Bandon Dunes: Shorty’s

Among the novel amenities that Mike Keiser came up with for his Bandon Dunes Resort right from the get go was a very neat Approach and Putt Course called Shorty’s. Designed by David McLay Kidd, the guy who did the Bandon Dunes Course, this is a full feature short track with architectural detail commensurate with it’s big brother.

Built on the back side of the South Practice Range, it is convenient, practical and fun.  Holes from 92 to 177 yards with plenty of options in between on each hole, it is a great place to acquaint yourself with long pitch and run shots you will need across the links style and wind blown Bandon Dunes courses.

Shorty’s is open from Thursday through Sunday, when the North Range is in use.  Truth is you can play the Mini Shorty’s Routing of 1, 2, and 9 any day since they are safely out of the range of fire of the South Practice Tees.

The full 9-hole walk is probably less than an hour depending on how much trash talking you do.  Best part is that playing Shorty’s costs you nothing at all, it is free to all comers.  Just another perfect happy hour activity for you and your buds.

The photos below will give you an idea of the architectural interest of this layout as well as the challenge it presents.

The distances on each hole are the official yardage plates, though you can pretty much drop the ball anywhere you like on each hole to fit what you are working on.  Note that the hole names are based upon my impression and totally the fabrication of this author, not sanctioned by the folks who run this place.

Launch Pad

Here is where you start.  If the green flag is up Shorty’s is fully open, red flag not so much.

 

#1 The Devils Trap Door  86 Yards

Brings to mind the 10th at Pine Valley where the front bunker earned the moniker of the Devil’s A-hole. You have to flight something with grip into the right center of this green and hope it hold’s on.  As you can see in this reality TV ground level look, recovery from the Devil’s orifice is unlikely.

#2 The Uprights  113 Yards

Garo Yepremian would love the look of this one, just split the uprights for 3.  This is a good one for working on a 100 yard seven iron pitch and run shot.  Just trundle one up the front ramp and let it work to the pin.

#3 Cape  177 Yards

The Cape Hole was a classic Golden Age design configuration where the green was nestled behind a large body of water not sand.  Here you have to work your approach from right to left to avoid the cavernous bunkers and let the slope of the green bring it toward the flag.

Close up of the front right bunker also hints how the front ramp will continue to work your approach from right to left.

#4 Pine Valley  126 Yards

The name seemed like natural to me. Shallow green with a tiny opening between fierce bunkers and a pine tree squeezing you from the right for good measure.  The pines behind just complete the full George Crump look.

#5 Potchy  145 Yards

One of the longer carries over this lone pot to a long green that falls away from you.  It gets its name from the fact that this green is the closest to the South Range Tees so it is fully potched from ball marks making it resemble the rutty face of a pimply 13 year old boy.

#6 Dome  111 Yards

You can see how the right half of the green resembles the hood of a VW Beetle making really hard to hold a high approach.  Once again this is a good place to work on your long pitch and run out shot, letting the ground do the work.

Don’t let the shot wander left because there are two of these blow-out bunkers, much like you would see on the shore holes of Kidd’s Bandon Dunes Course.

#7 Gully-Vers Travel  108 Yards

The shot here must travel across a deep gully to this perched green behind another pot bunker.  The bank left of the flag can be dexterously used to feed a shot onto the green avoiding the bunker.  Links golf requires forethought.

#8 Misty May and Kerri  92 Yards

This green complex of this one honors the Gold Medal accomplishments that dynamic Olympic Beach Volleyball Duo Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh.  You may find yourself volleying pitch shots back and forth across this raised shallow table top green.

The look from the receiving side….equally steep approach back up.

# Homeward Bound  146 Yards

The final hole has all the architectural features bundled into it.  The layered, ragged edge bunkering from the right reminds me of some of the fairway bunkers on Bandon Dunes.  Mounding from the right masks the playing surface from clear view.

The green emanates from the hill on the right and has a deep low behind the front mound  that will shove timid approaches away from a flag in the back right.  Putting this green is an adventure all it’s own.

The Back Door

The look from behind shows you the mound that hides the front and the collar bunkering that rings the back waiting to catch an approach with too much enthusiasm.  Great holes are often kool looking from either direction.

Shorty’s Course Map

You can see the counter clockwise routing of the course.  It follows a tight circle for a very efficient walk, one well worth taking.

Bandon Dunes: Punchbowl

Mike Keiser did it again.  In 2013 he added one more piece of priceless frivolity to what already has to be the complete golf destination in the world.  Tom Doak designed the ultimate putting playground called Punchbowl at Bandon Dunes.

