Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Golfing Mountain View- Review


When people think of California, they often think of sandy beaches or the fog-shrouded Golden Gate bridge. Yet perhaps one of the most important aspects to California is its massive farms. Nestled in part of this farm country in the Santa Clara River Valley are a few golf courses and I checked out Mountain View the other day.

While the course is really short, it is really tough with many holes going uphill or into the wind with narrow driving alleys to aim at.



The course was in pretty good condition the day I played, a bit soft in areas due to overwatering and the greens were a bit slow but they rolled true and the whole course was a delight.

What I appreciated the most was the pin position on greens. Often they were behind tall pine trees, on the edges of lakes, it was a fascinating setup and encouraged a gambler mindset. Sucker pins never were so fun to shoot at.


True to its name, there were many mountain views throughout the course and the topography plays a big part in the holes including an entire hole having basically a bowling bumper down the right side of the hole.


21 bucks for 18 holes and a 4 hour round is a pretty good deal in any golfers' book and will leave a little left in your wallet to pick up some fresh fruit and produce on your way out of town (although make sure to try the burgers in the clubhouse grill, they are great!).




For more information about Mountain View, check it out here: http://mountainviewgolfcourse.net/

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Coore Crenshaw Update



With my Coore Crenshaw quest kicking off in earnest, I come face to face with the fact that half the courses are private. With that I mind, I leaf through the pages of John Sabino's book about accessing the top courses in the world. Check out the latest Coore Crenshaw post here:

http://www.coorecrenshawquest.com/2016/05/getting-on-private-courses.html

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Coore Crenshaw Quest Update!



As all three readers of this blog knows, I am on a quest to play as many of the Coore-Crenshaw designed golf courses as I possibly can. For a current list of the courses, check out the link here: http://www.re-gripped.com/2015/05/coore-crenshaw-bucket-list.html

I have also started a stand-alone Website for my C+C Quest and I recommend you all update your bookmarks accordingly ;)

www.coorecrenshawquest.com

So far, I have played just one course but it was a doozy, Kapalua!


However, this year I am really ramping up my C+C game and thought I would update you guys on what is going on!

In a month I am going on an Arizona golf adventure and will be knocking off 3, count em 3, Coore-Crenshaw courses, We-Ko-Pa and the two courses at Talking Stick. I have never played golf in Arizona and I am expecting hot, heaping, heat but also great golf courses.

Next up, and BIG news, I have been invited to play at Sand Hills Golf Club!!!! I am beyond excited and have been bouncing off the walls since the invite. So many people say its a golf-life changing experience and I can't wait to experience it for myself!

Part of my Sand Hills trip will take me through Colorado and if I can manage it, I am hoping to get a round in at Colorado Golf Club, which sounds like an ultra-hard C+C track. This hopefully won't be my only trip to the heartland this year as Sand Valley is having a soft opening for its CC course in Wisconsin and I hope I get to see it in person!

Finally, my in-laws live in Texas. I love Texas golf and Texas in general, it really is a country onto itself in many ways which I find fascinating. What is also fascinating is that Texas has 2 Coore/Crenshaw tracks and I am hoping to play Barton Creek and figure out a way to play Trinity Forest which is opening in Dallas this Fall.

In summary: Coore/Crenshaw courses played so far 1 of 21. Definitely will be played after this year 6 of 21. Maybe possibly if I am a good boy will have played by the end of the year? 9 of 21! Wish me luck and if you do have any inroads to Coore/Crenshaw courses send them my way to peterflanigan@hotmail.com!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ReGripped's Quest To Play Cypress Point Day 262


This is one of several posts about my attempts to play the ultimate course, the Cypress Point Club. If you have any tips for me or want to invite me to play (!!!) please email me at peterflanigan@hotmail.com I promise total discretion for anyone who helps. Thanks! 

No luck cracking the code to play CPC yet.

I thought I would update you on a few of my tactics. I have been trying to reach out to people who have played a lot of the Top 100 courses in the US or heck the world (there are lists upon lists out there). My interactions so far seem to mirror life pretty well in that if you know someone personally in some capacity, they are much more willing to help you than lobbing emails and random people who don't know you.

The other tactic is starting to get to know people in private clubs. Often if you below to a club like Cypress, you also belong to other private clubs. I recently played at a private club although no definitive connections have been established yet. I don't blame them, I am just some Joe off the street but just give me a chance, I can make mean pancakes for a gift!

I also received via email from Golf Odyssey this baby:


Nothing specific for Cypress Point mind you but good insight into how to play other private courses. Number 1 tip I found useful, most courses allow charity events on and you can play the track through the event. There are several other tips but to read em all it only costs like $2 so check it out.

