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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Winter Work Pays Off For Mount Kisco CC

photo courtesy of Mount Kisco CC
I visited Mount Kisco Country Club today and was delighted to see the results of the work done over the winter. It's always refreshing to visit a club where the membership believes in the game enough to invest in their course.

I've always felt Mount Kisco is one of the most under-rated courses in Westchester. It has one of the best arrays of hole shapes and lengths I've encountered, with everything from short but tight par fours to three back-breaking monsters at 446, 453, and 466--all playing uphill! The par threes range from 163 yards to 208, and even the three par fives differ greatly from one another, running from 490 to 549 yards, one uphill, one with cross bunkers, another (the 17th) with water in front of the green. The greens themselves are small and devilishly difficult, adding extra teeth to the 6552-yard, par-71 layout.

Among other improvements, Mount Kisco spent a large, large sum during the winter months to upgrade the course drainage system. In the past, there were often problems with water in the fairways, not surprising when you consider that a network of streams meander through 13 of the holes. Today, however, even after three straight days of rain this week, we didn't encounter a single bit of water in any of the fairways. Not one!

The biggest change was to the signature tenth hole, a 201-yard one-shotter where the green is fronted by a pond and protected by flanking bunkers. Several superfluous trees were removed, mostly to improve turf conditions, and the pond was expanded and given a classic finished look with a stone wall enclosing it on three sides. The result is quite pleasing to the eye and serves to only increase the intimidation factor of a tee shot that has to carry the picturesque pond.

Also receiving a makeover of sorts was the sixth hole, a 349-yard par four with an island-like green surrounded by deep bunkers and swales. It used to be a dark and forbidding green crowded by grass-killing trees. Now, with the encroaching foliage gone, it has a whole new look that emphasizes the precision required for the second shot by making the green stand out from the topography. It's also a lot more difficult to judge the distance for the second shot since the back of the green resembles nothing so much as the eye-fooling edge of an infinity pool.

The changes made this winter were actually the continuation of a facility upgrade begun in 2007. Improved practice facilities, several new tee boxes and remodeled green complexes have been added through the last five years. There's still work being done and probably always will be given the highly commendable resolve of the membership to make Mount Kisco CC a stellar golf course.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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