By J.P. Kircher – AmateurGolf.com Player Staff
[photo: With this scene in your back yard, how could you not be inspired to play golf every night growing up?]
With the Wegmans LPGA on the horizon, I have been inspired to write a review of my home course, and the tournament’s host course, Monroe Golf Club. Monroe is a fantastic Donald Ross course built in 1923. The course is very special because it is one of the few outside of Pinehurst where Donald Ross actually spent time moving dirt at. The first thing local golfers will say about Monroe is the fact that there are no water hazards.
Did anyone watch the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst? No water hazards came into play there either.
Monroe is no stranger to tournament golf – having been host to the Monroe Invitational, a staple on the top amateur circuit since 1937. Former players in that “Major of Amateur Golf” include Rochester’s own Jeff Sluman, Tiger Woods, Jason Dufner, Dustin Johnson, Lucas Glover, Patrick Reed, and Jim Furyk, to just name a few.
While not a long course by modern standards from the back tees, and with very modest fairways, the challenge will be on the greens. Typically some of the fastest greens in the northeast, with severe undulations on many of them, and normally sloping from back to front.
Monroe is also very guarded by well placed fairway and greenside bunkers, and with the steep lips, can cause some real headaches for the average golfer.
The LPGA plays the course at about 6,600 yards and a par 72. The par 5’s are definitely going to be the scoring holes, and a huge advantage for the longer hitters that can likely reach three of them in two shots. The pars 3’s bear the real teeth of the course, with three of them measuring 175 yards or more. Having grown up on the course, my favorite stretch of holes is what I call “The Loop”. My parents have a house on the 6th tee, and I spent many summer nights going out and playing “The Loop”, holes 6 (200 yard par-3, 7 (345 yard par 4), 8 (140 yard par 3), and then to 5 (485 par 4 from the tips). It was very common to rush through dinner so that we could go play as many holes before dark.The finishing stretch is going to be a great one to see.
No.16 is a very difficult par 3 with a double tiered green, 17 is a lengthy par 4 with a severe back to front green, and 18 is a long par 4, with another difficult green (a valley runs through the middle of it creating three different sections. The prevailing wind is typically into the face on the last two holes. The Greater Rochester area is a hotbed of great golf courses and Monroe Golf Club has a solid place in the city’s rich golf history, right alongside its more famous neighbor Oak Hill Country Club.