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Saturday, April 28, 2007


A Cautionary Tale for Retirees

----- As a current or future retiree I thought you should be aware of Bob's situation so you can take any appropriate action

....About Bob and his Retirement:It's important for men to remember that, as women grow older, it becomes harder for them to maintain the same quality of housekeeping as when they were younger.

When you notice this, try not to yell at them. Some are oversensitive, and there's nothing worse than an oversensitive woman.

My name is Bob. Let me relate how I handled the situation with my wife, Beverly. When I took "early retirement" last year, it became necessary for Beverly to get a full-time job along with her part time job both for extra income and for the health benefits that we needed.

Shortly after she started working, I noticed she was beginning to show her age. I usually get home from the golf course about the same time she gets home from work. Although she knows how hungry I am, she almost always says she has to rest for half an hour or so before she starts dinner. I don't yell at her. Instead, I tell her to take her time and just wake me when she gets dinner on the table. I generally have lunch in the Men's Grill at the club, so eating out is not reasonable. I'm ready for some home-cooked grub when I hit that door.

She used to do the dishes as soon as we finished eating. But now it's not unusual for them to sit on the table for several hours after dinner. I do what I can by diplomatically reminding her several times each evening that they won't clean themselves. I know she really appreciates this, as it does seem to motivate her to get them done before she goes to bed.

Another symptom of aging is complaining, I think. For example, she will say that it is difficult for her to find time to pay the monthly bills during her lunch hour. But, boys, we take 'em for better or worse, so I just smile and offer encouragement. I tell her to stretch it out over two, or even three, days. That way she won't have to rush so much. I also remind her that missing lunch completely now and then wouldn't hurt her any (if you know what I mean).

I like to think tact is one of my strong points.

When doing simple jobs, she seems to think she needs more rest periods. She had to take a break when she was only half-finished mowing the yard. I try not to make a scene. I'm a fair man. I tell her to fix herself a nice, big, cold glass of freshly-squeezed lemonade, and just sit for a while. And, as long as she is making one for herself, she may as well make one for me too.

I know that I probably look like a saint in the way I support Beverly . I'm not saying that showing this much consideration is easy. Many men will find it difficult. Some will find it impossible! Nobody knows better than I do how frustrating women get as they get older. However, guys, even if you just use a little more tact with and voice less criticism of your aging wife because of this article, I will consider that writing it was well worthwhile. After all, we are put on this earth to help each other.

Signed, Bob
EDITOR'S NOTE: Bob died suddenly on May 27th. The police report says that he was found with a Calloway extra-long 50-inch Big Bertha Driver II golf club rammed up his ass, with only 2 inches of grip showing. His wife, Beverly, was arrested and charged with murder. However, the all-woman jury found her Not Guilty, accepting her defense that he'd "accidentally sat down on it"


Cypress Golf Course

They Say: "Owned and operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, amenities include a driving range, snack bar and a 5,000-square-foot discount golf shop. The golf courses, the golf shop and PGA teaching professionals make Cypress golf course a very family-friendly golfing experience."

Mr Science says:

Cypress Golf Course is in the Salt River Pima - Maricopa Indian Community, along the banks of the mighty Salt River. We played the Long 9 and the Short 9. The long 9 really is, 3433 from the blue tees. Some of the holes were 601, 467 (par 4) and 451 (par 4). Being flat, and the ground pretty hard, it doesn't play to its length as long as you keep it in the fairway. The short 9 really is, too. It's an executive track, 1474 yards par 29. The par 4's are 246 and 264, both straight away and very drivable. Only 2 of the par 3's are over 150 yards.

It's very much a minimalist design. Not much dirt was moved, but there is plenty of sloping ground around the greens. There is an irrigation ditch that crosses 5 of the fairways on the long 9, but no water hazards really in play and very little bunkering. The greens are tiny, with false fronts and sides, but were very slow, and many had patches of rough or bare spots. One had a mound of fresh dirt on it, of the same type that were plentiful in the rough. Maybe the rattlesnakes are coming out of hibernation, or they have gophers.

