WINTER 2013 VOLUME 30 NUMBER 1
THE STATE OF YOUR GAME
ALL-AMERICAN JORDAN SPIETH TURNS PRO AT 19
Stacy Lewis Shines as LPGA Player of the Year
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Laredo’s Long-Awaited Muni Debuts
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Look familiar? ADAMS Gear Gets a Makeover Equipment: page 25
VOLUME 30, NUMBER 1 - WINTER 2013
Spieth On the Move
There was a time when a 19-year old golfer turning pro would seriously raise eyebrows. In the case of University of Texas AllAmerican Jordan Spieth, the move fits expectations and adds another sizzling storyline to one of the most anticipated golf seasons in recent memory.
14: Regional News: Dallas Rules aficionado David Price reflects on the career that recently landed him in the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.
20: Regional News: Hill Country Catch up on David Edel’s quest to reveal to the world three Alister Mackenzie golf courses that were designed in the 1930s but never built.
23: Checking In: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa With a week-before-The-Masters slot for the Valero Texas Open on the horizon, we visit San Antonio’s most talked-about resort property. Winter 2013 TexasGolfer 1
VOLUME 30, NUMBER 1 - WINTER 2013
31: Stacy Lewis Can't Lose In 2012, Stacy Lewis accomplished what no other American golfer had since 1994. She won four times and won the LPGA’s Player of the Year title. So, what’s next?
36: Travel: Follow in the footsteps of the Rat Pack and some of the greatest players in game with our guide to Palm Springs.
10: Nicklaus Visits Summit Rock: The legendary Golden Bear dropped by Horseshoe Bay to officially open his newest signature design.
11: Las Colinas to Welcome the North Texas LPGA Shootout.
32: YOU 2.0 Stuck in a Golfer’s Plateau? Re-think your approach to your swing, fitness and mental game.
40: The Architect’s Digest: Houston-based golf course architect Mike Nuzzo makes a modest suggestion on how golf courses should be built and operated in the future. 2 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
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Lakeview 11/7/12 3:27 PM
Fishing For a Better Game
t was the first time that I really began to understand golf clubs and how technology could lower one’s scores.
VOLUME 30, NUMBER 1 - WINTER 2013
Chief Executive Officer/ Publisher Zane Russell email@example.com
It was summer 1976 and I was growing up in the small South Texas town of Aransas Pass, also known as the “Shrimp Capital of Texas.” My mother was a school teacher and during the summer she’d teach summer school. This year, I convinced her to drop me off at Live Oak Country Club, a small nine-hole course instead of making me go with her to summer school. It was a great way to spend the day. I could play golf, eat lunch, go swimming, and then play more golf before she would pick me up in the afternoon.
COO/CFO Mike Moore firstname.lastname@example.org
My Uncle Troy and his best friend Jimmy could be found on the course several afternoons a week. They were known for not only being two of the better golfers at the club, but also for their gambling.
Art Director Chet Polo email@example.com
They wouldn’t let me play with them, but as long as I didn’t bother them, I could play behind them and usually get a fairly good sense of what was happening. It didn’t take long to tell who was winning as their body language (and yells) would usually tell the story. They were fun to watch because they were both very low handicap golfers and rarely would I see shots that were wayward very far off target. However, on this day, Jimmy wasn’t striking the ball very well and, after my uncle put his shot within feet of the pin on a par 3, Jimmy hit a fat shot and dumped it in the pond. I will never forget what I saw next as he walked off the tee box throwing a fit. He walked over to his cart, put his club in his bag, then took the bag off his cart, and proceeded to chunk it as far into the lake as he could. He then told my Uncle to stay there and drove back to the shop to buy new equipment. I pulled up to my uncle with him still laughing over what he had just witnessed. Next, he looked at me and asked me if I wanted a new set of clubs. I quickly told him I did. He told me to go in the water and get the clubs, but I needed to go back to my cart barn, clean the clubs, and most importantly, never give them back. It didn’t take long for Jimmy to come up to me one day and say he heard I had his clubs. I told him I didn’t have his clubs. The clubs I had, I found while swimming in the pond. I quickly drove off in my cart and he never brought it up again. I ended up with a set of clubs that a kid my age would dream about. Jimmy had played Wilson Staff Dyna-Power, Fluid Feel and FG Series blades. Well, quickly I learned that technology was great, because I could hit these clubs a lot farther and more accurately than the cheap set of clubs my Mom had bought me at a garage sale. More than 30 years later, technology is still putting a smile on my face. The latest club to do it is TaylorMade’s Rocket Ballz 3-wood. Like with my Wilsons back then, the ball just goes farther.
See you on the links!
Zane Russell firstname.lastname@example.org 4 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
Editor-in-Chief Carl Mickelson email@example.com
Contributing Writers Steve Bliman, Tina Bradley-Mayers, Brad Lardon, James McAfee, Ken Jeremiah, Katherine Roberts, Mike Nuzzo, Dave Pelz
Contributing Photographer Gary Perkins
Distribution Jennifer Holbrook firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Publisher C. Scott Talley email@example.com
Advertising Sales Representatives Steve Bliman | 480.473.7663 firstname.lastname@example.org Shawn K. Lively | 512.825.1303 email@example.com
Copyright 2013 by Texas Golfer Magazine. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from Texas Golfer. Texas Golfer Magazine is published by Texas Golfer Magazine, Inc., 15721 Park Row, Suite 100, Houston, TX 77084 ISSN #0889-4825
Winter 2013 TexasGolfer 3
Laredo Takes it
n time, folks will probably be able look at Max A. Mandel Golf Course in Laredo as “just a golf course.” With so few golf courses being constructed these days, it’s hard for some not to call “The Max” a case study in developing a golf operation in dubious economic times. Others look to the 18-hole, 7,069-yard Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design as a beacon of hope and an investment in a future in which Laredo outruns the shadow of the bewildering and highlypublicized drug war happening just across the Mexican border. True, The Max, which opened Oct. 2012, is a symbol for what Laredo’s mayor Raul Salinas hopes is a “catalyst for business development and investment in our community.
6 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
Not only from the jobs this project will create locally, but also, the type of companies that will want to come to Laredo because of the quality of this golf course.” That said, it’s a terrific golf course built on a generous expanse of farmland that runs along sweeping bluff overlooking the Rio Grande River. The closing holes on the front nine– the lengthy par-4 eighth and the stout par-3 ninth– feature great views of the Rio Grande as do the 15th and 16th. The rolling layout winds through tall Mesquites and navigates two meandering arroyos, giving the track a parkland feel in an elevated and “big” setting. The RTJ Jr. team put together a layout with perfect variety– an even mix of long and
short holes and challenging but not overbearing use of the natural water features. The green complexes are very approachable and allow for creativity around the greens. A forward-thinking concept likely to be mimicked on future courses is the clever routing that allows the closing nine to be played in three-, six- or nine-hole loops. The 12th, 15th and 18th all return to the clubhouse/ practice area so beginners or golfers in a time crunch can play shorter loops to accommodate their needs. Another growth-friendly feature at Max A. Mandel is the fee structure– $33 to $46 for locals and $46 to $56 for out of towners. Visit www.themaxlaredo.com for more details.
TRIO NAMED 2012 LEGENDS JUNIOR TOUR PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
he Legends Junior Tour recently announced Bryce Alley, Julia Beck, and Ryan Grider as its 2012 Players of the Year in their respective divisions. The three recipients were honored at the Jackie Burke Cup Awards dinner at University of Texas Golf Club in Austin, Texas in November 2. Longview’s Alley, who recently committed to play collegiate golf at the University of Texas, San Antonio, was the Boys 15 - 18 division winner. He won two LJT-sanctioned events and never fin-ished outside the top 8 in any of the
tour’s events in 2012. Alley also won seven high school tournaments. A Lake Travis High School senior, Beck earned the LJT’s Girls 15-18 Player of the Year honors, winning four times and playing solidly in UIL events. Beck, daughter of Austin Golf Club director of golf Joe Beck will join the UT women’s golf team in the fall. Ryan Grider of Lewisville, Texas, is the Tour’s Boys 14 & Under division Player of the Year. Grider won the Lanny Wadkins Junior Championship in August at Bent Tree CC by 11 shots after carding a 3-
under-par 68 in the first round. He also won every event he played in the Boys 13-14 division for the Northern Texas PGA All-American Tour. While Alley and Beck will be playing golf at the next level in 2013, Grider moves up to the Boys 15-18 division and look to repeat as Player of the Year. The Legends Junior Tour is part of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance, a joint venture between the Texas Golf Association, Northern and Southern Texas PGA and Houston Golf Association. See www.tljt.org for more information.
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Winter 2013 TexasGolfer 7
Leonard Leads 2012 Texas Golf Hall of Fame Class B
ritish Open Champion and ’99 Ryder Cup hero Justin Leonard headlined a group of esteemed individuals (and one private golf club) entering the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in late 2012. At the annual “Gathering of Eagles” held at storied San Antonio Country Club, Leonard joined rules expert (and longtime pro at Bent Tree Country Club) David Price, veteran instructor and club professional Charlie Epps, ClubCorp founder (the late) Robert Dedman, decorated amateurs John Grace and Mina Hardin and San Antonio golf organizational executive (the late) Sam Goldfarb, Sr. in the 2012 induction ceremony which also honored Houston’s Champions Golf Club. Leonard recalled his early success as a junior player and the relationship he forged with Dallas-area teaching professional Randy Smith in an emotional
8 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
speech that also saw the 1997 British Open champion recall meeting his wife in a love-at-first-sight moment. Leonard follows Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino and Bill Rogers as past British Open winners who’ve also been inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame. The banquet was hosted by Golf Channel commentator David Marr III and attended by current Texas and World Golf Hall of Fame members Lanny Wadkins and Ben Crenshaw, who accepted on behalf of Champions Golf Club and its founders, Jackie Burke and Jimmy Demaret. Crenshaw said of the famed duo and their club, “They were the best one-two punch of anybody in Texas golf. The course is a culmination of their total experience and a very special place for the game of golf.” Hardin, the 2010 USGA Senior Women's
Amateur champion, is the first Hispanic female to enter the TGHOF and Leonard is the Hall’s youngest inductee. Goldfarb and Dedman’s inductions were accepted by their sons. The formal induction banquet capped a full day of Texas Golf Hall of Fame activities which included the unveiling of inductee plaques at the TGHOF facilities at historic Brackenridge Park nearby, an inductee and friends golf tournament and the sold-out banquet which included taped welcoming speeches from outgoing PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka, USGA Executive Director Mike Davis and PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.
More information about the Texas Golf Hall of Fame can be found at www.texasgolfhof.org.
