6,253 yards and 122 Slope
Course: J Ville, Shannondell and Westover make up the Norristown 3, or three courses in the Norristown area that are all pretty close to one another. This is a George Fazio design and I can appreciate that, as he designed a few of the courses in the area. Many are quite interesting, including old Westy, to some extent. Tree lined fairways throughout with some elevation deviations and a couple doglegs make up this course that has some good, bad and ugly. The good is there are some set ups here I haven’t seen any where else that I wish I did. Most notable is 12, where you tee off into a a downhill severe dog leg to the right, then carry over a creek to a green where anything to the left goes off to a steep rough area. The green pulls in that direction, which makes putting an exercise in physics. Or 4, which is a nice tree lined par 5 that demands a target approach shot to avoid the army of bunkers. 18 is a nice finishing hole, with your second shot carrying over a pond to an uphill green with bunkers in the front. I look forward to these holes when I play here because they are fun, challenging and there’s a lot of different ways to play them, making you bring your course management skills. The green fees here can be reasonable if you come at the right time. Cart girl is occasional, but they have a nice snack shack at the turn. This is a course where you can score well pretty easily.
Although I’m not a big fan of the guys in the pro shop, the rangers here are good people. They have always been accommodating and nice. One of them actually bet me I couldn’t hit the green on 17 and when I did, gave me some good swing advice. That is stuff you don’t get at public courses too much.
Gripes: Now for the bad and ugly. The bad is mainly that most of the holes here are bland. Hit it straight, not into the trees, 2 putt and your round will be over before you know it. Unfortunately the good holes are few and far between the forgettable ones. The ugly is that the par 3 11 is terrible. The tee keeps moving forward and backward, it used to be a par 4, but changed to a par 3 for some reason and it’s sandwiched by houses. The tee box on 14 is astro turf. Bring a hammer to nail your tee in the ground. Generally, I just feel like maintenance issues don’t do this course justice and a lot of the holes are the same – straightway holes with greens protected by a bunch of bunkers. This is also one of the few courses I take issue with the service. Don’t expect friendliness. The guys in the pro shop downright don’t care if you come back or not. They know the location will bring enough regulars and others who want to golf in their backyard. If FDR is the South Philly Country Club, this is the Norristown Country Club. The course is usually very crowded and backed up. Despite my problems with the place, I come here usually once or twice a season because of the holes I like and because I’ll have a good score more likely than not. With that being said, I never come during the weekend to avoid the crowds and will get the cheapest rate possible. I probably wouldn’t shell out whatever they charge for peak, as there are better options down the road, literally a mile away.
Bar/grill: The bar wraps around a center square with tv’s along with a huge screen. They will do the right thing and put golf on when it’s on. Beer and food is good, regularly priced. The Bloody Mary is above average if the right bartender makes it. A good place to hang out after the round.
Clubhouse: Ok. They have some stuff, but don’t go too far with picking anything up or the aforementioned pro shop guys will start barking.
Nearby: Pretty good Mexican food place back down in Norristown, or Chap’s down the road.
Getting there: Main street Norristown for a couple miles, or 422 and about 15 minutes.