.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, December 30, 2005


Too Many

Quotable"The U.S. now has about 17,100 (golf) courses, or about twice what it had 25 years ago." - Chicago Tribune, March 2, 2001

Overbuilt: Green fees fall; new links on hold

John DavisThe Arizona RepublicJan. 16, 2005 12:00 AM
"Mecca" is a word often applied to golf in the Valley, but the term being used by course owners and developers these days is "overbuilt."The number of courses in the Valley has more than doubled in the past 15 years, but plans for dozens more have been put on hold. The number of rounds played in the region is down, and the average green fee has dropped $7 in the past year."Right now, we have about 60 courses too many. It could take another 10 years to fill them," said Tom Patrick, vice president of SunCor Golf, which manages seven Arizona courses.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005



Like a Wodehouse character, Mr. Science persists in playing golf with his wife. It doesn't really cut into our rounds, we just play the other day of the weekend, but what with the holidays now, and the harsh impositions of employment, I haven't time to play even that one day, right now.

Mr Science tho', keeps his game sharp at executive courses in these rounds with his wife, to witten:

I shot 64 at Continental on Saturday. It's Par 60, 3766 yards.

After a bad chip and a bogey at 2, I made my first birdie on 4 (338 yards) with a 7-wood approach to 2 feet. On the 6th, a 182-yard par 3 I almost lost my tee shot in a depression in the tall rough right of the green. My chip came out hot and went over the green. Then a perfect flop shot navigated the 6-foot break as it rolled down the steep slope and into the front of the cup for a par. Bogeys on 7 and 8 left me with 32 on the front, 2 over par.

On 10, a par 4, I hit a 9 iron to 10 feet for birdie, and on 11, 158 yards, I drained the 20-footer from the back fringe to get back to even par after 11 holes. I think that's the latest in any round that I've been even par. I've had 9 holes 1 under, and 8 holes 2 under, but I don't think I ever went past 9 at even or better. (My wife was with me and keeping our scores when I was 2 under through 8, with 7 pars. "What did you have on that hole?" "3". "Oh, good job....Isn't that a par 5?")

So, for the last 7 holes I hit 3 greens, and had 7 two-putts. Kind of disappointing, even for me. I had chances. On 12, I left a par putt on the lip. On 14 I missed a 20-footer for birdie. On 15, I missed a short one for par. 16, my drive went dead against the trunk of a big tree. There are not many trees on this course (or in this state) that can hurt you. I putted left-handed to an open spot in the rough, and hit an 8-iron to 12 feet. Missed that one, too. On 18 I pureed a 5-iron from the left rough (right foot on the cart path) over the green for the finishing bogey.

It's the third time I've shot 4-over for 18, but the other two were on par 71 and 72 courses, so I don't think this one ties for my best ever score, but it's close.

Kind of exhilarating, idn't. Even for a dog-track like the continental.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Corte Bella

Par 72, 7011 yds, Slope 129?, Gary Panks

Another Bunker-to-Bunker tournament, with Mr. Science, his old friend TJ, and The Defenestrator.

I felt called upon to renew an old competitive tradition I had with my regular partner back in Texas: "The Ritual Exchange of Excuses". This sombre ceremony allows the competitors to announce their shortcomings BEFORE they fail, which theoretically ought to permit greater success from reduced tension.
All the holes at Corte Bella, I'll say now, look basically the same to me: very wide, plush velvet green fairways; mildly elevated tees and greens; huge sculptured amoeba bunkers that were very aesthetically pleasing, but not necessarily in play, nor very natural looking, as if they had been set on the hole, rather than built in. It's not that the course is flat, it's just that, on some holes on some courses, the green is below the fairway. Having 14 semi-blind shots to elevated greens gets a little old, after awhile. The desert has been manicured with red Sedona rock, roman cypress, & palm trees. No scrub, no saguara, no cactus of any kind.

The greens were fast and true, and interestingly contoured.

We got 5 under after 6 or 7 holes and then never got close to another birdie or bogey the rest of the day. The reads & speeds just totally threw us on any putt longer than 4 feet.

It was kinda freaky how we got low so fast. TJ hit a 5 iron 4 inches from the par 3 4 th hole, where we tho't the closest-to-the-pin was but the B2B people had changed it at the last minute. The defenestrator hit 2 approach shots on par 4s that rolled around the mounds on the green to kick in distance from the cup, like pro-shots. But then, we ran out of miracle shots, and just parred into the house. There were some 12 & 15 footers we ought to have made, but my scorpion sting apparently affected my touch. . . I was putting 10 feet past every hole and couldn't stop.

Didn't affect my long shots, even tho' my arm would quiver so much it made me nauseaus -- in fact, my arm felt so good the next day I am making this medical advice to everyone: If you are stung by a scorpion, play 18 holes of golf: physical activity seems to mitigate the poison.

The course was well-maintained, and the staff was friendly, attentive, and courteous, in the Troon tradition. Nice locker room.

The course will benefit with age -- it's only a year old now. . . the decorative landscaping will grow out a little bit and the hard edges in the greens will soften a little bit. Mr. Science give it a 2, cuz he favors the conditions and amenities; I give it a 3 cuz it could never be argued as THE best course in the Valley, so it can't be a 2, either. I don't favor courses which only defense is the wind and unputtable pin positions -- I prefer some challenge out in the fairway, even if it is only psychological, a la' McKinzie.

OTOH. . . I think there IS some potential there . . . # 18 at Corte Bella reminds me of # 18 at Pine Hurst #2 (this is not #18, but typical): it had a exagerated elevated green with steep drop offs on all sides. The difference being the difference between the world-class eccentricity of Pine Hurst #2 and just an interesting hole: the rough creeps up the side of the sides of green mound, so that tho' your ball will roll off like at PH#2, it will also hang up in the rough instead of rolling all the way down, giving the golfer a chance to see his target for the recovery chip instead of a blind shot from the bottom of the hill. Much easier. CB#18 is a par 5 so you're (I'm) hitting a short wedge into the green, rather than the mid-iron at PH#2#18 . . . but mine still went over. . . I don't know that it would the second time I play the hole.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?