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Winter 2013 TexasGolfer 3
He’s Still Got It at Summit Rock Grand Opening A
fter charming a large crowd of members, residents and VIPs at a grand opening lunch reception and Q&A in November, 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus took on a few holes of his latest signature design, Summit Rock, the new private course at Horseshoe Bay Resort. And he didn’t disappoint. After taking his drive down the left side of the par-4 ninth fairway, the 72-year-old Nicklaus carved mid-iron approach that stopped two feet past the hole- a kick-in on what he said was only the 15th hole he’s played all year. Nicklaus discussed the state of the golf course design business (all the work is in China and Russia at
10 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
the moment), his “kindler, gentler” approach to designing courses and whether or not he worries about his records being broken. When asked if he “felt queasy” about Rory McIlroy’s rise and potential for breaking his records of 18 majors, he drew a laugh by saying “No, and quite frankly, I’ve never felt queasy about Tiger. I have my record and whatever stands is fine. If Tiger breaks my record, that’s impressive and he certainly still has the time and talent to do it. Every time they’re talking about a record, they mention my name and I’m 72 years old and haven’t touched a club in about seven years, haven’t won a tournament since 1996.”
Nicklaus says the 7,258-yard, par-72 Summit Rock layout “has significantly more elevation change than any other course I’ve done in Texas, even the other ones on the Hill Country. We were fortunate that the land had that gentle climb up to the upper areas of the course. The views are just exceptional. “I do make my courses a little more playable than I have in the past but still a challenge for the good player, and that's what keeps the reputation of the course and the property values up,” Nicklaus says. For more information on Summit Rock, visit www.summitrockhsb.com
LPGA RETURNS TO LONE STAR STATE WITH NORTH TEXAS LPGA SHOOTOUT
he LPGA announced its return to the D/FW Metroplex with the newlynamed North Texas LPGA Shootout, to be held April 25 to 28, 2013 at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving. The tournament is the Tour’s first in the North Texas region in more than 20 years. The North Texas LPGA Shootout will also provide a unique opportunity for amateur players in the area to earn spots in the field through qualifying. Tournament exemptions will be awarded to the winners of a high school and collegiate “shootout” played in advance of the event. More information on the format of the qualifier will be announced soon. Tournament proceeds will benefit The Nexus Club which primarily supports and raises funds for the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf in North Texas. Many of the LPGA’s current players were junior golf stars in Lone Star state including 2012 Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis, five-time LPGA winner Angela Stanford, 2012 Rolex First-Time
Winner Brittany Lang and Katie Futcher. “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to play in my home state again,” said Stanford, a four-time member of the U.S. Solheim Cup Team and native of Saginaw, Texas. “North Texas is a community with a passionate golf fan base and I know they will love having the Tour in town.” The $1.3 million North Texas LPGA Shootout will host a full-field of 144 players playing 72 holes of stroke play over four days of competition. The tournament will be the Tour’s first stop in the state of Texas since the 2009 LPGA Tour Championship Presented by Rolex, played outside Houston. It will also mark the Tour’s first stop in North Texas since the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open, won by 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team Captain Meg Mallon at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. “Irving has a deep history of hosting premier golf events,” said Irving City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “We roll out the red-carpet and provide athletes the
comforts and amenities they need while competing. On top of that, we also have top-notch facilities that are accustomed to servicing large and passionate groups of sports fans. The LPGA will find Irving convenient, friendly and fun.” The unique format, allowing young golfers from the area the chance to tee it up with pros, is causing a stir. “We are very excited about not only the tournament, but the unique format that it introduces,” said Kathy Wilkins, President of The Nexus Club. “For the first time, there will be a ‘shootout’ for North Texas high school and regional collegiate female golfers that will give the up-and-coming talent in our area an opportunity to tee it up with the world’s best golfers.” LPGA talents Candie Kung (Allen), Gerina Piller (Plano) and Heather Bowie Young (Fort Worth) are all current North Texas residents, while the LPGA all-time wins leader, Kathy Whitworth, resides in nearby Flower Mound.
Winter 2013 TexasGolfer 11
ProSpective Sponsored by
2012 Was the Year of Redemption
What Will You Make 2013? By BRAD LARDON
y brother, Dr. Michael Lardon, author of Finding Your Zone and I have always followed the saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” 2012 seemed to be the year of redemption on the PGA Tour. In San Diego, at the start of 2012, Kyle Stanley stood over a 77-yard shot with a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole at The Farmers Insurance Open. The impossible happened, Stanley spun the wedge off the green back into a pond, followed that up with a safe wedge shot some 40 feet past the hole and proceeded to three putt for an eight forcing a playoff (which he would lose) with Brandt Snedeker.
An even more improbable thing would happen the following week at Phoenix. Stanley rallied from eight shots back in the final round to win, just one week after the devastation. Many of our “expert” golf commentators said the collapse Stanley had the week before could possibly destroy his confidence for years to come. Maybe even end his career. Fortunately, for Stanley he just kept in his process and recognized that he was playing great golf at the time and allowed his 71 holes of great play to increase his confidence going into the next week. Redemption remained a theme throughout 2012. Ernie Els winning the Open Championship certainly was incredible. After years of fighting a temperamental putter, Ernie put together a final round for the ages, catching and passing Adam Scott for his fourth major championship. Just as great in its own way was Ben Curtis playing on a sponsor’s exemption at the Valero Texas Open. Curtis, who had lost his status on the PGA Tour because of several years of mediocre play, man12 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
aged to find lightning in a bottle, winning the title and earning a twoyear exemption. I frequently hear students ask me how they should bounce back from a collapse or major disappointment. The one thing I make sure to tell them all is that if you play enough
golf, the game will be cruel to you at some time. It will humble all of us. I am reminded of this way too frequently with my own game these days! In all seriousness, I can think of no greater disappointing story than at the 1993 PGA Tour School finals at The Tournament Course at The Woodlands Country Club. I had been playing very well during the event, needing only a bogeypar finish to secure my PGA Tour card for the second time. I hit my tee shot into the water on the 17th and made bogey. On 18, I had a long iron into a back-right pin for my second shot. This was a daunting shot under any circumstances, let alone the 108th hole of Tour School. I was very nervous, never completed my back swing and hit the shot a groove low in the face. I watched my PGA Tour card wash away as my shot went into the lake just shy of the bulkhead. My dad, family and friends were on the 18th ready with champagne for our celebration. Instead, I watched as 30 of my best friends would celebrate in complete ecstasy at the scoreboard TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
while I was in tears. I vowed to my dad that I would work twice as hard the next year and that I would be at the scoreboard with the smile next time. Sure enough, I was faced with the exact same circumstance in Palm Springs the next year. I had two very difficult holes to finish at the Jack Nicklaus Resort Course and needed to stay out of the ponds that flanked each green. They were all that separated me from my Tour card. I remember reminding myself not of choking the previous year but of the thousands of great shots I had hit that year. My job was to stay in the present and make the same great swings that I had made on the range so many times before. This is the key! I CHOSE to believe in my success, not my failures. We all have moments of truth in life, whether on the course or off it. We are the ones who get to decide our own destiny. Now, had I not gone through a positive process in my daily practices each and every time I hit a shot, I may not have had the mental strength to make the positive choice. My brother has always taught me and his students that our results are a direct reflection of our preparation. What I did learned from the previous year was that my preparation not only required many hours of range time, it also required many of hours
This is the key! I CHOSE to believe in my success, not my failures. of mental preparation, too. I needed to learn how to eat better, think better , train harder and do all the other little things to give myself the best chances for success.
Each story of redemption in 2012 had elements in common. Kyle, Ernie and Ben all had great perseverance. They trained harder both mentally and physically. Sometimes we see the results the next week and sometimes like in Ernie and Ben’s cases, it takes years. Best of luck on becoming a better player in 2013 and, if you need a coach to guide through the tough times, give me a call and let’s get working!
Play A Round. Then Play Around.
Alles in Fredericksburg! Find it “all in Fredericksburg.” The $2 million renovation of the Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course and more extras than you’d expect. Play on re-contoured fairways built to USGA standards with 48 challenging bunkers, water in-play on over half the holes, lush Champion Ultra Dwarf underfoot and spectacular Hill Country views. Plus, your 19th hole is Fredericksburg! Enjoy our scrumptious cuisine, award-winning brew-pub, winery tours and live music. Or the 150 boutiques and art galleries, hiking, spas, museums and more. As far as getaways go, it’s your ace in the hole.
Brad Lardon is the well-respected Director of Golf at Miramont Country Club. His ongoing series of articles, "From the Pro," will appear in each issue of TEXAS GOLFER. Brad can be reached at: Lardon@miramont.cc VisitFredericksburgTX.com | 866 997 3600 | Text “Fred” To 45384 TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
Winter 2013 TexasGolfer 13 11/30/12 4:55 PM
L LOCA D E GE
DALLAS/FORT WORTH News & Notes By JAMES MCAFEE
PRICE REFLECTS ON HALL OF FAME CAREER D
avid Price took a different path to the Texas Golf Hall of Fame than his college golf teammates at the University of Texas did. Price served more 35 years as a club professional at two of the top private clubs in Texas—Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio and Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas. Meanwhile, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite became touring professionals and major championship winners. Price has been recognized by his peers as the national golf professional of the year in 1995 and was inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame in 2000. Price, chairman of the PGA Rules Committee for the past four years, has also been recognized as one of the world’s top rules officials, having worked at 25 PGA Championships, 15 Masters, seven Ryder Cups, four British Opens and three U.S. Opens. Texas Golfer caught up with Price after his induction to the 2012 Texas Golf Hall of Fame class: Can you describe what it means to you be a part of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame? Obviously, it's just a tremendous honor and is very humbling to be considered for induction into such an outstanding company of golf enthusiasts in our great state. What was the time like in San Antonio, realizing you're being recognized along with greats like Hogan, Nelson, Trevino, Penick? Has it sunk in? The list of those recognized cannot be understated and it is hard to believe that I am in the same Hall of Fame as the gentlemen that you mentioned. But, as a club professional, I like to think that I am being compared to the great club professionals of our state and that in itself is most humbling. I cannot even begin to tell you the impact that George Hannon and Hardy Loudermilk had on my career in my younger years. To have had a coach who supported me in school and then encouraged me to pursue the golf business was very encouraging. And then to have worked for Hardy Loudermilk was the greatest blessing to my career that I could have hoped for. As well, I cannot forget Joe Black, a great club professional, a great PGA President, and a real inspiration to me with his support and encouragement.
