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Monday, December 17, 2007

 

TPC Champions

Mr Science Reports:
The Golfing Queen and I played the redesigned TPC Scottsdale Champions Course today. Like on our foray at the Legends last year, we were again paired with two professional athletes. This time they were baseball players. Jed Lowrie is a shortstop for the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox, and John Mayberry Jr. is an outfielder / first baseman for the AA Frisco Rough Riders, a Texas Rangers farm team.

They both recently bought houses in the Valley, in Buckeye and Surprise. Jed lives very close to the Raven at Verrado. The Rangers spring training site is in Surprise. The Stanford web site says John was Stanford's active career leader in stolen bases (19), putouts (1459), double plays (121), triple plays (3) and defensive chances (1536) • Ranks second among active players behind classmate Jed Lowrie in home runs (26), runs scored (119), hits (196), doubles (34), RBI (143), total bases (324), slugging percentage (.515), walks (70), on-base percentage (.389), sacrifice flies (8), games played (168) and games started (155)

His father is "the" John Mayberry, who "played Major League Baseball for 15 seasons (1968-82) with the Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees ... John, Sr. is a member of the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame and was a two-time All-Star first baseman who helped lead the team to the American League Championship Series in 1976 and 1977."

They both hit the ball a country mile, but too rarely in the target fairway. The
Sox web site says about Jed:

"His arm is strong but he needs to work on his throwing accuracy." ;)

(Whatever equivalent comment you can imagine about his golf game would be appropriate as well.)

Like our previous pros, these two were also delightful playing partners. What fun living and playing golf in Scottsdale!

The course was great, too. After the redesign by Randy Heckenkemper, it is much more difficult, and yet at the same time more playable. Whereas the rare difficult holes before were simply brute force difficult, there is now more subtlety to it. I played the blue tees, 6653 yards, which is a little too much for my game, but still managed an 82. Nothing worse than a bogey, but not many pars. On the 15th, a 334-yard dogleg which has been changed to give you a good look at the green from the tee, and is now a great risk/reward short par 4, Jed hit his drive just left of the green, and Junior hit his about pin high to the right. I hit into the fairway, and put a gap wedge to 8 feet and made birdie. Jed almost chipped in and had a gimme birdie. Junior's short game was not up to the task, and he made par.
I heard conversations like "Are you hitting driver? It's only 290 to the end of the fairway" and "I can carry the wash, it's just 275 from here." At the par 5 9th, 532 yards, Junior hit a rare fairway and had 226 to go. After that drive, I told him that a guy who could hit golf shots like that all the time could make more money playing golf than baseball. I don't know what iron he hit, but it flew the green and landed in the 2nd deck, and he wound up missing a 12-footer for birdie. Maybe it's better that he concentrate on hitting a baseball 500 feet for a living, and just hit golf balls 300 yards for fun.

The Golfing Queen rates the course very woman-friendly, but we have to give Randy an A- overall for the design, because he located a sprinkler system control valve in the cross bunker on #3, which deflected her perfectly struck shot way off to the right into a greenside bunker :( One can imagine all sorts of rules dilemmas resulting from immovable obstructions in bunkers. It just isn't right. Despite that one flaw, it is a much better course than before.

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