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Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Tonto Verde Ranch

6988 Yds, Par 72, Slope 130, by Gary 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."

I do not like this course so much as the Peaks course, which has the benefit of Graham's 2cents mitigating the lack of imagination Panks shows. Every hole has the same appearance: slightly elevated tees, to a wide, lush, flat fairway, then slightly up to an elevated green -- very pleasing to the eye, but unexciting.

That said, who am I to complain? I am disconsolate over my score there: 55-56=111. Mr Science had a 47-41=88. I felt like I just played bad, hardly getting off the tee, mis-hitting fairway shots, and putting offline. Mr Science says the unusual nature of his score was due to the interesting holes and the subtle-but-definite breaks in the green that are so hard to read. Maybe so.

Maybe I am overswinging because the fairways and greens look so huge. Maybe I am mis-reading these strange greens because they are so difficult -- the whole course, especially the greens, reminded me of Corte Bella, another high-dollar Panks course, luscious but ordinary, but not as ordinary as this one I would say, except that I can't seem to score well on them, if you know what I mean.

I would except #10 and #14, two short par 4s that perplexed me and Mr Science as we stood on the unfamiliar tees for the first time. . . lay up or lay out or lay off? Nothing worked for me as the doubt preyed on my mind: I took a fairway wood and tried to soft-peddle it with disastrous results; I took a mid-iron and tried to kill it.

I think after a couple of rounds here I would be breaking 80, but that maybe just the delusional ranting of a duffer. Mr Science & I disagree on this one: he ranks a 2, since the condition was excellent, the club is excellent, and he feels the course is excellent, too; I, a 3, since it could never be The #1.

Mr Science says I am just crabby because I can't get anything to eat there before the round. That's not precisely right . . . one could get a danish and coffee, but that's not going to settle the nerves over an 8 ft putt, is it? Besides, it didn't make me cranky, even when it caused me to have my worst round in a year.

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