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Saturday, February 05, 2005


Grey Hawk

Played Grey Hawk with two guys from the office last summer; Great Deal: Round and a Meal, and the coolest looking ballmark-repair-tools ever: looks like a Raptor's Talon: not very comfortable in your pocket, tho'!

One of the guys I call The Defenestrator, after our adventure at The Sanctuary. He hates the nickname, and he looks like a gorilla in pastel golf clothes -- huge forearms -- but I tease him anyway.

The other, I call Rasputin.
Just leave it at that till all the court cases have been resolved. . .8^). . .

I tho't it was just me. . .I remember the course being incredibly hard, but I can't remember a single hole. Tho' the course is kinda long, I do seem to recollect that keeping the ball in play (out of the desert) was MUCH more important. The reviews here at GolfWeb re-inforce that.

You can also tell that there's two kinds of golfers out here:
1) Them that don't care about anything but the quality of the Golf, and,
2) Them that enjoy a Total Golf Experience;
sort of like the people that just want to see a football game, and the people that want a Super Bowl Experience.

It is very interesting to me how a designer makes a desert course difficult over a relatively flat terrain with no trees and with very little water; it really is different fom the Links and Park styles. And these are two very hard courses; both slope over 140, an objective measurement that mitigates complaints about the course design: the tricks on the golfers' vision is the art. The ability to "ignore the peril" is what separates the good golfers from the bad -- this is what makes the course interesting to the good golfer. Maybe after I play these courses about 6 times the subtleties will reveal themselves and I'll remember the holes.

That day at Grey Hawk they were hosting some tournament for teenage girls. We saw the leaderboard, and there were amazing scores posted, 6 or 8 below. I think they were playing from the white tees, too, some of them had been moved up 40 or 50 yards.

Raptor: http://www.golfweb.com/courseguide/ocdata?st=detail&gwid=33839

Talon: http://www.golfweb.com/courseguide/ocdata?st=detail&gwid=15543

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


The Kokopelli Golf Stance

Ko-ko-pel-li (kô kô pel´ lê) n. {der. Hopi "kokopilau" (koko = wood, pilau = hump)} the humpbacked Flute Player, mythical Hopi symbol of fertility, replenishment, music, dance, and mischief.
The mysterious Kokopelli character is found in a number of Native American cultures, being especially prominent in the Anazasi culture of the "Four Corners" area. The figure represents a mischievous trickster or the Minstrel, spirit of music. Kokopelli is distinguished by his dancing pose, a hunchback and flute. His whimsical nature, charitable deeds, and vital spirit give him a prominent position in Native American mysticism.
Kokopelli has been a sacred figure to Native Americans of the Southwestern United States for thousands of years. Found painted and carved on rock walls and boulders throughout this region, Kokopelli is one of the most intriguing and widespread images to have survived from ancient Anasazi Indian mythology, and is a prominent figure in Hopi and Zuni legends. Kokopelli is also revered by current-day descendants including the Hopi, Taos and Acoma pueblo peoples.

There is, natcherally 'nuff, a Kokopelli Golf course here.
I think the reviews match the mixed feelings we had. . .so often, for so many of these courses, the biophysical obstacles to growing grass in extreme desert conditions overwhelm the design.

But what I remember, of course, was the oracular rubric from the starter after he watched me tee off on # 1: "Jeez, you look like a Kokopelli when you swing!".

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Where To Begin


Oh, I know where to begin. That's not the problem. The problem is finishing it -- can you finish a blog?

Mr. Science & I met here in Scottsdale, last year. We both moved here from out-of-state to work at the same company; he, from Connecticut; me, from Texas.

We both love Golf, we love it so much that we capitalize Golf when we say Golf. We both were members of Golf Clubs, back home, and we agree that it is an amazing coincidence that we both were members of the best Golf Club in the country.

Mr. Science plays to a 10, and I play to a 22 (I always point out that the slope at my course in Texas was 143, so that 22 "might" be as low as a 13 anywhere else -- matter of fact, I spent a few years up in Dallas awhile back, and if I didn't shoot 85 on those wide-open pasture-pool-tables they call courses up there, I'd get upset, even tho' I was going thru a rough patch with my woods then and only hit a 1-iron off the tee. Now you gotta realize I'm only teasing about those DFW courses: there are many that I admired, just none that I loved the way I loved Walden on Lake Conroe http://http://people.txucom.net/dbadave/spelvin/poems/walden_on_lake_conroe.htm
-- but that's all in the past: Don't Look Back, Don't Look Back!)

Mr. Science once admitted that he would miss his course back East, but that was all he would ever say, and just that once. He swallowed hard, twice, then went away over to the other end of the practice range to hit his bucket of balls. I remember I tho't it was odd at the time . . .

Mr. Science and I both were devoted to a club for quite awhile, now that we are free, we feel just a little frisky, and no longer willing to commit to the obligations of club membership, the monthly tournaments, the committees, the social affairs, etc, and we don't want to be faithful to just one club anymore -- a membership eats up your whole golf-budget, if you know what I mean?

