Price Paid – $14.99 via ezlinks.com
Full Price – $45 according to the course website.
Back in the Buckeye State, I was sucked in by another $10 off coupon from the folks at EZ Links. I had first heard about Kennsington GC on an episode of Tee It Up Ohio with Jimmy Hanlin. It looked nice enough on TV so I thought I’d check it out.
As a golfer who grew up playing a lot of public golf dog tracks, there are little things that I appreciate about nice golf courses. Bent grass fairways and tees are one of those things. I can remember the first time I played on them as a kid at Westbrook Country Club in Mansfield, Ohio. The fact that there were fairways in the world that were nicer than the greens I was used to playing on nearly blew my teenage brain. There is a small part of me that still feels guilty taking a divot on bent fairways.
As an adult, I had a similar wow moment the first time I rode in a car with GPS. A gadget exists that not only shows me where I am but means I no longer have to ask for directions? This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen! Keep in mind this was before the days of the interwebs and all its “benefits.”
As you can probably imagine (if you’re over the age of 35 and I haven’t totally lost you), Kennsington ticks both of these boxes. I’m not sure if I should be excited or depressed that you can play courses like this for $15 but this is the economics of golf at this point.
Kennsington seems to have a mixed reception around the local area. Some told me that the conditions were subpar and that they wouldn’t pay more than $25 for it. I was actually impressed at the conditions at the course. The greens were in excellent shape and the fairways were quite lush. Any problems or issues with the greens appeared to be due to golfers not repairing ball marks. There were a couple holes that appeared to have drainage issues but it’s also been an extremely wet summer and I think a lot of courses have been affected.
If one really wanted to pick apart Kennsington, you could probably start with the design of several holes. #2 is a short par 4 as an example. It’s straightaway but you’ll likely hit a hybrid off the tee. What’s odd about the hole are the two large trees in the fairway that affect the second shot. It’s not like you can play to avoid them so it’s somewhat of a crapshoot if you have a clear second shot. #5 is a par 5 that will remind many of a hole from Special Tee Golf due to the severe dogleg and topography of the hole. #8 is a par 3 with a boulder in the middle of the fairway. I’m not sure I see the point of this kind of feature. For the better golfer it’s not in play, for the less-accomplished player they’re trying to dodge a large rock on a par 3. In either case golfers are scratching their heads or cursing it.
Minor gripes aside, I really enjoyed Kennsington. Apart from a handful of (in my opinion) tricked-up holes, it’s a legitimately tough, challenging golf course. It can play as long as 7000 yards or 5800 if you choose. Regardless of the yardage the wind will be a significant factor. There are some long par 4’s that play into the teeth of the wind and there are some holes where you’ll feel the wind in one direction standing in the fairway but then see the flag blowing the opposite. The day I played I teed it up with two guys, one of whom was a teaching pro, and both of them drove an hour plus to the course. I think it says something about the facility that these guys regularly make that drive to play it.
Value – A
Service – B
Course Design – B+
Cart Girl Talent – Incomplete
Overall Grade – B+