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Sunday, December 31, 2006


First Tee Phoenix

They Say:

The First Tee of Phoenix at Desert Mirage
The First Tee of Phoenix at Desert Mirage Golf Course has been added to reach youth in Glendale and surrounding areas. Desert Mirage Golf Course has provided summer programming to many youth in the area and will continue with programming similar to that of the South Mountain site.
Learn More...
The First Tee of Phoenix at South Mountain
The First Tee of Phoenix is located on 7th Street approximately 1.5 miles south of Baseline, at the base of South Mountain.
Click here for Directions. The First Tee of Phoenix facility includes a Learning Center and a golf course. The golf course was designed in 2001 by prominent golf course designer Tom Fazio and features a short course consisting of 9 holes - all par 3's. The First Tee of Phoenix also offers a practice putting green, several practice bunkers, and a driving range for use by participants during golf-learning clinics.

The first picture shows a typical bunker at First Tee at South Mountain. Each hole is just a pitch-and-putt, but the condition of the course is largely excellent, the design is Fazio-ish, challenging and intimidating even tho' short. It is an excellent place to learn golf, to prepare young golfers for the exigencies of "real" golf. I did think the greens were a little slow, but they seemed really durable. The cost for us to play was $5 a person, very reasonable!

Here I am, toting clubs for my girls and my grandson -- The DaddyCaddy -- The First Tee at Desert Mirage, OTOH, while still a fine facility, is not so suitable for the raw beginner. . . the 9 holes there are 2095 Yds, par 31, with 4 par 4s (320 - 353 yds long). SO: not the best place for a beginner, and it is populated by once-a-year-duffer-types, that tend to spray the ball wildly -- notice the netting spread everywhere to attempt to protect people. The price there was $12 a person, so it's not so much a bargain as at South Mountain . . . plus . . . they rent carts there, which get driven over every part of the course, including tees and greens, tearing it up when it is wet. . . plus . . . the layout is really awkward and confusing . . . plus . . . the greens were more normal (faster), but nearly so well kept as at South Mountain. . . and there are bunkers, but not nearly so omnipresent or as large or as in-play as at South Mountain. This last picture shows the l-o-n-g first fairway, even from the Red Tees.


From Another Incipient Golf Blogger

Mr Science found this PreBloggingEra missive in his Email Archives, from a friend back East . . . it's possible, I suppose, that this is the course he's talking about . . . where Mr Science was a member . . .

Oh, the tragedy!

As I mentioned in my last issue I played golf on Friday and a worse display of humiliation that course has never seen. It started off positively enough. The first hole is across a water hazard, which is always a little intimidating, but I made a beautiful drive to green it on the very first stroke. And then by some divine intervention I managed to sink the ball in two putts for par.
Unfortunately, that kind of luck wasn't going to stick with me. On the second tee I sliced one ball onto the neighboring fairway and another completely off the course into a cornfield (I hope it doesn't end up in a can of creamed corn somewhere). And things got worse from there.
By the end of the day I had burned through three balls, got asked to play through twice and received one warning from the golf cop for wading into a water hazard up to my knees. I'm not even going to tell you what I scored. It's enough to make a person want to take an acetylene torch to every single one of his clubs. I'd like to kick the Scotsman who invented this game right in the shins.
Ah, well...I'm sure I'll do better next Friday.
By the by, this famous movie quote... "Do you want your driver?" "No thanks, he's not my type," is dialog between Rodney Dangerfield and his caddy in the movie
Caddy Shack.
Laugh it up


