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InsideContents

40

52

26

13

64

30

F e at u r e s

In Every Issue 6 Forethoughts Where Golf Takes Us. By Jon Rizzi 13 Gallery Xerigolf, Canongate, Liselotte Neumann, pro and amateur award winners and Hall of Famers. 64 The Games of Golf Fact or Fiction? Player’s Corner 23 Course Conestoga Golf Club in Mesquite, Nevada 24 Lesson Hitting from the Beach. By Sherry Smith 26 Lesson Ping-Pong Practice. By Andy Hilts 30 Gimmes Gifts for every golfer and every budget

2

46

Sidebets 37 Nice Drives The surprising BMW M5, Dodge Dart and Ford Fusion 40 Players Terry Johnson’s Classic Drives. By Dick Kreck

44

Doubling Down Cascata and Rio Secco combine to create the best bets in Las Vegas golf. By Jon Rizzi

46

Phoenix Takes Flight The Valley of the Sun remains a first-class destination. By Jake Kubié

52

Cover Photo: The 12th hole at Cascata, Boulder City, Nevada. Photograph by Brian Oar/Fairways Photography.

Colorado AvidGolfer | Winter 2012

Coast to Coast to Coast to Coast Sea-level golf hits the high-water mark: 54 Florida’s Streamsong By Tom Ferrell 56 Mexico’s Costa Baja By Jon Rizzi 58 California’s Pelican Hill By Jon Rizzi 60 Hawaii’s Garden Isle By Vince Recine

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Gather Around Our Table!

Winter 2012 Volume 11, Number 3

Winter 2012 Volume 11, Number 7 publisher

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coloradoavidgolfer.com Colorado Avidgolfer (issn 1548-4335) is published nine times a year by baker-Colorado publishing, llC, and printed by American Web, inc. volume 11, number six. 7200 s. Alton Way #b-180, Centennial, Co 80112. Colorado AvidGolfer is available at more than 250 locations, or you Winter order your personal subscription by calling 720-493-1729. subscriptions are available at the rate of $17.95 per year. Copyright © 2012 by baker-Colorado publishing, llC. All rights reserved. reproduction without permission is prohibited. postmaster: send address changes to Colorado Avidgolfer, 7200 s Alton Way #b-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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Forethoughts

Where Golf Takes Us

T

his issue annually celebrates golf travel. Of all the game’s great qualities, I most appreciate its ability to transport us to some pretty amazing places: from Scotland to Scottsdale, from Bariloche to Beijing, from Cape Town to Cape Breton Island—and myriad points between. And as I discovered one bracing Tuesday in October, golf can also take you from First Avenue to Franktown. My morning round took place on the historic, tree-lined allées of Denver Country Club. This rare pleasure came courtesy of my friend, Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Gary Potter, who treated our foursome—filled out, quite capably, by John Golden and Jeff Cohen—to a magnificent time as he illuminated in great detail the numerous tweaks course architect Gil Hanse had recently made to the 110-year-old layout. The course and the stories flowed like Cherry Creek. So did the fun. By 4:30 p.m. I found myself 35 miles away at The Links at Willow Lake, a 12-hole par-3 “xericourse” hand-hewn from the shrubby foothills near Castlewood Canyon by a group of colorful businessmen. The Links at Willow Lake features no irrigation, no bunkers, no slope or rating. Sand greens would represent a major upgrade of the mostly unmowed, 12-footdiameter putting surfaces defined by spray paint and regulation-sized cups and flags. In addition to “experienced” golf balls and garage-sale irons, golfers carried bear spray in their bags and beers in their hands. Their stories flowed like Budweiser. So did the fun. Within the span of hours, golf seemingly took me from the sublime to the ridiculous. That would be one way of looking at it. I take a much different view. Denver Country Club represents an apotheosis of golf as both a sporting and social phenomenon. It is a revered bastion of sportsmanship, camaraderie, competition, etiquette and tradition. Those who play this stunning course—and, perforce, those who play any modern private or public golf facility—appreciate the game in its most highly evolved and refined form. The crew at Willow Lake also appreciates the game. Their setup embodies an organic aboriginality that suggests the pastime Scottish shepherds pursued centuries earlier. In the same spirit that U.S. soldiers built driving ranges and golf holes in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Franktown 12-holer proves that golf can bloom wherever desire plants and nurtures it, and not just where some developer needs fairways to sell homes. After a quick visit to Willow Lake on page 13, I invite you escape to the balmy destinations of Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, California, Florida and Mexico—all of which overflow with resorts and courses that celebrate golf and the world of experiences it opens up. That trip begins on page 44. May it take you away. —JON RIzzI

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Colorado AvidGolfer | Winter 2012

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theGallery |

NOTES

|

NAMES

P H O T O G R A P H BY j e R e m Y c A n TA l A m e s s A

NEWS

XERI-EYED: Willow Lake founders Bill Greer (left) and Brad Slabaugh.

The X Game

T

he links at WilloW lake doesn’t appear in any Colorado golf database. Yet the 12-hole, 1,768-yard course near Castlewood Canyon in Franktown attracts a membership as devoted as any found at a private club. “We’re the XGA—the XeriGolf Association,” jokes commercial realtor Brad Slabaugh. “The only water we use is to make ice for our drinks.” Four years ago, Slabaugh and insurance broker Bill Greer turned about 25 acres of rugged, unirrigated public and private land into a par-3 party—complete with a well-stocked cooler on the first tee, tented seating by each subsequent teeing area, and a “peanut gallery” behind the eighth hole where players chomp nuts while heckling members of the group behind them. Spray-paint defines the 12-foot Co l o r a d o A v i d G o l f e r. c o m

diameter “greens” centered with regulation-sized cups and flags. In what Greer aptly describes as a “psychedelic Stableford scoring system,” a shot inside one of these unkempt circles is considered holed, while actually holing one in the same number of strokes nets a more valuable “vulture.” A genuine ace off the tee counts as “zero and is called a dodo—because no one’s ever seen it,” explains Greer. That scoring comes into play during a number of tournaments, where upwards of 80 similarly irreverent and colorful characters show up with beat-up clubs, balls and bear spray—as well as an appetite for barbecue, booze and an extremely untucked golf experience. The 164-yard sixth requires a complete carry over water, but the only other hazards are rattlesnakes in the ravines and the poison ivy patches behind police tape. “There was the time I sliced my first tee shot and hit ‘Friendly,’ the neighbor’s mule,” recalls Slabaugh. “People think we’re nuts. But the course uses no water, needs no maintenance and everyone leaves with a story!” willowlakecc.com Winter 2012 | Colorado AvidGolfer

13


Geoff Keffler

Ed Kelbel

Steven David

Keith Humerickhouse

Somin Lee

theGallery They Have the Honors Every November the Colorado PGA Section, Colorado Golf Association and Colorado Women’s Golf Association recognize the golf professionals and amateur golfers who have distinguished themselves during the year. On the professional side, the Colorado PGA Section named alan abrams (Indian Tree) its Golf Professional of the Year; erik billinger Teacher of the Year; erin Diegel (GolfTECGolden) Junior Golf Leader; casey Mckinnon (Cherry Hills) Assistant Professional of the

Year; and Geoff keffer (Murphy Creek) Dow Finsterwald Player of the Year. tim lollar (Lakewood) received the Vic Kline Award; Doug rohrbaugh (Ironbridge) earned Senior Player of the Year and Jared butler (Buffalo Run) won Apprentice Player of the Year. steven David (Denver), Jim hajek (Fossil Trace) and russ Miller (The Broadmoor) were Merchandisers of the Year in the private, public and resort categories. keith soriano (City Park) took home the President’s Plaque; Joe assell (GolfTEC) the Bill Strausbaugh Award; and life member charlie cobb the Warren Smith Award. The late ed kelbel, who di-

rected the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs’ PGA Golf Management Program, was honored with the Horton Smith Award. NonPGA members terry Minnick (MercedesBenz of Littleton) and Jon rizzi (Colorado AvidGolfer) respectively earned the President’s Award and Todd Phipers Media Award. On the amateur side, the Colorado Golf Association honored steven kupcho (CommonGround) as its Les Fowler Player of the Year; keith humerickhouse (Gypsum Creek) Mid-Amateur Player of the Year; David Delich (The Broadmoor) Senior Player of the Year; and Jimmie Makloski (Pueblo) P H O T O G R A P H s c O u RT e s Y O f T H e P G A A n d c G A

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Colorado AvidGolfer | Winter 2012


theGallery Junior Player of the Year. The Colorado Women’s Golf Association named somin lee (Heather Ridge) Player of the Year; kim eaton (Riverdale) Senior Player of the Year; Jennifer kupcho (CommonGround) Junior Player of the Year; and ashlyn kirschner (West Woods) Most Improved Junior Golfer.

The Joy of Six The streak is alive! For the sixth consecutive year, a member of the Colorado PGA has earned national recognition by the PGA of America. And this year, the Section outdid itself, sending two of its professionals to the podium during an annual January awards ceremonies in Orlando. The honors will go to PGA Director of Golf Dale smigelsky of Collindale Golf Club in Fort Collins and PGA Head Professional George kahrhoff of The Country Club at Castle Pines. Both were named Merchandisers of the Year (MOY)—Smigelsky in the public facilities category, Kahrhoff in the private. The award recognizes PGA Professionals who excel as businesspersons/merchandisers in the promotion of golf. The 52-year-old Smigelsky won the Section’s MOY award in 2010, a year after returning to Collindale, where he’d begun his career nearly two decades earlier. By emphasizing customer service, matching or beating the prices at big box stores, and constantly promoting a “buy where you play” message, Smigelsky and his staff moved impressive amounts of merchandise. “While

others have scaled back due to the economic times,” he explains, “our total sales have increased because we stay positive and proactive in our merchandising efforts.” Kahrhoff, who won the Section’s MOY award in 2006 while at Sonnealp Golf Club and in 2010 at Castle Pines, started his PGA career in 1998 at Cherry Hills Country Club before moving to Sonnenalp in 2003 and to Castle Pines in 2008. For the past two years, his impeccably appointed golf shop has ranked as one of the 25 private facilities selected for Golf World’s 100 Best Golf Shops. They are the third and fourth Colorado Section members to receive MOY awards. The others were Castle Pines Golf Club’s Keith Schneider (1990) and The Broadmoor’s Russ Miller (2003). The PGA will honor both recipients January 18 at the PGA Magazine Merchandisers of the Year Conference Awards.

