Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Regripped Visits ATT Pro-Am Day 2

I've always wanted to go the ATT Pro-Am (formerly the Clambake) and this year I decided to get myself to Monterey. This is part 2 of my adventure up there, enjoy! 

Pebble Beach is often ranked in the top 10 courses in the US and often the top 25 in the world. It has hosted multiple major championships and the ongoing Clambake nee ATT Pro-Am for decades. It is world famous and I have played it countless times on WGT.

Still, this familiarity from a distance does not prepare you for how good the course actually is when you see it in person. Whether it is good enough to costs the $525 green fee is a judgment call only you can make but I will say that after walking all 18 there, I wanna play it!

The first three holes are often maligned because of their parkland nature, wending their way through expensive housing. While there is some merit to that, each hole offers its own tricks on routing, none moreso than the second hole which features a great risk/reward choice on the second shot and a devilish green to navigate once you get there.

The fourth hole might just be my favorite on the course. You are nestled in trees for the tee shot but once you gain the fairy, blammo ocean all to your left!

The hole is a short par 4 with tee placement and second shots key to a narrow throated green. Also from this perch, you can see holes 5-7 looming to your right which is just a fantastic way to open up this stretch of the course.

That leads to the wild and wooly 5th hole, a very long par 3 with yet another narrow green.

The sixth hole is just as outrageous as you would expect. Standing on the tee box you have a tremendous downhill shot and then are faced with a huge blind and uphill second shot.

The scale of this hole and the elevation gains and losses are something to see in person and TV cannot do it justice.

The seventh hole is the seventh hole, what more can be said? There is a movement afoot to remove the turf you see around the green and take it back to its 1919 roots by making this all sand. This would be a dramatic makeover from the image of the 7th that we are all used to but it would make a dramatic hole even more dramatic.

The slopes of Pebble are really something to behold and while you could get lost in the views of Carmel Bay, the golf course is giving you all you want and more on the ground.

The back nine is surprisingly hilly. Sure it is not right on the water but the golf and the choices it forces you to make is just as good.

The course asks a lot of questions of your game on the back, especially your bunker game. If you ever find yourself in one of these, let me know how it works out for ya...

Eventually you get to the 17th and 18th. The 17th has had many famous moments, including Tom Watson's chip in to win. That ruggedness of that Watson shot I have in my mind was tempered by the TV towers and grandstands a bit

but still the general beauty of the hole was there.

Finally you make your way to the iconic 18th hole and it is everything in person that you think it will be. The tee shot is just as challenging as you think it is and that tree in the middle of the fairway looms large.

Then you hit your second and third shots towards the green but definitely watch out for that massive tree to the right of the green. All of which makes for a fantastic finishing hole.

Before I attended the Pro-Am, I knew that Pebble was a top notch course but now having walked all 18, I can attest to how good it actually is. What also was great is how the folks run the tournament.

The volunteers were friendly, the Pebble Beach Resort staff were top notch and super accommodating and the course had the right mix of amenities and chill out spots. This is a first class operation on a first class piece of property. I can't say enough good things about my time in Monterey and I can't wait to go back and maybe one day play that sucka!

For more info on the tourney, check out this link:

Monday, February 12, 2018

Regripped Visits ATT Pro-Am Day 1

I've always wanted to go the ATT Pro-Am (formerly the Clambake) and this year I decided to get myself to Monterey. This is part 1 of my adventure up there, enjoy! 

Monterey Peninsula Country Club:

One of the great things about the Pro-Am is that it is played on three golf courses instead of just the standard one for most tournaments. Each day players get to play either Pebble, Spyglass or a third private course. This private course over the last few years has been MPCC, a 36 gem right in the heart of Monterey.

MPCC's Shore Course is a fascinating track which is schizophrenic in the best possible way. Several of the holes flow up and down the hills of Monterey and are sculpted within an inch of their lives.

This is the Augusta-like portion of the property. The deer run rampant as this is the most lush parkland setting you can imagine. Once you get off the hill and down by the Shore, the course turns into a gorgeous dunescape of holes running West to East.

While much more rugged than its brothers on the hill, the ocean portion of the holes also has impeccable landscaping which kinda leads to an Augusta on the Shore type of vibe. If I were lucky enough to be a member here, I would just put myself on a continuous loop walking these shore courses, the views were spectacular!

Walking around this place, the vibe was unlike any other I have experienced watching tournament golf. Most private courses that host tournaments recognize that golf fans are there not just to check out the pros but the club itself (Riviera is a great example) but MPCC definitely kept itself at a distance. There were several members only portions of the property that you couldn't access and there was almost no food and beverage options (a couple of food trucks and beer tent by the entrance but otherwise if you were anywhere else on the course, good luck finding any amenities). It was very much a "look but don't touch" vibe which while I understand in the abstract, causes unnecessary hardship on the people watching the tourney.

That being said, MPCC lives up to the hype, the shore holes are fantastic and the Augusta-like holes are pretty and serene. I would love to be a member here!


