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Thursday, May 25, 2006


Tonto Verde Peaks

6737 Yds, Par 72, Slope 133, by Graham & Panks


They Say: "Tonto Verde has two challenging 18-hole courses with spectacular views. Renowned golf course architects David Graham and Gary Panks chose to keep the natural contours of the land on our first course. The result is a golf experience in harmony with its setting. Our courses respect both the beauty of the desert and the ability of the golfer. Both courses have been honored with national awards for their scenic charm and playability."

The Peaks course is awesome: creative, challenging, unique. Easily my favorite Panks course -- it must be the catalytic impact of David Graham that makes the difference. Many of the holes seem to have the standard Panks imprimatur, slightly elevated tees & greens, wide, wide fairways, and "subtle" greens, but several, most, have a twist to them -- psychological challenges and McKinzie-ish camoflagellation built-into the course in a way that befuddles a first-timer and charms the golfing recividist.

I played like crap, again, 50-50=100, up until the last few holes. Mr Science had an uneven 37-46=83, with one birdie, but he was beaming all day long, enjoying the superb bent-grass greens, even when he missed putts on the back 9. It got real windy during our back 9 -- we still meet people who claim that Arizona's not windy -- a 3-club wind, at times. On some holes, that are w-i-d-e open, it doesn't really matter, but then, on other holes . . . like on the 300 yd par 4 #13. . . the landing area looks tiny from the tee, especially into a 3-club wind. #14, a par 4, seems even smaller. #15, a 200 yd par 3 into the wind seemed even more miniscule -- except for the giant trap on the left side of the green, much larger than it looks on the card. I liked the eye-shaped bunker on #16, the double dog-leg par 5 # 17 and the easy finishing hole. A great back 9 on a very good course.

I have to double-back now and mention #4, #5, #8, & #9 on the front as very fine, doubt-inspiring holes.

Most people struggle with bad habits and adversity . . . I'm the opposite, I suffer from good habits and prosperity:

so, somehow, this last week (probably in direct result from the assault on my finer sensibilities by the breakfast chef at Desert Canyon) I had been trying to play "defensively", and to "use good technique", such as standing up straighter and using a one-piece-take-away, and tho' I knew about it, I didn't realize it until the middle of the back 9 at Tonto Verde.

On the par 5 #11, I forgot myself, and played correctly (for me) off the tee, from a comical crouch, a strangler's strong grip, and a pick-up-backswing (early wrist cock), resulting in a huge drive down the middle of the fairway, into the desert-cross-hazard. The gasps from Mr Science and the couple we played with rubbed salt into my bleeding wounds. . . "Try not to sound so surprised," I complained, "When you tell me 'good shot'!" 8~D But I still didn't know what I had done, so I had to hack around 4 or 5 more holes before I remembered my "proper" technique.

On the par 4 #16, both Mr Science & I had 300 yd drives (down wind), but his pitch shot caught the greenside lip of the bunker, twice, and I bladed my half-wedge over the green. Bogeys.

on the par 5 #17, I ripped a Driver/3wood down 40 yds short of the green, but my 1/3wedge shot was mysteriously solid, and rolled off the back of the green. Still a par.

on the short par 4 #18 I managed to hit the right half-wedge. Par.

All of this success by avoiding 'good technique'. . .8~D . . .

There are large practice areas for driving, pitching, & putting -- but more than that: there is an 18 hole putting green course, that includes sand traps and water hazards. 16 of those holes would be good holes for the "betcha-can't-hole-out-in-2". It's not a Putt-Putt course, with a windmill, but rather a Par-54, exaggerated Real golf experience. Fun. Worth the drive out to the most extreme North East Corner of Phoenix. There may be a pitch-and-putt course, too, over by the Ranch course . . . we saw the flags on our way out.

Definitely a 2. Has all the accoutrement' of any first class course, that Mr Science looks for, and I think it could be considered for The Best Course in the Valley -- I don't happen to agree, but I wouldn't call you crazy for saying so, if you see what I mean. . . .

