RV Golfer

Winter Golf and the Short Game - Meridian Golf Course

The Par 3 at Meridian Golf Course is not a ‘pitch and putt’ course but a good test for any golfer, including golfers with a low handicap or CPGA teaching professionals.

Hole No. 15 crossing over Fergus Creek.
Hole No. 15 crossing over Fergus Creek. — Photo courtesy Dennis Begin

As winter approaches and the golf season fades into memory, it is time to consider how to improve the short game over the winter months. The short game refers to any stroke under 100 yards to the center of the green. In theory, putting consumes 36 strokes, or two strokes per hole. Hitting off the tee is another 18 strokes, leaving 4 strokes for the par 5's and only 14 strokes remain. If you really want to lower your scores, worry less about hitting the driver longer and concentrate on hitting the ball closer to the hole. Practice is necessary in order to improve, but practice with purpose. The driving range is not the solution for the short game. Improvement, believe it or not, begins by selecting the right golf course, a good Par 3.

Nut House on No. 9 tee.
Nut House on No. 9 tee. — Photo courtesy Dennis Begin

Meridian Golf Par 3

Meridian Golf Course in South Surrey is my choice for winter golf, located not far from Peace Portal, Morgan Creek and Hazelmere golf courses. This Par 3 is not a ‘pitch and putt’ course but a good test for any golfer, including golfers with a low handicap or CPGA teaching professionals. Meridan is a family owned golf course that originally was a hazelnut farm. The nut house located on the 9th tee was used to process the hazelnuts. The course opened in 1959 and was named after the original Coast Meridian Road, which is now 168th Street. Meridian is very picturesque with rolling hills, a creek running through the back nine and majestic cedars and Douglas fir trees lining the fairways. In the fall, spawning salmon can be seen in the creek. Looking down on the course from the 18th green, the course looks like a peaceful park.

Playing the Course

The course from the back tees is 2,147 yards but shorter holes are not always easier. Holes 1 and 2 are lined with O.B. on the right. The 4th hole is the signature hole, being 155 yards uphill to a green guarded by a sand trap. The green is small and situated on top of the hill. Holes No. 3, 7 and 13 are very narrow and lined with large trees and overhanging branches. The course is tight. On the back nine, Fergus Creek has to be crossed six times. In total, 9 of 18 holes have some type of water hazard with only four sand traps. The yardage per hole is between 80 and 155 yards, but it is necessary to adjust for the numerous elevation changes. Lastly, Hole No. 11 has two tees and can also be played as a par 4. With fast greens, the course can be a challenge and enjoyable to play.

Meridian is a fully serviced course with practice areas, clubhouse and coffee shop, rental clubs/pull carts and famous hot dogs. They have the usual Sr. Ladies and Men’s clubs, Newcomers Club and a Sr. Mixed Coasters Club. Green fees average under $20.00 a round, but the best deal is the Baker’s Dozen with 13 rounds for around $200.00. Contact Cindy for the best deal over the winter.

Hole No. 16, narrow and uphill.
Hole No. 16, narrow and uphill. — Photo courtesy Dennis Begin

Play 2 – 3

The only way to improve your short game is to practice the short game. Use two balls off the tee and three balls for chipping. Restrict your clubs to a putter, sand wedge, wedge and 9 iron. If you hit the green off the tee, putt out. No gimmies. The objective is to observe the trajectory of the three different clubs. The trajectory or height of the ball in flight will determine how far the ball roles towards the flag. Most golfers never consider the trajectory of their clubs and constantly leave the ball short of the flag. Continue chipping with the three clubs until you understand what trajectory goes with what club.

Keep in mind that it is not necessary to keep score or contribute to your handicap. This is practice! There is an old saying that applies to your short game, “……..short term pain for long term gain.”

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