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MESQUITE’S SURREAL MASTERPIECE · GETTING FIT IN CARLSBAD

Elevating the Game.

coloradoavidgolfer.com

Finding True West in TUCSON THE MAX:

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CONTENTS | Winter 2016

27

FEATURES

52 Now Playing in AZ A dazzling foursome of new courses brightens the golf scene in the Valley of the Sun. By Bill Huffman

40

DEPARTMENTS 10 Forethoughts

News that Travels Fast By Jon Rizzi

12 ’net Score

Last call on CAGGY votes, Golf Passport contest winner; have you been to tthe Masters?

14 Golf 101

CGA Players of the Year.

21 The Gallery

Thorncreek Golf Club’s renovation; albatrosses on two courses; Brian Gott; Bill Bisdorf; M.J. Mastalir; more. 68 The Games of Golf A 10-Course Feast of Global Golf

What to give a golfer this holiday season.

31 Tee to Green

Wolf Creek Golf Club

40 Play Away

Couples golf cruises to the Caribbean and Mediterranean, plus a golf safari in Africa.

SIDE BETS 43 Fareways

Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s municipal masterpiece brings the Texas border town of Laredo to the brink of international distinction. By Jon Rizzi

Making beers for a cause, plus holiday pours. By Cody Gabbard

48 Nice Drives

Jaguar F-Pace, Mazda CX-9 Volkawagen Golf Alltrack and Infiniti Q60 By Isaac Bouchard

ON THE COVER

Carlsbad. By Ted McIntyre

Victory Golf Club at Verrado

Photograph by D2 Productions

COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

Mad for the Max

45 Tapping In

32 Gear

Getting fit for the tee at Callaway in

64

The Wooden Table in Greenwood Village. By Gary James

PLAYER’S CORNER

Finding Old Arizona Of a piece with its rugged surroundings, Tucson delivers the authentic desert golf experience. By Ted Johnson

38 Gifts

58

2

64 coloradoavidgolfer.com


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Winter 2016 | Volume 15, Number 7 publisher

A llen J. Walters editor

Jon Rizzi SALES, MARKETING & ADVERTISING associate publisher

Chris Phillips account manager

Vivian Keesling digital and social media manager

Michael Petrelli

office and operations manager

Cindy Palmer

projects and special events manager

Ryan McLean

ART & EDITORIAL art director

Jani Duncan Smith editor - at- large

Tom Ferrell

automotive editor

Isaac Bouchard contributors

Sam Adams, Andy Bigford, E.J. Carr, Tony Dear, Denny Dressman, Sue Drinker, Dick Durrance II, Chris Duthie, Gar y James, Ted Johnson, Kaye W. Kessler, Todd Langley, Kim D. McHugh, Jerr y Walters principals

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Colorado AvidGolfer (ISSN 1548-4335) is published eight times a year by Baker-Colorado Publishing, LLC, and printed by American Web, Inc. Volume 15, Number seven. 7200 S. Alton Way #A-180, Centennial, CO 80112. Colorado AvidGolfer is available at more than 250 locations, or you can order your personal subscription by calling 720-493-1729. Subscriptions are available at the rate of $17.95 per year. Copyright © 2016 by Baker-Colorado Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Postmaster: Send address changes to Colorado AvidGolfer, 7200 S. Alton Way #A-180 Centennial, CO 80112.The magazine welcomes editorial submissions but assumes no responsibility for the safekeeping or return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, artwork or other material.

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66 COLORADO COURSES ALL PRICES INCLUDE CART

GOLF COURSE

1/1 - 5/31 6/1 - 8/31 9/1 - 12/31

AVAILABLE TEE TIMES

WEEKENDS

ROUNDS

Antler Creek, Falcon EXCLUSIVE

$28

$35

$35

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 12

Yes

3

Applewood, Golden

$30

$30

$30

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 12

Yes

2

Breckenridge, Breckenridge*

$75

$99

$75 SS: M-Sun, any time. PS: S-Th after 12

Yes

3

The Bridges, Montrose*

$35

$49

$35

Any day after 11

Yes

3

Broadlands, Broomfield

$40

$40

$40

M-Th after 12

No

3

Broken Tee, Englewood

$33

$33

$33

M-Th after 12

No

3 P/S = 9

Buffalo Run, Commerce City

$41

$41

$41

M-F any time, S-S after 2

Yes

3

Cedaredge, Cedaredge

$35

$40

$35

Any day, any time

Yes

Unlimited

Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs* EXCLUSIVE

$60

$75/$95

$60

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 1

Yes

3

Coal Creek, Louisville EXCLUSIVE

$40

$50

$40

M-F after 11

No

3

Colorado National, Erie

$45

$49

$45

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 12

Yes

3

CommonGround, Aurora* EXCLUSIVE

$49

$49

$49

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 12

Yes

3

Country Club at Woodmoor, Monument EXCLUSIVE

$36

$45

$36

Any day after 11

Yes

2

Deer Creek, Littleton

$35

$40

$35

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 2

Yes

2

Devil’s Thumb, Delta

$30/35

$30/35

$30/35

Any day after 10

Yes

2

Eagle Ranch, Eagle EXCLUSIVE

$35

$55

$35

Any day after 11

Yes

2

Eagle Trace, Broomfield

$30

$30

$30

M-Th after 11, F-S-S after 12

Yes

3

EagleVail, Avon*

$69

$69

$69 SS: M-Sun any time. PS: M-Sun after 1

Yes

3

Family Sports, Centennial

$19

$21

$19

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 11

Yes

Unlimited

Fitzsimons, Aurora EXCLUSIVE

$27/$31

$27/$31

$27/$31

M-F after 11, S-S after 1

Yes

1 P/S = 3

Foothills, Denver

$36/$51

$36/$51

$36/$51 M-Th before 8; after 1, F-S-S after 1

Yes

4

Four Mile Ranch, Cañon City

$35

$38

$35

M-F any time, S-S after 1

Yes

3

Fox Acres, Red Feather Lakes

$50

$60

$50

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 11

Yes

Unlimited

Fox Hollow, Lakewood

$48

$48

$48

M-Th after 1, F-S-S after 2

Yes

Unlimited

Golf Granby Ranch, Granby*

$25

$54

$25

Any day after 11

Yes

Unlimited

$32/$39

$45/$54

$39/$45

M-Th after 11, F-S-S after 12

Yes

3

$35

$55

$40

M-Th after 11, S-S after 12

Yes

3

$39/49

$49/59

$39/49

Any day after 12

Yes

1 P/S = 3

Haymaker, Steamboat Springs

$57

$77

$57

Any day, any time

Yes

Unlimited

Heritage at Westmoor, Westminster

$45

$45

$45

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 1

Yes

Unlimited

Heritage Eagle Bend, Aurora

$34/$40

$50/$56

$34/$40

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 11

Yes

3

Highland Meadows, Windsor*

$34

$44

$34

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 12

Yes 3

Grand Elk, Granby Grand Lake, Grand Lake* Green Valley Ranch, Denver EXCLUSIVE

Highlands Ranch, Highlands Ranch $48/$59 $58/$69 $48/$59 M-Th any time, F-S-S after 12 Yes SS: 2, PS: 1 The Homestead, Lakewood

$38

$38

$38

M-Th after 1, F-S-S after 2

Yes

Unlimited

The Greg Mastriona at Hyland Hills Gold Course, Westminster EXCLUSIVE

$42

$42

$42

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 12

Yes

3


20 EXCLUSIVE OFFERS Visit coloradoavidgolfer.com for complete details.

GOLF COURSE

1/1 - 5/31 6/1 - 8/31 9/1 - 12/31 AVAILABLE TEE TIMES

WEEKENDS

The Greg Mastriona at Hyland Hills Blue Course, $22 $24 $22 Any day, any time Westminster EXCLUSIVE The Greg Mastriona at Hyland Hills Par 3 Course, $12 $12 $12 Any day, any time Westminster EXCLUSIVE

Yes

ROUNDS Unlimited

Yes

Unlimited

Indian Tree, Arvada EXCLUSIVE

$37

$37

$37

Any day, any time

Yes

3

The Inverness, Englewood*

$60

$80

$60

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 12

Yes

3

Keystone Ranch, Keystone*

$75

$105

$75

Any day after 11

Yes

Unlimited

Kings Deer, Monument EXCLUSIVE

$25

$40

$25

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 11

Yes

2

Legacy Ridge, Westminster

$45

$45

$45

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 1

Yes

Unlimited

The Links, Highlands Ranch

$34/$39

$38/$43

$34/$39 M-Th any time F-S-S after 12

Yes

1 P/S = 3

Littleton Golf and Tennis Club, Littleton

$29/$31

$34/$36

$29/$31

M-Th after 11, F-S-S after 1

Yes

3

Lone Tree Golf Club & Hotel, Lone Tree

$56

$64

$54

M-Th after 11 F-S-S after 12

Yes

3 P/S

Any dayafter 1,

Yes

4

M-F after 11, S-S after 1

Yes

1 P/S = 3

M-Th any time, F before 12 S-S after 12

Yes

3

The Meadows, Littleton Murphy Creek, Aurora EXCLUSIVE

$40/$54 $40/$54 $40/$54 $37.50/$45 $37.50/$45 $37.50/$45

Omni Interlocken, Broomfield* $60 $70 $60 Pelican Lake Golf Club, Windsor*

$45

$60

$50

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 12

Yes

3

Perry Park Country Club, Larkspur EXCLUSIVE

$89

$89

$89

T-Th after 11:30

No

2

Pine Creek, Colorado Springs

$39

$44

$39

M-Th after 12, F-S-S after 2

Yes

2 P/S = 6

Pole Creek, Tabernash

$50

$50

$50

M-Th after 11. F-S-S after 12

Yes

Unlimited

Quail Dunes, Fort Morgan

$20

$25

$20

Any day, Any time

Yes

4

Raccoon Creek, Littleton

$39/$45

$39/$45

Yes

4

The Raven at Three Peaks, Silverthorne*

$55

$89

$55

Any day after 12

Yes

Unlimited

Redlands Mesa, Grand Junction EXCLUSIVE

$50

$55

$50

Any day, after 12

Yes

2

The Ridge at Castle Pines, Castle Rock* EXCLUSIVE

$50

$60/$75

$50

M-Th any time, F- S-S after 1

Yes

1 P/S = 3

The River Course at Keystone, Keystone*

$75

$105

$75

Any day after 11

Yes

Unlimited

M-F after 11, S-S after 1

Yes

1 P/S = 3

Saddle Rock, Aurora EXCLUSIVE

$39/$45 M-Th any time, F-S-S after 12

$39.50/$47 $39.50/$47 $39.50/$47

South Suburban Par 3, Centennial

$9

$9

$9

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 12

Yes

Unlimited

Sumo Golf Village, Florence

$25

$30

$25

Any day after 12

Yes

2

Tiara Rado, Grand Junction

$35

$35

$35

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 11

Yes

3

Todd Creek, Thornton EXCLUSIVE

$40

$45

$40

M-Th after 10, F-S-S after 12

Yes

Unlimited

Vail, Vail

$50

$89

$50

Sun-Th after 1

Yes

2

Walking Stick, Pueblo*

$32

$32

$32

M-Th any time, F-S-S after 12:30

Yes

Unlimited

Yampa Valley, Craig* EXCLUSIVE

$30

$30

$30

M-Th after 11, F-S-S after 12

Yes

2

CommonGround offer: Must be CGA, CWGA or Golf Passport Plus member to get rate. Family Sports: 9 Hole Executive Course South Suburban:Par 3- Cart not included

M-Th = Monday-Thursday; F-S-S = Friday-Sunday; Sun-Th= Sunday-Thursday; S-S= Saturday-Sunday P/S= Per Season; SS= Shoulder Season; PS= Peak Season SS= Shoulder Season; PS= Peak Season * Some seasons may vary


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Forethoughts

The News That Travels Fast

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OUR WINTER travel issue can’t come soon enough. We all need a vacation. I, like many of you, am suffering from annus horribilis, which is not the proctologic malady it sounds like. It means “a year of disaster or misfortune.” Queen Elizabeth II famously used it to describe 1992, a year in which three of her children’s marriages spectacularly and publicly disintegrated and Windsor Castle burned. Is it too much of a stretch to call 2016 our 1992? After all, in September the golf world lost its royalty when The King, Arnold Palmer, passed away at age 87. But Colorado golf also lost a regal foursome of Hall of Fame members. Will Nicholson Jr., former USGA president and chairman of the Masters’ competition committee at Augusta National, died in March. Will commanded the golf scene in Colorado for most of his 87 years, presiding over the Colorado Golf Association’s board of governors and chairing the Colorado Golf Foundation. Jim English, who won the low amateur title in the 1959 U.S. Open and state amateur titles in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado, passed in June. Jim also won the 1950 Trans-Miss and two Broadmoor Invitations. A four-time winner of the Colorado Senior Match Play, 91-year-old Ed Nosewicz passed in July, and two months later Bill Bisdorf, who won three of the first four Colorado Opens played at Hiwan Golf Club, shuffled off this mortal coil. He was 87. Two other supporters of Colorado golf also left us too soon. Penny Parker, a gifted columnist and passionate Green Valley Ranch Golf Club player, passed away on January 1 at age 62. Nine months later, we lost 64-year-old former Denver Post sportswriter and Colorado Golf Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Tom Kensler. As if this weren’t enough, 2016 silenced many of the talents responsible for the soundtrack of my early life: David Bowie, Prince, Maurice White, George Martin, Glen Frey, Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell. Compounding my weltschmerz, a recent Facebook glitch surprised millions of users with their own “memorial” pages. Their demises were greatly exaggerated, but I unfortunately can’t say the same for civility in a country that endured the most polarizing presidential campaign in history. The ugliness following the election has only divided us further. But, hey, let’s look at the bright side. At least we now know the Americans can beat the Europeans in the Ryder Cup. We will have yet another avid golfer in the White House—and this one’s home courses really are his courses. Better yet, as you’ll read in this issue, for the first time in years there are new places to play in Arizona and Texas! Closer to home, the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado—the partnership between the Colorado PGA, Colorado Golf Association and Colorado Women’s Golf Association— completed a fabulous debut season. The future of the game looks brighter than ever. Speaking of a bright future, former CWGA Junior Player of the Year and current Player of the Year Jennifer Kupcho of Westminster finished her fall sophomore season at Wake Forest atop the ANNIKA Award Watch List as the favorite to win the award for the nation’s best collegiate female player. And on another positive note, with a $250,000 purse and $100,000 winner’s share, the CoBank Colorado Open Championship now ranks as the richest state open in the country and the 2016 tournament attracted the deepest field in recent memory. On the whole, there’s more good to 2016 than the riddance I wish it. Bring on 2017! — JON RIZZI

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’net Score INFO | BLOGS | DIALOG

COURTESY OF AMY FREELAND

BADGES OF HONOR: Tell us all about your Masters experience.

