Beginning in August of 2015, BuffaloGolfer instituted a three-tiered course review protocol. Championship Tees offers an idea of the very best that the course has to offer. Member Tees reveals what the typical guest or first-time player needs to know about the course. Forward Tees is precisely that: an honest opinion that some might consider a bit forward. We hope that this system works to your advantage and gives you a sincere perspective on each golf course
Fernwood Resort (East Stroudsburg, PA)
Fernwood is located in East Stroudsburg (more or less) Pennsylvania, in the heart of the Pocono Mountains. It is the golf centerpiece of the Fernwood Resort, which has two sets of condos (Treetops and Villas), horse riding, kayaking, zip line and ropes course as residences and additional amenities. After three holes in the flatlands by the clubhouse, the course winds its way into the hillside and remains there for the final 15 holes. The demands of the course are evident from the tee on nearly every hole. Much strategy is woven into the majority of holes and humility is required to back off driver on a fair number of them. The putting greens are set across natural plateaus and are not always easy targets.
When you step up to the tee on holes five, six, ten, eleven and seventeen, you’ll feel your heart swell with anticipation. You’re not sure where to go, but you know it will be fun. The sixth is a driver hole, but take our advice and lay up on the other four. You’ll have chances to go for the green (and the eagle) on plenty of other par four holes. Quite a few approach shots will demand that you carry a hazard or ascend a fronting hill, eliciting the same sort of anticipation from your nerves. Take a rip at all of them and see how it turns out. Remember: You’re on vacation!
Fernwood is a classic resort course in that it caters to a diverse clientele. The course is not long, tipping at 6200 yards and offering additional tee decks at 5800 and 4500 yards. After playing along the flats for the first three holes, numbers four and five throw a curve at an unsuspecting golfer with their canted fairways. The former is a par three with a severe right-to-left slope, as is the later; they are parallel holes, but a high ridge separates them. Numbers four and five have greens set in attractive natural sights, adding to their difficulty.
As you move through the golf course, the diversity of shots required catches your thoughts. This hole asks for a fade, the next for a draw (although straight is always good.) The front nine winds through a wooded portion of the property, but the back nine is all about the dance among the condos. Their intrusive effect is minimal, but they are there. Opt for less club and greater accuracy on the inward nine and you’ll have greater success. One suggestion: try to drive the green on 18. I ended up in the front bunker and my partner was on the putting surface in one. It’s a great way to end an enjoyable round.
More informative yardage markings on a number of tees would be of great benefit. The 5th, 10th and 17th (to name three holes) present quixotic tee shots where a precise distance is mandatory, but not given. They come at points in the round where a good run can be derailed by lack of information. I don’t suggest that the holes should be simplified; just let a golfer know how far to hit the lay-up (since driver is not an option on any of these three driving holes.)
I am suggesting that the 11th-hole tee shot be altered, specifically in the trimming/removal of trees along the right side. Immovable condos buttress the left side of the fairway (including a tall net to protect them) so let’s clear out some starboard space. It is a pretty tee shot and the creek is close to the right fairway. That said, there is a way to improve this hole. It’s too narrow off the tee, for what is needed.