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Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Top 50 Courses for Women

The QOG reports:

The new list is out for this year for the top 50 courses for women in the US according to Golf for Women magazine. There are three courses in our area.

Last year's number 1, The Boulders Resort, south course, is now number 2. Number 26 is Rancho Manana Golf Club in Cave Creek and number 33 is We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Saguaro course.

Two local courses from last year did not make this year's list. They are TPC Desert course (it's being renovated) and Troon North Pinnacle course.


US Open Rules

Mr Science - an afficianado of Golf Rules, and generally a stickler for those rules, in a Calvinistic Way, if you know what I mean -- reports this local rule in effect at Oakmont:

A ball that crosses and comes to rest beyond the Pennsylvania Turnpike is out of bounds, even though it may lie on another part of the course.

There's many a time, on rural courses, where I have played a ball from a lie inadequately marked as OB, from across a road back onto the course, at Bear Creek, in Houston, in particular, but I think this is an underutilized principle of golf-course-design that could enable the placement of courses into tighter confines, within acreages previously disdained as too fragmentary and small.

Monday, June 18, 2007


4 Birdies

Mrs Science had two birdies last Friday at Sanctuary. One was a missed eagle putt on a short par 4. Together, we tied the family record for birdies in a round, with 4 between us.
I think it'll be awhile before the Cactii challenge that record . . .


3 Muni Vacation

Arroyo del Oso, Albuquerque NM, 6936 Yds, Par 72, Slope 131, by Alistair MacKenzie


They Say: "Arroyo del Oso opened for play October 1965. The course is located in the Bear Canyon Arroyo from which the course gets its name, and which makes for interesting topography. While it is not a tough course, the large greens, rolling fairways, three water-hole obstacles, and sand traps make it best suited for the intermediate to advanced player.

Arroyo del Oso was rated in the top 50 Municipal Golf Courses in the Country by Golf Digest Magazine in 1981."

I absolutely adore this course, especially holes 4 to 8 -- to the cognoscenti, I need only mention the architect as the reason. I find it so much more interesting than many more recently designed high-dollar courses . . . not all of them, but those that substitute excellent condition for creative design, entertaining shot values, and a variety of challenges.

Birdied the 1st & 6th holes, shot 41-47=88.

Scott Schreiner, Kerrville Tx, 6453 Yds, Par 70, Slope 122, by Joe Finger


They say: "These words heralded by the October 1924 edition of the Grinstead's Graphic.

Originally started as the Kerrville Country Club, the vintage nine-hole course was the design of John Bredemus, one of the first golf course designers in Texas.

Throughout the roaring 1920's the Kerrville Country Club was the social and recreational hub of Kerrville. The original clubhouse was an inspiring stucco building with a large gallery, ball room, and band alcove."

I really liked the original design -- and typically, I am not impressed by re-designs, but I reckon Finger has done well to remove some distracting quirkiness from the course while leaving the fundamentally genious design . . . of course, the superior condition these days helps a lot too. The way the creek figures so prominently in the play of the front nine is now well balanced by the new ponds on the back 9 that are equally intrusive . . . but #12 is my favorite on the whole course and it has always been just so . . .

That sliver of fairway looks even tinier after all the rain they've had has over-filled the water hazard and made the bermuda rough on the large mounds all down the right extra lush . . . I've parred, but never birdied this hole in the dozen times I've played this course.

This round, I smothered my drive fighting my re-introduced medicus-swing, then I hit a 4iron all the way down under a large tree at the pointy end of the fairway. I didn't think my knockdown half-wedge would be any problem, but I chunked another ball into the water. Even after hitting exactly the shot I intended after that, I still 3putted. That kinda day, but it didn't bother me, as much as the fact that if you play on a muni in Texas it is going to be full of Texas Duffers . . . only the fact that I are one inhibits my inclination to be derogatory.

F'r'instance, on #8, which has a blind landing area below the tee, but you can see the green, two of the 3some behind us hit into us, then came up with the lame excuse that their ball hit the cart path . . .

"What?" I querllied, "Both of 'em?"

Then on #12 I could blame them for talking too loud while they watched me fail to tee off.

Then on #13, a 230 yd, uphill par 3 with the tee back in a chute of trees, one of 'em said, "That's a mighty big poke from back there!" or some other sort of pseudo-jovial banter -- I just had my 3wood, which wasn't enough . . . but it was at the bottom of the elevated green, right in front of the pin.

