Wednesday, July 14, 2010


The only news of the day was Tiger Woods' saying he was changing putters after more than a decade. That prompted one-liners in the press room about being more loyal to one's putter than one's wife. Shameful to stoop that low.,0,3048059.column

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

BB Ranch nee' Hidden Springs - Harper TX

6340 Yds, Par 72, SLope 125, by Clyde & Peggy Smith (orig.)

Well what kinda of experience can one expect out here in the Outback of Texas,  for $19? I think the place doubles as a limestone quarry . . . as you can see they have boulders to spare . . . .
What's odd is that there's another stonehenge in Kerrville, actually Ingram, in the same way this course is in Fredericksburg, actually Harper. . . .
I kinda rushed over to the 1st tee, to make sure I beat a couple of other groups onto the course, but I had to pause a minute over the first tee shot . . . 440 yds, uphill, into the wind, and looking kinda "shut-off" if you see what I mean . . .
I finally just went ahead and lambasted it . . . kinda hung out right on me . . . but in play, and I'm figgering a 3 shot hole this day, just cuz my last round I wasn't getting my distance . . . it was kinda behind a tree, and I figgered 200+ more yards (hmpf, that's weird, them using one of those stonehenge size stones to mark 200yds?)  so more uphill, against the wind, I hit 5wood, hooked it some, trying to smooth it. Then I realized, those big stones are 150yd markers . . . 8^0 . . . so, my drive was 290 in very adverse conditions, that was the good news, the bad news was I prob'ly hit it 50 yds PAST the green up into the woods . . . just gave myself sort of a desert drop, and got up-and-down for bogey. I have to be good to myself on vacation.
I started getting a queasy feeling on the 2nd tee, it looked this cut-off, too . . . I tried to smooth hook it around the 110 degree dogleg and got a double-cross straight ball -- and OMG, that wind, too -- right thru the dogleg . . . I looked a little bit in the fairway beyond the rocky trash outside the dogleg, but I gave it up with a shrug . . . another drop . . . but I was floundering now due to my disgruntledness . . . If I wasn't in a hurry, I woulda liked to go back to one and start over. . . 9 on this bent SOB and I am already fed up with live oaks and blind shots -- but the whole course will be like that.
I shoulda just kept my driver in my bag, used fairway woods, but I got away with it on #3 . . . over the faux dogleg on the left then an expert trouble shot with the magic 5iron upby the green, up-and-down for par . . . the greens were pretty flat, & bermuda, so right away I felt at home.

I'd be surprised if they haven't lost some golfers on #4 after that start. . . long holes, tight fairways with blind shots and trees crowding 'em . . . lotta guys would just throw themselves offn a cliff like this . . . big ole target with a PW, NBD. . . Par for me.
Now back to the frustration . . . I see a little sense in that giveaway par 3 #4 . . . 8^) . . . the rest of the holes on the front 9 are very short, usta be part of the original executive 9 . . . it's no job to get over those live oaks, but still a question about how much to bite off.
so I hadda hit another trouble shot out of the trees, downhill to this sheltered green . . .lotta algebra going on to save bogey.
I like this little hole, #6, but I'd move the green further back up onto that hill a little bit to elevate it . . . then it would really be dynamite . . . look a lot like #17 at the 500 club in SCX . . . same sorta deal . . . 3wood then a wedge up there.
Course since I had smooth-hooked it short of the trees on the left I hadda pitch out first, then blocked the 9iron right, so I took a 6.
I was a little more comfortable with the tight layout now . . . I mean, I grew up with live oaks so they ought not bother me, but there's some part of the calculation that just says tree, not how big it is . . . if you see what I mean, unless you discount it manually . . .but this hole is so tight the camera couldn't focus on the green, just on the dang trees . . . made it blurry.
So, I just smoothed a 7iron without hooking the holy bejabbers out of it, and stared it down . . . I tho't it would bounce hard, but it stuck hard . . . 8^) . . .
So I was pumped up, rarin' to go, but I couldn't find the #8 tee . . . drove past it twice before I figgered the routing out . . . flummoxed me so I forgot to get a shot up there, on top of that stone-buttressed butte.
another kinda quirky hole, to be kind, with this tree right in front of the green. I tho't I might float a high cut 3wood in on the green, but my line drivish shot caught the tree . . .easy enough to chip a 7iron out past the hole and 2putt back.
So #9 goes back up that same hill #8 comes down . . .the green is dogleg left behind those trees. . . I just tried to cut the corner with a smooth 3wood, but it double-crossed me again -- I don't really know what I'm doing, the empirical evidence shows -- out right of that little tree beyond the opening.
So Lob it up there with some bite. I forgot the bite. 3putted from there. Seem to remember it was really steep back to front, much steeper than most of the greens here.
I gotta say. . .take it FWIW . . . IMVHO, an' all that, but any layout that starts out a 9 with a par 3 is inferior
I was kinda lickin' my chops after the last par3, even tho' this un is much longer, but I pushed it a little over that tree right of the green, but it hit a hump there and bounced straight at the pin . . .
This was makeable, but I didn't.

