New Technology, Obsolete Courses and Phil Mickelson Did What?

August 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Entertaining News, Pro Insider 

Have the rest of you noticed how far the ball is going these days? It’s no longer just with the driver but every club in the bag. I think even putters are being used from 100 yards out.

Sure distances have been creeping up over the years. But the last few years have wrought extraordinary damage to the game as we know it. We all recognize that some of this new found machismo is the result of better conditioned athletes. But most of it can be attributed to new technologies.

The PGA Championship 2011

Were you watching the recent 2011 version of the PGA Championship? Did you happen to notice the course was over 7400 yards AND was only a Par 70? I wager this is nearly 1000 yards longer than the courses most of us play while also being 2 strokes less than the typical Par 72’s. Did you happen to watch Phil Mickelson play a 450 yard Par 4 by hitting 5 iron and 5 iron? That’s right! He hit 5 iron off the tee of a 450 yard hole. Ridiculous.

There was a time when the professional game had some relation to the game the rest of us play. We might have hit a 7 iron 150 yards and the pros would do the same with an eight. Now they hit a sand wedge 150 yards while we maybe hit an eight. The average golfer can no longer relate in any way to the game the pros are playing.

How long will it be before more storied courses such as Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, Shinnecock Hills, etc are no longer considered suitable for tournament play because they do not have the room to lengthen them to keep up with today’s technology? What about the great golf course in your own area that has become outdated only because of their inability to add length?

Caddies Agree

I just finished watching the David Feherty show and his guests were caddies “Fluff” Cowan and Jim “Bones” Mackay. Fluff is a lifelong caddie having carried for Peter Jacobsen, Tiger Woods and now Jim Furyk. Mackay has been on Phil Mickelson’s bag for Phil’s entire career. Both of these legendary caddies took note of their players being 3 – 5 clubs longer since they began their careers as caddies.

It is time to de-tune the equipment. We need to keep the professional game relevant to the amateur game. We need to stop the demise of the classic courses that have been sacrificed to modern technology before it is too late. Hitting 5 iron – 5 iron to a 450 yard hole benefits no one and in fact only serves to drive the proverbial wedge between the pros and the rest of the game.

Spyglass Hill – Unforgettable Golf on the Monterey Peninsula

August 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Spy Blog 

Spyglass Hill Golf Course may forever lie in the shadows of its more famous Monterey Peninsula neighbor, Pebble Beach. Yet many golfers will tell you, in hushed tones, that it is the better and more challenging course of the two. While this is certainly like trying to pick favorites among your own children, Spyglass Hill has earned its reputation as one of America’s finest courses.

Spyglass Hill is designed strictly for golf. No fancy clubhouse, restaurant or spas encumber this enchanted forest. In fact, as you approach its hillside starting point you may wonder why so many talk about this amazing course.

It is said that author Robert Louis Stevenson walked these grounds to gather ideas for his novels including Treasure Island. And so in 1966 Robert Trent Jones Sr. unveiled his treasure to the world of golf.

This is a layout with two personalities that are so different you feel as if the course you finish on may not be the same one you started on. The first five holes quickly descend from a forested wonderland to the oceanside sand dunes before returning you once again to the immense pine forests and rolling hillsides.

The first hole starts innocently enough with a tee box and fairway bordered by the soaring pines of the Monterey Peninsula. This downhill Par 5 swoops majestically to the left as it tumbles from its tree-lined beginning while slowly revealing its sand dune protected green with the ocean as its backdrop. This single hole may be worth the price of admission.

Holes two through five are fully in the dunes and are exposed to both the beauty and fury of the ocean and its breezes. Errant shots here put your ball in an adult sand box that only your children could enjoy. Many call the opening holes of Spyglass Hill the finest in all the world and I am not one to disagree. They are simply spectacular!

The final thirteen holes are carved from a magical land of oversized trees with a variety of terrain and no shortage of difficulty. Lakes, sand traps, elevated greens and narrow fairways are just some of the tests you face on your way back to the clubhouse. In fact, the PGA TOUR rates the 6th, 8th and 16th holes as among the toughest on their tour. It is no wonder that the pros consider this more challenging than Pebble Beach and are happy to only have to play one round here during the Pebble Beach tournament each year The scoring average here is always the highest of the courses used for the tournament. That should be fair warning to the average golfer that playing from the correct tees is a must in order to enjoy your day here.

If you are planning to visit the Monterey Peninsula, make sure to include all the great golf courses that make up the Pebble Beach Resorts: Spyglass Hill Golf Course, The Links at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach Golf Links and Del Monte Golf Course. There may be no better collection and variety of courses in such proximity anywhere in the world.

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