Dale Smigelsky

George Kahrhoff

Prime, Fr esh, Award W inning

16

Colorado AvidGolfer | Winter 2012

ColoradoAvidG o lf e r.c o m


Jimmy Vickers

Tom Woodard

All in Hall The Colorado Golf Hall of Fame will welcome three new members in 2013: alan abrams, Jimmy Vickers and tom Woodard. Abrams, the longtime PGA Professional at Arvada’s Indian Tree Golf Course, instituted the foremost junior golf program in the nation, for which the PGA of America recognized him as its 1997 Junior Golf Leader. His selfless devotion to golf and to the Colorado PGA Section has resulted in countless awards and tens of thousands of lessons to players of all ages. At Regis College, Vickers won the 1949 and 1950

Alan Abrams

Colorado state championships. He would go all eight Denver city courses and co-founding on to take the 1952 NCAA national champion- The First Tee of Denver. Currently director ship while at the University of Oklahoma, won of golf for the Foothills Park and Recreation countless amateur titles, three World Seniors District, Woodard this year earned entry into Championships, and served as a director the National Black Golf Hall of Fame. Also honored at the June induction cerof the Trans-Mississippi and Western Golf emony will be Cherry Hills Head PGA ProAssociations. Woodard, a University of Colorado stand- fessional John ogden as Golf Person of the out who became the first African-American Year, tom kensler of The Denver Post and to receive an Evans Scholarship and be Colorado Open Executive Director h. Gale named an NCAA Division I All-American, Godbey for Distinguished Service, and played on the PGA Tour for two seasons be-RIDING Rules official and volunteer rich langsHIGH: fore eventually becoming director of golf forPGA Professional ton for Lifetime Achievement. of the year Alan Abrams is one of TK

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theGallery

Canongate Roars Three years ago, when Aurora’s Blackstone Country Club (above) and Parker’s Black Bear Golf Club became the first Colorado properties in Sequoia Golf ’s Canongate family of clubs, the prospects looked imminent for what Sequoia President and CEO Joe Guerra called a “daisy chain of courses around Denver.” That expansion has yet to materialize. But by all accounts, the two Canongate clubs have thrived during a period of nationwide contraction in the private club business. By dropping the initiation from $26,000 to the current $1,750 to join both Blackstone and Black Bear, and by charging monthly fees and green fees that run at least half those found at other clubs, Canongate has provided a value-proposition club that hadn’t existed in the local market. “But,” Guerra says, “the cost and the brand are irrelevant if the experience doesn’t resonate with people.” To improve the experience Sequoia has pumped some $2 million into upgrading both facilities. Black Bear’s clubhouse and course are in better condition than ever; ditto Blackstone, which boasts daycare facilities, tennis, swimming, fitness, and a heavily programmed calendar of activities for every family member. “We do cooking classes, health and fitness classes, themed events, and dining is on the uptick,” reports Sequoia Regional Director John Scappatura. “People no longer use golf clubs just for golf, like our dads did.” Between them Black Bear and Blackstone are at 85 percent capacity. Most enjoy playing both courses, as well as having privileges (for $30 per round) at the 28 Canongate clubs Sequoia owns and operates in Georgia (where the company headquarters) and Texas, as well as at the 13 it manages in Ohio, Tennessee, California, Ohio, the Carolinas and Mississippi. “Reciprocity is a big part of our secret sauce,” Guerra says, adding that for $30 Canongate members can now play Fort Collins Country Club, the 53-year-old member-owned facility Sequoia began managing in September.

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Colorado AvidGolfer | Winter 2012

“We’re always trying to create more value for our members,” explains Guerra. As of January 1, that value will translate to a higher entry fee. Canongate’s Colorado Associate or Full membership initiations will increase from $1,750 to $3,000, with Associate monthly dues running $185 (plus $8-$10 green fees, $15 for cart) and Full member dues, $301 (no green fees). “Our goal is to make what you buy into more valuable,” says Guerra. “The higher the initiation, the lower the attrition because people see the club as successful.” And Blackstone and Black Bear both are. To that end, Guerra remains optimistic about acquiring another three or four courses on the Front Range. “But we’re going to be patient as supply and demand come back into alignment. Time will tell.” canongatecolorado.com; 303-680-0245

A Quick 9 with Liselotte Neumann The 2013 Solheim Cup European captain is used to leading. After all, she led what became a Swedish invasion on the LPGA Tour when she won the 1988 U.S. Women’s Open. Neumann won 13 times on the Tour, notched another 13 international victories—including the 1994 Women’s British Open—and competed on six Solheim Cup teams. We visited with her at Colorado Golf Club, where the Cup will be contested August 13-18. CAG: Where does the European captaincy rank in your career? This brings it all full circle and makes me feel that my career is complete. I had a feeling I was in the mix, but it was very much a surprise. I thought maybe they would ask Alison (Nicholas, captain of the victorious 2011 European Solheim Cup team) again. It’s a great honor. CAG: Whereas girls used to have to come to America to play at the highest level, now the Ladies European Tour is producing a lot of talent. Women’s golf is growing. I played the European Tour from 1985 to 1987, and it was basically just British players. Golf in southern Europe and Scandinavia just wasn’t that popular. Some of the best players today are coming out of Spain and France and Italy and Germany. It’s a much deeper talent well. And

being in America doesn’t fit everybody. CAG: The men often talk about the camaraderie of the European Ryder Cup teams as an advantage. Is it true of the women as well? A lot of the men players live and play in Europe, whereas European players on the LPGA Tour might only go back a couple of times a year, so they don’t really know each other quite as well as the men do. CAG: How will you make your captain’s picks? That will be one of the harder parts of being captain. When it comes down to it, I’m going to pick players who are playing well at that time. You want the confidence. But of course you want a player who will fit in with the team. It’s going to be a bit tricky. CAG: How do you like Colorado Golf Club? I love it. I can’t wait for the girls to get to know this golf course. It’s beautiful, with the mountains and the big open spaces. There are parts that play like a links, where you really have to know what the ball will do when it lands. I don’t think this golf course favors any certain type of player. If you are playing well and with confidence, you will do well. If not, there is a lot of trouble. The greens and the surrounding areas are difficult and it will help to know them well. CAG: How does the altitude affect the players? Is that something you are concerned about? I’ve played at The Broadmoor and in Mexico City, and it’s an important part of the preparation. It’s as much how the body feels as learning the right distance control. The shorter irons are key. The players will definitely need to make some adjustments. CAG: Your favorite Solheim Cup memory? It’s got to be when Europe won at Loch Lomond (2000). It was the day we turned around the singles matches. The back nine was really exciting. We had a rain delay, and it let the team get together. We all pumped each other up to go out and take it. And we did. It was an amazing feeling. CAG: And your least favorite? Also at Loch Lomond. I did not play well at all in the morning foursomes match. The captain wanted me to play four-ball in the afternoon, and I sat myself down. I said I needed to practice. It was the hardest decision to make, but it was right for the team. I was able to get a half-point in the singles. CAG: What will surprise Colorado fans about the Solheim Cup? The whole atmosphere is so amazing. The crowds, the cheering. The team experience makes things so exciting. And the number of European fans who will be here. It will be a fantastic experience of golf for everyone who comes out. ColoradoAvidG o lf e r.c o m


RULE #5

BRANDEL’S WATER IS NOT A HAZARD RULES FOR

SCOTTSDALE GOLF

There's plenty of world-class golf in Scottsdale. But, we all know there's more to a great golf trip than chasing a little white ball. Whenever I'm in town, I make sure to enjoy Scottsdale's "other" attractions. And I promise there is no penalty for being in the water.

I Love Scottsdale Golf and I promise you will, too. Learn more about how we play the game and start your next Scottsdale golf adventure at

iLoveScottsdaleGolf.com

— Brandel Chamblee, Golf Channel analyst and swimsuit model Co l o r a d o A v i d G o l f e r. c o m

Winter 2012 | Colorado AvidGolfer

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Co l o r a d o A v i d G o l f e r. c o m

Winter 2012 | Colorado AvidGolfer

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February 8-10, 2013 Denver Merchandise Mart Plaza Entrance on North Side of Complex 1-25 and 58th Ave. Denver, Colorado

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player’sCorner P H O T O G R A P H C O U RT E S T Y O F C O n E S T O G A

COURSES | LESSONS | GIFT IDEAS

CONESTOGA PARTY: The 418-yard third zigzags through rugged high-desert terrain.

Circle the Wagons

Mesquite’s Conestoga Golf Club represents the latest frontier in Nevada golf.

N

amed for the Conestoga wagons that once carried settlers westward, this eye-popping, 7,232-yard Gary Panks layout invites today’s cart-riding, club-wielding pioneers to traverse the myriad washes, arroyos, ravines, bluffs and bunkers that marble its lush fairways. Conestoga’s front nine uncoils through ruggedly undulant desert, with holes like the 188-yard second plummeting to a teensy green, and the 394-yard fourth tempting a blast to a second fairway well below the conservative landing area. Panks creatively builds risks and rewards into every hole. Number seven, for example, is an eminently drivable par-4. While some shots are blind, they’re not unfair, and many come with a view of the nearby Virgin Mountain snowcaps. The only water that

Co l o r a d o A v i d G o l f e r. c o m

comes into play is a lake guarding both the ninth and tenth greens. The back nine winds mainly through the Sun City Mesquite development, but still offers great views and fun. The finisher, a 470-yard par-4 pinched by fairway bunkers, drops almost 40 feet from tee to green. It’s a challenging finish to a course Golf and Golfweek ranked among the best in Nevada. Five sets of tees help eliminate some of the carries but none of the enjoyment. Bite off as much of Conestoga you like, but be sure to sink your teeth into a huge, succulent 1880 Burger in the club’s 1880 Grille. Follow it up with the signature cocktail, the Branding Iron. Managed by Troon Golf, Conestoga is a host course of the Mesquite Amateur (May 27-31) and one of eight courses offered in stay-and-play packages by golfmesquitenevada.com; 866-720-7111. Winter 2012 | Colorado AvidGolfer

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player’sCorner LESSON 1

A Line in the Sand Who doesn’t want to hit the beach come winter? Hitting from the beach is a whole other story. By Sherry Smith (figure 1)

P H O T O G R A P H S BY J E R E M Y C A n TA L A M E S S A

I

n warmer Climates, greenside bunkers often contain sand that’s fluffier or harder than that at your home course. Escaping different types of sand requires different shots. But if you know where your swing hits bottom (where the club strikes the ground), any bunker shot becomes easier.

hitting Bottom: To find the bottom of your swing, head to a practice bunker (you can’t “ground” your club in a bunker during a round), draw a line between your feet (figure 1) and attempt to hit the line while making swings with your sand wedge. The ideal place for your club to strike the sand is about two inches behind the ball. If the line is in the middle of your stance, then your ball position would be two inches forward (towards the target) of the line. Remember: Hitting two inches behind the ball will decrease the distance the ball will travel, thus requiring a longer swing. If you are having a hard time consistently hitting the line, you need help finding the bottom of your swing. Most players hit too far behind the ball, usually without a follow-through. This results in not hitting the ball far enough, or catching it on the upswing and blading it with the leading edge of the wedge. If you are having a hard time following through, you can try moving the ball back in your stance, but your ball flight will be lower.

(figure 2)

hard: Hard, coarse, or compact sand requires the leading edge of your

hard

wedge to dig into the sand. Keep your clubface square for these shots. You still want to hit two inches behind the ball, but it will fly farther and lower since your clubface will be square. To control the distance, use a shorter more compact swing, but still follow through as you dig through the sand. The sand spash (figure 2) should be minimal.

flUffY: Some bunkers have soft, fluffy sand. To escape them, your club needs to bounce through the sand. To increase the bounce on your sand wedge, open the clubface. Hold the club up in the air, turn it to the right (for right-handed golfers), and put on your normal grip. Aim and swing left of the target, as the ball will fly to the right. Since the ball will fly higher and shorter, you need to take a longer swing. The sand splash (figure 3) should be bigger.

To see Sherry’s technique, go to ColoradoAvidGolfer.com.

Cag

Class A PGA and LPGA Teaching Professional Sherry Smith (sherrysmithgolf.com) has taught in Colorado for the last 17 years—first at The Country Club of Castle Pines and currently at Valley Country Club in Centennial. Six times Golf Digest has named her one of the Best Teachers in Colorado. Contact her at sherry@sherrysmithgolf.com.