I tried to cut this corner and let the wind bring it back, but wound up in trouble on the left.
Had no shot, just had to chop it out. In my irritation I didn't even see these two trees till I'd thinned a 7iron over the green. Double Bogey.

I'm still thinking I could reach one of these par 5s in two, so I cut the corner here as much as I dared and didn't smooth it, figgering a little fade don't hurt. Left into the woods again. As strong as I felt starting out I suspect the lay-off is telling on me again, affecting my so-called technique. Well, it wasn't actually the woods, but the fairway is so tight on this par 5 it might as well have been . . . took the 3wood out of my hands. . . just popped up a 5iron to make sure I got over the trees, blocked a 9iron into the woods hard-right upon the green. Had a makeable putt, but missed.
On #13, I'd caught up with a group of regulars, and they let me play thru . . . I hate to play thru, but I was rushing my round, and I'd rather rush than wait, if you know what I mean, but that meant I didn't get photos. I mean, I'd take 'em, but I forgot. That same fence runs down the left side sorta angling into the fairway and I misjudged how close it got to the fairway, my distance, and my not-so-hard-fade. . . I just skipped it, with a wave back at the boys. Phooey.

#14 has an appalling appearance. . . I mean: what are you supposed to do? I finally decided that going between the trees with anything more than a 4iron would be in the water and anything less than a driver would take the green-in-two out, so I just gritted my teeth and hit the 1wood over the trees on the left, and hoped it'd stay out of the water.
well, the lie was just turrible, turrible, and still blocked out, so I kinda pooched a 5iron out to the bottom of the hill where the green is then tried to wedge close . . . went over, and took 3 to get down.
I couldn't challenge this corner, even tho' it's obvious that staying right makes the hole way longer, I just had too much bad luck trying, and that is OB there.
So my 3wood wasn't gonna reach the green, I knew that, but I never figgered for trouble like this. Maybe I'll link this to my review of the book Bad Lies, and vice versa . . . 8^) . . .
I chipped it with a 7iron one handed, my left hand holding the tree like a lady . . . I hadn't practiced that . . . it came out ok, but long, and it took 3 more to get down. Bogey, to make 5 6s in a row. Ouch.

My teeshot on #16 came off the toe a little bit, but solid, and rode the wind right thru the dogleg. It actually wound up on #17 it was so far . . .near the bottom of the slope between that telephone pole and those trees. . . the fairway is on the other side of those trees . . . 8^D . . . I tailored a low slice under the trees but came up a little short right. bogey. woohoo!
It is the most glaring oddity of this course that the par 3 #17 is longer (230y)than the par 4 #18 (221y). I was wary of hitting driver, even against the wind, so natcherly my first 3wood came up short . . . I kinda smothered it trying to smooth it. Letting loose on the next un pulled it left with a fade that got over the water, but still short . . . shudda hit a half-driver, I guess. Tho't I was thru with 6s, too, but this was another.
#18 is totally closed off. I guess you could reach it if you hit a high one over the trees to the blind green, and I tried to, I mean, WTF, anymore . . . as you can see, I was pin high, but right, behind some trees and a bunker. I hit a brazen little 7iron pitch under the trees, around the trap, and onto the green, 15ft away. Can't complain. Missed the birdie.

SO: fun course, and no pushover despite the short yardage, due to the very narrow, rolling fairways and blind shots . . . some of that would mitigated with familiarity, but the layout is made for old duffers, patient and accurate, rather than the grip-and-rip-it school . . . and once you know how to club those short blind shots, I think the challenge might come out of it. I only count 4 missed birdies out of 5 chances, which irks when I was hitting the ball so solid most of the day, but othello balls (hit well but not wisely). I'd still give a 3 on the SCX Standard.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Coyote Del Malpais - Grants NM

MalPais means BadLands in Espanol. As I have driven down I-40 thru the years, from PHX to ABQ, there in Grants, past the stateline, right there by the freeway is miles and miles of volcanic tuff, nasty looking stuff, and a sign for Coyote Del Malpais . . . so I'm thinking that this golf course must be sort of like a NM version of a Hawaii course with tuff ruff . . . but ever time I made time to play the course it rained (if you can believe it) or there was a wind warning (once), but this time I was DEE-terminated to play in a Teddy Roosevelt way, if you see what I mean.

The directions from the HI Express include passing a women's prison and a large greenhouse operation . . . it was much further from the freeway than I tho't, but that was all to the good, the closer to snug up to the mountains.

Oddly enough, I was able to walk right on and tee off . . . 8^D . . .

