Flagstick at Falls Village

Duffin’ Around with JFK (and Fitz): Falls Village

I’m back with another golf course review … and more horrendous golf.

This past Saturday, I escaped the world of babydom for a few hours to tackle Falls Village Golf Club in “Durham.” It’s not really in Durham — it’s off N.C. 98 in the sticks of Durham County. But it’s not that far of a trip for North Raleighites. Head north on Leesville Road and make a couple of turns and you’re there.

This time, I brought our mutual friend Fitz with me. The last time Fitz and I played together, we managed to get on the exclusive Kerr Lake Country Club in Henderson. It was about 120 degrees with 96% humidity. We combated the heat with warm Bud Light in Carolina Panthers cans. Keep Pounding!

It was not 120 degrees at Falls Village on Saturday. It was a crisp 55 degrees when we teed off. But it ended up being a perfect day for golf.

I think I managed to hit a grand total of two tee shots in play for the entire round. Every driver I attempted was a death slice 70 yards into the woods. So I was lying three after a drop on most holes. Puts a lot of pressure on your iron play and short game, which were both equally as disappointing.

Part of the problem was I had to wear a pullover for most of the front nine. It definitely overheated me, restricted my swing, and prevented me from turning the club face over on impact. It also kept me from lining up correctly, hitting flush irons and wedges, and reading the greens properly. That pullover was so restrictive, that when I took it off, nothing got better. Unbelievable!

Wearing swing-conducive clothing is paramount, fellas.

Another problem is playing with Fitz is intimidating. He may cold-top a driver 30 yards off the tee. But then he’ll smash a TaylorMade RBZ 3 wood 300 yards and get up and down for par. It’s demoralizing.

Anyway, the course.

Falls is consistently one of the better courses in the area. $40 for a Saturday morning in season on GolfNow is pretty reasonable. And the course was in good shape. Only bummer was the range was closed because it had poured down rain the night before.

Fitz sums it up well: “Great group, friendly staff, unfriendly tree lines.”

The course is not set up for those of us who spray drives all over the place. It’s definitely not set up for my death slice. In fact, I think there’s only one hole set up as a dog-leg right. There are several dog-leg lefts.

Whoever designed this track is also a fan of water hazards that bisect the hole in front of the green. I counted nine holes that have water, and seven of those have some sort of creek or pond in front of the green. That takes away my half-ass 7-iron “chip” from 80 yards out in a lot of cases. I’ve had a lot more success doing that than attempt to pitch my Ben Hogan forged wedges, which I typically skull 240 yards over the green. Maybe I should hit that off the tee.

We played from the white tees, which are a manageable 5,900 yards (67.0 rating/120 slope). It keeps Par 3s to 130-140 yards, which I like. Par 5s stick around 450.

Normally I’d pick a favorite hole but I hated them all in this particular round. I’ve progressively gotten worse each time I play, so I’m setting up a video lesson at GolfTec to fix everything. I’ll let you know how that goes.

The course was well-maintained. It looks like they overseeded the fairways, and the greens were decent compared to others in the area.

If you live in North Raleigh, Durham or Morrisville/Cary and don’t feel like schlepping all the way out to Clayton or Garner, Falls is a convenient, consistent option.

Also, pro tip: download the 18 Birdies app. This is all the new rage in the world of golf apps. Its GPS seems to be more accurate and reliable than SwingxSwing, which I had used before. It also has more features. You can use it to keep score and calculate your handicap, but you can also add friends like social media apps and create challenges. It also tracks side bets or other games you play on the course. Highly recommend.