Yardage: 6121 yds
Weather: Partly Sunny, variable breeze.
Tee Time: 10:04
Written By: Steave Habbert
Played With: Paul, Mike, Tony.
Quick Take: A nice hidden surprise of a course, great staff working hard to return the course to greatness. Excellent potential.
On an excellent Thursday morning, we made the 40 min drive from my house in Huntingtown to Marlton Golf Club. Located in relative close proximity to the neighborhood / subdivision of Marlton. Only selecting to play there by word of mouth praise, we knew nothing about Marlton Golf Club. The information and history on the course were provided during a brief interview with the General Manager Stephen Mills. He informed us that the course was initially created in the 1960s and fell onto hard times over the years. Recently however, the he and his staff have done a remarkable job turning the course into a respectable place to play your 18. A two plus year undertaking to restore the course, Stephen and his crew are proud of how far they have come, and that pride comes through with each discussion I had with the employees. It’s a professional pride, not an arrogant one that you may find at some courses. I felt welcome there, which is important for an Average Guy Golfer.
Now to the course review. With us never played before, we were lucky enough to be paired up with a couple of guys who shoot pretty regularly there. Mike, and his son Tony (a Cowboys fan… won’t hold that against him) were there to practice up for a junior tournament that would be taking place that weekend. The advantage of having them go through the course with us was an added bonus, as they were able to assist us in shot placement and fairway reads. Let it be said that it is indeed a good thing they were there, because the signage for hole locations and where to go in relation to the next tee box were sparse. The course winds across some neighborhood streets, and I’ll be honest, if it were not for them, we would have gotten turned around on at least 3 occasions. Minor issue, but one that during their rebuild / restoration, I hope they address for the new clientele they are sure to bring in. While they started us on Hole 10, I’m going to fire from 1 – 18 for the sake of continuity.
HOLE 1: A big Par 5 with multiple elevations. Recommend a layup to keep the ball from getting wet in the pond. A good tee shot could help you here, slicers beware as it will push you out of position. Aim at the sand trap off of the tee and work your way down the fairway. Shoot for the green over the pond if you are daring, lay up if you are smart. The green was in good condition, multiple levels, fast.
HOLE 2: A short par 3 over water, with sand at the back ends, if you are like me, you’ll want to aim for the sand and hop to avoid the wet ball. Aiming between the sand and splitting the traps will allow for a scramble vs a sand save if you overshoot the green. Played a half club shorter than initially thought. No elevation change. Green had a chemical burn on the far left side (from the tee) possibly from a spill when caring for it. Unless they move the hole location in the near future, (back right) it shouldn’t play as an issue unless you aim for it. Plays slower, is flat with a slight grade down and right towards the trees.
HOLE 3: Green is blind from the Tee Box with the fairway bending left slightly and the green ending up back right again. Aim at the fairway sand trap and you should have a good follow up to the left of the green (safe) If you want to risk it, large sand trap at the green can get in play if you choose too short of a club. A relief to the left of the green is the safer option, but may end up giving you a +1 if you don’t get the up down right. Green was in great shape.
HOLE 4: Tough hole to play if you don’t have your iron game down. Sand traps to the front and right of the green and then a gully / stream in front leave little room for error on the short shot. Elevated green, go bigger on your club selection to be safe. Green was FAST. Good shape, little dead spot on the far back right edge. Bogey isn’t a bad score for this whole.
HOLE 5: A narrow tee shot that opens to a wide forgiving fairway. Doglegs right at the second trap on the left. Aim for the left traps to set yourself up for a decent approach to the green. Keep in mind that the traps are 276 from the Blue tees, meaning if you can’t get your big dog to play nice, iron or 3 wood through the chute to the fairway and then work your way around the bend. Those who can shape their irons will have the best advantage on this hole. Narrow but long green. Played slow for all players, no matter direction.
HOLE 6: Fairway is graded on both sides so aim down the pipe. It’s a wide fairway, but plays narrow due to the grade. Bends left slightly and traps are surrounding the green so play with care. Aim left of the traps and use the fairway relief to your advantage. I had no notes on the green for this hole so it’s in standard shape.
HOLE 7: A long par and Par 5 that bends to the left. Nice cut fairways with a vary picturesque yet narrow tee shot. Opens to a wider fairway with new white sand bunkers on the right side. Aim to the bunkers to follow up with your second shot towards the green. Bunker on the right is a good layup distance to the green that is surrounded by traps. The green itself is elevated from the rest of the fairway. Keep this in mind for your setup / layup shot.