14 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
In an industry where guys bounce from job to job a lot, what does it mean to you that you've built such a solid and long-term relationship with the club, staff and membership at Bent Tree? Well, I never dreamed that I would be at Bent Tree for all of these years, but as my career started taking shape, I found a home at the club and truly enjoyed the people that I worked for and with. As my rules involvement grew to be a bigger commitment, the club was nice enough to support my efforts and encouraged me to continue to serve my association, the PGA of America. Those of us who love the game of golf and, at the same time, get to work at a wonderful facility like Bent Tree, are truly blessed. I dare say that there are many people who do love this game of golf who would like to have a job like me, in the golf business, at a club like Bent Tree. What was the path that led you to becoming a rules "expert"? Did this evolve over time? Did you choose to gravitate to rules, or did rules "choose you"? It’s really somewhat ironical that I got started in the rules at all. While an officer in the Southern Texas Section, I was asked by the PGA to host a rules workshop at my club in San Antonio in 1980. I agreed and coordinated the workshop that was taught by both Ken Lindsay, who later became the Chairman of our PGA Rules of Golf Committee, and David Fay, who later became the Executive Director of the USGA. Ken encouraged me to take the Rules exam at the end of the three day classroom presentation, which I did, and I scored very well on the exam, mak-
ing a 98 in my first ever attempt. Ken then encouraged me to consider an advanced workshop to further my development and I attended that incredible workshop that was taught by Joe Black and P.J. Boatwright. At that point, I was pretty much hooked and wanted to learn more and more. In 1987, Ken invited me to be on the PGA Rules of Golf Committee and that started what has been a 25-year commitment to serve the PGA of America as a volunteer rules official. In December, I relinquished the position I have held for the past 4 years as Chairman of the PGA Rules of Golf Committee, obviously the highlight of my rules involvement. The Dustin Johnson ruling on the 72nd hole of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits was among the most high-profile rulings you've been involved in. Does it still seem surreal that it happened on such a huge stage? Do you find yourself rooting for Dustin to win a major– exorcise those demons, so to speak? Unquestionably, the most heartbreaking ruling that I have ever had to make was the Dustin Johnson incident at Whistling Straits in 2010. With the tournament on the line, he was putting on No. 18 green, from about 12 feet, for what he thought would be the PGA Championship if he made it. Even with his miss, he still thought he would be in the playoff. Of course, I ended up having to inform him, right there on the 18th green, in front of 30,000 people, that there was speculation that he may have touched the sand in the bunker back on his second shot and then we had the long walk to the scoring area to confirm what had been reported. My heart and that of every golf enthusiast was broken for this young man. The poise that he showed under the media onslaught was just amazing and you never heard a harsh word or a negative statement from him. He really showed his maturity as a player and a competitor that day. Hopefully, he will win a major one day to fulfill his dreams and overcome his disappointments of that year. Remember, he lead the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach that same year, only to lose the tournament with a poor round on the final day that also included a somewhat controversial lost ball on the third hole. Are there far more cases of tough rules decisions at a typical PGA Tour event than the viewer sees on TV? TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
Oh yes! This year, at Kiawah island, I spent a great deal of time in the scoring trailer, dealing with players’ questions and rules interpretations that the golfing media never knew anything about. On Sunday alone, I had to make three trips to the CBS control room to view replays of incidents on the course that needed video replay for verification. As well, on Friday, I was called to the clubhouse at 9 p.m. to make a ruling for something that taken place at 1:30 in the afternoon. Unfortunately, this resulted in a player being disqualified for failure to include a penalty stroke in his score, but the point is that there was no media to report the situation and because of the timing, very few people knew what had taken place. What's a rule that is commonly misunderstood, one that people "think" they know, but they're wrong more often than not? As simple as it may be, I really think that Rule 26, the water hazard rule, is the rule that is misinterpreted more than any other. Since there are two interpretations for the water hazard rule, that being for a water hazard and for a lateral water hazard, people are continuously applying the incorrect dropping procedures for the type of water hazard that applies. The first step in correcting this misunderstanding is by learning how the two different hazards are marked.
The regular water hazard is marked with a yellow line or yellow stakes and the lateral water hazard is marked with a red line or red stakes. There are only two dropping options for the regular water hazards, at the spot where the previous stroke was played or on a line, keeping the point that the ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard in line with the hole. These same options are available for the lateral water hazard, however, because of the unique nature of lateral water hazards, there are two additional options available to the player. He may drop the ball within two club lengths of where it crossed the margin of the hazard or may drop at an equidistant point, on the opposite margin, also within two club lengths of the equidistant point. It is just a matter of recognizing which hazard you are dealing with. Do you have a protege, someone who could be the "next David Price" on the Rules? There are plenty of those people out there in the trenches already. Our PGA Rules of Golf Committee has a host of very qualified golf professionals who are serving as volunteers for the tournaments that are conducted by the PGA of America. As well, the USGA has an abundance of tremendous rules officials who volunteer their time for any number of state, regional, and local associations to help in the success of their events. I feel
very safe in saying that the USGA touches every golfing association in America in some way or another. Together, the PGA and the USGA jointly administer the PGA/ USGA Rules Workshop Program each year to help educate those who wish to increase their rules knowledge for their own benefit or in an effort to earn credibility as a current or future rules official. What are your views on the proposed ban on anchoring that the USGA and R&A recently announced? We have been working on the interpretation of what anchoring is and how to apply potential new rules in the future. It is not an easy subject to create new rules for and if, or when, it goes into place, there will be a number of people affected. However, one thing that seems to be overlooked is the perception that only those who have had to deal with the “yips” or have experienced an unsuccessful career of putting are using the “belly” or “long” putters. To the contrary, almost 33% of those collegiate players who participated at the NCAA Championships in 2012 and weekly, in AJGA events, between 25-50% of the kids are using the belly or anchored long putters. So, an entire new generation is utilizing these putting strokes in their developmental years.
L.B. Houston Re-Opened as Luna Vista
egulars at the city of Dallas’ L.B. Houston Golf Course were “amazed” at the changes when it re-opened as Luna Vista Golf Club recently after a renovation by John Colligan and Trey Kemp of Colligan Design in Arlington. “Everyone who sees it for the first time cannot believe it is the same course,” said golf professional Mickey Piersall. The transformation included newlysculpted fairways with 419 Bermuda, greens with Mini-Verde, white sand in the bunkers plus landscape improvements that included more than 300 additional trees and several ornamental grasses. Colligan says the course will be more player friendly with the contours of the fairways collecting shots instead of rejecting them. The approaches were changed to allow the ball to run up on the greens.
Tightly-mowed areas around the greens will provide more chipping opportunities, especially for the higher handicappers (who miss more greens). Some forced carries were also eliminated. An additional dozen bunkers add to the challenge. While Colligan admitted that a few extra yards were tacked on to the back tees to stretch the layout to 6,847 yards, most players will find Luna Vista is player friendly from the whites at 6,309, the yellows at 5,801 and the reds at 5,249. The routing remained basically the same with two exceptions. No. 3 is now a long par 3 with a creek and a deep bunker to the left of the green while No. 4 is a par 4 with a lake on the right. One of the chief reasons for this change was to eliminate a potential dangerous situation where long hitters used to cut the dogleg on No. 3 and go right over
the fourth green. The redesign was a moving experience for Colligan, who noted Elm Ford, the original name back in 1969, was where his father introduced him to the game.”The project holds sentimental value for me as it does for many others who started playing here. I am very excited with the final product.” Piersall and Colligan both feel the new teaching and practice facility will be among the best in the Metroplex. The driving range features tees on both end with a simulated fairway and target greens. The putting green was enlarged and another additional green and bunker was added for short game practice. The clubhouse was given a total face lift and a deck was added on to the back of the building.
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SCOR Golf Oﬀers New Category of Scoring Clubs
ften, it seems like the best innovations in golf equipment seem to come from small companies not afraid to challenge the status quo. Just look back at how PING, TaylorMade, Callaway and Adams brought revolutionary concepts in club design in their early years.. While it will definitely meet some resistance from the major manufacturers, Texas-based club designer Terry Koehler envisions a 14-club set made up of putter, driver, fairway wood, two hybrids to replace the long irons (something already being done even on the PGA Tour), 5 thru 8 irons with lofts of 27 to 40 of your choice and five of his custom-made SCOR clubs, featuring 21 different lofts from 41 to 61 degrees. “Short irons that work like the middle irons don’t work as well as they could,” Koehler said, pointing out the difference between a 6-iron and wedge is much like that between a 5-iron and a fairway wood. The clubheads of the SCOR clubs are forged of carbon steel, which is preferred by most tour professionals. There are seven distinct head designs for every three degrees of loft. The lower lofts have a little more heel/toe weighting, top lines and higher centers of mass that will not let the ball climb up the face as much, thus producing a lower flight, while the higher lofts have a progressively lower center of mass for more ballstopping action. The patented V-Sole can handle any lie on any course, according to Koehler. The leading edge of the sole has a high bounce that prevents digging
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in softer turf or for more delicate pitches around the greens while the primary portion of the sole has a low bounce for tight lies and shots from the fairway. Koehler also noted that the shafts found on a lot of wedges are too stiff. Working with KBS Tour and UST Mamiya, SCOR offers two weights of graphite or a standard weight on steel with two or three flex options that are softer in the middle sections and stiffer in the tips. In addition, the grips, designed in conjunction with UST Mamiya of Fort Worth, feature a firmer material with a soft cord embedded for secure club control in the upper portion and a softer material in the lower portion for feel and touch around the green. Koehler is a big fan of Ben Hogan, growing up reading his books, “Power Golf” and “Five Lessons. The Modern Fundamentals of Golf” and believing most of what he said to be gospel. “One of the most impactful things Mr. Hogan taught was the importance of trajectory control,” Koehler noted. “If you don’t know on what path the ball is going to fly, you don’t know how far it’s going to go. No truer words about managing distances have ever been written. And if you watch better players practice and play, they work very hard to hit shots on exactly the right trajectory so that they can control how far the ball flies.” Koehler believes distance control is one of the key elements– if not THE key element– to solid play and performance with the high-loft scoring clubs (9-iron plus the wedges). “The challenge for all of us is to find a way to hit those clubs on a lower, more boring and controllable trajectory. What is most common with the development of the modern power game is that we swing them too hard, and get these soaring, ballooning trajectories, which leaves us wondering just how far our shots will go most of the time.”
Koehler doesn’t feel that this is entirely the fault of golfers. “All other things being equal, the trajectory of a shot is the result of the relationship of the built-in loft of the club, and the distribution of the mass on the club,” he said. “At very low clubhead speeds, the loft is the major determinant of the ball flight. A blade or cavity-back 9-iron will launch the ball almost identically on a 20 foot pitch shot. But, as clubhead speed increases to half-shot speed, and on to full shot speed, the positioning of the mass becomes increasingly more influential on ball flight. A blade 9-iron will not launch the ball nearly as high as a low CG, perimeter weighted 9-iron. It’s simple physics actually. “In the wedge category, we’ve seen very little evolution of the placement of the majority of mass – it’s been concentrated along the sole since the sand wedge was invented in the 1930s. This made it an effective bunker club, and a wonderful tool for short pitch shots around the greens.” Koehler noted that Hogan felt his maximum range with his sand wedge was 40 yards. “Wow,” he wrote. “One of the longest hitters of his era... a guy who could hit driver 300 yards... would not try to hit a sand wedge over 40 yards.” While he’s bucking the big boys in golf and even much of what he believed in the past, Koehler thinks golfers will find his new theory– a challenge to “conventional wisdom” about scoring club– makes sense when they try them. TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
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HOUSTON News & Notes
TOP GOLF TAKES AN “ALL FUN, NO INTIMIDATION” APPROACH TO GOLF-THEMED RECREATION
here comes a point in your golfing life when you realize there’s really no such thing as “too much golf.” The creators of the TopGolf entertainment complex understand that and have brought their fun and inventive recreational concept to three markets in Texas. Every TopGolf location features an upscale TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
restaurant and bar experience with unique key attraction—a multi-story driving range with dozens of private hitting bays and unique games that can be enjoyed by all ages. The balls you hit at TopGolf have tiny microchips that track the ball’s flight as you try to earn points by hitting to
various targets on the range placed 25 to 250 yards away from the hitting bays. Golfers may track their personal performance or compete against friends in games that reward points for hitting closest to the center of the various targets. It’s like a giant game of darts or incredibly upscaled take on bowling. Winter 2013 TexasGolfer 17
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“TopGolf is a fun and non-intimidating golf experience for golfers and non-golfers alike. It’s an awesome entry point for nongolfers and still fun for people who take the game seriously,” says director of operations Randy Starr. “It’s an authentic experience. You’re hitting real golf balls with real clubs so you get the thrill of hitting golf shots. The added aspect of being able to compete in our unique scoring system creates an incredible social environment. Add to that the ability to order quality food and beverage service while you’re playing and you’ve got quite an experience. Houston’s free-standing, 70,000square-foot TopGolf location (near I-10 and Highway 6) opened in December with a VIP launch party that was attended by Brooks Reed and T.J. Yates of the Texans and Rockets star James Harden. Open from 9 am to midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 1 am Fridays and Saturdays, Houston’s TopGolf complex caters to all ages and all size groups. “It’s impressive to be here in the evenings and see families, couples on dates and large groups of friends all taking what they want out of the experience,” says Starr. Starr says a fair number of guests come just for the restaurant and lounge experience. The kitchen offers a sophisticated 18 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
take on bar food. A Thai Beef Salad, Farmhouse Flatbread Pizza (with goat cheese, garlic and arugula) and a French Dip Wrap are current menu hits. TopGolf also caters to the late-night crowd with a full bar. “We’ve taken that 19th hole concept up a notch by offering bar service while you hit golf shots,” Starr says. “That’s been a big hit at all of our locations.” Understandably.
