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Thursday, October 25, 2007


Fry's Electronics Open- Sunday

Mr Science at the FEO:
There were whitecaps on the lake next to 18 today, gusts to 30 MPH, they said. After about 2 hours, they called all the standard-bearers back to the trailer. I don't know how many were lost in the wind, and are now in Kansas, or maybe OZ. The group behind us had particular difficulty. They called for a ruling on the 4th green. Later, when there was a backup on the 7th tee and they caught up to us, Bob Estes said that it was because the wind had caused a ball on the green to move. (Did I mention that I eagled that hole, the 7th?) Later, I heard on the radio that Bob had a penalty stroke on 10, when the wind moved the ball while he was addressing it.

I had Tom Pernice, Jr., D.J. Brigman, and Bo Van Pelt. All of them had their troubles in the wind, but mostly played pretty OK. Each had one blow-up hole that really hurt.

Tom made a 7 on the par-5 4th hole, after hitting driver from the fairway for his second shot, into the desert and under a tree. He got it out of the tree into the rough, then chipped it into the left bunker, which has an 80-foot lip. I know that because I was in that bunker when I played the hole. He even had a little bit of a downhill lie. He made a great chip from the right side of the green, up over a ridge and down cozy to the pin, for a 1-putt double bogey. Then he made another double on 12, with a tee shot into a bush under a tree in the desert and a relatively unsuccessful chip-out into an even worse lie under another tree, still in the desert. But, he had 5 birdies and shot 72, not a bad score today. The lowest was 68. He told his caddy later it was a bad idea hitting driver from the fairway. On 12, he hit out of turn because DJ, who had the honor, was in the bathroom. He was about to address the ball when DJ arrived at the tee, and later Tom said he shouldn't have hit that drive after DJ got there. So, he blamed both his double bogeys on mental errors.

DJ had his double bogey on 9. He had birdied the first hole, then made 3 pars before bogeys on 5, 7, and 8. His tee shot on 9 rolled off the right side of the fairway into the 2" Bermuda rough on a steep slope. The marshal had to show them where the ball was, because he and his caddy walked right by it without seeing it. He got it out of there to the fairway, knocked it on and 3-putted. Shot 75, only 2 birdies. He's from Albuquerque. This is from his web site
http://www.djbrigman.com/ but they put the story on the scoreboard, too:

Marisa Maez, DJ's wifeMarisa is a television news anchor in Albuquerque at KOAT Channel 7. DJ washed dishes at the Route 66 Diner to pay for her wedding ring.

DJ caught a bad break on 17 when his approach stopped just at the top of the hill (the pin was up on the top tier), and rolled back down and off the green, just like Badds on Wednesday. Cactus was in the Shotlink tower on 17, and saw two of those. He said he tried to be extra quiet so as not to disturb those golfers. DJ cursed the hole, and threw his glove (a good alternative to throwing the club, I'd say) but he got up and down for par.

Bo had a 7 on 17. His approach shot went across the cart path to the right of the green, and his first chip hit the curb and bounced back into the desert, giving him another try at the same shot. He wasn't short this time, and it rolled off the green on the other side, down into the collection area on the left. Other than that, he had 3 birdies and 4 bogeys for 74.

He had a 3 on the 7th hole, the same as I did, only his was just a birdie and mine was an eagle.


Fry's Electronics Open- Friday

Mr Science at the FEO:

I had Joe Ogilvie, Charley Hoffman, and Jeff Maggert today. Maggert had an up and down round, with birdies on 3, 4, 5, 8, and 11 to get to -2 Then bogies on 14 and 17, and he's even par for the tournament, on the cut line now. Joe had a down and up round, with a double bogey on 3 and a bogey on 4, but shot 32 on the back (5 birdies, 2 bogeys) to finish at -1. He was complaining constantly about the greens, out loud when I was the only one close to him, as if he wanted to make sure I could hear and would do something about it. I think he has trouble reading Bermuda greens, as I do. I mean, even more trouble than I have on bentgrass or rye, which is considerable. They weren't as soft and nice as most on tour, but they were fast and true, if you could read the break correctly.

Charley is an interesting character. He's the guy with the curly blonde hair down to his shoulders who won the Hope this year in a playoff. In the first 7 holes he had two provisionals off the tee, two unplayable lies, a double bogey on 6 and a triple on 7. Did I mention that I eagled 7 the first time I played it? On 7 he was berating his caddy's math skills for not being able to give him the correct yardage. "Maybe I can't play golf, but you should be able to do the math". But, he kept smiling, and shot even par on the back for a 77. The leaderboards have big video screens now, and they put up pictures of the players, their best finishes on tour this year, their position on the money list, etc. When his picture and stats went up, he said "Now that guy used to be able to play golf."

