A friend and I had a tee time at Musket Ridge in Maryland on Sunday so I decided that I’d make a weekend of it and check out a couple other courses on Saturday. There were a few places that I was considering for my morning round, but none of them appeared to be anything spectacular. They all had potential, but I was most excited about playing nearby Whitetail in the afternoon. I planned on taking I-81 and Greencastle was convenient, which is how I ended up here.
I caught a break with the weather. A line of storms was moving east while I was rolling north on I-81. That’s the way I-81 is signed (north/south), but the section of road that I was on is actually more northeast. That meant I caught the very bottom edge of the storm for about an hour of my drive. It was some heavy rain too which slowed me down! The rain cleared out before I arrived, but I was a little late for my 9:40am tee time. That didn’t matter though as it was a pretty quiet morning. Unfortunately, I got stuck behind a foursome and it took 4 hours and 40 minutes to get around. There might have been golfers on the course when the rain blew through so that might have backed things up, who knows.
The course drained nicely as evidenced by few squishy spots and no standing water. There wasn’t even any standing water in the bunkers, although they did have a few rocks in them. That’s impressive since I think the area got about an inch of rain in the morning! The rest of the course was in good shape.The greens rolled fine and at a medium speed, but there were a bunch of ball marks. The fairways were full and I could crisply contact the ball. I even had a few drives run out. The rough was cut down and playable, but there were a couple patchy spots where grass didn’t seem to grow. Some tees had plenty of grass while others were more sparse.
Greencastle is a community course that isn’t too far from the interstate. I passed maybe ten homes in the short distance from when I pulled into the community to when I parked the car. Based on that, I expected every hole to be lined with homes. That wasn’t the case at all! There are homes on four holes that I can think of and they were only a bother on two. In fact, the course has a variety of holes. There are some holes out on what looks like could have been farmland while others play through the woods. Greencastle has plenty of elevation change, especially on the holes that play near a creek that cuts through the course. The opening and closing holes for each nine, as well as the 7th and 8th, play on the clubhouse side of a creek. The rest of the course is more spread out on the other side.
I played the blue tees which play 72.9/129/6892. When I posted my score, the rating and slope were 74.0 and 136, respectively. I’d tend to agree with the higher numbers because I found the course very difficult to play! Two things stood out to me about that. First, the course seemed to have more difficult par 4’s than an average course. Five of the ten par 4’s play more than 415 yards. There are some forced carries on them too which add to the difficulty. Second, there weren’t many flat spots on the greens. I didn’t feel like I had much chance to make a putt over 10 feet because of all the break that I consistently faced. Overall, Greencastle wasn’t as playable as I prefer.
I paid $49 for a weekend morning and for that price, the course wasn’t much of a value. I did see an online time for ~$33 which would have made it sweeter. I was hoping Greencastle might be a gem, but I’d say it just a middle of the pack course. If you are passing through the area I’d certainly suggest checking out Whitetail before Greencastle.
#1 (342 yard par 4):
The 1st hole is the shortest par 4 on the course, but it could be an easy bogey if missing the fairway. It plays downhill so a layup club is a good choice. The fairway is on the narrow side and some trees are to the left. Hitting the fairway is important in order to spin the second. There are some mounds to the right of the fairway which can kick the ball back towards it so that isn’t a bad spot to miss. I hit it up in those mounds and had an awkward stance with the ball above my feet. From there, I played into a green which slopes from front to back so stopping the ball was nearly impossible from the rough and my stance.
#2 (380 yard par 4):
The 2nd is a mid-length par 4 that plays straight up to the green. The tee shot is semi-blind and I picked a line out over the ball washer which was a good choice. There aren’t any hidden hazards off the tee and there should be plenty of room to find the ball. The approach plays into a wide green that is guarded by water short and left. The water cuts into the fairway so I would make sure to carry it at least to the front of the green. The green slopes from right to left and a ridge can be used to get the ball closer to a pin on the left. The second shot plays just enough uphill that I opted for an extra club.
#3 (199 yard par 3):
The 3rd is a long par 3 that played about a club uphill for me. There are water features short and long of the green so getting the correct distance is important. The one short of the green isn’t directly in front of it and there is ~10 yards of space to work with. The green is wide and slopes from back to front. It is a challenge and one of the more memorable holes at Greencastle.
#4 (556 yard par 5):
The 4th is the longest par 5 on the course and it plays uphill which also adds some distance. The fairway narrows the farther that someone hits it and there is out of bounds to the left. A wayward shot to the right should be able to be found, but the next shot could be affected by a row of trees. The fairway is skinny for shots over 150 yards into the green and starts to get wider the closer you get to the green. Therefore I’d recommend laying up to 100 to 125 yards from the green. I used an extra club on my third shot from that distance.
