Monday, December 29, 2008

Seemore Putter

Just a short post here!!! The new Seemore putter has been in my bag now for about 3 weeks and my percentage of made putts from 6-10 feet has improved dramatically. I would guess it has reduced my scores by 2-4 strokes per round. I am sure I do better with lag putts too, and inside 3 feet was rarely a problem for me, but 6-10 footers were a real challenge and I love this improved success.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Seemore Putter SB1 Mallet

Seemore Putter SB1 Mallet

Several years ago, I was given a SeeMore putter which I used for years and then stopped using, because I needed a putter with a heavier putter head. SeeMore has been sold, some new models of putters have been released, and I have been trying the SB1 this week and it is going in my bag, probably for a long time.

In 2007 the SeeMore Putter Company was re-launched as it introduced a new line of milled putters with the main goal being to use its patented RifleScope Technology (RST) system to improve putter alignment.
The basic concept is a large red dot on the putter head that is aligned with the shaft. As you set up, hide the red dot from your view behind the shaft, and your alignment will always be the same. It reduces open and shut faces, decreasing pushes and pulls, but it also means that the loft will not change on you (open faces add loft and shut faces cause delofting).

The SB-1 was introduced in Sept 2008 and, according to, this mallet design has a black satin finish and a face that is 100% milled aerospace aluminum. I tested the 35-inch shaft (the lower 12 inches of the shaft is painted black to aid in hiding that red dot). The swing weight is a huge improvement and the centerline truly helps in alignment. The milled face is not black on top, so, visually there is a straight line that is 90 degrees to the centerline, which creates alignment to a “T”, which is outstanding.
I think they have delivered a wonderful putter here and I highly recommend it.

It comes with a teaching device called a triangulator, which can be used as part of your practice routine to correct alignment. I practiced with it and learned that what I thought I was aiming at was not exactly accurate. Further use of this is going to help me align better, I’m sure.

SeeMore putters have had some big wins under their belt including Payne Stewarts 1999 U.S. Open win and Zack Johnson’s 2007 Masters victory.

There are several other designs in addition to this SB1 mallet, but I like this one a lot. They are avail in many proshops or online at The SB1 retails for $225.00

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Golf in the Blugrass state of Kentucky

Wed Oct. 15, 2008

TRIP TO KY Pine Mountain State Park Wasioto Winds
Wasioto Winds is located at Pine Mountain State Resort Park approx 120 miles south and east of Lexington KY… this course is less than 5 years old and was designed by Michael Hurdzan. It is a teriffic golf course, and Dr. Hurdzan has designed several courses I have played and even has a couple on the Top 100 (one on the current list is Calusa Pines in Florida).
This course was the vision John Brock, the state park general manager and he hired Dr Hurdzan to design this magnificient layout. Dr. Hurdzan is one of the leaders in environmental design and getting Audobon ratings for courses.
I played today with Frank Stivers, an attorney from London KY (not to be confused with London England) a teriffic golfers himself, (low single digit handicap) and Donnie Caldwell, the asst pro, joined us on the back 9.
Wasioto Winds, a Shawnee name meaning Valley of the Deer, was rated 4th amoug Best New Affordable Public in Jan 2003 by Golf Digest. And with good reason. It is basically a flat golf course in a mountain setting. But don’t let its flatness lull you into thinking its easy, it is, in fact, quite challenging but I will say this: a high flying shot, against the background of these majestic mountains full of fall color is a breathtaking sight to behold, and there are lots of shots like this here at Wasiota Winds.
Water comes into play on 15 of the 18 holes which brings the challenge into this otherwise pleasant experience. I had a half dozen pars with 4 great up and downs out of the sand. Unfortunately I also sent a few balls to a watery grave and one high onto a rock wall which brought my score to 89. Frank on the other hand shot a smooth 78 and Donnie shot 38 on the 9 that he played.
Wasioto Winds features 5 par threes and 5 par fives. This is an uncommon format but one that I, for one, love, because often the holes on a golf course with the most character are the par threes and par fives and Wasiota Winds is no exception.
Mr Brock also had a vision to bring the First Tee program to Wasioto Winds. This course sits in one of the more financially depressed counties in Kentucky, a county where, as I understand it, 1 in 3 jobs is in coal mining. The First tee program here has introduced over 1000 underprivdleged kids into the world of golf—learning not only golf, but lessons of life that go along with them. They put an average of 280 kids through the program each week. There is an indoor training center for so they can work with these kids year round and have even created a 3 hole short course for the beginners in this program, which I found amazing. As you can imagine, raising money to fund this program in a financialy challenged county like this is not an easy task. So if you want to support their effort call Donnie Caldwell at 800-814-8002 and he will tell you how to donate.
Wasioto Winds is playable year round due to the introduction of cool-weather turf grass called L-93 Bent Grass.

One more thing about the area. This course is part of Pine Mountain State Resort Park. It also sits right next to the Cumberland Gap, the area through which Daniel Boone crossed the Apalacian Mountains. The region is also home to several Civil War battlefields. So there is lots to do around here in addition to golf. I was told it would be likely that I would see Elk around the golf course, but that was not to be today. If you come, watch for Elk.