Joe had bad luck with people not being still and quiet. On probably 10 of his tee shots, they had to tell somebody to stop his cart, stand still, or otherwise be quiet. On 6, in the fairway, during Jeff's backswing, a dog in the back yard of the house next to us started barking. He kept it up for a good 5 minutes. 6 is a par 5, and Jeff was laying up. The other two had to wait until the green was clear, and the dog was barking the whole time. Then on 7, while Charley was taking his drop from an unplayable lie, the woman in the house next to him started yelling at her kids or her husband or somebody who wasn't doing what she wanted them to do. That went on for a few minutes, and amused everyone on the golf course. One of the caddies told his friend who was following along outside the ropes, "Now you know why OJ did it". On 15, some people by the 17th green sounded like they were having a party. They had to be told several times to shut up. Just before starting his backswing, Charley said "Please, cut me some slack here, I'm trying to break 80".

There was a wait on the 14th tee, a drivable par 4, and the players started talking about tour players' experiences with marriage and divorce. They figured the divorce rate was about 60-70% on tour. Then a series of jokes about the subject, culminating in this exchange:

Joe: Are you married?
Charley: No
Joe: What do you do for misery?
(general laughter)
Charley: I play golf

After they signed their cards, Joe asked Charley if they would be seeing him later, and he said "Not unless it's in a bar somewhere". Outside, I asked him if he knew what we said when we don't play as well as we'd like. He said "No, what? F*** it?" So I told him (all together now - "A bad day of golf is better than a good day at work"). He agreed, and then asked "What if golf is your work?" I said "That's the best of all possible worlds." His smile got a little bigger then, and I think he felt better.

I like Charley. He doesn't look like a golfer, but he has a great attitude. He'd be a fun guy to hang with.

Joe signed his ball for me left-handed, even though he plays righty. Maybe that's why he can't putt :)


Fry's Electronics Open- Thursday

Mr Science, on Walking-scoring at the FEO:

had Jerry Kelly, Garrett Willis, and Briny Baird today. Kelly shot 67 and was cursing himself out most of the day. He birdied 3, 4, and 6, then on 7 pulled his tee shot behind the two trees that stick out into the left side of the fairway. 7 is a 502-yard par 5 that was turned into a 4 for the tournament. The first time I played it, I had an eagle 3. Chipped in from the fairway, about 20 yards short of the green. Jerry pulled his second shot, and sent the two ladies following our group running for cover. They were Garrett's wife and Briny's caddy's wife. He was on the downslope maybe 10 feet higher than the green and 10 yards away, short-sided with the green sloping away from him, and very unhappy. He hit a lob wedge way up in the air, that landed on the fringe and rolled into the cup for another birdie.

At that point he was -4 and tied for the lead. He had a 3-putt bogey on 8, which didn't please him, and then Andrew Buckle in the group behind us aced it. Another birdie on 11, but another bogey on 12. He missed some shots on the way in, but mostly was getting up and down for pars, including a very nice one on 16. As erratically as he was hitting the ball, 67 was a very good score.

Garrett shot 69 with 4 birdies and 3 bogeys, and Briny shot 70 with 4 birdies and 4 bogeys. Seems like there should be more to say, but I had my eyes closed a lot of the time. I got some sunscreen in my left eye early in the round and it was tearing and hurting the whole day.

This should be a fun tournament to watch on TV. The finishing holes should be exciting. 15 is a short, downhill par 4 that they can get close to or on with a driver. 16 is a long downhill par 3 with water short and left of the green, and a lot of slope in the green. Small bailout area to the right, and then desert. 17 doesn't look like much, despite being 464 yards, but the green is very difficult, especially for a long hole. It's a dogleg left, and everyone seems to be hitting it into the right rough, attempting to get a good look at the green. The green is elevated and two-tiered, with a false left side leading to a 10-foot drop-off. 18 is a 515-yard par 4 (for the tournament) with water right of the green.

I don't know why I couldn't remember any of those holes from when I played them, or any of the back 9. They do look different from the perspective of the pros' shots. I remembered every hole on the front. Maybe because of that eagle on 7 :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Fry's Electronics Open-2

Mr Science continues . . .

Our standard-bearer was Saydi, a local high school freshman. She has been a standard-bearer at the FBR Open, but always with her dad as her walking scorer. Today was her first solo flight, and she did great, despite a wind that almost got her and the sign airborne at times. At the famous 16th at the FBR, as she was walking to the green, the crowd started chanting "Sign Girl! Sign Girl! Sign Girl!". She waved, and they went nuts. She's having a Halloween party, and going as Marilyn Monroe, because that's who she looks like in her Homecoming dress.

I watched Mike Weir tee off, while I was waiting for my starting time. One of his partners asked him "So, are you still playing left-handed?"


