Saturday, April 15, 2006
6795 Yds, Par 71, Slope 128, by Joe Alsip
They say: Apache Creek is turf-style (meaning links?) desert course with transitional areas framing the fairways, making accurate tee-shots an absolute must . . . The small-to-medium-sized greens can be a bit feisty. However, with a little skill, you can capture a few birdies . . .
Those are the Superstition mountains in the background , very picturesque. Everything was off -- for me -- starting with the kitchen help holding my breakfast sandwich cuz they didn't realize that me sitting there meant I was the one who ordered it. It was good, but I was already irritated. Then I musta underestimated the golf course, too. It IS flatter than a tortilla, but it is not ugly, not easy, and not short. I would say that the fairways are artfully bent into dog legs so that they appear transversable, but they are not. The desert areas seem groomed and open, but there is tons of trouble out there, as I found out. Then the greens -- they call them "feisty" -- I would call them almost unfair in certain pin placements, but that could be because I putted even worse than my recent norm.
The swooping tier-line on the first green begins right at the corner of the bunker guarding the left half of the green. Our pin placement was right on the slope of that tier snuggled behind that trap. Putts below the hole were very slow; putts above were in certain danger of rolling way past the hole, down the slope to the next tier.
The second green has a large, subtle mound in the back quadrant of the large-ish green sloping severely back-to-front. That mound affects putts in unforeseen ways, even many feet away from its top.
The third green slopes so much a ball hit short of the top tier may not stay on the green, and it's a narrow little green, too, over water, and elevated over the long rough surrounding the green.
These greens weren't particularly smooth, but not unputtably bumpy either. I hadn't played for 3 weeks, so my tee-and-fairway games were inconsistent, and naturally, one's shortgame will suffer after such a layoff and these greens were extra punishing to my rusty game. That put even more pressure on my tee-to-green game, with unhappy results.
All these greens are creatively challenging, I think, but the only other one I remember well was #9, which has a huge mound intruding into the green from the top-center. Three of us had wound up on the back-right corner of the green, windblown. The two first of us to hit rolled the ball off the mound, past the hole 12 or 15 feet: an impossible putt. Mr. Science cleverly left his first putt 8 feet short, but mostly uphill, which he was able to convert for a par. The two of us left with longer, but straight uphill putts couldn't match him.
My round went downhill from there, including two holes I couldn't finish, 49-52+101. Compared to Mr. Science's round it felt like an Evening at Abu Gharib. Then on the way home, I realized I had no housekey and my wife was out at the Renaissance Festival. Perfect, Just Perfect.
Mr. Science Sez: I equaled the best round of my life, 4 over par 75. And, on a 6795-yard course, from the Championship tees. It was very consistent, only one birdie and 5 bogeys. Putting was very good, but only 1 long one went in that I can remember. I hit a lot of greens. There were two 3-putt bogeys on the par 5's on the front 9, which was especially disappointing because I played the other 7 holes in 1 under par. The back 9 started with 3 bogeys on the first 4 holes, at which time I calculated that I needed 5 pars to match my all-time best.