Monday, September 28, 2009

A Mountain High at Sawmill Golf Course

Sawmill Golf Course
Easton, Pa.
Yards: 2869/2411 - 5280
Par: 35/35 = 70
Rating: 64.2, Slope: 105
Score: 45/46 = 91
Date: September 26, 2009

While visiting family in the Lehigh Valley this past Saturday, I had the opportunity to again play a round of golf at Sawmill Golf Course in Easton. I had previously played Sawmill in 2007 and enjoyed the experience. Sawmill was built on an old farm over 35 years by Dick Field, who still owns the course today. Sawmill does not take tee times and although it has carts for golfers who want to use them, walking is welcomed and encouraged. The course is a medium length track that plays just over 5,000 yards; but what Sawmill lacks in length it makes up for in its unique layout. Most of the holes are straight away, with not a sand trap to be found. But since Sawmill is located in the Lehigh Valley, many of the holes play either severely uphill or downhill. Some holes do feature blind tee shots with fairways that slope left to right.

Sawmill Golf Course Scorecard

The front nine at Sawmill looks pretty tame, and it is, except for maybe the Par 3 7th Hole, which plays out of a chute of trees, slightly downhill to a large green that slopes hard from left to right. If you miss to the right, it runs down into the 8th fairway and there are a few small trees to contend with on your pitch shot.

The First Hole (above), The tight tee shot at the Seventh (below)

I played well on the first nine, shooting 45 with two pars. I was hitting the ball well off the tee and was giving myself opportunities. Witness the fact that I had par putts on five of the first nine holes. Even better, my putting was more consistent than it has been recently.

Sawmill's panoramic view (above), the Ninth Hole (below)

The back nine at Sawmill is where the golf gets really interesting. After straightway, short Par 4s at 10 and 11, the 12th Hole is a 112-yard Par 3 that drops about 150 feet from the tee to the green, which has a road running in front and a creek behind. Then comes the the unusual 13th, a 372-yard Par 5. Yes, a Par 5! A short tee shot is required to an elevated, narrow fairway framed by two overheard powerline towers on the left and telephone poles and an out-of-bounds creek on the right. You'll have about 185- to 200+ yards for a second shot, with a small spring running across the front of the green, so a lay-up short is advised. Hole 14 is a 236-yard Par 4, that plays straight uphill the last 100 yards or so. Driving this green would be almost impossible since the green sits at least 50 yards above the fairway! Hole 15 in a 321-yard Par 4 that continues the journey onward and upward, playing straight uphill to a two-tiered green. But, as they say, whatever goes up, must come down and Holes 16 and 17 both play sharply downhill, with the 16th playing out of a chute off the tee and the fairway being well-guarded by trees all the way down the left side. The round finishes at Hole 18 with with a short, flat, 135-yard Par 3, whose only difficulty is its undulating green.

The Twelfth Hole is 112 yards downhill

My back nine score of 46 wasn't bad considering I made 7s at the 13th and 15th holes when I hit my approach shot and my tee shot out-of-bounds on the two holes respectively. Other than those two holes, I kept the ball in play off the tee and was generally around the green with my approach shots. My chipping was subpar this day, but my putting again bailed me out on the back nine. I had par putts on four of the nine holes.

The tee shot at the Thirteenth Hole, a 372-yard Par 5!

The best part of Sawmill Golf Course was its price. $25 to walk on the weekends and includes as much golf as you can play, whether its 18, 27 or 36 holes. The staff was friendly and they had a nice snack bar where you can relax and relive your round. If you're ever in the Lehigh Valley and looking for an inexpensive, but fun round of golf, I highly recommend Sawmill Golf Course.

More photos of Sawmill:

The Fourteenth Hole is 236 yards, but plays uphill

The narrow, demanding tee shot at the Sixteenth Hole
Photos by The Muni Golfer


Anonymous said...

This course is over priced. It offers substandard fairways and greens, and only a sand trap here and there. Several other courses in the area offer country club like conditions for the same or lesser price. They do not have a putting green, driving range or chipping area yet charge the same as courses that offer these facilities.

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