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Saturday, April 15, 2006


Tatum Ranch

6856 Yds, Par 72, Slope 127, by Robert Cupp


They Say: At Tatum Ranch, we believe the private golf experience should be equally challenging, rewarding and fun. Our 18-hole, 6859 yard Robert Cupp designed golf course is a demanding yet enjoyable layout that allows golfers of any skill level to enjoy playing time and time again. This risk-reward course will ignite all of your senses with impeccable manicured greens, expansive rolling fairways, panoramic mountain views and desert flora.

Mr. Science recollects: This is a more difficult course, on a more difficult day, a little bit windy. Lots of local knowledge required, and there were times I found out too late that I had hit the ball someplace that you just can't play from. Still, I got off the tee really well most of the time, and it was fun. After starting with 2 double bogeys, I was not expecting anything great. Then after 5 holes I was only 3 over par, so my spirits picked up. In the end, only 7 pars and a birdie, two 7's and two 6's on the card for 86.

We had started on 13, so we were forced to play 6 more holes to get back to the clubhouse, and that was when I drove the ball past Clinton, who is a long hitter and was playing the very back tees (except for this one hole) and still hitting last from the fairway all day. I made sure Cactus Dave took note of the fact that both of us were in the middle of the fairway, and Clinton was hitting first. Cactus Dave responded with an ethnic slur which caused me to miss my next shot, but I made par anyway. nyah-nyah, nyah-nyah-nyah.

Nothing like playing courses like Dobson Ranch and Apache Creek to highlight the difference between the top-notch courses and the also-rans. The artfully contoured velvet fairways, the large amoeba shaped bunkers, the convulsed, yet smooth-rolling greens all make the experience better. That combined with the fact we were playing hooky from work (taking comp time in grownup-speak) made it all the sweeter.

My play benefited from the two previous rounds the two previous days, so much so that at times I seemed delirious: I chipped in 3 times. On #13, our starting hole, my 30 foot lag putt off the fringe came off the huge tongue-shaped mound bisecting the green and rolled into the hole for a birdie; On #18, fresh off the first of my two quadruple-bogies on par 5s, which included blading a downhill wedge off a mound over the green, this time instead, the same shot bumped-and-ran perfectly into the hole to save par; on #8, after a toe-hit double cross wound up in the desert fight of the green, a semi-spectacular pitch over the mounds and an uphill 15 footer from the fringe got me another par. I had 8 pars and a birdie for a 47-46=93. I was playing so much better this day than the previous two, it is obvious that a little local knowledge really helps on this course: an infallible tip that the course is good. I hit several fairway shots that were so pure they were on the back of the green, which is very wrong on this course.

About this alleged racial slur: I merely observed that we as a group had consumed several beers by that time, and whereas for Mr. Science, who is Irish, this seemed a benefit, while for Clinton the Ace, who is not Irish, it was not. Now maybe that was out of line, but I was down in the trash left of the fairway on that par 5 17th hole again, and possibly a certain amount of peevishness had crept into my mien.

But I never apologize. Never! As noted by the great golf writer P.G. Wodehouse, "the Right Sort of people do not require apologies, and the Wrong Sort will make mean use of them."

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