Golf Odyssey also has interesting newsletters if you are into golf travel


The price is a bit steep so I would recommend becoming a member only if you need to dial in your travel plans that year.

For today's cool bit of Cypress Point minutiae, I give you, the original layout of CPC by Alister MacKenzie himself!

Look at that amazing thing! The course was created in 1928 and I love looking at old maps to see how much open space there was back in the day. Here the course is clearly denser in parts but like a plant leaning toward the light, the course is leaning, grasping for the ocean. Its so fun to see from humble sketch beginnings a world class course coming to be.

Random Course Review: http://www.graylynloomis.com/cypress-point/
Here is a great Golf.com podcast about playing courses like Cypress Point! http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/podcast-how-play-augusta-national-cypress-point

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Golfing El Cariso- Review



There has been a lot of talk in golf recently about how to get more people into the sport, especially the youngs. Is it the cost, the speed of the game, the difficulty of the game? It could be all of those reasons plus a bag of chips. So what to do about it?

Some designers are making 12 hole courses and there is a whole movement to play 9 holes. Personally I think executive courses have gotten short shrift, the offer par 3's and par 4's and the occasional par 5 and while the pace of play can be slow its a fun outing.

El Cariso here in SoCal is an underrated executive course nestled in the foothills and has what a really good executive course has, lots and lots of variety. Par 4s with treacherous water features. Par 3s with strategic bunker placement.


The real star of El Cariso though is a severely downhill blind tee shot par 3


This is the ultimate hit and pray shot (I parred it, one of the highlights of the day!).

The hole also takes the course down into a fun valley with some interesting holes until climbing back up to the main course. This variety is what makes El Cariso special.

The course is in fine shape and while I wish the everyday price was a bit cheaper, their twilight rates are pretty cheap and the bar makes for a fun social hang. As much as I would love to play the 7,500 Whistling Straights in Wisconsin, fun can also be had for 1/9th of the price at the 4,493 El Cariso!

For more information on El Cariso, check it out here: http://parks.lacounty.gov/wps/portal/dpr/ThingsToDo/Golf/El_Cariso_Golf_Course

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Masters Live Blog- Sunday


In what is slowly becoming an annual tradition, I have decided to post my ramblings on The Masters golf tourney throughout the day. Today is Day 4, Final Day!

Updates will appear on the top of this post!

4:50pm: Well that is it folks, what a crazy ride on the backside of Augusta! Will people remember this as Danny winning the Masters or Jordan losing it? I always thought Faldo won in 96 more than Greg lost it and I will view this one the same. Hope you enjoyed the blog, the schwag and the takes. Will see you here 364 days from now!

2:50pm: Willet eases his par putt in making him the leader as Jordan Tin Cup's it on 12. Tee shot in the water. Second shot in the water. Third shot from the same spot in the bunker resulting in a quad. Amazing turn of events here at Augusta. Jordan was going to cruise but Roller Coastered himself out of it. The only thing he can hope for is for Willet to bogey at one of the three holes coming in and birding up a storm on the par 5's and maybe 16. 

Willett makes all of this moot sticking it close on 16. Amazing how this tourney is playing out. 

2:35pm: Roller Coaster Jordan continues. After a bogey, he reels off several birdies. After the last birdie then two bogeys in a row. He is still up on the field but Willet is closing the gap. Jordan has a few par 5's coming up but still, it will be white knuckling to the finish. 

1:45pm: Guys are starting to make more birdies which is great for watching but not so much for the competitiveness of the tourney as Jordan is also making birdies. He currently is 3 up on Willet, and 4 up on DJ. If the results hold, you have to start thinking about Tiger vs The Field prop bets for Masters tournaments for the next 10 years.

12:45pm: We are deep into the front side of Sunday at the Masters. The wind is down and the pins seem to be in a friendly Sunday position. That being said, no one but Kjeldsen making any type of charge (currently 2 under for the day). Why is this the case with all the big names up on the leaderboard? Consistency. Just look at Rory's scorecard:



Sure he has grabbed 3 birdies but woof three bogeys as well. Is it because these guys are just thinking offense and not playing conservatively when they should? Is the course just that tough today? Whatever it is, they better get consistent and quick, otherwise Jordan (who -1 and the paragon of consistency so far) is going to cruise without anyone challenging him (which as a Jordan fan I am ok with). 

12:10pm: What did I JUST say about putting? Smylie misses a short putt on 1 to tie Jordan, DJ misses a short birdie putt to climb up the leaderboard and Rory can't convert two long par putts in a row. Meanwhile, Lowry has no need for his putter making a hole in one.



The key to Augusta is putting. As long as Jordan doesn't 3 putt today, it is looking very good for him.

11:40am: Length, its an amazing thing



Rory, of course missed the eagle putt but mercy what a drive! Still at the end of the day, to beat Augusta it all comes down to putting. Not sure if Rory will ever get it dialed in but with his length he will always have a shot at Augusta. 

11:30am: The last hour is what I call the "Masters Lull". It is the time during the tourney when you get over the initial excitement of Masters Sunday and have settled in to watching the guys battle for last place. Now thought, all the last place guys have played through and the die-hards who have been watching for hours know the course conditions and what is coming. The leader and the just-behinds are starting to get on the course and now the tourney can officially begin! 

10:35am: Masters Schwag Alert, we finally have visual evidence of the infamous peach ice cream sandwich which has been taking Augusta by storm.



This comes via Adam Stanley, a great golf writer and lucky duck because he is one of the select few writers who gets to play the Masters the Monday after the tourney. For a great write-up of what happens on Monday, check it out here: http://espn.go.com/golf/masters07/columns/story?id=2838289

9:50am: Sure I have a Twitter Feed (@ReGripped) but it just can't be all me all the time for your hot Masters golf coverage. As this day continues, who should you be checking out on Twitter?
Shane Bacon: Up and coming commentator. Writes for Fox Sports, has a great podcast and is a must check out during the tourney.
Shane Ryan: Wrote one of the most entertaining golf books in recent memory and has his own unique takes on the game.
Luke Kerr-Dineen: A new voice but one with a lot of insight.
Augusta Chronicle: I am a fan and they are the on the ground news source for all things Masters.
Wrong Fairway and No Laying Up: These guys are PROS of golf comedy. They are must-reads to keep you laughing during the telecast.
Mike O'Malley: THE stats guy to get you through the Masters.

Who am I missing? If you have Twitter suggestions, let me know in the comments! 

9:20am: What is it about the human species that makes us want more and more? I certainly suffer from it in a golf context, I want the latest irons or those golf balls. The same holds true for the Masters. I have wanted to go to the tournament ever since I floated the idea by my dad 20 years ago. We never looked into tickets although the last few years I have rolled the dice with the lottery to no avail. 

So what do I find myself doing this morning watching Sergio hook tee shots? Looking up places to stay in the Augusta region just in case I am lucky enough to get tickets. ANGC, who thinks of everything, has sanctioned a website for all of your housing needs which I am currently perusing like I am actually going to go: http://www.mastershousing.com/ I have also made many a stop on the Augusta Chronicle's website for restaurant selections. http://www.augusta.com/masters/food/search

Its not enough that I watch the Masters, I would like to be there for myself one day! 

8:45am: Masters Schwag Alert! I just received an email from a golf outfitter who's pitch was, buy outfits inspired by players in the Masters. So, if you like what Jordan is wearing this week, check out this similar shirt from X brand. Cool concept and I looked at the other players you could dress as and they include Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel. The other guy they have clothes inspired by is Bubba and THIS is what they chose!


I am dying over here laughing at this. Not only is Bubba having a terrible, no good, rotten week but he is a devout Christian with a notorious temper. All things this hat seems to address, a real winner! 

8:10am: As all 3 of my readers will know, I recently acquired an actual yardage book from Augusta National. It cost me a pretty penny to do so but has been worth it to help me follow along with the action. The real value from following along at home are the pin sheets that are released every day.



It makes watching these guys putt even more interesting and also gives me a more vested interest in the break and slope of the greens. TV often flattens out the greens so you never have a true sense of the break. The book helps bring definition to the greens. Plus if you watch the coverage from the beginning (like my maniac self) you can start predicting how putts will break for the leaders and have a better knowledge base of what they are trying to do out there. If you can find one on the ebays or elsewhere, I highly recommend it. 

7:45am: Good morning everyone! Am I climbing a mountain today? No! What am I doing today? Live blogging the Masters of course! There isn't much to live blog at the moment. A lot of the featured groups feature, well guys who are +10, +11. This is interesting in its own right as most tournament coverage does not feature the leaders. What do these pros do who are out of contention? I think its worthwhile just to tune in for that.

All images poorly photographed from Golf.com Masters.com/CBS are their property and their use herein is for commentary and criticism purposes only and no rights are claimed to the copyright thereto.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Masters Live Blog- Saturday



In what is slowly becoming an annual tradition, I have decided to post my ramblings on The Masters golf tourney throughout the day. Today is Day 3, Moving Day!

Updates will appear on the top of this post!

4:25pm: The roller coaster results in a car crash. 2 double bogeys on the backside leaves Jordan just one shot up on good ol Smylie Kaufman going into Sunday. Here is how I see the first page of the leaderboard breaking down on Sunday:

Currently tied 5th and Even:
Danny Willet: His mind is understandable on his pregnant wife and while he is close I don't think it is year. 
Dustin Johnson: Will come out firing, everyone will get excited and then he will blow it on the backside.
Jason Day: Was missing greens at the WGC event and is missing them here. Insanely long but if he can't hold the green on the second shot, he can't win.

Currently tied 3rd at -1:
Langer: The star of the senior tour, 2 green jackets. If anyone has the experience and the skill to win tomorrow, its him. I predict 2nd or 4rd tops.
Matsuyama: Always solid, always seemingly in the top 10. Yet he is up and down this week at the Masters. He doesn't have many red hot runs and I don't think he wins.

Currently 2nd at -2:
Smylie Kaufman: Sure he is playing in his first Masters and sure Nantz made him feel like a 10 year old but Smylie has game, forged on the Web.com tour and a proven winner on the PGA. If Jordan falters early, Smylie takes it.

Currently 1st at -3:
Yes he has led every round since 2015. Yes he makes clutch birdie putts and par saves. However, can anyone honestly tell me they feel good about Jordan going into tomorrow despite all this history? The last 2 days have been rough on him and he has been lucky to go out and shoot that 66 the first day. It gave him the cushion he needed but that cushion is gone. Jordan is my favorite current golfer and I will be rooting hard for him tomorrow but if he doesn't step on the gas like he did on the front side on Thursday and Friday, I think he will start getting antsy on the backside, yelly at Greller and perhaps lose the tourney.

Safe prediction: Jordan wins by 2 in a nailbiter.
Bold prediction: Smylie takes it making everyone press "ignore all" on their spell checks.
Crazy prediction: DJ who no one has talked about eagles 13 and 15 and takes it. 

3:50pm: Separation, separation, separation. Jordan birdies a bunch and makes clutch pars and is four up on the field. Considering how tough Augusta is playing this year, 4 strokes is a lot. Of course, Jordan just puts his tee shot into the trees. The Roller Coaster continues! 

3:30pm: What a difference 45 minutes makes. Jordan rolls in a must make par putt and then roles in a beauty for birdie. Guys are making up ground (like Langer, Day and Matsuyama) but Jordan has a chance here to step on the gas and put some separation between him and field tomorrow. Separation is key because if Jordan keeps being fidgety and surly out there on Sunday, that is going to be problematic with a tight field. 

2:45pm: When Jordan was winning all of those tournaments last year, part of the reason he did was because he never had a blow up round or hole. He was playing 4 good rounds and not taking himself out with doubles or triples on a given hole. Jordan made mistakes but the key word is mitigation. He always scrambled and saved par or bogey at worse.

This year has been very different to say the least. Shooting doubles and triples, shooting 79 at the Northern Trust, etc. On 11 he made double, bringing himself back to the field. He then followed it up with a birdie on 12. Last year was speedbumps, this year is a rollercoaster. The question heading into Sunday is, can Jordan even things out to close it out? If he continues to double and triple, he can't survive the downs at a course life this. Of course, he is Mr. Bounceback but it is a worrying trend for tomorrow and the rest of the year.

2:05 Masters Wrist Schwag update! I wondered to myself, self, what is the situation with Masters-themed watches. 

The Masters makes a different watch every year, although only available on Ebay. They look sweet but whoa boy are they expensive ($300-400 a pop)! 




Also in poking around the interwebs I found a great Masters-inspired watch from Etiqus


What a world we live in! 

1:30pm: Putting, we all do it but most of us practice our drives rather than our putts. If guys like Sneds and Spieth have shown us through 2.5 rounds at Augusta, they are contending due to the flat stick not the driver. You can muck it up tee to green but if you are steely with the putts you still can score. 

1:00pm: Saturday is typically called moving day on the PGA Tour. Its usually the day the pins are in their friendliest positions, the day the tee boxes and other elements that going into a golf course are maximized for their scoring possibilities. This is when a middle-of-the-pack guy can get into contention and put heat on the leaders. It just isn't happening today at Augusta. 

There are 4 guys on the first page of the leaderboard who are under par and one of them is Jordan, the leader! At most all I am seeing is -1's with no one throwing a 66 or better up. Not that they could, Augusta with the wind is a mighty tough test of golf and I think if you offered any of the leaders an even round they would take it. It will be interesting to see what the powers that be decide to do for the setup on Sunday given that lower winds are predicted. Will they set it up for the guys to go low or will this be a "hold on for dear life" tourney? 