Mulligan's Rules of Golf

1. If you really want to get better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age.
2. If your opponent hasn't played the course before, don't be a spoilsport and ruin all the surprises.
3. The score (or handicap) a player reports should always be regarded as his opening offer.
4. The game of golf is 90% mental and 10% mental.
5. Error must go somewhere. If your driver is hot, your putter is ice cold; if you can hit your irons, you will top your woods, if you are keeping your right elbow tucked in, your head will come up.
6. The secret of golf is, use your real swing to take the big divot, use your practice swing to make the shot, and always hit the do-over first.
7. Progress in golf consists of two steps forward and 26.6 miles backward.
8. One good shank deserves another.
9. Since bad shots come in groups of three, a fourth bad shot is actually the beginning of the next group of three.
10. When you look up and cause an awful shot you will always look down again at exactly the moment when you ought to start watching the ball if you ever want to see it again.
11. You can hear thunder a hundred miles away when you're three holes down with three to play.
12. Any change works for a maximum of three holes and a minimum of not at all.
13. Whatever you think you're doing wrong is the one thing you're doing right.
14. No matter how badly you are playing, it is always possible to play worse.
15. Never try to keep more than 300 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing.
16. When your shot has to carry over a water hazard, you can either hit one more club or two more balls.
17. If you're afraid a full shot might reach the green while the foursome ahead of you is still putting out, you have two options: you can immediately shank a lay-up, or you can wait until the green is clear and top a ball halfway there.
18. The less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share his ideas about the golf swing.
19. The less intelligent the player, the more certain he is to offer insights into the mental side of the game.
20. It if ain't broke, try changing your grip.
21. The inevitable result of any golf lesson is the instant elimination of the one critical unconscious motion that allowed you to compensate for all your errors.
22. Golfers who claim they never cheat also lie.
23. Everyone replaces his divot after a perfect approach shot.
24. A golf match is a test of your skill against your opponent's luck.
25. It's surprisingly easy to hole a 50-foot putt when you lie 10.
26. Counting on your opponent to inform you when he breaks a rule is like expecting him to make fun of his own haircut.
27. Never leave your opponent with the sole responsibility for thinking of all the things that might go wrong with his shot.
28. Taking more than two putts to get down on a lightning-fast, steeply sloped green is no embarrassment unless you had to hit a wedge between the putts.
29. Never subtract so many strokes on any one hole that you wind up with the honor on the next hole.
30. The statute of limitations on forgotten strokes is two holes.
31. Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.
32. It's not a gimme if you're still away.
33. A tap-in is the larval stage of a hop-out.
34. Always limp with the same leg for the whole round.
35. Nothing straightens out a nasty slice quicker than a sharp dogleg to the right.
36. The shortest distance between any two points on a golf course is a straight line that passes directly through the center of a very large tree.
37. It's often necessary to hit a second drive to really appreciate the first one.
38. There are two kinds of bounces: unfair bounces, and bounces just the way you meant to play it.
39. You can hit a 2-acre fairway 10% of the time, and a 2-inch branch 90% of the time.
40. A stroke does not occur unless it is observed by more than one golfer.
41. 99.99% of all matter is empty space, but that last .01% will stop a golf ball dead.
42. If your ball disappears in the fairway of a blind hole, it's probably because it rolled into an anti-divot and vaporized.
43. Every time a golfer makes a birdie, he must subsequently make two triple bogeys to restore the fundamental equilibrium of the universe.
44. It's always winter somewhere.
45. If you want to hit a 7-iron as far as Tiger Woods does, simply try to lay up just short of a water hazard.
46. To calculate the speed of a player's downswing, multiply the speed of his backswing by his handicap. Example: backswing 20 mph, handicap 15, downswing 600 mph.
47. Knowing the swing weight of your club is as indispensable to playing good golf as knowing the temperature of the grass in the fairway.
48. There are two things you can learn by stopping your backswing at the top and checking the position of your hands: how many hands you have, and which one is wearing the glove.
49. A two-foot putt counts the same as a two-foot drive.
50. It's a simple matter to keep your ball in the fairway if you're not too choosy about which fairway.
51. Hazards attract; fairways repel.
52. For most golfers, the only difference between a one-dollar ball and a three-dollar ball is two dollars.
53. You can put "draw" on the ball, you can put "fade" on the ball, but no golfer can put "straight" on the ball.
54. The frequency with which balls are lost increases as the available supply decreases.
55. No putt ever got longer as the result of a ball being marked.
56. An extra ball in the pocket is worth two strokes in the bush.
57. A ball you can see in the rough from 50 yards away is not yours.
58. If there is a ball in the fringe and a ball in the bunker, your ball is in the bunker.
59. If both balls are in the bunker, yours is in the footprint.
60. Don't buy a putter until you've had a chance to throw it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


