Don’t Jump! Life Is Worth Living!

hangmans-nooseI pen this missive to encourage today’s competitors to not commit suicide. Yes, it was horrible. Yes, you looked like someone that isn’t ready to play on the big course, like someone who should be sticking to the course where putting through the witch’s mouth is nirvana, where you’re a hero if your first shot gets past the blades of the windmill. Most of you (like I played well) should have been putting with a white cane rather than a $300 putter. But sometimes, that’s the way the cookie bounces. And besides, the way you played today, even if you tried to shoot yourself, you’d most likely miss anyway.

I am a mathematician. To me, statistics have always been more exotic that any porn I’ve yet to see. Today’s statistics were true hard core. Here they are!

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At first glance, they are merely numbers, cold, hard, uncaring numbers. But look closer. Note the following …

The average “differential” was 11.0. “Big deal,” you say? Consider this; the average differential is normally on the order of 3.0 strokes. As a group, we were nearly four times the average today.

The average score was 91.1. With the handicaps carried by the group, the average score should have been roughly 85. The average was six strokes higher than expected!

Under normal circumstances, the average score to handicap is plus three, i.e., three strokes over the difference between course rating and gross score. Generally, about one in five golfers will shoot his handicap or better.

Here are the facts …

No one, not a single golfer shot better than four strokes over handicap today. One golfer (name withheld to protect the guilty) shot 24 strokes over handicap. Another was 19 over handicap.

Why did this happen? Because the course (Padre) was in a bad, very, very bad, mood. The greens were lightning fast, the fairways were as receptive as my first wife with a headache, the wind was constantly changing. I haven’t seen the golf gods this pissed off in years.

Now the up-side …

Everybody had to compete on the same course. If you had a bad day, so did everyone else. The field was level. Quitcherbichen.

Many moons ago – in my days of climbing the big mountains – I learned  that when the mountain’s in a bad mood, she’s not going to have any guests. On other days, she embraces even the novice climbers. Such is the case with a golf course. The Padre was not accepting guests today. If you survived, you did well.

There were some great shots hit out there today. In fact, on one hole (#2), I had six of them.

Wednesday’s another day. Suck it up. Play well. The field is level. If it’s tough for you, it’s tough for everyone. Oh my! I say that, but I’m going to quit golf altogether if I don’t do better, a lot better.

Going Native on Ambiente

High GrassWith a few new members and a few whose memories come into and out of focus from time-to-time, let’s review the rule associated with playing out of the “native grass” areas on the Ambiente course at Camelback.

Native grass areas are deemed “lateral hazards”. This means:

  1. YOU MAY NOT ground your club when addressing your ball. You MAY lightly touch the grass, but you MAY NOT do anything that alters the swing path such as taking practice swings that tear or uproot the grass or plants near the ball.
  1. YOU MAY NOT move any loose impediments in the hazard. You MAY NOT brush any rocks or pebbles aside. YOU MAY NOT pick up or move any twigs, pine needles, coyote droppings. You DO NOT get relief from “obstructions” if you’re in a hazard without incurring a penalty stroke. This includes things like the fire hydrant on the ninth hole.
  1. YOU DO NOT get free relief from standing water if you are IN the hazard. That’s sort of why it’s called a “hazard”. After the rains, many of the native grass areas become native rivers. No relief without penalty.
  1. YOU MAY NOT “build a stance”. You can place your feet firmly on the ground, but you may not uproot plants or kick big rocks around while taking your stance.

Relief from a lateral hazard is covered under Section 26 of the Rules of Golf. You have five options:

  1. Play the ball where it lies without penalty and subject to the prohibitions outlined above. Obviously, you have to find the ball to do this. No penalty.
  1. Stroke and distance. Return to the spot from which you hit the ball. You incur a one stroke penalty. If you hit the ball from the teeing ground, you are now hitting your third shot from the teeing ground.
  1. Drop a ball within two club lengths of the point where the ball crossed the margin of the hazard. You take a one stroke penalty.
  1. Drop a ball within two club lengths of a point on the opposite side of the hazard, but no closer to the hole than where the ball first crossed the margin of the hazard. You take a one stroke penalty.
  1. Drop a ball as far back as you wish on a line from the point of entry and the flagstick. You take a one stroke penalty.

Admittedly, it is called a “lateral hazard”, but this DOES NOT MEAN you can drop a ball laterally out of the hazard. You MUST drop within two club lengths of the point where the ball first crossed the margin of the hazard (assuming you’re taking relief as defined by #3 above).

