Posts Tagged ‘Scottsdale’

I Won Something!

Capture

A couple months ago I saw an ad for the Golf Channel Amateur Tour. I did some research and thought it would be something fun to try. Beating my regular playing partners gets old, you know? The price isn’t too bad considering all the work that goes into these events, and I will definitely sign up for more in the future. I’ve had fun in all three events so far.

I started with a T6 at the Corta Bella Invitational, where I lost to, among others, former Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz. That was interesting, but he’s a cool guy and it’ll be fun to get another round in with him. The I finished third at the Trilogy Power Ranch tournament, despite playing in a wrist brace. It wasn’t even my wrist’s fault. One four-putt and one bad chip were all that kept me out of first. Golf gets a lot tougher, but so much more rewarding, in a tournament setting where every shot must be holed out (so long, gimmies) and the rules followed to the letter. Out of bounds gets a lot scarier knowing you could be hitting 3, or even 5, off the tee.

grayhawk raptor hole 1

The first tee at the Raptor Course

Then last week, May 31, was the Grayhawk Open, on the Raptor Course. I had never played either course there. Luckily, the tour secured discount rates for the week to anyone who wanted a practice round beforehand. I took them up on the offer and headed up the day before at 3pm. It was a disaster. The temperature when I teed off was 107 degrees. This was the first extreme heat of the year, and that mild May that Arizona was blessed with did not have me ready for triple digits. I couldn’t keep a ball in play, hooking, slicing and topping drives. I don’t think I’ve topped a drive in like 5 years. I started the day with 10 golf balls in the bag and was flying around the empty course until the 8th hole. I skipped some foursomes until I found another opening, but kept losing balls and ran out after the par-3 16th. Continue reading

TPC Scottsdale

TPC Scottsdale (Stadium) in Scottsdale, AZ

TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course

Steve, me and Mike

The Stats

Tee Time: June 23, 2013, 8:34, 102 F, Breezy

Designer: Tom Weiskopf/Jay Morrish (1986)

Playing Partners: Steve Walker, Mike

Tees: Blue, Par 71 (71.1 rating/129 slope/6,525 yards)

Course Handicap: 12 (10.9 index)

Stats: 95 (42-53); 32 putts; 7/14 fairways; 3/18 greens; 4 penalty strokes

The Course

The 16th during the Waste Management Open (see below for the look during every other weekend). Courtesy of theaposition.com/

The 16th during the Waste Management Open (see below for the look during every other weekend). Courtesy of theaposition.com.

The Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona is famous namely for one hole. You may have seen it before. It’s like the rodent on Groundhog Day. It comes out every February to a huge celebration, signaling the coming of spring. Only instead of hundreds of townspeople decked out in mittens and windbreakers gathering around a stage at Gobbler’s Knob to watch for Punxsutawney Phil to see his shadow, there are 20,000 sunbathing partygoers donning Rickie Fowler outfits and sun dresses, cheering for Phil Mickelson and booing Boo Weekley. It’s the 16th at the Stadium Course, and for four days each year during the Waste Management Open, this 162-yard chip shot is the most exciting shot in golf. A temporary arena with 172 skyboxes is erected for the crowd to pack in and boo every missed green, cheer for colors during the caddy races and down pints of beer during downtime. There is no other hole like it in all of golf. By mid-June things change dramatically. Patches of brown matted grass mark where the supports for the grandstands once stood and the stoic McDowell Mountains replace the shouting frat boys as the backdrop of the green. Stepping up to the tee and seeing no resemblance to this glamorous rockstar hole is striking, like seeing a porn star without makeup.

TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course hole 16

This is what the loudest hole in golf looks like without her makeup on

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Scottsdale Silverado Golf Club

Silverado Golf Club in Scottsdale, AZ

graig mantle pat spomer

Pat and I

The Stats

Tee Time: March 23, 2013, 12:04, 75 F, Breezy

Designer: Ross Graves/Jack Gilmore (2000)

Playing Partners: Pat Spomer, Ray and Dwight

Tees: Gold (68.0 rating/116 slope/6,313 yards)

Course Handicap: 13 (12.9 index)

Stats: 82 (43-39); 29 putts; 3/12 fairways; 5/18 greens; 2 penalty strokes; 1 eagle

The Course

Scottsdale Silverado Golf Club has the benefit of being the nicest golf course in the immediate vicinity of Old Town. That being said, it isn’t on par with the other tracks that make Scottsdale a prime golf destination. There is enough here to make it memorable, however. An excellent back nine saves the place from mediocrity and challenging greens make even the most straightforward holes just a bit tougher. Unfortunately, this course skews more toward the executive style of play rather than the fantastic resort style of Talking Stick, its closest neighbor.

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Kierland Golf Club

Kierland Golf Club in Scottsdale, AZ

I took a picture of us, but I don't know where it went because it was that Troon Photo stand on the 9th tee, so here's Steve's donkey

I took a picture of us, but I don’t know where it went because it was that Troon Photo stand on the 9th tee, so here’s Steve’s donkey

The Stats

Tee Time: December 9, 2012, 9:55, 68 F, Light Wind

Designer: Scott Miller (1996)

Playing Partners: Steve Walker, Rick and Ingrid (Calgary couple)

Tees: Ironwood/Acacia Gold (69.3 rating/122 slope/6,337 yards)

Course Handicap: 14 (12.7 index)

Stats: 90 (48-42)

The Course

Well I originally had no plans to write a review of Kierland Golf Club at the Westin in Scottsdale. Nothing against them, I’ve just logged a lot of rounds and written many words already in 2012. I figured I’d go enjoy a nice round of golf at a course I’d heard good things about and relax after a month of moving, sickness and puppy chaos. I didn’t even bother bringing a camera (these are cell phone shots, I apologize for the poor quality). Around the fifth hole of the round, beginning on the Acacia nine, it hit me that this golf course stands up there as one of the prettiest in the state. A resort course that winds through homes and office buildings near Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, the scenery is nothing stunning like that of Troon or Eagle Mountain, but from inside the ropes it rivals any I’ve played lately. It’s a team effort, too. This eye candy is partially thanks to the smooth layout, partially the large resort building that dominates landscape and partially the always-excellent Troon greenskeeping. This is the 10th Troon managed golf course I’ve played and I have yet to find even one blade of grass out of place. Even overseeding can’t put a damper on things. Whether it’s 110-degrees of Arizona summer or a frigid Utah morning in Heber, the one constant I’ve noticed throughout all this traveling is that Troon always offers pristine conditions and friendly staff. If you can’t have fun playing golf at their facilities, then maybe golf isn’t for you.

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