Spyglass doesn't get the love its sister course Pebble does but woah nelly is it a tough test of golf. The very first hole gives you a taste of what you are in for with a huge downhill par 5 with a crazy elevation loss leading to a sweeping dogleg left then ending with an elevate green.

Just the scale of this first hole would make any fan of golf architecture go insane. The fact that you eventually have to play back up this hill to the clubhouse is even crazier!

The true standout holes at Spyglass are holes 2-5 which are near the ocean but not quite. The second hole is a gorgeous par 4 with a tight drive through the trees leading to a wideish fairway and then an uphill green.

The next hole is a beautiful downhill par 3, very reminiscent of the 7th at Pebble but with much more wild dunescape to get you into trouble.

Truth be told, this is one of my favorite holes on any of the Pebble Beach Resort courses and it comes so early in the round!

Next up is the par 4 with one of the most stunning backdrops in golf.

Homina, homina, homina.

You then cross the road for another par 3, this time a beautiful uphill one shotter and despite the houses, has an amazing wild quality about it.

Of course, the one other amazing thing about this stretch of golf is that you get views of Cypress Point Club which is almost worth it just for that. Spyglass is absolutely over the top in terms of topography and design but I loved it. They say that Spyglass should be the course the US Open is played on and I don't think they are wrong, it is a beast (in the best possible way!).

Look out for Part 2 of my Pro-Am adventure this Thursday!

For more info on the tourney, check out this link:

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Eaton Canyon Golf Review

Tucked into a nook of Pasadena between the mountains and the city lies a surprisingly good 9 hole course run by LA County. Eaton Canyon isn't going to wow anyone with its sub 3,000 yardage and flatish greens but the routing is fantastic, taking you over hill and dale. Well placed bunkers and beautifully framed greens will have me going back again for sure!

What comes to mind first is how the greens are framed. Often elevated from the fairway and ringed by trees, almost every approach shot is pretty as a peach.

The star of the course is the 4th hole, which is a downhill, kinda blind-ish par 4 that frames the mountains and the city.

The greens roll true albeit a bit slow and while flat, present a decent challenge. If they put a little undulation into the greens this course would be a real beaut.

Every once in awhile you run into a course that surprises you and Eaton Canyon's elevation changes will keep you on your toes in a good way and well worth a visit.

For more information on Eaton Canyon check out the link:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Countdown To Bandon- Questions

Well here we are, it is official. The time off from the job has been approved. The dates with the resort have been solidified. Now I just have to book my flights and I will be off to Bandon in a few short months.

Here are a few questions I am contemplating about my trip. If you have any advice, let me know in the comments!

1) What should I do on my way to Bandon?

This will be my first time in Oregon and I can't wait to see all of what the state has to offer. Maybe I should hit up a seaside links on the way to the resort (like Gearheart)?

Also it seems like it is full speed ahead on Pacific Gales, the much anticipated course designed by David Esler. Perhaps I can stop by and check out the property on my way to Bandon.

2) What is the must try of Bandon?

Bandon Dunes has more restaurants than golf courses (6 vs 4.5) and they do golf really well. I bet they do food really well too! I'm starting to look at menus, read, online advice etc. If you have any favorite eats or drinks at the resort, let me know!

3) What else should I do there?

Bandon has so much to offer other than just golf. There are lots of hiking options. There are jacuzzis. One of the things I didn't realize was that most the courses have clubhouses. I definitely want to check out every clubhouse on the property.

I also want to check out the Sheep Ranch. While I am excited about what the resort will do with the property and the current 13 hole layout, I have always wanted to play it before the renovation. As of last Fall, it was still open and maybe there will be a sheep or two waiting for me on this go around.

Let me know what I should do, when I should do it and how often I should do it, while at Bandon! Getting really excited for the upcoming trip!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Three Up and Coming Golf Brands

The annual PGA show is about to take place in Orlando Florida and while I can't make it this year, there is some newly released gear I have my eyes on. Just like there is another round to play, there is always more arrows to add to the quiver.

1. MTB Red

I have been hugely impressed by the start-up golf ball company Snell and their ability to carve a niche out of a highly competitive golf ball market. I liked their 3 piece MTB ball but always thought its touch was a bit lacking around the greens. Well I bet you dollars to donuts by adding a 4th layer the new MTB Red is going to be THE it ball.

The golf ball market needs a serious kick in the rear and the Red might just be the ball to do it.

For more info on Snell, check out the link!

2. 2Undr

I never heard of these guys until listening to the various GNN podcasts but this is exactly the product I need. I don't like cart golf and really like to walk 18 but as an adult male that means I have to up my underwear game.

I haven't tried these yet but if their promise of protection and comfort are true, I am going to buy like thirtybillion.

For more info on 2Undr check out this link!

3. Lynx Golf

I have the softest of soft spots for Lynx golf. They were the clubs of choice of my favorite golfer of all time Fred Couples. I of course had the Boom Boom driver as well as a Parallax 4 wood. I have been keeping tabs on Lynx over the last few years and they have been selling irons and woods in the UK with those classic names of Black Cat and Parallax.

