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Slayton Country Club is an exciting and demanding 9-hole adventure

SLAYTON -- With hills, water and trees to contend with, the Slayton Country Club is a very demanding and exciting 9-hole course.

Beaver Creek runs through the course on most of the holes, and will swallow balls if you're not careful. Between the creek and the hilly terrain, the SCC is a nicely designed course.

During this round, moisture on the ground limited roll in the fairways and roughs, but softened the greens. However, as the round progressed, the greens seemed to dry -- creating a different putting surface on the ninth hole than what was present on the first.

First impressions: The course is laid out in a unique way. Every third hole leads you back to the clubhouse, and the holes seem to all revolve around the epicenter -- the 19th hole. At first glance, the course did not seem overly long, but seemed to be designed on a region of the area filled with hills and appealing terrain.

Hole 1: Par 4, 361/345 yds

The first hole is a dog-leg to the right. It isn't too far to the green once you clear the dog-leg, so putting yourself in good position off the tee is crucial. It is quite a distance to clear the trees on the right, so being middle to middle-left in the fairway is the best play. There is a good size sand trap on the right front of the green, making a left-side approach the best on this hole. The green itself is wide, but not very deep and has a small ridge in the middle which can create tricky breaks on the green. Overall, it is a good par-4 to start your round off with.

Hole 2: Par 5, 474/402 yds

The par-5 second is a very long hole. It only plays 474 at its longest, but since its uphill most of the way, it seems to play longer. You will have to travel over a bridge to get to the tee boxes for the men, but once you are on the tee, the creek shouldn't really come into play. The left side is protected by the out of bounds threat, so stay as far right as possible. The hole is pretty much straight away, but the green is elevated -- creating a long second shot into the green if you decide to be aggressive. It is a good hole to try and pick up a stroke, but the green is rather small, so it would take an accurate shot to hit the green. There is a drop off from the back of the green, so don't be long or you will be left with a very difficult shot back to the pin.

Hole 3: Par 3 190/172 yds

Looking at the scorecard, this hole looks like a relatively easy par-3. But then you look at it from the tee, and there is nothing easy about this hole. It is a very long par-3, playing 172 at its shortest. However, the distance is only half the challenge. The road is right by the tee, so passing cars can make it difficult to find some quiet time to hit. Bunkers surround the entire green. The sand on the left is smaller, but the right side is protected with a larger bunker. The green itself slopes from back to front, so leaving yourself below the hole for an uphill putt is almost a necessity if you want to score well on this challenging hole.

Hole 4: Par 4 355/332 yds

After the third hole, you pass right by the clubhouse -- giving you an opportunity to take a break and refill if needed. However, once you are on the tee, you are forced to make a decision. With Beaver Creek running where many drives would land, you have to either lay-up or hit it long. With trees on the left protecting the landing area across the creek, laying up is probably the best option. If you do decide to lay up, you will be left with a long shot to an elevated green. The fourth green is also small, adding to the challenge of the hole.

Hole 5: Par 4 317/265 yds

The fifth tee box is very strange. The red box is up on the same level as the fairway, while the white and blue boxes are down a small hill. Once you are down to the box, you are looking at just the side of a hill with no clue where the fairway is located. The best advice is to look at the hole before heading down to the box and find some sort of landmark to aim for. The left side is protected by the creek, and from the amount of balls located on its bed, the left side is far too popular. Being right on this hole is the best, but you could find tree trouble. The fairway has a series of small hills right in front of the green, so rolling the ball on the putting surface is next to impossible. A bunker on the front right protects the right side, and the green is oddly shaped, so paying attention to the pin placement is a must on your approach shot. With a wide green, you may be forced to play a very long putt if you miss too far from the pin.

Hole 6: Par 3 171/165 yds

The sixth tee box is right off the fifth green, so you don't have to travel far for your next hole. The creek runs right in front of the tee box, but it really shouldn't be a problem. The sixth is the shortest hole on the course, but still plays 165 at its shortest. The green is well sized, making the surface easier to hit from the tee. The green seems to have some interesting slopes, so reading the green carefully is a must if you want to avoid extra putts on this par-3.

Hole 7: Par 5 468/415 yds

As the longest hole on the course, the seventh is one of the trickiest holes. The creek runs right in front of the tee, which can be intimidating on the first shot. However, once you clear the creek, you still have a long way to the green. This is a hole that being aggressive on can get you in trouble. As a dog-leg left, you have to be in the middle to have a chance at the green. If you are left, cutting the corner is next to impossible, so being right off the tee is the best. Once you make the turn, the green is elevated, with trees on the right and out of bounds on the far right. Don't be left on the turn either or you will find more trees. The green is elevated, making shots on the surface a little challenging.

Hole 8: Par 3 184/107 yds

The eighth is considered the signature hole at the SCC. It is a par-3 with an elevated tee. Hitting to the green is difficult, as trees line both sides of the fairway, creating little room for error. The creek runs through this hole as well, but once again, shouldn't really cause a problem from the tee. The green is decent sized, but the real key on this hole is making sure you can hit the ball straight off the tee.

Hole 9: Par 4 333/311 yds

The ninth hole will lead you right back to the clubhouse and is a slight dog-leg left. The tee box is not elevated, which makes the hole even longer. The fairway has plenty of slope to it, and the green is sloped from back to front. Because of the close proximity of other holes, don't be long on your approach, because there isn't a lot of room off the back of the green. It is a nice hole to end on, and a chance for one last birdie or par before heading to the clubhouse.

Final impressions: The SCC is a very tough course, especially if you have problems with the driver. A majority of the tee boxes are elevated, creating some great views of the course. However, from those same picturesque tees, you have to play smart and really pick the places to be aggressive. This course will punish you for being overly aggressive and for missing by even the smallest margin. The SCC plays well to golfers who can hit the ball straight, even if they don't hit it overly long.

The greens on this course are relatively small and can be tough to hit. Even the larger greens on the course seem to be elusive. However, if you are accurate with your shots, the greens seem to hold the ball well. Once you are on the green, there are some very tricky putts, so don't fall asleep when reading the greens.

Although it is not a long course, being smart and accurate will pay dividends. Club selection is crucial on this course, especially on approach shots, given that most greens are elevated.

Paying attention to club selection and playing a smart, solid round of golf will leave you with a good score on a very challenging course.