Didn't matter at all in the long run, shot43-47=90, with 4 straight missed birdie putts on #s 8 - 11.

Lady Bird Johnson, Fredericksburg Tx, 6448 Yds, Par 72, Slope 126, by Jeff Brauer


They Say: "Our Hill Country golf course has tree lined fairways with some of the most beautiful live oak trees you have ever laid eyes on. Four of the holes on the front nine cross over the meandering Live Oak Creek and the back nine features 3 lakes that five of the holes come into play with."

This was only the 2nd or 3rd time I'd played the LBJ, and it too has really benefited from the extra rain they've gotten, but almost too much . . . the ground crews were still trying to restore parts of the course that had gotten washed away during the last flash-flood. Although the design is very creative & interesting, I'm still trying to figure out whether I like it or not, parts of the back 9 seem very ordinary, but #s 5-6-7 have got to be the quirkiest set of holes I've ever played.

#5 is a long par 5 that enforces the 3 shot design with a green on the other side of a large creekbed and 60 feet below the fairway plateau.

#6 is a short par 3 Redan-extreme type, uphill 40 ft.

#7 is a short par 4: either hit a 7iron down into a valley on the left then a wedge backuphill 30 ft, OR, go-for-broke over a large copse of old-growth live oaks (210 - 240 yds?) straight at the green.

It's all very amusing, but I am questioning it's staying power for the intrigue it poses: mere novelty or profundity? I dunno.

But Here's What I Wanted to Get To:

#1 is avery good opening hole with a rolling fairway that catches the green on a last crest, lined all the way with the ubiquitous live-oaks and the (during this unusually wet spring) ankle deep bermuda rough.

#2 is another clever hole, 358 yds, with a creek in front of the green. Last time, from the blue tees, I had come up just short of the creek, but this time, from the back tees, with the wind, I hit what would become the second best tee shot of my life -- at the wrong time -- never did find that ball, but I admit I didn't look real hard on the green side of the creek.

#3 is normally a moderate length par 5, uphill, back across the creek, to a links style divided fairway (big rough mound up by the green) -- but that day, because the back tees had been washed away in the flood, they moved us all up to the red tees, going back in 7 yd intervals, so, I'm saying we were -- figgering conservatively, red @420, White @427, Blue @435, & Gold @442 yds.
I knew when I hit my drive it was the best drive I'd ever hit, I've come to know the sound my newish King Cobra makes for a solid hit or not, and I do get a little feedback, even if not so much as with a persimmon: it sailed out down the right side with just the tinies tame draw on it, against the wind. I couldn't really see it, but I was confident. When we got to the green, my ball was already there - in 1 - short of the green by a few yards. I chipped up within a few feet with my 7iron to the front pin position, then managed to coax the birdie putt in on the low-side ---
--- "Wait a minute!" interjected Mr Science as I related all this to him. "That's an Eagle, not a Birdie, if it's a par 5!"
Honestly, sometimes, I wonder whether Good Golfers even understand this game . . . if you know what I mean . . . 8^D . . .
So: By My Reckoning, I hit that drive over 400 yds -- it was a big green, but that's such an outrageous claim, I don't want to make it . . . even allowing for bouncing dead center off a sprinkler head, but I swear it is true, and if Mrs Cactus understood more I'd call her as a witness. I mean, she knows I got a 3 there, she knows I made that putt (barely), but she didn't register the size of the deed.
I didn't blow out the rest of the round trying to hit 400 yd drives, because I can stand the prosperity now, and I was still fighting my medicus swing with smothered hooks, so I wound up with a 46-44=90 with 2 birdies.



So . . .
Mr Science tho't this was funny . . . and pointed it out to me . . . .

Just cuz, last time we wuz playing I "tossed" my pitching wedge back towards the cart and it broke . . . just like Jack Nicklaus at his last British Open, at St Andrews, when it took him 3 tries to get out of the Hell Bunker, tossed his sand wedge to his caddy, "with alacrity" as the British TV announcer called it . . . I'd bladed a 2nd shot half-wedge over the green, then chunked the come-backer from a down hill lie, then bladed the chip with the wedge back over the green, still on the fringe, so I didn't need my PW anymore . . . good thing . . . since it snapped in two . . . .

When we left the course, I forgot my clubhead, left it in the back of the cart . . . the club says they hadn't seen it . . .


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