See, Cactus, this is what I’ve been trying to tell you

about the cosine of the arctangent.

"The simple double-pendulum model of the golf swing, showing key angles, lengths, and masses. For instance, m1, m2, and m3 are the masses of the arms/hands, club head, and ball, respectively; L1 is the length of the arms/hands, and L2 is the length of the club head). (a) The system before the club is released and (b) when the club is about to strike the ball."

I don't understand this anymore than I understand the Cosine of the Arctangent, but oddly, it makes me feel better about my double-jointed early wrist-cock / late hit swing. . . .

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Almost A Great Round

The Sanctuary, again, 6624 yds, Par 71, Slope 139, by Heckenkemper

I shot 40-48=88, with 11 pars, 1 Bogie, 3 Double-Bogies, 2 Triple Bogies, and one Quadruple.

I parred #6 & #7 in the same round for the first time.

I had 6 one-putt greens, and holed a dozen putts ranging from 1 to 20 ft.

I striped every drive 250-260 with the wind; 230-240 against . . . only two drifted right into trouble, and I parred both of those holes with journeyman-like recoveries.

I missed my only two real birdie chances, on #16 & #17, with burned edges.

The Blowup Holes:


Wigwam Red Course

6852 Yds, Par 72, Slope 126, by Red Lawrence


They Say: "Golf at The Wigwam is a truly classic experience. This Arizona treasure was established in the 1930s, a time when golf courses did not get built through dense housing developments, and certainly not with tight, target fairways. At the Wigwam, the golf courses have remained at the top of the list. This jewel of the desert is among the Southwest’s last remaining golf resorts built for a pure golf experience. Canals, streams and lakes cascade through the journey. The shadows cast on greens and bunkers are from majestic parkland trees, not multi-story resort buildings. Steeped in tradition, The Wigwam’s three 18-hole championship golf courses offer a diversity that cannot be matched by any other Arizona resort. Here, the golf enthusiast has their pick of not just one or two courses, but three 18-hole courses — 54 holes of championship golf including two courses designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, Sr. And, in true Wigwam style, each course —The Gold, The Blue and The Red — offers a unique challenge that adds spice and variety to one’s stay at this timeless and relaxing retreat. For guests that truly love the game of golf, The Wigwam features a variety of golf packages to entice every traveler, from family getaways to golf-intensive buddy trips."

On a windy day I discovered that if I tape two fingers together on my injured hand, I can play better on my full-strokes. After a while, I was striping my drives well enough that our playing companions became interested in my unique swing -- rather like an aeronautical engineer's interest in How a BumbleBee can actually fly. I still had no short-game touch, wound up with a 46-48=94, while Mr Science slipped to a 38-43=81 . . . that back 9 IS a little tough, especially with the wind we had.

This is an "Old Phoenix" resort, much like Camelback: this course, one of 3, is not too challenging and park-style, rather than desert style. It used to be the West Course, since it seems like it is 18 miles west of the clubhouse, but apparently has been renamed -- as an afterthought -- after the architect Red Lawrence. The scorecard mentions that he designed the first desert style course (Santa Rita in Tucson (?)), but if he did, he didn't apply any of that knowledge here. He DID design the Championship course at UNM, which by all accounts is noteworthy.

We had gotten a good deal on our round, a large price break thru an internet booking -- they seem inordinately proud of their resort -- the breakfast buffet is $28, so I had to settle for some micro-waved black-bean chili at the halfway house actually on the Red Course . . . not to-o-o-o bad, but no more noteworthy than the course itself.


