tray table is locked and seatback fully upright as this lovely round has come to an end.
Layout: B-; a repeating layout that had a chance to be great if not for that closer.
Amenities: A, with this course it’s all about the legroom.
Staff: A; the “pretty young girls in the back” were very helpful
Difficulty: B-; I always found the 3-click swing hardest, and the aiming left much to be desired
Scenery: A; and if you look down to your left you’ll see the Grand Canyon…
Value: A; free with purchase of a flight
Overall GPA: 3.56 (A-)