Initial ThoughtsThe controversy sourrounding this course when it was opened was that you had to play it without the driver in the bag. Some people complained that there was too much shot making required to play the course and not enough opportunities to turn the big dog loose. There is some validity to that claim if you play from the front tees. But Whitetail Golf Resort offers five different tee boxes to play from and trust me, if you want to hit the driver, you can find a tee box that allows you to do so.
This course sits at the base of two beautiful mountains in Mercersburg, PA. It was built a little over ten years ago and has changed hands several times since its original opening. The reasons for its financial difficulties are many, none of which are related to the quality of the course.
Date PlayedFriday, September 29th, 2006
Value - 8.0Other than nearby Penn National, the area does not have great cliental for high priced courses. So Whitetail has been forced to keep its rates very reasonable in order to attract the local play necessary to stay profitable. For $35 dollars during the week, you get 18 holes of challenging, scenic, and enjoyable golf. They also offer an after 2:00 rate of $25. In my opinion, there isnGÇÖt another course within 50 miles that has a better value than WhitetailGÇÖs after 2:00 rate. Even a bad round can be quickly forgotten with a simple glance down the valley at the beautiful farmland and colorful mountains.
Pace of Play - 5.0Because of the many landing areas and tight holes, this course does tend to foster slow play. On the front nine, there are several holes lined with natural grass areas that often result in long empty searches for that special Top Flite. The course does list these areas as red hazards to try to speed up play, but that only helps so much. The back nine is tree-lined against the foot of the mountain. Anytime you have a tree-lined course you have balls that seem to disappear. Whitetail is no different.
Course/Maintenance - 7.5Whitetail is 6950 yards from the tips, 6433 yards from the blues, and 6072 yards from the white tees. If you play the white tees, you will find yourself hitting a lot of fairway woods or irons off the tee. There are a lot of fairways at Whitetail that end and if you hit through them, youGÇÖll be in trouble. However, most of the fairways are long enough to hit driver from the blue and black tees. Even though the blacks are almost 7000 yards, this course really does not play long. The par fives are reachable with two really good shots. If you donGÇÖt get there in two, youGÇÖre still looking at wedge shot approaches to the green. Most of the length seems to come from the lengthy par 3GÇÖs.
Whitetail Golf Resort is almost always in excellent shape. Of all the times that IGÇÖve played this course, I can remember very few times being disappointed with the condition of the course. There are a lot of drainage areas on the course, so it does tend to get soggy pretty easily in those low lying areas. But at the same time, the course stays green longer than most because of the water that it holds.
The greens at Whitetail are very fair. I would describe their size and speed as average. There are a few greens that have multiple tiers which can create some interesting pin placements, but even though they may be difficult at times, they are always fair. You wonGÇÖt putt any balls of the green because of the lighting speed, but at the same time, you wonGÇÖt find yourself leaving putts short all day long either.
Hospitality - 8.5The staff at Whitetail greets you with a smile and makes the pain of handing over your hard earned cash a little easier. The pro shop staff has been more than willing to work with me on multiple occasions to make my experience a good one. IGÇÖve seen them give discounts when they didnGÇÖt have to, allow players to go off the back nine to avoid slow play, and entertain criticism from players whoGÇÖve had a long day with a smile. I did have one unfortunate encounter with a ranger that was out of control. As much as I love this course, that ranger was very close to preventing me from never coming back to the course. I spoke with several senior members of the staff about that individual. Each person that I spoke to apologized for the occurrence and assured me that the issue would be dealt with and prevented from happening again. Even that one negative event had its positives thanks to the other members of the staff.
Scenery - 9.0The scenery at Whitetail is my favorite thing about this course. It is tucked between two mountains that are nothing shy of gorgeous in the spring and fall especially. There are a few elevation changes that give you a view for miles up the valley and across the acres of farmland that surround the course. It is not a rare occurrence to encounter deer, turkey, and other wildlife during your round. Even a poor round of golf can be enjoyed at Whitetail thanks to the beauty that surrounds the course.
Overall - 8.0 (not an average)Overall, Whitetail Golf Resort is a must play if you are in the area. I would recommend this course to golfers of all handicaps because of the beautiful scenery and pleasant experience you are sure to enjoy. A higher handicap player should be prepared to lose a few balls and not worry too much about his/her score because it can be a difficult course. But with the difficulty comes the adventure and excitement of hitting a lot of challenging shots. The price is tough to beat and the views alone are worth your money. So look around and enjoy your round at Whitetail Golf Resort.
[ comments ]
I want to hear the story that almost got you kicked off the course.
Maybe I am not searching hard enough, but I can't find the author of this review. I'd like to hear about the Marshall too.
Whitetail is notorious for that kind of marshal behavior. At least it was when i played there. The people in the pro-shop and the normal employees are very polite and nice, but for some reason they hire marshals that have a superiority complex or something. I grew up playing in that area and we always had problems. The one guy actually followed myself and a couple friends (we were 16) until finally on 16 we lost a ball and started looking for it. He said we better keep up with the group ahead of us.... there was no group ahead of us. He had pushed us all the way through our 18 holes and finished it by saying "what'd you guys shoot, like 100?". we all shot high 70s.
I haven't been back there since. I guess it's not so bad though anymore.
not a fan too much of the fairways. too chunky. you have to practically cup the ball with your irons to get it from leaving a big divot. also water only being on 3 and 7 i think was a little annoying when you don't have carts and have to walk all those steep hills. other than that I like the greens, the scenery, and the hospitality.
The course is definitely difficult with the tall grass/weeds lining all the fairway edges, numerous bunkers and the annoying creeks that cross almost every hole. I liked the tall grass idea, but the weeds have grown wild in them and you can't even look for your ball in half of it costing numerous strokes. The course is very unforgiving if you aren't accurate. Coupled with that is a long driver must play 3 woods or less off most the tees to avoid the creeks. I understand the challenges, but a course of this length should have more holes with driver opportunities for those of us who dare to flirt with their weed/long grass.
The greens were excellent in cut and soft for landing, but the public is tearing them up and leaving them in a state of disrepair. The putts bounced as if playing on a recently arreated green due to all the carelessness of the players. I would play again with a discount, but full price isn't worth it. Also, bring your bug spray as the gnats are on every hole and swarm around your head constantly.
10.0 - 9.5 World Class
9.4 - 8.5 Awesome
8.4 - 7.5 Very good
7.4 - 6.5 Above Average
6.4 - 4.5 Solid
4.4 - 3.5 Below Average
3.4 - 2.5 Save Your Money
2.4 - 0.0 Pay NOT to go