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TPC Stadium Course at PGA West

TPC Stadium Course in La Quinta, CA

The prettiest hole I’ve played to date, #17 at PGA West

The Stats

Tee Time: September 23, 2012, 10:48, 106 F, Calm

Designer: Pete Dye (1986)

Playing Partners: Matt, Thwan (approximate spelling)

Tees: Championship, Par 72 (73.3 rating/141 slope/6,739 yards)

Course Handicap: 15 (11.6 index)

Stats: 94 (44-50); 27 putts; 7/14 fairways; 2/18 greens; 4 penalty strokes

The Course

The TPC Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta, California is a constant member on lists of both the finest and the toughest courses, and deserving of those rankings as well. Spectacular mountain views, pristine lakes and bunkers with sand as perfect and soft as a Park City powder day are present on all 18 holes. Punishing mounds, long carries over water and teeny-tiny greens also characterize every hole at PGA West. It’s a perfect marriage of the two most important aspects to making an excellent golf course: possessing breathtaking scenery while simultaneously providing a challenge of a golfer’s skills with all his clubs. Pete Dye set this track up in a way that tries to hide most of the dangerous spots on the course. Obviously the water is hard to miss, but the undulation of the earth from tee to green plays tricks on you. It masks the bad spots, crosses up your eyes into incorrectly judging distances (which is no fun when you could have sworn that fairway bunker was at least twenty yards shorter than it ended up), and stubbornly refuses to kick rolling golf balls anywhere but off the fairway. I get the feeling that in the days before GPS carts this course really was a bitch. The starter even warned me to pay special attention to the little flatscreen in the cart, as many hidden traps were revealed. Mix in some greens that were half the size of a reasonable putting surface, surround that with bunkers deeper than the Mariana Trench and narrow fringes and now the course has put strain on your iron and short game play. Continue reading TPC Stadium Course at PGA West

The Boulders

The Boulders – South Course in Carefree, AZ

I forgot a group picture again, so here’s Steve putting one on the green

The Stats

Tee Time: September 9, 2012, 10:10, 91 F, Gusty

Designer: Jay Morrish (1991)

Playing Partners: Steve Walker

Tees: Blue/White, Par 71 (70.8 rating/136 slope/6,421 yards)

Course Handicap: 14 (11.7 index)

Stats: 89 (45-44); 26 putts; 6/13 fairways; 4/18 greens; 4 penalty strokes

The Course

The Boulders, a top 100 public golf course according to Golf Magazine, presents everything great about Arizona golf. Desert scenery (the version with soaring saguaros, wind-rounded rocks and colorful mesas, not the barren expanses of badlands only Les Stroud would enjoy), exciting target golf and numerous complimentary amenities. Set in the upper elevation of Carefree, about 45 minutes north of the Phoenix of airport, the whole course is secluded among the hills and winds throughout the villas and homes at The Boulders Resort, a Waldorf Astoria property. While nothing has yet matched the awesomeness of Troon North, The Boulders is very similar, like a Troon North for higher handicappers. Misses are not as devastating, the greens are easier to read and the fairways don’t roll balls into desert rock. That being said, the Boulders is a course that needs to be played smart, as I discovered after a great tee shot on the par-5 5th hole that left 240 yards to the green. It turned out ignoring the way the landing area to the green narrowed like the center of an hourglass brings ol’ #7 back onto the scorecard. This is one of several examples where the risks do not outweigh the potential glory of eagles. Continue reading The Boulders