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Colorado AvidGolfer | Winter 2012

(figure 3)

flUffY

ColoradoAvidG o lf e r.c o m


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Winter 2012 | Colorado AvidGolfer

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player’sCorner LESSON 2

The Fixing Season Want to play better golf by spring? Take your game inside now. By Andy Hilts

H

ow manY times have you heard it? “If you take lessons, you are going to get worse before you get better.” While not always true, you may regress as you try to incorporate something different into your golf swing—and who wants to risk that during the golf season? That’s why the off-season is the ideal time to fix your game, even though much of the work may be indoors. Start with the full swing. Since you’re not consumed with immediately improving your ball flight, this is the ideal time to focus on your full-swing mechanics. There are hundreds of drills and exercises you can perform while in the house, office or, better yet, with a video-based practice routine at GolfTEC. Working with a coach to develop a plan will help you choose the correct off-season drills or exercises. Once you know what to work on, you can use video, mirrors, or a sliding glass door at night to ensure you are properly practicing. And you need to practice. It always amazes me when people have a microwave approach to improving their golf game—put it in, push 2:00 and it’s done. That’s not how golf works! You need to establish a game plan with a coach and stick to it. During the playing season he or she will teach you to play better golf and during the off-season your coach will help improve your mechanics with an indoor program that will have you playing the best golf of your life.

(figure 1)

drill

You can improve your short game indoors as well. Perhaps the most important factor in helping your touch around the greens is hitting the ball solid. To practice solid contact, hit a table tennis ball off the carpet.

CorreCt (figure 1) Listen for the simultaneous thump

of the wedge’s sole on the carpet and the click of crisp contact with the ball. Hearing those two sounds at exactly the same time ensures you have made solid contact—whether indoors or out.

inCorreCt (figure 2) If you hit the ground first you will hear two different sounds: the thump and then the click. That’s a “fat” or “chunked” shot.

(figure 3)

inCorreCt

(figure 3) If you don’t hear the thump and all you hear is the click, you’ve bladed the ball. At least indoors with a ping-pong ball, you won’t break a window. Cag

Andy Hilts, a PGA Master Professional in Instruction, is the Vice President of Instruction and Education at GolfTEC, the Denverheadquartered company responsible for 20 percent of all United States golf lessons. He was the Colorado PGA’s 2005 Teacher of the Year and its 2008 Horton Smith Award winner for “outstanding and continuing contributions to PGA education.” Since 2009, Golf Digest has named him a Top 20 Instructor in America Under 40. Contact him at 303-223-2355 or ahilts@golftec.com

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Colorado AvidGolfer | Winter 2012

ColoradoAvidG o lf e r.c o m

P H O T O G R A P H S BY AC C Ox A n d dA n i E L B U R n S

(figure 2)


before the horse.

put the cart

Dreaming of warmer weather? Leave the cold behind in favor of a sunny Southwestern retreat where great golf is available 365 days a year. Situated just a quick drive from Phoenix, Rancho de los Caballeros offers award-winning golf, luxurious casita accommodations and three meals daily at a historic guest ranch with our popular Golf Getaway Package. Starting at $395* per night for two people.

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Play 3 Rounds from $225 Includes: Green Fees, Cart Fees and Range Balls. Available at Badlands, Silverstone and Primm Valley Golf Clubs. Details in the Golf Shop.

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BIRDIE PACKAGE EAGLE PACKAGE • 18 holes of golf • 18 holes of golf • Golf cart with GPS* • Callaway Rental Clubs • Range balls • Golf cart with GPS* • 1 Sleeve of Titleist ProV1 Balls • Range balls • 1 Sleeve of Titleist ProV1 Balls • $20 Golf Shop certificate • 4 drink tickets* • $20 Golf Shop certificate • 4 drink tickets* Visit our website for additional package details and promotions: par4golfmanagement.com *Packages at Spanish Trail do not include GPS on golf carts or drink tickets.

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Fabulous Las Vegas Golf

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player’sCorner GIFT GUIDE

Gifted Players Big- and small-ticket items for the golfers on your list. Tend the Flag

Intrigued by her booth selling homemade granola and crocheted hats featuring the familiar red and gold “C” of the Colorado state flag, a golfer at a farmer’s market approached Fay Plaza about making a head cover using the same vexillogical pattern. Plaza quickly whipped up a stylish way to show state pride every time you play golf. $25, plus shipping and handling. oldemangranola.com

Pair of Jacks

Jack Nicklaus would not have won a record 18 major championships—and most certainly not the 1986 Masters—without Jack Grout, his “first and only” instructor. More than just the club pro at Scioto, where he met the 10-year-old Nicklaus in 1950, Grout was a four-time PGA Tour winner, frequent playing partner of Byron Nelson’s and Ben Hogan’s, and a highly innovative golf instructor. In Jack Grout: A Legacy in Golf, his son Dick Grout teams with newspaperman Bill Winter to tell the compelling story of a family man whose indefatigable devotion to his the game left an indelible mark on it. $25. cardinalpub.com.

Teed U

p

These sh than t irts probab ly say he ac tua mo Bogey Pro—h l brands th re about yo ur golf ey pa ome o cut it rod f“ ga as up you appropria honest golf y do. Creat me te golf ed by r frien g e a r ” d — at course s . $20. when worn tire, but th they won’t e a bogey pro.co nywhere ot y might cu her th t m an a g olf

Off the Wall

Golf balls commemorating the different courses we’ve played make for lovely man-cave showpieces. Golf Gallery Pro’s rotating display takes your orbs off the wall and onto your desk. It holds 12 to 16 balls, comes in a variety of colors and bamboos, and can be personally engraved. $70 (12-ball display), $80 (16). golfgallerypro.com

“Hey, ‘Sprinklerhead’”

Your playing partners might give you a new nickname if you wear this innovative GPS golf watch preloaded with thousands of courses. The Garmin Approach S3 features a high-resolution, glove-friendly touchscreen display, lets you adjust to the day’s pin location and provides distances to the front, back and middle of greens, as well as to doglegs, layups and hazards. It will tell you the distance of your drive and—get this—the time of day! $350. garmin.com

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Colorado AvidGolfer | Winter 2012

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PGA TOUR Superstore

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player’sCorner

just the ones begin eal (and those are llyn Ba , ht ion flig un te va llyb makes pri n Dunes, Ba turer Bombardier, st remote—Bando of aircraft manufac es are also the mo on urs aircraft that suits isi co on div lf a ts go t, en st xje ate rem Fle in 50-hour inc Some of the gre m much closer. hts the flig s e ng as bri enger 605 and rch jet pu te Ch t a priva 12-passenger all allow travelers to the t e tha lik s ms s. ning with “B”). Bu jet gra ge pro lar composite material Learjet 40 XR, ordable by offering the six-passenger built primarily from e jet lik relatively more aff s s es jet sin ht bu lig t e and the firs ft options includ the Learjet lineup their needs. Aircra 85, the largest in ar Le er ng sse pa 04 the new eightom; 888-275-82 00,000. flexjet.c 50 hours start at $1

Flight Club

Tome Sweet Tome

Images of golf’s ancestral homeland never cease to quicken the pulse. Hence, 18 Greatest Scottish Golf Holes and 18 Greatest Irish Golf Holes, a pair of oversized, luxuriously bound limited editions featuring excluexclusive photography and illustrations from the world’s foremost links, all of which are also available singly as large format, hand-numbered limited-edition framed prints. The books run $199 apiece. Visit 18GreatestGolf.com and enter the promo code TEN for a 10% discount, free shipping and giftwrap.

Putt for Dough

A putt can be worth a small fortune. So can a putter created by Lee Thomas. Handcrafted from woods from around the world (including tulip poplars Thomas Jefferson planted at Monticello), Thomas’ flatsticks are highly functional, individual creations, each customized by wood, weight, inset, grip, engraving, logo and more. It takes him up to six weeks and more than 100 steps (including wood stabilization) to complete one. You might stand over your putt that long admiring the artistry. $650-$1,750. leethomasputters.com

Rolls Call

Drive a Ferrari

Famous for its Testarossa (Italian for “redhead”) sport coupe, Ferrari has teamed up with Cobra Puma to create a signature red lightweight aerodynamic driver with a Ti 8-1-1 body. Featuring a kangaroo leather grip, regular or stiff Fujikura Motore Speeder shaft and a carbon fiber sole and crown, the stunning driver comes in 9.5˚ and 10.5˚ lofts. Ian Poulter plays one. You can, too. Unsheathed from its genuine Ferrari leather head cover, it will generate comments on the tee and drives that go from 0 to 300 yards in five seconds or less. $2,000. ferrarigolfcollection.com

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Colorado AvidGolfer | Winter 2012

Technologies have evolved. Lines have simplified. Rides have smoothed. Still, Rolls-Royce has maintained its timeless proportions and attention to detail. Inspired by 1930s automotive and yachting designs, the new Phantom luxuriously “incocoons its occupants. At your toes rests a lusciously supple lamb’s wool carpet, at your fingertips a state-of the-art “in fotainment” system with 8.8-inch display, and above your head enough space to accommodate the tallest passengers— and biggest egos. Custom, seamless veneers, hand-stitched leathers and a V12 engine factor into the MSRP, which starts around $400,000. Available in sedan, coupé and convertible coupé models. rolls-roycemotorcars.com.

If the Shoe Fits

The golf swing has a lot of moving parts; your feet shouldn’t be two of them. Par West Golf Shoes fit as snugly as skin, creating the balance and stability that promote a consistent golf swing. Master tanner and cobbler Paul Raddatz guarantees a perfect fit, thanks to an exacting measurement process. Using skins such as alligator, bison, lizard, ostrich and eel, Raddatz crafts elegant variations on classic wingtips and saddles, as well as his distinctive Normandy, Stewart (as in Payne) and Riviera styles. His palette ranges from shades of black, white and brown to rust, royal blue and jade. The shoes cost between $750 and $5,000, but they last for 20 years. parwestshoes.com; 800-PAR WEST. Colorado AvidG o lf e r.c o m


Majestic mountains in the background.

EXCEPTIONAL VALUE IN THE FOREGROUND.

V

i at Highlands Ranch is a Type A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) designed to make you retire the typical notions about retirement living. Like the notion that you have to choose between living in a refined setting and having access to care for life. At Vi, you’ll enjoy chef-prepared meals, a culture of wellness and the freedom to pursue your passions, unencumbered by household chores. And living at the only Type A CCRC in Colorado, with a fully integrated on-site care center, means you can take pride in the fact that you won’t

burden loved ones with difficult decisions about your care—and keep your life decisions in your own hands. With the majestic Rocky Mountains to the west and acres of pristine wilderness to the south, Vi at Highlands Ranch is a truly breathtaking place to call home. And with pricing on our independent living homes that’s as attractive as the surroundings, this just may be the best-kept secret in town. It’s time to explore the life you deserve, but may not have known you can afford—until now.

888.929.8784 | ViLiving.com/HighlandsRanch


S:7.875”

The Vi difference? IT’S IN THE DETAILS. Not all retirement communities are created equal. For 25 years, Vi has had a reputation for quality services, environments, and care. We encourage you to compare your options and choose carefully. Outstanding Amenities Why shouldn’t the environments be stunning? Why shouldn’t you be able to walk past beautifully landscaped gardens on the paved walking paths, and then enjoy a swim in the heated, salt-filtered pool? At every turn, you are surrounded by opportunities for greater health, wellness and inspiration.

Wellness and Care At Vi, the focus on wellness is woven into the fabric of the community. It starts with the wellness center, staffed by a registered nurse, where you can get scheduled health screenings. We offer programs that support multiple dimensions to whole person wellness including physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual and vocational. Should you need care, there is a fully integrated, beautifully appointed on-site care center. It’s a continuum of care that you won’t find at home.