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Desert Canyon

6415 Yds, Par 71, Slope 123, by John Allen


They Say: "Desert Canyon Golf Club - a truly unique golf experience. Desert Canyon features a challenging yet playable golf course. The course winds it way through wonderful desert terrain up and down the natural arroyos and canyons that occur in the Sonoran Desert. You'll find tremendous variety in the layout as well : Five holes are doglegs to the to the right, four holes are "left benders". Two par threes are blind uphill approach shots while another, the seventh , the signature hole, is a dramatic downhiller skirted by bunkers. Players will not want to miss our tribute to the great Scottish courses."

The Great P.G.Wodehouse observed in the forward to one of his golf story collections that Critics should have to publish their handicaps so that the readers could judge for themselves the validity of their critiques . . . so, in that spirit, I will say up front that I have no right to critique this course, neither to praise nor to damn, I had a 56-54=110, with one par and 8 lost balls . . .8^0. . . Mr Science had 47-42=89, and grumbled the whole morning about the greens, the patchy areas in the fairway, and his own errancy: 3 lost balls on the front 9.

The course isn't THAT hard, shouldn't have been for either of us -- we think we would play better on a second round, adjusting to the greens better, in addition to knowing the course better, having actual knowledge of the blind and semi-blind tee-shots.

This course designer has cleverly insinuated doubt into the mind of the golfer on many of the holes with large trees leaning into the narrow fairways, disguising the landing areas, severe elevation changes that confuse the perspective, insidious dog-legs, and elevated greens. Even on the "easy" holes, that seem wide open from the tee, there are cunning impediments to par, such as very large false fronts on elevated greens -- plus the sudden release from claustrophobia breeds overswings.

I don't think there's a bad hole on the course, nor one that is actually unfair, but those greens were so grainy, even short putts were a mystery to us. When Mr Science made a sandy par on the par 3 #17 he pumped his fist like Tiger in an uncharacteristic display of emotion. My sandy par putt curled around the hole like a meteor bending around the sun, just like on a dozen other holes.

On several holes, #9 & #10 in particular we were perplexed about what club to hit, to the degree it affected our shot quality (that doubt, even only in the subconcious, is very detrimental). On #13 I over-hooked my first drive OB, then pushed my 3rd shot OB on the right, thru the dog-leg. So: trouble everywhere.

Somewhere we read that Desert Canyon was voted "Best Public Course in Fountain Hills". Not knowing any better one might think that was a rather modest claim, but knowledge of Eagle Mountain, Sun Ridge, and We-Ko-Pa leads us rather to think not . . . "Musta been the Desert Canyon Employees Association voting on that one," said Mr Science.

Now Mr Science's main problem was putting, I see from his scorecard, that looks like something from A Beautiful Mind from all the stats he's scratched on there, but the ugliest thing is the 35 putts, half-again over his average, I'd say.

My problem, OTOH, was a breakdown in training . . . I broke one of Satchel Paige's Rules for a Long Life: "Don't eat fried foods that angry up the blood." The Steakhouse attached to the Pro Shop looked alright, but they served me the single worst breakfast sandwich I have eaten in the valley, a soggy, greasy, micro-nuked ham & egg croissant, and, AND a candidate for the worst coffee (but I sometimes pass on the coffee at some low-end courses, so I can't say for sure). It wasn't fried, but I shouldna et it, definitely put me off my game. No way would I let those clowns burn a steak for me.

Saturday, May 20, 2006



6817 Yds, Par 72, Slope 118, by Dan Pohl

They Say: "The Bougainvillea Golf Club course is a beautiful 18-hole, par 72 Championship golf course with some of the most spectacular views anywhere in the valley. The South and Estrella mountains provide a stunning backdrop to this very enjoyable venue. One of the unique features of the golf course is the combination of six par 3’s, six par 4’s and six par 5’s as the course meanders through the residential development of Bougainvillea. The golf course is a player friendly one featuring generous fairways and undulating greens. Don’t let the wide fairways lull you to sleep, as one of our fifty-seven newly renovated bunkers will wake you up in a hurry. With four sets of tees, the golf course is ideal for golfers of all skill levels."

In the short list of courses created by Dan Pohl, you will see "Pohl Cat Mt. View East Course" . . . that drollity has become Bougainvillea. I'm unsure that anymore ought to be said, tho' I intend to say a very brief more, but I will remain mindful that Doubt is the enemy of the Blogger, just as surely as it is the Nemesis of the Golfer.