Fry's Electronics Open

Mr Science Reports from the Open:

I got Aaron Baddeley www.badds.com in the Pro-Am today. He's a neighbor, you know, in Scottsdale, and current FBR Open Champion. He shot a very casual 66, with one bogey. He only missed one shot, but not on the hole he bogeyed. Pushed his drive into the desert on 16, a downhill par 3 with a pond left and short of the green. It was about 30 yards, and the green was maybe 20 feet below him, sloping away from him, with the water on the other side. His caddy bet him he couldn't get up and down. 10-to-1 odds, $10 to win $100. He hit the shot out of the desert, landed in the fringe, and rolled about 4 feet past the pin. Another par. He made every putt he looked at inside about 10 feet today.

On 17 he made the bogey, but it was totally bad luck. On his approach, the wind suddenly came up and he ended up short of the elevated green. His sand wedge carried to the 2nd tier, next to the pin, and checked up about 3 feet from the hole. Then it started rolling back. It almost stopped at the top of the hill, but it rolled down onto the bottom tier and turned toward the side of the green. It almost stopped on the green, but it rolled off and down the slope onto the fairway. Same shot again, same distance. This time he put it inside a foot and tapped in the bogey putt.

Watch out for Badds. I predict he will do well in this tournament. He's swinging very smooth, hitting it long and straight, and putting great. He had a good 2-putt on 18 from about 60 feet above the hole.

And, I just joined his fan club, Club Badds. GO BADDS! GO MacGregor !

Monday, October 15, 2007


Scottsdale Country Club Starfire

Squire / Hawk, 6085 Yds, Par 68,
by Arnold Palmer

They Say: "Located in north central Scottsdale, Starfire at Scottsdale Country Club offers beautiful views of the McDowell Mountains as players wind through the 27 holes lined with many mature eucalyptus, pine and cottonwood trees. The "King" Nine was designed by Arnold Palmer and opened in 1988. Palmer also redesigned the Squire and Hawk nines making them more challenging with bunkers and water hazards coming into play on 13 holes."

Signature Holes:

King - #8 - a challenging 205 yard par 3, well bunkered and surrounded by water.
Hawk- #9 - a sporty narrow 339 yard par 4 that requires a combination of distance and accuracy to score well.
Squire #5 - At 175 yards, this hole is a modest but tricky Par 3 over water with bunkers left and mounds right.

No driving range, a harried staff, over-booked t-times, possibly . . . not what one's mind's eye sees when one thinks of Scottsdale Country Club course designed by Arnold Palmer . . . there were 7 par 3s on the course combination we played. Another course that has struggled with growing pains since it original development, trying to keep up with longer distances, and so there are holes where a tee juts out uncomfortably into the path of another hole.

Several of the par 3s are 200+ yds, but the par 5s are short and so are most of the par 4s. The Hawk had been shaved down, in preparation for over-seeding, so I could get my roll . . . had 2 300 yd drives, on #3 and #9, but didn't score well . . .
I think I was off my rhythm, since we teed off at 12:30 instead of early morning . . . I didn't eat any lunch, and so I felt weak and light-headed at times. Mrs Cactus and I do have an apple together on the 10th hole each round, and then split a bottle of shampoo for the last 6 holes, but, sustenance-wise, that's not enough, is it?
Although we played with a charming Englishman (been here 18 years, via California), and we had a bit of a laff the whole day while we waited on tees, it still was sort of an ordeal . . after last weekend's low score, I just felt like I ought to break 80 easily on such a course -- and of course, Mr Science ALWAYS feels that way . . . 8^D. . . but we didn't . . . we missed fairways, we missed greens, and we missed putts.
Mr Science finished up with an 79 and I had an 83, each with one birdie. I got mine on Hawk #3 after my 300 yd drive, just chipped up a 7 iron a club-length away and then tapped in. on #9, that extra 20 yds to the green meant I came up 8 more feet short, and missed the birdie, dangit.
The most notable hole on Hawk is #7 . . . I wisht I'd realized where we were cuz I definitely remembered screwing this hole up before . . . you can't see the water around the dogleg, and if you drift right on your drive -- and there are trees looming over the tee from the left, that sorta pushes your shot to the right -- then you have a very difficult 2nd shot over the water to a penninsula green. I did go right, so far right I was in a rut in the rough, so I laid up, then skipped a half-9 over the water; took 3 to get down, double bogey . . . grumble, grumble, grumble.
Mr Science had cut the corner too sharply, then chunked his 2nd into the water; double-bogey for him, too. . . grumble, grumble, grumble.
We just think that if we knew ahead of time about the water, we'd position our drives better.
Squire #7 is sort of a similar hole -- straightaway, but a big water hazard in the middle of the fairway, about 230 out from the tee, with big trees hanging over the right side of the tee, this time. There's some kinda sign there talking about the traditions to respect with this hole, which used to be #1 on the old course, but you really don't have any option there but to fade a long iron out short of the water. Naturally I used a 3 wood, and pulled it straight left into a tree. I laid up short of the water, playing strategically, then tactically pureed a perfect wedge over the green into the bunker. Double bogey.
Mr Science pulled his 3iron, too, but with a little fade, then caught a perfect bounce off the mounds in the left rough, back out into middle of the fairway. Ordinarily from there I'd figger him for a morale certainty for a birdie, but he settled for par.
Not too much to say nor to remember about the rest of the holes.


