Stay on the beaten path at Chenango Valley State Park Golf Course

CHENANGO FORKS Most of the golf courses I have played the past 15 to 20 years have not placed a premium on driving accuracy. Adjacent fairways running in the opposite direction welcome my stray drives, and finding a green in regulation is still quite attainable.

In resuming our summer golf tour earlier this week, I learned quickly how unforgiving Chenango Valley State Park Golf Course can be for the wayward driver.

Lesson learned number one at State Park: Find the fairway with your tee shot. Lesson number two: Find the fairway with your tee shot.

Normally a golf statistics junkie, I had no such time for superfluous numbers. Most of the time I was simply trying to find my ball amongst the trees and thickets.

Said my golf partner Rick Ferris about two-thirds through our round, "If you put it in the fairway, you have a chance at a decent score."

A chance was about right for this twosome, just like you have "a chance" at selecting the magic numbers in the Megaball drawing.

While Rick did his best work off the tee, he matched my score-mangling with off-the-mark approaches to the green. As for me, I was taking my medicine time and again; punching out to safety after another golf ball was batted down by an obtrusive tree. To my credit, I wasn't hitting trunks center mass, but a labyrinth of wooden, craggy arms synchronized on this sunny, warm afternoon to stop any forward progress of a Newell-struck golf ball.

After spending most of last summer in Albuquerque,N.M., I returned to the area in July 2014, and finished off the season with three golf course reviews. In consideration of the extra-long 2014-2015 winter and the nearly as desultory spring, I waited until precisely this week before resuming the golf feature.

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