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Saturday, January 01, 2011


Superstition Mountain - Prospector course

Mr Science reports on a Member for a Day promotion . . .
Lucky Dog . . . .
I birdied #2, and parred 9 and 18.  In between, occasional streaks of doubles and triples that I attribute to lack of playing. 

I thought I knew this course pretty well, having walked it with the pros about a dozen times, but I saw places yesterday that I had never seen before.

It never hit me so much when I was just scoring, but pretty much every green is elevated, and has HUGE bunkers in the front. 
(Like Jones courses or the Tonto Verde Course or Tatum Ranch).  Which makes every $%^# approach shot uphill, and all carry.  And we played from the blue tees, 6700 yards, significantly beyond my comfort zone.  I was hitting a lot of 3-woods and 7-woods to the par 4's, and ending up in places where up-and-down was no more than a fantasy. (He MUST be rusty . . . he hits 3 & 7 woods like I hit a 9iron, when he’s in practice). The fairways are generally pretty wide, though, despite the visual intimidation from the tees.  I think Gary Nicklaus must be related to Gary Panks. (The Estrella Mountain course was a Jackie Nicklaus course, I think, but similarly difficile, if you see what I mean … I ‘d tho’t of the greens as Heckenkeperian rather than Panksian, but after a certain degree of difficulty, it can be hard to say, exactly).

And that "drivable par 4", the 14th?  It's 325 yards, but it's almost a 200 yard forced carry to the fairway!!!  This is not an easy hole.  I had to save 7 there by 3-putting from 12 feet. 

They're having a sale on memberships:  $15,000 initiation fee, and $635 a month dues.  Probably a sale on the houses in the neighborhood, too.  I'm sure some of them that could have gone for $1M a few years ago could be had today for half that.  They weren't empty, though.  I played with 3 Canadians who spend their winters in a trailer park in Mesa, and they said a lot of the houses along the fairways at Gold Canyon looked abandoned. 

The place oozes class, though.  The clubhouse, the staff, the course conditions, are all outstanding.  F A S T greens.  No GPS, but the scorecard is marked with the day's pin positions (+9, -3 ...).  Clearly a 1 on our scale.
(Yeah, based only on my 5 or 6 tours of the course as a scorer, I’d say so . . . after watching Juli Inkster play her ass off a couple of times and wind up even par, I’d have to say this is NOT a very forgiving course).
And they have solved the age-old question about the rake. 

Getting this graphic to show up on the blog could be problematic . . . but I’ll do what I can . . . .
This online album has 33 photos and will be available on SkyDrive until 03/29/2011.

Par 72

Length 7,225 yards

Greens Champion Bermuda Grass

Rating 73.4

Slope 135


The Art of Scoring by Stan Utley

"Yeh," I said (wrote (emailed)) to Mr Science, "I got this book to review by Stan Utley . . . ".

"WOW!" he interrupted, as only Mr Science can over an email conversation that bridges two continents and 9 time-zones. "He's Great! He's Famous! He's why I count strokes!"

Oh, my sweet lord, I shudda figgered. There ain't enough room on a scorecard for the two of us, for all his hen-scratching . . . so I'll send this book to Mr Science now, where he will treasure it till it is dog-eared with reading and re-reading, whereas for me, as a lost cause, as only such a stubborn know-it-all duffer as myself can be, I would read it and stick it on a book shelf.

I mean, no-doubt, Utley knows whereof he speaks, and he can help those willing to be helped, like Mr Science, who really needs help like Arizona needs day-light-savings time, which is to say, not at all, they have plenty of daylight, even in winter, if you see how I mean . . . but the blizzard of technoalia, like as if, the words would pour over you on the practice range with Mr Utley don't do anything for me . . .that is. I play by feel, that is, I play by how I feel on any given day, and all the tears in the world cannot erase a stroke of it . . .

20 minutes of this and I'll be a basket case -- I'll be weaving baskets instead of playing golf, d'y'see? But Mr Science eats it up, lives on it, swears by it . . . no matter how contradictory, vague, or self-evident, he wants to know and to memorize and to apply it, and in turn, tell everybody else struggling on the golf course ... 8^D ... myself, I go to the other end of the green, stick my fingers in my ears, and sing la-la-la-la loud enough to drown him out till somebody hits into us on the green, trying to hurry us up.

the one thing about Mr Science that bugged me, aside from the way he always hits inside my ball from further out on the fairway . . . 8^0 . . .was how long he would take to putt . . . I mean: nevermind all the breaches of golf etiquette that plague us in these yellow days of debauchery and gauchery, the dude, and I suspect it was not Utley but some predecessor, that sold the world on extended pre-shot routines did us all the Ultimate non-favor, at least those of us interested in 3 hour rounds instead of 5. Mr Science is one of those, the thing is, tho', he makes so many of those putts he studies over you can't say anything, cuz, He Made It. You can't argue with success. So I settle for drinking and club-throwing. . . 8^P . . .

But then he says things like this that I can totally get behind...

How one is to perform all that pre-putt routine without trying too is a mystery to me, but I'm sure Mr Science Groks it . . . heck the whole world prob'ly groks it, except me. .. 8^/ ...

So if you're of a scientific bent to your green-side manner, then this is the book for you. Its not for me, a by-feel-duffer, but that says more about me than the book, if you see what I mean, but strictly book-wise, one has to comment on the graphics in the book, which must be among the poorest-quality ever foisted upon the gullible golfing public . . . if a good picture is worth a 1000 words then these would fall into the lesser ratio of say 200 or 300 words, if you see what I mean. As I say, Utley effuses words like a fire-hydrant, so maybe the equation is supposed equal out thataway.

I mean, these pictures have suffered thru my scan & post process, but I put a little work into making them as close to the appearance in the book as possible -- I don't think Utley did himself, his message, or the reader any favor with them.

At the end of the book is an excellent summary of his points . . . you really have to have understood the previous chapters, I reckon, to benefit from this summary, but he recommends it as a practice agenda, too, which ought to be the key to getting any improvement from the practice area to the golf course.

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