I am on this press trip because the Kentucky department of tourism is investing in several signature golf courses intending to create a trail similar to the Alabama Golf trail. Watch for Kentucky Signature series, a trail of 8 courses in Kentucky’s bluegrass country. The courses are very affordable and wonderful.

Thurs Oct 16
Last night I stayed in the lodge at Pine Mountain, had a lovely dinner, and retired to my room to watch the last of the presidential debates. I was up at 6:30 for a 7:00 AM drive to General Burnside Island State Park. This park was named for General Ambrose Burnside, a Union General, who had a detachment of the army in the area in 1863, whose primary purpose was to protect the inhabitants of East Tennessee who were still loyal to the Union. The high point of the area became an island when the Army Corp of Engineers built Wolf Creek dam to create Lake Cumberland with over 1200 miles of shoreline.

Memorial day of 2008 General Burnside Island Golf Course reopened with a new design by Brian Ault. This is quite a contrast to Wasioto Winds. Here at Burnside the natural beauty of large boulders highlight the tree lined mountainous landscape with lots of elevation changes. And the course plays 6400 yards from the tips—which means I can finally play a course from the tips, a rare occasion for me.

At noon I met Ron Roberts the head pro, Greg Blevens, the greens superintendent and his asst Ryan, to play this new course. It was drizzling and misting right from the first hole, which continued on and off throughout the day. It does not present a course in its best light, but even in this overcast light, this is a wonderful golf course. I rarely encountered a flat lie in this course as we navigated the many elevation changes and beautiful trees through the wonderful design of Brian Ault. I birdied # 2, which is always a thrill. On number 5 Greg looked at me and appeared to be sharing a secret to green reading here at General Burnside “everything breaks toward the water” he whispered to me. It took me a minute to realize that on an island, which this course is, the water is located in every direction. So his little tip didn’t help much.

Burnside has 4 par fives (3 of them are on the front) and 5 par threes for a par 71, but for a course this short, many of the par threes are too long for me. #5 is 222 yards and #7 is 214 yards then 172yards, all carry over water, and finally a reasonable 167. I don’t particularly like par threes that require me to take driver if I want to have a chance to reach the green. So I think they could improve it here. I didn’t particularly like a 225-yard carry to the fairway on 13 either but these exceptions aside; this is a terrific challenging golf course. The fairways are a bristly Zoysia grass that causes your ball to sit up like on bristly carpet. It s a great surface to play from and these young bent grass greens putt true, quick and beautifully. Greg and Ryan hit 275-300 yard drives all day while Ron and I were hitting “mere mortal “ distances. I loved it here and would love to play here again. We did see some wildlife here, a couple deer wandered out on the fairway, clearly unphased by our presence, There is no hunting on the island and there appear to be no deer predators, so they must feel safe. We also saw a couple groups of wild turkey. They, unlike the deer, must feel a bit threatened, because I am sure one of the turkeys had a sign hanging round his neck that said, “don’t shoot, it’s not Thanksgiving yet!”

They are planning a resort hotel on the island which should add to its appeal, but I am staying less than a mile away at the Burnside marina on Lake Cumberland on a houseboat--- what a way to go--- you can golf and go house boating and party all you want on board. These 80 foot houseboats have TV’s heat and air, several bedrooms and bathrooms, full kitchen and even a hot tub on the top deck. This is the way to go. If you visit here- rent one of these houseboats.

Friday Oct 17
Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park is the last of three courses I am playing. This course was ranked #6 “best new Affordable Public Courses” by Golf Digest in 2004 and is another design of Brian Ault also featuring zoysia grass fairways. There are 61 bunkers and 5 sets of tees on this 7273 yards layout to accommodate all levels of players. Unlike General Burnside, they have built a brand new clubhouse. The greens fees here, like the rest of the Kentucky Signature series are very reasonable $42 on weekends and $38 on weekdays. They do have a resort nearby which sits lakeside and has fantastic lake views. It is so close to the Tennessee boarder that Trooper Island, just a few hundred yards from the resort is ½ in Tennessee and ½ in Kentucky. Bruce Bottom, the head pro told me they get 25,000 rounds a year. I don’t know how they support a golf operation of this caliber at such reasonable rates, but they do.

Unbeknownst to me as I drove there, I had crossed into the central time zone and was surprised when I looked at my watch which read 10:00 am and looked at their clock which read 9:00. Not so bad I was an hour early for my tee time with Bruce.
Dale Hollow is another terrific course in the Kentucky Signature Series with over 140 feet in total elevation changes from the lowest to the highest point on the golf course. The difference between this and General Burnside is this has several more uphill holes some quite severely uphill. And it is true target golf, the greens are severely contoured, as are the fairways, the good news is that almost every hole is a thing of beauty. In fact Bruce tried to tell me that there is really not a signature hole on the course, probably because its full of signature holes.