It's too flat and too wide open to be given much consideration. Comparison to Apache Creek would not be flattering, given that so much more has been done there with a similar terrain. The difference between a 4 and a 3, Mr. Science thinks.

It will be "Bogey-ville" forever in my mind. . . I don't ever remember making so many 3-putt bogeys . . . the Bermuda Dwarf-Tif greens were soooooooo slow, I never could adjust to them -- by the middle of the back 9, tho', it didn't matter anymore, my finer feelings had been cauterized beyond all repair.

I finished with 46-43=89, with a one birdie and one par. Mr Science had a 41-42=83.

Great breakfast sandwich -- it was so delicately done that I wished I had opted for the more substantial Breakfast Burrito, just to see if it was as good.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Putt's Laws

email from a friend:
From the NYTimes Circuits Email that I get, two quotes worth passing on from the BLOGs by MSoft employees on the Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC) – apparently a train wreck in the making:
  1. Putt's Law #1: "Two types of people dominate technology: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand."
  2. Putt's Law #2: "Rejection of management objectives is undesirable when you are wrong, and unforgivable when you are right."
  3. Putt’s Law #99: “Screw everything and let’s go play golf!” (My Own Addition)

Friday, May 12, 2006


Johnson Ranch

7141 Yds, Par 72, Slope 130, by Brian Whitcomb

They Say: "Johnson Ranch Golf Club is a challenging par 72 championship course set at the base of the San Tan Mountains. The front side is a classic desert golf experience while the back nine plays in and through the majestic, cactus filled mountainside."

Note that Brian Whitcomb's other Phoenix credits include Club West, The 500 Club, The Foothills at South Mountain, and Western Skies. While none of these really competes for The Best Golf Course in The Valley, they are all fun courses to play, each interesting in-and-of-itself-in-its-own-way. In fact, those 4 courses, plus Johnson Ranch make an eloquent case for Brian Whitcomb as a genious of entertaining and affordable golf. What's even more interesting is how different the design features of these courses are and how imaginative and unique are some of the holes on these courses -- I don't see a common touch like McKinzie or Ross or Von Hagge or Dye or Nicklaus, but that is an attribute, not a detriment, when one considers the whole Whitcomb oeuvre.

We played the same day, same time as the UHOG tournament. The tiny clubhouse was overwhelmed with boistrous golfers -- just too many UHOGs in one place -- the place felt like bedlam. The staff seemed strained, yet all we dealt with were unfailingly patient, polite, and cheerful. Good people in a foxhole, if you know what I mean.

We ate hamburger lunches together, then I dawdled over my Arnold Palmer and watched golf on the big screen tvs in the noisy, air-conditioned comfort while Mr Science hit his bucket. He'd stood, trying to leave for the range, but unwilling to abandon his french fries . . . "They're Delicious!" . . . so, I got the waitress to box & nuke 'em for him just before we headed out.

Because of the shotgun tournament, we started out on #10. I accidentally ripped my drive over the inside corner of the dogleg: perfect. I smoothed a 7iron left of the pin. "I feel like Freddy Couples!" I crowed, but my ball had actually gone long -- still on the green -- and rolled down the steep left-to-right incline. So I putted like Freddy Couples: a 3putt bogey. That is one steep green. In fact -- in the light of these other courses Brian Whitcomb has done -- I would have to say that this is the best hole on the course, a long uphill dogleg par 4 with an impossible green elevated into the side of a high hill. There are other good holes on this back 9, which could compete with the back 9s at Sanctuary and The 500 Club, as it winds in-&-around and up-&-down the San Tan Mountains.

The tee for the par 3 #11 is further up that same hill. I think I was still out-of-breath from the climb when I left my t-shot short of the green. Might have been distracted by the scenery from there, too: a great view of the Superstitions. That green -- most of these greens -- seemed even more tiny up close than from that elevated tee. Double Bogey.

#12 seemed more conventional and ordinary, but I foozled around too much to be a good judge. Double Bogey.

