Paducah Golf Course Reviews

Golf Courses – Paducah Kentucky

During Paducah’s Quilt Week husbands of quilters frequently busy themselves with  golfing. The following reviews are from three courses I managed to play during the 2014 AQS Quilt Show.

Review – Paxton Park Golf Course
Paducah, KY
www.paxtonpark.com

Paducah’s only public golf course is less than 10 minutes from downtown and very convenient for rendezvous with your quilting spouse who is going to the show.

Paxton Park Golf Course
The fairways at Paxton Park were only partially green due to the harsh winter and cooler than normal spring.

In late April, the fairways were still brown from the severe winter and there were lots of wet spots that were not draining well (earlier in April it had rained quite a bit). Since grass was not yet greened up I suppose that helps keep the ground wetter than usual. It looked like drainage tile was being installed on some fairways. But the greens and tee boxes were in good condition . . . with the greens faster than they looked.

The course is a mature, tree lined course with good definition of the fairways. Many of the holes feature rolling terrain and are either predominately uphill or downhill. Sometimes trees are fairway hazards. There is water on several holes. There are a few ponds adjacent to some fairways but most of the water hazard comes in the form of a creek than runs across many of the fairways. The cart paths are paved and each hole has an attractive monument with a detailed graphic of the hole layout.

Paxton Park
The nicely detailed hole layout on the tee box monument is particularly helpful to visiting golfers.

There are four sets of tees – Gold, Blue, Yellow, and Red. While the Blue Tees would seem to be equivalent to the White Tees on many courses, at 6262 yards it was a little longer than most White Tees of my experience. Most of this extra yardage was allotted to three very long Par 3s and one long Par 4.

Once the fairways are greened up and the wet spots dried out, I’d consider this an attractive course. The course has variety and the challenges are fair ones – no trickery or gimmics. Beginning golfers will find it easy to play; more advanced golfers should be sufficiently challenged by the Gold tees as some of the holes will require a long and well-placed drive to reach the green in regulation. Moderate terrain change lends variety and challenge to the holes but not so hilly to make walking the course an issue.

The Pro Shop is reasonably well-equipped and the seasoned staff friendly and helpful. There are two putting greens, with one of them set up with a sand trap for bunker play and adequate space around it for pitching practice. The driving range is fairly level with several flags of various distances, but no defined tees boxes. Paved parking lot with adequate space. Price is competitive; I’d say fair for the quality of the facility. Spring walking price for 18 holes was $17.00 and that was an all-day price.

Review – Kentucky Dam Village Golf Course
Gilbertsville/ Grand Rivers, KY
www.parks.ky.gov/golf/18_hole/kentucky-dam/

Kentucky Dam Village Golf Course
A pretty course but with some rough spots, due perhaps to a tough winter.

Located about 25 miles east of Paducah along highway 62, Kentucky Dam Village is a convenient drive. Of course if you are staying in the Grand Rivers area as we were it is very convenient. It is a state-owned golf course and is part of the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort. If you like a brew on the course or after play, forget it as the course is in a dry county. Also if you like to hit some range balls prior to play or practice some chips shots, be aware there is no driving range and only one putting green. The hills and more significant terrain change that adds challenge and attractiveness to the course equates to a negative for walking the course. So unless you are a fitness buff, plan to use a cart.

What I liked about the course

Kentucky Dam Village Golf Course
The #7 hole is one of the prettiest holes on the course, just don’t hit it short!

It is has an attractive course layout, with mature trees defining the fairways and woods surrounding the entire course. Flower plantings are at most every tee box. The golf course has good variety of terrain with nice elevation changes on many holes. Water is a hazard on some holes but with one exception generally not significant. The Tee boxes were in good condition as were the Greens – except the greens were in serious need of rolling and cutting. Overall the course offers a good but fair challenge for advanced golfers, yet is manageable for higher handicap golfers.

