Saturday, February 25, 2006
3081 Yds. Par 56, Slope 96, By Jack Snyder
From our Executive Course Correspondent, Mr. Science:
Nestled in the heart of Paradise Valley, amidst a neighborhood of million and multi-million dollar homes, and between Camelback and Mummy Mountains, this is a scenic and challenging short course.
Conditions are excellent, although they need to train some of the golfers on how to fix ball marks on greens. There are large eucalyptus trees, 10 foot high oleander hedges, water hazards, and OB on several holes, sometimes on both sides. It's incredible how you can stand on a tee, expecting to hit a shot onto the green, and feel afraid of the trouble should your shot stray a few yards to either side. Plenty of well-placed bunkers make for interesting shots on every hole.
I give this one a 1. Not the same meaning as a 1 for Troon North, but definitely best in class in my experience so far.
Mrs. Science had 39 on the back. Two missed birdie putts of less than 10 feet, and a 200+ yard drive on the par 4. I was knocking the flags down, literally hit a pin with a 5-iron from 178 yards. Last time I played I hit one with a gap wedge from 100. Didn't have a makeable putt either time, but the noise is satisfying.
Monday, February 20, 2006
7068 yds, Par 72, Slope 128, by William Bell, Re-fit by Jack Snyder.
"Papghetto" the same way as Encanto is "Enchanto". But we felt that the course was in very playable shape. Definitely, a solid "3". Sure it could have been in better shape and it seems kind of long-in-the-tooth, but the layout is very fine; the scenery, beautiful, even if not breath-taking; and the golf itself is very challenging. This is definitely the most difficult of the Phoenix Munis, although I can easily believe that Cave Creek is the most popular.
I shot a 46-43=89; Mr. Science a 43-42=85. If I could putt, I would've shot low-80s . . . part of that was the fair-&-challenging greens, but most of it is I have just lost my touch (or my concentration (or my courage)) on short ones for par. I made some heroic lag putts that left me with tap-ins, but my short game and putting otherwise is killing me. The course is long-and-tough, but also sort-of wide open, so that there is usually a chance for a recovery shot, long as you don't mind clanging your club off a rock or two.
The way the holes look from the tee is really beautiful: narrow fairways with wide shouldered, close-cut dormant bermuda rough, surrounded by red-rock hills and old, old trees that seem to come into play, often. Hardly a flat-lie to be found, either.
Note that the first two holes are on the AZCentral Best 18 holes in Phoenix
I'd have to play it again to get a sense of the course, I mean, the strategy of the course . . . the only thing that comes to mind now is how hard the last 3 holes were, the #2, #8, & #4 handicap holes, 443 par 4, 227 par 3, & 443 par 4. I was striking the ball fairly well, and playing smart, but just not able to get it in the hole . . . by the time we finished of course, it was a 5 hour round, and my attention span tends to wander after that long, especially walking.
The only bloggable thing that happened out of the ordinary was on #9, a par 5 with water running down most of the right side. Our playing companion, Rasputin, the mad duffer, for whom golf seems to aggravate his ADHD, had kind of a difficult shot out of the trees from behind the water, and when he hit is ball, the ball DID go over the water into the next copse, but his 7 iron snapped off at the kick point and the club head went into the water hazard, well out of reach. "These are Ping Eye 2 clubs!" he wailed, "a pro told me they were worth $3000! What should I do? Should I go in there after it?" And so on, for the next 9 holes, "What do you think I should do? Give me your advice! Can I tip the greenskeeper? Will they let me dive for it?"
"Hey man!" I finally said, "Just look on EBAY for a new 7 iron . . . "