PineCrest Golf Club

While not very flashy, this course can challenge the very average golfer

Different people look for different attributes in a golf course.

Some golfers demand a high-slope track that forces them to hit every club in their bag, fashion exacting shots and constantly strategize.

Others aren't looking for a backbreaker. They tend to judge a course by whether it's well-maintained, or close to home, or where they can usually squeeze in a late-afternoon round, or arrive as a single and almost always get paired up with somebody interesting on the first tee.

For a lot of folks in and around Montgomeryville, that latter set of standards describes a fun little daily-fee course called PineCrest Golf Club.

At 6,331 yards from the blue tees, with a slope of 122, PineCrest is not the ultimate test for the scratch golfer. But it can make for an enjoyable round of golf for most mid- and high-handicappers, seniors, women and young people.

Though straight, relatively short par 4s abound, most every hole at PineCrest offers some kind of defense, whether it's out-of-bounds, trees, water or traps, or a combination thereof.

Take the 350-yard, par-4 No. 4, for instance. Hardly anybody hits a driver there - fairway woods or long irons are the norm - because two small ponds squeeze the fairway to about 15 yards and guard a small, flat green that can be tough to hold. More than a few golf balls must be at the bottom of those ponds.

And then there's No. 10, a 335-yard par 4, mildly sloping, slight dogleg right. Again, a fairway wood and short iron will get the job done, but there's a trap if you miss right and a creek if you miss long.

On three of the par 3s - Nos. 2, 11 and 15 - the distances are short, but they all carry over water.

Until five years ago, PineCrest was known as the Montgomeryville Golf Course. That's when the Klein Co. real-estate developers bought it and began building single-family homes and condos in and around the course. In places, they're a little intrusive.

The developers also brought in golf course architect Ron Prichard, the same designer who reworked Hickory Valley Golf Club. He lengthened several holes, added water and traps in places, and did a good job of giving the course different looks from the various tees.

Somebody must be doing something right at PineCrest. It's almost always loaded with golfers, though they do a pretty good job of keeping play moving. And it always seems to be hosting an outing or a nearby high school golf team.

The price is also right. The highest rate - weekends, with a cart - is $43. But there are all manner of reduced twilight, seniors' and women's rates, for as little as $18 to walk.

Should you drive 45 minutes to play PineCrest? Probably not. But if you live nearby and you're looking for a mid-range course that's well-kept and well-managed, PineCrest might be for you.

Originally published August 18, 1996