Wanted: Augusta Stories IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY to start thinking about the Masters. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have been a patron at Augusta National, we want to hear all about it. Where did you stay? Did it live up to your expectations? What tips would you share to those who haven’t gone? Your answers could be featured in our upcoming magazine. Let us know by visiting coloradoavidgolfer.com or following the link on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

PASSPORT PLAYER: Eric Garcia at Heather Ridge Golf Course in Aurora.

#GolfPassport Winner!

It’s Not Over Until… THE FIERCELY CONTESTED national election is now mercifully behind us. At just about the same time our 45th President will be sworn in January 20th, we’ll also be crowning the top vote-getters in our CAGGY awards because every year is an election year at Colorado AvidGolfer! We’re celebrating winners in 50+ categories including new categories added this year in our biggest CAGGYs yet! Every vote counts, so we’d love if you took just five minutes to make your pick for the best courses, holes, instructors, venues and more across the state. Vote online at coloradoavidgolfer.com. Polls close December 31 at 11:59pm. COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

12

EARLIER IN THE YEAR, we asked you to share your rounds with us on social media using #GolfPassport. Congratulations to Eric Garcia who has received a 2017 Golf Passport, free golf at CommonGround and Colorado AvidGolfer swag — all for sharing his Golf Passport experience using our hashtag. The 2017 Golf Passport includes savings at 66 courses, 12 Callaway Chrome Soft Balls, a free hybrid or wedge, dining and travel deals across the state, a magazine subscription and more. See the ad on page 6 or visit coloradoavidgolfer.com to learn more.

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Golf 101

PHOTOGRAPHS BY GARY BAINES/COURTESY OF THE COLORADO GOLF ASSOCIATION

THE CGA’S SECOND CENTURY

BIG STICKS: Chris Thayer, Robin Bradbury and Kyler Dunkle (clockwise from top left).

Three Are the Champions The Colorado Golf Association announces its players of the year. By Aaron Kellough AS THE COLORADO GOLF ASSOCIATION wraps up its 101st year of serving and promoting golf in the state, we want to thank the more than 1,300 players who entered our championships and qualifiers in 2016. It produced an exceptional follow-up to our Centennial anniversary, and it gives us great pleasure to recognize three individuals as our State Amateur Players of the Year. Les Fowler Player of the Year Award: Kyler Dunkle (The Club at Pradera) Dunkle, a former 5A state high school champion, is one of the youngest recipients of the CGA Les Fowler Player of the Year Award. The 20-year-old took his game to another level in 2016. The highlight of his season was not only qualifying for the U.S. Amateur for the second consecutive year—as medalist by four shots at Fort Collins Country Club—but advancing to the round of 16 at a national championship which features a starting field of 312. A year after rounds of 86-85 at the event left him in 311th place in the stroke-play portion of the tournament, Dunkle finished 41st in stroke play in August at Oakland Hills in Michigan. He then won two matches before falling in the round of 16 of arguably the world’s top amateur championship. It marks the second straight year a COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

Coloradan has made it to the Sweet 16 in the U.S. Am, after the University of Colorado’s David Oraee did likewise in 2015. In CGA championships this year, Dunkle made it to the quarterfinals of the CGA Match Play and finished 11th in the CGA Amateur. He won the CGA Western Chapter title and placed second with his dad, Jason, in their title defense at the CGA Parent/Child. After competing as a redshirt freshman at Colorado State last season, Dunkle transferred to the University of Utah. Mid-Amateur Player of the Year Award: Chris Thayer (Bear Creek Golf Club) The 36-year-old former Northwestern University player became the second golfer to be honored in back-to-back years as the CGA’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year, joining Keith Humerickhouse (2012 and ’13). Also for the second straight year, Thayer finished runner-up to Jon Lindstrom in the CGA Mid-Amateur, an event in which Thayer prevailed in 2014. And in open-age-division CGA championships, Thayer placed 11th in the CGA Amateur and made it to the round of 32 of the CGA Match Play. At his first U.S. Mid-Amateur, Thayer finished 45th in the stroke-play portion of the event, earning a spot in match play, where he

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lost in the round of 64. Thayer also advanced to the second stage of the two-stage U.S. Open qualifying process. Senior Player of the Year Award Robin Bradbury (Heritage Golf Club at Westmoor) Bradbury went the first six decades of his life without qualifying for a USGA championship, but broke the ice at the age of 60 when he shared medalist honors as Fox Hollow Golf Course hosted a qualifier for the U.S. Senior Amateur. He then took it a step beyond that as he finished 48th in the stroke-play portion of the national tournament and landed a spot in match play, where he exited in the round of 64. The Superior resident also secured low senior amateur honors at the Rocky Mountain Open, finished 16th in the CGA Senior Amateur and advanced to the round of 16 at the CGA Senior Match Play. He placed eighth in the CGA SuperSenior Stroke Play. Aaron Kellough is director of communications for the Colorado Golf Association. For a full list of past players of the year and to learn more about the tournament program, visit coloradogolf.org. The 2017 tournament schedule will be available soon. coloradoavidgolfer.com


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The Gallery NEWS | NOTES | NAMES

Thorncreek’s $7 Million Facelift COLORADO’S SECOND TOPGOLF facility isn’t the only construction project happening on the southeast side of I-25 and E. 136th Avenue. On October 9, the City of Thornton shuttered Thorncreek Golf Course until 2018 while the municipally owned and managed course undergoes $7 million in upgrades. Following a master plan recommended by the National Golf Foundation and created by the course’s original architect Baxter Spann, the 25-year-old course will install a new irrigation system, pump station, turfgrass and cart paths. The plan also calls for major modifications to the 7,268-yard layout that will improve playability and accelerate the pace of play. The city has sought to improve the course ever since taking over the management from Eagle Golf on April 1, 2012. “At the time, the course had the reputation as the ‘Walmart of golf,’” explains Head PGA Professional Chris Swinhart. “And not in a good way.” The city brought in the NGF and Spann to chart out a comprehensive long-term improvement plan. Swinhart arrived from Westminster’s Legacy Ridge Golf Course in 2014 and immediately improved Thorncreek’s customer service, junior programs, food and beverage and community relations. He introduced Footgolf. Head Golf Superintendent Doug Fisher, whose resume coloradoavidgolfer.com

includes long stints at Denver Country Club and the TPC Las Colinas in Dallas, came on board the same year and upgraded the condition of what had become hardpan fairways and greens. Pursuant to the master plan, in 2015 they flipped the nines to provide easier access to the first tee and accelerate pace of play. “It’s surprising how quickly it turned around,” Swinhart says. “We shook the Walmart label and really have momentum now. We did 32,077 rounds last year. Our reputation isn’t what it used to be.” Nor will the course be what it was after it reopens in 2018. For one, it won’t be as penal. “We’re eliminating 30 percent of the bunkers— mostly along the fairways—and relining the rest for better drainage,” Fisher explains. “We’ll fill them with rose-colored sand. We’re also widening the landing areas so they’re not as pinched off and rerouting all the cart paths so they don’t cross or intrude on the fairways.” Additionally, almost every hole will have a new forward tee to shorten the course for certain players. “And,” Fisher continues, “we plan to strip, level and, in some cases, blow up and rebuild every tee box on the course.” Instead of a “Heinz 57” of grass types, rye will cover the tees and fairways, with bluegrass in the rough. T1 Bentgrass will carpet the resurfaced

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ROAD TO RENOVATION: Thorncreek will upgrade all areas, including cart paths.

greens—five of which will be relocated, many of which will lose their humps, and all of which will increase in width and pinnable areas. The sixth green and seventh tee, which serve as Thorncreek’s “billboard” from the highway, will both be new. The new irrigation system and pump station will enhance water quality and efficiency, and the dredging and enlarging of the irrigation pond will make for a more compelling ninth hole. Perhaps the most dramatic change, however, will occur on the par-5 16th—what Swinhart calls the “bulldozer” hole. “It’s a 600-yard par five you can’t hit driver on,” he says, referring to the drainage ditch that bisects the fairway at the first landing area. A culvert will cure the problem, as will mowing down some of the adjacent native and shifting the green to the right for a better angle of approach. Construction of on-course restrooms, renovations to the clubhouse and an overhaul of the practice range will also take place. Riverdale, Broadlands, Todd Creek and Legacy Ridge— courses all within seven miles—will absorb the Thorncreek diaspora. So will Topgolf when it debuts next door at the end of next year. Swinhart looks forward to having the golf entertainment complex as a neighbor: “It can only help us attract more players when we reopen.” thorncreekgc.com Winter 2016 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER


The Gallery

One Round, Two Albatrosses

LEGACY SHOT: Double eagler Geoff Henson (left) meets the mayor.

A Rare Bird Sighting TEAM DIGITALGLOBE could have used some of its company’s high-res satellite imagery during the Westminster Legacy Foundation’s August 18 scramble golf tournament at Legacy Ridge Golf Course. Trying to locate teammate Geoff Henson’s booming drive on the blind, uphill 301-yard, par-4 seventh hole, Henson and partners Mike Martinez and Brian Bliss combed the bunker and area around the green. Then their fourth, Earlene Turnley, checked the hole. “Is this your ball?” “The chills, the emotion,” Henson recounts. “It was pretty spectacular.” It was also apparently unprecedented. According to the Colorado Golf Association and current and former Legacy Ridge personnel, nobody in the course’s 22-year history had ever recorded an ace on no. 7. Currently a six handicap living in Windsor, Henson is DigitalGlobe’s manager of information delivery. He played Division II golf for the University of Southern Colorado, graduating in 1998. The hole-in-one is his second, “and,” he says, “to be honest, it balances out the first.” That one came two years ago during a scramble at Harmony Club in Timnath. “The format had us playing different tees on each hole,” he remembers. “We were on the 15th, playing the red tees—the ladies’ tees—less than 100 yards out, and my boss hit one to two feet. ‘Beat that, Henson,’” he said. So, of course, I dunked it—and never heard the end of it. They gave me a bedazzled ball marker.” So what did Henson’s albatross ace—a 6-million-to-one double eagle—earn him besides a bar tab and a place in history? First place for his team and a handshake from Westminster Mayor Herb Atchison.

Believe in Gott IN OCTOBER, Callaway Golf awarded Colorado’s Brian Gott with its National Club Fitter of the Year award. “It seems a little surreal, that a one-man show in Colorado wins this,” the PGA Golf Professional says of the honor bestowed on Gott Golf, the company he began in 2008. “We’ve put in an enormous amount of work to build something special in Denver. I knew I wanted to do something great with it, but I had no idea that the demand for our approach to club fitting would resonate so well with our customers and our partners. I wanted people to know that they could get a tour quality club fitting experience without having to break the bank to do it.” One of Golf Digest’s “Top 100 Club PERFECT FIT: Fitters in America,” Gott operates out of CommonGround Golf Brian Gott (left) and Callaway’s Chip Brewer. Course and brings his mobile fitting center to The Broadmoor, Cherry Hills Country Club, Castle Pines Golf Club, Maroon Creek Club and other prestigious clubs. “Brian is both one of the best fitters I have ever seen and a great partner to Callaway Golf,” Callaway CEO Chip Brewer said. “We’re proud to name him our 2016 Club Fitter of the Year and are confident that anyone who works with him will both enjoy it and be better via the experience.” gottgolf.com COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

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Young Tom Morris recorded the first known double eagle, during the Open Championship at Prestwick in 1870, and some 1,700 golfers have gone on to record one of their own. Taking it a step further, 41 golfers have scored two double eagles over the years. But to jar two double eagles in a single round is a record that now only three golfers in the history of the game can claim. On Saturday, September 3, Colorado Golf Club member David West (pictured above with his brother and witness Jimmy) became the third member of that oddsdefying group when he holed his 3-wood second shot on the par-5 seventh hole and then repeated the feat at the par-5 16th with an 8-iron. He joins Norman Manley and Patrick Wills as the only golfers to bag two albatrosses in a single round. West knows something about cluch shots. He’s the son of NBA legend Jerry West.