It has quickly become one of the most popular tickets at the resort, delighting folks of all ages in a kind of DIY-no classroom walls putting experience.

Hills and Dales…furry mounding and lots of whispy grass

This ginormous putting surface (total acreage undisclosed) sits just off the veranda of the Pacific Dunes Grill overlooking the great western pond with 18 holes sprawling across rigorous seaside terrain characteristic of the rest of the resort.

Wild Back nine wends through the trees

Inspired by the Himalayas green at St. Andrews Doak created this with a bit more drastic topography.  From the moguls on the big plateau at the north end around the large tree in the middle to the deep bowl on the south end there is an elevation change of as much as 20 feet.

Click image to experience the full Punchbowl panorama.

Click image to appreciate Josh’s eerie shadow and experience the full Punchbowl panorama.

This is a full service putting entertainment facility.  Open from 2 pm until dusk (they probably need six hours in the morning to cut this small piece of paradise),  there are 100-foot roller coaster putts, Daytona doglegs, and ridiculous topographical transitions that will challenge the most creative mind.

Starter’s Stand can accommodate the lines-just drop your ball in the ball slot until it becomes your turn.

Note the hole markers have integrated beverage stands…how convenient!

As you would expect at Bandon, there is a beverage cart close at hand to wet your whistle or simply calm the putting jitters as required.  Drink holders next to every tee and hole location and a course routing that can change every day.

The Tap-In Trailer is open when necessary-waiter service from the Pacific Grill at all times

Perfect for resolving unsettled wagers from the morning walk, a little fraternal fun with your compadres, or some serious work on the lag putts with the new saw grip.

There are even Viewing Lounges perched on the hill for watching the action

Punchbowl is a necessary add to every Bandon Dunes itinerary.  Once again Mike Keiser proves that he knows what we want even if we cannot tell him what it is.

First Tee Outing 2018-Sweet Memories

The Keepers dedicated our 9th Annual First Tee Mentoring Outing at Woodmont Country Club to the memory of our good friend Arthur Blitz.  Arthur was a huge advocate of this event every year and we will recall his smiling face and infectious laugh each year we host this wonderful event.

Arthur Blitz had a special connection with these kids

The First Tee of Greater Washington D.C. brought 31 awesome kids to participate in an afternoon of pure golf fun.  We had 19 volunteers from our club along with capable professional golf staff as our guides doing golf clinics, a picnic lunch, and a couple of hours of course time with the kids.

These kids come every type of background you can imagine and they have gleaned from their First Tee experiences self-confidence, poise, and grace as well as being introduced to the game of golf.  It is a wonder to witness the etiquette, course awareness, and basic skills of these 7 to 17 year-olds who attend this event each year.

Well over 50 kids, volunteers, and staff make orchestrating this shot no small feat

Our volunteers provide the smiles, reassurance, and support to help these kids understand how much this game has to offer.

The volunteers donated their time and their hugs to make it a special day

It takes the help of the First Tee of Greater Washington and supportive parents to pull this off each year.

Roger and Katie, administrators from the First Tee Program

Some of the parents of these great kids mugging with Roger

To download any photos to your PC just right click on the image and pick “Save Image As” to save it to your computer.

Sometimes the mentoring is as simple as a smile or an encouraging word…the kids got lots of both.

The event commander Steve with a Grace-ful smile

Moe and Jonathan are old friends by now

Steve shows Carina a version of the modified four-point stance

Larry and Dale with Hannah, Yuna, and Angela on the practice ground

Alex, Steve, Gavin, Caleb, and Gene

Gene and John with Grace, Sabrina, Iris, and Michelle

Chet, Rich, David, Eugene, Salieu, Sam, Konnor, Paul, Steve, and Mika…quite a line-up

Grant, Eddie, Konnor, Malinda, Ricky, and Rick

The mentors share their knowledge and experience of how to work down a handicap

Jackie helps Sophie make some chipping adjustments

Rick and Peter…..proof is in the results

Eddie with Malinda and Yohan talking short game

Jake and Marilyn with Milan and Daniel

MIke and Jackie coaching Carina, Johan, and Avery

Moe, Sol, and Rebecca with Sean, Ryan, and Skyler

Best part is just stepping back and watching these amazing kids do their golf thing.

Rick, Dale, Bonnie, Susan, Larry, and Gary embraced the moment

All the kids went through the rotation of three clinics-range, short game, and putting-led by our professional staff.

The day started with an invigorating stretch with Konnor

There was long game work with Brice and Morgan at the range.