#13 is a vicious dogleg-right par 4 with a semi-blind tee-shot. Mr Science conked his drive with a tiny power-fade to less than a 100 yds. I had a full 5 iron, from straying left into the back of the dogleg. Bogey.

I don't remember the par 5 #14 -- I parred it, I parred 3 of the par 5s by scrambling after almost reaching them in 2 -- the greens were that hard that I couldn't adjust my shortgame, every little pitch or chip seemed to race yards by. It's amazing how little of a par 5 you notice when the 3wood is working right.

#15 is touchy little par 4, downhill to the landing area then back uphill over a huge crossbunker guarding a green. I cunningly left my 8iron short of the trap, but then my pitch over the bunker ran yards past the pin since the front of the green slopes away from that bunker. Bogey.

#16 is a tense little par 4, w-a-a-a-a-y downhill to a landing area crimped by large bunkers. Used a 3wood on both of these short downhill t-shots. Strategic, if you know what I mean. Another tiny green. Bogey.

#17 is a flat hole, with just a mid-iron, but against the wind, I wandered over into the gravel behind a trap. Double Bogey.

#18 is a long flat par 5 that sorta bends around a large water hazard. Both Mr. Science & I tomahawked our drives into a bunker on the left side barely 200 yds. He got out, even tho' he couldn't get over the high lip. I put the ole West Texas Fade on it like it was a hardpan lie (in fact, them fairway bunkers is ALL hardpan) and got out smartly to the right side of the fairway, 'bout 160 away. Mr. Science got as close the green as he could without challenging the water, and I ballooned a 6iron into the trap right of the green. "If you had gone straight at the pin", he said, "you would've been in the water." "Oh, Pshaw!" I said. When it took me 2 to get out the big hardpan bunker and 2 putts to get in the hole, I said "Oh, Pshaw!" again. Mr Science got up-&-up-&-in for his bogey.

I don't remember much about the front nine which is more desert-links style than the mountain desert style of the back 9; I do remember the 2 par 5s, which as I say, I nearly drove in 2, then scrambled for pars. Neither of us got a birdie. In our disgruntledness, we both blamed the hard greens, rather than any lackof skill on our part . . . it was windy, too, and on the downwind holes we were trying to land on the very front apron of the green to get the ball to stop on the green: too short and it would just die there; too long, and it would roll over the green. Only thing worse than fixing a ball mark on the front of the green then putting from the back of the green, would be a 3putt bogey -- Oh! they're the same!

Mr Science carded a 42-43=85, with 6 pars, in his usual steady play -- despite grumbling about the greens. I had a 44-48=92 with 4 pars and 12 5s.

So there's nothing wrong with the golf at Johnson Ranch, within the confines of the golf course itself; indeed, there's enough variety and challenge to make re-playing this course a pleasure to contemplate. But:

But this is all the picking of nits. Good golf course.

Monday, May 08, 2006



(White/Gold) 6804 Yds, Par 71, Slope @130, by Ted Robinson


They say: "Lush, rolling fairways abundantly sprinkled with mature trees, colorful flower beds, water falls and lakes come into play on nearly every hole.

This superb 27-hole championship course has become one of -if not the -finest upscale daily fee facilities in the country."

One has to mention the stirling work Ted Robinson has done in the past: 117 entries on GolfWeb in his name, including these:
Hyatt Bear Creek - East Course TX -- AWESOME! Big Oak Trees In the Fairway -- -HILLY HILLY Terrain
Hyatt Bear Creek - West Course TX -- AWESOME! Same
Sahalee Country Club - East Course WA -- AWE- #55 – SOME! Site of the 1999 PGA (I think) BIG PINE TREES in the middle of the Fairway
Indian Wells Country Club - North Cove Course CA -- PGA Tour Event (Bob Hope or Pebble Beach?)
Inn Of The Mountain Gods NM – heard of it, haven’t played it.

The thing about these is that they all have big trees in the fairways and they are all hilly -- it will be interesting to see what TR did with a semi-flat arizona desert site. The pictures look nice.