Sun City Riverview

6394 yds, Par 72, Slope 116, by Greg Nash

They Say: "Riverview Golf Course is located in the heart of Sun City. This is a beautiful 18 hole facility known for its undulating greens throughout the course. If you can putt on the greens at Riverview, you can putt on any greens."

More of the same: same clubhouse, same greens, same fairways, same tees. Same ol', same ol'.

So it's interesting as to why, instead of a handful of birdies and scores verging on par, we both back-slid; Mr Science, to an 86, and myself, to an 88 with no birdies. Part of it must be that the fairways are very lush -- long grass -- so the roll is minimal; another part of it is that the greens did not roll well -- just growing in good after the re-seeding, I guess . . . as soon as we hit the putts they started hopping . . . hard to judge the speed right on hoppers . . . nuthin' ya couldn't get used to, but in contrast to the top dollar courses, it's hard not to hold a grudge after awhile, what with the no-roll-in-the-fairway and the inconsistent greens.

Easy course to walk, and we do enjoy that.


Our Mission Statement

well, I used to keep golf togs, my shoes, and clubs in the trunk of my car all the time in Texas, "just in case there's a Golf Emergency". Don't do it in Arizona, it cooks the glue that holds your heads on, if you see what I mean.

But OTOH, on the other side of the world (OSOW), they have a more elemental POV . . .

“People need to play golf.”

-Mohammad Afzal Abdul
Head Professional
Kabul Golf Club

A Golf Course Where Water Is No Hazard (subscription required)

For several years, Mr. Abdul, 48, has nudged his dreamy vision closer to reality, by about the same small degree that Afghanistan has moved toward lasting political and economic stability. Now, this barren patch of earth is, at least in name and spirit, a golf course.

It is the Kabul Golf Club, Afghanistan’s only one, and Mr. Abdul, who picked up a putter for the first time when he was 10, is its director and golf pro.

The nine-hole course is extraordinarily rugged by any standard. It has no grass and no delineation between the fairways and the rough, and the greens — the course rules call them browns — are a concoction of sand and oil packed with a heavy roller and swept with a broom vaguely resembling those dragged along the base paths at the seventh-inning stretch in baseball.

When it opened in 2004, the course was a charming oddity that reflected the ascendant optimism of the time and seemed to point toward a brighter Afghan future. Recovery was in full swing , as development money, aid workers and diplomats poured into the country. Scores of foreigners came to play each week. Sensing that his dream of an emerald course was within reach, Mr. Abdul dug a grid of ditches across the course in anticipation of a modern irrigation system.

But three years later the ditches remain empty of pipes, the flow of players has dropped to about a dozen in a good week and the course is as forlorn as ever.
With the economy still a wreck, crime on the rise, aching poverty everywhere and Taliban fighters resurgent, the course now seems wildly out of place.

Well! The ignorance & arrogance of the writer of course is guaranteed by his hosting organism, the New York Times, but rather than ranting, I will just point out these salient facts:

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Orange Tree

6775 Yds, Par 72, Slope 121, by Johnny Bulla
They Say: "Designed in 1957 by Arizona legend Johnny Bulla, Orange Tree is has long been considered one of Arizona’s most renowned traditional golf venues. This 18-hole, PGA rated golf course boast 6,762 lush yards of tree-lined tranquil beauty and strategic challenges. Mature vegetation, expansive fairways, gently sloping greens, over 100 sand traps and mountain vistas are graced by water on six of the holes, offering an excellent test for players of all skill levels."

Monday, October 08, 2007


Sun City North

6410 Yds, Par 72, Slope 117, by G.Nash

They Say: "North Golf Course is located in Sun City, south of Grand Avenue. This is a beautiful 18 hole facility, with plush greens throughout the course. The course is known for its doglegs and large trees. There is a full service Grill and Deli on site that serves breakfast, lunch and an assortment of beverages. The Pro Shop has a wide variety of clothing and accessories that are available for purchase."

OMG. It's not "like" the South, and all the other courses in the Sun Cities, it is the same course!

But -- and this is what can make golf even on a relatively unprepossessing property interesting -- we were not the same . . . Mr Science improved to a 41-42=83 . . . still short of his mark . . . but he got his two birdie quota, and putted better all-in-all. I started off rotten, totally negating the good vibes from my 78 the day before -- did I tell you about that?

