Elevate Your Game
Swing Through Northern Arizona on Your Summer Road Trip
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contents AZ Golf News
48 8. 12. 42. 56.
COVER STORY - NORTHERN EXPOSURE The classic road trip is revisited at a number of fantastic stops in Northern Arizona
USGA RESEARCH FOCUSED ON GROWING IT BETTER | By Pete Kowalski The USGA’s Green Section has provided the model for service, sustainability, and conditioning on all ‘touchpoints’ of any golf course/facility
SCOTLAND HISTORY & TRAVEL | By Joshua C. Evenson The third installment of the series, profiling the earliest origins of The Open Championship
THE R&A - USGA DISTANCE INSIGHTS REPORT A look at the Distance Insights Project, the R&A and USGA’s report studying the past, present and future impacts of distance in golf
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SIGNATURE HOLE MEMBERS ONLY AGA NEWS 19TH HOLE
RULES By Ed Gowan Test your knowledge of the Rules on the putting green, where players are able to do a number of things not allowed elsewhere on the course.
OUT OF BOUNDS By Gary Van Sickle One golfer’s response to the R&A and USGA’s proposed major changes to the rules of amateur status.
ON THE COVER
With Cathedral Rock as its backdrop, the 10th hole at Sedona Golf Resort has been called “The Most Photographed Par 3 in the Southwest” - and is one of many reasons to think about traveling north this summer.
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ARIZONAGOLF INSIDER 7600 E. Redfield Rd., Suite 130, Scottsdale, AZ 85260 (602) 944-3035 | www.azgolf.org
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OFFICERS
From the Executive Director BY ED GOWAN
e have learned a great deal over the past twelve months about ourselves, the Game of Golf, and its place in Arizona. The renewed interest in playing that has filled courses to the brim, created waitlists for tournaments well in advance of deadlines, and spurred a growth in those interested in learning the game have been an unexpected joy. Add into the mix that we have released a new set of Rules, a World Handicap System, adjusted Course Ratings, added Apps and Outreach services, integrated with the AWGA into one organization for all golfers, produced a new and different Arizona Golf Insider, added four Digital Golf Insiders, and much more. We have never experienced the intensity of communications from members, clubs and outsiders running as high as 800 per day. Needless to say, it’s a great “problem” and opportunity to have. That said, our staff through the now lessening impact of the pandemic have risen above any reasonable expectations in their efforts to support you and the Game. Our expanded outreach during this time has translated into expanded events, added membership benefits, travel opportunities and charitable giving. All of these efforts are made to enhance your opportunities and enjoyment for your golf profile no matter what it entails. And, we are just beginning. Golf does have challenges, and they are not minor in any way. You may have seen some of our communications about water issues facing the State, and where golf fits into the 4 | ARIZONA GOLF INSIDER |
future vision. In this issue, we are sharing some of what the USGA is doing in relation to the environment, and some of the opportunities for clubs that are being made available. For golfers, it’s information that will be critically important as the political environment develops over the next few years. We can only hope for a few wet years to forestall the inevitable changes in water access being driven by an expanding population. Golf has an important role to fill well beyond recreation as you will learn. The issue of Distance is also addressed inside in an edited form. The full report from the USGA is available on USGA. org. I encourage everyone to look deeper into the arguments. Clearly we cannot continue on the path of the last twenty-five years, or one hundred to take the long view, for many reasons — the environment being as important as the loss of skill required at the highest level of play by both men and women. On the other hand, the average golfer has not benefitted proportionately, because although many can hit the ball farther, average scores and handicaps have not changed. There is so much happening that communication among golfers is more important than ever before. We will do our best to include you in all that is and will be happening. No matter what the future holds, Arizona will remain THE State for Golf.
PRESIDENT ......................................... Bob McNichols VICE PRESIDENT ........................................ Tim Brown VICE PRESIDENT .................................... Michelle Cross SECRETARY ............................................. John Souza TREASURER .......................................... Tim Hulscher GENERAL COUNSEL ....................................... Greg Mast
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Jackie Bertsch, Tim Brown, Vera Ciancola, Michelle Cross, Barbara Fitzgerald, Ed Gowan, Bryan Hoops, Jerry Huff, Tim Hulscher, Mark Jeffery, Mike Kane, Leslie Kramer, Ann Martin, Scott McNevin, Bob McNichols, John Souza
Ed Gowan, David Bataller, Anj Brown, Alexa Cerra, Tim Eberlein, Le Ann Finger, Brianna Gianiorio, Sharon Goldstone, Vivian Kelley, Mike Mason, Derek McKenzie, Chris Montgomery, Robyn Noll, Cullen Perron, Logan Rasmussen, Kylie Shoemake, Alex Tsakiris, Susan Woods Advertising and Sponsor Contact................. Chris Montgomery email@example.com - (602) 872-7011 National Advertising Contact......................... Brian Foster firstname.lastname@example.org - (602) 909-7799
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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF .................................. David Bataller AGA EDITOR .............................................. Anj Brown GENERAL ASSIGNMENTS ................................ Tom Mackin CONTRIBUTORS.......................... Ed Gowan, David Bataller, Anj Brown, Josh Evenson, Scott McNevin, Chris Montgomery, Pete Kowalski, Gary Van Sickle
SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES
PERRINE ADAMS, ROBYN LAMBERT, LISA GRANNIS, MICHELLE SCHNEIDER, DEIDRA VIBERG CREATIVE DIRECTION ........................... Haines Wilkerson, Hither & Wander Inc. ART DIRECTION ....................................... Michael Min FOR PRINT ADVERTISING SALES CONTACT: SALES@ONMEDIAAZ.COM Arizona Golf Insider (ISSN 2765-9054) is published four times per year by the Arizona Golf Association. It is supported by members’ dues, utilizing $5 per member per year. We welcome all editorial submissions, including letters, but assume no responsibility for the loss or damage of unsolicited material. They will not be returned unless accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Views expressed within these pages do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or official policies of the Arizona Golf Association. No part of this magazine is intended as an endorsement of any equipment, publication, videotape, golf course, or other entity. No part of this magazine may be reproduced for use as an advertising, publicity or endorsement item without written approval of the AGA. Arizona Golf Insider is offered on a subscription basis for $12.95 annually. Individual copies may be obtained by forwarding $5 to the address above.
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The Preserve Golf Club Winding through the beautiful canyons and foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, The Preserve Golf Club 18-hole Championship Course gives you the feeling that you’re literally on top of the world. Perched at a higher altitude than most other golf clubs in Tucson, the challenging yet eminently playable layout by Scottsdalebased course designer Dick Bailey is a must-play. Spectacular views, undulating greens and dramatic elevation changes promise an unforgettable day with many a story to tell over post-round beers at The Preserve Fine Dining restaurant and bar.
SIGNATURE HOLE HOLE #6 PAR 3
Visually stunning and a bit intimidating. Carry the wash to a green set up like an amphitheater. The bunker in the front right will save you from penalty area. The miss on this hole is to the left where the ball will kick off the natural landscape down toward the green.