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FIT TO BE TEED: Club Champion Golf’s vendor-agnostic shop.

The Gallery

The Custom House “EVERYBODY IS TALKING about the gloom and doom in golf industry,” says Keith Bank, an avid golfer and managing partner in a Chicago-area investment firm. “But we’re expanding like crazy.” Bank is referring to Club Champion Golf, the six-year-old company he co-founded and will bring to Denver— specifically the Promenade Shopping Center at County Line and University in Highlands Ranch—this January. With 16 locations nationwide, Club Champion specializes in highly personalized, high-tech custom club fitting. “We’re vendor-agnostic,” Bank says, discussing the more than 15,000 club components from more than two-dozen brands carried in each location. “Creating and selling custom clubs that will improve your game is all we do.” Utilizing Trackman and other industry-standard technologies, the appointment-only store employs certified fitters who analyze every aspect of your swing with your current clubs. Armed with your swing and stroke data, you and your fitter mix and match head, shaft and grip combinations to create the optimal club for your swing. Master builders assemble your set to exacting tolerances, and you receive your sticks—with a lifetime Perfect Fit Guarantee—within 10 days. Fitting sessions average $100 per hour and come in different packages (full bag, irons only, etc.). According to a Golf Digest study, 89 percent of Club Champion customers added an average of 21 yards with 23 percent less dispersion, lowering their scores by as much as six strokes per round. clubchampiongolf.com; 888-340-7820

Goodbye, “Mr. Popeye” TO THE LIST OF COLORADO GOLF Hall of Famers who have passed this year—Will F. Nicholson Jr., Jim English and Ed Nosewicz—we sadly add the name of Bill Bisdorf, who died September 19 at age 87. Between 1964 and 1967, Bisdorf won three of the first four Colorado Opens played at Hiwan Golf Club. “We called him ‘Mr. Popeye’ because he had huge forearms,” remembers Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Charles “Vic” Kline. “And man, could he smoke it—long and straight.” Originally from Iowa, Bisdorf played on the Naval Championship Team along with Gene Littler and Billy Casper between 1952 and 1954. Turning professional in 1955, he qualified for six U.S. Opens and ten PGA Championships, including nine consecutive ones between 1960 and 1968. He claimed the Mile High Open and was the Colorado Section PGA Player of the Year in 1964 and 1965. In 1974 he captured the Colorado Section PGA Match Play Championship. Between 1958 and 1971, Bisdorf made 21 cuts in 43 starts on the PGA Tour. “The golf was great, but the rest of the life sucked,” he told CAG in 2008. “It was a vagabond’s life,” Kline says, “and Bill was not a vagabond.” Bisdorf served as the Head PGA Professional at the now defunct Green Gables Country Club between 1959 and 1967. Then, after competing in nine PGA Tour events in 1968, he went on to own and operate Denver Capital Golf, a store at Broadway and Colfax where he gave lessons and sold equipment. He finished his career at the Twilight Golf Course at BELTER BILL: A ’63 Denver Post cartoon by Bob Bowie. Leetsdale and Quebec. COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

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The Gallery

Rejoice, Emmanuel AS A YOUNG RWANDAN, 34-year-old Emmanuel Ruterana would follow players at Kigali Golf Club collecting lost balls and wondering if he would ever learn what he calls, “this game of golf.” He did, and would win two Rwanda Opens as a professional. Practicing at Kigali last year, he met Coloradan Kevin Hollern, whose wife, Susan, founded Hope Haven, an elementary school in

OUT OF AFRICA: Ruterana blossomed at Broken Tee.

Rwanda. Kevin, playing Kigali for the first time, couldn’t find the first tee, so Ruterana showed him the way and struck up a conversation. Hollern soon learned Ruterana’s life was brutally interrupted at age 12 when the 1994 Rwandan genocide claimed the life of his father. To make money to help his mother and brother,

he’d go to the golf course to look for lost balls to sell. “I didn’t just go there to make money,” he says. “I also wanted to see whether I could play golf.” Then a member asked Ruterana to caddie, which he did for a year until the man moved away and another member took him on. He soon noticed Ruterana’s talent and invited him to play, eventually paying for his club membership and providing a monthly salary. By 2004, Ruterana joined the Rwandan National team and, later on, the Uganda Professional Golfers Association. Ruterana also told Hollern his dream of competing professionally has evolved into something more: giving Rwandan children an opportunity to play golf—with the goal of creating a future national team. “In Rwanda we have a problem,” he says. “People think this game of golf is only for people who have money. So, I want to help kids whether their families are rich or poor… I want them to learn this game of golf.” As an owner of MetaGolf Learning Center at Broken Tee Golf Course in Englewood, Hollern thought he could help. He and Ruterana hatched a plan where the Rwandan would join the Hollern family in Colorado for six weeks and receive the coaching to create a junior golf program in Rwanda. “I think with golf becoming an Olympic sport,

it gives a lot of people in Third World countries the opportunity to participate on a worldwide level,” Hollern explains. “When you see their love and desire for the game, you just want to help because they are really nice, good people who deserve the opportunities we have.” Ruterana arrived in Colorado this summer. Kevin introduced him to his coach and PGA professional Scott Lane, on staff with MetaGolf. Together they worked on improving his swing, club fitting and other coaching tips he can apply to his program. “It’s pretty inspirational having him out here,” Broken Tee Golf Manager Bob Spada said. “He’s got a wonderful swing and his enthusiasm for the game has carried over. We’ve been really happy to have him out here.” Broken Tee has also donated a large number of junior clubs and t-shirts to Kigali Golf Club. Spada and Broken Tee Program and Facility Supervisor Shannon Buccio hope to see a partnership in the future between the two courses and possibly urge the local golf community to donate junior clubs and equipment to send to Rwanda. “People here, they are good people, in America,” Ruterana said before leaving. “They have a heart to help. Especially the people at Broken Tee. I like how they want to help Kigali Golf Club, but also me.” —By Emily Buretz

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IN THE MIX: Mastalir with Jack Nicklaus, top USGA brass and 1990 U.S. Amateur champion Phil Mickelson.

Hall for One! FOR THE FIRST TIME since Paul McMullen comprised the Class of 1985, only one inductee will enter the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame next spring. On May 21st at Sanctuary, the CGHOF will induct M.J. Mastalir, the longtime USGA Executive Committee member and Colorado Golf Association governor who led the acquisition and development of the property that has become CommonGround Golf Course. Although the University of Colorado alumnus qualified and competed in the 1980 and 1985 U.S. Amateur, 1981 U.S. Mid-Amateur and the 1984 and 1987 British Amateur, he earned his Hall of Fame bona fides off the course. Spending his professional career in the mortgage-banking

coloradoavidgolfer.com

world, in 1985 he started Real Estate Capital Corporation, which, he says, “created a national financing plan when the game needed it.” In addition to helping bankroll numerous golf courses around the state, he served on the USGA’s Executive Committee from 1986 to 1993, rising to the title of Vice President. He chaired the powerful Rules of Golf committee and five national championships, including the 1990 U.S. Amateur and 1993 U.S. Senior Open—both contested at Cherry Hills Country Club. Mastalir’s 21-year tenure on the CGA’s Board of Governors also began in 1986. He served as the organization’s president from 1997 to 1999,

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Winter 2016 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER


The Gallery

LONE INDUCTEE: M.J. Mastalir

and he helped the CGA acquire Mira Vista Golf Course and develop it into CommonGround. “It’s what I’m most proud of,” he says of the facility. “The course, the Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy, the kids’ par-three course, the putting course—it’s all for the good of the game and its future. A hundred years from now, it’ll still be going strong.” At the induction, the CGHOF will also LIFETIME ACHIEVER: Rick Polmear

recognize the following individuals and organizations for their accomplishments. The continued dominance of Westminster’s Jennifer Kupcho—who won the CWGA’s Match and Stroke Play, qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur, finished sixth in the NCAAs as a Wake Forest freshman—made her a shoo-in for Golf Person of the Year. Currently ranked third in the 2016-17 Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking, Kupcho has also finished the first half of her sophomore season as the no. 1 player on the ANNIKA Award Watch List for the national women’s collegiate PERSON OF THE YEAR: Jennifer Kupcho

player of the year. Rick Polmear, the former Evans Scholar and CGA president who project-managed the recent $6 million CU Evans Scholars house renovation and expansion, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado earned the Distinguished Service Award after a highly successful inaugural season that brought all competitive Colorado junior golf under one organization.

WINNERS: Braden Baer (left) and Steven Kupcho.

Top Topgolfers Jennifer Kupcho isn’t the only golfer in the family. Her older brother Steven Kupcho, who earned the Colorado Golf Association’s 2012 Les Fowler Player of the Year award, turned professional after graduating from the University of Northern Colorado this spring. In August, he teamed up with fellow aspiring pro Braden Baer to win the Centennial qualifier for the inaugural Topgolf Tour Championship, which took place Nov. 12 and 13 in Las Vegas. For the two fledgling pros, the $50,000 grand prize provided great incentive to enter. So did the Las Vegas dates, which directly followed those of the Nevada Open. “I figured if we won in Centennial, it would pay for my travel to Vegas,” says the accounting major. “It seemed like a good investment.” Kupcho missed the Nevada Open cut by a stroke, but he and Baer made it to the Topgolf championship semifinals, losing to the eventual champions. “We had a blast,” he says. “I think Topgolf is one of the greatest things to happen in golf during my lifetime.” topgolf.com

Insta

COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

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PHOTOGRAPH BY PATRICK DRICKEY

NEWSMAKERS: Denver’s City Park; JGAC Players of the Year AJ Ott and Mary Weinstein.

Golf By Numbers

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golfers—AJ Ott and Mary Weinstein— earned the inaugural Player of the Year honors from the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado (JGAC). Now a freshman on the Colorado State University golf team, Ott won the Colorado Junior PGA Championship by seven strokes. He also advanced to the semifinals of the Colorado Junior Match Play and finished second in both June’s AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior and the national PGA Junior Series. Weinstein, currently in her first semester at Regis University, won two JGAC majors—the Junior Amateur Championship and the Colorado Junior PGA Championship— in addition to the 5A girls state high school championship. Nationally, she finished fifth in the Optimist International Junior and 15th in the Junior PGA Championship.juniorgolfcolorado.org

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acres of Denver’s City Park Golf Course could become a stormwater detention site to help mitigate flooding in the surrounding neighborhoods. Barring legal challenges and protests from the City Park Friends and Neighbors advocacy group, the 116-year-old Tom Bendelow layout (which is on the National Register of Historic Places) will undergo a number of hole changes, rerouting and a relocation of the clubhouse to the scenic ridge currently occupied by the eighth green. The First Tee of Denver would get new digs as well. denvergov.org

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Winter 2016 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER


The Gallery

To the 810 PGA Members and Apprentices in Colorado we’d like to say

#ThxPGAPro

for supporting junior golf and impacting the lives of more than 10,000 juniors in 2016. RECORD BREAKER: Esther Lee’s 61 sets a new NCAA mark.

11

shots under par—a 61—was University of Colorado senior Esther Lee’s score in the first round of September’s Branch Law/Dick McGuire Invitational, establishing an NCAA record in relation to par. The California native’s bogey-free, 11-birdie round on the 6,317-yard New Mexico Championship Golf Course also tied the NCAA scoring record of Stanford’s Mariah Stackhouse, who fired a 10-under 61 on her school’s home course at the 2013 Peg Barnard Invitational. Lee, who went on to win the New Mexico event by five strokes, also set school records for most birdies (21), lowest nine-hole score (29) and consecutive rounds in the 60s (three). cubuffs.com

SENIOR MOMENT: Elway to chair at The Broadmoor in 2018.