Oh, I did. Ok, then . . .

So I had a 46 on the front9, which was really their back 9, thinking I had to shoot a 32, now, to tie Saturday . . . 8^P. . . I did write down the lengths of my two birdies, 18' & 10', just cuz I knew Mr Science writes all his first putts down . . . his two birdies were 40' and 20'. . . both longer than mine . . . see, I said it was his distance control, not his putting! . . . 8^) . . .

my first birdie was on #4, a short par 4 with no fairway trouble. Mr Science hit first to the green, wedge distance, it looked like it would hit the pin . . . we couldn't quite see because the large trap guarding the green obscured the bottom of the pin. . . . I hit my sandwedge left of the trap, 18' away . . . "Your Radar-like wedge shot has intimidated me," I said. But Mr Science said, "I think I hit the back of that bunker" and so it proved to be . . . he was 21 ft away . . . narrowly missed his birdie . . . I managed to sneak my birdie in the low-side . . . felt like a real victory after the rough start I'd had, and was totally unexpected.

The par 5 #5 wouldn't be an adventure, you'd think, but I got too cute and my power fade sliced into the trees on the inside of the dogleg right. . . fell straight down . . . Mr Science hit his tee-shot into the middle of the fairway, not too long. His second toed-out on him a little bit and wound up on a small mound off in the 2nd cut, bout 100 from the green. I was on a little launching pad, myself, with the wind was behind me, so I tho't I'd take a flyer and see if I could still get near the green. I had recently re-discovered that uphill lies tend to make you pull the ball, and I had an uphill hook-lie, but I still gave it a good swipe with my 3 wood, aiming right/over the trees between me and the green, but it was a horrible pull hook. Good distance tho', just about half of it was going the opposite way of the dogleg . I watched it fly thru the trees over there unimpeded, one-hop in hardpan off a wall to somebody's yard, as if off the wall at Fenway Park. It caromed 30 or 40 yards back towards the green, out of the trees, to where I had a clear shot! Well, clear not counting the little tree that blocked my view of the green, but that didn't bother me: up and over, no problem . . . came up a yard short of the green, tho. I putted it but it broke 2 feet more down to the right than I planned on . . . a knee-knocker par, one thrill after another. . . Mr science hit his lob wedge 40' past the pin, which took me by surprise, but I think the rough took the spin off his shot -- like I say, IMVHO, his problem is not his putting, but his distance control -- but he made that moot by coaxing that snake into the hole.

I said, "Well, now, you have to admit you hit 4 perfect shots, since you made that putt."
He said, "Naw! My drive was short, my 3wood sliced into the rough, my lobwedge was tooooooo long; I just made one Great shot!"

That design is quirky -- in kinda cool way -- in that #6 is also a par 5 . . . I was riding high, 1-under on this 9, driving well, putting well again, and hitting some irons, buzzing a little bit about Mr Science's putt -- one doesn't like to put on a display, if you know what I mean -- but getting that birdie-quota is something that is worth laboring for, . . . So I hammered my drive with a tight hook that followed the inside curve of the dogleg, predictably 250, maybe 260, which is my new norm, when I'm on, so I only had 210 to the green. My ball was teed up in a fairway riffle from the mower. I waited for the green to clear, then the carts, then I smacked it solidly, but offline. It bounced once on the cartpath, up into the tree hanging over the cartpath, then stopped hole-high. I didn't have enough positivity about that 3rd shot . . . so I chunked it halfway up the hill, then bladed the next one past the pin. . . and missed the come-backer, so, ok, I'm even par after 6.

I fubar-ed the par3 210 yard 7th hole, just like I'd fubared the 179 yd #17, double-bogies both.

So I said to myself, "Self: with 2 birdies you can still have another 36."

The par 4 #8 is 406 yds. So I know I'm going to be 150 out, which is good for me. I pulled it left. It wound up in the rough, exactly between the 150 post and a tree. I had to hit a choke-down, knock-down half7 iron to the front of the green . . . a shot that is coming back to me slowly, which I don't know why, except that I try it all the time . . . it bounced once onto the green, then rolled slowly by the pin, to 10 ft. past. I did make that birdie, on the low side, again, yeah -- so what!

The par 4 #9 is only 370, so I figger I can at least finish strong, with a par, but I am playing for birdie. I pulled my drive left, thru the dogleg. I'm out 160+ in the rough, and there is a big greenside bunker intruding into my vision, but I still think I can do it. But some part of me didn't. I skulled the half-5 I wanted to hit. I hit a good half-pw, still planning on a 1putt par, but it came up 1 club short, into the bunker . I almost flew the sandshot into the hole, then missed the 4ft comeback. A double bogey. Total 39 for this 9, total of 85 for 18. I just had triples and doubles I didn't have yesterday.

