|Manatee County Golf Course in Bradenton, FL|
Sunday September 1st I had my first opportunity to play Manatee County Golf Course after it was reopened. Pope Golf ( a golf course management company) announced some time ago, that they will redo the greens. I have not played on that course for a while, but do remember, that the greens where in need of some redoing.
I signed up with good skins game group for an Sunday morning round. When I got there I had plenty of time to sign in. Right when I walked into the club house I saw that they remodeled the food area and the pro shop.
The pro shop before was mostly in white and neutral colors, having no character whatsoever and not giving you the feel that you are entering course which is closing soon rather then a well run operation.
The young staff member behind the counter was friendly and handled the line pretty well. Sign up took about 5 minutes. It was nice Since it was labor day weekend, we got a free bucket of balls and a free drink ( which I forgot to drink lol). Next I picked up my cart and the golf balls.
Cart was very clean, looked new and running well. They have a ball machine with tokens, which made it easy to get them as well.
Manatee County Golf Course has a good driving range. It is all grass tees and they have so much space, that they can move nicely with their tees, making it a good practice area. I saw that they have new targets. Much easier to read the distances, see flags etc. I was very happy with the changes on the range as well. I think they bought new range balls a year ago or so. That makes it a good experience and if you know the % of lost distance, you can really work on your distances and shots.
We start at 9 30 am from the blue tees. Checking the score card I found that the blue tees play about 6650 yards. Very nice length and a good challenge.
The tee boxes were good and for the most part I was able to find a flat tee off spot, which at some courses is a huge challenge. As it had rained a lot we played lift clean and play. That was a good thing because the fairways were good, but they are not like country club fairways which drain fast and are in good condition even shortly after heavy rain.
So the fairways were good. Coming to the first green was a very pleasant surprise. Although the greens are very young and still hard, they are in good shape and roll very nicely. Seems to be like a 10 or so on the speed. I love that. They roll true and you do not need to hammer every ball to even get it there. Another positive thing was, that the greens were consistent through out the course. So no surprises and you could really get dialed in on the speed. My putting got better by the hole.
Good greens are one of the most important if not the most important thing I look at on a golf course.
After the first few holes it started being hot and humid. So water was a necessity and I am happy to report, that there is plenty of drink stations with cold water. Get a cup of ice in the restaurant and refill your water on the way. I drink a lot of water while playing , but many courses just do not provide enough here in Florida.
At the turn I decided to get a hot dog. I checked the menu for other options, but nothing was appealing and I did not have much time. The girl behind the counter was very friendly and I got my hot dog in a matte of seconds. The hot dog looked good and was hot. The bun was no good. It fell apart, was too small and wet. They had condiments like ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut and then packages of relish, mayonnaise. Even the onions were in packages. I have to say I was disappointed. The hot dog tasted good, but surely it was not presented nicely. Got some chips with it. For 3.75 $ I guess it was an OK deal. Still, this could be done nicer and more appealing.
The bag nine offered good tee boxes, OK fairways and very good greens again. Water was available here as well and they have sufficient restrooms on the course.
On the back 9 there was a little smell from the county water cleaning system, but not enough to bother me a lot.
What really bothered me are the little flies which are present all over this course. Those little things get into your knows, mouth and ears. It is something you need to deal with. But, if you are in focus, put repellent on and keep fighting them, you are ok.
Pace of play was good and we made it in just over 4 hours. I am sure it will be slower in season. But I have a feeling that they will work on being on top of that.
Overall , this was a good experience. The course was in good shape and the greens were very nice. The price was good. 25 $ plus tax including the cart ( and a bucket of balls on that day).
All staff members were friendly, tried to help and smiled. The club house was clean, restrooms in the club house were clean, parking lot was clean and the course itself was clean and taken care off. This is a good golf facility to play and practice. Enjoy a round of golf, the driving range or the huge putting green.
I certainly will play here again and even think about getting their 12 month membership, which sounds like a good deal. Kind of depends on the rates in season. But I will write about that in a different article.
For now, Manatee County Golf Course for sure is a course you should play at least one time. It is a good challenge and with the new greens this course offers some championship play options.