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Where to play featherie golf

Updated: Feb 19


Players at the 2023 Oddball, Washington, Illinois.

It can be tough to find a course that has the right combination of length, topography, and design for featherie golf.


That’s why we started the list below: to help spread the featherie game by sharing courses that fit the bill.


We will be adding new courses to the list over time, and we hope you will, too. If you enjoy a course that would be ideal for playing featherie golf, please email your answers to the six questions below to cathylane1118@gmail.com. Your information will be added to the list below.


Three notes:

1. If a course’s design and management allows it, it is perfectly acceptable to move tees forward so as to tailor the course to fit your needs.

2. If you’re lucky, some greenskeepers may even cut shaggier greens for you off the main greens. We generally mow a 20-foot circle green with grass 5/8 of an inch to 1 inch tall for our featherie events.

3. If a course works well for featheries, it stands to reason that it will very likely also work for gutty golf.


Thank you in advance for helping to spread featherie—and gutty—golf!


The questions:

1. Name and city/state/country of golf course

2. Relevant course history

3. Total yardage of course (An ideal feather course should be approximately 1,500 yards in length, with holes that are under 200 yards.)

4. 9 or 18 holes?

5. Positive or negative design/play factors? (For example, any forced carries? Can you bounce and run the ball to the green?)

6. How likely would it be to lose a featherie ball here? Use a rating of 1 through 5, 1 being very unlikely and 5 being very likely.


Please email your answers to cathylane1118@gmail.com.



Featherie-friendly courses (last updated 2/19/2024)

SCOTLAND

Submitted by Denny Lane

1. Balgove Course, St. Andrews, Scotland

2. Established 1993.

3. 1,520 yards

4. 9 holes

5. Scottish links course, so very flat with some bunkers. Usually windy; keep the ball low.

6. Loss factor: 1.


Submitted by Andy Grow

1. Portmahomack (Tarbat) Golf Club, Tain, Scotland

2. Club began in 1909; course existed since at least 15 years prior to that date.

3. Yellow (middle tees) is 2,423, but can easily play forward of the tees off the fairway.

4. 9 holes...10 if you ask one of the members!

5. Scottish links course, so bounce and run. Playing the low ball game is PREFERRED.

6. Loss factor: 1.


USA

ARIZONA

Submitted by Nicholas Chmielewski

1. Encanto 9, 2300 N 17th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

2. Designed in 1935 by William Park Bell, who was the original designer of Torrey Pines South Course.

3. 1,710 yards, there are three holes over 200 yards the rest are under

4. 9 holes

5. The course is mostly flat with nice hard turf and wonderful run ups to the greens. The greens can be tricky with their gentle yet challenging undulations. There are no forced carries and no water hazards.

6. Loss factor: 1. If you pay attention to where your ball goes, you will not lose it.


CONNECTICUT

Submitted by Christian Williams

1. Fenwick Golf Course, 504 Maple Ave., Old Saybrook, CT. (Watch a round of gutty golf here at https://youtu.be/ccWfEPdAQm8)

2. Opened in 1896, Fenwick is the second oldest course in Connecticut. Many features from the original layout remain, though the condition of the course has been modernized over time.

3. 2,378 from the forward tees.

4. 9 holes

5. Links-style, unirrigated course with fast and firm fairways that are fairly large. No forced carries into greens.

6. Loss factor: 1. There’s ample room on every hole to keep the featherie in front of you and very few trees. A few holes have some longer fescue but it’s easy to avoid. Keep the ball on the ground and out of the onshore winds.


Submitted by Christian Williams

1. Woodstock Golf Course, 204 Roseland Park Rd., Woodstock, CT. (Watch a round of featherie here at https://youtu.be/fiQvSc8Ttgw)

2. Opened in 1896, Woodstock is the third oldest golf course in Connecticut. The current layout dates to the early 1990s, but it still plays very much like a turn-of-the-century course.

3. 2,040 from the forward tees

4. 9 holes

5. There are no forced carries into greens, but several blind shots and fairways that are lined with dense trees. Fairways and greens are maintained a bit longer, which offers a more authentic featherie and gutty experience.

6. Loss factor 3. There’s ample room on most holes to keep the featherie in front of you, but be careful on the blind shots.


INDIANA

Submitted by Joey Piatek

1. Hammond Youth Golf Academy at Lost Marsh, 901 129th Street, Hammond, IN

2. Built in 2001 as the home of the Hammond, Indiana, chapter of the First Tee Program

3. Tees are 1,364 or 1,169 yards

4. 9 holes

5. There are some opportunities for angles and strategy to be used, and the longest hole is 176 yards. Also there is rolling topography with three holes from elevated tees. The 5th hole requires a long shot over a marsh, so the forward tee should be used. There are some unmown/natural areas that may result in a lost ball, but there is plenty of room to play away from them. There are two holes with shallow sand bunkers.

