Wednesday, September 30, 2009

CC of Scranton: putting, putting and more putting

The Penna GA just had the Art Wall Major for 45 + year old players and I had looked forward all season to this event. I have no excuses for a laughable putting session just not being able to find a way to hit short putts on-line in the wind (I never practice and certainly not at Lehigh with our bad greens) on fast greens so I usually accommodate pretty well or well, occasionally not putt so very well. My back went south for the last 27 and I was over 18 putts per each of the last 3 nines.

Well, ball striking with a crap back? Decent. Probably 9 fairways and 9 or 10 greens daily. Putting? The lags were all OK but one, However ..... I don't think I made a 3-5 footer in 36 holes. Total putts were 75ish. (!) Four-putted the par 5 18th for bogey (last three from 5 feet) after hitting in two.


Only one in the entire field to birdie 298 yard #8 both days and nearly a 2 today. Lots of "others" believe it or not.

Tip of the cap to Greg Boring for great conditioning and a Boring setup each day. (smiley wink).

The evidence (be sure to check out #8.)That 48 was my first 9 today with 22 puttzzzz

A couple of looks

First hole

Third Hole

Old Dead Guy moves dirt ...

I was playing, it was raining and didn't have time for more or better, sorry!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

St. Andrews Bay and The Castle Course

This surely must be the finest eating and drinking establishment at a public access golf course in the world (apologies to Mike Vegis at Kiawah), The Ocean Course does NOT have this:

The Torrance Course at St. Andrews Bay, I must admit that my expectations were low going in, but I was rather wrong. A National Tourist's Office Day, the allowance of choice of tees and a set-up for a Mercedes-Benz Scottish Dealers Tournament outing that day, I left the camera in the car for some concentration on scenery and playing as if in a tournament. You know, general enjoyment. Surprise!

Including two holes from the original Devlin Course (now holes 3 & 4) providing the only possible consideration for a glitch in routing, this is one wonderful raised beach golf course with perhaps the firmest fastest conditions encountered on this trip at the end of one of Scotland's soggiest ever summers. Par 3's, par 4's and par 5's were all varied, interesting and challenging. Thus possessing excellent strategies and variety, clever greens, very natural shaping, spectacular views and perfectly acceptable pace of play I fully intend to stay at The Fairmont Hotel and play both courses another time. Hole after hole after hole provided delight and superb conditions for ground or air play as well as breathtaking scenery as seen above from the deck of the clubhouse (which I had eaten and drunk in before but not partaken of the golf. Always seeking out the modern as well as the ancient, am I glad we did. Give up a round at the Old course for it? No, but we are not talking miles of difference from Kingsbarns. We are NOT talking miles of difference from Kingsbarns, agreed by the FBD who has caddied the Kingsbarns for months, BTW.

Also, a very quick note:
This is as close as an open lens of one of my cameras was allowed near the shaping on the Castle Course. You are safe from the shaping at this distance, but I am not so certain up close.
At these prices, what were they thinking? I am not going to completely dismiss it as the scenery is beautiful and there are moments (not the double green, however); I cannot even pretend to endorse such things, especially under the auspices of the Links trust.

Forget price. What were they thinking?

And ... Kidd can do much better.

Green Vol. XXXIV (give or take)

Long a believer of doing good things for planet Earth and its citizens because it is the right thing to do, not because we are somehow influencing climate permanently, temporarily or even at all, I recycled in Scotland, noted the relative absence of plastic bags with great glee and had a very green car. One must wonder why we are farting around with hybrids at all on our streets until we actually get electric cars.

EuroCar provided me with a 1200 mile new 2009 Mercedes-Benz B-Classe with a 1.8 litre Diesel. Little more than a full tank bought from the rental company for less than 50 quid plus 10 more (appx. $95) allowed me nearly 800 miles and a wasted quarter tank of refill that I needn't have put in the tank. This because my mixed mileage was 45.5 m.p.g. Never known for pussyfooting in a car, I probably got close to 55 pure M-road driving and following the FBD home after GlenEagles on the mostly B-roads refining our cornering skills was probably my stint at the most extravagant mileage number.

Power rating: more than sufficient.
Driving fun: Better than average.
Driver Legroom/Headroom: As good as it gets
Comfort: Superior.
Room: Like a small delivery van
Radio: Awesome, the BBC traffic reports on Radio Scotland come on even if you have the radio set on mute!
Mileage: High enough to wipe smiles from holier-than-thou Priapism drivers.
Negatives: Chintzy little windshield wipers, not befitting M-B

This car was somewhere between a BMW X3 and a small people carrier. 5 bodies plus modest luggage, two people and a ton of luggage and three passengers, three golf bags and plenty of room for groceries and a small easy chair are merely three possible configurations of many. This with at least as much legroom for 1.97m tall me as the driver as my 5 year old M-B E-Classe has at home in the states. No SATNAV (I know my way around sunny Ecosse reasonably well), but everything else, cloth seats for about $30k equivalent. Mercedes is missing a ton of sales in the USA.

Here's a few photos of this wonderful Eco-Car.

Planet Golf USA - short first review

My copy taking a break before going upstairs ...

Darius Oliver's Planet Golf USA has finally arrived. My pre-release copy arrived just yesterday and I've been through about half of it. In it young Mr. Oliver shows his considerable writing skill and architectural divining. Astute observations include seeing through the boost that perennial USGA and PGA of America favorites such as Olympic Lake and Medinah #3 receive for such notoriety whilst recognizing the minor changes needed at Oakland Hills to restore its true greatness abound.

colorful descriptions such as (Regarding Flynn's Lehigh Country Club)

... both the 12th and 13th head along the flat ground beside the creek, while the preceding hole is a riotous par five that slings right to left and then crashes dramatically into the valley. ...

... highlight delightful prose to accompany a plethora of photographer's work rather than a single photographer as with David Scaletti in the World Version of Planet Golf. Mr. Oliver has a rare talent to encapsulate the feel of a golf course as well as any golf writer.

Unable to avoid the American obsession of good, better, best and especially top 100 he includes America's best par 3's in several categories including sets, individual holes, hardest, most dramatic as well as par 4's above and below 360 yards on the card. Top 5's are listed as well, all his favorites accounting for some interesting inclusions. He tops it off with his top 100 in the world from both books. (also note below)

In the end, he covers virtually every great US course that you have heard of and offers his unabashed opinion. I do have to say that with a forward by Ben Crenshaw and inclusion of no less than five C & C courses in his personal top 100 (four in the top 50!) I have to give pause about adding unbiased.

As I have before with thet World edition I do recommend purchasing this book immediately. Whether you are obsessed with playing the top 100 or just want a guide to help you understand what good architecture is about, this book is a must have.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Coming Soon

Been on Holiday and you know what that means. The New Turnberry Hotel, driving the Mercedes 1.8L diesel B-Classe over 750 miles, a tour of more than 10 never-before visited Scottish golf Courses of all ages and eating perhaps too many meat pies across Scotland. Crossing the Brig O'Doon, visiting Robert Burns at the cemetery, playing in a two-ball 90% of the time and getting a passing grade from FBD on my driving test were also noteworthy.

New additions to the cabinet include Glenmorangie Signet, 1995 Knockandu, a small Edradour and the prize, a 1985 (Wedding Anniversary year) Glenrothes.

Amazingly I bought no clothing, only a few balls and trinkets from my course visits so as to make this a proper Recession-affected Holiday. It would be faster if someone were paying me, but bear with me please.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

My Pub

Anyone else have one?

Thanks to Gordon, the London Golfer for the shot!