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Thursday, March 30, 2006


Eagle Mountain

6800 Yds, Par 71, Slope 136, by Scott Miller


"Where IS the Psychic Center of Golf In the Valley?" one might ask if one was trying to start a brawl in the 19th hole. Nominations include South Mountain (Verrado, Legacy, et al), North Scottsdale/Cave Creek (Troon North, The Boulders, Legends, et al), Sun City (? - nah), and last-but-not-least, Fountain Hills (WeKoPa, Sun Ridge, Las Sendas, & Eagle Mountain).

I think Fountain Hills gets the nod.

We broke training when we played, tho' -- for the second time -- we had an afternoon t-time, and we feared not getting 18 in, but we arrived early and they sent us right off . . . Mr. Science missing his hour-of-warmup, and me, my midday tea. It only took a couple of holes for Mr. Science to warm up, only 3 strokes over par before he resumed his normal quality of play, 47-43=90, but I, feeling churlish, deprived, and light headed had barely gotten my feet under me before low-blood-sugar laid me low. We didn't see the cart girl till the 10th hole, and by then, it was too late for me. . . I had a 50-55=105.

I was rusty, not having played for 3 weeks, besides, so I hit the ball left and right, high and low, without any sense of where it was really going, but I never got into so much trouble that I had no play, but my short game from 100 yds out was even worse than before. I pureed several iron shots over the green on the front nine -- the only thing I thought of trying after a while was swinging harder, so my contact would be less-solid and closer to my normal distance. That turned out not to be a good idea, as I took a 9 on #16, a par 4.

The back 9 is 50 yds shorter than the front, and has an extra stroke to give; looking at the card at the halfway point, I tho't sure I could improve on my front 9 score: #12, a short par 5; #13, a moderate par 3; #14, ashort par 4; #15, a very short par 3 that almost seems out of place on this very hard course; #16 a moderate par 4; #17 a short par 4, and #18, which is long, but also very down-hill. Instead, I had 2 9s and a snowman.

Like a neglected mistress, Golf was exacting its revenge, and is so often the case, then on #18, graced me with my 3rd par of the day, to make sure I would come back . . . I felt like I'd skied my drive from the very, very elevated tee, but it was even with Mr. Science's ball and in the middle of the fairway, only 190 yds out, so call the drive 230 into the wind . . . so I cut a smart little 5 wood wind-cheater onto the left side of the green, away from the water, pin-high in the fringe, from where I was able to get up-and-down for the first time of the day. Yeah, I'll be back.

These greens roll true, but they are almost tortured they have been contoured so severely, which sometimes disguises the subtle counter-breaks that fooled me all day long. Even if I could putt, I woulda misread many putts.

Mr. Science made one birdie on the 129 yd par 3 #15. He fussed and fumed over his uphill 6-footer for even longer than usual, looking for one of those subtle breaks, till my throat clearing finally irritated him enough to make him just putt it. . . nothing but net.

When we finished the cart boys that clean clubs jaws dropped. "Wow, you made good time today!" Well, we did. Even as a twosome we hardly had to wait. We played in less than 4 hours, easy, but, not as quickly as they thought, because we teed off an hour-and-a-half early.

One of the marshals checking our time also struggled with our time/space continuum. "what's your tee time?" he asked us on the 4th hole.

"1:51" we told him.

"You're making good time, then, but it's only 1:45 now!"

"Well," I said, "We do play real fast."

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