"It’s an awesome entry point for non-golfers and still fun for people who take the game seriously." RANDY STARR, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
By year’s end, there will be seven TopGolf locations in the United States. Three will be in the Dallas area (the Allen location saw 350,000 visitors in 2012) and a location in North Austin opens this spring. Locations in suburban Chicago and Washington D.C. and the original three locations just outside of London, England round out the roster. “We’re excited about the way TopGolf has been received in Texas,” Starr says. “We know there a lot of young people and young families with active lifestyles and the weather is great for an indoor-outdoor
golf concept. When it’s sweltering in the summer, remember the temperature is 15 degrees cooler in one of our shaded hitting bays.” The Houston location is the largest TopGolf complex and boasts 102 hitting bays in a three-story state-of-the-art structure. Visitors may bring their own clubs but don’t need to. Callaway clubs are provided as part of the fee for playing. Play is purchased in blocks of time. A single TopGolf game can be played and scored in about 10 or 15 minutes. Starr says, though the purpose of TopGolf is recreation, he thinks the inviting, stress free nature of the complex will bring new people– even entire families– to the game. “We’re an entry point to golf, but we also provide an arena that can get people of all ages hooked on golf. That’s exciting to think that we can have an impact on growing the game just by breaking down the barriers of intimidation and the cost (of an 18-hole round),” Starr says. Rates to rent a hitting bay that accommodates up to six players and play TopGolf are $20 per hour during non-peak hours and $40 per hour in busy periods.
For more information, visit www.topgolf.com or just go check it out! TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
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Double Queen bedrooms
Winter 2013 TexasGolfer 3
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HILL COUNTRY News & Notes
THE DOUBLE GREEN CONNECTING # AND # ON THE AZUL COURSE AT THE JOCKEY CLUB (BUENOS ARIES, ARGENTINA) OFFERS A GLIMPSE OF WHAT "THE LOST MACKENZIE" EL BOQUERON MIGHT RESEMBLE. EDEL OWNS THE RIGHTS TO EL BOQUERON AND TWO OTHER ALISTER MACKENZIE DESIGNS HE'D LIKE SHARE WITH THE WORLD.
avid Edel has a gift for turning ideas into what many consider functional works of art. His namesake lines of custom putters and wedges (and soon, irons) bear the mark of a perfectionist, a master fitter with an intricately nuanced master plan. Walking through the custom club maker’s headquarters in Liberty Hill, a recent visitor noticed (couldn’t not notice) a Wannamaker Trophy and had to ask Edel how it came into his possession. “It’s Rich Beem’s. I’m making him a replica,” he says, as if it’s not really going to be that difficult to do. Just a few steps away, a set of old hick-
20 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
Will David Edel Quietly Lead a Renaissance?
ory clubs that look like they could have been swung by Old Tom Morris himself sit in the corner of the office. Edel “whittled” those, too. They’re spot-on. Recently, Edel Golf announced a partnership with six-time major winner Nick Faldo to create Faldo By Edel putters, limited-edition irons and wedges. “David is a precision engineer and an artist,” said Faldo. “He and his team make true one-of-a-kind equipment with craftsmanship and technical know-how applied to each club.” As Edel’s star continues to rise in the equipment industry, he remains hopeful that he’ll one day be able to see his ulti-
mate passion project come to life. Edel has purchased the rights to three golf course designs by Cypress Point and Augusta National creator Alister MacKenzie from 1930 that were commissioned to be built in Argentina (each by separate owners in different locations) but were never executed. In 2007, Edel’s story captured the imaginations of golf course architecture geeks everywhere when Travel & Leisure Golf reporter Thomas Dunne recounted how Edel discovered the plans for El Boqueron, a private estate course designed by MacKenzie and planned for the use of wealthy businessman and land
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baron Enrique Anchorena and his family and guests. MacKenzie’s eight-decade-old plans for El Boqueron floored readers. The design calls for 18 holes with nine double greens, dense bushes native the Argentine prairie called “curros” serving the role of fairway bunkers. It is a splendidly walkable layout. The plan reflects MacKenzie’s “experimental” side while paying homage to The Old Course at St. Andrews with generous, strategic fairways, wild greenside bunkering and green complexes that allow many different types of approach shots and testy short game shots. The plans, tucked away for more than a three quarters of a century, offer an interesting look into MacKenzie’s style and sensibility during a period most consider his creative peak. In the late 1920s, he designed– among other layouts– Royal Melbourne, Cypress Point and Crystal Downs Golf Clubs (all still ranked among the best courses in the world by numerous publications). Augusta National would be built in 1932. The courses built during MacKenzie’s trip to South America in 1930, specifically the 36 holes at The Jockey Club of San Isidro and the expansion of the Club de Golf del Uruguay, show a creative boldness. The Azul course at Jockey Club opens with two par 5s and closes each nine with what was once thought to be the only double green MacKenzie had every designed. That we could possibly see a MacKenzie course from this era come to life in modern times is a tantalizing notion for many. For Edel, whose father caddied at Cypress Point in the 1950s, it’s a more-than-mild obsession. He has an incredibly articulated vision for what the club (or resort property, perhaps) could become. A large asado grill would send a smoky aroma toward golfers approaching the clubhouse. Salons in the clubhouse would pay tribute
to MacKenzie and Argentine golfing legend Roberto De Vicenzo (Edel purchased De Vicenzo’s vast collection of trophies and golf memorabilia). The essence of the club would be pure golf. Real estate would be restricted to member cabins. The more Edel describes it, the more you want it to become a reality. With three MacKenzie designs—the plans for Mar del Plata Golf Club and El Nautico San Isidro are arguably as compelling as El Boqueron’s– it is possible Edel has the makings of a subtle, refined destination resort like the golf world has never seen. That is if he can find likeminded partners to help him buy the land and fund the project. “This is the exact opposite of how most projects get built. In most cases, you have the money and the land and then you hire an architect,” Edel muses. “I have the architect. The money and the land are another story for the time being.” In 2009, Edel had a group of investors and a rugged parcel of land in Liberty Hill earmarked for construction when economic factors and the illness of one of his investors halted the planned construction
of El Boqueron. By then, Michigan native Mike DeVries had come on board as the architect who would interpret MacKenzie’s drawing see that the construction mirrored the Good Doctor’s work. DeVries grew up on Crystal Downs, has helmed renovations on MacKenzie designs and shares Edel’s vision. If Bandon Dunes can thrive with multiple courses showcasing a classic-era sensibility (including Old MacDonald, a design inspired by the work of C.B. MacDonald), Edel has faith someone with the capital will see the value in going all Jurassic Park on these rediscovered designs by the game’s most beloved architect. If you found out The Beatles had recorded a secret double album between Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band would you want to hear it? Would you want the world to hear it? Now you know how Edel feels. “The times aren’t ideal, but I’m in no hurry,” Edel says. “It’ kind of funny how the current times parallel the (financial) atmosphere of the 1930s. A lot of great golf was created in that era.”
