Experience The Links at Dardenne

A golf course worthy of your hard-earned money and valuable time must provide more than just well-manicured grass and an eighteen-hole layout; it needs to offer nothing short of an experience. The best courses will make an impression well before the first tee. It’s often not about beauty, or how well the course suits your particular style of play, if the ranger is breathing down your neck, asking you to keep the pace. . . when the group ahead just left the green, and the group behind is nowhere in sight, all of the aesthetics in the world won’t save you. Your time and money are precious, let’s not waste them on courses that see us as just another tee time.

What if you learned there was a course in Dardenne Prairie, Missouri that offers a private club experience at public course rates? A traditional course with modern amenities. A links-style layout that will take you back through time with a classic design complete with a rolling, undulating expanse of green grass that keeps golfers familiar with its special experience coming back time after time. Welcome to Links-style golf—Missouri style. Welcome to The Links at Dardenne.

The Links at Dardenne experience is welcoming to golfers of all skills levels. The isolated locale ensures a serene setting, so you can leave your worries in your car trunk. With a slope of 102, 110, 114, and 121 for the Red, White, Blue, and Black tees (respectively), low scores are up for grabs. And with the Red tees totaling 4,875 yards and the Black tees totaling 6,568 yards, you can leave the big stick in the bag and start focusing on the more important aspects of your game, like course management, scoring around the green, and enjoying yourself. But don’t completely discount the big stick. If you feel the need to let out some pent-up aggression, have at it. You’ll be hard-pressed to lose a ball (or at least an entire sleeve of balls) at this course.

Links Dardenne

What some players fail to consider is the effect our glorious game has on the world around us. Believe it or not, even the best courses in the world have their fair share of negative tradeoffs—namely, their impact on the environment. Think about the natural resources affected by all the golf courses in the world. And while a lot more attention is being paid to those impacts, with courses doing more with less water, fewer chemicals and the like, the long term effects are more than a bit frightening. It’s the duty of courses today to acknowledge and except responsibility for the harsh strains golf courses can place on our environment. The Links at Dardenne happens to be located in an environmentally sensitive area. As such, the course’s staff has made a conscious effort to promote the preservation of the surrounding natural habitat. With a plethora of waterfowl, deer, fox and other animals/plants indigenous to the area, sustainability is a constant focus and a constant struggle, but it’s clear that maintaining our Earth, as well as providing a memorable golfing experience, while striking an appropriate balance between the two is at the top of this course’s priority list. If the staff’s pervading candor doesn’t draw you in, perhaps their admirable mission will. Any course’s willingness to set aside valuable resources for environmental sustainability speaks volumes about their respect for the game.

Notable Holes

(Content courtesy of LinksAtDardenne.com)

While the old adage “There is not a bad hole out there!” is certainly true, several key holes will define your round…
The 395-yard sixth hole is a par 4 that requires a great tee shot and approach. Your challenge starts with a semi-blind tee shot, with more room to the right and left than may appear off the tee. If you make it to the bottom of the hill you are only left with a short iron into a shallow green. However, most will be playing a 140-200 yard second from a downhill stance. Four is a good score on the sixth, especially with a right pin placement.

Links Dardenne

The 556-yard eighth hole is majestic par 5 that is considered our signature hole. The entire hole wraps around a marshy low land area, with long grass guarding the left side. Two good shots will leave a 125-100 yard shot to an elevated green, guarded in front by a deep bunker on the right hand side.
The 560-yard par 5 10th hole sets the tone for the backside. With Dardenne Creek running down the entire left side, and intersecting it roughly 300 yards off the tee, shot placement is crucial here. A good two shots will allow a short iron to another elevated putting surface. Beware of a front pin, as shots not hit deep enough into the green will come back 20-30 feet off the false front of the green.

At 168 yards, the 11th is the shortest hole on the course, but perhaps the most interesting par 3. With a deep creek in front of the entire green and a shallow putting surface, one must choose the correct club. Hit it long and you’re in a back bunker, short and your wet, it’s a very fun test of your game.
The 506 yard, par 5 18th hole is a classic risk reward an offers plenty of birdie opportunities on which to end your round on a high! Our home hole brings you back with a beautiful view of the clubhouse, as well as trouble down both sides of the fairway. Long grass and out-of-bounds await errant shots on this hole. Once approaching the green be very accurate, as dual water hazards guard the left and right. A great finishing hole to a truly great golfing experience!

Most weekend golfers reasonably weigh the benefits of playing a quality golf course with the financial requirement for doing so. Greens fees at the Links at Dardenne are based on a dynamic pricing model, which sets rates based on varying demand factors—everybody wins. This strategic pricing model optimizes affordability based on basic supply and demand. Special rates and tee time availabilities are offered on the Links at Dardenne website. Important to note, cancellations without penalty are permitted no sooner than 48 hours before tee times. The standard 18 hole rate is $34.00 for adults, with a 15% discount ($29.00) offered for seniors. Did I mention this stellar pricing is inclusive of a cart rental?