6. Loss factor: 2


ILLINOIS

Submitted by Denny Lane

1. Hillcrest Golf Center, 1829 Washington Road, Washington IL

2. Founded 1958. Family-owned until 2022, but course is largely unchanged since private owner took over.

3. Full course is 3,095, but back 9 is ideal at 1,090 yards.

4. 18 holes

5. No bunkers. There’s a small lake, but it’s possible to hit from the side of the water rather than over it. Very possible to bounce and roll ball on most holes.

6. Loss factor: 1


Submitted by Joseph Trefilik

1. Wing Park Golf Club, 1000 Wing Street, Elgin, IL

2. Founded in 1908, Wing Park is the oldest nine-hole municipal golf course in Illinois. It has remained largely unchanged since the course was designed by Tom Bendelow, who designed more than 600 other golf course.

3. Blue tee total is 3,131 yards; white tee total is 2,778 yards; and red tee total is 2,629 yards. The course is ideal for gutty or featherie play. Course is mostly flat, with small hills and some rolling fairways. Greens are small. Tree-lined fairways but not forest area in which to lose a ball or golfer.

4. 9 holes

5. There are no forced carries. You can bounce and run the ball to the green, and there are no raised greens.

6. Loss factor: 1.


MASSACHUSETTS

submitted by Christian Williams

1. Highland Links, 10 Highland Light Rd., Truro, MA. (Watch a round of featherie here at: https://youtu.be/ESlcuTEK6Ac)

2. Founded circa 1892–1898, Highland Links is one of the oldest courses on Cape Cod and one of the only true links courses in North America.

3. 2,293 from the forward tees

4. 9 holes

5. Player demand for more modern conditioning during the height of the golf season has slowed down the fast and firm fairways favored by gutty and featherie players, so try to play here in the off-season when it’s less crowded and plays closer to a true links course.

6. Loss factor: 1. There are no forced carries but many blind shots and some fescue. Fairways are large, though, and you should be able to enjoy several rounds here with the same Lane featherie if you keep the ball on the ground and out of the wind.


MICHIGAN

Submitted by Nicholas Chmielewski

1. Ironwood Links, 742 N. Eifert Road, Mason MI

2. No notable history. The course was originally a 9-hole, links-style course until 9 more holes that play through the woods were added.

3. From the back tees, it is 1,912 yards out, 2,062 yards in, or 3,974 yards total. From the forward tees, it is 1,730 yards out, 1,664 yards in, or 3,394 yards total.

4.18 holes total. But only the front 9 are ideal for feathery.

5. The front 9 forward tee layout at 1,730 yards is great for feathery. The ground allows for run-ups to most of the greens and offers gentle elevation changes. There is water on holes 2 and 8, but it can be avoided by teeing off away from the forced carry tee box at your own makeshift teeing ground.

6. Loss factor: 3, due to the water hazard and some taller grass in the rough, but loss is still unlikely.


Submitted by Andy Grow

1. Scott Lake Golf Course, Comstock Park, MI, USA

2. Relevant course history: Nothing historic about it at all.

3. Longest yardage is 1,017 yards. Shortest is 548.

4. 6 hole course.

5. Positive or negative design/play factors: Relatively simple short 6-hole course, no forced carries (that I can remember).

6. Loss factor: 1


NEW YORK

Submitted by Christian Williams

1. Shelter Island Country Club, 26 Sunnyside Ave., Shelter Island Heights, NY. (Watch a round of gutty golf here at: https://youtu.be/NiGVTQmUpyA)

2. Established in 1901, this unirrigated pasture course has remained virtually unchanged over the course of its 120-year history.

3. 2,103 from the forward tees

4. 9 Holes

5. There are no forced carries into greens, but most of the holes move up and down steep, tree-lined hills and there are several blind shots. The firm and fast fairways combined with the hills are a joy to play with both a featherie and gutty ball.

6. Loss factor: 3. Your first loop will give you intel on the blind shots and help you figure out where you need to be a bit more cautious to avoid losing a ball


OHIO

Submitted by Nicholas Chmielewski

1. The Mound Golf Course, 757 Mound Road, Miamisburg, OH

2. Designed by Scottish golf professional, Alex “Nipper” Campbell in 1936, it opened for play in 1938. This course has been used many times for the National Hickory Championship (NHC) and for the International Feathery Challenge (IFC)

3. 2,660 yards from the forward tees; it plays wonderfully for gutty. For featherie, if you tee off from the 150 marker on every hole except the par 3s and the 200 yard marker on the final hole, it plays at 1,356 yards.

