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Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Gold Canyon Sidewinder

6584 Yds, Par 72, Slope 140, by Greg Nash and Ken Cavanaugh

They Say: "Sidewinder snakes around the base of Dinosaur Mountain, through natural arroyos and dry creek beds. Native cholla and prickly pear cacti, mesquite and palo verde trees line the challenging twists and turns that will keep you on top of your game. And like the Dinosaur course, it’s a scenic adventure that will bring you back again and again."

Well! This is certainly another candidate for Best in the Valley . . . doesn't get my vote, but I feel a little sheepish about it . . . top-notch views of the Superstition Mountains that are so close they seem to frame some of the holes as part of the Architects' design . . . totally lush course, too, ordinarily, I'd say . . . Mrs Cactus complained about the greens, demonstrating that her knowledge of the Game is growing by leaps-and-bounds . . . they were w-a-a-a-y faster than even We-Ko-Pa, but they did not roll true: putts would "wiggle" unpredictably if you hit them a pace to keep within tap-in distance on the comebacker -- man, how that does wear on a body . . . I had a 49-51=100, mainly because of the greens, but also because of my balky iron play, which was also because the greens put so much pressure on the golfer to get close, if you see what I mean.

The par 4 #3 is a case in point -- it's true I may have still been a little groggy for our 6:30 t-time from sleep-deprivation, but the 3-putts on #1 & #2 had disorienting effects too, certainly -- the cart boys had put our bags on the cart backwards, mine on the passenger side and vice versa, if you see what I mean, and I grabbed Mrs Cactus' driver by mistake. The grip felt wrong, but I just said to myself "I never noticed that before", and it felt awkward when I swang it, but I just said to myself "I need more coffee", and when I hit it, I got the ugliest little one-liner-slice I've hit since I got my new driver, and I said "Wonder if we can start drinking yet?" I rehit when I realized my mistake -- much better results, tho' I was still in the right rough -- and then switched the bags. I only had a 8iron left to the green, but trying to get close meant I had to hit it heavy and short of the green, chunk a chip, and 3putt.

The par 3 #4 restored my confidence in theory, since I almost aced it when Mr Science & I played here before, landing a high shot on top of the bunkered hump on the right front of the green so that it trickled excruciatingly within inches of the hole. This time tho', I smooth-jerked the ball left of the green pin high, chunked another chip, 3jacked another green.

The shortish par 4 #5 remains my favorite hole, even tho' I've only ever made a snowman . . . cannot even hit a ball in the fairway . . . this picture doesn't fairly represent the left inside of the dogleg, which is chockablock of desert plants and palo verdes . . . thats where I wind up . . . I'm sure Mr Science prob'ly hits a 7iron/9iron for an easy par.

The dogleg on the par 4 #9 is really deceptive. . . looks like you can clear it, but you'd be much better off left of center, if for no other reason that you'd be out of the driving range line of fire . . . I of course cut the corner, which seemed familiar to the other time I'd played here, too, but with my new distance, I was able to find my ball around the corner, just not quite off the gravel . . . I hit a sweet little half-a-9, but the steep slope of the elevated green rejected me -- sorta small green, front pin position. I tried an amazing 7iron chip up the slope that just missed the pin, and rolled 8 ft past, but I made the only putt I made all day . . . might've been the only comebacker I made all day, too, due to the aforementioned condition of the greens.
This course is an interesting amalgamation of Greg Nash, who has done so many courses out in Sun City which are subtle to the point of . . . um . . . how shall I say . . . uninteresting is not correct, neither is boring, nor simple . . . they're just not very dynamic, if you see what I mean, tho' they are undeniably very nice golf courses with challenges, and Ken Cavanaugh, who has a tendency towards the penal, so that, even more than a solo-Nash effort, the course has a deceptively easy look at times, due to the lush, wide greenbelts and the spectacular scenery, but errant shots, even marginal shots are punished by the artful sand bunkers and elevated greens.

Sidewinder-like, if you see what I mean . . . 8^D . . .

The par 5 #18, the number 2 handicap hole, fooled me entirely, or should I say, played to my weaknesses and vanities . . . I ripped a good drive and had only 225 to the green, but the green is much elevated from the fairway and separated by a deep arroyo. I didn't remember this hole at all, and the on-cart GPS was hard for me to read -- distorted, as if the display was being stretched to fit a certain size different from the image, if you see what I mean . . . no use to me . . . so I laid up with an 8iron from a downhill lie, almost into the arroyo, to another downhill lie in the rough, which made the wedge shot that difficult I was wishing I had gone ahead and had a go at the green . . . there really is a lot of room over the gorge, 40 or 50 yards, anyway . . . the half-wedge came up short, leaving me with my standard chunk and 2 putt. Golf Course wins this day.

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