Pickering Valley

6,572 yards, 127 slope from the back tees.

Course: Just outside Phoenixville, PV is a farmland course, a farm converted into a golf course. The holes traverse the area’s hills and over the few lakes. This is more of a muni and is a good course to go to for a little practice. There’s not much distance here and most of the holes don’t present a challenge except for the downhill and uphills trying to adjust your yardage. You are either going downhill or uphill on most of the hills to greens that consist of pretty easy approach shots. Putting here is also pretty easy. In fact, a good score can be had so long as you don’t hit it wildly left or right. Don’t expect too much with the conditions.  Holes of note are 8, a nice par 4 demanding a pretty solid tee shot over a lake, then an approach over a nook to a tucked in green. I like the tee shots where you hit down to the fairway, which happens often here.  9 goes uphill to a nice green complex surrounded by bunkers.  No cart girl. 

Honestly, this course is fine for what I consider it. I know there are some old timers and other guys that use the course as their regular, but I see it more as a good place for beginners and a cheap place for some practice rounds before the weekend. I’m not an awesome golfer or think I need an upper tier course to hang out at, but the course feels like it was just thrown together without too much thought.  Put a bunker here, this lake will be good to hit over, etc. I don’t have a problem with that and like coming here to try different clubs and practice my best draw. You need courses like that as far as I’m concerned. And not any course can fit that bill. Most cheap courses are too beat up or terrible to waste time on. Here, you have a picturesque course with great surroundings that has a few interesting holes. I certainly enjoy myself during the round.

Gripes: I think peak prices are a reach. Can get crowded. Conditions can also get dicey. Carts are basically Model T’s. Greens can get a little like plinko.

Bar/Grill: Indoor area with cheap food and beer. No nonsense.

Clubhouse: Same as the bar/grill area. The equipment is outdated and doesn’t really have much of a selection.

Nearby: A bunch of stuff depending on which direction you go. Phoenixville has a ton of places and there’s places all over route 30.

Getting there: Lots of side roads off of 202 or 30.

Update, October 2012:  I actually work pretty close to this course, so frequent the course and practice range much more than I did in the past.  The range is a nice setting and for $2, you get a small bucket of mostly beat up balls to hit on a hillside.  I’ll take that lunch break any day.

In playing the course recently, I’d say my first review was pretty right on.  It’s a great course to practice on and I enjoy playing it, so long as I can play alone and there’s no crowds.  The green fees can get steep in a hurry and I wouldn’t pay the peak prices, but it’s a nice track that gives you some nice shots.  The back 9 is much better than the front.  The First, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth are almost the same hole; either uphill or downhill with a green at the end of the hill.  The par 3’s are interesting, as the Second is a nice 175 harder with an elevated drop tee shot down to a green and a 210 yarder with bunkers on the left and right of the green.  The Seventh and Eighth are interesting, as the Seventh is a par 4 with a blind tee shot that turns right and down to the green with water on the right and bunkers on the front right of the green and far left.  The Eighth is a par 5, where the tee shot is a forced carry over water.  A fade is probably the best play here, but the fairway is tough to make out, so aiming at a landing area is a little tough.  The hole then passes a gateway of trees to an elevated green.

The back 9 gets interesting with the Thirteenth, which starts in a narrow chute of trees and goes downhill to a green that is set on the hill side, giving you a different angle for your approach shot.  The Fifteenth and Seventeenth are great downhill tee shots that make you do different things.  The Fifteenth makes you carry a ravine on your second shot and the Seventeenth has a severe sloping left to right fairway that goes downhill, then presents a forced carry over a wooded area for another 100 yards to the green.  You get the downhill/uphill holes with the Eleventh, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Eighteenth.

I like drop shots and elevated tee shots and there are a bunch of them here.  Specifically, you get them at the Second, Fifth, Twelfth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth.

Generally, the design here is pretty straightforward and the hills are used much more creatively on the back 9.  For the lower green fee rates, I enjoy walking the course and fine tuning, or just flat out practicing, my game.  It’s relatively easy to score well here.  It’s a good place for beginners as well.

I took some photos on my last visit:

Tee shot at the Second

Second shot at the Fourth.  The green is at the top of the hill.

The green at the Fourth, looking back at the fairway

Tee shot at the Fifth, going back down the hill

Tee shot at the Seventh.  A blind shot and the tree line on the left tells you the direction of the hole.
The approach shot at the Seventh.

Tee shot at the Ninth.  Back uphill.

The green at the Ninth, looking back towards the fairway

 

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