What are the native grass areas? For most golfers, it’s pretty apparent that the arroyo area on the starboard side of the course is a “native grass” area. However, some golfers lose their clarity when they end up in a little “island” area of native grass. If it looks like native grass, you’re safe assuming it is a hazard. This includes places like (1) the tall grass between the cart path and the sand traps on the left side of the #3 fairway, (2) the grass areas running the entire length of the port side of pretty much every hole on the course, (3) the grass areas above and to the left of the traps on #18, (4) the tall grass area between the cart path and the #16 green, (5) the grassy area above the trap at the end of the dogleg on the #1 hole. These are just a few of the “native grass” areas. If it’s got flowers, it’s not fairway, it’s not rough, it’s native.

A couple of final comments on this topic: if you’re playing the Padre course and hit a ball into a native grass area that’s part of the Ambiente course, e.g., the area behind the twelfth green, IT IS NATIVE GRASS and deemed lateral hazard.

Consider this a “local rule” for The Jones Boyz Group. I don’t recall if Camelback has addressed this issue, so don’t claim it as an “official” local rule for the club without checking. There are areas on the course where the cart path runs through native grass areas. For example, on #3, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9 and other holes, there are sections of the cart path with native grass areas on both sides of the path. Technically, with a ball on the path or a ball adjacent to the path where the concrete interferes with your swing and the finish on your $100 club, you are NOT entitled to relief. However, by Executive Decree of the Tournament Committee, i.e., me, we will play with our own local rule. You MAY take relief from the cart path without penalty. However, you MAY NOT take relief out of the hazard. The free drop must be within a club length of the nearest relief from the cart path, but within the hazard.

We’ve got a great golf group and we should be proud that we have fostered a culture where we play by the rules. We don’t improve our lies. We don’t bump the ball. We’re pretty much “by the book”. Hopefully, this helps some of the newer members of the group to stay on the high road.

In the final analysis, the best way to avoid conflicts with these and other rules is to hit your shots into the fairway. I’m thinking about trying that approach. I’m always open to new things.

2017 Camelback Golf Club Ladies Invitational a Great Success

Day One (94 of 177)The Last Annual Camelback Golf Club Ladies Invitational tournament is in the books. “Our Swan Song” came off as another great success with the proceeds benefiting the Semper Fi Fund for wounded veterans and their families. As we have for the past three years, we accumulated plenty of pictures of the action and posted them on this site for your viewing pleasure. I hope you enjoy them.

Note that you can scroll through the images or click on any one of them to go into the “slide show” mode where you can view them full-screen and advance through the presentation with your arrow keys.

As has been the case in the past, you can get copies of any of the pictures by requesting them via email. If you do, please identify the image(s) by name. Also let me know if you intend to have an image printed for framing so that I can provide you with a high resolution copy of the requested image(s).

I have tried to include shots of all of the golfers, but with so many playing, I’m sure I missed a few. If someone parks a cart in front of a player or stands in front of the player, I can’t get shots from where I was positioned. For those who noticed me, you also noticed that the photo equipment wasn’t very portable. It weighed more than a few of the golfers themselves.

In cases where photos were clearly not “flattering”, I have deleted them from my system. However, over my many years as a photographer, I know the most people, me included, feel as if it is not possible to take a pleasing picture. Historically, I’ve found the problem seems to be even bigger when photographing the ladies. If I have posted a picture of you that you truly find so unflattering that you’d like to have it removed, let me know and I’ll try to accommodate. However, my style of photography is one where I eschew “posed” pictures in deference to spontaneous ones where people’s emotions are visible. I have found that those are truly the best pictures. We are at our most beautiful when we are our most real selves. Someone rarely smiles after missing a putt, but we’re only human and we all miss putts from time-to-time. It’s a part of the game of golf and metaphorically, it’s a part of the game of life. Rejoice in being a part of humanity.

I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Kennedy’s Flourish Before Winter in Winnipeg

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Bob Kennedy kicks in a putt

After Wednesday’s torrid competition, it wasn’t surprising to see scores fall back into the statistically “normal” range, at least for most of the golfers that is. The big exception was Bob Kennedy. Bob recorded a net 63 with an outstanding round on the Camelback Ambiente course. Given his handicap, that’s a better than 200-to-1 odds round of golf. It really paid off in the day game, especially after his partner, Maddie Levy, posted a 10-to-1 odds round. They walked away with half the pot for winning the front side and then escaped with the other half of the pot by winning the back side by one stroke over Jack Summers and Jim Funk.