What I didn’t like about the course
There were some serious rough spots immediately adjacent to the fairway so some balls at the edges of the fairway could land in bare dirt and gravel. There were also some rough spots adjacent to the greens. #18 for example had no fringe at all in places. My ball landed two inches off the green on bare dirt. While it could be argued that the harsh winter was the cause of these defects, they appeared to me from more than a season’s neglect. The greens, though lush, were extremely slow – slow as Molasses in fact – and seriously needed cutting and rolling. Architecturally Kentucky Dam is an attractive course, but I wonder if the maintenance budget is too sparse. Maintenance as an issue also showed up on the golf carts. They were well-used with many miles on them.

Like Paxton Park, the fairways were brown, with little evidence of green grass. Had to negotiate around mud flats as well as wet spots. Again the harsh winter is a factor, but another is due to the choice of fairway grass seed blend. Seems to me that the Bermuda grass mix used in southern courses for its heat tolerance should not be as much of an issue in Paducah as it isn’t that far south. But both Paxton Park and Kentucky Dam courses use this blend. In my opinion, a more appropriate would be a blend with other grass types or a hybrid that greens up faster. The lack of actively growing grass also adds to the mud and drainage problems from spring rains.

The tee monuments, while attractive and set in flower beds, contained no graphics of the layout of each hole, which meant constant checking of the scorecard. My final knock against the course goes to the price. Although conditions were poor, the facility charged full, regular season price.

Overall I liked the course but didn’t like the conditions and maintenance . . . and the lack of a spring price that took into account the poorer conditions. In a future occasion, unless the course was fully greened up, I would only play here on a day or time where they offer a discount.

Review – Drake Creek Golf Club
Ledbetter, KY
www.drakecreek.com

Drake Creek Golf Course
Greener fairways and much more water at Drake Creek

Drake Creek is located less than 10 miles east of Paducah in the rural community of Ledbetter. It almost could be called a suburb of Paducah and is almost as convenient to downtown as the Paxton Park course. Much of the golf course is laid out along a finger-like inlet to the Ohio River that has creek tributaries. It is primarily a links style course with few trees defining the fairways. Part of the front nine is on higher ground and surrounded by woods (but few trees close to the fairways). The back nine is on lower ground and is  surrounded by a housing development. The front 9 has paved cart paths; the back nine paths are gravel. The fairways are rolling and some holes have more dramatic terrain changes. Water comes into play on many holes adding both attractiveness to the course as well as hazard. Frequent use of fairway sand bunkers and bunkers guarding the greens add challenge. Drake Creek is set within a newer housing development so it is apparent it was constructed as part of this overall housing community development.

What I liked about the course

Drake Creek Golf Course
A shot from the White Tees tee box. Can’t see it from here but the fairway had a double hour-glass shape to it so it was important to land your ball in the fat part to miss the water on the right and the rough on the left.

The fairways are Zoysia grass blends, which green up much faster than the Bermuda blends used at the Kentucky Dam and Paxton Park courses. It was more enjoyable to play off of green grass vs. mud, dirt, and dead grass that I encountered on the other courses. The Zoysia also meant the the areas around the greens were in much better shape than the the other two courses. Perhaps because of the growing grass and also the rolling terrain and mounds there were few wet spots in the fairway. I think the soil may have been more sandy which also helps the drainage. The greens were in excellent condition, better condition and more true than either Paxton or Kentucky Dam. The green fees were a good deal – $30 for green fee and cart if you reserved online. They also have a very attractive $20 Senior Tuesday (cart and green fee).

There is a restaurant and grill next to the pro shop and they offered a menu of sandwiches you could order by phone and have ready for you at the turn before you start the 10th hole. The prices seemed quite reasonable, but I didn’t get a chance to try out the fare.

What I didn’t like about the course

Drake Creek Golf Course
One of the “gotcha” fairway bunkers – green is in the center top of the photo.

The course designers built in several challenges that I found artificial or as my brother-in-law would say “unfair” or gimmicky. Too many “gotchas” with particular placement of fairway sand bunkers and greenside bunkers. Too many mounds and trenches in the fairways. The fairways were generally narrow. The lack of trees defining the fairways and the mounds and rolling fairways made it difficult to see the general layout of a hole and determine a landing spot for your drives. A good drive down the middle of the fairway sometimes resulted in a ball in a sand bunker, in the water, or in a ditch. It was easy to get in trouble with a less than good drive. I felt like on many holes it was “target golf” in that you had to know the hazards in advance and aim for a safe spot.