They do have a cart girl, but she drives a regular golf cart with two coolers on it, and no ice. The marshal gives whatever balls he finds to the female golfers. I wish he would do more to improve the pace of play instead, we spent at least 45 minutes of the two hours it took to play the short 9 sitting on the benches waiting for two threesomes in front of us. One was a guy and his two young daughters. The guy could hit the ball, it seemed, as he waited to hit on the par 4's until the group ahead had left the green. The girls looked like they were out there for the first time ever. They spent a lot of time looking at each other when somebody should have been hitting the ball. But it didn't matter, because they were waiting on the three drunk teenagers in front of them, who together had almost as much golf talent as the two girls.

It's very woman-friendly and walker-friendly. There was a junior clinic going on today. It does seem to be a very family-oriented place, especially the short 9. The price is certainly right. You can walk the short 9 for $11, and replays are $5.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Mr Science Blogs, Again

I have to add to yesterday's entry.

I really enjoy doing walking scoring, being inside the ropes with the players. I didn't mean to imply that because they were working and concentrating that it wasn't still fun. I've never had a bad experience with any of them, even when they were most focused on their game. The least congenial was Phil when he was winning by 1. Nothing could have spoiled that day, walking with the last group on Sunday. Most pros won't start a conversation with the walking scorer, but Deane Pappas started chatting with me before we even got to the first fairway, saying how much nicer it was not only to be playing on the weekend, but to have a late starting time!

Playing a casual round with a pro, though, is way more fun. Even in a pro-am, they're working, maybe not working so hard on their own game, but working on being a host and giving their team its money's worth. Playing with Megan and Karen was different. Hitting from the same tees as the pro, and comparing my game to hers, and almost keeping up a good part of the time, winning a hole or two, hitting a longer drive or two, and hearing her say "nice shot" or "nice par" the way they say it to each other, and generally being treated like they treat each other, and we treat each other. It was very special.

Playing with my Dad, the last time
Playing with my son, the first time
Playing with my wife, anytime
Getting a hole in one, and 7 other eagles
Watching from the 18th fairway, and walking behind Lee and Arnie as they reached the green together, surrounded by 100,000 people in the 50th anniversary GHO past champions pro-am

I'd hate to have to rank all these experiences, but Sunday's round has to be added to the list.

Oh, and the birdies. The Golfing Queen had the first one, but Megan had all the rest. Three, if my feeble memory is accurate. And a couple of burned edges, and a couple of very good par saves.

And one more story. On 15, Megan hit it 2 feet below the hole, and Karen and I were 30 feet past the pin, which was cut in the front, just over the trap which sits between the green and the water. Almost an ace. Karen said "At least we didn't leave ours short."

Megan birdied 16, too. Short on the approach again, though 8^)


Paraprose about a Pair of Pros

Mr Science Reports, solo, once again . . .

I played the Legacy today with the Golfing Queen. Long story, started at the FBR open at a booth where they were offering a free entry for a drawing for something related to golf... I signed up for the timeshare tour, and they gave us some coupons for cookies at Paradise bakery, two nights in Page, AZ, and two free rounds of golf at the Legacy. We're going to Page on May 20, going to play at Lake Powell National golf club... but today, they paired us up with .... TWO PROFESSIONAL GOLFERS !!

Karen Kershaw and Megan Godfrey are assistant pros at Rio Verde. Megan is also a TOURING PRO, not LPGA, but she has three top sixes on the Cactus Tour http://www.thecactustour.com/home.html They were there because The Cactus Tour is at the Legacy next week, and Megan had never seen the course before. Karen is her caddy.

Other than the three holes with Greg and Tiffany at Rocky Point last week, I have played one round with a pro in a pro-am tournament, but never before on a regular day. I've been walking scorer on the PGA and LPGA Tours, and when they're working, most of the pros are very focused on their game, and not a barrel of laughs to be with. There have been a few exceptions (one mentioned below). Today was just a fun day of golf for them, so we had a great time. Megan was taking notes on the course, but I don't think she really cared what score she shot, except that she and Karen had a little bet going :)

I tried not to be intimidated, but it was hard. Megan and I played from the same tees, and there were a couple of times I outdrove her, but only when I hit my best shot, and then only by a yard or two. I hit no greens in regulation on the front. On the back nine I relaxed a little, and shot a respectable 40, despite two 3-putts.