As my friend Jeff May used to tell me “It was a good day for bad golf” A lovely sun filled day, quite unlike yesterday but Just one of those days where I couldn’t get either my long game or short game going, and I was a bit out of sorts when I came to their par threes. I am guessing Brain Ault must hate par threes cause once again these are almost all too long or require too much carry for me, and I was only playing this course from 6400 yards. I did hit one par three in regulation with my driver, however.
In spite of my poor play I did have a wonderful time, because sometimes the company takes precedence over ones capabilities of the day and Bruce and I laughed together all the way

If you go:
· Airports : Lexington or Knoxville
· Information:
· Accomodations: They have play and stay packages with reasonable room rates
Other activities: lots to do out doors, boating fishing horseback riding
Canoeing and visit Civil War battle sites

Monday, September 15, 2008

Greywalls in Marquette MI

Thurs. Sept 11

Today we went to the Greywalls course at Marquette Golf Club. It is about 11/2 hour drive from Island Resort where we are staying but they have a stay and play package with all three of these courses.
This one is a bit of a drive but definitely worth the trip and certainly a unique golf course. It sits high on a bluff, ½ mile from the north shore of Lake Superior and several holes have panoramic views of the Lake. It has over 300 feet in up and down elevation changes which makes for some very challenging holes. This is mining country, for iron ore and it must have been copper and granite mining territory too because this course is filled with Granite outcroppings, most of which are strewn throughout the fairway. On #6 a 65-foot high granite wall looms over this par 3 green.
Imagine boulder- strewn foothills, sitting on a bluff high above Lake Superior with ribbons of emerald fairways meandering through granite walls and outcroppings. That is the beautiful and intriguing Greywalls.

This is a most interesting golf course, with no level lies to speak of, but there were a couple holes that I didn’t particularly like. # 5 call for a tee shot through such a narrow rock chute that it appears to be a smaller target than your average green. The fifteenth hole is a par three that took a driver and 2 putts for my par, A par-3 that requires driver is just too much for me.

Greywalls was designed by Mike DeVries who has worked for both Tom Fazio and Tom Doak and it is truly amazing to me that anyone looked at this property and could envision a golf course here. It is spectacular looking, very challenging (slope of 144 from the tips) and still very playable. There is very little about this golf course that anyone would call straight forward. And there is not a house in sight.

I was surprised to learn that this course was built for just over 3 million dollars and somehow, their maintenance budget is dramatically less than the average golf course in the U.S. I don’t know how they pull that off. It is also one of just two courses that has seeded its fairways with Dwarf Bluegrass, which plays surprisingly well and handles cart traffic extremely well (the greens and tees are bent grass)
And if you want to join here, the annual dues is just $1350 for a single and $1975 for a couple, but it does accept public play. I wish the dues at my home club were that cheap.
I played very well today and still shot 88 but our host, Bruce, shot 44 on the front 9 and told us it was his best 9 holes here at Greywalls ever.

It has received several accolades, including best new course for 2004 when it was built, and #2 Course in Michigan You Can Play- by Golfweek Magazine

For more info visit

If you go:
100 miles north of Green Bay WI
Affiliated with Island Resort and Casino
Indian Gaming Casino, which has a hotel on site

Nearby Airports: Marquette MI and Green Bay WI

Off course activities: Casino gambling, hiking, fishing canoeing camping and plenty of outdoor activities and Lake Superior cruises

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Timberstone at Pine Mountain

Tue Sept 9, 2008

Today we are off to play TimberStone at Pine Mountain, where we will go from the Eastern Time Zone to Central and back to Eastern when we return.

TimberStone has a design credit of Jerry Mathews Design but it turns out that Paul Albanese was the team leader for Jerry Mathews before he started his own design firm and he had a strong hand in designing this golf course too. Interesting that I am playing two courses in a row of a designer I never heard of before. Having experienced these two vastly different courses, I know this is a designer that we will be hearing more about in the future.

It was a 45-minute ride from Island Resort and Casino to TimberStone at Pine Mountain. This course couldn’t be more different than Sweetgrass, even though it was designed be basically the same person. This is a mountain like course, with lots of elevation changes (310 vertical feet of elevation change) and tree lined fairways. There is no doubt we are in northern Michigan now. Number 17 and 18 are the most dramatic in the downhill area. #17is a par 3, with a stunning 120 feet of vertical drop and I would guess that #18, a par 5 playing almost 600-yards, has the same or more. These two holes have to qualify among the best finishing holes in golf,certainly in Michigan

The trees here that line many of the fairways are majestic and the boulders, strewn everywhere, especially along the cart paths add a real country glacial feel to the grounds. The trees that frame the fairways make it appear that the holes are much tighter than they actually turn out to be. Quite a visual trickery of the eye.

I played with Nile Young and Scott Sumner and Tom McChesney and we had a fun day- laughing all the way. Nile had a tough day at 97 but Scott and I both shot 87, which was good for a course I have never seen before and Tom shot 85. Is it tough here? The slope from the tees we played (not the furthest back) is 144 now that’s plenty tough.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sweetgrass Golf in Upper Peninsula of Michigan

A Golf Trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

I have been invited to play and review three golf courses near Marquette Michigan. Monday Sept 8, I flew to Green Bay Wisconsin and met up with 8 other golf writers to attend the opening Monday night NFL football game of the MN Vikings vs. the Green Bay Packers.
This was a wonderful experience and I had never been to Lambeau Field before and I can see why it may be the most popular NFL stadium in the U.S. It is a great place to see football and the fans are truly fanatic(that may be why they call them fans). The tailgating seems to endlessly surround the stadium and everyone came there to party.