In fairness to the course layout, people who have played this course several times would know the character of each hole and not have the issues I had with the course. They would know the “targets” on each hole and when to go long, short, or layup. But being that this is otherwise a very average golf course with average amenities, the hazards seemed to me an attempt to “puff it up” to something more than it is.

But as I mentioned above under “likes” I sure liked playing on real grass and having decent conditions on the green and around the green. And the prices were fair.

Other Recommended Paducah Area Public Golf Courses

Mineral Mound Golf Course
Eddyville, KY
www.parks.ky.gov/golf/18_hole/mineral-mound/

This is another Kentucky State Resort Park golf course located on Lake Barkley.
Didn’t have a chance to play Mineral Mound but did do a drive-by and talked to one of the course employees. It is located about 15 miles east of the Kentucky Dam Course so if you are coming from Paducah, it might be a 35 to 40 minute drive from Paducah. From Grand Rivers it was about a 20 minute drive.

The greens looked in good shape and my local source indicated they were moderately fast. The area around the greens I saw looked in better condition than I encountered at the Kentucky Dam course and it seemed to be a little more green in the fairways. The front nine is set in the hills on the high ground with woods lining the fairways on both sides. The back nine is located on lower ground along Lake Barkley with views of the lake from several of the holes. I think this would be a scenic course and could be fun to play. I hope to play this course on my next trip to Paducah.

Miller Memorial Golf Course
Murray KY
www.murraystate.edu/millergolf/

Miller Memorial Golf Course
Miller Memorial Golf Course – April 2010

Miller is about 35 miles south east of Paducah, a few miles east of the town Murray, Kentucky on Potterstown Road. It is owned and managed by Murray State University. This is my favorite course in the Paducah area but I didn’t get a chance to play there this trip nor since 2010 or 11, so can’t say how their conditions stacked up against the other three courses I did play.

Miller is an attractive mature course with moderately high elevation changes and trees defining the fairways. There is some water on the course and comes into play in a serious way on a few holes. Because it is a university course and headquarters for the golf team, I think the maintenance might be better than some other area courses.

Miller offers a Monday – Friday senior discount – helps defer the extra cost of driving more miles to get there. I’d be playing this course more often if it was closer to Paducah or Grand Rivers (where we stay when we attend the Quilt Show).

Lake Barkley Golf Course
Cadiz, KY
www.parks.ky.gov/golf/18_hole/lake-barkley/

This is yet another Kentucky State Resort Park golf course. It is even further away from Paducah than the Miller Murray course and may be too distant for most golfers whose spouses are attending the Quilt Show. It is a Boots Randolph designed course and I have a friend who played it and liked it a lot so I am listing it for those willing to drive a longer distance to play a quality course.

Other Golf Courses near Paducah Kentucky

The Calvert City Golf Course is a semi-private country club course. One year during Quilt Week I drove over to the course with an interest in playing it. No one was staffing the modest pro shop. I waited around for someone to show up and eventually gave up. From what I could see of the course it didn’t appear that special so I’ve crossed it off my list of golfing options.

Benton Golf & Country Club is a semi-private country club and located on the way to Murray Kentucky but would be about 10 minutes shorter drive. Couldn’t find that much information about the course on their modest website. If you are going to drive this far to get to Benton, I’d suggest investing another 10 minutes or so to go to Miller Memorial as I am sure that is a better golf course and if you are a senior golfer it offers a very attractive green fee.

Rend Lake Golf Course
This is not a Paducah area course as it is about 80 miles north of Paducah near Benton, Illinois. But it is just off I-57 which is the route people from Wisconsin and Northern Illinois would take to come to the quilt show. So if you are a golfer and travel this route, this 27 hole course is worth a stop as it is a pretty course whose fairways will be in better condition than what you find in the Paducah area. See our Rend Lake Golf Course pictures and comments here.