Well this year Lynx is coming across the pond with what looks like their best gear yet. In particular, these gunmetal Prowler irons look like they could take on any other iron in the market and I would love the Lynx logo in my bag at some point soon.

For more info on Lynx check out this link!

What golf gear are you looking forward to this year? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Texas Star Golf Review

Texas is a big state with a lot of golf courses. One of the courses I have seen consistently pop up on Top 20 public courses in Texas is the aptly named Texas Star. Close to Fort Worth, I had to check out TS on one of my latest trips to Texas.

The course really has 2 modes. The first mode is straight ahead of you. The lines are readily apparent, the trouble clearly marked and it is up to you whether to hit a straight shot or not (when is it not?).

The second mode are severe blind shots. Both off the tee and even for second shots.

This course would be fantastic and worthy of the Top 20 ranking if it mix these two elements together. Partial disguises and straight ahead shots to give you a break should do hand in hand with a good golf course (to me at least).

Design philosophy aside, there are some great looks that the course shows you including its use of bunkers which are strategically placed in landing areas which force you to take the ball high.

If you do land your ball on the green, TS gives you a lot to think about as a lot of the greens are rather table-top-esque and your ball can fall of the side or get caught in the many undulations.

The greens were really slick deep in the heart of winter which was a big surprise. Kudos to the grounds crew for keeping those greens as crazy quick as they were.

The star of Texas Star is the 18th hole, a long par 5 with a stream causing trouble down the left and crossing over right at a perfect landing zone.

I made one of the craziest pars of all on time on this. Duck hooked it over the creek but playable. Hit my second shot to just short of the creek as it crosses the fairway. Third shot short of the green. Fourth shot put to within 15 feet. Fifth shot in.

Great vibes coming off Texas Star for sure. However, I couldn't help but think that if this course was redesigned it truly would be one of the best of Texas.

For more info on Texas Star, check out the link:

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Top 10 Golf Courses of 2017

They say any day on the golf course is better than a day at work. While that is certainly true, there are a few golf courses I played this year that are heads and shoulders above the rest. Courses that I will remember for a very long time. Check out the list and let me know what courses you played this year in the comments!

10. Warren Golf Course

Often ranked one of the best courses in Indiana, I can't see what can top it. The back 9 is spectacular and the front 9 gives you the best of parkland golf. The staff is super friendly and I can't wait to play this again after they host the US Senior Open in 2019.

9. Aviara

Aviara is one of the prettiest courses I have ever played. In amazing shape, the shape of the course leads to amazing shots and everything here is just fantastic. I was looking forward to playing the 18th hole and it didn't disappoint. It is a real capper to the round and I highly recommend playing here if you are in the San Diego area.

8. La Quinta Mountain

This course has it all. An amazing routing, crazy mountain views and really fun greens. I am such a fan of this course you might call me a fanatic. Every time I go to Palm Springs I ask, can we play the Mountain? I hope the answer every time is "yes"!

7. En-Joie

Perhaps my favorite parkland course I have ever played. I am originally from Upstate NY and while I don't see myself relocating back there from California, if I did, I would join this course in a heartbeat and try to play it as much as possible. In a state with world-renowned golf courses, En-Joie holds its own with the best of em and is a must play if you are in the Southern Tier.

6. Old York CC

There are plenty of top tier golf courses in New Jersey but OYCC flies under the radar and shouldn't. The course is super interesting to play and engages all facets of your game. I want another crack at this apple when I am back East which is a great testament to the course!

5. Sand Valley

What can be said about the Top New Course of 2017 that hasn't already been said? Well, it is a bear but a fun bear with a tremendous amount of sand, one of the best routings I have played since Sand Hills and one of the best 19th holes in the business. As the course matures, it is going to be really something.

4. Mission Hills- Dinah Shore

This course is a classic and home to an LPGA major for good reason. Tight fairways, tough pin placements but it adds up to a whole lot of fun. It is perhaps my favorite Palm Springs course and definitely one of the top 10 courses I played in 2017.

3. Mammoth Dunes

This course might be one of the most fun golf courses I have ever played and I only played half the holes! There are so many ways to play each hole that you could just play this course over and over again and never play it the same way twice. Truly a gem I can't wait to get back to play.

2. Black Sheep

I had such high expectations for Black Sheep and they met and exceed them. The club is friendly, the logo is fantastic but more than that, the course is sublime and mindblowing (a links-style course amongst the corn). If I lived in Illinois, I would be a member in two seconds.

1. Clear Creek Tahoe

This course has it all. Pine trees, mountain views, serenity, fascinating hole layouts, undulating greens. As soon as I played it, I wanted to play it again. It was the most relaxing/engaging round of golf I have played in a long time. If I could play this every day, I would!

Well that is it for the list! I had a great 2017 on the links and can't wait for 2018!