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7,

also known as John Elway, will serve as honorary chairman of the 2018 U.S. Senior Open, which will be played at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs June 25 - July 1, 2018. The USGA made the announcement at a November 15 event at Elway’s Cherry Creek. As Cherry Hills Country Club board president in 2011, the current Broncos General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations played an instrumental role in bringing the 2014 BMW Championship to the club. 2018ussenioropen.com

coloradoavidgolfer.com


Player’s Corner TEE TO GREEN

Howling Fun

The surreal Wolf Creek Golf Club continues to lead the pack in Mesquite. HAD SALVADOR DALÍ DESIGNED a golf course, it might resemble Wolf Creek Golf Club, where the surreal meets the sublime in the sunbaked moonscape of Mesquite, Nevada. Along the course, jagged escarpments appear to melt into sandy pools of glacial white and flow into emerald ribbons that curl around lakes and streams. It’s literally the EA Sports videogame come to life. But reality came first. No VR goggles required. Just bring your clubs and camera. And don’t forget your A-game. The golf world has howled about the Wolf since the homespun architectural effort by the father-son team of Dennis and John Rider earned Golf Digest’s Best New Course in 2002. It has resided permanently on the rosters of America’s 100 greatest public courses—as well as on most golfers’ bucket lists—ever since. The professional-use-only Challenger tees stretch the course just shy of 7,000 yards, but at a 138 slope and 6,309 yards, the blue Champions tees hardly dilute the experience. From the very first shot, holes plunge and squiggle through canyons, disappearing behind buttes and reappearing as you wind along precipitous cart paths. Abundant ball-hungry bunkers and waste areas dictate strategy, as does water, which divides fairways, forces carries and factors mightily into the closing holes to each nine. A must-play in the golf-rich Mesquite/St. George region, Wolf Creek enjoys a stay-and-play relationship with Eureka Casino Resort and packages vacations with such area courses as Conestoga, Coyote Springs, Falcon Ridge, The Ledges, Oasis and Sand Hollow—most of which also participate in golfmesquitenevada.com. The lunch fare in the club’s plush Terrace Restaurant pairs perfectly with views of the verdant lushness rippling through the sere landscape.

MESQUITE MARVEL: Seemingly painted onto the rugged Virgin Mountains, Wolf Creek drips with inspired holes.

golfwolfcreek.com; 702-346-1670 coloradoavidgolfer.com

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Winter 2016 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER


Player’s Corner GEAR

FIT BIT: At Callaway's Carlsbad headquarters, the author benefited under the analytical eye of master clubfitter John Mlynarski.

Swinging by Callaway Getting fit to the tee at the golf giant’s world headquarters. By Ted McIntyre JETLAGGED IS NOT THE IDEAL way to arrive at a custom fitting session, much less one at Callaway Golf’s worldwide headquarters in Carlsbad, California. In an environment that relies upon a repeatable swing in the attempt to match you with the best possible equipment, a fuzzy-headed Canuck wobbling over the ball like he’s fresh off a magnum of merlot is probably not the sort of client master clubfitter John Mlynarski had in mind when he got into this business. But then how better to test the skills—not to mention the patience—of Mlynarski and his assistant Amy Alston, a recent member of San Diego State’s women’s golf team? Somehow I’d envisioned the twosome’s place of employment as a dramatic structure dominating the Carlsbad skyline like the Taj Mahal. But it’s merely a handsome building in an industrial park region 40 miles north of San Diego that houses the corporate headquarters of two other golf equipment powers, TaylorMade and Cobra. While public golfers can randomly wander in to Callaway’s 23 other Performance Centers around the globe, you need an appointment to get past the front desk in Carlsbad. Those booked for a session, which can range from 60 to nearly 90 minutes, are ushered through a corridor that passes by a large club assembly area, where every Callaway tour player golf club is inspected, bent, ground or otherwise tweaked and pieced together to precise specifications. A large window separates the room from the indoor putting green, providing onlookers with a view of specialists applying the finishing touches to clubs for players COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

like Henrik Stenson, Jim Furyk, Lydia Ko and Morgan Pressel. Even rank amateurs get special treatment here, as I discover after being led into one of the facility’s two hitting bays. This is Callaway’s ultimate fitting experience, with the same technology and full range of products that’s provided to their elite playing professionals up the road at the Ely Callaway Performance Center. The only difference is that the pros get to hit off natural grass at the Ely Callaway Center while the public hits off indoor turf here. And even that is somewhat offset by the huge screen you fire into, with its five-minute looped video of the nearby driving range. The realism of following your shot path is pretty impressive. While there’s a vast array of the latest and greatest Callaway equipment lined up on the side or in a nearby fitting cart—with each head quickly and easily snapped onto a different shaft—it helps to have your own equipment on hand for comparison purposes (and so that you don’t have to remember the shaft flexes and other details of your current set when asked). The seven-iron and driver were used in my fitting, so at least bring those with you. Mlynarski begins the session by inquiring about the amount of golf I play, my handicap (about a 9.0) and my current clubs before suggesting I give the forged Callaway Apex Pro a whirl. Overhead there are two high-speed cameras operating at a whopping 10,000 frames per second to capture every nuance of my swing and infinitesimal rotation of the ball after impact. It’s

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“I could barely stand the look of Mack Daddy’s PM Grind wedge, but I got to test it and discovered that the added time the ball spent on those additional grooves resulted in shot after shot sucking back like balls of wool through a vacuum tube.”

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Player’s Corner GEAR

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paired with Callaway’s proprietary Callaway Performance Analysis System, the software of which spits out pretty much everything from swing speed, ball speed, launch angle, spin rates and attack and path angles to the winning numbers of next month’s lottery. With each swing comes a new set of data on a plasma screen on the adjacent wall. But numbers aren’t everything. How does it feel? Is it pleasing to your eye? Personal feedback is vital in every great fitting process and Mlynarski can tell from our running conversation that I prefer a little swing weight in order to feel the clubhead through impact, so he plays with shaft options (dropping from 115 to 95 grams) to change the feel and timing of the same clubhead, which marginally improves my consistency. Even the optimal shaft length is tested with a wrist-to-floor measurement. Face tape is now applied to the club and a special grooved ball used to test for lie angle. It’s happily one of the few things that doesn’t need adjusting. We experiment with the forged Apex CF 16, a slightly larger clubhead featuring Callaway’s Cup Face technology, and, sure enough, my ball speed increases from 105 to 111 mph, resulting in an added carry of 10 yards with my seven-iron. However, the dispersion pattern is more inconsistent, and, aware of my fondness for a more solid-feeling, responsive iron, Mlynarski recommends the Apex Pro with the lighter stiff shaft. Although I’m in love with my ancient Merit wedges, I had to test out Callaway’s latest weaponry in that department as well—the MD (Mack Daddy) 3. John suggested I try the MD3 PM (Phil Mickelson) grind, but I could barely stand the look of it, with its super-tall toe looking like a big wedge of cheese at the end of the shaft. However, the following day I got to test it and discovered that the added time the ball spent on those additional grooves resulted in shot after shot sucking back like balls of wool through a vacuum tube. There’s nothing like results to evoke a little excitement. Players usually gain about a club on their irons and seven to 10 yards with the driver if they follow through on the recommended equipment changes, Mlynarski notes. Something else they tend to get out of the session is a better understanding of the gaps between their irons (it’s coloradoavidgolfer.com

CLUBBING UP: Callaway will soon complement its 23 centers in locations such as Troon North (above) and Carlsbad with one at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

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always a revelation to amateurs how long—or, more appropriately, how short—they actually carry their mid and long irons). “Once a month we get a letter from someone who’s been fitted here saying, ‘I had the best game of my life,’” says Mlynarski. “We can even fit the public with brand new equipment, which sometimes includes clubs that haven’t even been officially launched yet.” The facility’s two bays witnessed a combined 1,086 fittings last year—Monday to Friday beginning at 8 a.m. The most often-changed variable? “Loft,” Mlynarski says. “Even tour pros are surprised.” It’s one of the tweaks they make to my driver—adding one degree to my usual set-up. The fee for this service is $150, for which you also receive a dozen top-grade balls appropriate to your game, a $100 gift card toward any equipment orders more than $500, as well as an arm’s length of data regarding the clubs you hit— the latter of which is emailed to you afterward. We concluded the session at the putting green, where Callaway’s SAM (Science and Motion) system recorded the face rotation and loft and lie path of my putting strike to within a millimeter. Alas, overtired and bleary-eyed, I began to push and pull one ball after another wide of the target. As talented as Mlynarski and Alston might be, they could not be expected to correct my vision. Ted McIntyre is an Ontario-based writer and editor.

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Winter 2016 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER


Player’s Corner GIFTS

The Giving Tee Ideas for the only time of year golfers like finding themselves under a tree. DOGLEG RIGHT Never let someone play another round without his or her best friend. A CuddleClone Head Cover faithfully replicates any dog or cat in plush, precise detail. Just upload up to six photos of the pet, its name, eye colors (because some differ) and any special details. The process takes 2.5 months—similar to average canine and feline gestations. Even though the gift won’t arrive this Christmas, this one-of-a-kind companion is worth waiting for. $199; cuddleclones.com

WORTH ITS WEIGHT Know someone whose putting needs to improve? John Ambrose can help. Applying his vast knowledge of physics to golf, the Ohio-based commercial pilot and golf instructor invented the perimeter-weighted L2 MOI MAXX putter that earned a Best New Product award at the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show. What makes it different? Start with the size. The average putter has a head weighing 360 grams (12.70 oz.) and measures five inches from head to toe, with a sweet spot of less than one inch. In comparison, the L2 MOI MAXX weighs 620 grams (21.87 oz.) with a width of 6.25 inches and a 3.5-inch sweet spot. This results in the L2 having the highest Moment of Inertia (MOI)—as well as the greatest stability and forgiveness—of any putter currently on the market. To promote easy alignment, the putter even stands up on its own, sports parallel marks framing the track line to the cup and a sole design that supports better body alignment. To eliminate yips, dominant-hand and other issues on the greens, the L2 promotes a “rhythmic” pendulum-like tempo by engaging your big muscles. Order the L2 MOI MAXX online with a full money-back guarantee. $169-$195; L2putters.com

COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

THE GREENSBELT What golfer doesn’t enjoy seeing their ball on the green? But what golfer enjoys rooting through their pockets for items to fix a pitch mark and denote their ball? KenRick Golf belts solve the problem with style. They come with a sleek divot repair tool and ball marker built into the end tip that easily slides in and out. Surcingle styles run $49; leather models are $95; and a crocodile-embossed version costs $110; kenrickgolf.com

GETTING CHIPPY Every year, Vegas Golf-The Game ups the ante on on-course fun. The basic game involves positive (e.g. birdie), negative (e.g. ball in water) and “wild card” poker chips that players “earn” during a round. Before the first hole, the players determine the value of the chips (e.g. $1 each), and at the end of the round, you owe each player that amount for every negative chip in your possession. They, in turn, pay you for the positives. There’s only one of each chip, however, so you can’t stockpile birdies. Vegas Golf-The Game has evolved in four years from a 10-chip set to an “All In” Package containing 24 chips, instructions and a dual-compartment tee bag. The numerous variations run $20-$40; vegasgolfthegame.com

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Player’s Corner

CARIBBEAN DREAM: The SeaDream II cruises White Bay along the pristine shores of Jost Van Dyke.

TRIPS

Tee (and sightsee) For Two WITH 32 YEARS OF DELIVERING epic golf experiences around the world, PerryGolf knows a “golf couples” vacation is about much more than playing 18 holes. It’s about combining golf with epicurean adventures, unforgettable locations and romantic memories. That’s why these VIP golf tour operators have created golf cruises to every continent, as well as a golf safari specifically designed for you and your partner. The three trips below top the list. Prices quoted are per person and do not include airfare. perrygolf.com; 800-344-5257

MEDITERRANEAN ISLANDS GOLF CRUISE (October 21 – 28 2017) Embarking from Barcelona aboard the Azamara Quest, you’ll savor the intoxicating charms of Valencia, Mallorca, Menorca, Sardinia and Corsica. The seven-night cruise includes club suite accommodations, personal butler service and four rounds of golf (including one at Corsica’s Sperone Golf Club, considered Europe’s Pebble Beach). You depart from Rome. $5,544.

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Spoil yourselves on the fashionable mega-yacht SeaDream II as it departs from St. Thomas for seven nights of travel to the exclusive islands of Virgin Gorda, Nevis, St Kitts, St Barts, Anguilla and Jost van Dyke. Three rounds of golf (Four Seasons Nevis, Royal St. Kitts, CuisinArt Resort) punctuate a week of paradisiacal indulgences, highlighted by the final night’s Champagne & Caviar Splash. $7,849.

Witness some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery, exotic wildlife and spectacular vineyards as you venture from Cape Town to Stellenbosch, George, the Garden Route and Kruger National Park. The 14-night adventure includes four on a luxury safari (viewing, not hunting), lavish lodgings and five rounds of golf on such courses as Fancourt, Pinnacle Point and Leopard Creek. $9,950.

COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

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Side Bets | FAREWAYS FOOD | BEER | CARS

Superb in the Burbs

HAUTE HAUNT: The Wooden Table patio; grilled octopus appetizer; spinach salad with grilled goat cheese; and bustling dining room.