We played in a GolfNow Tournament, the "Blind Bogey" Tournament -- we'd tho't it was a 2 man scramble, and were excited, figgerin' if Mr. Science played to his new standard, and I could manage a fair game myself, we might could get low enough to win, maybe that deflated us a little bit when we went at it . . . We started off on Gold # 8, a short Par 3. Mr. Science totally mis-hit his first shot off into the water. From where he dropped looked like a harder shot than the tee-shot: the pin was on a tongue of green sticking back out into the water. He got a 5. Parred #9 in a typical Mr. Science way, with an up-and-down he makes look easy. Then double-bogeyed White # 1 when his approach wound up in a very wet trap . . . how wet? when I was cleaning my line there was a clod of mud in my way from his attempted explosion shot that turned out to be a glop when I tried to pick it up. Yeeeech . . . His ball didn't even move. He birdied the Par 5 White # 2 but never caught fire to play the way he has the last couple months: 1 Birdie, 5 Pars, 43-46=89, 15 strokes higher than last Sunday. Me too: 49-49=98, with 4 pars.

I'd started out a house-a-fire, tho' . . . almost birdied the par 3; almost birdied the next par 4; almost birdied the next par 4 -- then -- then -- then missed the tap-in par . . . I'd been hitting the ball great, solid, without feeling comfortable about it, but after that missed putt . . . I skulled a my second shot on the next par 5 into the water from an uneven lie in the rough. On the next par 3 White # 3 hooked a 7 iron into the water -- had toooo long to look at it and think about it before I hit, from waiting on 2 other foursomes to play out.

So counselled Calmness to myself, and the restrained game until I got my feet back under me, dictating a 3 wood on the short #4 Par 4, where water surrounds the landing area on 3 sides, but still reeling from the effects of that missed putt, I hooked my 3 wood to a bunker between the water on the left and the fairway. . . not IN it, where I would have had a shot, but next to it, where I had to stand on shifting sand two feet below the ball and use a base ball swing -- Hey! That IS my game. I was so optimistic when I hit the ball I didn't care that I also fell flat on my kiester, but oddly enough, I didn't control the pull hook likely from such a stance and the ball bounced into the small pool next to the green. Double Bogey.

Reckless with irritation I nonchalantly scissored a good drive just short of the trap on the left of White #5. In muddy grass one percent of humidity short of casual water I hit a heavy 4 iron just short of the green -- a very Mr. Science leave -- and got my up-and-down par.

On #6, a long par 4, my weak drive left me still 190 yds short and my 5 wood betrayed me for the first time that day. Double Bogey with a lip out.

on #7, I hit a half-6iron that ballooned in the wind and wound up short right, in the trap. Mr. Science hit his onto the front of the green then showed me his 5iron. He got a par; me, a bogey, even after a good sandshot. "These greens are nice if they're not wet" I said, "nice heavy crushed granite, or something."

#8 is one of the few holes with no water. . . disoriented, Mr. Science & I both took bogies.

#9 is a tough risk/reward propostion. From my position on the left side rough, I had 195 yds, but I said, "sometimes you just have to choose whether you are a Man or a Mouse" and pulled the 5 wood again. Too much performance anxiety, tho': smother hooked it into the water. Bad approach, triple bogey. I said, "A mouse wouldn't have made worse than double bogey." Mr. Science said, "Well, this mouse almost made a 15-footer for par."

Back over to Gold #1, then, feeling pretty shakey . . . blocked a line drive over to the right side of the fairway, the wrong side of the fairway, pulled my 7iron left into the bunker trying to fade it in. Good sand shot, missed the 8 footer for par.

On Gold #2 par 5. Hit a giant pull slice to the right side of the fairway. Hit a 5 iron second, to be strategic (the Easiest Shot In Golf: the 5 iron second shot on a Par 5). It ballooned on me, and only went 140, so I still had 130 to the pin. Blocked the 8 iron way right of the green, fumbled around the traps and mounds for a double bogey.

Feeling REALLY shakey then, on #3, foozled my drive, pull-hooked another 5wood, fumble around, burn another edge for a double bogey.

#4 is of a type here at Ocotillo, maybe the most so: the driver is taken out of your hands, the uncertainty is placed there in its stead. In some ways the fairway looks plenty wide enough, but there is all that water, and right-side OB crowding the fairway. I managed to draw my 3wood out to the middle of the fairway, but way back, 175 yds from the green. Uphill, against a tiny wind, over water, backed by mounds and traps, a rather intimidating shot, but miraculously my 7wood did not betray me and I wound up on the back fringe. Made another good lag put, and a tap-in par.