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THE WIGWAM Escape, unwind and rejuvenate at The Wigwam. The 440-acre oasis resort nestled in Phoenix’s West Valley blends casual elegance with world-class service. The AAA Four Diamond retreat features 331 beautifully appointed guest casitas and suites, four pools, tennis and the LeMonds – Aveda Salon and Spa. The Wigwam is Arizona’s only 54-hole golf resort with two golf courses, designed by legendary course architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. (Gold and Blue Courses) and the Robert “Red” Lawrence-designed Red Course. Stay, Play and Save with The Wigwam’s Summer golf package that includes accommodations, 18 holes of golf daily with unlimited same day replay and daily breakfast. WIGWAMARIZONA.COM/GOLF-PACKAGES
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AGA 2021 4.667x7.1875 .qxp_. 3/2/21 12:42 PM Page 1
FIVE NET ONE FIVE COURSES ONE MEMBERSHIP
TRAVEL WITH THE AGA Quail Lodge & Golf Club
Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Club THE ADOBE COURSE
THE GOLD COURSE
Memberships at The Wigwam and The Arizona Biltmore Golf
Poppy Hills Golf Club
Clubs include reciprocal playing privileges at both properties. The Wigwam is home to three incredible golf courses, while the legendary Arizona Biltmore features two fun-to-play courses, located in the heart of Phoenix.
602.955.9656 AZBiltmoreGC.com 2400 EAST MISSOURI AVE. PHOENIX, AZ 85016
623.935.3811 WigwamGolf.com 300 EAST WIGWAM BLVD. LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ 85340
Experience the beauty of the Monterey Peninsula with the AGA September 20-23, 2021. Registration includes three nights lodging at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa on Del Monte Golf Course, a reception, and three rounds of golf at Quail Lodge & Golf Club, Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Club, and Poppy Hills Golf Club. Single Occupancy: $1,550 Double Occupancy: $2,300 For more information and to register:
Arizona The concept of a road trip is Iconic. It has been a part of American culture and mythology since the invention of the automobile. Whether it’s for a family vacation or a long weekend getaway, the road trip is something everyone looks forward to year after year. With travel and business restrictions lifting, it is time to plan your next road trip adventure. This summer head North and visit one or all of these great Arizona destinations.
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COVER STORY tAntelope Hills Golf Courses – PRESCOTT PLAY at Antelope Hills Golf Courses - Home of the 62nd Father and Son Championship presented by Van’s Golf Shop in June. Founded in 1956, Antelope Hills Golf Courses offer travelers 36 holes of golf for players of all skill levels. The “North” course features 6,539 yards of tree lined fairways and small greens. The “South” course offers 6,129 yards of links style golf with wide open fairways. (antelopehillsgolf.com) Prescott is a great place for a summer swing. At 5,000 ft, the weather is almost always great if occasionally windy. During the AGA’s annual Father-Son, the 280 or so teams fill the town and both courses from dawn to dark. Both courses are great fun, but don’t discount the North at 6,500 yards…it’s as difficult a 6,500 as there is because of the small sloped greens. A blast to play. Make a weekend of it if you can - it’s well worth your time. When your round is finished… EAT at Murphy’s. There you can enjoy the “civilized western” ambience in the historic landmark building that once was a Mercantile and General Store in the 1890’s. With some of the finest chef prepared dishes, it is a great way to end your day. (murphysprescott. com) After dinner, there are more than enough watering holes to enjoy as well.
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STAY at the Hassayampa Inn. You can continue with the “civilized western” experience as the Hassayampa Inn is a restored boutique hotel in the heart of Prescott’s historic downtown. The Inn will transport you back in time with the hand painted lobby ceiling and wall murals. There are lot of great places with historic charm in Arizona, but not many are like the Hassayampa Inn. (hassayampainn.com)
Silver Creek Golf Club
pSilver Creek Golf Club – SHOW LOW PLAY at Silver Creek Golf Club. This Gary Panks-designed course offers challenges for every level golfer. It has a fun and interesting layout and is one of the hidden gems in Arizona. The course is backed into the rolling juniper hills of Show Low and provides a true test for the golf enthusiast. Pay special attention to the 18th hole, their signature hole, which is 516 yards uphill. (silvercreekgolfaz.com) As crowded as most Arizona courses are these days, Silver Creek is a great escape where you can find your ball almost all the time and play it. Great fun, the way golf was meant to be. EAT at The House and Red Barn Creamery. This is a perfect stop for lunch or after a long day of playing golf or outdoor activities. It offers a fun and casual outdoor dining set-up that is dog friendly and one of the best ways to celebrate getting out
of the desert heat. Known for their burgers, it has been said that it is the Red Barn Creamery that really makes the dining experience complete. This family friendly restaurant and service will remind you what is great about being outdoors in Northern Arizona. (thehouseshowlow.com) STAY at Pinetop Vista Cabins. At an elevation of 6,804 feet, enjoy the fresh air while tucked away in the beautiful Ponderosa Pines. This getaway will allow you to unwind on the front porch swing, hit the many hiking trails, or just spend a relaxing day fishing in one of the surrounding lakes. With five different cabin options available, each fully furnished complete with a modern kitchen, gas BBQ and large decks, this experience will allow you to relax and recharge. (pinetopvistacabins.com) AZGOLF.ORG
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Cruisers Café 66
pOakcreek Country Club – SEDONA PLAY - Oakcreek Country Club. For a serene and even breathtaking experience , this Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr. track was designed for players of all levels to enjoy. It is open to the public and is a superbly manicured championship level golf course offering five sets of tees ranging from 4,419 to 6,824 yards, featuring classic tree-lined doglegs with strategically-placed fairway bunkers. With the Red Rocks of Sedona as the backdrop of most the holes, this is a relaxing golf and road trip “must” this summer. (oakcreekcc.com) Oakcreek regularly hosts the AGA’s Northern Amateur among others. It’s a traditional golf course with narrow doglegs and smallish greens to offset the elevation benefits. If yours is more than a day-trip, think about Sedona Golf Resort and Seven Canyons. The views are equally spectacular and the golf is challenging, if for only the fact that it’s hard to keep your eye on the ball when it’s in the air against the majestic backdrops.
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p EAT at Elote Café. This chef-owned restaurant features a modern twist on Mexican and Southwestern cuisine. Elote Café and Chef Jeff Smedstad take pride in offering seasonal, locally grown ingredients, and provide some of the finest tequilas and mezcal. Whether you choose to eat inside or out, it is a unique experience where you will enjoy bold and flavorful cuisine said to “get a creative and tasty update.” (elotecafe.com) STAY somewhere more in tune with the iconic road trip and stay in a B&B. The Whispering Creek Bed and Breakfast is an intimate place with awe inspiring views of the Red Rocks. With the calming atmosphere and personal service, one can relax and really soak up the healing energy of the Sedona. (whisperingcreekbnb.com) If you’re looking for an out-of-the-way stop, drive up the canyon a mile or two, find a creekside restaurant and take a hike back into the canyons along the creek.