–Ross

Paducah, Kentucky – Quilt City USA

Paducah, Kentucky – 2013 Quilt Show

Paducah is home to National Quilt Museum and the headquarters of the American Quilters Society so its affiliation with quilting and fabric arts extends beyond the week of the annual quilting convention that quilters know as the Paducah Quilt Show (officially titled the AQS Quilt Show & Contest – Paducah). This year-long resident association with quilting also accounts for why the entire town gets decked out for Quilt Week (the week of the show and related activities).

When Jo is at the show I enjoy walking around downtown and the nearby Lower Town Arts District with its many cafes, pubs, gift and antique shops, and artisan shops. The Floodwall Mural Walk is always interesting for both its artistic merit and educational insight into Paducah’s history. Some years the dogwoods remain in full bloom so we’ll take in the 12 mile Dogwood Trail driving tour that runs from mid-May to the end of Quilt Week. Most years, I am able to get in at least one round of golf at Paxton Park Golf Course. This year my new bionic knees weren’t quite ready for a full round so I just did some chipping and putting at their practice greens.

Below are some photos with captions from around downtown. Later when Jo finishes her notes we’ll post some stuff from the actual AQS show.

Ross

The Yeiser Art Center in the historic 1905 Market House is all dressed up for Quilt Show week

This "quilted" caped crusader was riding around downtown on his Segway Transporter

During Quilt Week the Pagoda across the street from the Market House Art Center is always populated by artists and artisans displaying their creations

There are several "bike taxis" offering rides around downtown. This one was advertised "free rides"

Ladies from the quilt show lined up for lunch at Kirchoff's Bakery and Cafe

Many of the Dogwoods along the Dogwood Trail remained in full bloom

Paducah AQS Quilt Show

Getting Ready for Paducah

Jo has been busy packing ARVY (our Rialta Motor Home) for her first trip of the 2013 season – which will be to Paducah, Kentucky for the annual Quilt Show & Quilters Convention.

We’ve had a very cold and wet early spring here in Wisconsin so we are especially looking forward to going south to catch some warmer weather. For Quilt Week the forecast is for temps in the low 60s to low 70s, a little below average for Paducah but to us here in Wisconsin it sounds quite balmy!

Dogwood Trail
One of the many flowering dogwoods along Paducah's Dogwood Celebration Trail

One bonus of the below average temperatures we’ve had (not only Wisconsin but the entire midwest and midsouth) is that the dogwoods should be blooming later this year, which means the peak of flowering might be during the show days. So if you are going to the Paducah Show this year you might want to plan to take in a Dogwood Trail Tour. If you are not in a private vehicle there are tour buses operating along the trail. There are many other Paducah Attractions to fill any extra moments you have between show events. A few I like are the Floodwall Murals, the Lowertown Arts District, and touring the historic downtown area+ dining and pub crawling!

The quilt show opens on Wednesday, April 24th with classes, lectures, workshops, and special events (in the evening). The Quilting Vendor areas are also open as well as the contest Show Quilt exhibits. The show runs through Saturday, April 27th. An event not officially connected to the show but one Jo always likes to catch is Eleanor Burn’s Tent Show and Fabric Sale held at Carson Park. The shows run 3 times a day from April 24 – April 27th. The Fabric Sale opens earlier on April 19th. If you’ve never been to one of Eleanor’s Stage Shows, you can see a  video clip of her 2011 show here. Lots of fun.

Golfing, Hiking, RV Camping

Other things we like to do when we travel to Paducah is hike and camp at the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and while Jo is attending some events I try to get some golfing in. Paducah’s Paxton Park course is enjoyable and reasonably priced. A more challenging golf course is the Drake Creek Golf Club in nearby Ledbetter, KY. Another nice course is the one at Kentucky Dam Village near Grand Rivers. A little further away from Paducah but I think worth the drive is the Murray State University course (Miller Memorial) near Murray, Kentucky.

Well gotta go and finish packing. Maybe we’ll see you in Paducah?

