In May 2008, Eastwood Golf Club, crown jewel of Rochester, Minn.'s fine municipal courses, unveiled a brand new back nine, designed both to complement and contrast with the original nine, which dates to 1965.
Whereas the greens on the front nine are small and round, the greens on Eastwood Golf Club's new back are large and undulating. While the holes on the front generally run downhill from the tee and then back uphill to elevated greens protected by blind putting surfaces, the back features a mix of elevated tees with great views and a few uphill shots that hark back to the old-school design of the front.
Whereas the front nine feels every bit like a muni, the back feels - and plays - more like a high-end daily fee course.
How does this pronounced difference between the nines affect play? Well, it is a bit jarring, to be quite honest. I for one took seven more strokes on the back than the front. If my game can be taken as even remotely average, then average golfers might find themselves getting a bit frustrated on the back ... at least the first time or two they play here.
This being said, the back nine is a truly lovely, memorable collection of holes - the most memorable of all the municipal golf courses in Rochester. And the experience of playing them is well worth some temporary frustration.