Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Not to be confused with Estrella Ranch -- which I liked quite a lot -- it does not begin to compare, except that the fried egg sandwich for brekky is better.
I made a mistake. Our wine-tasting event Saturday night got cancelled, so I said to Mr. Science, "Just come over to our house: the wine will be better, the food will blow you away, and the price is right." . . . 8^D . . .
We started off with an amusing bottle of Imperial Kir (white wine methode champaignois tinged with kir (raspberry liqueur))
- That we followed with Mrs. Cactus' Famous Creole Shrimp Flambe: middle-count Gulf shrimp pinked in a cajun pepper mix, then flambe'd in Jack Daniels, served with a spicy creamy sauce over wild rice.
We had white vin ordinare with it (Kendall Jackson & Toasted Head), but it seemed good enough, in a bacchanalia sort-of-way. . .8^). . . For desert we had Pecan Chocolate Torte with B&J Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, flambe'd with Jack Daniels, natch.
Then nothing would do but what we stay up late playing poker with Mr. Science's new poker set -- and finishing off several bottles of red and white wine in addition to putting a small dent in the Jack Daniels.
So I am confessing that, on the first tee, despite liberal application of ibuprofen, juice, coffee, and fried-egg-bagel, I did not have my A-game for a course that demands it. The low-grade headache was not so deleterious -- indeed, my old pal, the Jaybird (as in nekkid-as-a-jaybird) always claimed a hangover was beneficial to his golf, by limiting his backswing and keeping his head still -- but my balance seemed out of kilter. Tho' most of the front 9 is a blur, I do remember losing 4 balls on the first two holes, easy short par 4s.
I did notice -- and perhaps it IS an unfair comparison -- but the mounding, hazards, and bunkers were very strategic in placement and artful in shape, much more than at The 500 club. The design is first-rate and the condition is unblemished.
Mr. Science did not seem similarly handicapped, perhaps he was not as afflicted as I had been, as host, or perhaps he has inner-resources I lack, but he registered his usual consistent round 43-42=85, despite the challenges & bad-bounces such a quality course offers. But even Mr. Science was compelled to admit my round was one of the most bizarre he'd ever seen. An unremarkable 51 on the front 9, then a 48 on the back with 3 birdies, no pars, no bogies:
on #10 I had a good drive, then a nice knock-down 7 iron that stuck 12 feet below the hole, leaving a straight putt up the hill for birdie.
on #14 I almost holed out for an ace on that 215 yard Par 3 -- hit the prettiest little 5-wood high-draw that just trickled by the hole. It wasn't a tap-in, I had to use both hands, but it was real close
on #18 I somehow conquerred the mental obstacles of bunkers in the middle of the fairway -- it's really a divided fairway -- without going thru the fairway into the bunker at the elbow of the dogleg, then I lobbed an 8 iron with the wind right at the pin, and it almost went in, but left me another two-handed tap-in.
#15 is the one that sticks in my mind tho', a very pinehurst # 2 kind of hole, short enough that almost everyone will get a shot at the green, but no chance of getting close to the pin. . . I hit a good drive, surmounting the PBFU syndrome, but when I hit my famous sure-thing, totally-reliable half-a-9-iron into the green it caught up on the slope to the upper tier and rolled back to 60 feet from the pin, on the bottom tier of the green. If it gets a yard further, it would've been inside 20 feet.
Mr. Science hit his second over the green (Clue #1). One of our playing partners chipped over the green (Clue #2). The other playing partner putted from 80 or 90 feet, from the bottom of the green to the back pin, off the green (Clue # 3). Hmmm. The green slopes away from the tee in the back! So natcherly, I putt off the green too. Wind up with a 4-putt double bogey. Good hole. Tough Course.
#12 was another that flat overwhelmed me that day. Good drive, then got too cute with my formerly-reliable half-9-iron, which trickled off into the bunker on the right. No problem, I told myself, but in the bunker, with the surface of the green above my head, I realized that it might be. My first shot rolled back into the trap; my second hit the lip and fell back; my third went over the mounds behind the green. Good hole. Tough Course.
An impeccable golf course.