Brice going over fundamentals with the older kids

The youngest at the range with Morgan, Brice, Sol, Jackie, and Ron

Ricky has a strong address position

Jake and Mike worked on greenside short game skills with all the groups.

Jake sporting the classic Jim Colbert bucket hat demonstrates proper grip

The chipping lines under watchful eyes

Caleb gets some demonstration from Rebecca who knows her stuff

Skyler is a veteran of these outings and shows it to Sol

Got to love this pitching set-up from Grace

Malinda, after clean contact, snuggles it close

Clean up on Aisle 4….these kids can do it all

Dave Pelz has nothing on Konnor…his putting school is a full bag of tricks.

Conga Line Putting….working on the lag putts

Guys synchronized rake putting…who would have thought..

Girls were not to be outdone

The clinics worked up an appetite so they were followed by a break for a picnic lunch where we got to just sit and chat…..healthy sandwiches, real chips, fresh fruit, and some chocolate chip cookies for the big kids.  We were all single digit eaters.

Sol doing what Sol does best

Caleb, Rich, Chet, Rebecca, Gary, and Paul sharing stories over chocolate chip cookies

Eugene, Yuna, and Jonathan showing their “chip” skills

The girls work on challenging the Guiness Book of Records for aveggie stacking tower

Then it was out to the course to put what they learned to work.  It is amazing how these kids handle themselves on the course.  Fixing ball marks, raking bunkers, marking their ball properly, and respecting the efforts of their playing partners.

Ricky, Iris, Peter, Gene, Rick, and Gavin on the green

Rich with Caleb and Michelle

Susan and Larry were marveling at the course skills of Yuna, Daniel, Hannah, and Dauda

Gary staging a FootJoy commercial with Eugene and Jonathan

Chet taking a ride with Eugene and David

Ron, Sol, Dad of Milan, Milan, Sean, and Carina

Gary and Steve on the tee with Jonathan, Eugene, Salieu, and Paul

Moe and Alex on the 17th of the North

Sabrina and Grace are all smiles

John watches the elegant ball flight of Sabrina’s lay-up on the 15th

Mika ready to unleash on the 17th tee

Younger brother Alex has a loaded position at the top

Shaking hands with the kids and sending them away with a participation certificate and a few goodies to commemorate the event.

Konnor and Daniel

Sabrina and Konnor

One last bit of business to thank the volunteers, the golf staff, and the organizers for putting this together.  And most important, thanking these adorable and talented kids for being part of this memorable day.

One last infectious smile for the memory bank

Special thanks to Connor Farrell, Steve Keller,  Moe Dweck, and Roger Brown and the professional golf staff for all the hard work in assembling this event.  Thanks to Woodmont Country Club for graciously hosting this and the First Tee of Greater Washington D.C. for hooking us up with these awesome kids.

First Tee Greater Wash LogoRespect-Perserverance-Honesty-Integrity-Courtesy-Responsibility-Sportsmanship-Confidence-Judgement

August, 2018

If you have any corrections to the captioning please email them to moedweck@comcast.net

The President’s Putter

A perfect English January day for golf at Rye Golf Club (photo from http://www.GolfClubAtlas.com)

This is not what you think-The Donald has nothing to do with this.

Actually this is probably one of the most authentic golf competitions in history.  It is  an eccentric annual affair between alumni of Cambridge and Oxford that has been going on since 1920 at The Rye Golf Club in Rye, East Sussex every January.  Those eligible to play are current and former alumni of the universities thus the golfers are usually amateurs and ages may vary between 20 and 70 years. It is as much a reunion as a golf competition.

The tournament is played by scratch match play and the winner receives a silver medal in exchange for their winning ball.  Over it’s storied 90 years, this event has attracted some of the greatest amateur golfers in Britain.  Past winners include five time tournament winner Roger Wethered, Cyril Tolley and Charlie Rotheroe.   The famous golf writer Bernard Darwin won the fifth Putter in 1924 and was a regular in this event into the late 1950’s.  Donald Steel, a famous British golf course architect and writer, is one of only three guys who have won the President’s Putter three times since World War II.

You are probably wondering why anyone would hold such a championship in the balmy weather of January in England.  Donald Steel says, “The tournament is probably best known for defying the elements but that is overdone. It is a genuine match play competition in which no effort is spared. My successes were based on a love of Rye, a good blood circulation and the ability to improvise. Otherwise, the playing attributes are no different to those in any other form of competitive golf. Good driving and a nifty short game were certainly no hindrance.”