So one might say that this is a very different course from the South course, from the other courses, because one played it differently, oh, not as well, but aside from the nagging recollection that there were two holes with interesting bunkering and mounding, by-and-large, all the holes have slightly elevated tees, more elevated greens, large flat fairways, eucalyptus and palm trees bordering the fairways, occasionally intruding into play, like all the other courses.


Sun City South

6774 yds, Par 72, Slope 115, by Greg Nash, I reckon.

They Say: "South Golf Course is located south of Grand Avenue. This is a beautiful 18 hole facility known for its flatness and length, with plush greens throughout the course. There is a full service Grill and Deli on site that serves breakfast, lunch and an assortment of beverages. The Pro Shop has a wide variety of clothing and accessories that are available for purchase. Tee times can be reserved up to five days in advance to make your scheduling easier."

Opened in 1962, so, um, it's Old Phoenix, in a grassy, california way rather than Modern Arizona Xeriscape . . . Played with Mrs Cactus and Mr Science. We all walked . . . it was very pleasurable, temperature wise, even at mid-morning . . . I had mixed expectations: hadn't played since we played in a Friday Afternoon Tournament out at Kokopelli, so I expected to be rusty, but then, I knew this course would be wide open, flat, available, if you know what I mean, despite the subtleties Nash has learned to introduce into his designs, after so many! This being one of the early ones, would lack some of those, be more, um, muni-like, if you see what I mean.

I mean, I think we both would say it was better than Maryvale, or Encanto, but it still cannot be a 3, not really.

I think the greens most put off Mr Science; I guffawed with dis-belief when he told me how many putts he'd had -- he keeps those stats, you know -- seeks to "improve" himself with them, you know.

I paraphrase the great Dublin club-pro, Oscar Wilde, when he said, "Anyone who knows their game must have a very limited game, inDEED!" . . . 8^D . . .

I suppose I could count my putts up afterward, in my head, replaying my round, which is what I do instead of counting sheep, but not on that course . . . all the holes look like all the other holes, and all the other holes look like all the other holes in all the courses in Sun City, Sun City Grande, and Sun City West -- so I lose count. There's not enough difference to hang my memory on.
I liked the par 4 #12 the best, it had the most unique appearance: the landing area was squeezed by trees on the left, and a large mounded bunker on the right. It might be the only hole on the course where one has to be careful, but one does have to be careful there.

So, altho' the greens put Mr Science off, I feel so disoriented, already, with my putting-in-new-glasses now, that I felt relatively comfortable, if you see how I mean, and, so, mysteriously confident, I proceeded to shoot lights out on the front 9: even par 36 with 2 birdies. I can't remember a thing about them. Then I "blew up" to a 42 on the back . . . even an hour after we finished, when we three were sitting in Flo's on Thompson Peak, eating our $5 Saturday Specials, I still kept pounding the table, going, "A Crappy 78! That Crappy 42! @#%@#%@#$@#%!!!!!"

At one point Mr Science said to me, "Boy, you are striping your drives today!" and I was, and putting well, and hitting some irons well, too . . . almost like you dream of that your whole game will come together at the same time, if you know what I mean?

So Mr Science "ballooned" himself to an 81 . . . he blamed his putting, but I think it might have been his distance control -- normally one of his strong suits, doncha know.

So all day at work today, I was looking to tell someone about my 36 on the front9. The Defenestrator wasn't in the office; Clinton the Ace's office was dark all day, too; The Z-Dog wasn't to be found, I started telling some of the women around me and their eyes just rolled up into their heads -- they don't play golf.

So I had to go over to Mr Science and tell him, but he holds his hand up like a traffic cop, and says, "Forget it! I was there, man. I was there."

"But," I say, "It's for the blog."

He dropped his head sideways into his palm with an elbow planted on the desk. He gave me the "c'mon, c'mon" with his stop-sign hand, like a fellow working a double-shift at the complaint window at Walmart.

But there isn't any story there -- just what I told you here -- and my soliloquy trailed off into stammers and mumbles, so I just shrugged and went back to my own cube.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Women's Mid-Am 2007 - Day 3

What a Match!

I had Lara Tennant of Portland, OR (77-74, seeded 5th) vs. Mary Jane Hiestand (81-85, seeded 60th), who I walked with on Saturday. I switched my time to go with one of "my girls" who had made the cut. 7 of my 12 made it, and 4 of them won their matches today. In two days of stroke play, only Virginia Grimes (73-73) was even par and Dawn Woodard (70-74) was the only one to shoot a round under par.

MJ chipped in on the last hole Sunday to make the field on the number, after taking a 10 on a par 4 without leaving the fairway. She hit 12 of 14 fairways Sunday, and the missed ones were both in the first cut.