HOLE 8: Birdies can come easy with this shorter Par 4 if you are accurate with your follow up iron. A slight bend right plays to favor a fade, but not a slice as you can cut it too much to the trees and water. If you have a tendency to fade, aim to the fairway bunkers on the left and put it on the left edge of the first cut to line up for a clear shot at the green. Green for this one played a bit fast.
HOLE 9: Another hole that favors a fade. Bunkers again mark the aim point for the elbow of the fairway. With only one trap on the high green, you have a bit of scramble vs. sand relief on this one, and it could make the average guy score get a birdie. The green was larger, though it may have been the elevated position that made it seem that way. Fairway on this whole was in great shape.
At the turn we stopped in the smaller but very adequate clubhouse snack shop. The standard fair is available there, and as with most of your civilized courses these days, the ability to call your order in ahead of time was made available via flyer board on the cart. For what it’s worth, the Marlton Club was one of the best club sandwiches I have had in a long time. Paul got a half smoke, Mike and Tony each got a Nick’s Sausage which Marlton proudly serves there. All three loved their selections and downed them quickly on the way to the next tee box (we had a group in front of us anyway) Tony and Mike both said the quality of food there has improved dramatically within the past 6 months to a year.
HOLE 10: Slight right downhill fairway from the tee, an average player may hit the drive of their life if they catch the right role. The green elevates back up a bit. A fade here doesn’t hurt, a hook however could mean a lost ball and hitting 3. As is becoming a running theme here, aim at the fairway bunker on the left side to follow up with a solid iron or run up dribbler to the green. The green itself is smaller, but deceptively fast.
HOLE 11: Tricky hole to play as it is very narrow. No traps to use as aiming points here folks. Recommend an accurate tee club selection here as a fade or draw too much in either direction means the 5 min clock to find your ball has started. Bunker behind the green allows for an easier run up / approach to the green, but be careful, because the green itself while flat, is fast. Too much of a shot or put to the back left could mean a sand save / recovery.
HOLE 12: Fairly standard length Par 3 with a BIG green that has a front end that could kill if the pin was there. The sand on both sides of the front could spell trouble if Stephen and the team over there wanted to be malicious with pin placement. On top of that, the green is slower and plays longer than it reads. Whatever club you choose, hit it high, and let it stick.
HOLE 13: Hard dogleg right (not quite 90 degrees) could end up with a right shot / fade ending up in the neighboring fairway. Aim just to the right of the fairway bunker and do your best to keep it straight. The elevated green has three tiers to it and was the most challenging for us. Speed of the green was different for each tier as well.
HOLE 14: Birdie hole if played right, the blind Tee shot due to a huge downward elevation change could have drives rolling long for you. A bigger green, read and rolled true. A round of 1 putts for the foursome on this whole.
HOLE 15: Standard sized Par 4 that is more or less a straight shot. The sand on this whole was being replaced and by the time you play may have the nice newer white sand that is all the rage on the courses these days. The green is mostly flat with a small grade that tapers towards the edges. Played faster than about half of the other greens on the course, the fairway had a soft wet spot. Could have been due to a sprinkler issue.
HOLE 16: I have in my notes “TOUGH HOLE!” and judging by my scorecard… It must have been. The 90 degree dogleg right means you must shoot for the fairway bunker, yet keep slightly right of it. If you have any prayer of the eyeballing the green for a second shot you need to hit it a pretty solid 230+ off the tee. The woods and hill at the interior of the elbow leave no visibility and almost zero chance of cutting the corner, try that at your own risk. If you don’t reach the bend, you can shape a fade for the follow up shot… good luck. Bogey on this whole is not a shame.
HOLE 17: Marlton’s “Signature Hole”. Water, water, everywhere. While not an island green, it might as well be. The tee box of the blues was next to a water nozzle of some sort that was shooting water at high velocity into the lake to our right and was somewhat distracting. The scene of this hole was quite lovely though. The drop area (which I had to use) wasn’t in the greatest of shapes, but the green itself was.
HOLE 18: 500yd plus Par 5 that shoots over water from the back tees. Use the bunker on the right as an aiming point to allow a good line at the second and third shots (unless you are THAT guy who can get there in two… if you are, avoid the bunker on the front right of the green) The green itself sits higher than the fairway, though not as much as some others on the course. The grade can be significant depending on pin placement.