Ross

Links

AQS Paducah Quilt Show Website

Paducah Visitors Bureau Website

Quilting Pathways Reports from earlier Paducah Quilt Shows

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Park

2012 Paducah Quilt Show

Paducah is Ready for the 2012 AQS Quilt Show

Paducah's Convention Center, site of the annual AQS Quilt Show & Convention

On the way home from our spring trip Jo and I decided to stop by Paducah to see how preparations were going for the big 2012 Paducah Quilt Show & Quilters Convention. Last year tornadoes, severe storms, and floods almost cancelled the show. The main show site, the Convention Center, couldn’t be used because it was surrounded by water. Eleanor Burn’s Quilt for a Day tent show and fabric sale, always a big satellite event to the show, was hurt badly. A storm just before opening day tore up one of the tents and rain and flooding waters ruined tens of thousands of dollars of merchandise. Even though Mother Nature threw floods and tornadoes, show organizers did an excellent job of scrambling to find several alternate locations for show events and the show did go on.

This year based on our March 29th visit, all is in place to host a terrific show. Lack of snow in the upper midwest has left rivers lower than normal. Just in case reservoirs are also running lower than normal spring levels. So the chance of another flood changing the show are impossibly small. The slightly remodeled convention center is all set and since the removal of the debris from the demolished hotel adjacent to the convention center there is a good deal more parking space close to the center of Quilt Show activities. The inflatable Dome is already in place and all systems are go.

Go to our regular web pages to find out more the Paducah Show and links to the AQS website for the 2012 show.

Dining at Whaler's Catch outdoor deck

While we were in town we stopped at Whaler’s Catch for lunch. Whalers is a favorite during the Quilt Show because of its location, decent food and their spacious two story outdoor dining deck. It was a perfect spring day in the 70s so we dined outdoors on the deck. We had sandwich baskets and beverages for less than $20. Very large portion size with nice trimmings – leaf lettuce, onions, and tomato slices + fries. Free refills on the beverages and good wait service.

Jo shopping at Eleanor Burn's quilt shop in Paducah

Also while we in town we couldn’t escape without a visit to Eleanor Burn’s Quilt in a Day shop. Jo found some fabric she needed to complete a project.

On the way home to Wisconsin we stopped at the Rend Lake Corps Gun Creek Campground near Benton, IL. About 90 miles north of Paducah this is a good stop over for our last day at the Paducah Quilt Show. In addition to very well designed and maintained RV sites, it offers an additional attraction to Ross and other golfing spouses who indulge their wives’ passion for the Quilt Show. This attraction is an excellent 27 hole golf course essentially adjacent to the camp ground. The course is quite scenic, well-maintained with paved cart paths, electric golf carts, and a nice variety of tee boxes. At the end of March, the fairways and greens were in very good spring condition. The three mens tees range from about 6000 yards for 18 holes from the senior tees to over 6800 yards from the blue tees. Rend Lake Golf Course website.

Rend Lake Golf Course, Benton, Illinois

Rend Lake Golf Course, Benton, Illinois

Ross and Jo

Arriving at Paducah Quilt Show

Update Paducah Quilt Show – April 26, 2011

The Ohio River is rising - view from the upper deck of the Carson Center, Paducah, KY
Installing one of the 47 gates along the Paducah Flood Wall

Jo and I arrived yesterday, Monday, in Paducah so she could be one of the first in line at Eleanor Burn’s Fabric Fair sale in Carson Park. When we arrived we found workers were busy trying to re-install the Big Top show tent that had recently collapsed from heavy rains. With luck they should have it ready for the show opening on Weds. Fortunately the smaller Fabric Fair tent weathered the storm OK so Jo was able to snap up some good deals.

When we arrived in downtown Paducah we found city workers with cranes working on the Flood Wall. As the pictures here show Paducah is closing the gates on its Flood Wall, the first time all 47 gates have been closed since the 1950’s. The Ohio River is at flood stage and going higher. But as the second picture shows on Monday, April 25th the river is still a few feet below even the base of the flood wall. It is hard to imagine that during the next few days the river would rise several feet to lap at the base of the Flood Wall. My guess is that won’t happen until after the Quilt Show is over.

