Monday, January 19, 2009
7544 Yds, Par 72, Slope 137, by Schmidt-Curley
They Say: "Spread out over 320 acres and enhanced with a significant earth move, the course is reminiscent of the great links courses with wild, rugged land forms covered in native grasses. Within the undulating mounds are pockets of sandy hollows creating a dunes-land appearance. The course invites you to hit your driver on almost every long hole. However, the course places the greatest demand and premium on the approach shot into a small, well designed greens complex."
This is a very tough course, tougher, we felt, than its Slope indicates . . . neither of us was in fighting trim, it seems . . . Mr Science had a 94 and I had 96 . . . 'course last week we had 95s at papago, but what with injuries, rustiness, and unfamiliarity with the courses, we can find an excuse somewhere . . .
The main problem we had was that we had no idea how far anything was . . . no yardage books and no barber-poles to help judge distances . . . just some sprinkler heads occasionally.
On a course with roly-poly greens, heavily bunkered fairways, and long-grass rough -- not to mention desert, it seems only fair to us that there should be some help, especially for the first-timer, on where to hit the ball . . . many holes look like there is no option other than laying back 250 from the green.
I include this picture of Mr Science just after his 2nd shot on #12 . . . I mean, he's in position A, but his ball has just come up short-right in that giant bunker in front of that elevated green, wind-blown . . . you can almost see exasperation in his body-language . . . 8^D . . . you can also almost see my ball in the bunker in front of him . . . I'd ripped a drive down the center with a little bit of draw, but it wound up in the bunker anyway, windblown and the slope-of-the-fairway . . . if we had only known -- as we kept saying all day -- that the bunker on the left side was easily carryable, we both would have had easier 2nd shots . . . I like to say fairway bunkers don't bother me, but my 2nd came up 1 foot short and buried into the face of that sumbitch. I hit my best shot all day out of that bunker, it went about 4 ft, just out of the bunker, then I finished what was my best hole of the day with a chip to tap-in distance for a bogey . . . I hit 5 great shots on a par 4 and made bogey.
I'm really upset with how poorly my photos came out, I had a smudge on my lens or something and linksy courses often don't photo that well anyway from ground level . . . but on the other hand they sorta do reflect how perplexing the course looked to us . . . this is #14, the only hole that Freddy Couples actually had a hand in . . . by this point, I didn't want to lay up, but I hooked my shot around that big bunker on the left, rather than at the green -- I had no idea what was over there. Likewise, Mr Science pulled his drive straight over that bunker. When we got up to our balls they were pin-high, 30 yds left of the green, on a giant hump covered in tall rough. I lobbed a high, high 1/3-wedge that landed on the back of the green and backed slowly towards the pin. "I meant to do that!" I claimed. Mr Science hit his L-wedge on a lower tragectory that landed pinhigh left of the pin, but kicked hard toward the pin, down to a couple of ft away. "I'll have to show you how to hit that sideways spin, sometime!" chortled Mr Science. I missed my 8ft, but he easily made his. "Good birdie," I told him . . . with a pitying look, he replied, "It's a par 3." A 257 yd par 3 . . .
"Did you par any of the long par3s at papago last week?" I asked him. . . "N-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o".
Well, this one's harder than any of those . . . Mr Science counted 14 bunkers.
If we had only known, I think you can always hit over the bunkers on one side, it's just that optically and psychologically, in a McKinsian way, the course is very deceptive and intimidating. Ordinarily, I'd be hot to go back and show I could do better, but without a yardage book, it'd take more'n one visit . . . plus it is a long way down there from Scottsdale . . . but it's Troon managed, and it's obviously a good course . . .
This is #18 . . . it might be the most wide-open hole on the course, but all those bunkers do give you pause. We both hit good drives, and had the same distance in . . . Mr Science put a 7iron onto the middle of the green, but I tried to shoehorn a 6iron into the back of the green . . . the first one frittered off weakly into the water on the right, but the second attempt landed stiff to the pin -- and then bounced off into the bunker behind the green . . . Mr Science calmly made his 2 putt par, while I hit a career sandshot to give me a tap-in-6 . . . that was the difference in our scores, those 2 shots . . . 8^D . . .
So I think we'll give it 2s, but it's a little grudging . . . It's a great course, but I'm not sure it really competes for Best In The Valley . . . It might be the best desert-links in the valley . . . I dunno, I just didn't play well enough to be sure of my judgement . . .
By the way nice photos.
Links to this post: