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.