A rarity occurred in 2010 and that was that the playing of President’s Putter was delayed a few weeks due to weather. (Photo from http://www.GolfClubAtlas.com)

They did manage to get the tournament played in 2010, albeit the third week in February, but they got it in.

This competition is “serious fun” and it adheres to the true spirit of the game says Steel, “You play hard. You play fast. But above all, you play to have fun”.

If you own a copy of “Following Through-Herbert Warren Wind on Golf” you can read his wonderful essay “An Entirely Different World: The President’s Putter” which he wrote after witnessing the event for the first time in 1971.  Typical Herbert Wind genius, he captures the unique flavor of the event and the hearty character of those who make this such an interesting tradition.  He says of their determination to play this event in the coldest, most inhospitable time of the year, “Because they are English, by and large, born eccentrics……..In no other people do you find that streak of masochism which sneers at the uncomfortable and revels in the hazardous”.

For more on this incredible annual event click to check out this GolfClubAtlas article about The Presidents Putter by David Normoyle.

July, 2018

Postcard From Streamsong

On a recent buddies trip we had 16 guys spend four invigorating days at Streamsong, the destination golf resort in central Florida.  Streamsong has it all, three supreme golf courses, a couple of happy hour extras in a 6-hole approach and putt course as well as a massive recreational putting green,  a wonderful upscale hotel with all the accommodation elements you would expect, and food that far surpassed our buddy trip standards.

Built on the site of an old mining operation the presentation of the course and the architecture of the clubhouse has an appropriate industrial feel to it

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Streamsong sits in the middle of nowhere on thousands of acres of what used to be a major phosphate mining operation.  The owners realized that, with the insight of the game’s top design teams,  the sandy soil along with the topographical remains of the mining operation could be made into a bunch of very unique walking golf courses that are anything but Florida typical.

Typical vista from the the Black Course…..Dorothy can you believe this is Florida?

In 2012 the placed opened with the first two courses, the Blue Course by Tom Doak and the Red Course by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw making an immediate splash to rave reviews.  Having clocked over 30,000 rounds each of these two layouts, the owners opened the Gil Hanse Black Course in the fall of 2017 and it may just be the best of the three of them.

The hotel has everything you want in a destination resort-fine restaurants, health club, spa, swimming pool, clay shooting, fishing, hiking, and some pretty good golf.  The added bonus, a very casual atmosphere where you don’t need much more than golf casual to do anything you want during your stay.

Howard with the catch of the day…..there is a big story to go with this of course!

This wide mouth greets you at the end of the hall near the Health Club and Spa

The dining covers all genres with great aptitude-supporting libations as well

The golf is what you come for and there is plenty of it.  Set up for walking you better come with your golf legs fit for action because these are not your typical flat Florida tracks riddled with man-made water hazards.  The caddies are a must because all three of these tracks have a wide, tactical character, similar to what you would encounter in Bandon Dunes or across the pond.  It is way more than just knowing how far it is to the pin.

World Wide Weber, The Mish, A.I. Minkie, and The Koach strike the pose on #1

More kulprits-Chop Stix, Billy B, Pete The Grass Maven, and Sol The Hunter

The rugged natural look the architects reclaimed from the mining remains

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Doak swore they were anywhere but Florida when the copter landed at this mine-made dune and basin that became the signature Blue 7th and Red 16th Par 3’s

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Doak framed the back of the industrial style clubhouse in the last look of the day

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw are known for the minimalist approach of designing golf courses.  They really did not need to move lots of earth here to get a wild and natural look for the Red Course.

The Red Course opens up with a stunning look at the dunes and the waterways created in the old mining crevices

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The sprawling cape style Par 4 5th hass the water down the right and a massive dune behind the green complex

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Wildlife on a stroll….not an indication of pace of play issues……

Delectable provisions available at BBQ Shack at the turn…….

The postcard hole of the Red features this dramatic forced carry to the 16th

What you don’t see from the tee is the Biarratz dip in the middle of this 72-yard green which makes for an even steeper challenge with the pin in the back section

They opened the Gil Hanse/Jim Wagner Black Course in the fall of 2017 which added another dimension to what was already a fabulous selection of links-like courses.

As we have seen at other resorts they added a couple of Golf Happy Hour facilities to occupy the masses apres round.  At the Black you will find a 6-hole Approach and Putt Course as well as a massive recreational putting green called the Gauntlet.  It is not the Ladies Putting Course at St. Andrews but, with an adult beverage in hand, it does provide great entertainment possibilities.

