Join Us for a Round of Golf

Golf

Monday – Wednesday – Friday

Some players find Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays convenient days for a competitive round of golf. Some also enjoy playing a little later in the day after spending a relaxing morning reading or preparing for their day. We typically tee off between 11 a.m. to mid-day.

If you would like to be included on the invite list (with no obligation to play), contact Howard Jones (Howard.Jones@svTempest.com) or go to the website www.ScottsdaleGolferNews.com and sign-up. You can be removed from the invite list at any time.

Note that you may bring guests (space permitting) as long as they have a verifiable USGA Handicap Index. We play a variety of match formats and the buy-in is small.

If you would like to be added to the invite list, fill in your name and email address below.

The Pope and the Slippery Slope

Math ForumulasI recently noticed a posting on the bulletin board of the locker room at the Scottsdale club at which I play golf. Obviously posted by a higher handicap golfer, it heralded the claims of Dean Knuth, “The Pope of Slope”, that low handicap players retain a distinct advantage in head-to-head competition over higher handicap players. Although I have a lot of respect for the opinions of Dean Knuth, I took some issue with the article as printed in Golf Digest. Below is the original piece as taken from the bulletin board as well as my response. I then went into my database of golf matches and analyzed nearly one million head-to-head matches. I’ll present the empirical data upon request. What do you think?

Taken from Golf Digest June 2014 Issue

Another Reason to Ask for More Strokes

You would think that a golfer with a course handicap of 12 would have a decent chance of beating a scratch golfer, provided he was given his full 12 shots. But that golfer has only a 25 percent chance of winning, says Dean Knuth, former Director of the USGA’s Handicap Department. “The USGA set up its system to favor better players with a built-in bonus for excellence,” Knuth says. “It’s a philosophy that handicaps should be based on potential rather than average ability.” For every six strokes in handicap difference, the better player has a one-stroke advantage, Knuth says. So in a match between an 8 and a 14, the 8 handicapper has a 60 percent chance of winning. You might want to remember that before wagering.

But now (as Paul Harvey used to say), The Rest of the Story …

Dean Knuth is unquestionably one of the experts in the world of golf handicaps, however, he may be sugar-coating this one and allowing us middle to high handicappers to cry foul when there isn’t one.

The slight-of-word about handicaps being based on “potential” rather than “average” ability is a semantic dance with roots buried in the “USGA Handicap System”, but those roots are clouded and misunderstood. They are part and parcel of a circular argument that doesn’t make a lot of mathematical sense.

I suspect Mr. Knuth is alluding to the fact that for the purposes of handicap calculation, the differential for any given round is multiplied by 96% which the USGA calls its “Bonus for Excellence”, an “incentive for players to improve their golf game.” On the surface, it appears to favor the lower handicap players. But does it really?

I challenge you to go to the driving range and question one, ten or a thousand golfers as to why they’re practicing. I don’t believe any of them will respond they’re there because of the USGA’s “Bonus for Excellence”. They’re there because they lost two balls in a water hazard the previous day and they can’t afford to lose two more tomorrow. To suggest the “Bonus for Excellence” incents golfers to improve or for that matter that the USGA should concern itself with your level of motivation is delusion.

The “Bonus for Excellence” does tend to mitigate a statistical advantage that the higher handicap players have over the lower handicap players. Generally speaking, the higher the handicap, the greater the variability of scores. A scratch golfer’s net scores generally fall within a couple of strokes of par. A twenty handicap golfer’s net score will usually fall within four or five strokes of par – both over and UNDER. In other words, a twenty handicap golfer has a much higher probability of shooting a net 65 than a scratch golfer.

On any given day, in a head-to-head match, the scratch golfer may have a miniscule statistical edge over the high handicapper. However, it’s not the big edge Mr. Knuth suggests.