pElephant Rocks Golf Course – WILLIAMS PLAY - There may not be a better place to get out of the heat and play a relaxing round of golf than Elephant Rocks Golf Course. With an elevation of 7,000 feet above sea level, this favorite in Williams, Ariz. guarantees you at least a 30-degree difference from the valley or south of the valley. This hidden gem is the type of course that is fun and can be made challenging if you play from the back tees. Featuring 6,695 yards of golf and reasonable fees, this we;ll-known track is a must-include for the perfect road trip. (elephant-rocks.com) There are plenty of lakes and trees to get your attention, especially on the finishing holes. The sixteenth and seventeenth are narrow and challenging. and scoring close to par is necessary to shoot a good score. But then you have the Par-3 18th, allowing you to finish with a four (or less). EAT at Cruisers Café 66. If you want a variety of food options and a great atmosphere, Cruisers Café 66 is an ideal stop on your road trip this summer. This very popular place has live music at night and great outdoor seating to for those coming from the south to enjoy the cooler weather. (cruisers66.com) STAY at the Red Garter Inn. Located on the iconic Route 66, this intimate locale captures the pre-1900’s atmosphere in a restored building that once housed a saloon and bordello. The Red Garter Inn provides modern comforts and rich history. Some say it is even haunted. Add this to your summer road trip and you may even have a story to share with friends. (redgarter.com)
Continental Country Club
pContinental Country Club - FLAGSTAFF PLAY - Continental Country Club. Nestled at the foot of Mount Elden, Continental Country Club provides the perfect escape from the scorching desert temperatures. Flagstaff’s longest running country club and only public golf course, it is known for narrow fairways and smaller greens. This 6,014 yard course designed by Bob Baldock is not something to underestimate. Towering pine trees line most of the holes, making for a unique change of scenery that shields you from the harsh, high country winds. (continentalflagstaff.com) But be warned: Short does not equate with “easy” here. Pines, rocky outcroppings and small greens make this an enjoyable golf experience, and you will probably like the time it takes to play as well. EAT at Josephine’s Modern American Bistro. Once you finish your round, it’s just a short five mile drive to one of Flagstaff’s premiere restaurants. Josephine’s Modern American Bistro,
Josephine’s Modern American Bistro
located just a few blocks from historic downtown, features a frequently updated menu that showcases the best produce and seafood that the season has to offer. Pair your meal with a bottle of wine from their extensive wine list which has been featured on the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for the past six years. (josephinesrestaurant.com) STAY In the heart of Flagstaff is one of the most iconic hotels in northern Arizona. The Weatherford Hotel offers authentic Old West fashioned rooms with multiple bars and restaurants to enhance your stay and experience. Opened on New Year’s Day in 1900, it is also rumored to have ghosts, contributing to your “old west” experience. The Weatherford Hotel is an ideal place to stay, located in the center of downtown Flagstaff close to art galleries and other nightlife entertainment. (weatherfordhotel.com) AZGOLF.ORG
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Research is Focused on
‘Growing it Better’ WORDS BY PETE KOWALSKI
olfers are a savvy group of consumers, keeping up with industry trends in equipment and places to play. And like most within sports, they are experience seekers driven by first-person happenings that engage their senses and emotions. The pursuit of the ‘what I did’ experience in golf, however, begins with the arena – the tees, greens, fairways, unique landforms, trees, shrubs, variety of grasses and soil types, water, and bunkers of the course. Believe it or not, there’s a group that has made this ‘experience’ their mission for 100 years -- the Green Section of the United States Golf Association (USGA), with headquarters in Liberty Corner, N.J. and regionally across the U.S. In 2020, the USGA committed $1.9 million to research grants and has now invested more than $41 million to advance golf by using science and innovation as the foundation to impact thousands of courses and millions of golfers. The Green Section has provided the model for service, sustainability, and conditioning on all the ‘touchpoints’ to any golf course/facility – public or private. NFL stadiums have also adapted grasses developed from USGA research.
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ARIZONA GOLF INSIDER
The USGA Green Section has four departments to tackle its nationwide work: Turfgrass and Environmental Research (23 turfgrass research projects conducted by the University of Arizona), Education, Championship Agronomy, and Course Consulting Service. “The Green Section started with the research program which looked at improved turf grass and cultivars and then in the 1950s, the Turf Advisory Service (TAS) was launched,” said Matt Pringle, managing director of the USGA Green Section. “TAS is now the Course Consulting Service, which brings important innovations and improvements coming out of the research program directly to the golf course with the help of the consulting agronomists.” Considering the vastness of the United States, and the varying climates and conditions for soil and grass care, there is a need for individualized plans,
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which may contain many layers. Arizona, in the Desert Southwest of the U.S., provides a complicated puzzle for anyone in the golf turf business. “Even at the beginning of the research, with Arizona as an example, there was a bent grass cultivar that led to very significant reductions in water consumption and improved quality in the playing season,” Pringle said. “We continue to build on that for increased cold tolerance of those cultivars so that players are still getting the quality conditions they look for.” No matter the locale, there is quite a scope of work for research and optimized best practices in course care. The USGA has divided the nation into four sections – Northeast, Southeast, Central, and West – and has eight full-time agronomists on staff to consult with member courses. In 2017, the USGA unveiled what it dubbed the “Facility Tool.” While operators benefit from its ability to generate flow rates for pace-of-play analysis, the tool’s “heat-mapping” feature emerged as the change agent for course maintenance and renovation. The “heat” has nothing to do with temperature. Rather, it shows data values represented as colors; red is high use and blue is low use. GPS technology has thousands of uses, the most basic of which is tracking movement. How golfers move around a course — or fail to — helps or hinders pace of play. If you can track patterns, uncover bottlenecks and address them, you can significantly whittle down a 4.5-hour round. That was the hypothesis in rolling out a series of tests in 2014 using GPS “loggers” placed on golfers at 135 courses around the country. The USB-drive-sized devices fit easily in pants pockets and recorded a golfer’s position every five seconds. Interns stationed at the first tees of select courses collected additional demographic and player-ability information to help calibrate the results. What the USGA hadn’t anticipated was the emergence of an alternative application of the technology that would be a game-changer for superintendents. “We pride ourselves on looking at things from different angles, and the shift to agronomy occurred with [retired Green Section Director] Jim Moore,” says Scott Mingay, USGA director of product development. “Jim had a passion for water use and educating courses about conservation. He had a vision of putting this to use to help courses make data-driven decisions about water conservation and turf removal.” The Facility Tool is effective, efficient and easy to deploy. And while the
USGA doesn’t publish pricing, any interested course can contact the AGA for information. Another aspect of the research is determining where golfers travel and where turf is needed and bunkers aren’t. Specifically, through the GPS Service, data on where golfers are going and also how fast they are playing, can be collected along with course data. From this empirical information, facilities can have solid ground to make concise decisions for budgets, maintenance programs, and resource/material/labor deployment. Becoming and remaining a stable, strong, and friendly neighbor with the environment as more and more emphasis sits on sustainability. Resource consumption is another of the key points of the contemporary USGA Green Section. This GPS data can assist in all these areas, which also will result in cost savings in water and maintenance. Arizona will be a focus into the future for these programs. Funding for further research and subsequent interpretation and implementation by the Green Section collection of scientists targets Arizona golf courses in these critical areas: Development of grasses that use less water and/or use lower-quality water (recycled or treated); Management practices such as overseeding, irrigation scheduling, soil-moisture sensing, and water budgeting that improve the efficiency of water use; Development of bermudagrass