Acres and acres of extreme putting challenges….with beverage holders

The Black is a long walk, almost seven miles, because of considerably more distance between greens and tees.  The caddies will tell you, it is actually an easier walk because the terrain is much more tempered then it’s Red and Blue Cousins.  The bunkering and sandy fairway surrounds on the Black have a very natural feel and, with a wee bit of wind, you could swear the Atlantic is just over the next rise.

Uphill approach to the short Par 4 second has full sand features

Devil’s orifice is the lone bunker in front of the 6th green…it is a doozie!!

As you come up the Par 4 9th, the signature windmill behind the green, which was reclaimed from the mining days, becomes your aiming point off the tee as well as into the blind punch bowl green.  It can be seen throughout the front nine and can be very helpful for ascertaining wind direction, which can be enigmatic considering there are very few trees along the way.

Driveable 14th….don’t go long of this extreme green or a 5 will be a difficult score to make…..

A meditative moment for The Mish before pulling the club on the 15th…..

The #1 Handicap Hole 16th presents multiple challenges…not the least of which is the carry over this mini Sahara to a sharply tilted green from the left

The finish on the Black is a stunning cape hole with all the fixins…..

Equally spectacular looking back up once you are done……

The Streamsong experience is one that all golf addicts should experience.  The quality of the courses makes it well worth the effort of getting there.

For more detail on the courses click on our course review- Streamsong Blue

28 Shades of Cute

The Keepers held our 8th Annual First Tee Mentoring Outing at Woodmont Country Club with 28 delightful kids from every background you can imagine who participate in the programs of the First Tee of Greater Washington D.C.   We had 17 volunteers from our club along with the professional golf staff as our guides doing golf clinics, a picnic lunch, and a couple of hours of course time with the kids.

These kids come every type of background you can imagine and they have gleaned from their First Tee experiences self-confidence, poise, and grace as well as being introduced to the game of golf.  It is a wonder to witness the etiquette, course awareness, and basic skills of these 7 to 14 year-olds who attend this event each year.

The almost 50 staff, volunteers, and kids that made this day so special.

Our volunteers provide the smiles, reassurance, and support to help these kids understand how much this game has to offer.

These guys and gals get as much out of this outing as the kids.

To download any photos to your PC just right click on the image and pick “Save Image As” to save it to your computer.

Sometimes the mentoring is as simple as a hug or a pat on the shoulder.

Kommander Keller mugging with Quinn

Marlyn with Sophie and Amanda

Marlene with Nahyun and Hannah

Amanda, Avery, and Hannah with Dale watching over

The mentors share their knowledge and experience of how they have earned their crack handicaps.

Arthur helping Amra with her grip

Andy and Daniel discuss proper takeaway

Jackie gives Carina a little thought on direction

Eddie shares with Dhira the importance of face alignment

Best part is just kickin’ back and watching these amazing kids do their golf thing.

Gail and Bonnie chillin’ on the range

All the kids went through the rotation of three clinics-range, short game, and putting-led by our professional staff.

Konnor and his guys explain the program for the day

Proper technique is proper technique…even if it is on the wrong side

Konnor explains some of the do’s and don’ts of exceptional putting

Some of it was group drills……

….and group observation as well

Then the kids get to show their stuff….as well as their individuality and style.

Akil has no breakdown of the wrist..nice extension in his pitching

Quinn and Isabella observe each other’s technique

Peter is looking for a little clarification or is it reassurance

Skyler has it down as Delana, Iris, Yaphet, and Peter get ready to launch

Hannah, Nahyun, and Sumi are in a high level conversation

Delana, Iris, Yaphet, and Peter are grinding away at proper technique

Obviously satisfied, Daniel is working on this celebration dance

Marlyn and Konnor are appraising the work of Eugene, Sean, Hannah, Nahyun, and Sumin

Anticipation across the line as the balls are off in the lag putt drill

You can work up an appetite at these clinics so they are followed by a break for a picnic lunch where we got to just sit and chat…..healthy sandwiches, real chips, fresh fruit, and some chocolate chip cookies for the big kids.  We were all single digit eaters.

Starts with an orderly line….followed by a choice….Tuna or Turkey…..

Circling the wagons….lots of mouths to feed both kid and adult

Amra and Isabella just hanging out and having fun

Quinn and Jayden with the old tomato sandwich trick

Carina, Sophie, and Avery….are these kids cute or what?

Then it was out to the big course to put what they learned to work.  It is amazing how these kids handle themselves on the course.  Fixing ball marks, raking bunkers, marking their ball properly, and respecting the efforts of their playing partners.

