The Stow Acres South Course was the 26th new course in my quest to play them all.
This place was THE PLACE to play when I was growing up. It had 36 holes and gained notoriety in 1995 when the North course hosted the US Public Links Champ.
I even remember playing a college match here, but only lasting a hole or two before snow accumulation became a problem.
I hadn’t played the South Course in many years, and remembered only a few holes. It’s a course that has a few little tricks you pick up after a few rounds. A couple blind tee shots, like on the second hole where a small hazard awaits any straight drive on the dogleg left would be easier to navigate a second time around. The stretch of 5,6, and 7 is probably the best on the front side. Would be fun to play either 5 or 6, both short par 5s, as a par four 4 from a tee up.
The back nine has a bit more land movement and interesting holes. The par 5 10th is a good hole and the short par 4 13th is solid but doesn’t offer much “go for it” temptation with big trees guarding the aggressive line.
The closing stretch is confounding. 14 is a horseshoe par 5 where a 5-iron, 9-iron, wedge will get you home. Not much opportunity to be aggressive. The 16th is the longest par 4 and the second shot is completely blind. Not my favorite up over a massive hill.
Going around Stow South without any course knowledge was frustrating, but it wasn’t the type of course that wouldn’t be enjoyable the next few times around. It certainly pays to know your way around, but once you do, there are some scoring chances out there. It has its share of bad holes, but the good ones are fun.
I wish the course was in better shape. The openings to the greens were shaggy and so were the fairways. I’m looking forward to getting out on the North course, probably next summer. A long sunny day and 36 holes at the South and North sounds lovely. Especially right now as the sunset is creeping earlier and earlier.
Playing Partners: Phil
Tees: Blue (6700 yards)
Game: Match Play
Birdie Count: 1 (33 total)