The Golfing Queen was not intimidated at all. In fact, she made the first birdie in the group. She sank a 15-footer for a deuce on the 7th. 17 is a long par 3. Megan hit 5-wood, I hit 3-iron, and we ended up within a couple feet of each other on the right fringe, with the pin on the left. A sucker pin, on the top shelf behind a cavernous bunker. She hadn't been too happy with her tee shot -- it was supposed to draw more, and roll toward the pin -- but when we got to the ball she noted that we were in good shape. We both chipped to about 10 feet past the pin, and I was away. I made my downhill breaker, and Megan missed.

On the 18th tee, Karen and Megan were chatting while I hit (not that it bothered me, it didn't. Megan apologized, but I've been known to hit with helicopters flying overhead, and I've hit a tree branch on my backswing on a tee shot and not even noticed it.

(Something "pops" everytime Mr Science hits the apex of his backswing -- sounds like an ankle to me -- our playing partners have often commented on it: "WHAT was That?", but Mr Science never notices it himself, either.)

The point, as you'll see, is that Karen wasn't watching), and after Megan hit Karen began walking to the next set of tees, and called back to make sure I had already hit. I said yes, and then, loudly enough to be sure Megan heard, "Yes, I had the honor". That wasn't the only time, but it was rare, and I was proud of it.

Megan went to Illinois U, and just graduated last year. Karen grew up in Peabody, Ma. Small world story #1, Karen graduated from High School in Peabody the same year the Golfing Queen graduated from Salem State College, in the town next door. Many of Karen's classmates also went to Salem State. Never mind what year.

On the 18th, Megan hit her best fairway wood of the day, and remarked that she finally hit one "on the screws". I have to wonder if she's ever seen a club with screws, except maybe hanging on the wall in the pro shop, never mind hit a ball with one. 8^D It's funny what makes you feel old sometimes. 8^0

I asked Megan if she had played anyone famous in college, like maybe Brittany Lang, but she hadn't. Then I remembered that Sara Lynn Sargent , who I had kept score for in The Safeway International Tournament was from Chicago, and I asked if she knew her.

Small world story #2, It turns out Megan and Sara are good friends. So we both noted (not to say "gushed over") what a delightful person Sara is, and I must say they deserve each other. Megan and Karen are delightful as well, and it was most enjoyable playing with them.

Megan, if you're reading this, say Hi to Sara for me. And give her the url for the blog, so she can read her entry. I think I may have to go watch a Cactus Tour tournament. I wonder if they have walking scorers?

Friday, April 20, 2007


Bunker to Bunker Trip to Rocky Point

Mr Science takes up the burden . . .

The trip was arranged by the local radio golf pro, Greg Ellis, and his co-host, Tiffany Nelson, who both accompanied us and played a few holes along with us on Saturday.

Ms Cactus has taken up golf just recently, mainly in preparation for this trip. She made a par on the 17th hole today. Mrs Science, The Queen of Golf, made a par on a par 5, her first in our collective memory. Notably, on that hole I had a total of 17 strokes in the two days.

The course was great. If you like the links-style golf at Highland Links in Truro, you'll love this. The signature hole is the 11th, a par 3 bordering the lake, 172 from t
he men's tees, all downhill.

The green extends out onto those diamond-shaped peninsulas. For some pin placements, you could be on the green and have to chip over the water in order to play toward the pin.

On 6 holes, there are large sandy or grassy mounds in the middle of the fairway, often more than one.

Most of the greens were huge, and some very severely sloped. On one par 3, the pin was in the middle, and my ball was in the left-center, and I had a 90-foot birdie putt. Some are not just multi-tiered, they resemble a three-dimensional representation of arcane mathematical functions.