Amanda and Evalyn head out with Kaptin Keith

Dale with Sumin and Hannah are not far behind

Amanda, Evalyn, Sumi, and Hannah setting up approach shots with Keith and Dale

Randy is helping Nahyun and Hannah plot some course strategy

Arthur, Jayden, and Quinn are all smiles on the way out to their designated hole

Akil, Skyler, and Iris on the 11th Green with John and Moe

One last bit of business to thank the volunteers, the golf staff, and the organizers for putting this together.  And most important, thanking these adorable and talented kids for being part of this beautiful day, sending them away with a participation certificate and a few goodies to commemorate the event.

Special thanks to Connor Farrell, Steve Keller, John Friedson, Moe Dweck, and Alexandra Uduk and the professional golf staff for all the hard work in assembling this event.  Thanks to Woodmont Country Club for graciously hosting this and the First Tee of Greater Washington D.C. for hooking us up with these awesome kids.

First Tee Greater Wash LogoRespect-Perserverance-Honesty-Integrity-Courtesy-Responsibility-Sportsmanship-Confidence-Judgement

August, 2017

(Photos provided by Steve Keller, Arthur Blitz, and Melanie Padgett Powers)

If you have any corrections to the captioning please email them to moedweck@comcast.net

Oasis at Rancho Park

When people talk about playing golf in L.A. it is always the posh private places like Riviera and L.A. Country Club that get mentioned.  But right in the center of town, just off West Pico Blvd above Santa Monica is one gem of a municipal course called Rancho Park.

The fountains are period pieces…reminder of a less posh time in L.A.

Rancho Park FountainThe current course at Rancho Park was designed by William “Billy” Bell in 1949 on the site of an old Herbert Fowler design that preceded it.  The course was the home of the L.A. Open back in the 1960’s and has the distinction of being the first place Jack Nicklaus won a check as a professional….around $33 and change.

It also has the infamous distinction-memorialized by a meditation bench and a plaque behind the 18th tee-where Arnold Palmer made 12 of the finishing Par 5 in the L.A. Open after splitting the fairway with his tee ball and then hitting four balls O.B.

The meditation bench behind 18..chill while waiting for the driving area to clear

The meditation bench..chill while waiting for the fairway to clear on 18.

Original plaque details Arnie’s 12 in the final round of the 1963 Los Angeles Open-two into the range and two on to Patricia Ave.

arnie-plaque

The updated bronze memorial put up in 2017 after Arnie’s passing

PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, and Senior Tour events have all been held on this track.  The list of winners in the L.A. Open  at Rancho Park during the period from 1956 to 1972 is a who’s who of great players from the era.  They include Lloyd Mangrum, Doug Ford,  Frank Stranahan (amateur), Ken Venturi, Arnold Palmer (3 times), Bob Goalby, Dow Finsterwald, Charlie Sifford, and Billy Casper.

Wall of Winners in the hallway to the Rancho Park Restaurant

In spite of it’s municipal conditioning-it’s location means it gets over 100,000 rounds a year-this course has the bones of a championship layout.  The back nine in particular has some incredibly cool holes that will challenge you skill set.

Three putting greens out front…you can lose serious change to a hustling local

putting-greenThis was recommended to me by a number of guys who have played the best L.A. has to offer as a place well worth spending an afternoon of adventurous golf.  They were not wrong….it is worth letting your hair down, renting a hand cart, and walking this most enjoyable track in the middle of Los Angeles.

September, 2016

moerate4

First Tee Celebration 2016

Welcome SignOur annual celebration with the First Tee Programs of Montgomery County and the Greater Washington D.C. was a day of high energy and fun for over 30 kids and the 20 volunteers who were part of this. The emphasis was volunteers and professional staff supporting the nine principles that are the bedrock of the First Tee Program.

Respect-Perserverance-Honesty-Integrity-Courtesy-Responsibility-Sportsmanship-Confidence-Judgement

These kids come from diverse backgrounds and make it evident by their poise, grace, and self confidence that golf can teach valuable life skills and they “get it”.

Group Shot With Everyone

Smaller Group ShotOur volunteers ages 14 to 85 provided exactly what these kids needed-smiles, reassurance, and support of the development of their understanding of what the game has to offer.

Adult VolunteersFrom our youngest to our seniors our volunteers were charming and gracious.

Our Youngest Volunteers

Our Senior Leslie and GeneThere were those mugging for the camera…..

Volunteers HammingThumbs Up….but all had rapt attention to the proceedings.

This Big

Putting Oversight

Volunteer and Chipping Result

Girl TalkThe day’s activities began with some proper stretching and warm-up drills.  Stretch the hammies and work the hip flexors.