This is the back 9, from the clubhouse verandah. Hmmm. Not really into the mountains, and I don't see any tuff . . . the pro in the shop said something about water .  . .

Ohhhhh. So you can see what we're dealing with . . . wide-open spaces . . . I figgered to lean on my driver and fairway woods and overpower the course in the thin NM air . . . that didn't exactly work out . . . that's the large commercial greenhouse at the end of the 1st fairway . . . $5000 fine for hitting in there . . . no danger of doing it accidentally, even after I smoothed a wedge 40 yds over the green.

This is the second tee . . . the course is not truly as flat and uninspiring as it looks here, but it IS true that the perspective is a little elongated from the extended horizon . . . I calmed down a little after my double bogey on #1 and smooth-smothered a drive to the left . . . I thot from the thin air I would still get my distance, but not for the first time nor the last this day, I was surprised . .. I looked for my ball up in those mounds indistinct on the left, but I found it 10 yards short, in the fairway, after several minutes. My 7 or 8 iron came up short-left . . .

I seem to remember a sand trap there . . . my ball wasn't in it, but I had at least 1 foot in it . . . but chipped in for a birdie . . . saw it all the way . . . so natcherly I figgered today was my day, and 2 or 3 birdies would be in order, but I was mistaken . . .  I wasn't ever actually bored with the course, and a couple of holes kicked my can, but I wasn't getting the flight I felt I ought -- my timing must've still been off from inactivity

like on the par 5 # 6 . . . I thot and I think that EVERY par 5 is reachable in 2 in NM . . . from the tee that tree looks like a shrub, from the fairway it looks much more intrusive. . . bothered me . . . just as well to go around it, with that water there . . . missed the green in 3, up and down for par.

On the Par 3 #7, I was on the green, but couldn't get the tee, my ball, and the pin in the same shot . . . 8^/ . . .

The par 4 #8 you could say, that is, I say, is the first really interesting hole . . . I was off in deep rough on the right from the tee, kinda lobbed a half-7 past the green, up and down for par. . . had to play thru another single on this hole which always throws off my timing . . .

The par 4 #10 has a rather intimidating outlook to it from the tee, water and mounds making it look like there's no where to go -- I think once you've seen it from the green, looking back, tho' you'd realize it was all show and no real danger . . . missed the birdie.

11 is also troubling . . . the water makes you want to swing way right, just to be sure. . . which then makes the 2nd shot even tougher . . . bogey for me . . .

#12 heads straight up hill . . . I had a trailing wind and sorta popped up off the tee, but I tho't it would be near 300 yds . . .nope, not close . . . another case where I spent 5 minutes looking for my ball in the wrong place 100 yds too far down the fairway. . . hit a 5iron . . . missed the birdie . . .

So here, my camera battery died . . . I have to say . . . since the pro had warned me #17 was the showstopper, I was so upset it affected my game . . . I wasn't carrying extra batteries, even after the same thing had happened at Palmbrook . . . but here's the scan of the course map . . .

The par 5 #14 was my personal fave . . . it's only the #4 handicap hole, but the tee shot over the arroyo requires a lot calculus . . . elevated over the fairway, but of an uncertain distance . . . I was long past reckoning on 300 yd drives this day, but I could see I didn't want to go thru the fairway, nor come up short . . . in my perplexity I came out of my shot a little bit, and fanned the drive . . . it was barely enough to make it over the arroyo, 40yds right of where I aimed . . . I hit a 3wood uphill, up the leftside away from the arroyo, but it still rolled down to the right rough, just a half wedge away. That was my last missed birdie for the day.

The par 4 #17 is a gruesome hole. . . I hit 3 balls in the water . . . 2 off the tee before I could make myself hit it far enough right to get over (that distance conundrum again) then another in woods/water on the right with a 3wood trying to keep it a 3shot hole -- 474 yds.

So on the par5 #18, the only thing I cared about was getting to the green in two, so I hooked my 3wood 2nd shot into the lake . . . the 4th shot 3wood flared right of the green. I indifferently lobbed up to kickin distance for a bogey.

Would be a good course for a scramble . . . wide-open, but trouble can be found . . . a little elevation dynamic, but no eye-popping uniquity, if you see how I mean . . . there's usually some wind to keep the course interesting.  . .  greens were in great shape, but not particularly challenging, easy to read  - - hey! that's not a bad thing!

A 3, tho, on the scottsdale standard . . .

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hazard of the South

from one of our Connecticut Correspondants:

The ultimate hazzard!

When golfing in the southern states, please take extra golf balls with you in your bag.  Hit your golf ball in the water in the southern states is truly a hazard!     

What is a Golf Ball Worth on a Thursday Nite at Oak Crest...

......ball was in the pond on Hole 16 at Oak Crest Golf Club was a brand new Titlelist with the Verso logo on it and he didn't want to loose it OR take the two stroke penalty as he was already behind in $$$points...!!!