For five years running, The Wooden Table has turned out indescribable meals from a nondescript suburban shopping plaza. By Gary James

PHOTOGRAPHS BY PHIL MUMFORD

FOR RESTAURANTS as well as children, it takes a Village—in this case, Greenwood. Chef Brett Shaheen and manager Jane Knauf met years ago when they were both working at Sambuca, Denver’s erstwhile jazz supper club. They then accrued a period of fine-dining experience between them—for Shaheen, it was cooking at Frank Bonnano’s Luca d’Italia and Osteria Marco. Five years ago, the seasoned duo opened their own concept, The Wooden Table—in Greenwood Village, an upscale district of small residential subdivisions, shopping plazas and business parks. “We had worked downtown and were tired of the scene,” Shaheen muses. “We both live in the suburbs and we always complained that there was nothing good to eat. There was a need for something unique. The Greenwood Village location was a nice affluent area, and we thought it could work.” And so The Wooden Table has distinguished itself in the neighborhood for the long run. The view might not be much—the suburban strip mall of Cherry Hills Plaza—but the refined, contemporary space is stylish yet casual, sometimes clamorous yet always friendly. The single-plank wooden bar and handhewn myrtlewood community table are stunning. “My father-in-law is a woodworker in Taos,” Shaheen explains. “He’s good at it—he’s in a couple

coloradoavidgolfer.com

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Winter 2016 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER


Side Bets | FAREWAYS of galleries on Canyon Road in Santa Fe—so I knew going in he’d be making the tables and a centerpiece.” The Wooden Table fills up with a lunch crowd that craves a cosmopolitan alternative to fast-food chains. “We want to be an upscale fine-dining restaurant, but at lunch we serve sandwiches and a couple of entrée salads—salmon salad, steak salad—and hit a better price point for that crowd,” Shaheen explains. It’s at dinner that he really shows his culinary savvy. On a recent visit, my party tried his menu items, which balance Italian-fused fare with some New American touches. Sweet, silky ricotta cheese adds sumptuousness to the Polenta appetizer, finished with dollops of red sauce and melted fresh mozzarella for depth and complexity. The steamy, saucy Mussels meet up with spicy, savory house-made sausage and saffron, served with grilled ciabatta. Heaps of tasty accouterments accompany the artisanal slices on the Cheese Plate. There’s an art to the Grilled Octopus appetizer. When the tentacles are lightly seasoned and charred, the delicate meat is white and succulent (a mild cross between shrimp, scallop and calamari). But whereas most chefs dress octopus with lemon, Shaheen plates it with watermelon gazpacho, Tuscan cantaloupe and English cucumber. “The cool freshness and brightness of the melons and cucumbers made sense for summer, with the contrast of the warm grilled octopus,” DOUBLE THE YUM: Diners come for both lunch and dinner.

COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

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Among the refined entrees, the duck is marvelous—a breast roasted until a rosy, juicy medium rare, served with candied baby turnips, browned butter and fennel puree, and a balsamic cherry reduction. The Hanger Steak comes with delicious morel mushrooms, peas and potatoes and a sweet Vidalia onion puree. Scallops are a signature dish—a trio of plump mollusks served atop a shrimp cake with lobster emulsion (fresh and mild, not fishy) and beautiful rainbow carrots. What’s the secret to searing scallops properly—opaque around the edges and a cream-colored, slightly translucent center? “The biggest keys are to get fresh, not frozen, and the scallop should be patted dry,” Shaheen says. “Preheat a pan so it’s about to smoke, then add a little oil and sear the scallop on one side until it’s golden brown. Then flip it and add a couple of tablespoons of butter and baste the scallop with the butter. We do it in the pan on the stove; we don’t put them in the oven. And a couple of drops of lemon juice is always good.” Our server, the enthusiastic, professional Johanna, suggested a bottle from the hand-selected wine list that would pair with all our entrees. I adore the red wines from Siciliy’s Mount Etna, and the Etna Rosso “Barbazzale” Cottanera blends Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, the two varieties of local grape cache. For dessert, nothing beats a simple Affogato (“drowned” in Italian), a scoop of sweet vanilla bean gelato topped with a shot of hot, caramelly espresso—and another of Irish cream liqueur. Shaneen offered one more course—of action, that is. “We’re in the process of expanding, to Belmar in Lakewood, open in December,” he reveals. “It’ll be a bit more approachable and casual, not as expensive, a bigger bar and patio area. The same menu for lunch and dinner—homemade pastas, salads, sandwiches, appetizers. It’s going to be called Brodo, Italian for broth or stock.” So get ready for “The Two Towers” of Shaheen cuisine. Brodo lives! 2500 East Orchard Road #C thewoodentablerestaurant.com; 303-730-2152 Read more of Contributor Gary James’ Fareways columns on coloradoavidgolfer.com. coloradoavidgolfer.com

PHOTOGRAPHS BY PHIL MUMFORD

Shaheen says. “There’s also a little bit of serrano chile in there, a touch of spice. And there’s quite a process to preparing the octopus prior to grilling it. We braise it in milk and water and egg whites and cornstarch, on a very low simmer for four or five hours. I don’t know the science, but the egg whites and cornstarch make it tender.” The specialty salads include Spinach and Caesar, plus a sprightly, elegantly composed Arugula salad that tangles fried oyster mushrooms with pecorino romano, onions and white truffle oil for color and vibrant flavor. Shaheen’s delicate house-made pasta takes the staple to the next level. He gets wild with his velvety smooth Bolognese sauce, using nicely gamey ground venison; only large, flat swaths of pappardelle pasta can stand up to its heartiness. “The first thing in the pan is pancetta, rendered down until the fat releases and the pork crisps up,” Shaheen divulges. “And at the end, we use our chicken liver mousse to add richness.”

FOWL PLAY: Braised Duck Breast with turnips and fennel.


Side Bets | TAPPING IN

Brewing for the Greater Good

PRIMATE CHANGE: Gorilla Conservation Fund’s Frank Keesling goes ape for Rockyard’s Silverback Pale Ale.

Making the world a better place—one beer at a time. By Cody Gabbard BEER’S FEEL-GOOD QUALITIES owe to the endorphins it triggers, but its do-good qualities owe to brewers who devote some of their profits to important causes. Two Colorado breweries are doing precisely that. Rockyard Brewing Company of Castle Rock and Denver Beer Company both contribute to the sustainability and enjoyment of one of Colorado’s first loves—the outdoors. Rockyard sells a brew to benefit a critically endangered species, and Denver Beer promotes a charity that challenges young adult cancer fighters to conquer outdoor adventures.

GORILLA TACTICS Rockyard is involved in a continual funding agreement with the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund, which runs an African Wildlife Disease Surveillance and Veterinary education facility based in Uganda and also operates in Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Fifty percent of all profits from the sale of Rockyard’s Silverback Pale Ale, a year-round brew, go to the Fund. Rockyard’s veteran brewmaster, Jim Stinson, says that a chance encounter with Frank Keesling, son of the Fund’s founder, Dr. Ruth Morris Keesling, coincided with a recent brewery expansion, setting the tone for what would become an ongoing partnership. Wynkoop Brewing Company had originally brewed the beer, but Wynkoop and coloradoavidgolfer.com

“It’s been awhile since there have been any gorilla sightings in Colorado, along with the snow snakes and mogul mice,” laughs the brewer. “But the backstory comes from our own backyard.”­ Keesling both decided not to renew the license following Wynkoop’s merger with Breckenridge Brewery, allowing for Rockyard to pick up the baton. But why would a local brewer pick up the baton for a decidedly un-local cause? “It’s been awhile since there have been any gorilla sightings in Colorado, along with the snow snakes and mogul mice,” laughs Stinson. “But the backstory comes from our own backyard.” In 1983, Coloradan Ruth Keesling was traveling in Africa and met Dian Fossey, a pioneer in mountain gorilla research who was hired by the Louis Leakey Foundation. Fossey was murdered shortly thereafter and Ruth decided to dedicate her time to continuing Dian’s work and to partner with neighboring businesses with a likeminded appreciation of the outdoors and pre-

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Side Bets | TAPPING IN serving its resources and wildlife. “The Fund had the original recipe and we tweaked it a little bit,” explains Stinson. “We had samples of the beers that were being produced. It’s also brewed at Thirsty Planet Brewing Company in Austin, Texas, so I called and talked to the brewer down there to see how he was making it. So we did our version of it, trying to hit those same targets and came out with a nice little pale ale.” In addition to supporting a unique charity, Silverback contains an equally unique ingredient—grains of paradise—which are a vital part of the mountain gorilla’s diet and an item used in its bedding. Grains of paradise have a complex range of flavors, including notes of cardamom, pepper and citrus. “They’re not too dominant, but we’ve brought them up a little more just to make them a little more prominent,” Stinson says. Stinson complemented those flavors with his hop selections. “We’ve got some Zythos, which is a blend of American Pale Ale hops and we finish with a dry hop of Cascade,” he says. “There’s

a big hop craze with IPAs and double-IPAs and all of that and we get a lot of people that say, ‘I don’t like hoppy beers. But we bring this out as an American Pale Ale where it’s kind of the ale version of a German Pilsner, with the lower level of bitterness and hops that makes it more drinkable to people.” Since Silverback’s introduction, it has generated nearly $300,000 for the critically endangered mountain gorillas. That money, coupled with antipoaching patrols and the introduction of wildlife veterinary medicine, has resulted in the mountain gorilla being the only great ape in the world to increase its population numbers since 1985—from 248 in 1985 to an estimated 880 in 2016.

CHARITY PARTNER

For years, Denver Beer Company fostered a greater sense of community by supporting many different causes. “We donated beer here and there, or proceeds from one event, or provid-

Hoppy Holidays Most people typically associate saccharine-sweet pumpkin beers with fall and heavily spiced Christmasthemed beers with winter. It doesn’t have to be that way. The abundance of food and differing tastes at holiday gatherings begs for versatile beers that will pair well with every type of feast and friend.

SAISON D’ÊTRE A saison will fit the bill for most any food pairing, delicate enough to go with lighter fare and dry enough to be a palate cleanser for meats or heavy sauces. Pair it with spicier meat dishes such as lamb and pork or with desserts containing chocolate. · A Tennessee brewer of some of the world’s finest saisons—including its refreshing Classic Saison— Blackberry Farm Brewery releases a seasonal version, Winter Saison, that drinks like a Belgian Dubbel, with dark fruit flavors and a roastier, malt-based profile than the citrusy Classic. · The exquisitely balanced and dry offerings from Baltimore’s Stillwater Artisinal suggest the Saison spirit, as developed in French and Belgian farmhouses. For lighter and brighter versions, try Classique and Cellar Door; for darker earthier beers, go with Autumnal or A Saison Darkly.

GET DOWN WITH BROWN Easy-drinking brown ales should be just as welcome at the table. English versions will tend to be sweeter and not have the chocolaty roast of their American cousins, so keep it stateside when pairing with roasted meats. They are also a godsend with leftover turkey, adding a host of contrasting flavors to the driest of birds. · Straight from Boulder comes Upslope Brewing’s Upslope Brown Ale, which is medium-bodied with flavors and aromas of roasted coffee and chocolate. A dry finish helps balance a higher bitterness. · Telluride Brewing melds American roast and chocolate with English toffee and nuttiness to create Face Down Brown, an ale that has won gold at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup.

MEALS IN THEMSELVES Savor these hearty brews on their own, after dinner, preferably with someone by the fireplace. · Every December 6 (Saint Nicholas’ Day) Austria’s Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg brews Samichlaus Classic and lets it age 10 months. Once the strongest beer in the world at 14 percent ABV, this Austrian Doppelbock glows with alcohol warmth and a complexity of flavors ranging from chocolate and dark fruit to sweet caramel. · Get your gourd on with The Bruery’s Autumn Maple. Instead of the usual pumpkin, the SoCal brewer packs 15 pounds of yams into each barrel, along with some molasses and maple syrup. The result is rich, warming (10 percent ABV) and downright delicious.—C.B.

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ing free event space for a fundraiser,” explains co-owner Patrick Crawford. “But we felt as though we weren’t making much impact on any one organization.” To make a greater impact, in 2016 Denver Beer instituted its Charity Partner Program, which focuses all its efforts on one organization. It accepted 62 open petitions from Colorado-based charities with tax-exempt status, selecting First Descents as the first recipient. According to its website, First Descents offers “young adult cancer fighters and survivors a free outdoor adventure experience designed to empower them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same.” “First Descents’ mission really felt like a good fit with our own mission,” Crawford explains. “Their motto ‘out living it,’ really struck a chord with us, as they encourage young adult cancer survivors to enjoy amazing experiences and challenges in nature. We created Denver Beer Company with the hope that it would be a great spot to come after a full-day of outdoor adventuring, and most of us are passionate about wilderness experiences and enjoying Colorado’s outdoors.” By promoting the First Descents’ cause throughout the community “we can be just as impactful as the actual dollar and beer donations that we’ll make throughout the year,” continues Crawford. Additionally, working with just one organization allows Denver Beer employees to become intimately familiar with the charity. “We get to know the whole team behind the organization, meet the individuals that the organization helps support, learn their stories, and create personal relationships with everyone involved,” Crawford explains. “All of which makes the partnership much more meaningful for us.” Denver Beer donated the proceeds from two festivals—July’s Summer Shindig and October’s Collaboration Celebration at the Great American Beer Festival—to First Descents, for which it is also producing a limited-release 22-ounce bomber with a custom label.