#5 Long par 3, 190 yds. After a little pep talk with myself about the similarity between the 7 & 5 woods I confidently, hooked two balls into the water. Boiling, I grabbed my 1iron out of the bag and hit it instead, a beautiful high fade half-1iron, right over the pin, into the mounds behind the green. If I'd hit that shot first I would have been ecstatic. Sweet Mystery of Golf. Snowman.

#6 Par 5, I'm sure is a top hole. I just don't remember anything, I was so mad. . . Probably foozled my drive.

#7 Suddenly actually hit a good drive . . . I mean one where I felt right, with that late-hit sensation that gives me solid hits. Mr. Science commented on his drive, too, that was 15 - 20 yds past mine . . . a monster hit for him, for sure. My 7iron came off thin but usable I tho't, it kicked off the hump guarding the left side of the green correctly, but the ball just kept going straight right, away from the back pin. I felt outraged. When We got up there, I could see that it had been rejected by the tier-slope that bi-sects the green. 3 putt bogey. Perfect finish.

A great course, With 27 holes, you could play this course regular and never be bored. But like on #9, 433 from the Blue tees where we played, all water carry on the second shot, how often is a duffer going to make it in 2? Not Often.

This course, typified by Gold#4, frequently fools the eye with water hazards, attractive mounding, huge amoeba traps, and false fronts on the greens. I can't judge the par 5s, I had double bogeys on all of them -- I can't say I played them, really. It's not target golf, per se, but accuracy is real valuable here on every shot, especially the approaches.

The par 3s are pretty artistic and varied, from the short Gold #8, with its steep green and waterside hazard to the long Gold #5, there is a nice variety, except for the water, the water, the omnipresent water! . . . 8^0 . . .

White #4, #5, #6, #8 -
Gold #1, #4, #7, & #9 are Par 4s where the threat is on the first shot. If the golfer can ignore the doubts gnawing away at his confidence, the holes are not really so long or hard, but the effort wears on a boy, the concentration wanes, the score goes up . . .
White #1 & #9 (remember what I said about #9!) -
Gold #3 are the holes where that lost concentration will cost you strokes, when the first shot actually seems easy, but the approach to the green seems impossible.

A great course. Love to play it with my A-game. It scares me to think I DID have my A-game.

Oh, yeah:
I had an excellent breakfast burrito in the Cafe to warmup for the round while Mr. Science hit balls. I looked askance when they served it, but it was great: a ham & egg cheese burito in a spinach tortilla wrap with chipotle salsa. Best coffee I ever had at a golf course, too.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Las Colinas

6655 Yds, Par 71, Slope 120
Mike Asmundson ("lives in Scottsdale, AZ, has 18 years of experience working on numerous distinctive golf courses throughout the United States, Asia and South America. His resume includes the highly respected Coeur d' Alene Golf Course in Idaho, working with Scott Miller, and the complete restoration of the historic Alister MacKenzie Golf Course at Haggin Oaks in Sacramento, CA." )

They say: "The Las Colinas Golf Club Features a dynamic landscape. One that designer and architect Mike Asmundson found offered all the elements of a challenging yet playable course. With numerous mature trees, native grasses and plants, even the obstacles have never been so inviting. An imposing mountain range backs one hole - a par 5 dogleg. Two other holes are played lakeside. And there are greens separated by desert washes, where you may catch a glimpse of local fauna. "

One doesn't know what to expect . . . famous and prestigeous golf courses on the CV, but most-if-not-all seem to be have very moderate greens fees -- I think I admire that -- but are these courses bargains, or are they poorly designed, built, & maintained?

Mr. Science over the last couple months:
Talking Stick -- 82
Eagle Mountain -- 90
Apache Creek -- 75
Dobson Ranch -- 80
Tatum Ranch -- 86
Arizona Traditions -- 89
Rancho Manana -- 84
Falcon -- 73
Villa De Paz -- 74
sort of on a tear, specially the last 3 outings. So he was looking forward to this week, where we had scheduled two games, one Sunday and one Wednesday. Very confident.