and zoysiagrass that retain their color in winter, which would reduce the need for overseeding. This last element alone would greatly assist us in presenting a compelling argument for the future of golf courses in the urban environment. When one of the largest economic impact drivers is also a leader in environmental consciousness, even the most critical opponents must concede a point or two. In another close-to-home project funded by the USGA, Phoenix is one of a group of cities that will be studied in the Natural Capital Project. Headed by the University of Minnesota, this project measures the value of golf courses in an urban community through ecosystem services, which according to the study, are the benefits humans receive from the environment. “The future of golf course maintenance and golfer operations is science-, technology-, and data-based,” said Hunki Yun, who was part of the RSU team and is now the Green Section’s director of business development. “The legacy of courses, which operated for decades, is unfortunately not enough to get the job done in these challenging times where you have participation issues as a trend. There are greater challenges and demands with water, labor, and regulations. It is harder to operate than it used to be. To handle that you need more help, and we are in the position to provide it. That is the future and where we can help golf courses.” AZGOLF.ORG
The future of golf course maintenance and golfer operations is science-, technology-, and databased,
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STEP BY STEP A GAME WAS MADE OPEN WORDS BY JOSHUA C. EVENSON
t the heart of the game of golf for many is the four majors: The Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship. Golfers and non-golfers from around the world are virtual spectators for four days per event each year, dreaming of one day walking one of the championship courses playing host to the event. For The Open Championship - the oldest of the majors - many of us long to stroll the links golf courses in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland where the wind, rain, sand, and land often dictate what player rises to win that year. In the 160 years that The Open Championship has been in existence, the tournament has been cancelled on only two occasions - with the exceptions of World War I (1915-1919) and World War II (1940-1945). The first time was in 1871. The second non-war cancellation was last year in 2020 due to the pandemic. AZGOLF.ORG
ARIZONA GOLF INSIDER
PRESTWICK - BIRTHPLACE OF THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Designed and built by Old Tom Morris in 1855, it is one of two or three traditional links that is among the most respected and historic in Scotland. Located southeast of Glasgow, it is just 20 miles from another past Open-rota course: Turnberry Golf Club. Prestwick hosted the first eleven Open Championships, and has hosted twenty-four to date - second only to Old Course at St Andrews Links. Most every early golf champion won here. Note to the Reader: The original ‘Alps’ hole - one of the great template holes - later appreciated and replicated by other leading golf course architects, is the seventeenth hole. If you have the joy to one day play it, be sure to have a pair of hiking shoes or at least a pair with good spikes. FOUNDING OF THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Early evangelists of any game rarely leave an impact that can be felt - and experienced - for decades or even centuries that follow as that game grows. In our great old game, the forefathers who brought the game from primitive to professional include the likes of a few Scottish men from the ancient Kingdom of Fife, East Lothian and South Ayrshire. They included Allan Robertson, The Morris Family, The Park Family, The Dunns Family, Andrew Strath and countless other men who built clubs, made golf balls, maintained the greens, and eventually designed and built golf courses that live on to this day. When The Open was founded in 1860, by members of Prestwick Golf Club, the purpose of the event was to determine ‘The Champion Golfer’ of the day. For it was in 1859 that Allan Robertson passed away after being the widely accepted finest golfer in Scotland. At his passing, it was questionable who would take up the torch as the finest living golfer. To determine the answer, a tournament needed to be conducted. The first trophy was a handmade Moroccan leather belt, along with 25 pounds, called the Challenge Belt. If someone were to win it three times, the belt would be theirs to keep. From 1868-1870, Young Tom Morris won The Open three times in succession. As such, there was no belt to be played for in 1871 - the first time The Open was cancelled. Prestwick did not believe a man would win their tournament so swiftly that the trophy would become the possession of one person. Tommy Morris, they say, was one of the finest golfers to ever play the game. And he came from a legendary pedigree of golfers who lived and breathed golf every day of the week - except Sunday, the Sabbath, it was a day of rest for both the links and workers of Old Tom Morris’ shop. After meetings among Prestwick, The Royal & Ancient Golf Club and Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, The Golf Champion Trophy (commonly known as the Claret Jug) became the trophy. Robertson is widely accepted as the first golf professional, as well. He was a ball and club 28 | ARIZONA GOLF INSIDER |
St Andrews by Robert Kelsey
Prestwick hosted the first eleven Open Championships, and has hosted twenty-four to date - second only to Old Course at St Andrews Links.
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To the historians among us, The Open Championship is the most special tournament of all. It is the oldest. It is the most historic. It was the first.
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maker who lived and conducted business in St Andrews. He was a master craftsman of making the early feathery golf ball, as well as the various hickory clubs used in that vintage - including various brassies, spoons, mashies, niblicks, and more. Tom Morris first learned his trade from Mr. Robertson in St Andrews before moving to Prestwick due to a well-known feud where Robertson noticed Tom playing with a new gutta percha ball from another maker; he fired him immediately, leaving him unemployed. These steps led to Old Tom Morris becoming one of the first professional golf course architects. We know that he charged only a couple pounds for his work, plus expenses. Many courses were laid-out in a couple days. He would see the land, plant stakes for the tees, as well as for the greens, maybe a bunker or two, and then be on his way. In 1865, Old Tom Morris returned to St Andrews and became known as The Keeper of The Greens of St Andrews. This meant he was the caretaker of the course, ensuring the greens were cut and the course would be in the best shape it could be. And in 1895, he designed the New Course at St Andrews Links - a favorite among the locals. To the historians among us, The Open Championship is the most special tournament of all. It is the oldest. It is the most historic. It was the first. For these reasons and more, The Open Championship is the most important of all. As Jack Nicklaus once said: “If you’re going to be a player people will remember, you have to win The Open at St Andrews.” 2021 ROYAL ST GEORGE’S GOLF CLUB
As The Open Championship returns to Royal St Georges for the fourteenth time in July Robert Kelsey 2021, we eagerly await watching The Open Championship being played again, as they crown The Champion Golfer of the year for the 149th time. Who do you think will win? A journeyman? A less-known player? A past Open Champion?
SUGGESTED READING: 1. Behrend, John and Lewis, Peter N., CHALLENGES & CHAMPIONS, The Royal & Ancient Golf Club, 1754-1883, (The Royal & Ancient Golf Club, 1998) 2. Cook, Kevin, TOMMY’S HONOR, The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf’s Founding Father and Son, (Avery, 2008) 3. Joy, David, THE SCRAPBOOK OF OLD TOM MORRIS, (John Wiley & Sons, 2001) 4. Lewis, Peter N., WHY ARE THERE EIGHTEEN HOLES, St Andrews and the Evolution of Golf Courses, 1764-1890, (The Royal & Ancient Golf Club, 2016) 5. McStravick, Roger, ST ANDREWS: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF OLD TOM MORRIS, (St Andrews Golf Press, 2015) AZGOLF.ORG
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R&A - USGA
Distance Insights Report WORDS FROM THE R&A AND USGA As the governing bodies overseeing the single set of playing and equipment rules that apply worldwide, the USGA and the R&A are responsible for defining and protecting the essential challenge and character of golf so that it can thrive long into the future. They continuously evolve and modernize the rules to address the many circumstances that arise in a sport that is played outdoors in a natural setting and is much affected by technological innovation and societal change. In doing so, the goal is always to respect and reinforce the core principles that golf is an enjoyable game of skill and challenge played by golfers of all levels under the same rules and on the same courses.