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Contributor and homebrewer Cody Gabbard regularly writes CAG’s Tapping In column. coloradoavidgolfer.com

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Winter 2016 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER


Side Bets | NICE DRIVES

Off-Road and Over-the-Top Thanks to four new models, crossovers have never looked better. By Isaac Bouchard THE NEBULOUS TERM “crossover” now defines today’s best-selling vehicles—aside from pickups. And just like trucks, which started life on the farm before morphing into daily drivers for all demographics, these off-roaders have subdivided into niches almost too numerous to name. Here is a sampling of some of the latest, as well as some sexy counterprogramming for those who only need two doors.

2016 MAZDA CX-9 SIGNATURE EPA ratings: 21/27mpg; 23mpg combined 0-60mph: 7.4sec Price as tested: $44,915 With the CX-9, Mazda’s vehicles now fit snuggly in the near-prestige rank that Acura once defined. This seven-passenger crossover looks and feels incredibly upscale outside, with gorgeous paint finish and carefully crafted trim, emphasized by surprise-and-delight hidden LED strips bordering the grill. Its stunning interior features materials that match or exceed anything from Asia or America and are almost the equal of Audi. The color screens and head-up display bespeak class, and that a Mazda now ranks as the quietest, best-riding machine in its segment is, quite frankly, astonishing. There’s only one engine choice, which typifies the company’s out-of-thebox thinking: a turbocharged 2.5-liter four with about the lowest horsepower yet highest torque of any competitor (227hp/310lb-ft). The CX-9 scoots quickly around town, handles the mountains and gets great highway economy. Frustrated racers won’t like it as much as its predecessor— the seats don’t squeeze like the used to, and it is runs out of puff at high RPMs—but for most buyers, the CX-9 represents a refreshing insight into the needs of families. The softer, less constrictive seats will fit a 6-foot-11 driver (and leave room in the two rows behind for passengers) and it costs thousands less than the top-shelf Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, GMC Denali and Acura MDX it plays against.

2017 JAGUAR F-PACE 35T PRESTIGE EPA ratings: 18/23mpg; 20mpg combined 0-60mph: 5.4sec (est) Price as tested: $56,195 The Jaguar F-Pace is the most dynamic drive in the crossover class aside from the Porsche Macan, which is it easily beats in the “utility” portion of the SUV contest. It has a much roomier back seat and more cargo room, despite dimensions that are almost the same. It doesn’t share the German machine’s sense of solidity, though, with obvious cost-cutting evident in the center console and some other moldings and a slow-witted, low-rez standard interface (a better, Pro version is optional). What Jaguar got spot-on is the way the F-Pace translates the driver’s wishes into hyper-alert yet controlled body motions through superb steering, an interactive balance and stonking response from the supercharged 340hp. Avoid the largest wheel sizes which improve the Jaguar’s visuals but diminish the already flinty ride quality.

COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

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where Snow to Green is just a short “Fly”

Just because the snow starts to y doesn’t mean you have to winterize your golf clubs. This winter golf destination offers custom packages to t any golfer’s schedule, skill level and pocketbook. Daily direct ights on United make getting here a cinch! DEN >> SGU Visit RedRockGolf.com to see how affordable and easy a getaway can be.


Side Bets | NICE DRIVES

2017 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF ALLTRACK SE EPA ratings: 22 /30mpg; 25mpg combined 0-60mph: 7.0sec (est) Price as tested: $32,195 Many have taken a swing at Subaru’s groundbreaking, genre-defying Outback. VW might be the first mainstream brand to crack its DNA code. As the German company seeks to reinvent itself post-dieselgate, crossovers and tall wagons like the Alltrack play a critical role. The Alltrack has the exterior accouterments down cold—faux skid plates, a 1.6-inch increase in ride height, silver skidplate-like cladding. Inside, it is pretty much a Golf SportWagen, which is no bad thing: good quality plastics, a supremely logical layout and fast, if basic, interface. Sized between the smaller Subies and the current Outback (yet priced like the latter), it makes a bold frontal assault on the Japanese company’s turf. The Alltrack’s strongest weapons are its good dynamics; it has tactile, accurate steering that encourages back road exploration, better handling and ride quality than the Subaru, along with a willing, turbocharged engine with outputs of 177hp/190lb-ft. While there’s lag from a dead stop, once away it zips along smartly,

2017 INFINITI Q60 RED SPORT 400 AWD EPA ratings: 19/26mpg 0-60mph: 4.6sec (est) Price as tested: $42,995 Kudos to Infiniti for putting resources into this car, especially when the whole world seemingly wants to “drive truck.” It’s almost a throwback: a low-slung sled that now makes even more of a statement, since crossovers have become so ubiquitous. The Infiniti has the striking impact of recent Lexus designs, with more coherence outside. The Q60 interior’s sweeps of form and color—blued carbon fiber on doors and dash—are fetching and the general level of quality is high, too. Its twin-screen interface looks good even if it’s not intuitive. Infiniti’s resources seem to have gone into multiple new engines and chassis revisions; a 208hp four and 300hp and 400hp twin-turbo V6 are superb and combine nicely with the legacy 7-speed automatic. The top dog, labeled Red Sport, lays down a marker in the junior hot rod ranks that BMW M Sports and AMG-light Mercedes have staked out. A sub-5-second 0-60 augments well-honed suspension calibrations. The Q60 breathes with the road yet is well tied down (at least when equipped with the adjustable Dynamic Digital setup); the brakes are stout, too. The only demerit is the fly-by-wire steering. While dramatically improved over the system that came in the original Q50 sedan, it still has some odd feedback and lacks the transparency of a conventional setup—which is thankfully still standard, as long as you forsake some of the optional safety systems. The Q60 Red Sport may not be quite as refined as a BMW 440xi or Audi S5, but it has perhaps the most style in the class and dynamics to match the best.

the twin-clutch gearbox swapping its six ratios perfectly and giving 7-second 0-60mph acceleration, about two seconds faster than a 4-cylinder Outback with similar fuel economy—or the performance of the 6-cylinder Subaru with better fuel economy. Whichever way you look at it, its great for those who like the idea of an sporty, fireroad-rated AWD wagon or want an alternative to taller, worse handling SUVs.

COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

Automotive Editor Isaac Bouchard is the owner of Englewood-based Bespoke Autos (303-475-1462). Read more of his writing on coloradoavidgolfer.com and bespokeautos.com.

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VERRADO GOLF CLUB SCORES ANOTHER VICTORY

18th green on the new Victory Course

With breathtaking views at the base of the White Tank Mountains, a thrilling course design and delicious fare in the Verrado Grille, Verrado Golf Club combines the finest elements of Arizona golf with the highest standards for service. And with the addition of our 18-hole Victory Course coming in December, you’ll have plenty more reasons to keep coming back.

www.VerradoGolfClub.com Buckeye, Arizona

4242 North Golf Drive, Buckeye, AZ 85396 | 623.388.3000 www.VerradoGolfClub.com


Verde River

Mountain Shadows

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Victory at Verrado

Now Playing in Arizona GOLF, IN GENERAL, has not been up to par for the better part of a decade. Far more courses have closed than have opened since 2006, and according to the National Golf Foundation, the game lost about 600,000 golfers in 2015 even if numbers remained strong in several crucial areas: among committed golfers, beginning golfers and the number of people interested in taking up the game. And then there is Arizona, where participation remains solid if not strong, thanks

Four dazzling new courses brighten the golf scene in the Valley of the Sun.

in large part to seasonal migration patterns from states like Colorado, 330 annual days of sunshine and nearly 400 golf courses—of which more than three-fourths are accessible to the public and nearly 200 are in the Phoenix-Scottsdale entertainment market, giving those golfers the non-golf activities they crave. Another four courses—Verde River Golf & Social Club, Victory at Verrado Golf Club, Li’l Wick at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club, and the Short Course at Mountain Shadows—make their debut this winter. Their appearance reflects not only the vitality of the Arizona golf scene, but also what’s really “new” in AZ golf—namely, a more fun and accessible approach towards the game.

BY BILL HUFFMAN

VERDE RIVER GOLF & SOCIAL CLUB

Li’l Wick

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(Rio Verde) Verde River Golf & Social Club is actually the second reincarnation of Tegavah Golf Club, which formerly was known as Vista Verde. The first two renditions of this north Scottsdale club located off Dynamite Road went bust, but not because they were bad layouts. As the latest architect of record, Tom Winter 2016 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER


Lehman, explained it: “The bones of the course were excellent, a tribute to the work Ken Kavanaugh did on the original design. The course has always had amazing views and some really, really good golf holes, so this was not a massive overhaul; it was our attempt to make every hole better.” In that regard, Lehman redesigned only three holes of Kavanaugh’s original work, which believe it or not, had opened in 2005 to rave reviews. “We did touch—or did something—to all 18 holes,” Lehman added. “In the end, I think we made it more fun, more exciting, more playable.” Therein lies the key words to golf in the future—fun, exciting, playable. Golfers are looking for those elements more and more, and they will find them at Verde River, a Shea Homes/Blue Star Resort & Golf pro-

Verde River

Li’l Wick

eraging 8,000-square feet and small lake that serves as the center point. “It’s the best little-big golf park in the whole darn state,” said Blue Star’s vice president of marketing, Ben Keilholtz, of the course that is located about 45 minutes northwest of Phoenix. “These are very creative par 3s that range from 85 to 200 yards with regulation-sized greens.” Better yet, there are stereo speakers that pump the tunes into every green complex. Five of the holes are lit for night golf, and, in the middle of it all, is the Watering Hole—a sports bar with nine big-screen TVs where you can stop and have a drink and then pick up your round where you left off. There are other things that make Li’l duction. They’ll also get that “social club” element, as Verde River will soon include an incredible clubhouse, as well as swimming and tennis complexes. And while Verde River is slated to become private at some future date, it currently is open to the public with a green fee that is $60 to $75, very reasonable by AZ standards. verderivergolf.com; 480-471-3232

Victory at Verrado

LI’L WICK (Wickenburg) Li’l Wick is the short course at Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club, and if that Golf & Social Club brand looks familiar it’s because the same guys (Shea and Blue Star) did the big course at Wickenburg and Vista Verde. Talk about catching a wave! Li’l Wick comprises nine of the biggest par 3s you’ll ever run into, right down to greens avCOLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

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Stop searching for your oasis. It’s right here. You’ll be amazed at the stories you can tell with Tucson as your escape. Learn more at VisitTucson.org/GOLF


Wick the shape of things to come: no tee times, you just walk up and put your name on a chalk board; from the front tees you could use a putter the entire way around, meaning it’s manageable for the nongolfer; and it costs just $25—or $15 if you play it in conjunction with the highly acclaimed big course. Oh, yes, and did we mention that the club’s Jake’s Spoon restaurant and Wick’s Hideaway saloon are very cool, too? wickenburgranch.com; 928-668-5535

VICTORY COURSE AT VERRADO GOLF CLUB (Buckeye) First-timers also will enjoy the new Victory Course at Verrado Golf Club. Tucked into the White Tank Mountains on the western-most edge of Phoenix, this time Lehman went solo on Victory after teaming up with John Fought to design the original Verrado Course, which is located about a mile away. But Victory is nothing like Verrado if for no other reason than the playing field. Built on what once was the testing site for Caterpillar tractors, this is a rocky, challenging terrain, where Lehman sculpted massive, sweeping fairways and gentle green settings. The course is the main amenity of the 55-plus active community being created

by Scottsdale-based DMB. It will open to the public in February with a green fee that will range from $89-$99 or twilight rate of $49-$59. Again, a very unArizona-like fee. “Every hole kind of gives you something unique and different, with that theme of being a surreal, beautiful, rugged rock environment with immaculately maintained fairways and greens running throughout,” the designer said. “We’ve truly used whatever the land has given us—if that’s a cliff or a nob or a boulder or a drop-off or a sudden rise up the mountain – and left the terrain all natural, so it looks like it’s been built right into the land. “In fact, I can’t think of another course in Arizona that is quite like it. It just looks so compelling that I’m sure it will be quite an experience for those who play it.” Victory will amaze you, whether it’s the four and a half acres of grape vines planted on the hillsides (yes, Verrado will soon have its own wine label) or the first two holes, which due to a large outcropping find the No. 1 and No. 2 greens just 50 feet apart (no, it’s not a double green). There are other holes you will never forget, like the short par-4 14th, where a natural stone wall dissects the fairway—

Mountain Shadows

the chief challenge if a player tries to drive the green. Or the 18th, a picturesque par 4 over water that plays down and then up the hill with those aforementioned grapevines lining the mountain backdrop. Visitors also will want to check out the club’s new restaurant called The Vic, a totally upscale retreat that sits high on the hill above the

Take Tonto Verde AZ for a Test Drive

Two 18-hole championship golf courses surrounded by breathtaking mountain views Custom homes or townhomes available in a gated community Join 70 of your fellow Coloradans that own and golf here!

