Wednesday, January 18, 2006
William F. Bell, creator of San Diego's fabled Torrey Pines, was the architect for Maryvale. A championship-length course, it is suitable for all skill levels. Maryvale has become well known for its excellent practice facilities and its popular junior golf school, which instructed many of Arizona's golf professionals.
6646 Yds, Par 72, Slope 119
A little bit more interesting, a little more challenging than En Canto, which Bill Bell also designed. Same sort of Park-Style ambience with old growth trees and wall-to-wall grassing. Maybe a little better shape, a little better watered, the fairways were green -- not to say lush -- and surrounded by the dormant yellow bermuda rough. It seemed to me that the tees & greens were microscopically more elevated than En Canto.
I had a pathetic 45-52= 97; Mr. Science, 41-41=82. The course ought to be too easy for me to shoot a 96, but my short game was sinfully bad: duffed sand shots, bladed pitches, offline chipping, and my putting -- that I like to say covers up the sins of my other clubs -- hasn't come back around since I got stung on my left thumb by a scorpion: I'm putting off-line everytime and my speed is heinously in error. Mr. Science OTOH said, "I'm in Golf Hell".
Mr. Science's definition of Golf Heaven & Golf Hell:
- In Golf Heaven, the Golf is exactly like it is here, and you play exactly like you do now, always seeming to improve, and you get to play every day.
- In Golf Hell, every drive is down-the-middle, every approach is in the middle of the green, and every green is a 2-putt par.
I felt like I was in my own golf hell, too. I had 3 pars, 3 bogeys, and 3 doublebogeys on the front 9 for a 45, because of my short game, so I resolved to grind out at least a 44 and break 90, but I double bogeyed the Par 5s #10 & # 12, both with 4 putts, due to the shocking difference in the slope of the greens from the rest of the course. On the other holes, the roll won't break as much as it looks like, and so, lulled to sleep, my first putts just raced away downhill unexpectedly (and I'm not putting that well lately anyway).
So I arrived at the 16th tee needing 3 pars to get my 45, but what I got instead was double, triple, double bogeys. Those last 3 holes are 438, 206, & 410 yds . . . I think I got greenside in regulation, but floundered from there on in. The 4 long par 4s, #s 3, 4, 16, & 18 are tough. Combined with the 2 Par 5s with the steep greens, a very interesting back 9.
The weather was nice, the course was very playable; it was a very nice walk in the park, but it still ranks as a 4 by each of us . . . Even without the scenic advantage of Encanto that has views of Downtown Phoenix, this is a better course than that, in that the layout is slightly more interesting and challenging. We felt in danger the whole day tho', for several times, a stray shot bounced thru our 4some and there always seemed to be extra balls in the fairway.
If only, the fairway edges were mowed in a more amoebic pattern, instead of as straight as cornrows, the visual appeal of the course, especially with the Phoenix-trademark contrast of dormant rough and green fairway, would very much enhanced. This is the common fault of 2nd tier munis, tho', one of those critical differences between really attractive and, uh, not-quite-so-attractive courses. Maryvale is a 60s vintage course, showing its age, but not a bad way to spend a day, at all.
The coffee shop ambience is a little lacking and my egg sandwich, tho' tasty, was probably greasy -- it gave me heartburn.