Exceptional Dining Our celebrated dining program adds spice to your life. Each day, choose from nutritious and flavorful menu items prepared from carefully selected ingredients and tailored to the flavor preferences of older adults. Our chefs have received customized training provided by The Culinary Institute of America on nutrition, healthy cooking and baking techniques, flavor dynamics and food and wine pairing. And like fine restaurants, our distinct dining venues feature extra attention to detail, including rich linens, fine china, crystal glassware and sparkling silverware.

888.929.8784 | ViLiving.com/HighlandsRanch


Living life to the fullest

Take control of your

STARTS HERE.

FINANCIAL FUTURE.

At Vi, you have a variety of social, cultural and recreational activities to choose from every day. You can meet friends at yoga, join a writers’ workshop or spend the day shopping. In the evening, you can celebrate a special occasion in the dining room. Or you may

Vi at Highlands Ranch, Colorado’s only Type A (most extensive) Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), offers more inclusive care than Type B or C Continuing Care Communities for assisted living, Alzheimer’s/memory support care and skilled nursing. When residents move to the on-site care center, they continue to enjoy a private room and pay the same monthly fee (plus charges for additional meals and ancillary items, which will cost considerably less than increasing market rates). Other retirement communities in the area may not offer this level of care, so be sure to understand the differences.

prefer to go to the theater or plan a special night on the town. With so many choices, boredom is simply not an option. Residents help shape our offerings by chairing social committees, serving on the resident council, and by giving feedback on their own interests. Our staff members strive to demonstrate a caring, friendly attitude, and contribute to the sense of community.

Research shows that you can help maintain your health and happiness as you age by remaining socially active and engaged with friends and loved ones.

888.929.8784 | ViLiving.com/HighlandsRanch


Uncompromising luxury. Unprecedented value. IT’S ALL IN THE PLAN. Each floor plan is designed to provide you with the style and space for furnishings, personal treasures and plenty of living.

For more than 25 years, Vi has been dedicated to providing quality environments, services and care to enrich the lives of older adults.

DirectionS to Vi at highlanDS ranch County Line Rd.

the Vi lifestyle also includes: • Housekeeping and • Wellness center staffed maintenance by a registered nurse • Scheduled transportation • Complimentary valet • Heated, salt-filtered parking in our heated indoor pool garage • Fitness center with on• 24-hour concierge service site personal trainers

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Standard amenities include: • Well-appointed kitchen with granite countertops • Spacious bathrooms with special safety features • Washer and dryer • Balcony or patio • Expanded digital cable television services • Emergency call system • Generous closets • Individual climate control • Electricity, water, sewer, heating and air conditioning

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Vi at Highlands Ranch is owned by CC-Denver, Inc. and managed by Classic Residence Management Limited Partnership. Classic Residence Management Limited Partnership and CC-Denver, Inc. are separate corporations. CC-Denver, Inc., d/b/a Vi at Highlands Ranch, is the sole entity responsible for the performance of the continuing care contracts at Vi at Highlands Ranch. CC-Denver, Inc. does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or age in admission, treatment, or participation in its programs, services and activities, or in employment. For further information about this policy, contact the director of human resources, (720) 348-7800/TDD 711.

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888.929.8784 | ViLiving.com/HighlandsRanch

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Colorado AvidGolfer | Winter 2012

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sideBets |

PLAYERS

P H O T O G R A P H C O U RT E S T Y O F B M w

CARS

Surprise Matters

BEAMING WITH PRIDE: The BMW M5

Each in its own way, the BMW M5, Dodge Dart and Ford Fusion astound the market. By Isaac Bouchard

2013 BMW M5

A

Price as tested: $103,195

mazinglY the Bmw m5 has been with us for 27 years. While it’s the original super sedan, it has had to change in order to stay relevant within the market it created. Gone, due to fuel economy regs, is the last M5’s bespoke V10 engine, with its searing 8300 rpm redline and uniquely amazing soundtrack. In its place is a more mainstream mill—if such a descriptor can be applied to a twin-turbo, 560 horsepower V8. While no longer quite as sonorous, the new 4.4-liter counters with Co l o r a d o A v i d G o l f e r. c o m

500lb-ft of torque—117 more than its predecessor—that comes onstream at only 1,500 rpm. This 4,300-pound M5 isn’t only quicker to 60 than its forebear by a half-second at 3.7, but it roars past slower traffic with a distain that eluded the older model. Yet it still can turn 25mpg at cruise. The wonderful 7-speed DCT twin-clutch transmission marks one of the biggest improvements to this latest M5. Its shifts can be syrupy smooth or rapid-fire quick, with none of the lurching about of the older single-clutch box. This M5 is less a pure sports sedan and more of a luxurious, superGT, with a better, quieter ride, a sumptuous interior, one of the best infotainment setups going, and easier-to-access performance, thanks to all that low-end torque. Winter 2012 | Colorado AvidGolfer

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sideBets

2013 Dodge Dart Price as tested: $25,065

Alfa Romeo-donated chassis and steering. 1.4-liter turbo with the most advanced valvetrain in the world and 133lb-ft of torque per liter. Sumptuous, heated leather power seat and steering wheel. Dual-zone climate control. Smart key access. Configurable LCD main instrument display and fast-acting infotainment touch screen. Backup camera and blind spot monitors. It’s Dodge’s entry-level car. And they call it the Dart. Coming as quite a surprise, this American “economy” car is roomy and plush, quiet and refined, and yet still engaging to drive. All the standard and optional amenities make it feel richly appointed and a good value too. Demerits include what’s referred to as the “Italianate” driving position: the steering wheel’s a ways off, the pedals too close—and they are horribly placed for heel-toe downshifts, unforgivable in a model that only comes with a six-speed manual transmission with its best engine. That mini mill cranks 160hp (related to the one in the crazy Abarth 500), is sporty sounding and fun to play with when on boost. It gets the Dart to 60 in 8.2 seconds, but its power-

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BULL’S EYE: The Dodge Dart

band is very narrow, meaning lots of shifting of the slick gearbox. And while you can coax it to its EPA ratings of 27/39, any exuberance causes those numbers to plummet. As a whole, though, the Dart is quite remarkable. Its high quality materials, competitive price, and frisky character mark it out against the cheap-feeling Civic and mundane Corolla. Its driving dynamics place it near the top of the class with the Fusion and Mazda3. And the Dodge’s gobs of gizmos make it a valid competitor to the Elantra. Though it borrows from around the world, the distinctly American Dart is a uniquely appetizing and satisfying confection.

most easily reached surfaces being soft to the touch, nice detailing in the instrument cluster, and comfy, supportive seats. Back seat space is tighter than some competitors, however. There’s loads of cutting-edge tech, but much of it is controlled through the MyFordTouch infotainment screen, which—despite updates— often freezes up and is slow to respond. Still, the Fusion is a true driver’s car. Using more of their engineering resources to hone one vehicle for several international markets, Ford has created what is most certainly the best handling car in the midsize class, with precise (if anesthetized) electric steering and a superbly capable chassis. It feels a bit like a front-drive BMW—the fluid way it turns in, 2013 remains planted, and Ford fires out of tricky turns. There’s a wide range of Fusion Fusions available, from Price Bentley Continental GT a2013frisky front-drive range: manual transmission $25,290model with a 1.6-liter 38,170 turbo to a more mature Always a battle2-liter EcoBoost with ground, the midAWD. All Fusions ride size sedan market well, absorbing pavehas reached a MIDSIZE MONSTER: The Ford Fusion. new level of ferocity this year, with redesigned ment blemishes with a sophisticated shrug combatants from Toyota, Honda and Nissan. and exquisite quiet. Even if Ford doesn’t win the sales contest— Now Ford sends the completely new Fusion which is often decided the number of rental into the fray. It certainly appears fit for the fight. If the cars a company moves—the Fusion is, for Fusion isn’t the best looking car in the class, now, the best combination of virtues availI need new glasses. And unlike competitors able in a mainstream midsize sedan: it has that have relied on “surface excitement” like a powertrain choice for nearly everyone, is faux vents and extra toppings of chrome, it has very rewarding to drive, democratizes highthe basics like stance and proportion right; its end technology and is simply gorgeous. squinty headlamps and Aston-esque grill just Cag make it that much sexier. Inside the Fusion also plays for keeps. This is Read more of Isaac Bouchard’s automotive writthe best Ford interior in modern history, with ing at nicedrivz.com. ColoradoAvidG o lf e r.c o m

P H O T O G R A P H S C O U RT E S Y O F d O d G E A n d F O R d

Even though they dumped the normal 5-series’ electric power steering for a fully hydraulic setup, the M5’s helm isn’t quite as talkative as expected, though it’s accurate enough. Likewise, the brakes: despite their beefy fixed calipers, there’s a bit of a dead spot at the top of the pedal—though ultimate stopping power is still awesome. The M5’s chassis doesn’t disappoint. Thanks to the active M Differential, this rear-drive car finds huge traction—even over leaf-covered, wet roads—yet can still be slid around with abandon if the mood strikes. It also has three settings for its shocks: its softest irons out the worst broken tarmac; the middle will handle 90% of enthusiastic driving; and “Sports Plus” is best saved for smooth roads and track days. When the M5 was introduced in 1985, it was the world’s first super-sedan, and it took years before others kenned to its winning formula. This latest version faces the stiffest field yet: Various AMG Mercedes, Audi S- and RSmodels—even the Cadillac V-series—all beat it in some area. But the M5 remains the most wellrounded, enthralling example of the breed—the standard by which others are judged.


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sideBets PLAYERS

Playing Driver

Terry Johnson’s car collection is as rich in history as the course behind his home is. By Dick Kreck

P H O T O G R A P H BY T O d d L A n G L E Y

PRIDE AND JOY: Johnson and his 1933 Packard Twelve-Cylinder Coupe-Roadster convertible.

I

t CoUld have Been 1950. There I was, driving behind Terry Johnson as we slowly made our way down the dirt lane from his house, trees crowding both sides of the narrow road. Johnson, wearing a ball cap, was at the wheel of one his prize possessions, a 1947 Chrysler Windsor convertible with the top down. I kept looking for Nick and Nora Charles to step out of a Thin Man movie. Johnson is a do-it-now kind of guy. He bought his house next to Cherry Hills Country Club, where he’s been a member for forty-two years, the same day he saw it for sale. The two-story white house sits on one

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and a half acres adjacent to the twelfth hole, a perfect base for his love of golf. “I have a back problem so I don’t play often,” he says. “I play maybe once or twice a month.” The home site is convenience itself. “That’s the twelfth hole, that’s a water hole,” he said, pointing out the window. “We (his wife, Kay, also plays) often will go out and walk thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and then come back on eleven. That’s about 45 minutes and it’s a little exercise and it’s really handy.” For Johnson, Cherry Hills is not about hanging around the nineteenth hole. “Cherry Hills doesn’t seem to be the average country club. Cherry Hills is made up really serious

golfers and what I see is people belong to play golf and not necessarily for the social part. They are serious about their golf and, of course, what’s resulted is that they’ve held two PGA tournaments and eight USGA championships.” Buying his house hours after he and his wife looked at it is typical of Johnson. “I get very motivated and then I want to move quickly on my decision,” he says with a grin as we walked through his dazzling collection of vintage automobiles, some of them bought at the spur of the moment and some purchased only after years of pursuing their owners. ColoradoAvidG o lf e r.c o m


P H O T O G R A P H BY T O d d L A n G L E Y

COLLECTION AREA (right): Johnson’s 1946 Ford Sportsman, 2003 Ferrari Spider and 1953 Buick Sylark.