Saturday afternoon was relatively mild, but Sunday morning we had steady 25-30 mph winds. I've been hitting an 8 iron lately for 150 yards, but on the 9th today I hit a 3 iron from the 150 yard marker to the center of the green. A GOOD 3-iron.
It was my second try . . . Cactus Dave interrupts here, cuz Mr Science idn't telling it right . . . it was s-o-o-o-o-o windy this day that the seagulls had come inland to the lagoons in the centre of the course, just for some peace and quiet I reckon. There must have been a million of 'em wheeling and soaring, squawking and calling, on the fairway where our layup shots wound up. When we rode up in the carts, they mostly took flight, without going anywhere. Mr Science was away, and when he hit his first approach it inevitably hit one of the seagulls -- wait for it, dammit! -- all 4 of us jumped up and pointed at the same time and yelled "Birdie!" -- even tho' his ball fell into the water. It wasn't an Ancient Mariner kind of deal, if you know what I mean, no wounded gull fell crumpled to the fairway or anything, no signs of displeasure from the heavens or anything . . . Still, it does seem like an unfair hazard, in addition to a 4 club wind, to have to thread the shot in between a flock of seagulls . . .
This is a harder golf course than the slope and rating would suggest. But it is fun to play, if you like links golf. Like they say in Scotland, "nae wind, is nae goff".

The only drawback was the condition of the course. It just opened this winter, some of the fairways were spotty where the grass hadn't grown in fully, and some of the greens were bumpy. It's a new kind of grass from South Africa that tolerates salty water. We'll see if it can grow successfully in Mexico.

The Queen of Golf Weighs in:

For a woman's perspective of the golf course....it is a woman friendly course. There are only 2 holes where it is a stretch for the average woman golfer. On the 7th you hit over a ravine and on the 9th you hit over water on the 3rd shot. Both are doable with solid hits though.
On 12, a par 5 where the men choose to hit over the water and the women choose to lay up, the women will have a significantly better score than the men, i.e., par vs. 9 or better :)
Putting is a bit challenging for all due to spotty conditions of the greens.
Weather can be a challenge since the beach area is prone to windy weather. Factor in at least one or two extra clubs to get to your destination if it's windy.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Mrs Cactus' First Real Par

We went down to Rocky Point / Puerto Penasco, at the top of the Sea of Cortez, where Mexico, Arizona, & California meet, sorta, on an overnight golf trip . . . bussed down Saturday Morning, played Saturday Afternoon, had dinner, went to bed, got up and played Sunday Morning, bussed back to PHX, had dinner, went to bed.

Golf course is sort of awesome, a semi-links layout, but the wind was just howling . . . like a 4 club wind at times. This was the 3rd time Mrs Cactus had played, 2nd time on a "real" golf course. It was hard for her at times, just remembering the 80 things I've told her, never mind a hard golf course in the wind, but she has a great attitude . . . like she told her friends, who wondered whether foozling and chunking the ball didn't embarrass her -- "Nah, After being married to Cactus all this time, nothing embarrasses me anymore!"


So there on the 17th tee, after 34 holes of golf she was pretty tired, but still plugging away, and hit a beautiful shot to this green (just 109yds), into the humps on the right side. The ball kinda deadened, then rolled off the hump onto the green, caromed off the first tier slope, back to pin high on the left side of the green, bout 15 ft away.

The pin was down on the lower shelf in this picture.She made a good birdie putt, but those greens were tuff. Right speed, for an easy tap-in par.


On a Serious Note . . .

just a little non-Golf message Mr Science tho't was important to share . . .

Dear Abby,

I've never written to you before, but I really need your advice.

I have suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me. The usual signs......... phone rings but if I answer, the caller hangs up. My wife has been going out with the girls a lot recently although when I ask their names she always says, "Just some friends from work, you don't know them."

I always try to stay awake to look out for her coming home, but I usually fall asleep. Anyway, I have never approached the subject with my wife. I think deep down I just didn't want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to really check on her. Around midnight, I decided to hide in the garage behind my golf clubs so I could get a good view of the whole street when she arrived home from a night out with "the girls".

It was at that moment, crouching behind my clubs, that I noticed that the graphite shaft on my driver appeared to have a hairline crack right by the club head. Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the pro shop where I bought it?