Discover Package $795

• 4 days/3 nights in luxury townhome • Dinner for 2 in our award winning clubhouse • Electric Golf cart and Mountain Bikes included • Golf for 2 on both the Peaks and the Ranch courses • Tour and use of the clubhouse, fitness center, pool and spa This package is for couples considering a purchase in the next 1-2 years.

For Details Call (855) 405-4340 or Visit TontoVerde.org COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

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18th green with a panoramic view of the entire Valley of the Sun. verrado.com/victory; 623-399-9001

THE SHORT COURSE AT MOUNTAIN SHADOWS (Paradise Valley) The last of this new Fab Four to come on line will be the Short Course at Moun-

coloradoavidgolfer.com

tain Shadows in posh Paradise Valley, which opens in mid-February. An upscale par-3 by local architect Forrest Richardson with 18 completely different holes from the original executive layout built by his mentor, Jack Snyder, there will be much to like about Mountain Shadows, such as a round of golf that takes a little over two hours to play. Hey, if there is one thing we’ve learned in today’s ever-changing golf market it’s that golfers want less time on the course, not more. “It’s the perfect destination course for the traveler, as you don’t even have to bring your bag; we’ll provide the clubs,” Richardson said of the course that is tied into a new 200-room resort of the same name. “My goal was to build 18 interesting par 3s that required some thought, yet you could play it in less than three hours – and we’ve played it with partners in less than two (hours).” Richardson created some very demanding (“not easy”) par 3s that range up to 220 yards. The signature hole is No. 10, which goes 95 yards straight up Camelback Mountain, smack dab into the head of the famed beast. Normally this would be a very tough green to hold except Richardson built a punch bowl-shaped green to cradle tee shots.

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Tom McCahan, the club’s new director of golf and club operations, thought so much of the latest edition of Mountain Shadows that he left his job as director of golf at The Boulders after 25 years. As McCahan pointed out so succinctly: “To me, Mountain Shadows, a high-end, par-3 course that doesn’t take all day to play, is the future of our game.” People will like the price, too, although that is not set in stone yet, McCahan added, guessing that the average green fee “will be around $50 and maybe slightly higher in season with rental clubs from PING.” There’s also a comfortable, relaxed 19th hole in the resort called Rusty’s Patio & Lounge, named after the late Russ Lyon, whose family also owns or runs The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain and Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale. It all goes together, as it did in its heyday, when Mountain Shadows was the benchmark for desert luxury, and the golf course boasted perhaps the best weekly skins game in Arizona. mountainshadows.com; 480.624.5400 The author of Arizona's Greatest Golf Courses, Bill Huffman writes about golf for azgolf.org and hosts Backspin: the Golf Show, a twice weekly radio program on Fox Sports Phoenix.

Winter 2016 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER


Finding Old TOP-SHELF TUCSON: Saguaros and superlatives define the 27-hole, 575-room JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa.

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Arizona Of a piece with its rugged surroundings, Tucson delivers the authentic desert experience. BY TED JOHNSON THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY fluttered over the fine needles of the large cactus before landing on an open blossom, its sienna wings opening and closing in silent but hypnotic rhythm. During this brilliant and quiet Sunday morning, he and I were the only representatives of our respective species in the Butterfly Garden at Tohono Chul, the restored botanical park in north Tucson. The Monarch searched for sustenance, and I was in Tucson for something a little more ethereal, namely “Old Arizona”—impressions of which can be found in myriad places. But it became clear at Tohono Chul that to have these experiences you have to do what the locals do—get outdoors. Late winter and spring in Tucson can be a time of wondrous beauty, albeit very temporal, and the best way to see it is be in it—on the trails or in the gardens and even the golf courses amidst the Sonoran desert. Nighttime amplifies the experience, as Tucson’s efforts to curb light pollution fill the heavens with stars.

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Winter 2016 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER


Tucson celebrates the expansive Sonoran Desert, and locals assimilate the experience via the many hiking trails on the outskirts of the city. Surrounded by five mountain ranges, dozens of trailheads lead to countless upclose moments with nature. Popular hiking spots like Sabino Canyon, Tumamoc Hill, and Saguaro National Forest West become more than a source of physical activity; they often serve as social hub as well. Both Loews Ventana Canyon and the JW Marriott Starr Pass have trailheads on their property. If I had to pick one hike for a day, it would be Sabino Canyon, a 3.5 mile walk or tram-ride up 650 feet to the deepest part of the canyon. The steep walls and creeks are stunning, and you’ll find yourself stopping at any number of spots to take in all the colors and topography. After a rainfall, head to Sabino Canyon as soon as possible to catch the wildlife that often congregates at the watering holes.

A DESERT EDUCATION The region is home to two of the world’s best nature museums, and within their confines you come to understand a line said to me years ago: “To live in the desert you have to be civilized.” The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum west of Tucson is a world-class organization that brings the desert to life through classes and exhibits. Eighty-five percent of the museum is outdoors and includes a zoo, botanical garden, various desert habitats and—saluting Arizona’s mining tradition— one of the world’s most comprehensive regional mineral collections. The Museum’s well-regarded Ocotillo Café hosts in-garden dinners during the winter and spring. There’s something refined about enjoying fine fare in the desert. Also on the west side is the International Wildlife Museum, which is associated with the Safari Club Foundation. The

COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

Westin La Paloma Resort

Playing the Old Pueblo ALTHOUGH THE GREATER Phoenix region is very popular for golf, I prefer Tucson for my midwinter rounds. The courses feature elevation changes, panoramic vistas and reach-over-and-touch-it proximity to the desert fauna. Add in names like Fazio, Nicklaus and Palmer as course designers, the result is challenge mixed with beauty.

Westin La Paloma Resort

This northeast Tucson resort exudes a classy elegance, with its private course accessible only to members, resort guests and Troon Golf card members. This classic Jack Nicklaus layout from the late 1980s century has three nines —Canyon, Hill and the Ridge, which is the narrowest. On all three, easy par4s and reachable par-5s come early, then it gets serious. What you’ll want: Good friends, family or even a company tournament to enjoy resplendent resort golf. Higher handicappers: There are

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forced carries, so choose the right tee. Can’t find the tee shot on the grass? It’s gone. Drop and advance. Single-digit players: Bomb away. The fairways on many holes are “dished,” meaning slopes or mounds are higher and tend to kick the ball back toward the fairway. westinlapalomaresort.com

JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa

Starr Pass, on the southwest side of Tucson, has become a stunning property anchored by a seven-story resort set against the slopes of Tucson Mountain Park. This all-in-one resort attracts families, business meetings and conventions. I hadn’t played here since December 1990 on the original, Arnold Palmer-designed 18-hole routing. Two months later, a sophomore at Arizona State named Phil Mickelson won the Tucson Open on that course. Now it’s three nines—Rattler, Roadrunner and coloradoavidgolfer.com


Loews Ventana Canyon

Coyote—and it’s hard to recognize the original holes, which are spread throughout the 27. What you’ll want: Plenty of balls and a range finder that calculates slope. Higher handicappers: Move up one tee—or two. Forced carries are the norm and some are blind, so be easy on yourself. Single-digit players: Do your research. Read the course guide. Know the bailouts. Some green complexes squeeze into very tight spaces. marriottstarrpass.com

want: The chance to play the Mountain course again right after the round— perhaps the ultimate compliment. The Canyons is flatter and lacks the character of the Mountain, but still enjoyable. Higher handicappers: Play the standard tees, enjoy the wide fairways and stay out of devilish fairway and greenside bunkers. Single-digit players: Always know where the Catalina Mountains are in respect with your putts. loewshotels.com/ventana-canyon

Loews Ventana Canyon

Sewailo Golf Club at Casino Del Sol Resort

Loews Ventana Canyon features two areas of accommodations – the resort and the Lodge. Either allow for access to spa, tennis, hiking, swimming, golf and access to hiking trails. Luxury ambiance resonates from this 36-hole facility ranging from the first-rate practice facility to Tom Fazio’s ingenious layout on the Mountain course, particularly No. 3—the Sonora Desert’s answer to the famous par-3 No. 7 at Pebble Beach. What you’ll coloradoavidgolfer.com

In the southwestern part of town, the Pascua Yacqui Indian Tribe owns Casino Del Sol, which features a casino, hotel, restaurant and the Notah Begay-designed Sewailo Golf Club. The tribe had plenty of land to use, and you see it on Sewailo’s first hole—a fairway 60 yards wide. Ten acres of lakes, cavernous fairway bunkers and large greens define this layout that is the home course for the University of

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Arizona golf teams. What You’ll Want: A couple of rounds to get to know the greens. Higher Handicappers: Favor the shorter tees to ensure hitting fairways, which makes the second shots into these tricky greens much more exciting. Singledigit players: Back it up to increase that risk-reward thrill. casinodelsol.com/sewailogolfclub

Also, The Golf Club at Vistoso (vistosogc.com) north of Tucson is a Tom Weiskopf layout that has drawn raves from locals. The Robert Trent Jones design at Arizona National Golf Club nestles in the Catalina foothills. In Marana, north of Tucson lie The Gallery and The Golf Club at Dove Mountain—both of which hosted the WGC Match Play Championship—and the Highlands at Dove Mountain (dovemountain.com/golf). The Randolph Park courses in downtown Tucson, (tucsoncitygolf.com) rank among the best urban munis in the country. — Ted Johnson Winter 2016 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER


COWBOY UP: The bar at Stables Ranch Grille brims with authenticity.

Going Way Back in Tubac A FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE of Old Arizona awaits 45 miles south of Tucson in the town of Tubac, where in 1752 Spanish Captain Juan Tomás de Belderrain built the presidio from which Captain Juan Batista set out to claim new lands, including San Francisco, California. In 1789, a rancher named Toribio de Otero received the first land grant from the King of Spain, and today his home holds the conference rooms at Tubac Golf Resort & Spa. Its thick oak shutters and other architectural fortifications provided protection against sun, heat and Apaches. You can sense this history as you walk among the resort’s casitas. The mesquite fences are constructed as they were in the 1700s. From the thick stucco walls and Spanish oak beams you can almost smell tanning aromas that swirled in 1881, when cattle king Sabino Otero’s hacienda served as the cultural center of the region. You can still feel it today in the resort’s Stables Ranch Grille, whose hand-cut vigas and uneven stone floor date back more than 200 years. Bing Crosby bought the property in 1939 and built the resort casitas and first 18 holes. Old Hollywood celebrity photos hang in Stables. Ron Shelton filmed the golf scenes in Tin Cup here in 1995. After some more ownership changes, Ron Allred, the man who developed the Telluride Ski Resort, took control in 2003 and has focused on preserving the site’s historical feel while imbuing the accommodations and amenities with modern features, including a new swimming pool. Across from Stables Grille on the resort’s center walkway is the world-class spa, and just down from there is the health club. On the other end stands a charming, mission-style chapel. Pancho’s, a gallery selling local art and home décor items, and the golf pro shop comprise the center of the resort. Composed of 18 holes designed by Red Lawrence and nine by Ken Kavanaugh, the expansive course features three distinct nines—Rancho, Otero and Anza. The picturesque Rancho rambles through the cottonwoods; Anza features an island green outside the Stables Bar; and Otero, the original course’s front nine, has abundant water. On Rancho’s fourth hole, a plaque 240 yards out invites you to attempt the famous 3-wood over the lake immortalized by Kevin Costner’s character in Tin Cup. As for the city of Tubac and its galleries and stores showcasing works produced by local artists and craftsman, you might want to mail your credit card home prior to visiting. Either that or have a mortgage broker on speed dial for a quick refinance. You don’t need to bring home anything more than the respite and regeneration that comes from time in Old Arizona. tubacgolfresort.com; 520-398-2211 — Ted Johnson COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

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IWM brings to life more than 400 species of insects, mammals and birds from around the globe. Some of the collections are more than 100 years old and all the animals found at the museum were donated by various government agencies, wildlife rehabilitation centers, captive breeding programs, zoos and private individuals. On the north foothills is the aforementioned Tohono Chul, a perfect place for a stroll through the 37 acres of manicured gardens of Sonora flora and fauna. The Garden Bistro at Tohono Chul is one of Tucson’s leading brunch spots which, like the Ocotillo, focuses on local ingredients (e.g.: cholla buds) and utmost freshness. To get a better understanding of what’s going on outdoors, go indoors. Five years ago, the University of Arizona bought Biosphere 2—that 3.7-acre, $200 million failure of science that attempted to demonstrate the viability of closed ecological systems to support human life—and transformed it into a center for the study of climate change. Two B2 scientists, Jayne Poynter and Taber McCallum, stayed in Tucson to develop Worldview, a start-up company aimed at using a helium-based launch vehicle that will take passengers into what is called “near space”— about 75,000 feet— high enough to see the curvature of Earth. Cheaper than satellites, this company aims to lead “the way in the emerging stratospheric economy.” No cost yet on a ride. More conventional flying machines are very popular in Tucson. A must for aeronautical enthusiasts, the Pima Air & Space Museum boasts two hangars full of WWII aircraft and dozens from various eras sitting outside. The dry climate and alkali soil under the Davis Monthan Air Force Base makes it the perfect place to store aircraft. That means it is the best place to see and touch row after row of fighter jets, supply craft and other winged wonders, including the A10 “Warthog,” the only aircraft built around a gun. Tucson’s historic 4th Avenue teems with eclectic shops, including Mr. Heads, a bar that also houses a large glass blowing studio, complete with computers for design, acetylene tanks and cooling shelves. Sip a local IPA and see some hot sand get transformed into a work of art. Is there a better metaphor for Old Arizona? Contributor Ted Johnson lives in Danville, California. He regularly covers travel and gear for Colorado AvidGolfer. coloradoavidgolfer.com

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MAXING OUT: From top: The faux-distressed hacienda-style clubhouse; a look back on the 15th green with Mexico across the river; the 13th green. Right: sunset on the par-4 fitth.