Links Dardenne

If you happen to lose that sleeve of balls, I’m sorry if I misled you; I’m also sorry for the spectacle your playing partners were forced to endure. That couldn’t have been easy for them, or you. There’s always tomorrow. For now, go grab another sleeve in the beautiful Links at Dardenne clubhouse. While you’re there, consider signing up for a few lessons, which are offered at Adult and Junior rates from an experienced LPGA teaching professional, Terri Boehm. The lesson rates breakdown as follows:

  • Adult Private $70.00/hour
  • 3 Lesson series $195.00
  • Jr. Private (17 & under) $60.00/hour
  • 3 Lesson series $165.00

Golf season is upon us, my friends. It’s time to expand our horizons and save some money in the process. Don’t waste any more time playing courses that see you as another slot in the starter’s lineup up. Take charge of the possibilities, and enjoy a memorable experience, compliments of the fine folks at the Links at Dardenne.

New Putters, New Rule for 2016

Putter review

If you’re looking to upgrade the most important scoring club in your bag, putter manufacturers have come up with several impressive offerings for 2016. From innovations in materials and design to helping golfers affected by Rule 14-1b (anchored club ban), this year’s crop of putters will help you dial in your short game and shoot lower scores.

The Nike Method Origin blade putters and Nike Method Converge mallet putters both won Gold on GolfDigest’s Hot List with a focus on counter-balance technology, improved feel, and better roll.

The Nike Method Converge putter with CounterFlex system comes in a heel-toe weighted style (B1-01), and a mallet style (S1-12).

Nike Method Origin

The CounterFlex system helps players transition from belly and broom putters with a user-adjustable weight in the grip. It consists of a 75-gram moveable weight that slides on a 15-inch track. Golfers can then dial in the perfect counterbalance to maintain a balanced and smooth stroke without anchoring the putter.

Nike’s Method Converge mallet also has a resin polymer mid-layer and face insert, yielding a softer feel and more reliable roll with less skidding and jumping off the face.

Nike Method Origin blade putters also feature a layer of resin polymer between the club face and the body of the putter. This layer compresses and rebounds during impact to help maintain feel and performance on mis-hits. Horizontal grooves completely cross the face left-to-right and top-to-bottom for better roll on impact at virtually any spot on the face.

Nike Method Converge

Nike has a number of other models and head shapes – each with a different look and feel with designs to complement any golfer’s stroke. These are just a couple of their many options.

Callaway’s Odyssey White Hot RX mallet and blade putters also brought home Gold from GolfDigest with a face derived from a golf ball. Odyssey designers tried seventeen different combinations to create a face insert with a firm cover over a soft core to improve balance and feel.

The oval mesh pattern on the White Hot RX insert is covered with a textured coating to help the face grip the ball, get it rolling more quickly, and keep it on line to the hole. The pattern on the face of the putter creates less points of contact at impact producing a softer feel, especially if you play with a mid-to-firm golf ball.

Odyssey White Hot RX

Odyssey Works/Tank Cruiser putters feature a weight system that gives golfers total control over the counterbalancing effect. Odyssey found adding more weight to the grip helped golfers cut down on hand action during the stroke while removing weight from the grip increased swing weight and club head feel.

The weight kit includes adjustable weights (5-, 15- and 30-grams) which are installed on the head and in the butt of the grip so each golfer can find the right combination for his or her stroke.

Odyssey Works Tank Cruiser

Odyssey Works/Tank Cruiser putters come with the Fusion RX face insert, which combines the White Hot insert with steel mesh for more friction and better roll.

Ping has a top performer and award-winner this year with the Cadence TR line of blade and mallet putters. In celebration of the Ping Anser’s 50th anniversary, the Anser has been updated with new technology and is the inspiration for Ping’s new TR 1966 putters.

The TR 1966 Anser comes in a manganese bronze PVD finish and sports the famous sound slot in the sole. It has rounded toe and heel counters, a thicker top line (like the original), and no alignment line.

The TR 1966 Anser 2 comes in a stainless steel blast finish. It has a single white alignment line on the flange, less rounded contours than the TR 1966 Anser, and a narrower top line.

CadenceTR-PING

Ping’s Cadence TR models come with different-weight face inserts, Traditional and Heavy. The Traditional version features a blue aluminum insert and a blue grip for golfers with a fast-to-normal putting stroke tempo. The Heavy version is black and works with normal-to-slow stroke speeds. It’s made of stainless steel and adds around 25 grams to the weight of the head.

You can find out which one is best for you by trial and error or you can use the Ping iApp on an iPhone. The app is free, but you’ll have to buy the cradle to attach it to your putter shaft.