Fall 2012 TexasGolfer 21
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News & Notes
THE SANTA FE GOLF TRAIL: 342 THRILLING HOLES AWAIT
ew Mexico is blessed with an alluring array of courses that truly qualify as “Bucket List Golf” for the serious traveler. Desert courses in The Land of Enchantment compare favorably with the ones in Arizona and they’re easier on your pocketbook, too, with rates from $50 to $114 (depending on season). In addition, they offer cooler temperatures and higher elevations. With 342 holes on eight golf courses, Northern New Mexico’s Santa Fe Golf Trail provides all the golfing and gaming thrills that you’ll need within a two-hour drive from Albuquerque, including the state’s top two courses– Paa-Ko Ridge Golf Club and Black Mesa Golf Club. The starting or ending place for a flight to Albuquerque International SunPort has to be the University of New Mexico Championship Course, nicknamed the “Monster” because it is right next door to the airport. The Red Lawrence design, which can be stretched to more than 7,500 yards, is best known for the collegiate events it has hosted since opening in 1967. Holes dance over arroyos, gullies and ridges to fickle elevated greens. The nine-hole North Course features narrow tree-lined fairways, putting the emphasis on accuracy. If time permits, try the Isleta Eagle Golf Course, featuring 27 holes seven minutes south of the airport. The Bill Phillips design features three different looks on the 9s as the names– Lake, Mesa and Arroyo– would leave you to think. It is across the road from the Hard Rock Casino. 22 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
The Scott Miller-designed Sandia Golf Club, in the shadow of the towering Sandia Peak, is only 12 minutes north of the airport. It’s located next to the Sandia Resort & Casino, a great place to bed down. It’s player friendly with contoured fairways that tend to direct errant shots back to the center. Decomposed granite transition areas bordering the fairways give golfers chances for recovery shots. The Gary Panks-designed Twin Warriors Golf Club Tamaya Course in the Santa Ana
Pueblo, ranked sixth in the state, is located about 15 minutes north of the airport. Don’t go to the back tees (stretching more than 7,600 yards) unless you can consistently belt 300-yard drives. The course is routed around native American cultural sites, winding through rolling foothills on the front side and in and out of a red rock mesa valley on the back side. It’s part of the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa. There’s also an additional nine holes that was added in 2005. Santa Ana, its sister course, is a linksstyle 27-hole Tamaya, Cheena and Star 9s) designed by Ken Killian that winds through a desert next to the Rio Grand River. The greens are the strongest defense against par, but most feel it is three to five shots easier than Twin Warriors. Women favor it with tees at less than 5,000 yards. It’s next
door to the Santa Ana Star Casino. While all of these courses should be consider part of any trip, there’s no doubt that the ones you should never miss are PaaKo Ridge and Black Mesa even if it means little longer drive times. In fact, once around these hidden gems is not enough for most golfers. Paa-Ko Ridge is located on the eastern side of the Sandia Mountains. It’s a hilly parkland course set in a juniper and pinon pine forest. No two holes on the Ken Dye design are alike as they dart in all directions. Expect to get a little more distance as it is located at 6,500 to 7,000 feet. Even if you are playing from the forward tees, go back to see the panoramic view from the tips on the 17th. There’s an additional 9 holes here, too. The Baxter Spanndesigned Black Mesa definitely should be included at all costs even if it is 90 minutes from the airport. It traverses through dramatic sandstone ridges with fairways framed by arroyos with no man-made distractions. While it is intimidating at first glance, especially with the many tiers on the greens, following the tips from professional Tom Velarde can pay dividends. If you have the time after playing a second round at Black Mesa, try the 27-hole Hale Irwin and Bill Phillips-designed Towa Course (Boulder, Pinon and Valley 9s) at the Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino. Dramatic elevation changes keep golfers on their toes as does an island green. DeSoto golfer Ray Mullins summed up a recent visit to northern New Mexico, “The altitude is not the only thing that will give you a high.” TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
THE ROUNDUP: Checking In
LIFE IS GOOD AT
TPC SAN ANTONIO
ith two weeks of television exposure for the PGA Tour and Champions Tour events it hosts, you can hardly call three-year-old The J.W. Marriott San Antonio Hill
Country Resort & Spa the new kid on the block or a best-kept secret anymore. The largest J.W. Marriott in the world, with 1,002 rooms and 140,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, this hotel sets the standard in more ways than one. TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
Winter 2013 TexasGolfer 23
“It’s really something how busy the resort gets in the weeks following the Valero Texas Open and the AT&T Championship,” says TPC San Antonio general manager Jimmy Terry. “It’s amazing what a blimp shot of people enjoying our water park experience can do. Our television partners do an incredible job telling the story of the resort and giving viewers the flavor of San Antonio. Whether you’re floating the lazy river in the six-acre water park experience or just strolling the J.W. Marriott’s manicured grounds, taking in the Hill Country views, this massive property somehow feels intimate. The 600-acre resort is canopied in hills and mature oaks and feels miles and miles away from anywhere. “I can’t tell you how many families I talk to on the day they get here and they say they’re going to sleep here but ‘bounce’ to the River Walk and Sea World and Fiesta Texas during their stay. Then, once the kids start enjoying the pools and water slides and Dad’s playing golf and Mom’s relaxing at the spa they forget about anything going on outside the resort. Despite all those plans, they never leave,” Terry says. Golfing guests are motivated to play where the pros play and this property has two courses that host Tour events. In the spring, Terry says, the intimidating Oaks Course stays nearly fully booked with guests looking to tackle the host of the Valero Texas Open and one of the toughest courses in the PGA Tour’s rotation. “This course is a ‘bring your lunch’, very tough golf course,” Terry says. The driving corridors are tight because the fairways are lined with oaks and, when the wind picks up, there’s not much relief. You’ve also got some very demanding greens on this golf course.” Exotic limestone outcroppings and artistic bunkering provide a unique aesthetic to this tree-lined layout. “Our foreign Tour players often say the Greg Norman-designed Oaks course reminds them of courses in Australia or South America,” Terry says.
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The Canyons, host of the Champions Tour’s AT&T Championship, has wider driving lanes, sweeping Hill Country and nature preserve views and challenging greens. “Pete Dye is the designer but this isn’t your father’s Pete Dye Golf Course,” Terry says. “There’s a gentleness to the course and there aren’t many forced carries or anything too severe. It’s a very natural golf course with inspired views of the surrounded Hill Country.” Post-round recreation abounds at the J.W. Marriott, but most groups eventually find their way to the High Velocity Sports Bar which boasts a 120-foot wall of HD screens that show every sport imaginable. “People tend to lose track of time in there,” Terry jokes. “There’s excellent food and a fun atmosphere for all ages.” Five other dining options are available- from poolside to casual to the 18 Oaks dining room that overlooks the golf course and specializes in dry aged steaks and local farm to table delights, there’s something for every taste. The number of rooms and size of the meeting and convention space not only makes this the largest hotel property in San Antonio, it makes San Antonio competitive with other corporate destinations like Orlando, Las Vegas and Scottsdale. “This property is a game changer,” Terry says. “At one time, more than 70 percent of our bookings were groups that had never been to San Antonio before. There never was a hotel that could host groups of the size that we can here. Now, we’re in a whole new game.” This spring, the Valero is expected to draw huge crowds with its weekbefore-The-Masters slot on the calendar. Big names from around the globe tend to play that week, so it’s time for the property to shine big as former British Open champion Ben Curtis defends his title. To see the resort that’s its own mini city but still feels quaint and secluded for yourself, visit www.jssanantonio.com and plan a nice escape. – Carl Mickelson TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
GEARED UP T
echnology was on full display at the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show. Top manufacturers were out in full force, debuting the latest and greatest in clubs, balls, apparel and learning aids. We’ll oﬀer more in-depth look at all the manufacturers’ oﬀerings in our Spring Issue but, for now, here’s a sneak peek:
When TaylorMade purchased Adams Golf, club geeks everywhere wondered what the next line of Adams gear would look like and what technology would be packed into the driver and fairway wood lines. The look brings TaylorMade’s white head/black face combination and race car-style lettering but Adams’ Velocity Slot Technology and remains in the SUPER S fairway wood, promising explosive distance. The new crown slot is thinner, deeper and longer from heel to toe, allowing golfers to get the ball in the air more easily. www.adamsgolf.com
The Antigua Leader pullover looks good on or oﬀ the golf course. An instant classic, the Leader is constructed of 84% polyester/16% spandex and a ¼-zip look and a self-fabric stand-up collar. The men’s version has a contrasting color inside the neck & zipper teeth. The ladies’ version comes in solid colors. www.antiguagolf.com
Style and comfort leaders in the shoe category, ECCO now oﬀer the waterproof GORE-TEX® / Hydromax™ leather Tour Hybrid with a classically-styled upper they say “seamlessly transitions from the boardroom to the car to the country club.” The Tour Hybrid’s sole has approximately 100 molded traction bars and 800-plus traction angles constructed from a highly durable, wear-resistant material called TPU. These elements are designed to provide superior traction in all conditions. www.eccogolf.com
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One of the perennial leaders in the wedge category, Cleveland recently debuted the cavity-back 588 RTX CB featuring 16-percent-larger “Tour Zip” U-grooves and a laser-milled face with “micro grooves” for increased friction at impact. Cleveland’s patented Rotex milling process scores the clubface with dozens of distinctive half-circle patterns that help create additional spin. Why the cavity-back design? Increased weight on the perimeters means more forgiveness. www. clevelandgolf.com
You don’t realize a rain jacket with a built-in heater is a “need item” until you have one. The four-way stretch, waterproof, breathable, windproof jacket from Mobile Warming is comfortable, non-restrictive when swinging a golf club and pretty dang handy on a cold day. The jacket features three heating panels to keep your upper body warm. The power source is a 7.4 volt rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery that produces up to 15 watts of power at 1 amp. That translates to up to 10 hours of depending on which of the four heat settings you choose. www.mobilewarminggear.com
Most golfers don’t need an extra stiﬀ shaft or irons with BB-sized sweet spots. So why do so many golfers want to play the same ball the pros play? Baﬄing. Bridgestone’s ball-ﬁtting program was not only ﬁrstin-class but groundbreaking in its scope and eﬀectiveness matching golfers with the ball that best ﬁts their games. The soft urethane B330-RXS, suited for swing speeds under 105 mph with a preference for maximum “Tour Spin”, oﬀers a reformulated mantle for reduced sidesping and Dual Dimple Technology. Dual Dimple Technology delivers superior aerodynamics and enhanced wind performance. www.bridgestonegolf.com
Callaway’s X Hot is the company’s lightest-ever alltitanium driver debuts this year. The 460-cc head is thinner around the perimeter and thicker in the center to allow an expanded sweet spot and ensure ample clubhead speed. The X Hot features an adjustable hosel that oﬀers three address positions: open, neutral or closed. The X Hot features the Project X Velocity shaft standard comes with the Project X 6.0, designed for faster swing speeds. www.callawaygolf.com
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ustin embraces the entrepreneurial spirit like few other communities, so it’s no surprise New York natives Hobson Brown and Billy Nachman are finding a receptive clientele for their distinctive line of Criquet Shirts. The duo has known each other since the age of five and somewhere along the line they discovered they shared an affinity for golf shirts from a bygone era. The look of Criquet’s Players Shirt is part Dan Noonan in the Caddies Tournament, part Arnie at Cherry Hills. The sensibility is vintage meets country club preppie with a dash of hipster bravado. While that sounds indulgent by typical golf shirt standards, the look works. “We design for the 19th hole as much or more than we do the 18th hole,” Brown says. “We want these shirts to have that any-day-of-the-week quality and be something you don’t have to change out of after the round to go into the clubhouse.” Nachman’s background is in architecture and his family had roots in the apparel business, so when he was finally over the loss of a vintage hand-me-down polo that came to be known as the “Dr. Jack”, he engaged Brown, an advertising and e-commerce man, and the childhood pals set out to 28 TexasGolfer Fall 2012
engineer the “perfect” polo shirt. Well, their idea of perfect, that is. The organic cotton Players Shirt features a deep four-button placket and chest flap pocket with secret pen stash. It’s all vintage but the subtle detailing and casual-meets-athletic fit make the shirt suitable for golf, errands or dinner out. The long sleeve Players short is a dressed up, thicker version of the short –sleeved model with a rugged but dressy look. Removable collar stays, a feature borrowed from dress shirt design, keep the collars looking crisp over time. “We try to manufacture as much of our product as we can in America,” Brown says. “Right now, that’s about three-quarters of the shirts.” To see the full line of Criquet Shirts and to keep up with the brand’s creative marketing programs, visit www.criquetshirts.com. TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
Steps Up THE LATEST TEENAGER TO TURN PRO IS NO STRANGER TO THE TOUR
he landscape of professional golf seems to be trending younger and younger with each passing week. The thought of calling Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Ryo Ishikawa ‘veterans’ is probably disconcerting to older fans, but the reality is there’s a class of top-tier young talent that is plenty capable of winning, and staying, on Tour. At 19, Dallas resident Jordan Spieth is ready to throw his hat into the ring and see what professional golf has in store. After three semesters of All-American caliber golf and a national championship at the University of Texas, Spieth announced in December he would forego the rest of his collegiate career to turn pro. “The decision to turn pro was a difficult one, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of competing at the highest level and accomplishing the many goals I've set for myself on and off the course,”