But Paducah is getting out ahead of potential problems by sealing up the entire wall. We had more rain last night and expect more tonight, so the advance planning is paying off. However since the Expo and Convention Center is on the river side of the flood wall, Mother Nature has caused some changes to the 2011 Paducah Quilt Show but it looks like the city of Paducah and AQS has everything well organized.

There’s been a musical chairs change to the location of several events and activities. Because the Expo Center is in the flood plain, all original activities scheduled for there have been moved to the Dome (Pavilion). Activities scheduled for the Dome-Pavilion have been moved to locations in the Kentucky Oaks Mall area, which historically has also hosted some Quilt Show vendors. The Food Court is being moved to the Farmers Market Pavilion across from the National Quilt Museum. Events scheduled for the Museum and at the Carson Center remain the same. Workshops and some exhibits will be moved to the First Baptist Church on Broadway. As in the past free shuttles will be running between all quilt show locations.

The weather forecast remains for the rain to stop on Weds and sunny weather show up. The only change Jo is making for her quilt show attendance is for sure she is buying the multi-day ticket. With the show being distributed among more locations she figures she’ll need more time to see what I want.

The rain has also affected my plans. When it finally does stop raining I don’t know if I’ll be able to find a golf course that isn’t flooded. I had hoped to golf at the Kentucky Dam course, Paxton in Paducah, Drake Creek in Ledbetter, and Miller Memorial near Murray. May have to settle for just hitting some balls at the range.

Jo will report later on the show and I’ll report on golfing (or lack thereof !)

–Ross roscoetrails@gmail.com

Arriving at Paducah

Whenever Jo goes to the Paducah AQS Quilt Show, we like to arrive a few days earlier to have some extra time to enjoy the area and get a better choice of an RV campsite. Touring the Dogwood Trail and golfing are among these pre-show pursuits.

dogwood trail paducah, kentucky
Dogwood Trail Festival Paducah Kentucky

Last year (2009) there wasn’t an official Dogwood Trail Celebration because a winter ice storm had damaged so many trees. We followed the route outlined for the 2008 trail and although storm damage was evident, we still found a number of attractive displays of dogwoods and azaleas. In 2010 we followed the trail markers and did our own tour in our RV motor home. The photo shows the trees in the lawn of one of Paducah’s oldest historical landmarks: Grace Episcopal Church (1874) on Broadway Avenue. Most trees were in full bloom, but here and there some trees still show evidence of having lost their tops or major branches. On Saturday evening we attended the official festival celebration Saturday night which included a narrated evening tour of the trail.

Murray State Golf Course

When Jo goes to the Quilt Show, golf usually occupies my time and is a favorite of other spouses of quilters who accompany their wives to the annual event. The Paxton Park course in Paducah is a popular course and the green fees are reasonable. Another popular area golf  course is the Kentucky Dam Resort course near Grand Rivers, KY. On the way to our campsite to attend the 2010 show I discovered a new course: the Murray State University Golf Course (Miller Memorial) near Murray, Kentucky. About 40 miles from Paducah, I think the extra travel is well worth the effort. The course is 18 holes with excellent maintenance, nicely detailed signage at each hole, and easy-to-read greens and fair hole locations. These factors help golfers new to the course enjoy the play. On Tuesday I hope to play the Drake Creek Golf Club in Ledbetter, KY (about 10 miles from downtown Paducah). They have a senior special on Tuesdays – $20 for green fees and cart. I’ll report on that later.

Despite a warm spring, the fairway grass on several of the courses I’ve played this spring (in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Kentucky) has been somewhat marginal. Apparently the variety of turf grass they use tolerates heat well but doesn’t green up nicely until May. One of my favorite Lake Superior golf courses – Nemadji Golf Course in Superior Wisconsin – opened this spring on March 30th, 10 days earlier than they had ever opened in the last 50 years. I wonder if their fairways are in as good a shape as what I am finding in the mid-south?

–Ross