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The Rules of Golf state the fundamental principle that “golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the player’s judgment, skills and abilities.” The Equipment Rules likewise seek to “protect the traditions of the game, to prevent an overreliance on technological advances rather than on practice and skill, and to preserve skill differentials throughout the game.” An enduring foundation of golf is that success in getting a ball from the tee to the hole in the fewest strokes should depend on using many different skills and judgments, rather than be dominated by only one or a few. In our view, it is essential for this to remain true for play at the diverse golf courses across the world, without the need for them to keep getting longer. Hitting distances at the highest level have continued to increase. Moreover, as explained in this article, there has been a continuing trend of increases in hitting distances for more than a century and that upward direction is expected to continue in the future. 34 | ARIZONA GOLF INSIDER |
Summary of Conclusions The research in the Distance Insights Report shows that hitting distances and the lengths of golf courses have been increasing for more than 100 years. We believe that this continuing cycle of increases is undesirable and detrimental to golf’s long-term future, for two main reasons: First, the inherent strategic challenge presented by many golf courses can be compromised, especially when those courses have not or cannot become long enough to keep up with increases in the hitting distances of the golfers who play from their longest tees: >> Increased hitting distance can lead to a reduction in the variety, length and creativity of shot types needed on such courses and to holes more often being overpowered by distance, as well as to an increased emphasis on the importance of distance at the expense of accuracy and other skills. >> This can begin to undermine the core principle that the challenge of golf is
about using a broad range of skills and making risk/reward judgments during a round. >>The result is also that an increasing number of such courses, both widely renowned and less well-known, are at risk of becoming less challenging or ultimately obsolete for those who play from their longest tees – a serious loss for the game.
Second, the overall trend of golf courses becoming longer has its own adverse consequences that ultimately affect golfers at all levels and the game as a whole: >> Expanding existing courses and building longer new ones often requires significant capital investment and higher annual operating costs. >> Overall, the trend towards longer courses puts golf at odds
with the growing societal concerns about the use of water, chemicals and other resources, the pressures for development restrictions and alternative land use, and the need to mitigate the long-term effects of a changing climate and natural environment. These continuing trends have also helped create an unnecessary degree of emphasis on distance, with a seeming expectation that each new generation of golfers will hit a golf ball farther than before. We believe that a golfer’s hitting distance is fundamentally relative to hole length and the distance of those he or she competes against; golf’s essential character and skill challenge do not depend on the absolute length of a golf shot or a golf course, and golf does not become a better game each time distances and course lengths increase. This concept of relative distance has other implications at non-elite levels of play. We believe that
many recreational golfers are playing from longer tees than is necessary, which in turn increases the time it takes to play. We have a particular concern that the forward tees at many courses are very long for the hitting distances of many of the golfers who play from them. In summary, we believe that golf will best thrive over the next decades and beyond if this continuing cycle of ever-increasing hitting distances and golf course lengths is brought to an end. Longer distances, longer courses, playing from longer tees and longer times to play are taking golf in the wrong direction and are not necessary to make golf challenging, enjoyable or sustainable in the future. In reaching this conclusion, our focus is forward-looking with a goal of building on the strengths of the game today while taking steps to alter the direction and impacts of hitting distances in the best interests of its long-term future.
We believe that a golfer’s hitting distance is fundamentally relative to hole length and the distance of those he or she competes against...
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The Distance Insights Report shows that golf course lengths – meaning the total length from a course’s longest tees – have been increasing overall since 1900.
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Next Steps Our next steps will be to develop and assess potential future solutions to pursue these objectives, recognizing that this is a complex subject involving many issues, perspectives and interests. We also recognize that this assessment should not focus on player-related factors that contribute to increased distance, such as improved athleticism and swing techniques, for the desire to improve is integral to the game and is to be encouraged. Accordingly, we expect the main topic for research and assessment to be potential changes in the Equipment Rules, along with further inquiry into the effects of course design, conditions and set-up on hitting distance. Without limiting the scope of topics that may be considered, this review is expected to include the following: 1. We will assess the potential use of a Local Rule option that would specify use of clubs and/or balls intended to result in shorter hitting distances. The concept is that equipment meeting a particular set of reduced-distance specifications – for example, a ball that does not travel as far or a club that will not hit a ball as far – might be a defined subset of the overall category of conforming equipment. This could allow committees that conduct golf competitions or oversee individual courses to choose, by Local Rule authorized under the Rules of Golf, whether and when to require that such equipment be used. Such a Local Rule option could be available for use at all levels of play, and golfers playing outside of a competition could also have the option to make this choice for themselves. 2. We will also review the overall conformance specifications for both clubs and balls, including specifications that both directly and indirectly affect hitting distances. The intended purpose of this review is to consider whether any existing specifications should be adjusted or any new specifications should be created to help mitigate the continuing distance increases. It is not currently intended to consider revising the overall specifications in a way that would produce substantial reductions in hitting distances at all levels of the game.
We also intend to pursue several other topics, which will include: >> Reviewing our equipment testing processes, protocols and standards to ensure their effectiveness in relation to distance limits; >> Assessing and providing guidance on how golf course design, agronomy, maintenance and set-up can affect hitting distance; and, >> Assessing and providing guidance on the availability of short enough forward tees and the appropriate tee-to-hole playing distances for golfers of all levels.
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This long-term trend is best illustrated by reviewing the driving distances of highly skilled male golfers, which is the player group for which the most information is available. The overall record shows clear changes in relative magnitudes that confirm that distance has been increasing for these golfers since 1900.
The Long-Term Trend and Future of Hitting Distance Increases
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The Distance Insights Report shows that hitting distances have been increasing for more than 100 years. These increases have occurred in two main ways: (1) pronounced upward increases occurring at times of major equipment innovations; and (2) an overall slower but sustained increase over the long term, resulting from various factors including incremental improvements in equipment, golfer athleticism and technique and course conditions that affect distance.
>> Circa 1900 to Circa 1930. Hitting distances increased substantially during this period, following the widespread adoption of the new rubbercore ball. Contemporary reports indicate that before the new ball was used, typical driving distances for elite golfers were in the general range of 160- 200 yards (with their long drives reportedly as long as 200-220 yards), whereas by the 1930s elite golfer driving distances typically ranged between 220-260 yards (with their long drives reportedly as long as 270-290 yards). >> Circa 1930 to mid-1990s. Hitting distances increased at a slower rate during
these decades, in which improvements in equipment were more incremental. By 1995, the longest 20 hitters on the PGA TOUR (the only tour then measuring distance) were driving an average of 278 yards, with an average tour driving distance of 263 yards. >> Mid-1990s to 2003. Larger hitting distance increases occurred during this time of cutting-edge innovations in both club design (such as oversized titanium drivers, spring-like effect and increased moment of inertia) and ball design (especially non-wound, multilayer balls). By 2003, the driving distance of the 20 longest hitters from both the European Tour and the PGA TOUR averaged 303 yards, with an average driving distance for both tours combined of 286 yards. >> 2003 to 2019. By the end of 2019, the average drive of the 20 longest hitters from both the European Tour and PGA TOUR had increased to 310 yards, with the average driving distance for both tours combined increasing to 294 yards.
