Member Guest golf tournaments take place at almost every private or semi-private club through out the country. They are two person events that are usually compromised of different formats and have food and plenty of beverages along the way. While they are great competition, they are not lacking in the fun department. The purpose of Steve’s trip to Arkansas was to compete in the Member Guest Golf Tournament at Paradise Valley Athletic Club, a Private Golf Club with our contributing editor Bruce.
Paradise Valley Athletic Club is a great older course, opening in 1967. It has tree lined fairways with a lot of elevation change that puts a premium on club selection. The golf course requires you to think your way around it so you are not punching out from the tall oak and pine trees on every hole.
The opening hole is a uphill par 4 that requires you to keep the ball down the right hand side of the fairway so that you are not blocked out by trees on your approach. The 4th is a great, short, uphill par 5 that most players can get home in two on but penalizes you if you miss hit either your tee shot or approach. The front nine finishes with an uphill par 4 that has two bunkers in the landing area and if you miss the fairway are blocked out by trees as well.
The inward half has a pair of GREAT par 3’s in 13 and 16. Both holes have water that comes into play off the tee causing the tee shots to be pressure packed. The 14th hole is a dogleg left par 4 with water and trees down the left hand side. The bigger hitters can’t hit driver off the tee because you need to position the ball in the middle of the fairway and not be blocked out by the trees on the far side of the hole. The green is severely undulated and just because you are on in regulation doesn’t guarantee a par. The finishing hole is another uphill par 4 that requires you to keep the ball below the hole to have a chance at making a birdie.
The course conditions were great. The bent grass greens were almost perfect and the rest of the course followed suit. The rough was so think in spots that if you hit a ball in it you may not be able to find it. It is always great to play a course when it is in tip top shape.
After playing a couple practice rounds Friday afternoon started the official festivities. After registering and receiving a new shirt and 2 dozen golf balls (just for playing) it was time for the par 3 shoot out. In a nod to the par 3 tournament at The Masters, this is a 9 hole scramble. All of the holes are played as par 3’s. It is a lot of fun. We made a bunch of 3’s so we were not in the running for the win.
That evening was a cook out and a Calcutta. We had found out earlier that they were not going to have a championship flight. They wanted to have 10 teams in each flight. When we found our names it was the final team in the first flight. They used the team handicaps to flight the fields and the first flight had a spread from .07 to 9.8 (ours). We decided to not even stay to put money on ourselves as the last 4 teams in the flight didn’t have a chance to compete with the top teams. It was kind of deflating.
Saturday was the first round of the member guest. We teed off of the 12th hole playing the scramble format. The front nine was better ball and the back nine was scramble. We played pretty well and ended up shooting a 68. That score put us in 5th place in the flight which we were happy about. The problem was we were 10 shots back of the leaders. Yes, they shot 58!
Saturday night they had a fish fry for us from one of the local catfish restaurants. The food was great and there were a lot of laughs. Most of the players brought their wives. After dinner they had a bunch of blackjack tables brought in and we were all playing for raffle tickets. It was a lot of fun with everyone playing in the tournament.
Sunday we started on the 5th hole playing scramble. We birdied our first 3 holes of the day! We made a couple pars to finish the front 9 and then we made the turn. The back nine was better ball and we just couldn’t get anything going. We finally made a birdie putt on the 18th hole. We ended up shooting 73 on the day and could only laugh about how we played.
Dads Say So, the trip to Arkansas was a great time. While we didn’t win our fight we did have a lot of laughs along the way. We would have liked to see the flights be done a little more competitive so that everyone in the flight had a chance to win. The golf course was great and did make you think your way around it to post a great number. If you have a chance and are visiting the Northwest Arkansas area and want a great test, go to paradisevalleyac.com to find out more information.