Rear Back and Let it Rip – Longview Golf Club, Georgetown, KY

The long, straight-away par 4 2nd hole gives an indication of how wide open Longview can be.

The long, straight-away par 4 2nd hole gives an indication of how wide open Longview can be.

Longview Golf Course, just outside of Georgetown, Kentucky, is a hacker’s paradise.

It’s fairly wide open from most tee boxes, it’s sneaky short due to the par three’s being so long, and there is a nice variety among the holes that allow for plenty of different shot-making options.

The golf course is out-of-the-way for nearly everyone, but it’s easy to get to whether you are coming from Lexington, Georgetown, or Interstate 64.

Nestled in the gently rolling terrain south of the North Elkhorn Creek in rural Scott County, Longview makes interesting use of both subtle and severe elevation changes.

The par 3 4th hole is the only par 3 on which I could hit an iron instead of a hybrid...a 3-iron.

The par 3 4th hole is the only par 3 on which I could hit an iron instead of a hybrid…a 3-iron.

Designed by Kentucky golf legend Buck Blankenship (who also designed Tates Creek Golf Course and Moss Hill Golf Club), the course opened for play in 1968.

It shows its age a bit with its layout and where some trees have been allowed to grow unchecked.  But at its core, Longview is a no-frills, grip-it-and-rip-it fun ride that is welcome to all comers.

At 6,559 yards, the course boasts a modest course rating of 70.7 and slope of 120, which I would argue is a little deceptive given the opportunities for some big numbers on the par three holes and the various forced carries.

The fairways at Longview aren't pristine, but they are fully grown in and mowed appropriately.

The fairways at Longview aren’t pristine, but they are fully grown in and mowed appropriately.

Longview is the lesser maintained counterpart under common ownership to Cherry Blossom Golf Club across town.  It’s much older, more wide open, and not quite as polished a finish as Cherry Blossom.  Fortunately, the lack of extravagance is priced into the roughly $20.00 greens fee.

Longview is certainly no architectural masterpiece.  The greens are relatively flat or gently sloping, and every one of them is basically oval-shaped.

The handful of bunkers are fairly benign; they’re concentrated around the greens, flat-bottomed, and full of your typical public course mix of sand and clay mud.

As pictured here, one of the few mature hardwood trees on the course force one to shape their shot from the 6th tee to find the fairway.

As pictured here, one of the few mature hardwood trees on the course force one to shape their shot from the 6th tee to find the fairway.

A few of Longview’s holes are pretty straightforward and possess an obvious, if not imposing, change of elevation.  However, the routing makes nice use of doglegs to add difficulty and a hint of strategic decision-making to most of the holes.

I’m not sure what land Longview is built upon was before it was a golf course, but there is a noticeable dearth of mature hardwood trees, leaving many of the holes lined by small to medium-sized white pines.

Unfortunately, several pine trees have been allowed to grow where they shouldn’t be…like on the edge of bunkers.

Seriously, one hazard is enough.  I’ve never thought, “Hey, yeah, I can’t wait to hit a try to hit a low running punch shot out of a bunker from underneath a tree, 50 feet from the green.”

The green complexes at Longview are fairly simple and straightforward, as is the 12th green pictured here.

The green complexes at Longview are fairly simple and straightforward, as is the 12th green pictured here.

Poor forestry management aside, Longview does have a nice mix of long, wide open holes and short, tricky, risk/reward decision holes.

The most memorable hole on the front side is probably the short, downhill, dog-leg left par four 3rd hole. The fairway is framed by tall pine trees on both sides.

However, from the elevated tee, if I were hitting my driver well and with the wind at my back, I’d consider trying to drive the green a short 374 yards away (considerably shorter as the crow flies)

Longview’s back nine definitely contains the more interesting collection of memorable holes.  At 309-yards downhill straight away, the short par 4 13th hole is a driveable green.

The 14th fairway is a LONG way over there across the lake.

The 14th fairway is a LONG way over there across the lake.

In contrast, the very next hole is a long, dog-leg left par 4 which requires a 220-yard carry over a lake, followed by a semi-blind uphill approach from a severely sloping fairway (or rough).

If that weren’t a stressful enough proposition, the bridge that traverses the lake from the 14th tee to the fairway is, without a doubt, the scariest, most structurally unsound structure I’ve ever seen on a golf course.

It was scary to walk across the first time I played the course due to the missing planks. It was need-a-change-of-underwear horrifying to try to drive a cart across the next time I played Longview.

The final noteworthy challenge at Longview is the long, downhill par 3 17th hole that measures from 231 to 265 yards with a forced carry over a lake abutting the entire front of the green.  There’s probably 40 feet of elevation change from the tee to the green.

This picture doesn't do justice to the difficulty of hitting the 17th green; from the blue tees, it's a minimum of 231 yards to the middle of the green.

This picture doesn’t do justice to the difficulty of hitting the 17th green; from the blue tees, it’s a minimum of 231 yards to the middle of the green.

However, even with that much elevation help, it’s a borderline unfair tee shot. I appreciate the challenge of a truly difficult hole, but on the 17th hole, short of laying up short of the water to about 75 yards, even bailing out to the right of the green requires about a 190 yard carry.  I consider it sort of a gimmick hole, but it’s definitely memorable.

The only truly disappointing aspect of the course at Longview is that all of the par 3’s are all incredibly long and without much variety. Due to the yardage and elevation changes, I hit my hybrid (my roughly 200+ yard club) on at 3 of the par threes, and a 3-iron on the other.

There are no houses on the course at Longview, which is nice considering its rural setting. There are remnants of an abandoned vineyard on the property, but the vines don’t really come into play.

The Longview clubhouse, seen here behind the 18th green, is nothing to write home about. But it has a serviceable golf shop and snack bar, and the view from the patio is a nice way to relax after a round.

The Longview clubhouse, seen here behind the 18th green, is nothing to write home about. But it has a serviceable golf shop and snack bar, and the view from the patio is a nice way to relax after a round.

If you’re traveling to Central Kentucky, Longview does have apartments on site that, through its affiliation with nearby Cherry Blossom, allow a reasonably price stay-and-play option for out-of-towners. Neither are bucket list golf experiences, but I could see it being perfect for certain guys’ weekend away-style trips.

Longview Golf Course definitely caters to the Average Joe golfers, and there’s something charming about that in and of itself.  It’s grip-it-and-rip-it fun where you won’t lose a lot of golf balls.  If this sounds like what you’re looking for, at such a reasonable price, Longview should probably be part of your course rotation.

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