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Yoakum course can be tricky


Aug. 22, 2009 at 3:22 a.m.

Eight state championship signs line "Championship Row" at the Yoakum Golf Course. The Yoakum Lady Bulldogs have made 28 consecutive trips to state and have won eight Class 3A state titles.

Eight state championship signs line "Championship Row" at the Yoakum Golf Course. The Yoakum Lady Bulldogs have made 28 consecutive trips to state and have won eight Class 3A state titles.

YOAKUM - Home to the eight-time state champion Yoakum Lady Bulldogs, the Yoakum Municipal Golf Course has also received its own recognition through the years.

The course has been recognized by the Dallas Morning News in its annual golf issue on several occasions as one of the 25 best 9-hole courses in the state.

A fairly wide-open course, the 5,920 yard, par-72 layout has enough water and out-of-bounds to give the average golfers just enough challenges. And if that's not enough, there are plenty of oak trees that can reach out and grab an errant shot.

"It's open and you can slam it off the tee and get down there, but you have to keep it in play because there are problems areas on the course," said Don Williams, who has played the course for more than 50 years.

The course was established in 1936 when the city purchased 123 acres at its present location on South Park Road to construct a course. The course had sand greens until 1956, when then-city engineer Ruben Koether supervised construction of elevated greens.

"It's come a long way," Williams said. "It's gone from sand greens when I started to what it is today, and a lot of that is because it is kept in great shape and there's a lot of pride in the maintenance crew in maintaining the course."

One of the prides of the course is "Championship Alley," where eight signs display the names of players and coaches from each of the Lady Bulldogs' state championship teams. Along with the eight titles, the Lady Bulldogs have also had six runner-up finishes and eight third-place finishes in their 28 trips to state.

The 375-yard first hole plays differently depending on how the wind is blowing. A stiff north wind can make the hole play very tough, while a south wind can turn it into a birdie hole.

The 377-yard second looks to be another birdie hole. But the wise golfer knows how tough this hole plays because of the trees surrounding the green and a small L-shaped pond just off the right side of the fairway, about 120 yards from the green.

The best location coming off the tee to set up your second shot is to be on the right side. But again, you have to be leery of the pond as it has been known to gobble up many balls. Should you be able to place your tee shot where you want it, down the right side, then you should have a good angle to the green that will allow you an opening between the two large Oak trees that protect the front of the green.

It's also a hole where you don't want to be long. Trying to get up-and-down from the backside of the green is usually next to impossible.

The 381-yard third hole that doglegs to the right usually plays into some type of crosswind. Most golfers will try to cut through the dogleg to set themselves up about 90-100 yards from the green. But with a grove of trees slowly beginning to grow, this will eventually take away that shot and force golfers to play the dogleg.

Moving to the fourth, one finds the first par-5 on the course. The hole plays at 458 yards and is a birdie hole if the golfer doesn't get overzealous.

Out-of-bounds runs down the entire left side and, for those golfers who try to hang their tee shot wide right, a pond is nestled in the right rough to add another big challenge off the tee. The pin placement plays a key role with your approach to a very sloping green.

The par-4 fifth is the toughest hole on the course from the back tees and fourth toughest from the front tees.

Both tees play down a narrow shoot that opens out to the fairway, so a straight tee shot is crucial. And with a very sloping green, the hole becomes even tougher in trying to find a position on the green where your putt will roll straight to the hole.

The par-5 sixth plays over water off the tee and then doglegs slightly left. If clearing the water was not intimidating enough, you can't afford to hit your drive through the fairway on the right side, as trouble lurks from a number of large oak trees.

The final three holes finish up with two par threes and a par four.

The 126-yard, par-3 No. 7 looks so simple to play, yet can destroy a good round as easy as placing a ball on the tee.

Out-of-bounds lurks to the left if you pull your shots and a number of young palm trees will eventually provide trouble for anything hit to the right.

With a good south wind blowing, the 313-yard, par-4 No. 8 is a hole that can be driven off the tee. In fact, the hole has produced only one hole-in-one, that coming in November 1994 when Steve Franz turned the trick.

But while it is tempting to unleash your driver here, you still have to be cautious of the L-shaped pond the hole shares with the par-4, No. 2.

The par-3, 138-yard No. 9 has surrendered more than 40 holes-in-one since 1959, but the hole actually does not play quite that easy.

Mostly played into a stiff south breeze, the hole also contains the only bunker (located on the back left side of the green) on the course, and if you take your tee shot out too far to the right, you will find yourself in a small forest of oak trees. And if you go long, you could be looking at out-of-bounds.

So remember, when you step up to the first tee to begin your round, don't let the wide open spaces fool you into a false sense of security as the course has plenty of challenges out there just waiting for you to want to give up the game when you finish.



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