Monday, September 25, 2006
Sometimes, my opinions on the course or my play on a course evolve once I have taken the time to savor that particular experience, to ruminate over the shots I recollect as I review the scorecard and yardage book, to reconstruct as best I can in my mind the obstacles a course presents.
Indeed, when I am inflicted with insomnia, I don't count sheep, I replay my last round. I rarely get past three holes, it is such a pleasurable & relaxing exercise.
But, blogging, like journalism discourages indepth introspection, even to such an inveterate introvert such as myself . . . If I play twice a weekend, it is all I can do to catch up on the blog and keep the two courses straight, much less meditate upon subtleties . . . three times is over the limit . . . like the inexorable progress of a round, good or bad, each shot must be made in its turn, and "please keep up the pace!"
In someways tho', like everything else, it is also a blessing: it imposes discipline and conciseness. I concentrate upon the essential (from my own unique perspective) and the rest is just yada yada yada . . . I have the belief -- and the license that belief grants me to write my reviews -- that I can tell a good golf course the way Parker can rate wines, that I have golfing papillae which others lack that send me sensory titilations infallible as laser-measured yardages on sprinkler heads.
I do not believe I can absorb all the subtleties of a course in one playing, indeed, on a great course one could play it every day and make a new discovery every time out, but I do believe that while the course is happening to me during a round, I can get a sense of what was in the architects mind, as long as I am playing reasonably well, of course . . . 8^D . . .
All this is by way of explaining that the following reviews may be a little brief, due in no way to any shortcoming of the courses, but by the simple expediency that after such a golf orgy, 4 rounds in 5 days at 4 different courses, I just can't be bothered. Mr Science's old friends from Connecticut came in for a long weekend of golf . . . they used to make an annual summer trip to The Cape on a similar jaunt, but now, they say, it's just as easy to come out here to Arizona. One of the boys came up lame, and I had to substitute 3 in the rounds, which was all I could manage on short notice, what with work and all. I wished I could have played the other 2 rounds too.
Thursday: Raven at South Mountain
Friday: Troon North
Saturday: Sedona Golf Resort
Sunday: Cimmaron at Sun City Grand
Monday: Legacy at South Mountain
As it happened, Mr Science & I had gotten rained out at the Saturday before at Rancho Manana, where we wanted to play so The Queen of Golf could evaluate it for "woman friendliness". They did give us a rain check, of the stingiest sort: not for a "round" but just for the cash equivalent we had paid, due to expire in 6 weeks, including 3 weeks of which they would be closed for overseeding. While checking our combined calendars, we arrived at the conclusion that if we were going to redeem that rain check, we would have to do it before the Boys from the Smallest State got here, so on Wednesday we went back out to Rancho Manana, where we were able to finish our round quite satisfactorily.
The pro shop policy tho', was that we could apply our rain check to the price of a round, which was actually cheaper than the round we had paid for on the weekend, but no accommodation was forthcoming on that difference . . . not cash back nor a sleeve of balls. They did offer a $4 rain check, which of course would expire in 6 weeks: a niggling bagatelle.
Mrs Science says in review:
"Rancho Manana is a woman friendly course. It is an older golf course with railroad ties and lots of undulating hills and changes in elevation. The course is surrounded by many homes and impacts the scenery. No problems with water as the ponds are on the sides of the holes. No water to hit over for the women. They have a nice pro shop with some genuine bargains. The Tonto Bar and Grill has very good food and Tontoritas, which are margaritas made with orange juice added in. Not my favorite course but good."
What I learned this day, on this MY favorite course in the valley:
- on #4, the most beautiful, hardest, golfiest hole in The Valley, sort of a Redan Par 4, I must hit my 1iron. On this day, I still pulled it left and powered it thru the dogleg, but I think I'm finally on the right track. Next Time For Sure!
- on #6, the short par 5, I must not miss the green to the right. The pin was on the far right side of the green, and since the rest of the shallow green is guarded by a bunker in front I just went for the pin, instead of the middle of the green, but my wind-blown fade caromed off the steep slope down onto the cart path towards the 7th Tee. The 7th hole is a par 3 that drops about 150 feet, tee-to-green, so if my ball hadn't bounced right off a seam in the cartpath up onto the woolly rough behind the 8th tee, it would have rolled to the bottom of the hill.
- on #8, the short par 4, I must lay back more. I've hit nothing but good drives there, this time with my 1iron, but I have only ever chunked the delicate little pitch second shots those perfect drives leave into the yawning bunker in the front of the green: gotta start leaving at least a full half-wedge.
- on #16, the picturesque par 5 that sweeps right thru a canyon along side the creek, I must either lay up or stay left, because right is d-e-a-d. I conked the best drive of the day, maybe the best in a month, in a power fade around the big trees on the right side ofthe fairway. I had something less than 200yds to the green, so I hit a tigerwoods-style 1iron stinger over the big trap on the right to a green I couldn't see. I tho't it was perfect, but I never did find that ball.
SO: Still my favorite course, even tho' I didn't play that well: didn't putt well on the fuzzy greens and my driving continues to plague me: 92 to Mr Science's 82 . . . but we both felt tuned up for the weekend with the Gang from Connecticut.