Eagle's Nest

6790 Yds, Par 72, Slope130, by Keith Foster


They don't say, but someone else did: "This flat course is part of Pebble Creek Golf Resort. The majority of the holes were designed to play straightaway. There are some tree-lined, dogleg fairways, so shot accuracy is still important. All the water hazards run alongside the fairways and the large greens are undulating and well bunkered. This well-maintained course has some elevated greens and tees. A second eighteen hole is scheduled to be completed during the 2000 golf season. Four other courses are planned for the future. No schedule has been determined."

If one came here expecting another Sun Ridge, one would be disappointed. If instead, one expected Sun City style golf, one would be pleased enough . . . I have a persistent hand injury that is interfering with my golf, even more than the scorpion sting a while back. I think I broke 100, but maybe not. Mr Science recorded his 50th 79 in-a-row.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Golf de Mâcon La Salle

from Le Parcours, Trou par Trou (tres optimiste, si vous me demandez!)

Un cours de la terre en Jean van de Velde, celebre pour la nature voluptous de son interpretation des formes feminines dans un paysage de golf, peut-ne pas en tant qu'insigne que Paako Ridge in Albuquerque NM, mais tout aussi certainement, d'une methode Francais


Archie Baird Interview

In 1850 there were only 15 golf courses in the world, and they were all here on the East coast of Scotland. Fifty years later there were three thousand golf courses all over the world. Until 1850, the game was played with a feather ball. There was no other ball to play with. Feather balls were very expensive. In mint condition they were wonderfully hard and firm but they soon got soft and flabby. But in 1850, the game took off because of the introduction of the gutta-percha ball. It was cheap, easy to make, utterly indestructible. If the paint came off, all you had to do was repaint it and start again. If it got hacked, all you had to do was put it in a bucket of water, warm it up, round it off and start again.'


John Betjeman

The former Poet Laureate of England, celebrated in his Centenary in August 2006.

He was captured famously in a BBC show called "Metro-Land" whiffing a tee shot, which is more the result of venomous TV vipers than a measure of his skill. He's buried on a golf course in Cornwall, St. Enodoc, between the 10th and 13th fairways.

His most famouse poem is "Seaside Golf ", but I like this one better,
"The Hon. Sec.", a eulogy for a club secretary . . . (an English golf course manager)

He loved each corner of the links-
The stream at the eleventh,
The grey-green bents, the pale sea-pinks,
The prospect from the seventh;

To the ninth tee the uphill climb,
A grass and sandy stairway,
And at the top the scent of thyme
And long extent of fairway.

He knew how on a summer day
The sea's deep blue grew deeper,
How evening shadows over Bray
Made that round hill look steeper.

He knew the ocean mists that rose
And seemed for ever staying,
When moaned the foghorn from Trevose
And nobody was playing;

The flip of cards on winter eves,
The whisky and the scoring,
As trees outside were stripped of leaves
And heavy seas were roaring.

Personally I find it most of it a little mawkish, but I can see the golf course he's describing here, very well.


Richmond Golf Club Temporary Rules, 1941

1. Players are asked to collect bomb and shrapnel splinters to save these causing damage to the mowing machines.
2. In competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take shelter without penalty for ceasing play.
3. The position of known delayed action bombs are marked by red flags at a reasonable, but not guaranteed, safe distance therefrom.
4. Shrapnel and/or bomb splinters on the fairways or in bunkers, within a club's length of a ball, may be moved without penalty, and no penalty shall be incurred if a ball is thereby caused to move accidentally.
5. A ball moved by enemy action may be replaced or, if lost or destroyed, a ball may be dropped not nearer the hole without penalty.
6. A ball lying in a crater may be lifted and dropped not nearer the hole, preserving the line to the hole, without penalty.
7. A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball. Penalty one stroke.

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