In a recent tournament at a nearby club, eighty-eight golfers competed where prizes were awarded to the best twenty-two net scores, i.e., 25% of the field. Slightly more than 20% of the field carried single-digit handicaps. If Mr. Knuth’s claims are valid, wouldn’t you expect the list of winners to carry more than 20% of the single-digit handicapper’s names? Alright, how about close to 20% of the winners come from the group of low handicappers? How would you explain only 10% of the winners being single-digit? The fact of the matter is that of the twenty-two prize winners, not a single one came from the single-digit list. With a closer look at the probabilities, this outcome was not unexpected.

No matter how you cut the math, here’s my conclusion. With all due respects to Mr. Knuth … If you come to me and ask for an extra stroke because your handicap is six strokes above mine, you’ll be talking to yourself. Play well.

Howard Jones

Handicap Committee Chair – Camelback Golf Club

2015 Camelback Golf Club – Ladies Club Champion

Emotions Ran High
Ann Seybold is a relatively new member at Camelback, but based upon her reaction after making a long putt, she’s loving being there.

Camelback Golf Club’s Ladies Champion for 2015 is Gail Kennedy. She lit it up with a two day gross of 159 to capture the crown.

Ladies Club Championship 2015 (5 of 106)
Gail Kennedy – the 2015 Ladies Club Champion

Diane Hunter won the Championship in the Low Net category. Her two day total was a scorching 136. It was a super event. A tip of the hat to Matt Person for coordinating another great Camelback Golf Club tournament.

Here are some pictures of the action. Clicking on any image will enlarge it and put you into the “slide show” mode. Clicking on the “x” in the upper left corner will close the slide show.

All Hail Brad Sinclair – 2015 Camelback Golf Club Champion

Brad Sinclair - 2015 Club Champion
Brad Sinclair – 2015 Club Champion

Brad Sinclair captured the 2015 Camelback Club Championship by firing a seven over par 151 over two days of great competition on two of the Valley’s finest courses. He shot 75 on the Ambiente course in Friday’s round and carded a 76 on the Padre course Saturday. He all but took ownership of the three pars winning three out of the eight possible “closest to the pin” contests. Dave Allen and Ross Yeo finished in a tie for second place.

Frank Bogacz took the overall low net championship shooting an eight under par 136 edging out John Elick by a single stroke. Doug Hunter finished two strokes back while Dave Towers ended the tournament three back. It was a tight, extremely competitive match and everyone (except Bogacz) could look back with the “if only that one putt would have fallen” memory. Alright, maybe not everyone. I’m thinking I would have been in great shape if only about fourteen more putts would have fallen.

The Camelback Golf Club team of professionals and all of their staff again proved they’re the best in the business. The tournament was run without a hitch. The food was fabulous and the wait staff turned in another all-star performance. My only regret is that I didn’t join Camelback years ago when I first came to the Valley of the Sun. A special thanks to Shiloh Hagey for his tireless efforts and outstanding performance.

Enjoy some pictures from the 2015 Club Championship. Rudi provided us with some great golf “expressions”. The riddle of the day is “Who is that Championship Flight playing from the bushes and behind the tree?” Thanks also to Liz McCarty for taking six hours out of her day to take some super photos.

Camelback Men’s Match Play Championship Enters the Semi-Final Round

Rudi Barich makes his putt on #8 Padre
Rudi Barich makes his putt on #8 Padre

It hasn’t lacked for excitement and suspense. Entering today’s quarter-final round, the teams of Ross Yeo and John Elick, Roland Eckert and Dick Cahal, and Dan Bartlett and Glen Morga had already secured spots in the semi-final. The remaining spot would be determined when club champion Mark Van Ark and Bob Shaps locked horns with Rudi Barich and Bob Kennedy. With great competitors facing off against each other, everyone expected a fierce and competitive match. It lived up to the expectations of all.

Van Ark and Shaps were fast out of the gate and jumped out to an early lead. Their early dominance threatened to get Barich and Kennedy down, but anyone that knows these guys understands the old line about “Don’t shoot him; you’ll just make him mad.” I’m still recovering from a burn I received when Bob Sznewajs and I played Barich and Kennedy in the opening round. With two or three holes to go, we had them pinned in a corner. Then Rudi got “the look”. His focus intensified and I made the mistake of reaching in front of him while he was lining up a putt. He burned my hand with his gaze. We lost the match.