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Augusta Ranch

They Say: "Augusta Ranch Golf Club in Mesa Arizona is an 18-hole, 3800 yard, par 61golf course renowned for its exceptional playing conditions and challenging layout. This course allows players of all abilities to get out and enjoy the game of golf, the way it is meant to be enjoyed. "

It was nearly another violent day of Phoenix golf. I'm surprised these guys are still around, this being a right-to-carry state and all. Sooner or later, Darwinian law must take over.

The 4th is a 274 yard par 4. The first group of the Men's club was behind us, and as we're putting out a ball bounces onto the green. We were near the pin on the back left, and the ball was on the front right, about 40 feet away, so I just waved at the tee so they would know that we knew that they had hit into us.

On the 7th hole, 301 yards, he did it again. This time the ball rolled to the back fringe, about 10 feet from where I was standing. Then, suddenly, it came to rest 40 yards left of the green, in the gully. He chased me down and apologized for not yelling "fore". Then he wanted to know where his ball had been before I swatted it away.

You know how, later on, you think of the perfect thing to say, but by that time it's way too late. He had no clue that I was mad at him for deliberately aiming where I was standing, not for failing to yell "fore" when he succeeded in hitting his ball there. TWICE. Of course, in the heat of the moment, when he offered his hand I shook it, and told him where his ball was. At least he didn't do it again. My blood pressure was dangerously high for the next couple of holes, but I managed two more pars and shot 31 on the front (par 30).

The course is a "2" in the executive category. It's well-maintained, the staff was very friendly, the holes are interesting and challenging, with well-placed bunkers, elevation changes and water hazards. Winding among the houses and streets of the neighborhood, it is not particularly walker-friendly, but the street crossings are not too bad, and probably the distance walked is not more than a traditional par-72 course. The forward tees are 1000 yards ahead of the tips, so it is a "1" for woman-friendly. The 9th is a forced carry over the lake, but it's only 84 yards. Pace of play was fine. Our foursome finished in 3:15 despite a few short waits on the front 9 for a threesome that was having a very tough time of it. They must have quit at the turn, because the back was wide open.

We were talking to the hot dog guy afterwards. He says Alice Cooper holds his tournaments there, and in person is not at all like his professional image, although he does have some garish golf clothes. He says the GM at Augusta is a frequent guest on the local golf radio show. He didn't recognize "bunker to bunker", but how many could there be? We'll have to ask next weekend.
a more generous opinion . . . from a year ago . . .


Important Information

Mr Science Says:

I've been watching the Masters for over 40 years, and this year I noticed for the first time that par on each 9 at Augusta National is palindromic.

Front 9: 454 343 454
Front 9 backwards: 454 343 454

Back 9: 443 545 344
Back 9 backwards: 443 545 344

Cactus Dave's Opinion is that "trivia" such as this is not irrelevant, but rather psychically, unconsciously integral and something that resonates within the human whether he notices it or not . . .

Friday, April 06, 2007


Poston Butte

7282 Yds, Par 72, Slope 127, by Gary Panks

They Say: "a new 18-hole championship golf course designed by Gary Panks and managed by Troon Golf. Located in Florence and nestled in the latest Anthem master plan community, Poston Butte Golf Club at Merrill Ranch will offer more than a quality golf experience but a place you will want to call home. The course is a par 72 and offers 5 sets of tees ranging from 5,300 yards - 7,300 yards in length providing golfers of all skill levels an enjoyable experience. Fairway views offer golfers a glimpse of the historic pyramid shaped fire temple resurrected in the 1800's by Charles Poston from an Apache ruin on a butte nearby capturing the spirit of golf in the southwest. Memorable par three holes featuring island greens, stacked stone walls and bunkers stretching from tee to green will captivate players wanting to try it again and again! "

So, Ok, I played with my Inkster Callaway. It would be foolish to make a hasty generalization, but if I could just place this one tho't with Inkster, it would be that I drove the @#$%@#$ out of that ball consistently, but it didn't putt for crap . . . 8^D . . .

