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Rolling Meadows CC, Ellington (front 9 reviewed September, 2008)
The intrigue that led to a review of Rolling Meadows was largely based on the fact that it's located in the same general area (the sticks) as some other courses East of the River (Tallwood, Blackledge) that are familiar to many Trackers and get a lot more attention.  Since there's not much point in reviewing Tallwood and Blackledge on Goat-Track.com (well, at least not Blackledge; Tallwood has some great Trackish quirks), it made sense to give the less-publicized Rolling Meadows a try.

The Review, Front 9:
Course Features/Conditions
Fairways:  The most noteworthy aspect of the front 9 at Rolling Meadows.  To an experienced Goat Tracker, it sets up as something of a "Jedi mind trick."  While we're not experts on exactly how the "Jedi mind trick" works, it just sounds right.  Maybe a more accurate definition would be "Goat Tracker mind fuck."  As Goat Trackers, we've all honed our respective "skills"  based on hitting approach shots from the rough or, preferably, the next fairway.  The front 9 at Rolling Hills challenges that skill set.  On the first hole, you're confronted with a fairway so wide, that the challenge lies in how you can tap into your Track Acumen to miss it and set up a "normal" approach shot.  Apparently it takes something of a well-shaped duck-hook (maybe an exaggerated draw) to hit into the o.b. trees on the left hand side of #1.  Fortunately, there's a par-3 on hole #3 that allows one to regain perspective and break the trance created by the seemingly impossibly wide fairways.

Greens:  Another "mind trick"?  Quite un-Tracklike as far as their condition (free of mushrooms, crabgrass, and dead spots), but very Track-like where it counts.  Some were sloping, some were undulating, but in the end, if you played the break, you were a fool, thus upholding the "Universal Truth of Goat Track Putting."  Most commendable.

Rough:  This is a challenge, to get into the rough, that is.  Where the opportunities present themselves to drive into parts unknown, you're far more likely to go o.b. than into the rough.  If you try hard enough, you may be able to take advantage of one of the fairway bunker opportunities out there.  The small strip of rough on #1 was a bit on the furry side and probably the highest out there, but manageable.  There are a few holes with open pasture area nearby, which was reassuring, just not near enough to hit into.

Bunkers:  Deceptively pliable.  Upon further review (because more than one bunker had to be visited), they were rock-free; however, it's advisable not to dig too deep.  Rolling Meadows' bunkers are most challenging in how they make you find the right depth to plunge your sand wedge.  Given the combination of ample sand in the traps and no dry 3-foot high grass overhanging the lips of the traps (see:  Skungamaug)  we'd say that the risk of starting a brush fire from a sand wedge-to-rock spark is minimal.

Other Trackworthy features/notes:
Just enough trees.
  First time I can recall that I've ever skulled a shot out of a greenside trap, had it hit a tree behind the green on the fly and carom back for a reasonable up & down.  Other than that, the front 9 doesn't appear to yield as many opportunities as we'd like to test Track Acumen re. playing into, off of, and around trees.

Best approach shot:  #9.  Uphill to an elevated green, traps front left and front right, with some good roll off the back; reminiscent of #9 at the Tradition, minus some sand and mushrooms.

In summary, the front 9 at Rolling Meadows provides something close to a Goat Tracking experience, minus the conditions that we generally have come to expect from the best Goat Tracks.  The only knock against Rolling Meadows is that you may as well be speaking Swahili if you ask about a weekday twilight special.  That aside, we still look forward to reviewing the back 9.