Lara missed the first green and made bogey to go one down, but then birdied the 2nd to get back even. Bogeyed 4 to go one down again, and after the 7th was halved with birdies, MJ made bogey on 8 to square the match. Both shot even par 37 on the front 9.

After pars on 10, Lara made bogey on 11. On the 12th, MJ hit her drive into the desert left of the green. Lara was in the trap on the right, near the back right pin. MJ's lie was in the center of a small brittlebush. After considerable preparation, she managed to hit it out to the rough just left of the green, with only minor damage to her hand from the gentle foliage we have here in Arizona. Still away, she hit her 60-foot chip into the hole for a par.

Lara is a 115-lb mother of 5, ages 6-12. Her husband was her caddy (as was MJ's), and had a picture of the family on the bag tag. She doesn't play much golf, except to visit the driving range for a few days before USGA events and qualifiers. She made the match play in the 2006 Women's Amateur at Pumpkin Ridge, but lost in the first round to a 5'-10" Korean girl who hit the ball 50 yards farther. That's when she decided to start working with weights.

So she's in the trap, one down, looking likely to get even again, and her opponent makes a miracle shot for par. I can just see the top of her head from the green as she swings, and puts it 10 feet above the hole. Then she drains the putt for a halve. This lady is all heart.

Now MJ had been thinking "2 up with 6 to play", but it's anyone's match again. So, what does she do? Stripes it down the middle, hits her approach to 3 feet. Birdie on 13, 2 up. 14, same thing, down the middle, on the green about 10 feet, conceded birdie. 3 up.

The 15th was halved, and on 16, the signature hole, MJ played three perfect shots to about 8 feet and the conceded birdie putt ended the match. She was 2 under par when it ended.

MJ was obviously struggling on Saturday, and said she was playing scared the first two days. Today she played brilliantly, and Lara was very unfortunate as a high seed to play so well and get beat in the first round. But, what a match.


Women's Mid-Am 2007 - Day 2

Mr Science Continues:

I forgot my camera in the morning, so I have no picture of Shirley Trier, Ann Lahey, and Brooke Cooper.

Shirley is from Jacksonville Beach, FL and shot 81 yesterday. Started on 10, shot even par 36 on the back, then 45 on the front. She was 44th in stroke play, and won her first match today. She made two very short birdie putts in 4 holes, and I told her she was the "Queen of short birdie putts". She stuck out her tongue a la Mick Jagger in pleasure at that, and noted that there were worse things to be queen of. I can't say for sure, but I think under the back of her white golf shirt I detected a tattoo. I suspect she's a real wild woman, under her reserved and distinguished golfer demeanor.

Ann is from Kentfield, CA and shot a very steady 79. 8 pars on the front. She won today in 21 holes after being dormey-2 (2 up with 2 to play).

Brooke is an investment banker at Morgan Stanley in NY. (I'm sure, Dave, that she must be part of the conspiracy, although it is still not clear to me what the objective of the conspiracy is.) Brooke lives in Manhattan, and drives to Long Island to play golf. She's club champion (probably most of the field is club champion, but she's the only one I asked about that). In an effort to say something that can go into the blog without being edited too much, I will say that if Playboy were to do a feature on investment bankers, she'd be on the cover, even if she didn't want to take her clothes off.

The cart paths at Desert Forest are not paved, but very hard-packed Arizona dirt, which is naturally hard-packed even before you drive golf carts on it for 40 years. But, because they are not paved, the USGA considers them an integral part of the course, and no free drops are given. As always, there was a USGA Rules official with us, and every time a player's ball is on a cart path, the topic comes up. One time Brooke mentioned that she often read the "Decisions on the Rules of Golf" at night. Players are responsible to know the Decisions, just as they are responsible to know the Rules, because the Decisions are incorporated in the Rules. The Rules are daunting enough, at 162 pages in the pocket edition, but the Decisions are a virtual encyclopedia. I suppose it's more interesting than balance sheets, though.

Brooke shot 81 yesterday, complaining about her putting. 8 3-putts in two days. She qualified for match play, though, and lost today, 2 and 1.

In the afternoon, I had the celebrity group. Mary Ann Lapointe, from Canada, was the 2005 Mid-Am Champion. She's also been on the Women's World Amateur Canadian team in 1990, 92, 94, 96, 98, 2000, 2004 and 2006. (She didn't tell me this, it's on the USGA web site
http://www.uswmidam.org/ ) Mary Ann shot a very pretty 75, and won her match today.

Missy Farr-Kaye is Heather Farr's sister. She lives in Scottsdale, and is assistant Women's golf coach at ASU. She was runner-up in the 2001 Publinks. She also shot 75, and won her match today. She'll play Mary Ann in the quarterfinals, if they both make it.