It’s been that way his whole life. As a teenager in Rockford, Ill., he owned eleven different cars. His second marriage, after the death of his first wife, led to his move to Denver in 1969. “We got married on a Saturday, packed up on a Sunday and left town on a Monday.” Johnson, 76, a former real-estate investment broker, went to work for a bank when he landed in Denver, read one of those inspiring how-to books—William Nickerson’s How I Turned $1,000 Into $3 Million in Real Estate in My Spare Time—and launched a new career. “We followed what he did and bought a small apartment project, a thirteen-unit, on Capitol Hill,” Johnson explains. “I started to put partnerships together and that’s how this whole thing started.” On the way, he amassed an eye-popping collection of vintage automobiles, a passion that began in the 1940s at his father’s filling station in Rockford. “When I was nine years old I was able to pump gas and help him with little things, grease jobs and things,” Johnson recalls. “Pretty soon I was working every Saturday and every night and I learned to do this on the thirties and forties cars. So that’s where my passion went.” Johnson’s ever-evolving collection now has 19 cars, ranging from a 1933 Packard roadster to a 2003 Ferrari. The most famous historically is the 1941 Cadillac used to carry President Dwight Eisenhower from his in-laws’ house on Lafayette Street to Fitzsimons Hospital after he suffered a heart attack in 1955. It’s a two-tone brown beauty with only 23,000 miles on it. Of course, Johnson has a story to match the car. “I’ll tell you the story about how this happened. Eisenhower was in a party at Elvira Doud’s house there on Lafayette Street in 1955, He had an upset stomach or something and the thought it was his heart. The doctor was there and said, ‘Why don’t you just go upstairs and lay in Elvira’s bed for awhile and see how it goes.’ So he did and then he decided to stay the night. In the morning, about six or seven, he still had the pain and Ike said, ‘Listen, I don’t want to arouse the press so let’s go out the back door, down the sidewalk to the alley and I’ll get into Elvira’s ’41 Cadillac and you can drive me to the hospital.’ They drove him out there and it was at the White House Co l o r a d o A v i d G o l f e r. c o m

for six weeks.” As hobbyists are wont to do, Johnson enjoys sharing with like-minded collectors. He and late-night television host and avid car collector Jay Leno have exchanged visits and become friends. “I was with Jay Leno just last week at his collection,” Johnson says.

“He came to town once and I drove him to a charity affair in the car President Eisenhower was driven to Fitzsimons in. I told him, ‘Jay, sit in this seat. This is where Ike sat.’ We had a great time over that.” The Eisenhower car has the most history but it is not the apple of Johnson’s collecting

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eye. That would be his 1933 maroon twelveAnd drive them he does. “Every car, every cylinder Packard coupe-roadster complete month and I keep a chart. It depends how I with rumble seat. “It looks like no one has feel: ‘Well, what should I take out today?’” ever sat on the seats,” he says, beaming. “They If vintage cars are his passion, Johnson show no wear. It’s art deco to the greatest dealso has had an on-and-off love affair with gree. It’s when Packard in the thirties outsold model trains his entire life. His automobiles Cadillac two-to-one. Packard was really ‘it.’” share space in his enormous garage and a The stylish Packards were the darlings of nearby warehouse with two huge, elaborate the Hollywood film model layouts. His community during fixation with trains the 1930s; owners inalso dates to his childcluded dashing leadhood. “I had a train ing men Cary Grant, given to me when I Errol Flynn, and Clark was three, and I still Gable. At a time when have it. When I was a new house cost twelve and working $3,800, a top-of-thefor my father I earned line Packard set you enough to buy a new back $6,000. Johnson Lionel train, then I doesn’t talk dollars bought several others when he waxes poetic and then, when I disabout his cars, but a covered girls and cars, recent Internet search the trains went out reveals a Packard of a the door.” Thirty years similar vintage for sale later his love of model recently for $255,000. trains re-emerged. Among the vehicles His collection concurrently in Johntains thousands of PACK-12 CHAMPION: The art deco grille son’s collection are a cars and locomotives shines on Johnson’s 1933 Packard. 1937 Ford cabriolet, dating to the early a 1940 Buick four-door convertible Roadtwentieth century. master a 1946 Ford Sportsman, and a 1953 But, he said, it’s time to divest himself of Buick Skylark, all in original condition. He the trains—layouts and all. He needs more recently purchased a 1948 Chrysler Town & room for his cars—including a 1966 Jaguar E Country framed with white ash and a 1947 Type coupe he parks in a bunker below an Buick Super Convertible, “both in ‘time warp’ intricately landscaped latticework of model condition—they look brand new.” He doesn’t train tracks. Cag do restorations. “The spirit of my collection is originals. I like them that way because you An editor and columnist at The Denver Post restore a car and take everything apart, you for thirty-eight years, Dick Kreck is the author can never put it back together so that it drives of five books on Colorado history, including the like the manufacturer intended.” best-selling Murder at the Brown Palace. ColoradoAvidG o lf e r.c o m

P H O T O G R A P H S BY T O d d L A n G L E Y

The Drive with Big Al and D-Mac

TO THE MOTOR BORN: Johnson has coveted cars, such as this ’47 Town & Country, since haggling with his brother 73 years ago.


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CARDING A TWO: Cascata (top) and Rio Secco rank among Rees Jones’ most inspired designs.

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Cascata and Rio Secco

Combine to create one of the best bets in Vegas golf.

L

By Jon Rizzi

as Vegas translates to “the fertile plains.” It’s an apt description, because the agricultural richness of this parched land is as much an illusion as just about everything else in this city of

make-believe. Vegas is fertile—in fantasy. It takes the form of the myriad fountains, Egyptian pyramids, New York skyscrapers, medieval turrets and iconic towers that serrate the skyline like so many multicolored cornstalks; it finds expression in entertaining blue men and impossibly acrobatic circus performers; and it encourages us to become someone else, to hit it big and live larger than we are. Caesars Palace, which in 1966 pioneered the fantasy resort with its Roman Empire-themed hotel and casino, remains synonymous with The Strip. The resort itself boasts nearly 4,000 rooms, thousands of gaming tables, numerous stores and 11 restaurants. It stages Elton John and other headlining acts, and, thanks to an acquisition by Harrah’s in 2005, the Palace is the centerpiece of a four-continent gaming and entertainment empire worthy of Caesar himself. That empire includes seven properties I consider the ultimate fantasy worlds: golf courses. And the finest two—Cascata and Rio Secco—lie within a short drive of The Strip. You don’t have to stay at Caesars or one of its properties to play them, but guests do get priority tee times.

Cascata

Originally conceived as MGM Grand’s $60 million answer to The Mirage’s ultra-exclusive Shadow Creek Golf Club, Cascata is every bit its luxury equivalent. After a 30-minute ride to the outskirts of Boulder City, your limo arrives at the turreted 37,000-square-foot Tuscan-style clubhouse highlighted by thick beams, high ceilings and rich textures and colors. Through the building streams the cascata (waterfall in Italian) that starts some 400 feet up the mountain behind the practice range. A locker bearCo l o r a d o A v i d G o l f e r. c o m

SUPER LOOPERS: Rio Secco’s T-Mates.

ing your name etched in pewter awaits. So does the mandatory Tour-class caddie whose tariff is included in your green fee (as high as $375) and worth every penny. That’s because architect Rees Jones played David Copperfield when he designed this 7,137-yard feat of engineering into the finger ridges flanking Red Mountain. Optical illusions abound in the form of false fronts, blind shots, upward-breaking greens and deceptive distances. Trouble, often in the form of water or deep bunkers, hides from view from the tee box on a number of holes. Trust your caddie from the get-go (like when he says the first green spits short shots back down the fairway) and there will be at least seven or eight times he’ll suggest you did come all the way here to lay up. Covering an astonishing 450 acres in the Eldorado Valley, Cascata serves up a blissfully hermetic experience. It receives only select play, and each hole is isolated from the ones around it, framed by outcroppings and flora. The winding, climbing par-5 third and 16th offer particularly dramatic views, while the par-3 fourth, seventh and 12th all tuck picturesquely into the mountainsides, with the waterfall on 12 especially enchanting. Water figures into numerous holes, including the double-dogleg 559yard finisher. A stream bisecting the fairway leads to a pond directly in front of the green. Only a lucky bomber can get home in two. More than once, you’ll wonder how Jones could have envisioned this surreal work of TOP GUN: Rio’s Butch art. Like Sanctu- Harmon ary in Colorado, Cascata is the kind of fantastical experience every golfer should enjoy at least once in a lifetime.

Rio Secco

Butch Harmon, Golf Digest’s perennial No. 1 teacher in America, headquarters his academy at Rio Secco. Tiger Woods, one of his former pupils, shares the course record of 64 with Nick Watney, who in November at Rio Secco won the 21st annual Wendy’s ThreeTour Challenge with partners Davis Love III and Jason Day. It marked the fifth straight year the event has taken place at this challenging (7,313 yards, 142/75.7) Rees Jones design that winds through the Black Mountain foothills and offers views of the Strip from 800 feet up. If you don’t fantasize about playing a course with those credentials that costs less than $200 per round, how’s this? A witnessed ace on the seventh—a par-3 that measures between 147 and 208 yards— qualifies you for Rio Secco’s semi-annual $1,000,000 Hole Finals, wherein you and 11 other qualifiers (including customers drawn from a lottery) each receive three nights at a luxurious Caesars hotel, rounds at Cascata and Rio, meals, drinks, ground transportation and awesome swag. You all then return to No. 7 for three tee shots in front of TV cameras. Dunk one and you’re $1 million richer. “And it’s not paid through hole-in-one insurance,” says Mark Blais, the director of golf sales and marketing for both courses. “It’s our money. We assume all the risk. That’s the beauty of working at a gaming company.” In fact, one of the beauties of Rio Secco can accompany your foursome. T-Mates, the effervescent nubiles who serve as trained, highly-skilled caddies and course concierges, have helped Rio Secco players since 2006. “They’re a great complement to the club,” says Blais. “At first people were skeptical, but they’ve won a lot of guests over.” An attractive woman who’ll track your shots, make you laugh and lower your score? At $200 per foursome, a T-Mate is a fantasy worth putting money on. Cag Jon Rizzi is CAG’s editor. For more information, visit caesarsgolf.com or call 702-731-7786. Winter 2012 | Colorado AvidGolfer

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The Valley of the Sun remains a first-class destination. By Jake KubiĂŠ

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t about 2,500 feet,

right before the captain notifies the attendants to secure the cabin, the approach into Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport reveals a city built around golf courses. Countless bright green beacons of verdant bliss—outlined by homes of all shapes, colors and sizes—speckle a rusty palette of desert browns. The sight alone inspires envy of the ant-like figures scurrying around the fairways and greens a half-mile below. With more than 250 golf courses, the greater Phoenix area is undeniably one of the best golf destinations in the West, especially for Coloradans, who can choose from a buffet of inexpensive direct flights. Once on terra firma, golfers have options well beyond the greens–plenty of shopping, worldclass dining and a vibrant nightlife.

