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Saturday, June 17, 2006


Legend At Arrowhead

6969 Yds, Par 72, Slope 131, by Arnold Palmer


They Say: "The Legends At Arrowhead Golf Course in Glendale is a professionally designed golf course (Arnold Palmer, anyone?) that is traditional in style and just plain fun to play. It can be a challenging game, at over 7000 yards, especially when the day is windy or when the water hazards come into play. The Legends At Arrowhead Golf Arizona is set within six lakes and numerous palm trees. The scenery alone of the Legends Arrowhead Golf is worth a look, but the real attraction is the course itself."

I picked Mr Science up for the commute to the golf course at 4:50 am. I'm not the most sterling early-morning-conversationalist under the best of circumstances, but even Mr Science, an Early Bird Late Owl if there ever was one -- sort of in the Thomas A. Edison mold, if you see what I mean -- was a little incommunicado.

But, for some reason I don't recall, I asked him, "Mr Science: I know the world flies thru space at 66,000 miles an hour, but how fast does it spin around?"

He started from his passenger seat as if I'd made a u-turn on the 101. "Well . . . the Earth is 27000 miles in cirumference and there's 24 hours in a day, so say, something over 1000 MPH -- that's why commercial airliners can never quite keep up . . ."

"That's what causes jet lag, idn't?"

"Well . . . I don't know about that!"

I was a bit agitato, now, with strange ideas flashing thru my head: "So if you have a clubhead speed of 100 MPH -- just to use a round number -- how fast are your hands moving?"

"Well . . . actually your hands would actually come to a full stop at the release point. In fact, I read once where they measured Bobby Jones hands and they found that The Perfect Swing moved at the Acceleration of Gravity . . . "

"You mean '32 feet per sec per sec'? The Speed of Gravity?"

"Yes, the Acceleration of Gravity. No faster or Slower. That's what gave his swing that effortless quality."

Now I was fully alert, as if on a caffeine buzz. "I'm going to use this," I declared. "I grok it! I am going to tap into the cosmos" -- Mr Science raised his hand to object -- "to the planetary forces!"

So I was pumped, despite the dawn hour of our tee-off, but we both had to do without our warmups: neither the cafe nor the driving range was open yet, so we putted till we were called. We sort of remembered the front 9, from a distressing round we almost had here before -- after the 5 hour summer afternoon front 9, we had gotten a "slo-play" check, but it had expired. Still we had returned -- the bargain price was right. That round had poisoned our attitude, but in the cool morning, unimpeded by legions of duffers under the impression they are playing the US Open, we scampered around very pleasurably. The front 9 especially seemed very interesting to us -- possibly because we were somewhat familiar -- but the back 9 seemed less challenging, less interesting.

See: that proves my objectivity. I played better on the back 9 than the front (49-45=94), but I liked the front better. Mr Science declared on the 18th Tee: Par 5 for a 79! But his tee shot was not strong. I Gravity Accelerated a majestic hook out into somebody's yard, then skied a drive along the same line to the left rough.

I absolute gravitated my 5 wood down the middle of the fairway, while Mr Science batted his second shot off to the left.

I wound up out in the middle of a bunch of moguls -- unique on this course to this hole -- with 134 yards to the middle of the green from the back side of a particularly knobby knob. I accelerated like Foucaults Pendulum thru a choke down 7 iron and lofted an amazing high shot that sat down in its divot in the middle of green.

Mr Science flubbed his third into a bunker behind the greenside bunker. Nothing would do then but that he would catch it clean over the green and take two pitches to get to the dance floor. I calmly lagged my 30 footer down by the hole and claimed a gimme virtual par. "I got my 7!" I said proudly. Mr Science gave me a look, but then rapped his knee-knocker in for his 7, too.

I figger the whole day is a tie, based on that hole.

The Acceleration of Gravity was my only swing thought, and it worked quite well off the tee, but my iron shots were all Othello balls, Hit Well But Not Wisely, usually a pull -- just toooo strong. I still have high hopes tho: one shouldn't hope to conquer Gravity in one Round, should one?

I must have been still groggy from lack of sleep, I honestly don't remember too much about the course, but then that's often the way with Arnold Palmer courses, isn't it? For what ever reason, he just lacks the inspirational touch given to Jack Nicklaus courses. But there is some elevation change and there are some well-placed bunkers and the greens are very interesting.

So it's a solid 3, but with an asterisk, points out Mr. Science: that one tees off before 6 am.

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