Titleist struck Gold as well with Scotty Cameron’s new Futura X7/Futura X7M and Scotty Cameron Select putters.

Scotty Cameron Futura

The X7 line is an extension of the X5 line with the same head shape but a larger head, a larger sweet spot, more forgiveness, and more alignment lines. It features an aluminum face-sole core enclosed in a stainless steel frame. This design promotes a softer feel than the X5, 303 stainless steel putter face.

Scotty Cameron Select putters are engineered for performance. They feature three multi-material compositions designed specifically for each putter style. The Select’s new face inlay technology promotes soft but solid feel and responsive feedback.

Scotty Cameron Select

The new face inlays wrap around the sole and fade from view at address, as opposed to a traditional face insert installed in the center section of the face.

Bettinardi offers counterbalance models for traditionalists (BB1), mallet lovers (BB32), and, if you need some forgiveness, the BB55.

Bettinardi’s counterbalanced putters move the balance point of the club closer to the golfers hands by extending the shaft and grip by 3 inches, adding 42 additional grams to the putter. Then they add 42 grams to the head so the weight is countered on each end of the putter. This makes the total weight of the putter 395 grams, which promotes stable feel and boosts the club’s overall moment of inertia (MOI).

Bettinardi BB1

Check out Bettinardi’s high-quality, high-end putters as well. The Kuchar model is a great choice if you’re switching to “arm-lock” style.

There’s no doubt, the 2016 crop of putters offer impressive innovations in technology, space-age materials, performance improvements, and aiming aids. And with the large number of choices to match any style, you’re sure to find one that helps you shoot lower scores more often. So whether it’s time to upgrade your putter or deal with Rule 14-1b, head over to your golf shop and have the pro help you find a putter that’s right for you.

What Happens at Impact

Practice golf

Impact is often referred to as the “Moment of truth”. Regardless of what occurs throughout the backswing and downswing the goal is to square the club face at impact while the club travels toward the target. The result is a straight shot. The following club positions are ideal at impact.

Shaft Lean

Shaft lean is the measurement of how far the hands are forward or backward at impact. An ideal impact position creates a forward shaft lean at impact while the hands are slightly in front of the club head.

Club positions

Forward shaft lean is necessary for the correct downward angle of attack and ball compression. Forward shaft lean strikes down through the ball causing the ball to lift in the air. Backward shaft lean is an indicator of several potential swing faults such as hanging back and scooping. When the shaft is backward at impact the result is often thin or topped golf shots. Shorter clubs will generally produce slightly more lean than longer clubs.

A fundamental impact position is the head behind the ball, flat left arm and wrist while the shaft leans forward at impact.

Attack Angle

Attack angle describes the direction the club head strikes the ball. The attack angle indicates an upward, downward or neutral angle of attack. The normal downward angle of attack allows the club head to strike the ball followed by the turf. The loft of each club produces a shot that travels up in the air. Longer clubs such as woods and drivers produce a minimal downward angle of attack. The ball should be positioned in a manner that the club bottoms out through the ball. A poor angle of attack occurs when the club head travels up on the golf ball with an iron. Professional players generally produce a -1 to 3 degree angle of attack with a driver and -2 to -4 with an iron. Notice how professional players swing down and through the ball, something many amateurs must learn to do. A steep angle of attack produces a divot.

Face Angle

Face angle is the direction the club face is pointed at impact. Face angle is generally referred to as an open or closed club face. The face angle is crucial to the starting direction of the ball. The ball launches similar to the face angle at impact. An open club face produces a fade or slice while a closed club face leads to a draw or hook. When the club face is square the ball will travel straight in relation to the club path.

Club Path

Club path is the direction the club head is moving at impact. The club head travels down the target line for a straight shot. The path helps determine the golf balls starting direction. Players that prefer a draw must produce an in-to-out path while a fade requires and out-to-in club path.

Shaft Angle

The shaft angle is an indication of how steep or flat the shaft is at impact. The shaft angle is measured from the ground to the shaft of the club. The general rule of thumb is to get the shaft angle at impact as close to the shaft angle at address. Most players create a slightly steeper shaft angle at impact.

Club positions

Note this professional golfer’s address shaft angle and impact shaft angle are nearly identical. This was Anthony Kim during his prime. We hope to see more of Anthony at some point and hope he makes it back to this kind of form.

– Matt Keller, PGA
Matt Keller is a PGA Golf Professional with over 15 years of experience. Matt is a graduate of the Penn State PGM Program. Throughout his career he has worked at courses in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida and Delaware. Matt has conducted thousands of golf lessons to players of all ages and ability levels. Currently, he is a PGA Professional at Cripple Creek Golf and Country Club located near Bethany Beach, DE.