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Tuesday, November 22, 2005


ASU Karsten

7057 Yds, Par 35-37=72, Slope 132

This is the Par 3 16th, their Signature Hole:, a double bogey for me, so call this sour grapes if you must: look at it: railroad tie bulkheads; severely scalloped bunkering & moundings; megawatt powerlines; water towers . . . not the most bucolic environment.

Now, we haven't been hardly anywhere else in the Valley that allowed walking, much less encouraged walking, but Mr. Science took some umbrage that they wouldn't let his pull cart on the course. It's hardly fair to lumber ASUK with the sins of every other course in PHX, but there it is. On top of the rubber mat practice area, the practice green with so few holes on it, the cart-paths-only, the mediocre restaurant, and the fact that the whole staff seemed a little wired because of the junior tournament the morning of the day we played (understandably), the ambience just seemed a little lacking.

The greenbelts are very wide here -- good for us, cuz it was awfully windy, and the desert areas are graded clean . . . not even any saguaros. Despite my wild driving, I didn't lose any balls, they always seemed to be just on the edge of the grass -- course I did lose 3 or 4 balls in the water. New balls. Mr. Science said, too, "Now I remember why I never play with new balls."

Now, Pete Dye is a Design Master. No point in debating that. And the shot values on these holes are very good, some might be great. But I hate the dang railroad ties everywhere, including the bulkheads. #9/#18 looks like a copy of Ancala's #9/#18.

The front 9, par 35, is deceptively easy looking; the back 9 didn't seem so much more back-breaking difficult, tho' it is par 37. Rusty & wind-blown, I shot 47-46=93; Mr. Science 44-47=91.

There's oodles of traps, grass bunkers, and water, and the tees are often stationed off-line so that the fairway looks impossible to hit to a first-timer. #2 & #8 exemplify this. On both, I hit a smooth 3 wood off the tee to place myself strategically, and both times wound up in a sand trap anyway. On #2 that meant a bogey. On #8, out of desperate frustration more than anything else, I hammered an 8iron uphill out of the sandtrap thru the trees blocking my view onto the green 25 feet short of the hole. Uphill on these greens is a lot easier than sidehill, for sure, and I made the birdie putt, even tho' it was a double-breaker.

Post-Birdie-Foul-Up decreed that I had to hit 2 balls into the water on #9, as a result.

We finished in 4 hours, but it had felt like a very slow 4 hours.

The layout feels a little cramped. Aside from the power lines and water towers hemming the course, there just are places where the holes are too close together. The giant bunker between #5 fairway and #6 green seems to be a source of constant friction. I'm convinced some old beezer picked up my ball when I was on # 5, and as we left #6 green a guy yelled to us, "Hey! Did you "see" my Titleist in here (the trap)?"

For sure, at least the last 6 holes bear investigation and analysis for their architecture. They are the most dynamic and interesting on the course. They fulfill the promise a "Pete Dye Links Design" holds out to us.

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