Panks has done so many Phoenix courses, it's really too tempting to compare and rank them . . . I think South Mountain is my favorite, then Sedona, then Tonto Verde Peaks, Whirlwind Cattail, Grayhawk Talon, Vistancia, then all the also-rans . . . so would one want to fit this one in ahead of one of those courses, or is it an also ran ? I liked it better than Corte Bella, and at least as well as the other Whirlwind and Tonto Verde courses . . . it share s the trademarks of a Panks course: wide lush fairways, slightly-more elevated tees and greens than normal -- occasionally much more elevated -- and the familiar Panksian greens that are not typically as contortured as by some other architects, but subtly tricky and hard to read. . . I like the way the green complexes are designed, with one side bunkered up to the edge of the green, unlike those illusory Mckinsie-esque bunkers yards-and-yards away from the putting surface, and with the other side full of links-style swales and mounds, if you see what I mean: pick your poison. . .

The condition of the course was perfect, but outside the grassline has the valley-fever-incubator look to it: bare-graded dirt with no remaining vegetation, and none replanted . . . those future houses won't interfere with play, but like Copper Canyon, they will be all you can see instead of the surrounding mountains . . . there's this fine red dirt gravel just outside the grass, too . . . it didn't nick up my club like ordinary desert gravel, more like a very grainy sand trap as large as the fairway; it took some getting used to before I hit a good shot out of it. . .

Mr Science birdied the par 3 #7, which seemed like a very hard green to hit, sorta turtle-backed with a large swale that drained into the large bunker, but it wasn't till # 11 that I really remember anything remarkable about a hole.

The par 4 #11 doglegs left around a large bunker complex, but the landing area to the right is hidden from view, so we were very uncertain where to hit. Our drives wound up at the bottom of the hill -- weak drives, still 175 yards away from the uphill green. There's room there, if you can challenge that bunker a little bit, but no way could we drive OVER it. My 7 wood wound up in the deep front bunker; 2 sand shots, 2 putts, double bogey. Mr Science caught the left edge of the green and made a very good 2putt for par up two tiers.

#14, 15, & 16 are very tough, interesting par 4s of different length, but all had very elevated greens, so that any missed approach became a testy pitch instead of a simple chip for up and down. I bogeyed all 3 that way, but #16 was the most egregious: despite the wide fairway, and on this hole, a very wide plateau of rough on the right, I still wound up in the red-rock-sandy-mounds; I had to walk up 40 yards to see over the mounds in front of me where the pin was, but that didn't help me cuz my 4iron wound up 20 yards right of the green on the wrong side of another red mound; my pitch shot flew all the way to the green, so it rolled well off the other side; my 7iron chip shot from 30 yds away got caught in the swale that drains toward the front of the green and rolled offline to the fringe 20 ft from the pin; oddly enough, tho', I made that putt . . . the only putt I remember making all day.

#17 looks like a signature hole: the famous TPC 17th hole, but the yardage seems less, the green seems even bigger, and the wind manageable . . . never mind that I wound up taking a drop from the flower garden next to the water and Mr Science had rolled practically onto the wooden bridge to the island. Easy Pars.

We both parred the par 5 #18. Mr Science's drive was in the short rough, his second shot was in the fairway, his wedge was on the green, and a 2putt. My Drive bounced off a tree back into the deep rough, but teed up, my 3wood 2nd shot had pro tragectory, straight into the bunker on the left of the fairway, my 3rd came up just short of the green, leaving a miracle chip and kickin par.

Mr Science strolled around (they let us walk, gladly, as we had paid for a cart) to a 41-41=82. His only trouble hole #10, where he felt rushed as he had to fetch his tire-pump for his pull-cart. He hooked into the water, then semi-foozled his next shot, but made a good up-up-and-down from there. I had a 44-47=91, with one blowup hole on the par 5 #13, when my 3 wood, then my sandwedge betrayed me - only a miracle 60 ft lag-putt salvaged the snowman for me after that.

Mr Science confers a 2 upon the course for the excellent condition of the course, in addition to the very able design and interesting layout. To myself, tho', it always comes down to the question of whether it "could" be the best course in the Valley of the Sun. No. Not now, and not when it is covered in houses, neither. A 3.

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