SHOT LENGTH TABLE MEN and WOMEN [All Distances in Yards]
SCRATCH PLAYER Full Shots
Distance After 1 Shot
Subsequent CARRY 200
Distance After 2 Shots
Distance After 2 Shots
Distance After 4 Shots
Although historical information is less available about other groups of golfers, the Distance Insights Report shows that their driving distances have also increased over the long term. For example, in 1930 elite female golfers reportedly had typical driving distances of 175-225 yards, while today the average player on the LPGA Tour drives the ball more than 250 yards and the top 20 longest hitters average more than 270 yards. The driving distances of non-elite golfers (for convenience, this group is referred to as “recreational” golfers) have also increased over the long term: today’s average drive distances for recreational men are in the range of 185-240 yards, compared to a typical range of 130- 180 yards around 1930, and today’s average drive distances for recreational women are in the range of 145-160 yards as compared to a typical range of 100-150 yards around 1930. Finally, while the historical information focuses on driving distance, it is recognized that hitting distances have increased with other clubs as well. We believe that hitting distance increases, especially for elite amateur and professional golfers, are likely to continue in the future based on the same factors that, in combination, have contributed to these past distance increases: equipment innovation; player improvements; and, course conditions. In summary, the upward trend in hitting distances will continue based on these several factors working in combination. Learning, science and technology continue to accelerate to previously unachievable levels. We believe that the continuing trend of increased hitting distance is leading to two undesirable outcomes over time: (1) an altered skill challenge for the longest hitting golfers when playing the same length courses as in the past; and (2) many golf courses continuing to become longer to offset the increased distance. Parts B and C below, respectively, discuss the implications of these two outcomes.
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>> Circa 1900 to Circa 1930s. Around 1900, the average and median lengths of 18-hole courses were in the range of 5400-5500 yards, with the 90th percentile course length at about 6100 yards. In the next three decades, average course lengths increased at a rate of more than 20 yards per year. By the 1930s, average and median course lengths were about 6200-6300 yards, with the 90th percentile course length at about 6600 yards. >> Circa 1930s to Circa 1990s. Average course lengths increased at a rate of more than six yards per year in these decades. By the 1990s, average and median course lengths were about 6600- 6700 yards, with the 90th percentile course length at about 7100 yards. >> Circa 1990s to Circa 2010s. Average course lengths continued to grow at an overall rate of about five yards per year. By the 2010s, average and median course lengths were about 6700- 6800 yards, with the 90th percentile course length at about 7200 yards.
The Impacts of the Continuing Trend towards Longer Golf Courses The Distance Insights Report shows that golf course lengths – meaning the total length from a course’s longest tees – have been increasing overall since 1900. While various factors have played a part in this, the main reason has been to respond to increases in hitting distances, as illustrated by the large increases in course lengths after the new rubber-core ball came into widespread use in the 1900s. This trend can be illustrated by reviewing the historical evolution of U.S. golf course lengths (the set of courses about which there are the most data) during these approximate periods:
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We believe that this overall trend towards longer courses is likely to continue if hitting distances continue to increase. Of course, some courses around the world have not lengthened materially and may not perceive a need or may be unable to do so in the future. Overall, however, the ongoing hitting distance increases are continuing to create pressure for many courses to become longer. In recent years, after a decline in course construction following the global recession of 2008, there has been a continuing emphasis on length for both new courses and course renovations. The overall land to support an 18-hole golf course – sometimes called its “footprint,” including playing areas, practice facilities, native areas requiring maintenance, ponds and lakes, roads and paths, and clubhouse and maintenance facilities – has also grown substantially over time. This continuing trend towards
longer and larger courses has economic and other sustainability consequences for golf. The economic effects are straightforward. Increasing course lengths also have broader potential effects on long-term sustainability. The sport of golf is recognizing the need to adapt to escalating environmental and natural resource concerns, climate change and associated regulatory activities, such as a need to address the following issues: water and chemicals, land use, wildlife and habitat protection, and energy expended for operations. The increasing length and size of golf courses is certainly only one of many factors that contribute to these economic and environmental challenges, and course operators are increasingly looking at many solutions such as reducing the acreage used for fairways, rough and other maintained turf. Nonetheless, course length is an important part of this because, all other things being equal, a longer course costs more to build and maintain and uses more land and resources. A continuation of the trend towards longer courses would be inconsistent with the need to help course operators manage costs and for the entire sport to adapt to the long-term environmental pressures and realities that will increasingly affect how courses use land and resources and how they are perceived by local communities.
Concluding Thoughts For all the reasons stated above, we believe that it is time to break the cycle of increasingly longer hitting distances and golf courses and to work to build a longterm future that reinforces golf’s essential challenge and enhances the viability of both existing courses and courses yet to be built.
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350 E. Morningside Rd. Green Valley I Sahuarita, AZ I 85614 520-648-8131 I PosadaLife.org
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EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY
Championship Player Reimbursement Program WORDS BY ANJ BROWN
any young female golfers tend to put golf “on the proverbial back burner” as they enter their careers and start their families. The expense of competing at the highest level is no longer a priority and for some not even an option, but for many still a dream. The AWGA Board of Directors started a fund to provide some financial support so that these women can still realize their championship dreams. Reimbursements from the AWGA Championship Player Reimbursement Fund may be available to female Arizona golfers who need assistance to lessen the hardship of the expenses associated with traveling and competing in USGA National Championships. “I’m excited to believe that women, who otherwise might have to give up on high level amateur championship competition after college, will be able to continue because of this program,” said AWGA President Mary Pomroy. “A few years ago, the USGA made changes to the Rules of Amateur Status that allow amateurs to accept this kind of support, and we are proud to be able to provide it.” The applicant must be a permanent resident of Arizona and must have qualified for a USGA National Championship through a qualifying event conducted in Arizona. To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit awga.org/reimbursements.
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PING Junior Masters Series Celebrates Seven Years as Stepping Stone to the Next Level Arizona’s best junior golfers hone their skills through elite tournament series
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hose who want to be the best, must compete against the best. That’s exactly what the JGAA had in mind in 2015 when it created the PING Junior Masters Series (PJMS). “Our goal was to provide a competitive place for aspiring players to play,” said Alex Clark, JGAA Chairman of the Board. “The PING Junior Masters Series has been allowing local kids to earn national points by serving as a launching pad for nationally chartered events.” If, as Clark described, the fiveevent PJMS is a “launching pad,” then Ashely Menne is the program’s mostdecorated “astronaut.” The freshman Sun Devil won 10 of 18 PJMS tournaments she entered, 2016-2020.
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As the list of successful JGAA alumni continues to grow, it begs the question: who’s next?
