Friday 21 March 2014

Essex Country Club (Holes 9 - 18)

The difficult eighth green features a shallow, crowned left side and a high, unpinnable right side which could be used to deaden approach shots and let then feed left towards the hole.  

The ninth green features two bunkers benched into the green pad and more small, irregular mounds left.  The siting of this green also offers spectacular views of the front nine.
The back nine plays over some heavy undulating terrain.  The centre of the tenth fairway is in line with the tree in the background, but to obtain the best angle of approach drives should flirt with the creek left.

The tenth green is modestly crowned, and the surrounds have been shaved down to allow balls to run into the green side bunkers, as intended by Ross.
The wonderful, uphill par 3 eleventh, featuring menacingly deep hazards left and an excellent back-to-front sloped green.  Recent tree removal behind the green has exposed the terrific landscape at Essex CC.

Trouble awaits any misses at eleven, here seen from behind the green.
The tee shot at twelve plays blind over the right hand shoulder of the hill, which until 2007 was replete with trees.

One of the few downhill approaches at Essex CC, the green features more back-to-front and right-to-left slope than is readily apparent.
The thirteenth features hazards along both sides of the fairway immediately beyond the mounds.  Recovery is possible during dry periods, but the hole is short, so laying back for the sake of accuracy is a smart play.

The green side bunkering nicely incorporates native flora into the faces to give a naturalized appearance.

The thirteenth green is full of movement and interesting putting scenarios.
The par three fourteenth falls away at both sides of the green, and features a subtle swale running perpendicular to the line of play, creating a plateaued back shelf.
A closer look at the contouring of the fourteenth green.

The 16th green surrounds merge nicely into the 15th and 17th tees, creating a unified whole instead of three separate elements.  The fifteenth tee offers a nice preview of the challenges awaiting at seventeen.

The tee shot at fifteen plays diagonally to the fairway over some broken ground featuring fescue grasses and sandy waste.  Again, a large scale bunker has been employed to conceal the elevation from fairway to green.
The fifteenth green slopes heavily from back-to-front and has a lovely backdrop.

A brave drive at sixteen should attempt to carry the bunker set into the hillside on the left, thus avoiding a blind approach into the green.

Approaches played from right of this point in the fairway will be obscured by the fescue-faced waste bunker.  The at grade and subtle green is protected by two deep bunkers left and are barely visible in the photograph.
The short par four seventeenth plays steeply uphill for both the tee and approach shots.

Anticipation of a close approach shot lingers during the steep ascend, but regardless, another excellent green awaits.  Note, the original green was located directly behind the photographer of this picture.

While not personally fond of super elevated tees, the views offered here are worth it.  The drive should be played between the eroded path and bunker on the left hand side hill.

The final approach must negotiate the creek guarding the green closely at front right.  The majestic clubhouse provides a beautiful background.
Essex Country Club is a definite must-see when in the Boston area, and exudes old world charm.  Not overly taxing in terms of distance, but full of mystery and character that would make one never tire of playing this fabulous golf course.

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