This continued at Las Colinas, where he carded a 37-37=74, with 2 birdies & an Eagle. I had a 41-43=84. I didn't even notice I was having a "good" round for me, Mr. Science's game was so good. Where he made his eagle by chipping in on the Par 5 5th hole, I made par; it felt like a bogey.

He attributes this surge to the data tracking he learned from this Golf Digest article . . . that he can read a golf magazine without screwing up his game still amazes me . . . he loves golf tips and is constantly trying to improve his game . . .
that he can apply this "science" and actually bring down his score . . . that's why I call him Mr. Science . . . 8~)

I can't remember any of the holes, in particular, at Las Colinas -- and Mr. Science joked he could only remember one: his Eagle Hole -- but I think that's only because it's a pretty good layout over some rather uninteresting ground . . . that is the golf holes are not boring, nor very interesting. Doesn't seem like there was ever any doubt in my mind where to hit the ball: that psychological factor that McKinzie was so good at -- of whom everybody else is in imitation -- and that is what is the essence of Golf Design, of a Great Golf Course, I mean.

Doubt is the one enemy no Golfer can ever completely conquer -- like Tango Partners at the Hotel California.

Mr. Science Magnaminously Consoled me on the way home, "There's a very thin line between a scrambling par and a tap-in bogey . . . I'm on one side and you're on the other!" 8~D

I wasn't that impressed with the clubhouse or the cafe, but my bacon & egg sandwich was made and served very promptly, and even tho' it seemed kinda messy, there was nothing wrong with the way it tasted and it didn't give me hearburn. Verdict: Good but not Great.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Villa de Paz

6641 Yds. Par 71, Slope 123


They say: "WELCOME to the Villa de Paz - Golf ClubVoted the best inexpensive 18 holes in the "Valley of the Sun" by the Rep's Best as featured by the Arizona Republic Newspaper, Villa de Paz Golf Club ia Arizona's best golfing value. The course was built in the early 1970's and is one of the oldest 18-hole facilities on the Westside of Phoenix. It is a traditional, parkland style layout that is a challenge to even the most experienced players. It is also easy enough for the novice and begginer golfer to still have an enjoyable experience. Remodeled in the fall of 2002, the 6700-yard, par-71 layout features a variety of challenges with water coming into play on 10 of the 18 holes. It's the perfect choice toplay in the summer, with shade in abundance thanks to the mature trees that line many of the holes."

By-and-Large, VdP is a flat, ordinary, 2nd tier course in pretty good condition. #4, the #1 handicap hole, IS a very tough hole, 275 to the corner on a 450 yd. dogleg. I floundered around with a drive to the base of a tree, a mangled safety, a snaphook 5 wood, a chunked pitch shot off the gravel rough, for an 8. Didn't bother me, I parred the next hole, but finished the front nine with two more double-bogeys.

The pace of play started out excellent, till the 7th hole, and then a single played thru. It upset me somehow. . . even tho' we finished the round in less than 5 hours, it seemed longer to me, since we were always waiting on the single stuck behind the next 4some. Mr. Science waved him thru, cuz he was riding our ass everyhole, but then there he was every hole after that, right in front of us.

On 7 & 8, both 340+ yds, I used my 3 wood instead of driver, and hit the best shot of our 4some (longest & straightest) then mishit my short approaches and bogeyed those holes. After waiting an extraordinary time, it felt to me, on the single. Never did get into gear. Finished 47-51=98, with 5 pars, while Mr. Science continued his scorching level of play with a 36-38=74, with 3 birdies.

Slow play and an unmemorable course will do me in every time, but very little perturbs Mr. Science.

I had another couple of snowmen on the back 9, including on #18, the signature hole, with a green well protected by a water hazard. Neither of us played the last hole well: for me it was the predictable ending; for Mr. Science, a disappointing finishing double-bogey: par would have given him a new personal record low 72.

I had a very indifferent Breakfast sandwich there, possibly that may have had something to do with it, but it bears mentioning that the countergirl that served us at the turn has to be the most beautiful & charming in the valley.

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