Spieth says. “It’s bittersweet because I couldn’t have asked for a better college experience and a better team experience. I’ll get back to Austin a lot but it’s time to move on and see what I can do on the PGA Tour and web.com Tour.” As an amateur, Spieth made the cut in five of the eight professional events he entered, including a low-amateur T-21 finish in the 2012 U.S. Open. “I’ve always told myself one of things I’d have to do before even thinking about turning pro is compete on the PGA Tour and really convince myself I have the inner-confidence to know that my game’s ready and that I’m ready. The U.S. Open was the high point in terms of events that gave me a lot of confidence last year.” Confidence is a hallmark of the Spieth mystique. The broad-shouldered, 6’1” bomber calls his game “aggressive”, adding he’s at his best when he has a full
amount of trust in his game and ability to pull off shots. Experience in PGA Tour events has also matured the two-time U.S. Junior champion. “I have a ways to go experience wise, but I do feel like I’ve handle the pressure a little better each time I’ve been in (a Tour event). I feel like that experience is going to help me because I’m coping with those beginners nerves better each time,” he says. Spieth was 16 when he slept on a T-7 position heading into the final round of the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship. He finished 16th and enjoyed a lot of national TV time. From there, he started to get the Can’t-Miss Kid label so many young amateurs have had to shoulder. With a solid support structure, including his parents and longtime teacher Cameron McCormick, Spieth has taken all outside expectations (and his own) in stride. “My plan has (always) been to play
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professionally and I’ve been fortunate to have the support of so many people who helped me get here. Coach Fields at UT was tremendous in understanding my goals and letting me balance college golf with some PGA Tour starts.” Spieth’s career at Texas was brief but decorated. The team won a national championship in 2012, he won three tournaments as an individual, was a finalist for the NCAA’s Ben Hogan Award and was also named a first-team All American. He represented the U.S. in the 2011 Walker Cup where he compiled a 30 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
2-0-1 record. It was recently announced that Spieth’s first starts as a professional will be the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Web.com Tour’s Panama Claro Championship. Not yet a member of the PGA Tour, Spieth will need to make good use of the seven sponsor exemptions into PGA Tour events he’s allowed (seven is the maximum number a non-member is allowed) as well as a handful of Web.com starts. “I really want to get off to a good start. The more times I can put myself in
contention, the closer I am to winning and building my career,” he says. Spieth’s representatives are in the process of securing sponsors and endorsements for the rookie (an apparel deal with Under Armour was the first signing) and say he’s been a hit with executives who instantly admire his dedication and beyond-his-years poise. Living in Dallas, Spieth has found a stable of peers and mentors who’ve been vocal and willing to show him the ropes. “There are so many guys on the Tour in the Dallas area. Today for example, I played with Martin Flores and Colt Knost. We all have the same trainer, so we see each other and talk all the time,” he says. “I get a chance to talk to Brandt Jobe, J.J. Henry, Justin Leonard and Harrison Frazar. They’ve all been great and willing to discuss all of the aspects that go into being successful out there. They’re great Tour pros and they’re great guys, too.” It’s telling that someone the same age as the average bag room attendant views Tour veterans as peers. He doesn’t just want to be on Tour. He’s got an insight into what it takes. “Every time out has been a learning experience. In the U.S. Open, when you’re playing against the top players in the world in golf’s toughest test, you get a good idea of what you can do. I sort of backed into 20th place, but I learned a lot, he says. “Looking back, I made some amateur mistakes out there but they’re easy ones to fix and without them, I would have had a chance to be even closer to the lead, which is exciting.” Exciting is Spieth’s brand of golf. Though nothing is a given on the professional tours, it’s likely the Dallas Jesuit graduate will snare headlines of some kind in 2013. Whether it’s Rory-TigerPhil-Keegan-type headlines remains to be seen. Looking ahead to starting 2013, Spieth says, “I’ve been working hard on my game. I enjoy this a lot and I’m ready to keep going at it. The state of the Tour now is phenomenal and it’s only getting better.” No kidding. TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
Stacy Lewis Can't Lose
tacy Lewis may be a little soft-spoken, but in 2012, the Woodlands native played Statement Golf. In a season in which she rarely finished outside the top 10, Lewis climbed to the top of the women’s professional game and became the first American player in 18 years to earn LPGA Player of the Year honors. In her words, Lewis kept “the pedal down”, capturing wins at the Navistar LPGA Classic, Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, Shoprite LPGA Classic and the Mizuno Classic, cementing her place as the LPGA’s top player. Just a decade removed from scoliosis treatment that saw her having to wear a hard-plastic back brace for 18 hours a day, Lewis is humbled to make history in the game she once thought she’d be forced to abandon. “I thought I would never play golf again. Now 10 years later I'm here winning Player of the Year, that's crazy,” Lewis says.” That's not normal, you know? People that normally win Player of the Year are pretty talented and have kind of played well all along and I've just kind of slowly worked my way up and I think it's most satisfying, everything I've overcome." Carl Mickelson caught up with Lewis just before the Holidays. Here is their conversation: Congratulations on a successful and breakout season on the LPGA Tour. What has it meant to see your hard work pay such dividends week-in/ week-out in 2012? Coming into the season, I was looking to be more consistent, so the awards and the accolades feel like a great bonus. Since the middle of the year, my goal was to be the Player of the Year. It's something an American hadn't done since 1994. I wanted to end that trend. With four wins this year and one Major in your career, you definitely qualify as a “closer” on Tour, a week-to-week threat to win. Can you describe what it means to be playing at this level, especially considering your competition and the consistently high-level of play on the LPGA Tour? The LPGA truly is a world-wide tour and includes all of the very best golfers. It is amazing to be included among the names of the best players in the world. Was there added pressure coming down the stretch to win Player of the Year and be the first American to do so since Beth Daniel in 1994? Was it on your mind as you played?
Definitely. It was the most pressure I have felt on the golf course and it was hard to forget about during play. Beth, actually, was great about telling me about handling the player of the year and the pressure that goes with it. It was really nice to talk to somebody who's been through it. Are you in the camp that embraces that the game and the Tours have “gone global” or does it still mean something important for an Americanbased Tour to have the top performers be “home-grown” Americans?
I have embraced the global aspect, but this tour still needs Americans to do well to be successful here in the US. Our tour, in general, has needed American players to step up. The only way I could do my part was just to play better golf and move up the rankings and get exposure. What has your success this season (including some strong finishes in Majors) done for your confidence, and how does it impact how you’ll set goals for 2013? Have you thought about goals for 2013 yet? This year has given me confidence that I can compete with the best players in the world, but I have not put together my 2013 goals yet. I know I haven't played my best golf yet. That's what excites me about the next few years and makes me want to work even harder. Two things stand out to me. You’re one of the very top players in both the Greens and Regulation and Putts Per Green in Regulation statistic– a pretty lethal formula. Have you worked harder to improve any particular area of your game this year? Or are things just all coming together as a culmination of your overall practice? Over the last year, I've worked on my
putting a lot, specifically on speed. I'm not three-putting or having 4- and 5-footers coming back all the time. My putting started to come together at the end of 2011 and I worked on greens in regulation this offseason. When you're putting well, it frees up everything else, especially your iron game. You're confident that, even if you miss a green, you can still get it up and down. And confidence is what golf is all about. Back to the “global” nature of the LPGA, is it difficult to manage all the travel– starting overseas, mixing in the Evian and the British mid-season and then having some late-season events in Asia– before getting back to North America to close out the year? Yes, we spend a lot of time away from friends and family on the other side of the world. It is the nature of the tour. That said, I like traveling and seeing new places. It is fun to experience the other cultures and see how others live. It is fun to have the reception in other areas as the Asian crowds are some of the biggest of the year. Comparisons have been made since you joined the LPGA Tour to the Rookie Class you came in with– Michelle Wie, Jiyai Shin, Vicky Hurst. Strong company, but you have to like the position you’ve climbed to not only among your peers, but against established stars and rising talents like Yani Tseng and In-Bee Park. Are you comfortable being “elite”? Yes, this year, more than anything, has proven that I belong among those great players. There were times in my career I haven’t felt completely ready for what comes with the success, but no I feel I definitely belong. You started an endorsement relationship with KPMG this year. What do you think needs to happen on Tour to see more corporations embrace women’s golf so purses can increase? I think it just shows where we're going. We're getting great companies like KPMG and other sponsors, too, to kind of step up and see the value that our Tour provides. Not only to put a logo out there, but to see the relationships and how we interact in pro ams and entertain people. Like all the logos say, see why it's different out here. That's how our Tour is different. That's how we entertain, and I think we put on a pretty good show. Our numbers are increasing each year in terms of television viewership and fan attendance so companies just need to be aware of the growing value of our tour. Winter 2013 TexasGolfer 31
You 2.0 Take a Fresh Approach to Improving Your Game
n a crowded driving range, we’ve all got different swings and different histories in the game but we all have one thing in common. We’re never satisfied with how well we score. It could always be better. The frustrations of trying to improve at golf can be so daunting that we often tend to forget that it is, after all, a game. When we find ourselves stuck in bad swing habits or plateauing in our scores, the psychological effects can be tough and, without help, the effects could snowball. “Commonly, people who plateau in the game have probably hit one milestone like breaking 85 or 90, but they’re struggling getting to that next level,” says Matt Swanson, director of Matt Swanson’s School of Golf. “It’s critical to take an assessment of their game and pinpoint what they need to work on most and to talk honest about how much time they are able or willing to invest in getting better.” Many instructors agree that getting
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“back to basics” is solid method for making the game fun again after a slump. “Having learned from and taught some of the game’s greatest players, I will tell you that they all agree they play their best when they aren’t thinking about their golf swing and (they) are just playing the game,” says Dallas-area teaching professional Eben Dennis (brother of longtime PGA Tour professional Clark Dennis). Sounds too simple, though, right? We here at Texas Golfer along with some of our expert friends would like to propose that “simple” is a great starting point for any golfer looking to break bad habits and approach the game with a new perspective. In every issue this year, our contributors will present a series of lessons that offer you fresh start and a different perspective on improving key aspects of your game. If you’re struggling in your game, we challenge you to take some simple goodness from our friends in golf and see if
their tips help you improve. Break your game down into its simplest parts and do a self-examination. Promise yourself to work on your weaknesses and let go of the habits that are holding you back. “For some golfers, the keys to better scoring are easy fixes,” Swanson says. “For some, it’s all about cutting their number of three-putts in half or pitching shots consistently inside of six feet. If they commit to practicing and working more on their weaknesses than their strong suits, they’re going to get better.” Let’s have some fun exploring some different ideas on improving our swings, our bodies, our minds and our preparation. Let 2013 be the start to your next chapter in your game. The chapter where you get to know your game intimately and discover the simple changes that make you permanently better! Enjoy these tips from Ken Jeremiah, Dave Pelz and Katherine Roberts and let us know if they’re helping your game by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
You 2.0 - SIMPLIFY YOUR APPROACH
Simplify your Game with
Zen Principles By Dr. Ken Jeremiah
hat does the “way of the Samurai” have to do with golf? More than you might think. The proper aim of both Zen and golf is to embrace simplicity. Simpler movements are easier to repeat, so they are more consistent. In order to use Zen to improve the physical movements of golf, one must adapt a reductionist approach. Rather than thinking about moving the body into certain positions, think about eliminating excess motion, so that a proper golf swing can naturally emerge. Before beginning the swing, you must adapt a natural stance. First, stand naturally with your arms by your sides. Second, bend from the waist without bending your knees, attempting to keep your back straight. Bend until your arms naturally hang down beneath the shoulder joints (fig. 1). Then, bend your knees slightly. Finally, swing your hands back and forth, so that they clap in the middle. This is the position from which you will have the most success. Grip the club naturally, with the palms facing each other, and maintain a light grip. From this setup position, you are ready to initiate the swing. Proper sequencing of motion is important. The arms must initiate the swing, followed by the shoulders. Once the shoulders have turned as far as they can, the hips should get involved, but not before. A common error of many amateur players is to move the lower body right away in the backswing, which results in the club being off plane; it also leads to an excessive hip turn and weight transfer, both of which are detrimental.
