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