After the game we drove 2 ½ hours to Island Resort and Casino in Wilson MI. This is a typical Indian Gaming Casino except for one difference that I noticed. The casinos is Minnesota do not have Craps tables or Roulette tables. This place does.

Tue. Morning we teed it up at Sweetgrass Golf Club, right next to the resort,which just opened in July 2008. I played with Ross Tanner of PGA Tour Partners and Paul Albanese, the architect of the course.
If you have never had an opportunity to play a golf course with it’s designer, I recommend it. I learned quite a bit about how he designed this course, which I am sure helped me in my shot strategies.

A couple years ago I read a book by Robert Trent Jones Jr. called “Golf by Design.” The premise of the book is “most sports have an offense and a defense. But most people do not perceive that in golf.” But RTJ says, “In fact, I the architect, am playing defense and you the player, are playing offense. The better you understand what I am trying to do to defeat you, the better your chances of succeeding.”

The course is owned and operated by the Hannahville Band of Potawatomi Nation. Designer Paul Aabanese honored the tribal legend throughout the process. It is basically a very open course with fairways and green complexes framed by wispy native grasses. As wide open as the fairways are, there is more than enough challenge in the wonderful green complexes. The course stretches from a challenging 7300 yards down to 5000 yards making this a true test for all levels of golfers.

They have named every hole, motivated by Native American stories and Paul then tried to design the holes to reflect these stories.
For example hole one is called Cedar, which is used as a traditional medicine of the tribe. The fairway is framed by a stand of Cedar trees.
Hole eleven is called Good Harvest. This tribe believes that Mother earth provides bounty for the people and should be protected. This hole has water, trees, farmland and wild game, all representative of Mother Earth.
Number thirteen is called Eagle, which is sacred to the native people. The eagle watches over the tribe, and near the green is a tree stump left, that easily resembles the form of an eagle looking protectively over the green. There are similar stories for each of the holes.
One wonderful design element is the 7 reclaimed railroad bridges that were brought to the course and reconstructed where bridges are needed. This element makes the course look like it has been here longer than its 2 months.

Some very traditional design elements are incorporated into the design as well such as a Redan green on number three which runs down hill from front right to back left. Redan means fortress and this kind of green presents quite a challenge to stop your ball near the pin.

Number 12, a par-3 called Maple Sugar, is home to a Biarritz Green, a long narrow green with a very deep swale in the center. This and Redan are both design elements that have been borrowed from centuries old design elements of the old British courses. This hole also hosts a beach bunker, a bunker that sweeps down to the adjacent water, giving it the look of a beach.

The course hosts 2 drivable par-4’s #1 and 14 both of which attempt to bring out the risk taker in you. # 15 is a scenic, challenging par-3 to an island green utilizing one of these wonderful reclaimed bridges to get to the green.

Other design elements he incorporated are a couple water falls (one between 9 and 18 and 9 &18 also share one green.

I had a half dozen pars and a few blow up holes for a total of 89. Paul shot 83 and Ross isn’t admitting what he shot, but he went right back out to bring the course to its knees shortly after we were done.

The fairways were in terrific shape for such a young course and the greens move subtly and quickly; running fast and true.
Personally I liked the name of hole #17, Wisdom, even thought I didn’t find much there. To learn more about this course visit

Friday, September 5, 2008

Nutrition on the Golf Course

Sept 3, 2008

Last year I spent a very intensive week training at Athletes Performance in Phoenix AZ. I not only built up some strength and endurance but I learned quite a bit about nutrition as well.

One thing I learned was about the volatility of my Blood Sugar. On any given round of golf I would get a coke or cookie from the beverage cart or at the turn. I didn’t realize it then, but I realize now, that it would spike my blood sugar and with it would spike the quickness of my swing and everything else I was doing. Then a few holes later my blood sugar would plummet and I would feel very tired. And my golf game would deteriorate. I was even reaching a point where I needed a nap after a round of golf.

I still love cookies and candy, but I now avoid them before and during golf and it makes a very noticeable difference. I drink only water, and plenty of it and carry a bag of snacks that consist of Peanuts, roasted soy nuts, sunflower seeds and sometimes other ingredients. I try to eat a handful (no more) every 2-3 holes (that is 6-8 times per round) This keeps my energy up and my blood sugar constant, which improved my concentration and endurance on the back nine.

Then I started learning about electrolytes. Water hydrates the body, but does not deliver any of those necessary electrolytes. Even drinking most sports drinks, like Gatorade has quite a bit of sugar in it.

This past week I tried two electrolyte-enhancing drinks and I highly recommend them both. One is Electrolyte stamina power pak. You can read more about this at it is a small powder packet that you mix in a 6-10 oz bottle or glass of water. It’s loaded with electrolytes and some vitamins and even lots of vitamin C. It does have a bit of sugar in it, but not much. It comes in several flavors and its quite tasty.

I also tried Ultima replenisher. This has no sugars at all, and less sodium and plenty of vitamins, but in lower quantities. (still a high percentage of daily value) this also comes in a packet that you mix in water, and its just as tasty.

Using both of these in my water on the golf course, I found greater concentration, especially near the end of a round and greater stamina and decreased exhaustion.