Follow these steps to eliminate excess movement: move the club to a position halfway back using the forward arm (the left arm for a right-handed golfer). Do not move anything except for the arms. Mentally, focus on the forward arm to direct the movement. Keep your lower body still, and move the club into a position halfway back, in which the club is parallel to the ground. The toe of the club should point at the sky and the clubface should be perpendicular to the target line (fig. 2). The lower body and the shoulders should not have moved at all. Once the club is in this position, the shoulders get involved. They turn naturally, so that the club is moved to a ¾ position. As the club nears the top of the backswing, and the shoulders have reached their maximum turn, the hips can get involved slightly. This motion will result in a slightly shorter swing for most players, a swing that results in more naturally created tension. This tension leads to more distance, and the shorter swing results in more consistency. At the top of the backswing, make sure that your arms are connected to your body, so that a towel under both of your armpits would remain in place. In addition, the butt-end of the club should point behind the ball along the target line, and the back of the left wrist should be flat (fig. 3). Once you have completed your backswing, initiate your downswing by shifting your weight onto the front leg and simultaneously turning toward the target.
Think of turning your belt-buckle to face the target, and take the mind away from the hands and arms. The hands and arms should just follow along. Keep turning, so that the downswing is one fluid motion, and there is no thought whatsoever of hitting the golf ball (fig. 4). Throughout the swing, maintain constant and consistent grip pressure. In other words, make sure that your grip does not tighten during the swing. For proper timing, it is important to establish a proper swing tempo. This is simple: inhale on the backswing and exhale on the downswing, making sure that the breath is consistent. Breathe at the same pace. Inhale fully in the backswing, and exhale fully on the downswing. This concentration on the breath has other benefits. It helps golfers to attain a Zen state known as mushin (no mind), in which there is no thought about previous shots or about shots yet to come (fig. 5). It helps players to remain focused tightly on the shot at hand, a focus called fudoshin (immovable mind) in Zen disciplines. In time, such practices will lead to mental fortitude and control, and your golf game will improve. Following these suggestions will help you to simplify your swing, control your mind, and to develop a more consistent golf game. Dr. Ken Jeremiah is a PGA golf professional. His newest book is entitled If the Samurai Played Golf... Zen Strategies for a Winning Game. More information can be found at www.kenjeremiah.com.
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You 2.0 - PRACTICE SMARTER
Bring It On Home! By Dave Pelz
ike most golfers, you’re probably lucky to find the time to practice or play once a week, usually on a Saturday or a Sunday. After all these years, I’ve finally realized golfers don’t always need to access a golf course to get better. They just need to access golf. You can find the time to practice more if you do it at home. Whether it’s eight-foot putts or pitching balls from a mat to a laundry basket, you’ll do your game worlds of good if you just let yourself ACCESS the game. Hit shots, stroke putts, take full swings with almostGOLF practice balls. It’s doable!
Transforming your backyard into a legitimate practice area really isn’t as difficult—or expensive—as you might think. If you’re ready to install a synthetic green in your backyard, you can visit www.synlawngolf.com for expert guidance. If you prefer to keep things simple, just designate a target (a laundry basket will do) and with some backyard-safe balls, you can work on key scoring skills like distance and trajectory control. Just as importantly, you can groove the feel of properly-struck shots and take that feel to the course.
Believe it or not, I was in the same boat, which is why I designed my “ultimate” golf backyard behind our new home in Austin. My setup allows me to hit almost every conceivable putt and short-game shot under realistic golf conditions. Thanks to the quality of the synthetic turf I used to construct my backyard dream, my wedge shots stop like they do on real greens and my putts roll true.
Try this a few nights a week: Pitch and chip balls to a specific target in your yard. Chip three “low-running” shots with the ball back in your stance (off your back ankle). Then pitch three balls with a “medium” trajectory with the ball in the middle of your stance (remember to smoothly accelerate through the ball as you swing). Thirdly, if you have room to safely play a lofted “lob” shot, play three with the ball forward in your stance, aim left of the target, open the club face, let the length of your backswing control the distance the ball carries and accelerate to a full finish. Take note of which technique produces the best results.
Basically, with the help of SYNLawn Golf, I’ve built the short-game practice facility of my dreams in my backyard. There’s a good explanation for my backyard obsession: Improving your short game and overall scoring is easier if you can work in the comfort and convenience of your own yard. I intend to make my short game the best it has ever been. My real goal, however, is to inspire you to find a way to practice your wedge game and putting at your own home on weekday evenings and without having to dress up or drive to the course or range (and to do this with your wife, kids or friends to make it just that much more enjoyable).
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Then, the next time you’re on the course, do the same drill on the practice green and see which technique works for the conditions you find around that green. Move around to different positions and you’ll begin to develop an eye for which shot suits the given lie and landing conditions. What starts in the comfort of your own yard can truly help you lower your handicap. Start today!
You 2.0 - GET FLEXIBLE
Two Holes In One – Twenty Five Years Apart – Could You Do It? By Katherine Roberts
ormally I shy away from generalizations. I like to look at people as individuals, versus putting people in a “box”. However one common theme I see in older golfers is a lack of power, manifesting as a loss of distance. Many years ago I wrote an article about a gentleman who had two holes in one, on the same course, on the same hole, twenty-five years apart. A remarkable feat! The first time he had his hole in one he used a seven iron. Twenty-five years later he had his second hole in one but this time he needed his driver to close the deal. A well-known research study evaluated the factors effecting club head speed in older golfers.
Flexibility In The Torso Shoulder / Hip Disassociation Stretch Begin on your right side, knees placed at a ninety degree angle to your body and arms extended slightly below shoulder height. Bring the palms together. Inhale deeply and on your exhale open up your trunk and shoulders by bringing the left arm towards the floor. Note: keep your knees pinned together. Repeat five to ten times and switch sides
The median age of the golfers tested was 64.5. They found two major physical factors effecting club head speed– flexibility in the torso and upper body strength. The study proves that by targeting these two areas of the body they were able to increase club head speed, thus distance, a significant challenge for senior golfers. I will teach you a series of exercises designed to increase the range of motion in your torso and build upper body strength, thus providing you the opportunity to increase your club head speed and distance. Let’s get started!
Lat Reach And Stretch Separate your knees and sit back on your heels. Note: if this is uncomfortable for the knees place a rolled up towel behind your knees. Spread your hands wider than shoulder width apart and stretch your arms towards the front of your yoga mat. Keep the glutes attached to the heels. Hold for five deep breaths. “Walk” the fingers and arms over to the right as far as possible, focusing on the stretch in the left lat and shoulder. Relax your head. Hold for five breaths and switch sides.
Twisting Table / Lat / Shoulder / Upper Back Stretch Begin on your hands and knees. Place your right hand behind your neck and on your inhale rotate your spine from your core as your lift your right arm. Focus on the abdominals as well as mid-back extension.
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★ TEXAS GOLFER ★
Palm Desert Delights By STEVE BLIMAN
“I’ve got the world on a string …” I can’t help it, every time I descend into California’s Coachella Valley, I turn my Sirius radio to channel 71– “Seriously Sinatra”– and everything kind feels just right. Absolutely right. After all, this area has so many links to the Rat Pack’s past lore. Mr. Sinatra called Rancho Mirage home for many years, he held his golf tournament here, heck, his personal chef still is turning out “Steak Sinatra” at Johnny Costa’s Ristorante.
Having recently returned from a nearly perfect four-day golf getaway to the Palm Springs area, I must report that the famed desert getaway is as decadent, fun and vibrant as Sinatra and his crew left it. I started my trip at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort. This magniﬁcent desert oasis is surrounded by water. Everywhere. One of the resorts highlights is a 15-minute gondola ride from the lobby around the property (oﬀered between 3pm and 6pm every day). This premier Palm Desert property has just come oﬀ of a $25 million renovation and really seems to have everything anyone could want under one roof. 36 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
Desert Springs oﬀers two Ted Robinsondesigned 18-hole courses. The Valley Course features lush fairways and plenty of water hazards. The newly-renovated greens are tiered and roll fast. Both courses have great views of the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains. The Valley course is not long, but there’s plenty of strategy in the approaches and knockout views all around. The resort is also home to a state-of-theart Taylormade Performance Lab. Robinson also designed an 18-hole putting course along the property comprised of par 3s & 4s– the kids playing with their parents seemed to be having a great time. After golf I decided to dine on property at the resorts newly opened Fisherman’s Landing Bar & Grill. This restaurant has won “Best of the Valley” and has won praise from food luminaries Rachael Ray and Anthony Bourdin. The other two on property major eateries include Mikado Japanese Steakhouse and Rockwell Grille. After powering up in the a.m. at nearby Sherman’s Deli on pastrami and eggs, I was eager for my second round of golf. Directly
across the street from JW Desert Springs, you will ﬁnd a real golf gem- Desert Willow Golf Resort. This gorgeous facility is owned by the city of Palm Desert, has garnered “Golf Digest Best Places to Play” and is included in Golf World’s Top 50. Desert Willow also has two courses, Mountain View and the Firecliﬀ. I opted for Firecliﬀ which has recently undergone both green and bunker upgrades, personally overseen by PGA Tour winner John Cook. Try to avoid the 111 sand bunkers on Firecliﬀ. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry have designed a challenging layout, but it’s also one of the most beautiful tracks in the area. Indian Wells Golf Resort is the pride of Indian Wells. Owned by the city of Indian Wells and managed by Troon Golf, it is a phenomenal 36-hole golf destination, The Celebrity and The Players Course. The $50 million clubhouse looks out of this world– kind of a futuristic space aged design with two levels– the golf shop and Callaway Performance Center on the 1st ﬂoor, and the highly regarded IW Club above, which is a great place after your round for drinks or dinner.