#5 (417 yard par 4):
The 5th is middle of the road difficultly-wise on the scorecard. However, it was one of the hardest holes on the course for me! Most of that has to do with the fact that I like to cut the ball and the hole sets up for a draw. For those that can draw the ball then playing out towards that gap in the trees is a good line. Any number of clubs could work from the tee and driver shouldn’t be needed because of the drop from tee to green. My layup shot ended up in the fescue to the right and I couldn’t get to the green in two. The approach plays about a club downhill into a green with a hazard short and left. There is trouble beyond the green too so any miss needs to be short and right.
#6 (216 yard par 3):
The 6th is the longest par 3 at Greencastle and from the back tees it is a monster! It plays through the trees and it is all carry to the green. A draw or a fade might be needed depending on the pin location. The tee box for the whites are on the other side of the hazard off to the right. That angle completely changes the hole to make it much easier. The green should be receptive to a long club because of some back to front slope from both tee angles.
#7 (387 yard par 4):
The 7th is a mid-length par 4 that doglegs left around some trees. There is quite a bit of fairway out to the right and some right to left slope which can yield good bounces. The approach plays slightly downhill into a green that slopes from right to left. Make sure not to miss over the green because the ball probably will get a bad bounce.
#8 (474 yard par 5):
The 8th is the shortest par 5 on the course and it is a great birdie opportunity. The trickiest shot is going to be the tee shot. The hole doglegs right and the green is nearby the 7th tee box which should be an indicator of how much it moves. The fairway is blind which makes picking the correct line difficult. I ran through the fairway on what I thought was a good shot! That could be a problem because there is out of bounds to the left. If someone can carry the tree over the hole marker sign that is probably a good line. There could be a chance to go for the green in two, but that will mean playing through a narrow opening to a small green. I thought there was more slope in the green than I could read!
#9 (409 yard par 4):
The 9th is an uphill par 4 and the green is up by the clubhouse. The approach was an extra club for me into a green that slopes from back to front. To do over again, I would have tried harder to keep the ball below the hole. There is a random pond well short of the green which could come into play on pitch out or poor shot.
#10 (434 yard par 4):
The 10th is the #2 handicap. It is a long par 4 that plays gradually downhill to the green. The tee shot could land into an uphill or downhill slope depending on the wind and how far someone hits it. I hit a drive into the wind and had 190 yards into the green. The approach is where it starts to get tough. The green is about 50 yards deep, narrow, and surrounded by water. The front section is higher than the back which is where my hybrid ended up. I had a nearly 100 foot putt! I like to see less trouble around the greens on long par 4’s but that is just my $0.02.
#11 (137 yard par 3):
The 11th is a short par 3, but judging the distance was tough. It plays uphill and none of the green can be seen from the tee. I thought it played about a club and a half uphill. The pin was on a back tier which I had no idea existed until I parked the cart. The rest of the green should be pretty accessible though.
#12 (435 yard par 4):
There is a lot going on at the 12th. It is a long par 4 which plays to a fairway that slopes from right to left and runs out. The longer hitters are probably going to have to be careful with their distance off the tee because the ball could land on a downslope and run towards the water. I ended up on the right half of the fairway and had to hit a fade from a draw lie over the pond. The left side of the fairway leaves a better angle and what looked like a flatter lie. The green slopes from back to front and being below the flag is best.
#13 (538 yard par 5):
I think the 13th is one of the least interesting holes on the course. There are homes to the left and a pasture to the right, both of which are out of bounds. There aren’t any bunkers until someone gets to the green and then there are homes visible beyond the green. There is some slope in the back of the green which can be used to spin a wedge close. A good drive sets up a chance for a par or birdie.
#14 (186 yard par 3):
The 14th is the last par 3 on the course. It looks a bit boring, but I think that is just the flat spot where it is located. The green is surrounded by bunkers so a long iron with the correct flight is important to get it close. I clanked my shot short of the green and had a straightforward short game shot. I thought that it was fairly designed.
#15 (398 yard par 4):
The 15th is the only par 4 on the back nine that is shorter than 400 yards. It is one of the easier ranked holes so it can be a bit of a breather. The fairway is narrow and slopes from left to right. I aimed towards the 2nd bunker with a 3 wood knowing that I couldn’t reach it. Even if someone ends up in the bunkers they looked fairly flat so reaching the green could still be possible. The approach was uphill and with the ball below my feet.
#16 (544 yard par 5):
The 16th is a long par 5 that will probably be a three shot for most because of a pond short of the green. That means a driver isn’t needed off the tee. The fairway slopes from left to right where tee shots land and the left side of the fairway is best as it opens up a clear view of the layup area.
#17 (433 yard par 4):
The 17th is another difficult par 4. The landing area is blind because of an elevated tee box. The green is actually straight ahead, but the fairway was narrower that I expected. I hit a 3 wood off the tee and had a mid iron into the green so there are options about how to play the hole. The second shot was about a club less into a green that angles from front left to back right around a bunker. There is some water to the left of the green which could come into play.
#18 (420 yard par 4):
The 18th runs parallel to the 9th and played almost the same. I’d try to favor the left side of the fairway as the ball might kick a little right. The approach is about a club uphill and the green slopes hard from back to front.