I think I like Ultima better (no sugar at all) but I recommend them both highly and if you try them and cut out sugar during a round of golf, I think you will notice an improvement as well

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New sunglasses for golf

Aug 29, 2008
I recently got a pair of VedaloHD sunglasses. I now carry them in my golf bag and use them exclusively on the golf course. They are very comfortable, have wonderful eye protection from the sun (My eyes feel a reduction of strain after a few holes) and best of all they have a unique feature in the lens manfacturing (they call it tri-stimulus filtering creating enhanced chromatic contrast) . This may sound like a bunch of scientific jargon, and it probably is, but I can tell you that it greatly improves my ability to read greens.
There is a noticable difference when I look at a break of a putt without sunglasses and then through these sunglasses. I can see a greater contrast of shadow and light and the breaks appear to be enhanced, which gives me a greater read of the line of the putt and improved chance of sinking it. Check it out at

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Sun Aug 24, 2008
"Pasatiempo is one of the great golf courses in the world, and one of my favorites. Pasatiempo brings back a lot of memories and is probably one of the premier back 9’s in all of golf.”
Ken Venturi, Former PGA Tour Player

The state of one’s game will be revealed at Pasatiempo. All phases of your game will be tested ... and marginal shots won't be good enough. One of my all-time favorites!”
Mark Lye, Champions Tour/Golf Channel Analyst

... good golfers consider the second nine holes at Pasatiempo the finest in existence. The short holes [are] specially good, and I think the sixteenth hole is the best two-shot hole I know.”
Dr. Alister MacKenzie

Yesterday I played Pasatiempo Golf club in Santa Cruz CA. This is the 3rd time I played here, and as challenging as it is, I love this place. It was designed by Dr. Alister MacKenzie, the man who brought us Augusta National and Cypress Point. This is just 40 miles up the coast from Cypress Point, in Santa Cruz and except for the 3 holes directly on the ocean, it feels very much like Cypress Point, perhaps better. It has one advantage, the public can play here. Dr. MacKenzie considered #16 to be the best golf hole he has ever seen or designed and this picture below shows the green complex with the Pacific Ocean far in the background, but the green complex alone does no justice as to how wonderful and unique this hole is. If you want to find out what I am talking about, you are just going to have to go there and play it.

“A really great golf course must be a constant source of pleasure to the greatest possible number of players. It must require strategy in the playing as well as skill. It must give the average player a fair chance and at the same time, it must require the utmost from the expert. All natural beauty should be preserved, natural hazards should be utilized and artificiality should be minimized.”- Dr. Alister MaKenzie

The course has recently been renovated (not redesigned) by Tom Doak. They brought the greens back to the size and shape of the original design and rebuilt the bunkers. Many of these bunkers must be quite a challenge for the maintenance crew because very few of them are flat. Several of them are large and have a severe slope to them . Many of the greens have unusual shapes--- some that look almost like a 3 leaf clover, which means that there are some pin positions are tucked into some very hard to reach corners. This makes putting here a real challenge.

There are several ravines on this course that cause some tough carries and lots of elevation changes, but truly add to the beauty and appeal of this course. It is in fantastic shape and a real treat to play.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore course

Today I played the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club here in Pebble Beach CA. This club has two courses Dunes and Shore. The Dunes was originally designed by Seth Raynor in 1925 and was on the Golf Digest Top, 100 but fell off years ago. It is one of very few clubs these days that has a waiting list to join.
In 2003 Mike Strantz re- designed the Shore course and did a magnificent job. Strantz has flown under the Golf Architect radar and you may not know his name, as he spent many years as the chief designer for Tom Fazio. I first became aware of his work at Tobacco Road near Pinehurst NC which is a wonderful collection of fascinating holes. MPCC hired him, not only for his design genius but because gov’t regulation would not allow much dirt to be brought in or moved, they needed a designer who would spend extraordinary time on site. Most golf course designers have several courses under construction at any given time but Mike Strantz worked on one course at a time. In this year and 1/2 undertaking he often spent 60-80 hours on the ground for any given hole directing every detail with the construction crew. He may not have been allowed to bring in dirt but he was not limited on the sand he could bring in and lots of sand he brought .
He sandcapped the entire course laying 6-8 inches of sand under most of the course, giving it possibly the best drainage on the Peninsula, which is important here as Monterey Peninsula gets more than it's fair share of rain.That sandcap tops off nearly 20 miles of drain tile. It also causes the course to be firm and gets lots of roll so it does not seem to play nearly as long as the 6900 yards on the card. Strantz also added several sandy waste areas many of which actually serve as cart paths.
The first 4 holes and final 2 holes could not be rerouted substantially because of the homes that line the fairways but his creativity really shined on the middle 12 holes that come down near the ocean. Many people on the Peninsula think this may be the best course in the area which is saying something since its neighbors include, Pebble Beach, Cypress Point and Spyglass. Unfortunately Mike Strantz developed a rare Tongue cancer as he worked on this course and never lived to see it get its #72 rating on the Golf Digest Top 100.
I shot 88 today which I am proud of. The greens are very challenging running 10-12 on the stimpmeter and very hard to read with their proximity to the ocean. I had 4 three putts which is unusual for me--- had I known the greens better I should have shot 83 or 84. The green side bunkers are wonderfully designed and I had two up and downs from the sand and nearly holed a third sand shot. On #17 I hit my second shot way right and my third shot was almost in a greenside creek ditch. I had to straddle the ditch to hit a delicate chip that, at first, I thought was going to force me to take an unplayable lie. It almost rolled in.

