My golf game sat dormant for a year until I played Union City Country Club on Thursday.
I hadn’t played because of a lack of time — or making time — than anything else. Yeah, I know, a poor excuse for not enjoying a great game. Hopefully, I can change that in the near future.
With a lack of playing under my belt, I was eager to hit the course and curious to see what shape my game was in.
The first hole at Union City, which is located off Route 8, is a 350-yard par 4 that goes up the hill. It’s a nice, inviting way to start off a round.
And I passed my first test.
My 3-wood off the tee hooked, as it usually does, but I still was left with about 100 yards to the green. Unfortunately, there were some trees blocking my approach. I took out my 60-degree wedge and sent my ball into the air.
It clipped some leaves but still landed on the green in regulation, leaving me with about 30 feet for a birdie.
I left it short — man, I hate leaving a birdie putt short. I had about 4 feet for my par and sank it, catching the left side of the hole and falling in.
First hole, first par.
For me, it could only get worse. And, believe me, it did.
I will say I managed par on the last hole of the front nine, a 375-yard par 4. You need to clear a small stream with your tee shot. It shouldn’t come into play, unless you top your shot and load it up with topspin. From there, the hole curves back to the left, with sand on the right-hand side of the green.
My tee shot wasn’t very promising, hooking back into the fairway on No. 8. However, I had a clear shot from 150 yards. If I went long, the sand would enter the picture.
It was a needless worry as I stuck my 8-iron onto the green. I salvaged a two-putt for par from about 35 feet.
Union City could be considered two courses in one. The front nine (par 36, 3,285 yards), which opened in 1960, is fairly open, which is helpful for someone like me who turns a draw into a hook too often. There are trees than can enter the picture, but I didn’t encounter trouble like I did on the back.
It was perfect for someone like me getting back into the swing of things.
The back nine (par 36, 3,010 yards), however, is a different story. It opened in 2000 and has plenty of trees, which is nice on warm, sunny days like the one I had.
However, you need to be accurate off the tee, or you’ll be looking for your Titlist in the woods.
You’re challenged right away on the back, where you need a strong tee shot on No. 10 to clear a pond. But clearing the water isn’t the only tough shot. Spray it left or right, and you’ll be in the trees.
I love the finish of the round on Nos. 17 and 18. Both set up well with my draw/hook. No. 17 is a 275-yarder that doglegs left. I love swinging away on those holes, not caring how much hook I get. The green is sloped, so you need to leave the ball below the pin for an uphill put.
The round ends up with a 315-yard par 4. I hit my best tee shot of the day on 18. It was a perfect draw, going up the slight hill.
The course has charm, and the staff from general manager Bill Dinsmore on down was very friendly and helpful.
I was impressed with the relaxed feel and didn’t feel nervous bringing my 8-year-old and 10-year-old sons with me. In fact, any worries left after I saw on different occasions a couple kids playing with their mom, a non-playing girlfriend tagging along with a boyfriend, and a wife watching while her husband played. It was very family friendly.
Playing in August after a dry, muggy summer, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a lot of brown on any course. Union City was full of color and the greens were soft.
I missed playing the past 12 months, but I’m glad I ended my hiatus by hitting the links at Union City. Hopefully I don’t wait as long for my next round. And I definitely want to return to Union City Country Club in the future.
Union City Country Club
9400 Club Road, located off Route 8
Union City, PA
Notes: Check out their website for a coupon. Also, the clubhouse offers a bar and restaurant.
– Rick Green, email@example.com