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Golf Course Review: Riverlands G&CC

Before I get into the review I want to explain something. In the past couple of weeks, including at the Zurich Classic, I have had comments saying I have been too generous with some of the recent Golf Nola reviews. Additionally, I have received some emails asking why I have been generous or do I know something no one else knows.

The simple answer has been due to the weird dry summer and strange extra cold winter. Right now I understand may golf courses in the area have been struggling to transition to spring/summer conditions or they are regrowing grass that was lost during a freeze. With that said I have been giving many golf courses the benefit of the doubt that once they do their first aerification and we get consistent warm weather, especially warm, 75° - 80°, overnight temperatures. Some courses that have a bigger maintenance budget have been able to recover or combat many issues such as weeds and clover patches. The generosity has been a result of those factors and understanding it will take time to a point where things should be improved.

One of the biggest issues many golf courses have faced is the one biggest thing I had an issue with at Riverlands. That is an abundance of clover patches everywhere. More on that under the fairways rating below. I was there on Saturday, May 4th so by now they may have done something about those clovers.

The staff at Riverlands G&CC are super nice and welcoming. They still have a temporary golf shop and the main one is under construction. You can still get the essentials you may need when checking in, like golf balls, tees, or a glove, but no apparel or hats, at least not that I noticed.

Once I checked in I was given a cart without a top. This was an experience I have not had since I was a junior and carts had 3 wheels instead of 4. I figured it would be no different than if I walked but I would still get a breeze when moving. For the most part, I was correct. However, if I didn't park the cart in the shade, which I tried to do as much as possible, the seat would get very hot and you would feel it when you sat down. Not a problem when I played but come the summer that would be unbearable to sit on. It was to my understanding they had an outing in the morning so the carts without covers may have been a backup scenario. The golf course was also busy and that may have had something to do with it.

The golf course itself has a good older layout. They lost many trees in a few storms last year so the course is not as treelined as it used to be but it is still framed very well. The greens are smaller and required more accuracy and a really good short game. There is also a good mix of holes that vary in length and risk reward. For example, I hit a 4 iron, 6 iron, 7 iron, and PW on the par 3s. On so many of the "newer" golf courses, you end up hitting the same club on almost every par 3.

Conditions- Overall: 3 out of 5

Tee Boxes: 2.5 out of 5

The majority of the tee boxes were missing a lot of grass or the grass was thin and long. I can understand due to the rain the day before why they may not have cut the grass but unfortunately, there was not much grass to cut on some of the tee boxes. There were a few good spots on the par 3 holes where I was able to put the ball on the ground and it would perch up as if it was on a tee. The tee boxes that did have grass were almost all covered in cut-down weeds. Also, at least two holes had the back tee box completely overgrown and unusable with the tee markers moved up almost 40 yards on each hole.

Fairways: 2.5 out of 5

The fairways only get a low rating due to the amount of clover patches covering them. I lost 3-4 golf balls in the middle of the fairway that got lost in a clover patch. I lost another 2-3 just off the edge of the fairways as well because of the clovers. If your ball managed to miss the clovers the fairways were actually very nice. If you watch the short review video you will see the good fairways. It was just unfortunate that so many of the fairways had clovers on them. If at least half the fairways looked like holes 15 and 17 did then I would have given the fairways a higher rating.

Greens: 3.5 out of 5

The greens were decent. I have seen them much better and Riverlands was known for their greens. They had a decent speed to them and although they were a little bumpy they were rolling pretty well. The best thing is they were very consistent from hole to hole. The holes themselves looked like they might not have been moved for a few days but that is ok with the recent rain and them having an event that morning. It is a common practice many courses do so as to not cause extra wear on other areas of the green. The greens were also firm yet receptive. The ball would leave a decent pitch mark but at the same time would take a good bounce forward. I have definitely seen worse greens and I expect Riverlands will get these back to smooth and rolling great after they do their first aerification of the year.

The rough was basically clovers everywhere. Again you will notice this in the video as I show playing hole number 7. I was not in a bunker the entire day but they looked decent. It was hard to tell how well they were maintained due to the amount areas where golfers did not bother to rake their footprints.

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