Number 18 is a hole that is not my favorite and quite uncharacteristic of the rest of the course, a steep uphill dogleg right, but I managed a bogie. Another unique thing about this course is it is a collection of 5 par- 3’s, 5 par- 5’s and only 8 par -4s. I loved that because it is my experience that on most courses it is the par- 5s and par-3 that have the most character. that was certainly the case here,
My friend Michael Lach had another smooth 75 and Maury Klemok shot a 78 even while complaining about his bad back and Rick Greenthal shot in the low 80s, we had a wonderful day together

Friday, July 18, 2008

a friend completes the top 100

A new friend of mine, Scotty Wood from the Chicago area, just completed playing the Top 100 in the US and sent me the following email. It is great to see others finish this daunting goal. As I read this email I re-lived the day I completed the top 100 in 2002 at Atlantic Golf Club on Long Island.. On that eventful day for me one of my playing partners, Rusty Ripenberger, shot a 66 which was the course record. What a day.. I finish the top 100 and he shoots the course record. Quite an accomplishment, but nothing compared to getting a phone call from "The Donald"

Yesterday I played Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey and completed my 13 year quest to play the Top 100 Courses in America. Here is a picture of our foursome yesterday taken on the 18th green with the clubhouse in the background. The fellow on the left was my host, Ed Russo, who handles Don Trump's golf operations and was Donald's partner at their member-member event last weekend(they finished third).
During our round, Donald Trump called Ed to discuss a business matter, and Ed put me on the cell phone. Donald congratulated me on this milestone and promptly asked me to return to Trump National in Bedminster later this year to rate the "new" (no official name yet) Fazio course that is scheduled to open there after Labor Day. Ed had told him that I am now a course evaluator for Golf Digest Magazine, and Donald wants evaluators to show up as soon as possible. I have a long list of people who I owe a debt of gratitude to for their hospitality, help, support and generosity. At the head of that list is my bride, Stephanie, who has been "the wind beneath my wings". I will do my best to thank all of them personally. The greatest memory of this whole quest are the people that I have met along the way. It is a testament to the wonderful nature of the game
love this game
Scotty Wood

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Two in Fountain Hills AZ We-Ko-Pa and Eagle Mountain

April 26, 2008
Eagle Mountain

Two days ago I played again at Eagle Mountain, here in Fountain Hills AZ. I have played here many times and it is a beautiful course with lots of elevation changes and many sweeping views of the valley. I had a unique experience on hole # 4, a 145-yard par-3. It was getting very windy and the group in front of us had not seated the flagstick properly in the hole and it was leaning significantly and being blown by the wind. My playing partners hit their tee shots, all a bit too long, and were on the back of the green. I went to change clubs (taking one less club as the wind intensified) and then the wind blew the flagstick completely out of the hole. It laid on the green with its bottom end still hanging over the cup. I hit my tee shot; it bounced short of the green and trickled to a stop as it rolled into the top of the flagstick, stopping my ball 6 feet from the hole. “Is this a penalty?” my partners and I debated, since generally hitting a flagstick that is laying on the ground is a penalty. Then we determined, that is only the case when the player is putting. Lots of people hit the flagstick from off the green, but this was unusual, since it was lying on the ground. I missed the birdie putt and made an easy par. If anyone reading this knows for certain if we ruled this properly, send me an email at


Yesterday I played at the new Saguaro course at We-Ko-Pa also here in Fountain Hills. It is my third time there, and Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore did a fantastic job with this track. It is one of the few courses in Arizona that not only allows walking, but encourages it. They provide electric pushcarts that allow you to walk with your clubs with out having to push or pull. It’s a wonderful thing and I wish more clubs out here would allow you to walk the courses.

In 2008 Golfweek called it the number one public access course in AZ and Golf Magazine rated it in the TOP 10 AMERICA'S BEST NEW PUBLIC COURSES. Both are worthy accolades, in my opinion. It is in terrific condition and has some wonderful holes. It is on an Indian reservation, which means there are no homes on its perimeter and it has some fantastic sweeping views of the nearby mountains. I had a good day with a 44 on the front and a 41 on the back, (the 41 on the back included one triple bogey). If you are ever in AZ, check it out along with
We-Ko-Pa’s other course Cholla (equally wonderful and highly rated, but it is carts only and they have a cart path only policy, with is not my favorite way to play golf (unless of course you keep hitting it near the cart path)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Par 3 course at Augusta National

April 18, 2008

Blogs like this can be a saving grace for authors like me, who do not want to print a second edition of their book, who sometimes think “Oh there is something I left out of the book” or “ There is a correction needed.”

Last week I watched the Par-3 tournament of the Masters on ESPN. This was the first year this event has been televised at the Masters. I had seen this tournament, a few years ago in person, but this brought back a flood of memories from the day I played this little course myself. In my book, A GOLFERS DREAM, I barely talked about my experience playing the Par-3 course, because I was so anxious to tell the stories of “the big course” that I was so much anticipating that day.