In an area so densely packed with quality courses, it’s impossible to choose a favorite daily fee course–or even 12–but you can certainly have fun trying. Options include multiple-course challenges at Talking stick, Troon North and We-Ko-Pa (36 holes each); The Wigwam (54); The Verdes (90) and Westin Kierland (27). Don’t overlook the courses at eagle Mountain, Longbow, McDowell Mountain or the Raven golf Club-Phoenix. The Raven that tops my list is Raven golf Club at Verrado, located about 30 minutes west of downtown Phoenix in Buckeye. Situated in the foothills of the White Tank Mountains, the 7,258-yard Tom Lehman/John Fought design is elevated enough to give golfers great views of the valley below while keeping them grounded with challenging elevation changes, water hazards and forced carries. Every year the PGA Tour makes one of its most exciting stops in Phoenix for the famously raucous and rambunctious Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC scottsdale. The 7,216-yard stadium Course is almost worth the $300 greens fee, even if it’s just to play the last three holes, including the par-three sixteenth, which is one of pro golf ’s most celebrated holes. Don’t be disappointed, however, by the absence of 50,000 screaming fans. For $150 less you can play the adjacent Champions Course. Following a $12 million renovation in 2007, the often-overlooked 7,115-yard layout has a whole new attitude and sharp enough teeth to rival its cooler sibling. The biggest changes exist on the last four holes, especially the fun and drivable 15th and intimidating finisher, which forces long hitters to lay up short of a bunker on one side and a lake on the other, only to be left with a lengthy approach.

Coloradans looking for a second club will find themselves overwhelmed by the roster of exquisite options here: Desert Mountain, Mirabel, silverleaf, DC Ranch—to name but a few. The best of the best may be estancia Club. Situated in a horseshoe shape around Scottsdale’s iconic Pinnacle Peak and recently ranked one of “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses” by Golf Digest, Estancia is perhaps Tom Fazio’s finest desert design and offers enough yardage (7,314 yards) to contain its most famous and Co l o r a d o A v i d G o l f e r. c o m

Winter 2012 | Colorado AvidGolfer

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is The Golf Club Scottsdale, designed by Jay Morrish and Dick Bailey. Similar in landscape and layout to the aforementioned clubs, the stout 7,561-yard layout distinguishes itself by a noticeable lack of homes bordering its fairways. That sense of seclusion and serenity extends into its rustic and charming hacienda-style clubhouse.

pools and Willow Stream Spa, featuring a rooftop oasis, stunning men’s and women’s indoor facilities and a waterfall that cascades down to a private hidden courtyard. Rates in December and January start around $350 per night for non-refundable reservations. Located right next door to the Fairmont, Zona Hotel & Suites offers more affordable options, especially for groups, families and extended stays. The resort’s one-, twoand four-bedroom suites, ranging from 600 to 1,800 square feet, include well-equipped kitchens, dining and living areas and private balconies, and its 14 well-maintained acres feature four swimming pools and manicured gardens. Rates start at about $230 per night in January for a one-bedroom suite. Head 20 minutes south to Paradise Valley and north of $400 per night and you’ll find Royal Palms Resort & Spa, easily one of the finest and most romantic hotels in the Phoenix area. Its 119 guests rooms are set amidst stone pathways, fountains and lush gardens, all of which help to accentuate an unparalleled sense of European charm and authenticity. The only downside is you might actually feel guilty leaving Royal Palms to spend five hours on a golf course.

Phoenix has an abundance of spectacular resorts and hotels to accommodate visitors pouring in throughout the winter. Located just a few minutes from both TPC Scottsdale courses, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is one of the region’s classic destinations. Its sprawling grounds encompass more than 830 stately guest rooms, suites and casitas, several of the area’s best restaurants, five swimming

As opposed to places like Denver, where the best restaurants are located downtown and in small neighborhoods, Phoenix’s are built into its many resorts. At the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, it’s a toss-up between Bourbon Steak and La Hacienda. Fortunately the two serve up very different cuisines, making it easier to choose between Chef Michael Mina’s contemporary Ameri-

Eagle Mountain

eccentric member–Bubba Watson. Rumor has it the sand is sourced from the same quarry as Augusta National’s is, and one of its former greenkeepers might just be maintaining its exquisite turf. The club most famous for its PGA Tour connection is Whisper Rock Golf Club. With two courses designed by Tom Fazio and Phil Mickelson, Whisper Rock is as close as most mortals will ever get to the experience of playing in a Tour event. It’s not uncommon to hit balls or have a beer in the spectacular clubhouse next to one of reportedly 30 guys who play golf for a living, including Phil and his caddy, Bones Mackay. Why so many high-profile members? The courses are just that good and the atmosphere is even better. Just down Dynamite Road from Estancia

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Raven-Phoenix

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18 in the morning. 21 at night. Golf and stay packages from $189 nightly.

Stay and Play in Style S C O T T S D A L E | 8 6 6 . 8 7 7. 9 8 9 7 | T A L K I N G S T I C K R E S O R T . C O M Golf packages from $189 nightly, based on availability through December 29, 2012. Not valid for groups or with any other offer. Proudly owned and operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Please gamble responsibly. Š2012 Talking Stick Resort Co l o r a d o A v i d G o l f e r. c o m

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can fare and Chef Richard Sandoval’s modern Mexican creations. Mina’s classics include tapioca-crusted snapper and ahi tuna pot roast. Sandoval dishes up mero a la Veracruzan (oven roasted grouper) and filet a la parilla (grilled coriander beef tenderloin). T. Cook’s at Royal Palms Resort & Spa is consistently and rightfully ranked one of the best restaurants in the Valley. The cuisine mimics the resort’s sense of Old World Europe with an eclectic mix of Mediterranean dishes enhanced by Spanish, French and Italian influences. Favorites from the recently updated dinner menu include lobster tortellini, roasted eggplant ragu and slow-roasted lamb with rosemary fontina gratin, braised kale and minted lamb jus. Cag CAG Contributor Jake Kubié lives in Denver. For more articles on Arizona golf or to discuss this one, visit coloradoavidgolfer.com.

eagle Mountain golf Club 14915 Eagle Mountain Pwy, Fountain Hills 480-816-1234; eaglemtn.com estancia Club 27998 N. 99th Pl., Scottsdale 480-473-4400; estanciaclub.com Longbow golf Club 5601 East Longbow Parkway, Mesa 480-807-5400; longbowgolf.com McDowell Mountain golf Club 10690 East Sheena Drive Scottsdale 480-502-8200; mcdowellgc.com

Longbow

Raven golf Club-Phoenix 3636 East Baseline Road Phoenix 602-243-3635;theravensouthmountain.com

Troon North golf Club 10320 East Dynamite Blvd., Scottsdale 480-585-5300; troonnorthgolf.com

Raven golf Club at Verrado 4242 N. Golf Dr., Buckeye 623-388-3000; ravenatverrado.com

The Verdes 25609 N Danny Lane, Rio Verde 480-471-3232; theverdes.com

The golf Club scottsdale 29001 N. 122nd St., Scottsdale 480-443-8868; thegolfclubscottsdale.com

We-Ko-Pa golf Club 18200 East Toh Vee Cir., Fort McDowell 480-836-9000; wekopa.com

TPC scottsdale (Stadium & Champions Courses) 17020 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale 888-400-4001; tpc.com/scottsdale

Westin Kierland golf Club 15636 North Clubgate Drive, Scottsdale 480-922-9283; kierlandgolf.com

Talking stick golf Club 9998 E. Indian Bend Rd., Scottsdale 480-860-2221; talkingstickgolfclub.com

The Wigwam golf Club 300 East Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park 623-935-9414; wigwamgolf.com Whisper Rock golf Club 32000 N. Old Bridge Rd., Scottsdale 480-575-8700; whisperrockgolf.com

Fairmont Princess scottsdale 7575 E. Princess Dr., Scottsdale 866-540-4495; fairmont.com/Scottsdale Royal Palms Resort & spa 5200 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix 602-840-3610; RoyalPalmsHotel.com

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Wigwam Golf Club

Zona Hotel & suites 7677 E. Princess Blvd., Scottsdale 888-222-1059; ZonaScottsdale.com

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Troon North Pinnacle

living and Dining area

Full Kitchen

One of Four Sparkling Pools

— GREAT DEALS ON —

ScOTTSDALE GOLf PAckAGES Call:

800.903.4057 Web:

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7677 e. Princess blvd. Scottsdale, aZ 85255

Zona Hotel’s Golf Package Specialists Provide:

• cUSTOm bUiLT PAckAGES • PREfERRED RATES, PREfERRED TEE TimE • VERSATiLE SUiTES wiTh 1 TO 4 bEDROOmS, EAch bEDROOm wiTh iTS OwN PRiVATE bATh • PRimE NORTh ScOTTSDALE LOcATiON Proud Member of the Ascend Hotel Collection Certain terms and conditions apply. © 2012 Zona Hotel & Suites Scottsdale

GRaZe bar

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Double Queen bedrooms

Zona’s entrance

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Florida

Mexico

California

Hawaii

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COAST2COAST 2COAST2COAST

From new resorts in Florida and Mexico to revamped classics in California and Hawaii, sea-level golf has hit the high-water mark.

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Streamsong Polk County, Florida

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Two-Part Harmony

P H O T O G R A P H S BY L A R R Y L A m B R e c H T

How Tom Doak teamed with Coore & Crenshaw to make 36 holes of sweet music on the Florida prairie. By Tom Ferrell Imagine if Red and Blue could stand together on common concurrently on their designs. But neither firm expected to work as ground. If they could retain their own ideologies and principles, closely as they finally did. yet still share the best of each other’s vision and work together to “The idea was to do two distinct courses that kind of met back bring those two distinct styles and views closer together rather than at the clubhouse,” Coore says, “but we found ourselves gravitating further apart. toward the same land.” A Utopian vision? A bipartisan dream, too far-fetched Sometimes working on their own and sometimes together, the in this election-weary land? architects identified 36 holes covering the same general swath of Enter Streamsong, a new retreat-resort located in the remote centerrain. Doak sat down then and tried to decipher the possible tral Florida prairie and golf ’s most eagerly anticipated new destinaholes into two courses. One, he outlined with a blue marker. The tion. Design firebrand Tom Doak and minimalism’s elder statesmen other, he outlined in red (hence, today’s Blue and Red courses at Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have cooperated to produce two reStreamsong). markable courses—the Red and the Blue—on an otherworldly landThere was one task left—to determine who would do which scape of towering dunes, rambling fields and deep ponds dug by the course. Someone suggested a coin flip, but Doak demurred. Coore mining giant, Mosaic Company. and Crenshaw consulted with one of their longtime team members “I remember talking to Ben (design who, acknowledging the challenging partner Crenshaw) years ago,” says economic conditions in play at the Bill Coore, “about how cool it would time, suggested taking the one that be if we could find a site that had a would provide the most work. So good sand base and had been worked Coore & Crenshaw chose the Red over pretty good and then left to settle Course, which featured some the for 20 years. Not a natural site in the most uneven and challenging land on pure sense, but one that had become the property. natural over time. And you know, we And then both crews got to work. basically got that at Streamsong. It’s The resulting golf destination, with like nothing you’ve ever seen.” holes from each course weaving and There’s a good reason most people intertwine with each other, is already haven’t seen this part of Florida, a vast being mentioned in the same breath open space located some 90 minutes as Bandon Dunes. southwest of Orlando and an hour “The landforms are just incredible,” southeast of Tampa, according to Tom Coore notes. “You play into and out DIVIDED CONQUEST: The Red 16th (opposite) and Blue 7th (above). Sunnarborg, vice president of land deof situations I’ve just never encounvelopment and management for Mosaic. “The reason is that we tered on any site. I think people are going to love the experience. own most of it.” There’s nothing else like it, anywhere.” With 253,000 acres of land, Mosaic, the world’s largest producer With a Grand Opening slated for January, 2013, Sunnarborg says of phosphate and potash, had a secondary mission, which became that online bookings have exceeded even their most optimistic the Streamsong blueprint. “Once we started looking at the highest projections. “We believe we have something very special,” he says. and best use for this land, the idea of a golf retreat-resort quickly “Two of the best design teams in the world. The ability stay on-site emerged,” Sunnarborg says. “We wanted to show what we can do and just lose yourself. There’s no traffic noise. No light pollution— with reclaimed land and to take environmental sustainability and the stars are overwhelming. Great food. Fishing and shooting. It’s add to it economic sustainability and support for the communities an old-school retreat, a resort with the feel of a private course. The and the region that has been so good to us.” entire experience is going to blow your mind.” Cag To best showcase its striking landforms, Mosaic commissioned two 18-hole courses and signed up Doak and Coore & Crenshaw afTom Ferrell is Colorado AvidGolfer’s editor at large. For more informater winning pledges from them that they could cooperate and work tion and to reserve tee times, visit streamsongresort.com. Co l o r a d o A v i d G o l f e r. c o m