In my own case, my wife said she figured her budget was the same as my golf budget, and I had to agree it was only fair, but the cold-blooded part came when she was looking over my golf bag in the garage. "What?" I asked.

"Don't you think you need some more metal woods?" she asked coyly, but I saw right thru that ruse: I'm still using the same set of clubs, plus-or-minus a couple of shafts, as I was using 6 years ago!

Mr. Science had a vision -- he's great with the vision thing, sorta like Lord Nelson, if you know what I mean: A Quest: to play all 215 Phoenix Area courses. He did the arithmetic in his head in a nanosecond: "It'll only take 2 years: 2-a-weekend, and we'll make up the rest on holidays!"

This was last summer. Both our first summers here. I'm from Texas, where I could walk around in 100 degree heat with 100% humidity for 18 holes, and they all ride carts here most everywhere, cuz only the most reckless young flatbelly could walk 18 out here on a summer mid-day, so I didn't think I'd have any problem, and I wasn't worried that Mr. Science would make any mistake, but there is no doubt about it: it is HOT here in the summer.

All this would make it difficult to get up a regular foursome: we had an appetite for strange & new courses, we wanted to play for reasonable rates (so we would play later), and we wanted to play twice a weekend. Plus Mr. Science and I both have a rather Calvinistic View on Golf, a conservative, old-school philosophy that frowns on some of the liberties taken of late from the Rules of Golf: Egregious mulligans, long gimme putts, lax execution of the free-drop procedure, teeing of the ball in the fairway. That might put some people off, too.

We started out on our quest. We settled into a routine: Golf as early and cheap as we could, retire back to Mr. Science's secret lair for enough soaking in the pool to re-regulate our body temperature, a couple of beers just to restore our hydro-equilibrium , then dozily watch the last of the Golf on TV on his superscreen.

Then his Scottish discipline kicked back in, and he ordered, "We've got to get going on our production! We have to play twice this weekend!"

I said, "You Betcha."

Saturday we scheduled the TPC course, where the pros play. It seemed like an uneventful round, tho' I remember not playing well, and we were paired with a young couple. I've played with a lot of different couples over the years, as a single, and by-and-large, the woman could out-score the man. Just my personal observation. This was not one of those cases. But they were very amiable.

We got around to the 17th, the famous short par-4 where all the rowdies hang out. Mr. Science was really looking forward to the hole, and was telling me the history of the hole as we drove up to the tee.

We both wanted to play safe and strategically, so naturally we got banana hooks into the church-pews bunker, instead. We got out and onto the green, and Mr. Science was measuring his par-putt when it felt like a mortar round had gone among us. The group behind us on the tee had driven into us: a ball had bounced in the middle of our group, bounced off Mr. Science's shoulder, came to rest about 8 feet from the hole.

Well, I was about faint, but I always been a little shaky that way, but Mr. Science merely staggered fom the glancing blow, righted himself, then pounced on the ball and poloed it out into the water hazard next to the green. His face was purple, but dispatching the ball had given him his humor back. I congratulated him on his alacrity, and he made his par putt.

As we walked back to the carts, a young flatbelly jumped out of a cart and blithely said, "Sorry about that."

"Oh, that's all right!" said the young woman with us. I will merely observe that it was not her place to speak.

"Hey, where's my ball?" growled the young flatbelly.

We had avoided talking or looking at him as we passed from green to cart, but now we just jerked our heads toward the water and kept walking.

"Well, you didn't have to be a dick about it!" snarled the young flatbelly.

"Drop Dead!" we said. He wasn't going to do anything about it. He knew he was wrong.

I remember getting my par, a sandy on # 18, but I think Mr. Science had a lip-out bogey, after all that. Pretty good composure for him; excellent, for me. . . but then I cope well with adversity, it's just prosperity that throws me off. Like the time I got a hole-in-one.

We went to Mr. Science's Secret Lair, cooled off, rehydrated, dozed some Golf, and met the next day at the Sanctuary. For this round we actually had a 4some, so we were looking forward to playing with people we knew.

Mr. Science & I both were unadmittedly a little shakey from the previous day, so we got off the tee on the 1st hole very conservatively, in the middle of the short, downhill fairway.

The last guy up is a little rushed, I think they were late arriving or something, so he had no warm-up, but the long-and-the-short-of-it was that he hit the nastiest low, vicious, smothered pull-snap-hook I've ever seen. It looked like the video of a tomahawk missle correcting course in mid-air, and when shattered a large picture window, it sounded like a missle had hit its target. When the irate homeowner ran out in his silver speedo, mouthing excited imprecations, Mr. Science and I, just pointed to the other cart and went on down to our balls.

While we sat in our cart waiting and watching the 4some in front on the green putting out, I said to Mr. Science, "I think Golf in Arizona is going to be too violent for me."

Mr. Science applied his Famous Rational Thought to the situation and said, " Well, Cactus, I guess we'll just have to break into the beer a few holes early today."

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