12:20pm: What did we do before cable? Not only that but what did we do before DirecTV? Having multiple channels showing the Masters (heck other majors and select PGA events) is a dream come true, especially if Nantz gets to be too much for you. I am a fan.



11:45am: Ok FINALLY the leaders are about to tee off, coverage is about to begin on TV (and DirecTV begins its multichannel coverage). Given what we have seen so far today, very windy, players coming up short, etc. who do I think benefits from the weather conditions? Well that has to be Brandt Snedeker. 

He put in the round of the decade at Torrey Pines going 8+ shots better than the rest of the field on a Sunday-Monday finish. He deserved that win like few others I have seen in awhile and if everyone ends up in the even to +2 category, then look out for Brandt coming in a -1 or -2 and being tied for the lead at the end of the day. 

11:10am: Schwag update! Growing up I always had a fondness for bucket hats. This put me in line with many a Masters patron as bucket hats seem to be very much a standard fashion statement over the years. As I have never gone to the Masters, I have not participated in Masters Bucket Hat schwag but I have the next best thing, a Criquet hat!



Decked out in Augusta's colors, this limited edition bucket hat fits me perfectly and gets me into the Masters mood. What are y'all wearing while watching the Masters this weekend? Here is some info about Criquet: https://www.criquetshirts.com/

10:30am: There is a bit of a lull in the Masters broadcast. Watching guys who were back of the pack not making up any ground and just going about their day. With the leaders teeing off in an hour or two, it might be time to read up on some great stories about Augusta, courtesy of Jay Busbee:

https://tinyletter.com/jaybusbee/letters/from-busbee-18-tales-of-great-golf-writing-for-masters-weekend

9:50am: Too good of a picture not to post from Golf.com



It's windy out there!

9:10am: Knox FINALLY comes into view on Amen corner. According to Twitter sources he is all square with Bubba through 10. My day will be made if Knox goes 1-2 up through the Corner. 




Of course Knox promptly puts one in the water but with Bubba in the back sandtrap anything could happen, including a 10 which made just a few years ago.

8:30am: The wind is really starting to gust which makes this links hound happy. You can actually see sand start to blow out of the bunkers! Adam Scott on 2 with the wind, hit it 300+. Adam Scott into the wind on the next hole hit it about 275. 



Most PGA courses are rather boring parkland affairs that these guys can carve up and shoot 20 under. A course with some teeth in it due to conditions, I am all about it! 

8:00am: One of the things I like to collect from golf courses (especially those I can only play once or infrequently) are yardage books. Through hook or by crook I actually scored one for Augusta National! If I ever win the Masters online ticket lottery and go there, this baby will be in my back pocket as I follow around the players. It is also great to use when watching online and if you can find one on the Ebays or otherwise, I highly recommend picking one up! 




7:30am: Even though we are in a coverage blackout at the moment, you can track the scoring online at Masters.com: http://www.masters.com/en_US/scores/index.html Everyone is talking about Rory and Jordan going head to head today but the group I am most anxious to see is Bubba Watson and his marker Jeff Knox (who went toe to toe with Rory in 2014 and beat him over 18). I like certain golfers and dislike others but today I am ACTIVELY rooting for Knox. 

Knox has such an online following that No Laying Up has created perhaps the tweet of the tourney which you can view here: https://twitter.com/NoLayingUp/status/718801482968088576

More importantly I hope this all happens with the online coverage, fingers crossed! 

6:55am: Good morning! I am tired but happy I get to spend my weekend watching golf from the comfort of my couch. I have to scrounge up some sweet tea and pimento cheese somewhere to get truly into the spirit of things. As we wait for the featured groups to get underway in an hour or so, its time to check with the golf writers to see what their thoughts are through two days at the Masters:

Shane Bacon has a things he loved/didn't write-up that is pretty spot on: http://www.foxsports.com/golf/story/masters-jordan-spieth-bryson-dechambeau-phil-mickelson-jason-day-ernie-els-040816

Geoff Shackelford has gathered an impressive number of links for your reading pleasure: http://www.geoffshackelford.com/homepage/2016/4/8/2016-masters-day-two-this-and-that.html

Stephanie Wei has some great quotes from the leaders prior to tee off: http://www.weiunderpar.com/?p=44277

All images poorly photographed from Golf.com Masters.com/CBS are their property and their use herein is for commentary and criticism purposes only and no rights are claimed to the copyright thereto.