Mad A Laredo’s municipal masterpiece brings the

PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVE SANSOM

CHALLENGING GOLFERS to think their way around a golf course, Robert Trent Jones II built risk/reward options into more than half the par 4s and par 5s on his critically acclaimed Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course in Laredo, Texas. The straightforward 417-yard 16th, however, is not among them. That is, unless you’re playing with Dennis Gutierrez. The general manager of the course that’s known to one and all as “The Max,” Gutierrez tosses a ball onto the Bermuda teeing area and faces southeast, perpendicular to the fairway that runs parallel to the Rio Grande below. Thick stands of Carrizo cane line the bank, their stalks parting occasionally to reveal the river separating Texas and the Tamaulipas bosque. Gutierrez pulls pitching wedge. “We like to have a contest here,” he says. “Let’s see who can hit it closest to Mexico without it going in.” His shot splashes about 10 yards from the shore; mine dives in midstream. We don’t risk more than our pride, so we’re both rewarded: he by his victory, I with a story. Of course, if our President-elect makes good on a certain campaign promise, this little competition will literally hit a wall. On the risk/reward scale, crossing the Rio Grande with a scratched-up ProV1 doesn’t compare with swimming across to find a safer, more prosperous life in El Norte. Like much of the 1,254-mile shoreline between the two countries, the lushly vegetated portion flanking The Max conceals motion sensors and border patrol agents, Gutierrez explains. You’d never know it, though. “The only time we see the border police or the FIS (Federal Inspection Services) at the course is on their days off,” he laughs. “A lot of them have regular games.” COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

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bout The Max Texas border town to the brink of international distinction. BY JON RIZZI THE COMMUNITY Regulars also include a small but growing percentage of the 282,000 people in the greater Laredo Metropolitan Area, the vast majority of whom have had little exposure to the game. Before The Max opened in 2012, Laredo only claimed two courses—the private Laredo Country Club and county-owned Casa Blanca Country Club. Gutierrez, who grew up in Laredo, didn’t pick up the game until he worked for Mark Cuban at Broadcast.com. He became so hooked on golf that he retired at 36 and enrolled at Texas A&M International University in Laredo and joined the golf team. He now oversees an operation in his hometown that Golf, Golf Digest and Golfweek rank among the top public courses in Texas. That notoriety brings visitors from across the county, state, country and border. On any given day, the tee sheet will feature leaders in Laredo’s thriving import-export business (approximately half the trade between the U.S. and Mexico passes through Laredo, making it the largest inland port on the border). On the day of my round, a golfer arrived from Arkansas to play 61 holes on his 61st birthday. coloradoavidgolfer.com

Snowbirds—or “winter Texans” in local parlance—also flock to The Max. The course enjoys a stay-and-play partnership with Laredo’s elegant La Posada hotel, and Gutierrez plans to work with the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel two hours upriver. Despite a location 14 miles northwest of downtown Laredo, The Max maintains a strong connection to the city. Green fees cap at an affordable $50 for residents (and about $10 higher for nonresidents), with juniors and seniors getting huge discounts. It plays host to participants on the golf teams at Texas A&M International and the local high schools, as well as to hundreds of younger students who receive free lessons. “I believe this is a landmark project for Laredo, all of South Texas and even our friends in Mexico,” Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas said at the 2012 opening ceremony. A year later, The Max’s clubhouse debuted with a dedication by World Golf Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez. The riparian views from the 9,000-square-foot haciendastyle building make it a go-to venue for tournaments, weddings, quinceañeras and conferences. The balconies overlook the river and course, and the food—especially the

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smoked salmon nachos with pico de gallo—is as inspired as the vistas are.

THE COURSE This great source of civic pride is exactly what the family of Laredo banker and community leader Max A. Mandel envisioned when it donated water rights, $1 million and 280 acres of forest and farmland for the course. A statue of Mandel, who died in 2002 at age 87, stands near the clubhouse entrance, and a photograph of his wife, Roslyn, hangs in the banquet room. Roslyn Mandel died in 2013, six years after the RFP for the golf course went out. At that time, new U.S. golf construction projects were scarcer than hen’s teeth, so 26 architects responded, many arriving via private jet to bid the $8.5 million project. One even had George H.W. Bush call on his behalf. In the end, City Manager Horacio de Leon says his board chose Jones because he offered a course stout enough to challenge golfers and host championships, but also one that Laredo’s many novices could enjoy. He nailed it. The Max tips out 7,069 yards with a slope/rating of 74.5/132, but four other sets of tees bring it within reach Winter 2016 | COLORADO AVIDGOLFER


Curiously George WHILE THE REST OF THE NATION celebrates the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln on one day, Laredo annually spends almost two months honoring the birth of the first U.S. President. Begun in 1898 as an “American” way to celebrate the best of all cultures influencing the heritage of Laredo’s citizens, this year’s 120th George Washington’s Birthday Celebration festivities run from January 7 to February 20, 2017, with an estimated 400,000 attending. Dozens of events fill the GWBC calendar. Highlights include the Jamboozie Mardi Gras street festival, Princess Pocahontas Pageant and Ball, Stars & Stripes Air Show, Jalapeño Festival, Noche Mexicana and a Washington’s Birthday Parade. Two of the most famous events take place consecutive days. On February 17, the Society of Martha Washington stages its annual Colonial Pageant and Ball, where debutante “Marthas” don elaborate, bejeweled gowns weighing as much as 80 pounds and costing upwards of $25,000. The appropriately coiffed and attired “George” and “Martha” receive the debs and their escorts in an elaborate presentation followed immediately by the ball. The next morning brings the International Bridge Ceremony, a cross-cultural hug between a young girl and boy from Laredo and a boy and girl from Nuevo Laredo. These preselected and sartorially radiant “Abrazo Children” join Mexican and U.S dignitaries in a powerful show of friendship, appreciation and mutual respect between the two nations. wbcalaredo.org

of all handicaps. Jones also designed it with loops of three, six and nine holes for young families and other time-pressed players. You’ll want to experience the entire opus. The course unfurls over three types of land—vega, farmland and river silt—each with its own characteristics and vegetation. A number of arroyos come into play, and water only factors into one hole—the wild par-5 17th, where one can just as easily card an eagle as an eight. The wind figures into numerous holes so all but a few greens receive shots along the ground. White-tailed deer and wild boars make the occasional cameo. So do white-collared seedeaters, much to the delight of the thousands of birders who alight in Laredo every November. The Max starts quietly with a pair of medium-length par 4s lined with mesquite trees. These holes also introduce you to the subtle quirks—irreplaceable divots, stippled putts and grain direction—of playing on Bermuda. The left-dogleg par-5 third and reachable par-4 fourth are pure risk/reward gems with trees punishing the greedy. Similar options await on the number-one handicap hole, the 469-yard par-4 fifth, where cutting the dogleg on the uphill, blind tee shot into the wind can leave a wedge into a snug green. Gutierrez calls holes 7, 8 and 9 “the Gauntlet” because they’re tough even without hitting into the prevailing wind. Nettlesome trees and fairway bunkers make the doubleCOLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

DIFFERENT DANCES: The Society of Martha Washington’s debutante ball and Jamboozie Mardi Gras street fest.

dogleg par-5 7th a true three-shotter, while its successor—a 462-yard par 4 high above the river—asks you to thread two greenside sandpits with a long iron. I managed to birdie the tricky par-3 ninth, which perches on a blustery exposed bluff high above the Rio. The back nine begins with a multiplechoice par 5 featuring large mesquite trees in the middle of the fairway and a huge arroyo running up the left side and encroaching on the fairway. It doesn’t get easier on the no. 2 handicap 11th, where the green tucks into a pocket on the left side. A short, tough par 3 waits on 12—and again on 15, which asks you to airdrop a pitching wedge between the trees. At 322 yards from the tips, the risk/reward par-4 14th is reachable—and beachable as well, with a bunker yawning beside it. Bestriding the river, the par-416 has a huge bailout area left but it leaves you no angle to the best-guarded green on the course. The aforementioned par-5 17th is a great hole on which to press. It makes a sharp right around a huge irrigation pond. Bust a drive over the adjacent pump shack and position yourself for an eagle; miss and you’ll be wet or OB. The ultimate risk/reward opp may come on the penultimate hole, but 18 is no slouch, requiring a deep drive and a long arroyo carry to a false-fronted green. You can lay up and hope to make par, but did you come all the way to the edge of the United States to lay up? And since when is hope a strategy?

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“BUENO-BYE” The Max gives golfers good reason to visit Laredo, even if just on a day trip from San Antonio or Austin. But the city Max Mandel loved dearly has plenty to recommend it. For one, Laredo International Airport was once the Laredo Air Force Base, which means long runways. For another, it’s bilinguist’s banquet. With a population that’s 95 percent Hispanic or Latino, Laredoans toggle between English and español with the same ease and fluidity that 1.7 million commercial vehicles annually cross Laredo’s four bridges with Mexico. “Bueno-bye” is a common farewell. Downtown Laredo sits at right near the entrance to the original crossing, the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge, which also features two pedestrian lanes. Workers and students go back and forth daily, like commuters on the Brooklyn Bridge hoofing to and from Manhattan. A block from the bridge in historic San Agustin Plaza, the city’s only four-diamond hotel, La Posada, occupies a 100-year-old building that radiates boutique elegance and refinement. A courtyard pool and two superb restaurants—The Tack Room steakhouse and Modern Latin Zaragoza Grill—make La Posada the place to stay. Next door you’ll find the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum, which immortalizes the 10 months in 1840 that Laredo served coloradoavidgolfer.com


CROSS CULTURE: Laredo’s Cathedral of San Agustin; its seven flags; and International Peace Bridge with Mexico.

as the capital of an independent nation established by opponents of the Central Mexican Government. That’s why six flags may fly over Texas, but seven fly over Laredo. Other points of interest include the historic Casa Ortiz, with its turn-of-thecentury furnishings and lush gardens; the nearby Border Heritage Museum; and the Laredo Center for the Arts, which occupies the celebrated Mercado Building. Authentic Mexican restaurants also naturally abound. Foremost among them is Palenque Grill, which specializes in ceviches, Cortadillo, Pescado Zarandeado and Puntas de Filete al Albañil. The dessert churros come with a bowl of the addictive goat’s milk caramel sauce known as cajeta. And in case you’re wondering, Laredo is extremely safe, thanks to fortified presence of FBI, DEA, FIS and Border Patrol personnel. Some of them might even be watching from the reeds as you tee off at The Max.

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Jon Rizzi is CAG’s Editor. For more information, visit themaxlaredo.com; 956-726-2000 coloradoavidgolfer.com

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The Games of Golf TRIVIA | PUZZLERS

For the golf connoisseur who devours the world 18 holes at a time, we proudly present...

A Global Feast in Ten Courses

Pair each specialty menu item below with its corresponding photograph. No substitutions. 1. Tasmanian Deviled Eggs Barnbougle Lost Farm Golf Resort (Bridport, Australia) 2. Asian-Style Snapper Soup Hirono Golf Club (Hyogo Prefecture, Japan) 3. Cup O’ Couscous Mazagan Beach Resort (el Jadida, Morocco) 4. The 1888 Club Royal Malta Golf Club (Marsa, Malta) 5. Baltic Bomber Estonian Golf & Country Club (Jõelähtme, Estonia) 6. Black Sea Birdie Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort (Bozhurets, Bulgaria) 7. Apparatchik Filet Skolkovo Golf Club (Moscow, Russia) 8. Hosel Tov Shank of Lamb Ga’ash Golf Club (Ga’ash, Israel) 9. Patagonian Red Steaks Llao Llao Golf Resort & Spa (Bariloche, Argentina) 10. Gary Player Cake Fancourt Golf Links (George, South Africa)

ANSWERS: 1-E, 2-A, 3-B, 4-J, 5-F, 6-D, 7-I, 8-H, 9-C, 10-G

COLORADO AVIDGOLFER | Winter 2016

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Profile for Colorado AvidGolfer

Winter 2016 Colorado AvidGolfer  

New courses in Arizona, Broken Tee and Emmanuel Ruterana help bring golf to Rwanda, Wolf Creek, a visit to Callaway's Performance Center, La...

Winter 2016 Colorado AvidGolfer  

New courses in Arizona, Broken Tee and Emmanuel Ruterana help bring golf to Rwanda, Wolf Creek, a visit to Callaway's Performance Center, La...