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CostaBaja La Paz, Mexico

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The Pearl of La Paz

P H O T O G R A P H S c O U RT e S Y O F c O S TA B A JA

Five minutes from a city named for peace emerges a golf resort that has perfected the practice of it. By Jon Rizzi

Until the middle of the last century, La Paz, the capital of the 100 feet from tee to fairway. Birdie opportunities abound, as do bird Mexican state of Baja California Sur, enjoyed international fame sightings. Xantus hummingbirds and other avian species hover and for its pearl-filled oyster beds. The port city became known as the alight on flora along the course. My foursome played around a peli“Pearl of the Pacific,” even though it sits an hour’s drive from the can sleeping in the middle of the 10th fairway. ocean on the Sea of Cortez. It famously inspired John Steinbeck’s Player is a long-standing environmentalist, and so are Costa Baja’s 1947 novella, The Pearl, about an egg-sized gem that spawns greed developers. In fact, the entire resort, including the marina, leaves so and tragedy. Ironically, around the same time the book came out, little impact on the area’s ecosystem that Mexico’s Federal Environa mysterious disease wiped out the area’s oyster beds and pearling mental Protection Agency (PROFEPA) awarded it the Certificate of business, effectively insulating La Paz from the commercialization Environmental Excellence. A “Living Green” manifesto hangs in the that would eventually transform Los Cabos two hours south. real estate sales office, where the development’s luxurious condos, Tuscan-style hillside homes (the Las Colinas development), and deToday the pearl of La Paz is CostaBaja Resort and Spa. But unlike luxe casitas and residences (VistaMar) are sold. Steinbeck’s ill-starred object, this multimillion-dollar, 550-acre reIn addition to 340 days of sunshine, dozens of shops and restausort, marina and real estate development brings nothing but pleasure rants ringing the marina, and a raft of to those who experience it. world-class amenities—including EspiriThat pleasure begins a short ride tu Spa, where director Gloria Guerrero from the airport at CostaBaja’s bouholds a Biotensor near your body to tique hotel, where all 115 rooms gauge which of six essential oil “synercome with a view of the glasslike gies” will balance or elevate your energy sea, sere mountains, Gary Playerlevels—what sells CostaBaja is its proxdesigned golf course or 250-slip imity to the cultural richness of a capital marina. Relax at a poolside palapa city and its access to the Sea of Cortez, with a prickly pear margarita while or what Jacques Cousteau called “the savoring a light ceviche or spritzing aquarium of the world.” jicama sticks with lime juice and dipCharter a boat to scuba or snorkel ping them in chili powder. amid the real-life versions of the painted You’ll enjoy heartier fare in the hoand ceramic manta rays that decorate tel at Steinbeck’s Restaurant, where many of the resort’s walls. Rays and the fine-dining menu overflows with hundreds of other fish dart about the fresh, delectable seafood—scallops in Sea of Cortez near the environmentally aguachile; brandied shrimp bisque; MEXED OUT: CostaBaja’s signature 7th (opposite) and Beach Club. protected islands of Espiritu Santo, Isla and fresh tuna or yellowtail with Partida and Cerralvo. You’ll also have an opportunity to swim with mojo de ajo or one of four other spectacular sauces. The more casual sea lions and, between November and March, watch for gray whales, Mosaic also proffers an excellent breakfast buffet featuring tiradito, a orcas, humpbacks and whale-sharks. piscatorial cross between carpaccio and sushi. Located at the CostaBaja Golf Club, La Pintatada Grill and Bar Anglers can hunt for trophy dorado, marlin and sailfish. These and specializes in golf gastronomy—hearty breakfasts and lunches—for other sea creatures—including sea bass, tuna, crabs and lobsters—find their those taking on the breathtaking Gary Player design that’s already ways onto the menus at Steinbeck’s and at CostaBaja’s other restaurants, been ranked in Mexico’s top 10 in only its second year of operation. including Barcaccia, an upscale Italian eatery located at the marina. AlIt’s easy to see why. Perched on rocky cliffs tumbling hundreds of though the once-famous oysters rarely appear, La Paz now has a five-star feet towards the sea, the 7,081-yard layout seamlessly harmonizes pearl of a resort on which to hang its reputation. Cag elements of desert and seaside golf. The fairways forgive, and the wind factors into your approaches to ample, paspalum greens. Holes Jon Rizzi is Colorado AvidGolfer’s editor. For more information, visit like the 451-yard seventh and 612-yard 14th plummet more than costabajaresort.com or call 877-392-5525. Co l o r a d o A v i d G o l f e r. c o m

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Pelican Hill

Newport Beach, California

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Paradise Reperfected

P H O T O G R A P H S c O U RT e S Y O F P e L I c A N H I L L

A half-decade into its renaissance as a five-star resort, Pelican Hill is deservedly earning its wings. By Jon Rizzi

The photographs suggest Pebble or Torrey—courses with which always come back. This is one of the great places in the world.” we’re on a first-name basis. And the accolades—including “World’s Maximizing this greatness by minimizing the time and strokes it Top-Rated Golf Resort” in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2012 Reader’s Poll takes to play is, of course, the paradoxical goal of every golfer. That’s and the ranking of its two courses among Top 100 U.S. public facili faciliwhy Pelican Hill provides seasoned forecaddies at no extra charge. ties by Golf Digest, Golf and Golfweek—certainly put Pelican Hill Golf They’ll point out trouble and disabuse you from hitting driver to Resort in the same echelon as, say, Kiawah. reach fairways that appear more distant than they actually are. They So why does Pelican Hill rarely make any golfer’s must-play list? Is re-perfect the experience by at least four shots per course. And if it the lack of a Tour event? Its over-the-top Orange County location? you really need help, PGA Director of Instruction Glenn Deck can Its custom golf cars with canopies and contoured, stitched seats like impart the wisdom of a Top 100 Teacher. those found in luxury cars? Hardly. Whatever the reason, it’s time Although the Ocean South sits higher in the national rankings, this Pelican stopped flying under the radar. play the par-71 Ocean North first. Its 6,945 yards perch high above Situated 15 minutes from John Wayne Airport and 45 from LAX, the ocean, with some straddling the cliffs and all 18 tee shots offerPelican’s two Tom Fazio-designed courses, Ocean South and Ocean ing views of the Pacific. The fairways and greens all sit well below North, originally opened in 1991 and 1993 on close to 400 stunning them—a score-enhancing trend that begins with the right-dogleg acres along the Pacific Ocean. In 2005, however, Fazio returned, as he par-5 birdie opportunity on hole one and finishes with two more curiously put it, to “re-perfect” both courses. The tweaking process right-dogs on 17 (a 558-yard par-5 with water right and an “infinity” shut down golf for two years, during green) and 18 (a fiesty 430-yard par-4). which time Irvine Company Resort Like its sibling, the Ocean South Properties built a 44,000-squarethreads through stunning, vibrant and foot clubhouse and a sumptuous fragrant vegetation. With a par of 70, Palladian-inspired resort—complete it plays one shot less and almost 400 with a 22 treatment-room spa; exquiyards shorter than the Ocean North, sitely appointed accommodations in but it’s significantly tighter, funneling 204 bungalows and 128 villas; three through the lower contours of the land. stellar restaurants, including the PeliThere aren’t as many ocean views, but can Grill; and an enormous, circuthe holes have greater variety, including lar “Coliseum” pool featuring tiered reachable par-4s on nos. 2, 3, 5 and 11, decks and luxurious cabanas and lined and back-to-back par-3 stunners on nos. with a million hand-laid glass tiles. 12 and 13—the latter of which boasts The resort’s plush four-bedroom viltwo greens “for maximum exposure to las afford the ultimate way for golfers the ocean,” says Fazio. The long par-4 ON THE WATER: Ocean North’s 17th (left) and the Coliseum pool. and their spouses to experience this finisher requires a 250-yard tee ball over magnificence. Between January and March you and up to nine guests a chasm to leave a shot at the green. can stay for two nights, play two rounds and avail yourselves of a And, speaking of green… The Resort at Pelican Hill is as environpersonal butler, concierge and evan a personal chef. You’ll also have mentally sustainable as it is beautiful. The “reperfection” introduced access to a private heated pool and whirlpool spa and receive prea water quality management system that collects rainwater in unferred pricing on Pelican’s signature “Golfer’s Massage,” in which the derground tanks, recycles runoff and prevents it from reaching the body-worker employs golf balls to apply specific friction and presocean, and annually conserves more than 50 million gallons of water. sure to relax and warm the muscles golfers use most. This Seaside Golf this year honored it with its Eco-friendly Green Hall of Fame Villa Golf Getaway package runs $2,630 per foursome, plus taxes and Award, which recognizes extraordinary achievement in environgratuities. mental stewardship. Not having played them in their pre-reperfected states, I can’t With accolades like that, watch Pelican continue to soar. vouch for the “tweaks” and “haircuts” Fazio says he made to the Ocean South and Ocean North courses. But after two exhilarating Jon Rizzi is Colorado AvidGolfer’s editor. For more information, visit rounds, I easily understand why he hopes “it’s never finished so I can pelicanhill.com or call 800-820-6800. Cag