Paul Azinger has called this 1060 yard par-27 course “The best golf course in the world.”
As I look back on playing it, it was as much of a treat as playing the big course. If Golf Digest rated par-3 courses this would have to be number one in the World.

Alister Mackenzie had suggested a 9 hole “approach and Putt” in the original plan, but it was rejected. Cliff Roberts revived the idea in 1958 and he created a 3-½ acre pond and routed 9 holes around it. It was built with the same beauty, care and precision of the big course with greens that are just as challenging and just as well manicured. Sam Sneed won the first Masters par-3 contest with a 4 under par 23. (The record is now 7 under par 20). I didn’t do that well, in fact I don’t even think I still have my scorecard, but I think I was 1 or 2 over par for the morning. And yes, the pine straw, the water hazards and the severely sloping greens are all there in miniature next to it’s famous big brother.

It was fun to watch on TV the famous reunion of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, attacking this little par-3 course and of course many of the golfers out there had their own little kids as caddies, white jump suits and all. How cute is that??
Personally, I think Augusta National should establish a separate membership for the par-3 course and let the non power-brokers of the world have a chance to join.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Playing Firerock in Fountain Hills AZ

March 16, 2008

Earlier this week I played golf at Firerock Country Club in Fountain Hills AZ. This course is private and is right next door to Eagle Mountain. It is the only private golf club in Fountain Hills, to the best of my knowledge, and it boasts lots of elevation changes and some sweeping vistas of the valley and beautiful views of Red Mountain. The homes around the development are glorious and provide views in and of themselves.

The first hole is an uphill par 4 with a gentle dogleg to the left. It yielded an opening par for me. Hole # 2 is a long par 3 across a ravine and requires all carry. I hit it pin high, 80 feet across this subtle undulating green and snaked in my birdie putt. I was one under par and ready to head for the clubhouse. “How did you do today?” They would ask and I would simply answer “1 under for the day”.
But I went on to #3, a spectacular downhill par 4 with sweeping valley views and water to the right of the green, and pared that too. The greens of Firerock are subtle and challenging to read and really add a unique challenge to playing there. They are quick and true, just the kind of greens I love to putt on. The entire course is in wonderful condition.

I did have three bogies on the front nine so I made the turn with a 38. The back nine which is every bit as wonderful, wasn’t so kind to me today. I hit some errant shots and had a couple of three-putts and carded 46 on the back for a total of 84 on the day—generally a good day for me. I have met a couple members there and I am glad of it, because I truly love playing there.
As I was headed for the first tee box Andy De Sollar, the head pro, stopped me and said that Firerock is rated 101. It was a cute thing to say, but it did make me think about Firerock in the context of all the top 100 courses I have played. If I were given the opportunity to go back and play all of them, I would rather play Firerock than several of the courses on that Top 100 list.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Stone Canyon in Tucson AZ

I just played a wonderful golf course down in Tucson (actually Oro Valley) called STONE CANYON CLUB. My friend Mike Assum introduced me to Dan Gleason, who is a career writer (unlike me, a one book wonder). It is just down the road from THE GALLERY AT DOVE MOUNTAIN where on this Sunday, Tiger Woods was beating Stewart Cink in the final round of the Accenture Match Play. I have not been to Dove Mountain, but from what I understand these courses couldn’t be much different.

As I was playing the top 100, one of my favorite design teams was Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish. I was so sad to see them break up. But Jay Morrish designed this one by himself and it is terrific. Jay Morrish said himself, “This is by far the best desert golf course site I have ever seen.” And I think I may agree. And I have played some pretty wonderful desert golf courses.

It is in a community snuggled up against the nearby Tortolita Mountains. It has wild elevation changes, strips of emerald fairways winding through boulders, cacti and cascading waterfalls. Stone Canyon has an intriguing collection of par threes. One across an abyss framed by one of the courses waterfalls and three others that start out on majestic tee boxes and give you mostly down hill looks at magnificent green complexes.

The par-fives also have captivating character. Up hill, down hill and relatively level. Number 15 for example, plays almost like a triple dogleg with out cropping and bunkers defining the meandering fairway. Number 10 on the other hand is closer to a double dogleg with a very generous driving area and then it tightens down (chokes down may be a better term) from there, forcing you to hit your next two shots around a large lake. (and they better be precise)

The course finishes with a very long par- 4, but on the tee box, we stood so high above the fairway that our tee shots produced hang time that would make an NFL punter proud.

My new friend Dan Gleason, reminded me several times before we teed off that he had not picked up a golf club in over 5 weeks, but that did not stop him for shooting a lights-out 35 on the front 9. Not quite that good on the back, but hey that is nothing to sneeze at. I had 6 pars on the day, which is good for me but I also had 4 holes where I drove it into the desert, which quickly made my score much higher than I had intended. All in all it was a wonderful day. This is a very expensive housing development and the homes we saw were magnificent. Take a look for yourself at
Oh I almost forgot to mention, Jay Morrish has a very challenging way of presenting short, challenging par 4’s. Like number 17 a devilish 275-yard par 4. Don’t confuse this with the 280-yard par three that Oakmont threw at the U.S. Open this year. I doubt there are many pros who could bring one in high enough and soft enough to hold this green, so it’s really drivable in distance only. Seems like it ought to be easy, but it’s a beauty cloaked in danger. I did manage to get a par here however.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My visit to Oak Hill in Rochester NY

Feb 1, 2008
Several people have found some errors in my book and I would like to correct them now as best I can.
I was sad to see that the story of my playing at Oak Hill didn’t get into the book.
I don't know how it missed the book, but since the story of my hosts, Joe and Mary Flately was so extraordinary, I want to tell their story here.
I sent a book to my friend Steve Boulay in Salt Lake City, who was raised in Rochester New York and after he read the book he pointed out to me that the story of Oak Hill was missing.