★ TEXAS GOLFER ★
TRAVEL GUIDE The Celebrity course is one of the most scenic golf experiences available anywhere. Golf Architect Clive Clark completed it in 2006 to rave reviews. Beautiful water features and ﬂoral arrangements enhance a design that’s playable but requires a little local knowledge. If you love par 4s, you have found your course– only two par-3s and two par-5s on this 18-hole layout. The Celebrity Course was home to the LG Skins Game 2007 & 2008. After golf I headed for a night stay at The Saguaro Resort in Palm Springs a trendy, chic, colorful resort. I believe it appeals to those in their 30s or 40s, looking for a hip boutique hotel. The main reason for my stay was the lure of famed Iron Chef winner Jose Garces’ restaurant, Tinto, a “small plates” treat. I ordered a Chicken Brocheta which was served with a skewer in a shot glass, very creative and delicious. Following that I had Chilled Baby Beets & Goat Cheese, and a small sandwich named “Shortrib Bocadillo.” The meal was sublime. Indian Wells’ Players Course is the more diﬃcult of the two . It was designed by John Fought in 1997 and can play 7,376 from the tips. The guys I played with the day before recommended we play from the whites – sage advice. Indian Wells Golf Resort is one of the pinnacle golf experiences you can ﬁnd anywhere– a class act! Adjoining and overlooking the Players Course I checked in for my ﬁnal evening at Marriott’s Renaissance Esmerlda Resort and Spa. This fabulous property has it all. Even though it has 560 beautifully-appointed rooms, it still oﬀers an intimate, relaxed vibe. Every staﬀ member seems so happy to accommodate any wish. Some of the highlights include swimming in the largest pool experience in the California desert, complete with three distinct pools, a sandy beach and multiple hot tubs. One last dinner, I ate on property at the Esmerelda’s Italian restaurant, Sirocco. The room is dark, warm and elegant. I paired the Veal Piccata with a great Pinot Noir from Oregon. Great place! They say you sleep best at home. I slept like a baby at this tremendous resort. Marriott seems to do things just right. After four days of superb golf weather and food, I start to feel a little like Sinatra, myself. What a world, what a life– I’m in love… with the Coachella Valley.
Winter 2013 TexasGolfer 37
★ TEXAS GOLFER ★
Discover Alabama’s Hidden Gem By Rob Thomas
top the inimitable par-3, 5th hole at FarmLinks Golf Club, which resides on the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, less than an hour drive from Birmingham, you can’t help feeling a little distracted. Standing on the tee box some 200 feet above the green, you get a true perspective of just how gorgeous this piece of land really is. You feel as though you can actually see every nook and cranny of the 3,500 acres of native grasses, rolling hills and forests the resort sits on. A set of binoculars sits in a mailbox next to the tee marker to further enhance the experience and on hot days the course has a smiling attendant on duty, handing out large chunks of fresh watermelon to enjoy after you hit one of the most memorable tee shots of your golf life, down to a kidney-stone shaped green guarded by three bunkers. “We know we aren’t going to be the biggest resort in the country, but our goal is to be the best,” says FarmLinks CEO and founder David Pursell. “I was always taught that if you treat your guests like family, it will pay dividends.” Pursell was the driving force behind the opening of Pursell Farms in 1999. Pursell– a single-digit handicap and talented sketch
artist (his work can be seen throughout the property, as well as in Butler Cabin at Augusta National, among others)– was the man who helped convince his family to build this stunning 7,444-yard, par-72, Hurdzan/Fry design on the property it has owned since the early 1900s. Pursell and his team transformed the rich farmland into the world’s ﬁrst and only agronomic research-and-demonstration golf facility when it opened in 2003. The Experience at FarmLinks is a state-of-the38 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
art turf education program that annually attracts more than 1,000 of the world’s top golf course superintendents (Augusta National, Pebble Beach and Pinehurst have all made visits) to visit and learn best practices. While the course is a living laboratory and features as many as 27 diﬀerent types of grasses as well as PGA TOUR-like conditions, Pursell and his team make no bones about the fact that they are in the hospitality business. The resort features ﬁve types of deluxe accommodations for nearly 80 guests. Guests can choose from the luxurious, Southern-style cabins and cottages, which are spacious with full kitchens, large ﬂatscreen TVs and patios that overlook a massive putting green that taunts you to practice your stroke as you sip your morning coﬀee. Overnight guests receive use of a personal Club Car golf cart during their stay, which help whisk you around the property, whether it’s to hit the enormous practice facility, which is home to the new FarmLinks Golf Academy, or try your aim at the specially crafted 5-stand clay shooting range. World-class ﬁshing and hunting are also available on-property, as are in-room spa treatments upon request.
“We like to think we’re the Epcot of golf,” beams Pursell. And there it is. Yes, while there are numerous other amenities that beckon the FarmLinks guest, golf is indeed the centerpiece. “Golf is special, apart from the actual part of playing the game,” says Pursell. “Where else can you spend ﬁve hours with a small group of people– sometimes just one other person– taking in some fantastic scenery and talking religion, sports and/or politics all the while building a relationship?” FarmLinks allows its golfers to enjoy the above scenario without taking a big hit to the wallet. Tee times in the prime season start at just $100 and include unlimited golf (yes, play as many holes as you like) and use of the practice facility, all-you-caneat-and-drink non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, and a scrumptious, Southern-style, stomach-ﬁlling lunch. Not bad for a course that was has been ranked as the No. 1 public-access course in the state. Multiple stay-and-play packages are also available. Visit www.FarmLinks.org or www.facebook.com/farmlinks for TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
The Better You Putt, The Lower You’ll Score By TINA BRADLEY MAYERS, PGA
them have the ball either in the center of their stance or just forward of center.
othing can ruin a round faster than a poor performance on the greens. No matter how well you’re driving the ball and hitting precise approach shots, if you can’t “close the deal”, you leave the course frustrated. Putting is an art that includes both good distance control and direction. When you toss a ball or throw darts, your eyes tell your muscles how much motion to apply to get the object to fly a certain distance. Your mind controls your body’s reaction. Understanding and creating a sense of “feel” will happen if you spend some time on the practice green. Remember: soft grip pressure will enable you to feel the putter head swing. That is imperative on longer putts. A great “touch” drill is to putt balls toward the fringe and see if you can get them to stop where the grass changes height. Reading greens is the key to accuracy. Uphill, downhill or sidehill lies and grain all play a role. Let your eyes take in the big picture. If you poured a bucket of water on the green, which way would it drain? Eventually, the line of the putt becomes apparent. Looking at the hole while taking your practice strokes will help you match your distance with the length of stroke required. The skill comes with the ability to combine the picture your eyes are telling you with touch. Statistics show that most amateur golfers miss their putts on the low side of the hole. Remind yourself to play enough break and don’t be short. How you grip the putter can vary from left hand low, the belly, chest, reverse overlap, etc. You just want to make sure that: A) your palms oppose each other vs. holding the club in your fingers like in a traditional full swing grip (This allows
The “stroke” is a simple backward and forward motion that has tempo and rhythm. Since you are using only your shoulders and arms, your elbows can rest close to your body. The rest of your body (including your head) should stay still. Remember, you are still swinging the clubhead and the stroke is on a slight arc, especially as you increase the size of the swing. Because you are standing to the side of the ball and the handle does not move the same distance as the putter head, the backswing moves slightly to the inside. At impact, it is back to square and finishes slightly inside again. As with any shot in golf, the handle must lead.
the handle of the club to align with your forearms and the sole of the club to sit correctly on the ground.) B) the grip pressure is light. Grip pressure is one of the most important factors in helping you gauge your clubhead speed. Your posture is an important element to a good set-up. Your goal is to create a comfortable and balanced position. First of all, you should tilt forward from the hips in order to create enough space for your arms to hang comfortably from your shoulders and your hands to rest softly in front of your body, feeling slightly more weight on your forward leg. Secondly, your eye line should be over or just inside the ball, this will enable you to sight your line properly. Finally, ball position varies among many of the best players but all of
There is a good putter in all of us– unfortunately, practicing this very important part of the game is often neglected. That’s evident by observing the activity at the practice areas at golf courses everywhere. Next time you go to the range, notice the usual flurry of activity on the tee line and the absence of people around the short game area. If you create some “games” to play, you will keep it fun & interesting while sharpening your skills at the same time. Performing under pressure is the true test of skill. Quiet your mind, narrow your focus, RELAX and drain it!
Tina Bradley Mayers is a PGA teaching professional at Grey Rock Golf Academy located in Austin, Texas. She can be reached at 512.413.0574 or email@example.com
Winter 2013 TexasGolfer 39
The Architect’s Digest
Golf Course 2.0 By MIKE NUZZO
What we need to do today and tomorrow is simply give people what they want, not what we think they should want. – John Reed
or too long, golf courses have been trying to be everything to everyone. So many golf courses were built lavishly and have been excessively maintained over the past 20 years. The result? They have become longer and more difficult. There are even some fiscally-stressed courses compounding their problems with new alterations that only increase their already too-high maintenance expenses. I say these practices have mostly increased cost, difficulty and time to play, which are considered, not coincidently, the largest factors for not enough people playing.
Given the task creating a new golf course for the public recreational golfer, what could be done to avoid making the mistakes many developers have made through the years? The solutions are simple but not easy. If I were creating a new course, I’d focus on minimizing course expenses, enabling more people to play and reducing the time it takes to play. Very few courses outside of Scotland have ever had these objectives. I would not have cart paths. They can always be added later. I would start with a minimal clubhouse that sells balls, tees, hot dogs, burger dogs on the same buns and cold beers. The course would have generous fairways and strategic greens. The goal would be to have the most interesting greens in town, not the fastest. Someone else can always come along and win the speed battle at higher and higher costs with flatter and flatter greens. Probably the most valuable aspect of interesting greens is the ability to have great variance in complexity depending solely on the hole location. One day a hole can be hard, the next day easy. The greens wouldn’t be surrounded by trouble, many would be wide open. The better player is often frustrated when the novice can hit near the green with an average shot and still be competitive for a hole. That is why there are 18 holes. Fast and firm conditions are more resourceful and more enjoyable. A simple and reliable irrigation system that can be expanded and driven by an efficient pump can save $1 million up front (and even more over time). A short game practice area with a handful of pitch-n-putt holes, but no driving range would be ideal. Hitting a few balls into a net will suffice. A good routing 40 TexasGolfer Winter 2013
always leaves room to play a short loop of holes. While it can be a challenge to incorporate play, a goal would be to make available a short loop in 1 - 1.5 hours. I would use grasses, plant materials and soils indigenous and suited to the site. Many of these ideas will find a lot of resistance and naysayers, but those naysayers don’t pay the bills. It seems every golf course tries to appeal to every type of golfer by having four sets of tees. This many tees may make for a nice looking scorecard, but it does little to ensure everyone will enjoy the course. A big issue we have is that most golf courses do not appeal to the beginner. When you get to the golf course, they don’t ask if you have ever played before. From the management side, I would invite the beginner, even if it was his first time. I had never seen a website with a beginners section before researching for this essay. I looked to see if I could find any examples. I found one, but unfortunately it was only a FAQ and read like a foreign language to a non-golfer. Even doors have instructions– why not a golf course? I found a sole blog post that said their course was great for beginners after you rented clubs and brought a golfing friend. To encourage more people to try golf, a course website would ask if you have ever played before, and they would have a bannered section for first time visitors with instructions on what to do when you get to the course. The signage at the golf course would tell you what to do as well. If I were managing a course, I would ask visitors and callers if they have ever played before, and I would really want to make it special for first-timers, letting them know that it would be a privilege to play with someone for their first time. I may still recommend bringing a friend, as that can be so much richer an experience. I would also give expectations and would probably share a caddy for their first time, or even find them a friend. Pull carts and non-professional caddies would be encouraged. There is a ton of ways a friendly caddie could help the first timer around the course. And, I would have free golf clubs available for anyone to play, not a deluxe set that costs $45 to rent for the day. Could you imagine the first time golfer playing our golf course as compared to the norm? They would think they were in heaven, or at least Nordstrom’s. TEXASGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
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