4. 9 holes

5. From the featherie layout at 1,356 yards, there are no forced carries or water hazards. The course has wonderfully bumpy greens, dramatic (sometimes blind) approaches, and great elevation changes offering quite the feathery challenge.

6. Loss factor: 2 or 3. Because of the elevation changes and the blind approaches, there is more of a risk.


PENNSYLVANIA

Submitted by Elmer Nahum

1. Bob O’Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park. 5370 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA.

2. Built from 1897–1903 and was originally part of the Pittsburgh Golf Club. It now serves as the headquarters of the Pittsburgh Chapter of The First Tee. The course sometimes plays as an 18-hole, 4,620-yard par 67, but most of the time, there is an alternate routing using a mix of tees and greens for a 9-hole course, called The Bob 9, named after a late mayor of Pittsburgh, Bob O’Connor. There are scenic city views from several hilltops. George Cann, of the clubmaking firm Cann & Taylor, worked here for a few years in the early days.

3. 1,978 yards from front tees on the Bob 9.

4. Usually 9 holes, sometimes set up as 18.

5. The course has the charm of an old course. There are no sand bunkers, but there are multiple areas of grass bunkers, typically 20’ x 2’, strewn throughout the course. If the grass has been recently cut, the ball should be findable. The grass was not cut the day I played, and this reviewer spent 30 minutes looking for the ball knowing it went in one, but could not find it. The teeing area is a mat, but one can hit from the side. Some greens have very tall grass immediately behind or to the side of the green where a ball can get lost. There is one forced carry over a road, an interesting hole. It is a good bump-and-run course.

6. Loss factor: 2–5, depending on if they cut the grass bunkers recently.

Submitted by Elmer Nahum

1. Clover Hill Golf Course. 2200 Reis Run Road, Pittsburgh, PA

2. Built in 1990. Tightly-packed holes. If you have a helmet with a face guard, bring it.

3. 1,790 yards (front tee)

4. 9 holes

5. Rolling hills. Greens are slow but in good shape. Skip the 7th hole with a 170-yard carry. Otherwise, it is nearly impossible to lose your feathery here. This reviewer makes up a tee on the second hole 50 yards in front of the real teeing area. Not an inspiring golf course, but it is a decent test for featheries to practice on.

6. Loss factor: 1 (if skipping the 7th hole)


Submitted by Elmer Nahum

1. Saxon Golf Club, 839 Ekastown Rd, 16055, Sarver, PA USA

2. Not architect designed. Part of a 27-hole complex 45 minutes northwest of Pittsburgh.

3. 2,016 yards (red tees)

4. 9 holes

5. Flat course. No sand traps. Some undulations around green complexes. Multiple sharp doglegs. Tree-lined, but the ball is easily findable, except for a couple of holes, if the ball goes far off-line, the ball might find high rough. At this length, the course is ideal for gutty play. No water. Some holes require more of an airborne shot to the green with higher grass on the approach. The doglegs and trees keep it interesting.

6. Loss factor:1

WISCONSIN

Submitted by Dan Norstedt

1. Pine Meadow Golf Course, 4324 Fairfax Park Dr., Eau Claire, Wisconsin USA

2. Established about 1960. 

3. The website did not give yardage. I estimate it is about 1,200 yards. The longest hole is about 150 yards. There is no course rating. 

4. 9 holes

5. An enthusiastic greens keeper placed small bunkers in front of three greens. He also made "weed traps," small patches of long rough that can interfere with running a ball on three holes. I move my ball if these hazards impede it.

6. Loss factor: 2


Submitted by Brad Korando

1. Washington Park Municipal Golf Course, 2205 Washington Road, Kenosha Wisconsin

2. Washington Park Municipal Golf Course, lovingly referred to as “Muni,” was dedicated in 1922 and is the only public golf course in the city of Kenosha. With its rolling hills and creeks throughout, this course offers a challenging, yet forgiving 9-hole layout that is a pleasure for golfers of all ability levels. Amenities are available to enhance your day, from the Clubhouse Grille to the practice green and gas carts and pull carts available for a nominal fee.

3. Total yardage from the forward tees is 2,056 with 5 holes at or less than 200 yards. The layout is conducive to moving tees forward on some of the longer holes giving one the ability to tailor the course to fit a game of featherie golf.

4. 9 holes

5. The course is laid out over rolling hills with a narrow meandering creek that crosses 6 of the 9 holes. The creek is narrow enough to carry easily with a layup shot. There are sand traps on all the holes, but the greens are all suited to a bounce-and-run approach, a benefit from being a mostly unaltered hickory-era golf course. The greens are well kept, perhaps shaggy by modern play standards, but are about as good as one will find for featherie play. The course is a hidden gem of a hickory course with terrain and atmosphere to add to the experience.

6. Loss factor: 2


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