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“The JGAA helped me prepare for college golf by giving me a platform to compete at a higher level in Arizona,” Menne said in a statement. “The level of competition helped me get better younger, as it gave me the opportunity to play with older, seasoned players. The JGAA always kept my tournament schedule packed year-round. Every month, or maybe week, I had the chance to play a new golf course and a clean slate to
compete. Because I was able to compete so often when I was a junior golfer, I have been able to more easily transition into college golf.” About the time Menne emerged, her fellow Xavier Gator Emily Mahar set sail for Virginia Tech under tailwinds gained through winning three PJMS tournaments, including the very first two. Mahar notched her first collegiate title in 2019, leading the Hokies to their first-ever team championship. She holds both single-round and all-time scoring average records, and she’s a ringer in the classroom, too, making the 2019 All-ACC Academic Women’s Golf team and the 2018-19 ACC Academic Honor Roll. Mahar’s final PJMS win at the 2016 Thunderbird Invitational happened to coincide with Mason Andersen’s one-and-only PJMS victory. Since then, the senior Sun Devil from Chandler has rolled up an impressive list of accomplishments, including Arizona Golf Association 2017 Player of the Year, the same year he made an appearance at the U.S. Open. In 2019 he earned First-Team, All-PAC-12 honors and won co-champion honors twice to go along with nine other collegiate top-10 finishes. As the list of successful JGAA alumni continues to grow, it begs the question: who’s next? Preston Summerhays, for one. In 2019 the ASU commit won the U.S. Junior Amateur in July and his first PJMS event in April alongside his sister, Grace, crowned champion on the girls’ side. Preston picked up two more in 2020, and in 2021, Grace posted back-toback PJMS wins, with the second, once again, matching up with Preston for a second Summerhays family sweep in PJMS competition. Featuring limited fields of local boys ranked in the top 3,500 nationally and girls in the top 1,500, JGAA Executive Director Scott McNevin explained that the PJMS “isn’t for everyone,” but it does help those who participate to become “better prepared and more comfortable” when they reach the next level.
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Tournament Schedule DATE APRIL April 16 - 17 April 18 - 20 April 22 - 25 April 24 - 28 MAY May 6 May 10 May 12 May 13 May 14 - 15 May 17 - 18 May 17 May. 21 - 23 May 22 - 26 May 24
ASU Men’s Thunderbird Invitational Rocky Mountain Collegiate Arizona Stroke Play Championship U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball
Papago Golf Club Wigwam Golf Club Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club Maridoe Golf Club - Carrollton, TX
Collegiate Collegiate AGA Championship USGA Championship
U.S. Open Qualifier #1 U.S. Open Qualifier #2 U.S. Open Qualifier #3 U.S. Women’s Open Qualifier Falcon Amateur / AZ Am Qualifier #1 Women’s Four-Ball Championship U.S. Open Qualifier #4 Mayan Palace U.S. Amateur Four-Ball U.S. Senior Open Qualifier
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JUNE June 3 - 6 June 5 - 6 June 7 - 10 June 7 June 11 - 13 June 14 - 17 June 14 June 17 - 20 June 21 - 22 June 26 - 27 June 30
U.S. Women’s Open The Olympic Club - San Francisco, CA Father & Son Antelope Hills Golf Courses Arizona Divisional Stroke Play Championship TPC Scottsdale - Champions Course U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier Arizona Country Club Arizona Mid-Am / AZ Am Qualifier #2 Talking Stick Golf Club Women’s Match Play Championship We-Ko-Pa Golf Club U.S. Girls’ Junior Qualifier Blackstone Country Club U.S. Open Torrey Pines Golf Course - San Diego, CA Heather Farr Trophy Matches Papago Golf Club Southern Am / AZ Am Qualifier #3 The Gallery Golf Club U.S. Women’s Amateur Qualifier Papago Golf Club
USGA Championship AGA Member Day AGA Championship USGA Qualifier AGA Championship Women’s Championship USGA Qualifier USGA Championship AGA Team AGA Tournament USGA Qualifier
JULY July 8 - 11 July 11 July 12 - 13 July 12 - 17 July 15 July 17 - 18 July 19 - 20
U.S. Senior Open AZ Am Qualifier #4 U.S. Amateur Qualifier #1 U.S. Girls’ Junior U.S. Senior Women’s Open Qualifier Mixed Stix Tournament U.S. Amateur Qualifier #2
USGA Championship AGA Tournament USGA Qualifier USGA Championship USGA Qualifier Women’s Tournament USGA Qualifier
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Omaha Country Club - Omaha, NE Papago Golf Club Arrowhead Country Club Columbia Country Club - Chevy Chase, MD Longbow Golf Club Oakcreek Country Club Alta Mesa Golf Club
DATE July 19 - 24 July 24 July 26 July 28 July 29 - Aug. 1
AGA TOUR Events
Women’s Championships and Tournaments
AGA Team Events
AGA Scramble/Member Days
Senior Cup Series
U.S. Junior Amateur Net Stroke Play Championship U.S. Senior Amateur Qualifier U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Qualifier U.S. Senior Women’s Open
Country Club of North - Pinehurst, NC Oakwood Country Club Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club Moon Valley Country Club Brooklawn Country Club - Fairfield, CT
USGA Championship AGA Tournament USGA Qualifier USGA Qualifier USGA Championship
AUGUST Aug. 2 - 4 Women’s State Stroke Play Championship Quintero Golf Club Aug. 2 - 8 U.S. Women’s Amateur Westchester CC - Rye, NY Aug. 9 - 14 97th Arizona Amateur Championship Grayhawk Golf Club Aug. 9 - 15 U.S. Amateur Oakmont Country Club - Oakmont, PA August 24 U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifier Talking Stick Golf Club August 26 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Qualifier Mirabel Club Aug. 28 - Sept. 2 U.S. Senior Amateur CC of Detroit - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI Aug. 30 - Sept. 2 Women’s State Senior Champio nship Superstition Mountain Golf Club SEPTEMBER Sept. 10 - 15 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur The Lakewood Club - Point Clear, AL Sept. 11 - 12 Arizona Four-Ball Wigwam Golf Club Sept. 13 Goldwater Cup Matches Phoenix Country Club Sept. 14 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Qualifier Wigwam Golf Club Sept. 20 - 23 Arizona Divisional Match Play Championship Papago Golf Club Sept. 25 - 30 U.S. Mid-Amateur Sankaty Head Golf Club - Siasconset, MA Sept. 25 - 30 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Berkeley Hall Club - Bluffton, SC Sept. 30 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Qualifier Briarwood Country Club
USGA Championship AGA Tournament AGA Team USGA Qualifier AGA Championship USGA Championship USGA Championship USGA Qualifier
OCTOBER Oct. 3 - 4 Oct. 16 - 17 Oct. 23 - 24 TBD
Women’s Tournament AGA Tournament AGA Member Day AGA Team
Women’s Scotch Play Tournament Northern Amateur Mayan Palace AZ - Utah Shootout
Flagstaff Ranch Golf Club Oakcreek Country Club Vidanta Puerto Peñasco - Mexico TBD (in Utah)
Women’s Championship USGA Championship AGA Championship USGA Championship USGA Qualifier USGA Qualifier USGA Championship Women’s Championship
NOVEMBER Nov. 14 - 15 Women’s Partners Tournament TBD Nov. 20 - 21 AGA Players Cup Championship TBD Nov. 20 - 21 AGA Women’s Players Cup Championship TBD
Women’s Tournament AGA Championship AGA Championship
DECEMBER Dec. 5 - 8 SW Team Challenge Dec. 29 - 31 Patriot All-America
AGA Team Collegiate
Cascata Golf Club - Boulder City, NV Wigwam Golf Club - Gold Course
SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
2021 ARIZONA GOLF ASSOCIATION
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RULES OF GOLF damage such as animal tracks or spike marks and to remove sand while having no penalty for accidentally causing a ball or ball marker to move. Flagsticks can be left in the hole; but, whether in or out of the hole, once the player putts the status of the flagstick cannot be changed by anyone. A flagstick lying on the green may be moved along with players clubs or a ball without penalty even when a putted ball is in motion. Below are a few incidents that outline different situations when a ball has been putted to help you understand what the player may or may not do. ALL THE INCIDENTS BELOW ARE FOR A BALL LYING ON A PUTTING GREEN. >> INCIDENT 1 On a windy day, Player A’s ball comes to rest on a sloped putting green. Concerned that the ball might move due to gravity or wind, Player A quickly marks the ball with a ball-marker but does not lift the ball. A minute later, Player A’s ball rolls into a yellow penalty area.