Warm Up 2Warm UpHammy StretchHip FlexationAll the kids went through the rotation of three clinics with our professional staff.  At the driving range with Geoff they covered the basics of grip, stance, takeaway, and follow through.  Some needed firm direction while others needed us to stand back appreciate youthful talent.

Geoff At RangeGeoff ClinicGetting A GripAlexFelix Follow ThruThe second rotation was a clinic on green side skills with Trillium like pitching and chipping. It was about working on technique, visualizing the shot, and listening to the brush of the grass that indicated the proper result.  She even gave them some drills they could take with them to work on their own.

Chipping ClinicTrill ExplainingChipping DrillTrill DrillChristina ChippingThe last stop was a clinic on the Zen of putting with Connor.  This included stroke fundamentals, speed control, and reading direction.  Some cool competitions were included as well as proper celebration techniques.

Putting ClinicPuttingPutting2Thanking the fansA break for a picnic lunch where we got to just sit and chat…..healthy sandwiches, fresh fruit, and some chocolate chip cookies for the big kids.  We were all very good at eating.

Chowing DownThen it was out to the big course to put what they learned to work.  It is amazing how these kids handle themselves on the course.  Fixing ball marks, raking bunkers, marking their ball properly, and respecting the efforts of their playing partners.

Felix On CourseSabrina On CourseMaking A PuttCheck out this awesome video of one of the kids making a clutch putt.  The group celebration speaks volumes about how much these kids understand about playing golf with your friends.

One last bit of business to thank the volunteers, the staff, and the organizers for putting this together.  And most important, thanking the kids for being part of this beautiful day, sending them away with a few goodies to commemorate the event.

Presentation SpeechThanks for ComingParticpation CertificatesSpecial thanks to Connor Farrell, Steve Keller, Moe Dweck, and Alexandra Uduk for all the hard work in assembling this event.  Thanks to Woodmont Country Club and their professional staff for hosting us and the First Tee Chapters of Montgomery County and Greater Washington D.C. for hooking us up with these great kids.

First Tee Greater Wash LogoFirst Tee Montgomery County

August, 2016

(Photos provided by Steve Keller, Moe Dweck, Michael Pius, Binsar Siahaan, Alexandra Uduk)

Heritage of Golf Exhibition

If you are at Gullane Golf Club and are looking for a “diamond in the rough” experience you should call ahead and make an appointment with Archie Baird to see his wonderful Heritage of Golf Exhibition.

Young Archie and another interested golf historian

Archie and a StudentArchie, at the sprite young age of 92,  is someone worth meeting on his own merit.  A former Secretary of the Gullane Golf Club, a proper Scotsman with a wonderful sense of humor who still has a youthful glint in his eye.  He has an enormous amount of golf history in his head and, despite a few pregnant memory moments, he is willing to share it all with you.

His Heritage of Golf Exhibition is a cluttered room next door to the Gullane Golf Club Pro Shop.  It is like going through Archie’s attic, full of folkloric pictures, old clubs and balls, and assorted other memorabilia from his personal collection he has accumulated over a very engaged golfing career in the East Lothian area.  This collection reminds us that East Lothian, with one of the most robust collections of early links courses in the British Isles, had a long and storied rivalry with St. Andrews as to the epicenter of golf in Scotland.

A smattering of the lineage of original clubs from the way back machine

Wood shafted clubsThe coolest part of this is, as Archie says, unlike any other museum of golf history you walk through you can actually pick up, touch, and feel all these historic treasures.  You will be amazed at how just holding a feathery ball or an ash shafted spoon  in your hand tells you so much more about its role in golf history.

Just pick one, any one, and give it a waggle

Seasoned ClubsA ball library along with the menu at the turn

Ball LibraryThe original kick-stand club carrier-you can actually pick it up

First club carrierArchie’s story begins with how the Dutch, not the Scots, invented the game.  He has a print of an Adriaen Van de Velde painting from 1668 to prove it.  The story moves on to Scotland and the eastern coastal towns near Dunbar, North Berwick, Musselburgh, Leith, and St. Andrews.

Depiction of North Berwick Links then….does not look much different now…

North Berwick LinksIt includes the earliest rivalries from the mid 1800’s covering the stories of the early Open Championships at Prestwick and the Red Leather Belt that was bestowed to the champions.  Old Tom and Young Tom Morris and Old Willie and Young Willie Park had turned it into a family rivalry in the early years.

