Happy with bogey at Lake Shawnee Golf Course's signature hole
The drive into the Lake Shawnee Golf Course parking lot provides an indication of what you’re in for right away
For those golfers intimidated by trees, rolling hills and even more trees, you might keep your head turned to the right until you park your car.
Known for it’s hilly terrain and the challenge of playing several holes that bring Lake Shawnee into play, this course is a fun track that provides enough of a challenge for even the most talented players and manageable distances for the more amateur players.
No hole brings all of that together quite like the par 4 second hole, which features the shores of Lake Shawnee running along the entire left side and has you thinking safe and right the entire way.
In fact, even before you reach the tee box you’re thinking safety first, with the severe downhill slope of the cart path away from the first green putting you on edge before you even reach the course’s signature hole.
There’s a fairway bunker on the left side that is a good landmark to aim for, but only in terms of picking a spot that you want to be well right of. The fairway is there for the taking, with its narrow, rolling hills. But you have to hit it.
From the first three tee boxes, you can easily see the bunker and your alignment takes you right naturally. From the championship blue tees, you have to stand on the very lefthand side of the box to catch a glimpse of the bunker, but even just seeing it for a moment before you swing can help put your mind at ease.
That’s where I played from to kickstart this challenge and it reminded me of an old joke that former Journal-World Sports Editor Tom Keegan and I used to laugh at whenever we played.
With both of us maintaining handicaps in the mid-teens, we weren’t exactly the first people you’d think of to play from the tips. But every once in a while, depending on the company in our foursome, of course, we’d play a round from the back tees and each time we did we had a blast.
“Golf is a much easier game from the tips,” we’d joke, knowing damn well that the added distance usually would reek havoc on our scores and our stress levels.
But it was always fun to try. And, more often than not, it took the pressure of trying to play the perfect shot completely out of the equation. From the tips, you’re just trying to survive with a respectable score.
That was my approach for No. 2 at Lake Shawnee and I have to say it went quite well.
Measured on the scorecard at 369 yards from the blue tees, my drive went high and stayed right from the minute I made contact. It was the perfect shot for someone who had just stepped out of the car without any kind of warm up whatsoever in that I made good contact and new it was safe the entire time it was in the air.
As I drove up the cart path to get a peek at where my ball had landed, I found it sitting in the center of the fairway, just short of that bunker I talked about earlier.
It was hardly the biggest bomb you’ve ever seen, but on this hole, I would gladly sacrifice distance for safety. Besides, the drive left me about 180 yards from the green, a distance easily reachable with a good shot. I’ll take that drive every single time on this hole.
I grabbed a 5 iron for my second shot, hoping to make good contact and give myself a chance at birdie, but I hit it a little heavy and immediately knew it had no chance of reaching. Again, though, it stayed right and was safe the entire time.
Standing over my third shot from the right side of the fairway, I had about 50 yards to the flag. Although I felt good about where I stood at this point, I wasn’t home yet. With the lake now surrounding three sides of the green — at least from my vantage point and in my mind — I knew I needed to hit a good shot to be in the hunt for a respectable score.
Luckily, that was exactly what came next. I hit a half wedge toward the green and landed it just past the flag. The roll from there carried my ball about 30 feet past the hole, but at no point was I worried about the result.
If anything, I fully expected to come up short on my third shot, simply because the pin was positioned in the front of the green and the water that my mind no doubt had brought into play was looming. For the blog’s sake, though, I went for the flag and was rewarded.
Sitting 30 feet away from par, from the tips mind you, was a great spot to be in and gave me a feeling of victory in and of itself even before I grabbed my putter.
At this point, I’m feeling like a bogey is the worst I’m going to do. Welcome to my world. Bogey golf, on most courses, turns into 90 and if you make a few pars and a couple of birdies along the way, you end up in the low- to mid-80s.
For what it’s worth, I have broken 80 one time — with a 79 — and it remains one of the best days of my life. Sadly, it’s now been nearly five full years since that day. But I have mixed in quite a few rounds of 83 or better in the time between then and now and my experience on No. 2 at Lake Shawnee had me believing this round, had I played it out, would have been another one.
Back to the green, I had a slightly uphill putt that broke left to the right toward the water a bit. Standing over it, I felt like it was more than manageable, something I could give a real run.
I did exactly that, didn’t leave it short and missed it a couple of inches left — on the pro side, I should add. I had a two-footer for bogey from there and easily cleaned that up and walked away feeling good about my bogey 5 from the tips on Lake Shawnee Golf Course’s signature hole.
You won’t find me complaining about that. I would take that every time on this hole, yet I still felt like I could have done better. I loved my drive, loved my wedge onto the green and felt good about my two-putt. The second shot cost me.
All in all, it was a really fun hole, with a fair green, a somewhat forgiving fairway (as long as you stay right) and a manageable distance that allows even average-length hitters to recover from just about any type of shot.
There are harder holes out here. No. 2 is just the No. 9 handicap on the 18-hole course. But, particularly from the tips, with a semi-blind tee shot, this challenge allows you to get a great look at Lake Shawnee and provides the challenge of staying focused and precise with every shot from tee to green.
Book your tee time today to try to tackle No. 2 and the rest of the fun that Lake Shawnee Golf Course has to offer. And tell ’em Tait sent ya.