Rudi and Bob battled back today with tenacity. They

won the match one-up after twenty holes. It was an exciting and eventful match. Congratulations to all the competitors for an outstanding and spirited effort.

The semi-finals now find Barich and Kennedy taking on Yeo and Elick while Cahal and Eckert confront Bartlett and Morga for spots in the championship.

Here are a few images from today’s action. Click on any image to enlarge and enter slideshow mode.

2015 Camelback Ladies Invitational – The Most Fun You Can Have Without Going to Jail

From the FlowersTwo hundred six ladies competed in this Eighth Annual event and judging from the photographs, it couldn’t have been a greater success. For the fourth consecutive year, the tournament was held to benefit The USMC Wounded Warrior Regiment of AZ, Semper Fi Fund.

Laura Castellvi - Senior Manager, Semper Fi Fund
Laura Castellvi – Senior Manager, Semper Fi Fund

Laura Castellvi, the Senior Manager in charge of Community Outreach and Events for the Semper Fi Fund flew in from California to attend the opening reception and graciously welcomed the participants. Although the final tally isn’t complete, it appears the proceeds from this year’s spectacular bring the total raised for the Wounded Warriors to nearly $300,000. It was great fun for a great cause. (View Co-Chair’s summary.)

When the last putt was in the hole, after the last “free throw” from the bunker and the last kick on the green, the team of Cindy Schapira and Shar Tanouye had claimed the first prize for low net. Sue Clark and Debbie Murphy walked with low gross honors. There were ten flights with twenty golfers in each. The complete results can be seen here. There were no losers in this great tournament.

Sue Clark
Sue Clark – Co-Chair

This was unquestionably one of the best designed and run tournaments I’ve ever seen. It was apparent that the Tournament Committee (Maddie Levy, Sue Clark, Lauri Allen and Marilyn Yeo) had poured heart and soul into creating a memory for everyone participating that would be long remembered. They were aided by countless volunteers and incredibly generous contributions from Marriott, Camelback Golf Club, Southwest Conference Planners and many others (see the complete list by clicking here). A special thanks go out to Jim Rose, the General Manager of Marriott Camelback Inn and Rob Barley, the Director of Golf at Camelback Golf Club.

Maddie Levy
Maddie Levy – Co-Chair

This year’s tournament theme was “Game On”. Strategy and excitement were ratchetted up a notch by giving participants some very special sports linked tools. For example, everyone had an “instant replay”, i.e., a mulligan to be used anywhere on the course. One “free throw” translated into one free toss of the ball from out of any hazard on the course. As the tournament photographer, I was as amazed as the players when one of the ladies used her “free throw” to extricate her ball from the greenside sand trap by the #9 green and promptly threw the ball (with great form) into the lake on the other side of the green. Participants got to “punt” the ball once on a green of their choice. There were “field goals”, basketball shoots and “magic putts”. But in the final analysis, victory was claimed by those that played the best golf. Over the course of two days of play, I witnessed some great golf shots and some that had “room for improvement”. I saw so many smiles and happy participants, I’m wondering if I could shave my legs and don a miniskirt and get away with entering next year’s event. I might not stand a chance of beating some of these ladies, but maybe I could win the “cutest legs” contest. Scratch that thought; I just looked at the pictures below.

Photographer’s Notes: After taking more than 800 photos, I had to cut the number down before posting them here. If you’d like to see them all and/or get a printable copy of any of them without the copyright notice, just drop me an email and I’ll be happy to accommodate. For future reference, you can help the photographer by (1) wearing bright colors and (2) leaving the cart in a position where it is not in line with the camera. When looking for the best shots, a photographer is seeking “humanity”. By that I mean genuine feelings and emotions that are unscripted and spontaneous. This isn’t to say “posed” pictures can’t be great, but those I personally enjoy the most are those of subjects that “emote”. These are the shots where we can share in the joy or feel the pain. With that said, here are my personal favorites from the tournament.

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Enjoy the rest of the images of the action. Click on any image to enter the full screen slideshow.