Kim Keyer-Scott is from Cincinnati, and shot 82 yesterday, and lost her match today. The USGA says she was a grandmother when she played for Northern Kentucky University, and was Division II Freshman of the Year at age 34.

The 7th hole is a par 5 with a split fairway. All the women were cutting the corner, booming it over the desert to the right fairway.
Kim hooked her tee ball a little, and ended in the left rough very near the desert. She was unhappy, saying she had hit it in the same place the day before, and words to the effect of "I hate this hole!".

She's a long hitter, though, and the group in front was still on the green so we had a bit of a wait. Kim doesn't stay unhappy for long, and while standing at her ball looking at the green she remarked "what a pretty view this is". I handed her my camera and said "take a picture, I'll email it to you". We figure she'll make it into a dart board.

Our helpful USGA Rules official was nearby, and asked in jest "Is that an illegal range-finding device"? We discussed the USGA's general attitude toward the Rules, as everyone knows there is a debate in progress about what to allow in the way of such devices. Kim then hit her ball onto a cart path, and the official reminded her that she didn't get a free drop. Her caddy thanked the official, and I added "Yes, thanks again."

I don't make a habit of criticizing the swings of +1 handicappers. I'm sure anyone I saw at this tournament, even the ones shooting 88 or 91, could give me my 5 a side (or 6 on this course, and even more from the Men's tees) and walk away with all my money. However, in the case of Kim, I must make an exception. Her swing would make a teaching pro tear his hair out.

All together now, what was the first thing they told you when they handed you your first golf club? "Keep your left arm straight". At the top of the backswing, Kim's hands are touching the back of her neck. If her elbow were bent any more, she'd be choking herself. And yet, she is one of the best players in the country, proving again that the only fundamental in golf is that the clubhead must be square and traveling down the line at impact. How it gets there is irrelevant. Nothing else matters.

Back to the Rules, Tara Joy-Connelly of Duxbury, MA who shot 75-73 and was seeded 3rd, went to her hotel room and was looking at her scorecard on the web site when she realized that she had made a 4 on a hole where they had a 3 on the web. She had signed an incorrect card. She called the USGA and told them, and they DQ'ed her and thanked her for upholding the integrity of the game.

Tell me again why we need to test golfers for illegal drugs?


Women's Mid-Am 2007 - Day 1

Mr Science Reports:

Here's pictures of me with my first two groups today.

Monica is from Peoria, AZ and shot 91. Her friend Erica walked with me. Erica is from Seattle. They went to airline pilot school together, and fly for Southwest and Alaska Airlines.

MJ (Naples, Fla) shot 81, and Debbie (Rancho Mirage, CA) shot 79. That was the morning group. Debbie is tied for 24th, MJ is tied for 44th. The leader is -3 (70). The top 64 after two rounds make it to match play.

(That reminds me of the story of the two guys who were out hunting, and a bear started chasing them. They were running, and the bear was gaining fast. One says "Why are we running? We can't outrun a bear." And the other says "I don't have to outrun the bear, I only have to outrun you.")

On 16, after the group had recorded a 7 and some 6s on 14 and 15, Monica hit her 2nd shot into the desert, and played a provisional. That one hit the tree about 20 yards in front of her, and bounced back toward her. The next one hit the same tree, and bounced left into an unplayable lie in the desert. By that time, Debbie is way down the fairway and calls back "I see your ball", so Monica picks up her provisional. MJ says something about the group taking a lot of strokes, and I said "It could have been worse. If they didn't find Monica's first ball, she would have been hitting 7 from 284 yards out".

In the afternoon, Kathy (Dallas, TX) shot 83, Kristine (Hilton Head Island)
shot 88, and Kelly (Oro Valley, AZ) shot 95. She was smiling all day, though, it was her first USGA event and her husband was caddying for her. On the 18th tee, he says "Let's try something different. Let's hit it in the fairway!"

I saw a 9, an 8, several 7s and lots of 6s. Several discussions about the rules for lost balls and unplayable lies. Heard the word "provisional" many times. It is a tough golf course. No fairway bunkers, no OB, no water. 149 slope from the tips.
http://www.desertforestgolfclub.com/home.html Not a flat lie to be had on fairway, desert or green. The greens were lightning fast, hard, elevated and well-guarded by bunkers. Anything but a short iron that landed on a green was off the back, and very little opening to run it up through. They had a lot of trouble with the speed on chips and putts.

In 1990, they played the Senior Am there, and the medalist shot 75-75-150. In two days, there were two rounds out of 315 below 75: one 73, and one 74 (par is 72 for the men). There were 29 rounds in the 90s, and the cutoff for match play was +19. In the final match, the winner made the first birdie of the day on 16, and won the match 3 and 2.

Our walking scorer volunteer chairman says he will have Dave and me out for a round after they reopen from overseeding. If you don't hear from us, send a search party.

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