A New and More Friendly Putting Green 52 | ARIZONA GOLF INSIDER |
his edition we have a quiz to help you understand the new Rules for the Putting Green. We thank Robin Farran, one of the country’s Rules experts and a good friend to the AGA, for several of the questions. To be included in his weekly Rules quizzes, just drop us a note at the AGA. The Rules allow a player to do a number of things on a putting green that are normally not allowed elsewhere on the course. Included are the ability to repair
** Player A must either play the ball as it lies or take penalty relief from the yellow penalty area. Since the ball was not lifted and replaced, and was moved by natural forces, the ball did not “own the spot” on the putting green and must be played from its new spot (or proceed under a Rule that applies). See Rule 9.3 and the Exception to Rule 9.3. >> INCIDENT 2 In a Single Match, Player A putts about three feet past the hole. A and B agree that A can leave the ball on the green. Player B
then putts from four feet and his ball also rolls past the hole, striking A’s ball. ** There is no penalty in Match Play. See 11.1a, Exception 2. >> INCIDENT 3 Player A marks and lifts his ball. When it is Player A’s turn to play, somewhat in a rush to complete the hole for a group waiting in the fairway, Player A replaces the ball and holes out, accidentally failing to pick up the ball-marker before playing the stroke. ** Player gets a penalty of one stroke for making a stroke with a ball-marker left in place. See Rule 14.1a. >> INCIDENT 4 While Player A is preparing to mark their ball, another player putts. Player A, concerned that the ball in motion might hit her ball, quickly picks up her ball without marking its position on the putting green. ** Player A gets a penalty of one stroke for lifting her ball on the putting green without marking its spot. In the 2019 Rules, a player is permitted to deliberately lift or move a ball on the putting green, when another ball is in motion, to affect the ball in motion. See Rule 14.1a and Rule 11.3. >> INCIDENT 5 In Match Play, Player A, upset that Player B is playing slowly, putts from 70 feet while Player B is in the process of marking his ball lying two feet from the hole. Player A’s ball bumps Player B’s marker and stops next to it, but nearer the hole. Player A putts in without marking. ** There is no penalty. Player B may recall the stroke and force A to play in turn. The ball striking the marker is irrelevant.
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I Out of
Bounds WORDS BY GARY VAN SICKLE
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will be ordering a new golf bag this spring. It will look like most other golf bags except on the side, where everyone can see it, my bag will say: “Your Name Here.” No, I am not turning pro. I apologize for the confusion. My “Your Name Here” gimmick is a way to advertise that I’ll be available for sponsorship in 2022. That’s right--as an amateur. In case you missed the big news, the R&A and United States Golf Association proposed major changes to the rules of amateur status for 2022. As an amateur, I will be limited to $750 in merchandise or prize money, but I can compete for money or merchandise prizes in hole-in-one contests or long-drive competitions or things that aren’t what the USGA calls “tee-to-green” competitions.
And here’s the big one: Amateurs can accept sponsorship deals. This is a case of the USGA and R&A smartly getting ahead of the curve based on several U.S. states considering play-for-pay laws that would force colleges to compensate student-athletes who don’t currently get a cut of the billions in TV rights fees for the sport in which they perform. It’s interesting but the proposed sponsorship rule has no age limit. So a 12-year-old such as Charlie Woods, son of Tiger, might be a pretty appealing “buy” for a sponsor. Charlie probably doesn’t need the money, but it’s never too early to start building corporate relationships that may pay off later to the tune of several hundred million dollars or, more likely, a gazillion in bitcoin. I expect golf manufacturers and assorted other corporate entities to have recruiting battles to sign the top prospects in junior golf, high school golf and college golf. Maybe sponsors “buy” an entire college golf team. No one knows how this is going to work. But I do know that any players who consider themselves pro tour material are going to want a substantial payday. This is where the story starts to get exciting because it ends with me grabbing a piece of this bonanza. The fact that there is no age limit on the endorsement proposal works both ways. See, I’m on Medicare and I’ve had an AARP card (Association of American Retired People) for over a decade although at the moment, I don’t remember where I put it. I’m a sportswriter, which is synonymous
And here’s the big one: Amateurs can accept sponsorship deals. for, “I work cheap.” Some corporate boards could drop a small fortune on a hotshot college kid who’s still got only a 1 in 20 chance of making it to the big show. Or, ahem, they could make a value play on a reliable, controversy-free, aging workhorse who will represent senior amateur golf in the proper light—not a Bud Light— and showcase the sponsor’s corporate-logo clothing at public golf courses in the greater Pittsburgh-area and the rest of America as I cover the PGA Tour. I’ll be seen in high-traffic places such as Home Depot, Target, Beer World, 7-Eleven, KOA Campgrounds and Kroger’s, plus classy dining establishments such as Subway, Tilted Kilt (Sorry, Hooters—I said “classy”), Golden Corral, Arby’s (I’ve got coupons!) and others. OK, probably Dunkin’ Donuts, too. I will be highly visible year-round while your average college golf star will have a nose stuck in a book when not playing a college tournament in front of almost no spectators who aren’t moms, girlfriends or boyfriends. Also, I may be able to slip in the odd sponsor reference in one of my golf stories: “After that 339-yard drive, it was clear that Brooks Koepka, not Arby’s, had the meats…” You get the idea. Am I a good player worthy of sponsor-
ship? Well, my handicap is low for my age group (3.8 at last report), but my height is short for my weight. I’m not as tournament-sharp as I’d like but a sponsorship deal would enable me to spend more time practicing and less time worrying about my fixed income, my co-pays and those durned kids playing on my lawn. I teed it up in a local 36-hole senior event last fall with a field of about 30 players and — geez, I really hate bragging about myself — I snagged a top-25 finish. Also, as a golfer who is mature, I can appeal to a wider variety of potential age-appropriate sponsors. Ben-Gay, Dr. Scholl’s, Grecian Formula, the Men’s Hair Club and all those new drugs with oddly-contrived names you constantly see commercials for come to mind. The core of the golf-watching TV audience is still mostly men over 50, after all. So as 2022 approaches, I’m throwing my golf hat into the sponsorship ring for a now-totally-legal endorsement. With any luck, some corporation will throw my hat back with its logo on the front, and a juicy check. It just better not be Viagra. I’m not that mature... yet. **Editor’s Note: The AGA Staff does not endorse such marketing for mature golfers… yet? Staff golf bags have been ordered.
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The Vidanta AGA events are very popular, filling quickly when advertised. A large part of the popularity is the Casa de Club dining area, an impressive “tented” space for 100+ diners. In addition to the expected five-star margueritas, the shrimp and fish tacos are a highlight. The salsas can be challenging for some, but the staff and services are exemplary. For the early birds, the Mexican coffee and breakfast burritos are unmatched. vidanta.com/en/web/puerto-penasco/dining
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