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Monday, February 11, 2008


London Bridge East Course Lake Havasu

6140 Yds, Par 72, Slope 117, by Lawrence Hughes.

So the plan was: See The London Bridge, stay at hotel with a view of the bridge AND jacuzzi tubs (to relax us after our rounds), play golf with the picturesque lake and bridge in the background, and have dinner with the bridge lit up at night in the background . . .

We stayed at the Agave, which was being refurbished while we were there, but our room was very nice, had a giant jacuzzi, and a lakeside view (see!) of the bridge -- it looks in very good shape . . . can't imagine why the foolish British parted with it and this maniac McCulloch from Arizona that pinched is some sort of genious -- I don't know what kind, tho'.

We ate at Shuegar's across the street from the hotel, which has the aforementioned views, but we were stuck back in some stuffy windowless corner . . . the food's ok, I guess, but the flight of Syraz we got struck Mrs Cactus down . . . I almost had to carry her back to the hotel -- thinking seriously about a lawsuit . . . 8^P . . .

And the only golf course in sight of the bridge seems to be some cheesy little 9holer at the London Bridge Resort -- forget it . . . but we were pleased for the most part with the London Bridge Courses several miles away, anyway. . .

Lawrence Hughes has done many semi-famous courses, and Mr Science & I enjoyed the one he designed that we played up in Prescott, the Antelope Hills North Course, but our Ladies did not, since, as old-school designs, the considerations for the distaff gender were not so generous as on modern courses, and so it was here . . . but the East course is short, so for women it only measures 5045 yds.

Mrs Cactus was breaking in her new Taylor Made Miscela clubs, and we'd have to judge that a success: she's still got some learning curve on the hybrids, but she was getting a great trajectory on her Driver Shots.

We were rusty, having not played for several weeks, due to bad weather and the FBR, but I still felt like I should break 80 -- din't even come close, wound up with 44+44=88 . . . we complained about the greens the whole day . . . they weren't bad, just much slower than we're used to in Scottsdale, like a Sun City Course.

I had only one birdie, tho' I had several chances . . . on 17, a 515 yd, down-hill, down-wind par 5. I totally busted a drive 315 yds -- I was all but standing on the 200 yd disc. For some reason, a singleton in a cart in the group in front of us didn't leave the green area after they finished, he just sat there, totalling up bets or something . . . I waited till I couldn't wait anymore and hit anyway, a 7wood . . . It never got more than a foot in the air, but it didn't bounce much either, and rolled past the rear of his cart . . . THEN he moved off. . . my ball wound up just past pin high just right of the green. . . I liked my eagle chances, but -- the thing with these greens is that when the slope & the grain go the same way, the ball really rolls . . . it rolled off the green into the fringe, 20 ft past the cup . . . MAN I was burning . . . but it was dead straight back up hill, and I rolled the comeback in. . . it didn't thrill me, I felt entitled after a day-long of putts coming up short or breaking 2 feet the last foot.

Studiously avoiding the dreaded PBFU, I put a real smooth swing on #18 (shown right) and hammered my drive again, with a tight draw that looks like I know something . . . 8^P. . . the difference tho', is that this hole is uphill to the green from the landing area and INTO a 2 club wind, so this one still went 259 . . . I was standing on the 200 yd disc again . . . 8^D. . . but instead of 7wood, I had to use my 3wood, and just found the front right corner of the green. 3putt from 50+ ft, dangit.

Hughes is a very intelligent designer, if not particularly flashy . . . he uses a few trees sparingly, but well, sand traps effectively, and the changes in elevation are meaningful . . . there's 4 very short par 4s, but I didn't birdie any of them, bogied one and took a 7 on the other, trying to drive the green.

As is common on these elderly courses, the 4s have grown almost as long as the 5s. The design is a little quirky: 1 3 on the front; 3 3s on the back, which makes the course sound, on paper, like an executive, but it never felt like less than a championship course, playing it . . .

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