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Kauai Hawaii

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Some Enchanted Island

W P H O T O G R A P H S BY B R I A N OA R / FA I RWAY S P H O T O G R A P H Y

Come winter, it’s easy to answer the call of Kaua‘i. By Vince Recine

Jack Nicklaus redesigned the Lagoons between 2009 and 2011. When my longing to play golf gets buried beneath a foot of Although nine of the original 36 holes gave way to new luxury snow, I often find myself humming South Pacific: “Bali Ha’i may housing units, the remaining 27 challenge golfers of all abilities. call you…any night…any day: here am I your special island, come Juniors and families opt for the wide fairways and special rates of to me, come to me.” I know my heart is telling me to go to Kaua‘i, the Waikahe nine. The Moana and Mauka Nines form the chamthe smallest of the four major Hawaiian Islands and home of the pionship Kiele Course, which tips out at 7,120 heavily bunkered mystical Bali Ha‘i. yards. The Moana’s half-mile of ocean holes is the longest conKaua‘i’s compactness makes it an ideal golf destination. An tinuous waterfront stretch of golf in Hawaii. The highlight comes hour’s drive separates the island’s three golf areas—Lihue, Poipu, at the breathtaking par three fifth, with drops a devilish 210 yards and Princeville—and their eight courses. While the recession hit downhill to a green atop a bluff. Miss left, and your ball will dive Kaua‘i hard, the decrease in golf rounds allowed several coursinto the ocean. Miss right and you have to pitch over bunkers to a es to take turns closing for major improvements. They are all putting surface that abuts a perilous cliff. now open. After your round, shuttle over to Duke’s for some wahoo, ahi Lihue, at the center of the island, is the heart and soul of Kaua‘i or mango-glazed barbecue ribs and famous Hula Pie, or step back golf; its three championship courses are all open to public play. to the 1930s, when Groves Farm owner Gaylord Wilcox built his After a hearty breakfast of scratch-made macadamia nut and ba16,000- square-foot dream home, Kilohana. This mansion now nana pancakes at Tip Top Motel and Café (owned by Hawaiian houses Gaylord’s Restaurant, which in Golf Hall of Famer Jonathan Ota), addition to great lunches and dinners take on the famed Wailua Municiserves a splendid Sunday brunch that pal Golf Course. Ota’s family coincludes the delectable ahi tuna benefounded the course, and he remains dict with wasabi hollandaise. Kilohana a fount of local knowledge. also contains shops, including Men’s Hardly your typical muni, WailHardware, where for $1,100 you can ua has thrice hosted the US Pubpurchase a William Henry-designed lic Links Championships, and the divot-repair tool made from fossilized USGA is again considering it as a mammoth bone. Or not. future championship site. From the Gaylord’s also provides a train ride tips, the course stretches 6,981 yards through the flora and fauna plantation. both inland and along the ocean. The There is, however, no better way to highlight comes at the oceanfront experience the beauty of “the Garden 173-yard 17th, which Arnold Palmer Isle,” than with a 45-minute flight with listed among his favorite holes. GARDEN GOLF: Kaua‘i Lagoons (opposite) and The Prince (above). Jack Harter Helicopters (808-245-3774). Next in Lihue is the Robin NelsonYou’ll survey Waimea Canyon (“The Grand Canyon of the Pacifdesigned Puakea Golf Course, which for seven years had only 10 ic”), which runs 10 miles long and over 3,000 feet deep; fly above holes, the result of construction finance issues. Finally completed, the breathtaking cliffs of the spectacular Napali coastline and the this inland layout measures 6,954 yards. After the first five holes beaches of Hanalei (made famous by “Puff the Magic Dragon”); fool you into thinking that this is just an average play, the par-3 and glimpse the waterfalls that appeared in Jurassic Park. sixth plunges you into a tropical garden. Water fronts a green surSeeing the North Shore of the island from the air affords an even rounded by thick flora, while Mount Ha’apu hovers behind. The greater appreciation of Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s masterful courses at remaining holes traverse lush vegetation that’s easy on the eyes Princeville—the Makai and the Prince. but hard on your score if your ball finds it. The home of the LPGA‘s Kemper Open from 1986 to 1990, the Just five minutes down the road from Puakea sits the Kaua‘i Makai closed between 2008 in order to complete $6 million in Marriott Resort and Beach Club, a five-star blend of timerenovations. Similar in setup to the Lagoons, the Makai’s 27 holes share and hotel units on 800 acres. Site of one of the state’s divide between two distinct entities: The family-friendly Woods largest family swimming pools and the ever-popular Duke’s nine, where kids play free when accompanied by an adult; and The Kaua‘i restaurant, Kalapaki Beach is also home to the Kaua‘i Makai Course, a 7,223 yard championship test overlooking the Lagoons Golf Club. Co l o r a d o A v i d G o l f e r. c o m

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Makai

Poipu Bay

Crazy About Kukui’ula

ocean. The best views come on the 181yard par-3 third, where your ball seemingly floats above the ocean as it descends to the green, and the back tees on the seventh, which overlooks bathers in the ceremonial salt water pond of Queen Emma. For most avid golfers, the one must-play in Kaua‘i is The Prince Course. Often ranked among the Top 100 U.S. courses, The Prince closed for renovations in 2010 and is now fully reopened. Greens and bunkers were redone, teeing areas were changed to improve playability, and the dense vegetation was cut back making shots into most greens less severe. The trimming enhanced the beauty of the course and uncovered the Anini Stream that runs through it. It didn’t make it any easier, however. The unofficial course scoring record is only 67. Like Makai, The Prince sits on a high verdant bluff and plays like a rugged mountain course with a tropical twist. It will take you over ravines, near cliffs, and across very tricky fast greens. All the holes are tough; all the holes are beautiful. When you walk off the 18th green at The Prince, treat yourself to the amenities of the newly renovated clubhouse—including items from the “Toni Richard” line of designer Hawaiian shirts. The locker rooms are elegant and massage services are available nearby. After cleaning up, wander over to The Tavern, which is owned and

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operated by Roy Yamaguchi and serves up a great view of the Kaua‘i sunset along with classics like braised short ribs with creamy cheese grits and country bacon green beans. Desserts include such treats as creamy guava cheese cake and a pie made of Haupia chocolate and a macadamia nut crust. A slightly more luxurious repast awaits at Princeville’s St. Regis Hotel. Partially built into a seaside cliff, this 252-room property features a ninth-floor lobby entrance and, one floor below, Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Kaua‘i Grill, which lives up to its billing as one of the top restaurants on the island. Every dish—from the rice crusted ahi appetizer to the daily fresh fish catch with red chili sauce to the mango upside-down cake topped with homemade basil ice cream—will make your taste buds burst with delight. Eat at sunset: you will see surfers in Hanalei Bay, the green mountains of Bali Ha‘i and the sun seemingly drop straight into the ocean. The beauty continues on south shore. And so does RTJ Jr.’s love affair with the island, where he designed two more courses at Poipu. The most famous, of course, is Poipu Bay Golf Course, which from 1994 to 2006 annually held the Grand Slam of Golf. On a very calm day in 2004 Phil Mickelson carded a 59 here. But Poipu Bay’s 7,123 yards play along the ocean, so

Kukui’ula’s 16th

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P H O T O G R A P H S BY B R I A N OA R / FA I RWAY S P H O T O G R A P H Y

Puakea

If the first new development to open on Kauai in 20 years were just another acclaimed high-end club and community from DMB Associates Inc.—built on the most beautiful of this island’s locations, the South Shore—that would be enough. In fact, if it were just the latest golf course design from PGA Tour legend Tom Weiskopf— complete with whales jumping just off the coast beyond the 14th green—that would be enough. But Kukui’ula is much more, thanks to a hospitality team that considers every member and guest an extension of its Hawaiian family. Homesites for purchase and nightly-fee resort cottages are now available. kukuiula.com —Brian Oar


the wind has a habit of shifting on every hole and the ocean spray can spritz your face— hardly the recipe for going low. Still, every hole’s a postcard, the conditioning is impeccable and the shop is first-rate. Poipu’s “other” course, Kiahuna Golf Club, stretches 6,885 yards with a par of 70. While short, it still challenges with narrow fairways, tricky greens, and strong ocean breezes. Natural lava walls surround it and it sits by Joe’s On the Green, where breakfast, lunch and happy-hour menus list satisfying ways to begin or finish your round. Poipu offers many fine dining choices, and one recent addition stands out: Josselin’s Tapas Bar and Grill. Renowned chef JeanMarie Josselin, formerly of 808 Restaurant at Caesars Palace, offers a unique and dynamic tapas menu consisting of 36-hour braised pork belly and organic beet ravioli. Surprise yourself with the steak naan bread or the slow-cooked butterfish. While on the south shore, surprise yourself as well with a visit to Kukuiolono Golf Course & Park in Kalaheo. The wealthy planter Walter D. McBryde built the ninecourse in 1929 for his own use. He left the course and its beautiful Japanese rock garden to the people of Kaua‘i with the proviso that it always remain a golf course. McBryde is buried next to the eighth tee box. A fun place for beginners as well as experienced golfers, Kukuiolono rewards you with terrific ocean views from almost every vantage point. Hundreds of feral chickens scurry about for food, and feed is available, which adds to the fun. Conditions are at times less than perfect but when you pay ten dollars or less for all-day golf in your own Bali Ha’i, why complain? Cag

Take the Challenge

To encourage play, Kaua‘i’s PGA Professionals are offering the Kaua‘i Golf Challenge. For $435 you can play three rounds from a list that includes Kaua‘i Lagoons, Puakea, Makai, The Prince, and Poipu Bay. If you’d rather not travel with your clubs, Kaua‘i Golf Rentals (808-346-0626) will deliver to your hotel or condo the latest Callaways for $135 a week. For more information, contact the following courses directly:

Marriott’s Kaua‘i Lagoons: 800-634-6400 Kukuiolono Park and Golf Course: 808-332-9151 Makai Golf Club at Princeville: 808-826-1912; princeville.com/golf Poipu Bay: 800-858-6300; poipubaygolf.com Princeville Prince: 800-826-1105; princeville.com/golf Puakea: 866-773-5554; puakeagolf.com/ Wailua Golf Course: 808-241-6666 For more information: 800-GO-HAWAII; gohawaii.com/kauai

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Vince Recine is a Centennial-based writer.

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*CARDS HAVE NO VALUE UNTIL ACTIVATED. TERMS AND RESTRICTIONS APPLY. Only purchases made with your loyalty card from The Kroger Co. Family of stores or 1-2-3 REWARDS® Visa® are eligible. Excludes The Kroger Co. Family of Stores gift cards, Green Dot® prepaid reloadable products, MoneyPaks® and American Express® Variable Load, Visa® Variable Load, 1-2-3 REWARDS® Reloadable Visa® Prepaid Debit Card and MasterCard® Variable Load gift cards. per purchase, subject to fraud prevention limits on the amount of purchase. Not valid where prohibited by law. Subject to availability. See gift cards for details, terms, conditions and (if applicable) fees. All trademarks are property of their respective owners. er may not be available in all states. **Save up to $2 on fuel, when you redeem up to 2000 fuel points.

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Winter 2012 | Colorado AvidGolfer

63


theGamesOfGolf PUZZLERS

| WORD GAMES | TRIVIA

Fact or Fiction?

Denver Country Club has a polo pony buried under the 6th hole.

C

aLL THeM suBuRBaN LegeNDs oR FaiRWay FoLKLoRe. The following nine “facts” have been repeated so many times in relation to Colorado golf that most consider them true. Are they? Test your knowledge at coloradoavidgolfer.com.

FACT | FICTION

The logo for Grand Elk Golf Club actually depicts a caribou forming the initials of Caribou Ranch, the development for which it was originally designed. FACT | FICTION

RE/MAX founder Dave Liniger built Sanctuary because Castle Pines Golf Club denied him admission. FACT | FICTION

Liniger refused President Bill Clinton’s request to play Sanctuary before it officially opened because he didn’t agree with his politics. FACT | FICTION

After winning the 1948 Denver Open, Ben Hogan didn’t bother staying at Wellshire Golf Club long enough to receive his trophy or check. FACT | FICTION

Officials at the 1963 Denver Open mistook Chi Chi Rodriguez for a caddie before the event, which he eventually won. Castle Pines Golf Club was in line to host the 2001 U.S. Open until Southern Hills made the USGA a better offer.

FACT | FICTION

FACT | FICTION

President Dwight Eisenhower suffered a heart attack at Cherry Hills Country Club. FACT | FICTION

Willis Case Golf Course takes the name of a wealthy bachelor murdered there by a jilted lover. FACT | FICTION

Anything we missed? Share your “conventional wisdom” via facebook or at coloradoavidgolfer.com.

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Colorado AvidGolfer | Winter 2012

ColoradoAvidG o lf e r.c o m


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WINTER 2012  

The Winter 2012 issue of Colorado AvidGolfer

WINTER 2012  

The Winter 2012 issue of Colorado AvidGolfer

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