Old Willie Park had his own stature in the history of the game

Old Willie ParkYoung Willie followed in pop’s boot steps

Young Willie ParkArchie then gets to the whole development of the ball thing….from Feathery to Guttie to the Wound Haskell ball at the turn of the 20th Century.  He covers the development of clubs from ash to hickory to steel in the late 1920’s.  These technological changes made it more affordable and allowed the game to be embraced by more and more people…it was critical to the development of golf in those early years.

It took half a day to stuff a hat full of damp feathers into this hand-sewn leather cover….not a cheap enterprise….they could only make about 3 balls a day

Feathery BallThe Guttie, molded from a gum-like material, was more durable and cheaper to produce

The GuttieThe device that allowed them to wind hundreds of feet of rubber bands around a solid core to make the first Haskell balls

Wound Ball MachineYounger Archie with the fisherman’s version…a reshaped fish hook with a hemp grip and a rock surrounded by cork for the ball…..golfers will try anything to play

Fishermans GolfThe rest is just an eclectic collection of all sorts of odds and ends that will fascinate you.  Delivered with a bit of wit and lots of common sense knowledge Archie gives this stuff a life all it’s own.

The proper “Members Only” outfit…

Members Only Attire

Friends in high places..signed Masters flag and personal note from Ben Crenshaw commemorating his first win at Augusta

Crenshaw Masters WinHis registry list of all the great links of Scotland

Scottish Course RegistryPotpourri…this display case reminds me a golfing grandmother’s living room….

Memorabila of the AgesIf you are at Gullane to play golf take the time to call ahead and arrange for a half hour walk through Archie’s attic…you will not be disappointed.

 

Contact Information:

The Heritage of Golf Museum

Gullane Golf Club

East Lothian, Scotland EH32 2BB

Contact: Archie Baird  01875 870277

July, 2016

Postcard From North Berwick

Golf has been played at North Berwick for centuries but like a number of the small towns in East Lothian it is a unique place with a character all it’s own.  Today it is very much a suburban enclave for professional people who work in Edinburgh, the train connection which is under a half hour makes this an easy place to bring up a family in an environment with all the perks of a big city without the urban anxieties.

The West Links Golf Club dates back to 1832 and the place has all the attributes of a old school distinguished Scottish links.

North Berwick Clubhouse….handsome sandstone weathered to distinction

Clubhouse 2Trophy cases in the members bar glisten with pride

Bar Trophy CaseWood paneled member’s board room has tradition coming out of it’s pores

Board Room Fireplace (1)The original members lockers are incorporated into the decor

LockersList of the club Captains, as well as men’s and ladies champions, adorn the walls

Berwick CaptainsThere is no getting lost……

Directions to Golf ShopThe golf shop….a simple understated building for such a famous links

Golf ShopStarter’s Lodge is somewhat updated

Starters PlaceEven the weather vane has a themed message to it

Weather Vane (1)

There were volcanic eruptions in Scotland creating notable land forms

NB 11Lest you forget the course shares the shoreline beach with the locals

The BeachBass, Lamb, and Fidra rocks may be the most iconic visuals of North Berwick

The RocksThey lord over the links and present convenient aiming lines for the players

Bass Rock Through ReedsThe ghostly appearance of Bass Rock behind the 17th for example

NB 17 approach

Then there is the kitchy course…you got this approach shot in your bag?

NB 3 Wall Approach

North Berwick is so much more than the Old Links, it is a quaint country town.  First class hotel, inns, kitchy shops, new age restaurants, and all the fixins.

The Marine Hotel has lavished visitors with high end service for generations

Marine HotelIt sports a Children’s Pitch and Putt Course…you must be accompanied by a kid

Childrens Course 1The town bulletin board buys into the golf tradition of North Berwick

Community BoardThey do remember why many folks come and what they need

Golfers RestNarrow winding streets are full of local upscale shops and restaurants

Town StreetIt’s not without it’s rules, though apparently some don’t heed the promulgations

No ParkingLike a good family place all creatures are welcome and treated with dignity

Dog Friendly

Even those without house training are accommodated in the public square

Lighthouse with birdTrendy clothing that fits the young population’s vibe

FatfaceRestaurants for all tastes

Pauls Yard DeliNew age establishments….like Zitto’s Italian Wine Bar and Tapas

ZittoEven has an asymmetric new age business card

Zitto CardAs it should, in the end it all comes back to treats for all ages

GelatoNorth Berwick…come for the revered links golf..but take time to borrow a child and play the pitch and putt, stroll the town for some shopping and a gelato,  or make time for  a tasty piece of Scottish salmon or a fine plate of pasta.  North Berwick is a special place….take the time to enjoy all that this lovely community has to offer.

July, 2016