When I was on my quest, Steve had called his dad, a doctor in Rochester whose partner is a member at Oak Hill. I called Steve’s dad, who had set me up to play with Dr. Joe Flately So I called Dr. Flately and we set a date. I called him back a week before our date and he asked, “What flight are you arriving on?” I told him and he immediately said, “We will pick you up at the airport” In my entire quest, this was a first. I had asked him to recommend a hotel in the area and he informed me “you aren’t staying at a hotel, you are staying with us at our home.” I was very grateful, but this was really a first. Here he was opening his home to a complete stranger. He picked me up at the airport, took me to his home, we had lunch and then he took me on a tour of Rochester. We were back for dinner at his home and his wife, Mary, who was on the Arbor committee of Oak Hill, gave me a complete explanation of the tree program at Oak Hill. She explained the various species of trees, how they plant replacement trees as they age etc. I learned a lot about how a good tree program really runs. And here at Oak Hill trees are king.
Dr. John R. Williams, a medical doctor who had a passion for trees, surveyed the new Donald Ross design when it was being built, and decided it would be enhanced by trees - thousands upon thousands of oaks, maples, evergreens and elms, but, mostly oaks. He said he lost count at 75,000, the number of seedlings he planted, and as you walk the grounds of Oak Hill today, you can't help but gaze skyward at the majestic trees that dominate the landscape. It is amazing that all of this began as little acorns - collected from all over the world - in the small backyard garden of Dr. Williams' home.

The next day we went and played the course. A great course, what Dr. Flately called a blue collar working mans golf course. Not the most aesthetic place, not on the ocean like Pebble Beach or Cypress Point, but a challenging course that is well laid out. And believe me those trees not only add majesty and beauty but also add enormous challenge. The 18th hole has plaques on many of the trees, honoring the many champions who have walked this hallowed ground.

Sam Snead won here as did Ben Hogan who still holds the course record of 64 which he shot in the first round in 1942. How hard is Oak Hill? In the five stroke play championships contested at Oak Hill, only 10 players have been under par. Now that is hard.
Oak Hill's rich and storied tradition of hosting championship golf will become unrivaled when the 2008 Senior PGA Championship is hosted there. Oak Hill will be the only club to have hosted all six of the men's championships.

The Flatelys win my GREATEST HOST AND HOSTESS AWARD for this journey.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Golf in Palm Springs

This weekend I drove from Phoenix to Palm Springs to visit my friend Dave Zubke.
First I met my friend Evan Schiller, an instructor in the School for e
Extraordinary Golf and a fantastic golf course photographer, and played with him and his fiancĂ© at his course, The Palms. See Evans photos at The Palms is next door to PGA West and it’s membership has the lowest handicap average of the Palm Springs area. It also boasts lots of PGA professionals as members. It was designed by Fred Couples and he did a teriffic job. I had a round of 86 which is good for me on a course I have never seen before, and Evan shot 1 or 2 over . He hit one shot on the back 9 that I would not have even considered. He was in the right rough and on the wrong side of a line of palm trees. I would have chipped out to the fairway. He strung it between two palm trees and faded it back to the center of the green and hit it from 165 yards to 6 inches from the hole WOW!!!

The next day I was supposed to play at Stone Eagle with Dave and our friend Tim Lawin but we got rained out. I can’t wait to get back to Stone Eagle because it looks nothing less that spectacular. Mountain tops, outcroppings and lots and lots of elevation changes.. and unlike most new golf courses today, not a house on the course. If you ever watched the skins game on TV when it was at Bighorn, you get the idea, because they are almost next door to each other. Spectacular place. Well, I will have to let you know about it after I get the chance to play it, which I hope will be soon. There was a window of dryness on Sunday and at the last minute we decided to play the Greg Norman course at PGA West, and the rain started again as we were on the 18th hole.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

golfing with a segway

I am in Arizona for the winter and yesterday I played golf at Kierland golf club. This is a wonderful course located in the Phoenix area, with beautifully designed holes and wonderful greens. They have added a very clever feature there. One transportation option they give you, in addition to walking or riding a cart, is taking a segway. You have probably seen these around, maybe even tried one. You stand on it and with the shifting of your body weight you get it to move forward, backward and turn from side to side. The ones there are even set up with hardware to carry your golf bag… Pretty slick.

We started with about ½ hour of training, learning how to get on and off and steer and adjust the speed. Hills are a challenge, espeically sidehills, but after a few holes I was completely comfortable on it and had a blast using it on my round. I even shot an 87 which made me happy. Learn more about these at