Speaking of Jack Summers, he continued to play with a hot hand with a one-over-par 73. When his handicap hits bottom, it will probably be the lowest he’s seen in ages.

Low Net

  1. 63 – Bob Kennedy
  2. 67 – Jack Summers
  3. 68 – David Harbour

Low Gross

  1. 73 – Jack Summers
  2. 81 – Maddie Levy
  3. 82 – Bob Kennedy and Howard Jones

The course seemed to play a little tougher – or should I say, less easy – than it did Wednesday. There were only nine birdies in the group. Bob Ewing accounted for one third of that total. Summers, Jones and Bob Kennedy claimed the rest. The scores returned to normal with players averaging three strokes over handicap. The weather was perfect. The course is in great condition. And smiles decorated the faces of all the participants – even Sandy Wiener’s!

Cooler Weather – Hotter Golf

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Ron Dobkin – eleven below handicap

It defied explanation. Fifteen Camelback golfers decided to bring their “A” games to the course all on the same day. Scores averaged more than three strokes below what would have normally been expected. Forty percent of the field posted scores in the 70s on the Ambiente course. Some golfers played very well; others played better than that.

Ron Dobkin rode his well-earned 21 handicap in route to a gross 79, net 58. He was eleven strokes under his handicap. It was his best round in two years. Interestingly enough, the competition was so tough that Dobkin’s net 58 only got his team a tie for second place. Regardless, it was a spectacular effort.

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Dr. Jack Summer – gross 71

Dr. Jack Summers took medalist honors with a fine one-under-par 71. Bob Ewing was another competitor carding a super round five strokes under his handicap. Seven of fifteen golfers shot below handicap. Statistically, a golfer normally shoots three strokes over handicap. I’m not sure what virus had infected the field, but if it could be bottled and sold, there would be an insatiable market.

Low Net

  1. 58 – Ron Dobkin
  2. 64 – Bob Ewing
  3. 65 – Jack Summers

Low Gross

  1. 71 – Jack Summer
  2. 72 – Matt Flores
  3. 76 – Mike Smothermon

It was indeed an unusual day. With only fifteen golfers, it’s notable there were twenty gross birdies. Every single hole on the front side yielded at least one birdie. The third hole gave up four of them. There were eleven net eagles and one net double-eagle. Ron Dobkin had a net one on the challenging ninth hole. More than eighty percent of the scores recorded were net pars or better. The average gross score was 82! If I were to pick one word to describe Wednesday’s play … Wow!

The Camelback Ladies Invitational Benefitting The Semper Fi Fund a Smashing Success

232 ladies had great fun for a great cause. Well, maybe the lady who hit three balls in the pond on #18 didn’t have as much fun, but it was still for a great cause. Approximately $60,000 went to the Semper Fi Fund as a result of this year’s tournament. We had perfect weather, two fabulous golf courses, a staff that catered to every need and a cadre of volunteers that put heart and soul into this wonder event. If I said here are a few pictures of the participants, I’d go to prison for “gross understatement”. Here are lots of pictures. Enjoy!

If you were a participant and would like to have a digital copy of any of the images, note the name and number of the image and email h.Alton.Jones@ScottsdaleGolferNews.com. I’ll be happy to remove the copyright on the image so you can produce the printable version. You may click on any of the images below for a full screen slideshow. Thanks for helping with a great cause. Continue reading “The Camelback Ladies Invitational Benefitting The Semper Fi Fund a Smashing Success”

Heard on the Street

Heard Broadrick June 2014 (1 of 2)We enjoyed a spirited and competitive match today. The course played tough. Not a single golfer matched his handicap. But that’s not to say there wasn’t excitement.

I must conclude we’ve got some incredible competitors. So far this season, we’ve had not one, but five hole-in-ones. Apparently, our players know the ropes.

Shelby Yastrow threw down the gauntlet and aced #11 on the Ambiente course. As the ball fell into the hole, Shelby calmly said, “I think it went in the hole.” It was as if he was saying, “Oh well. Another one.”

Next, Maddie Levy knocked it in the hole on #8 Padre.

Chet Schwartz wasn’t to be outdone. He brought #11 Ambiente to its knees with another ace. “Not good enough,” exclaimed the golf maestro. Ten days later, Chet did it again. I’ve been waiting for sixty-two years for my first and Chet drains two in ten days.

Today, we learned the fireworks weren’t over. Heard Broadrick had been waiting thirty two years for his first ace. For me, hitting and staying on the green of #3 Padre is a great accomplishment. But for Heard it was child’s play. With the pin nestled in the back corner, it was difficult to see where his tee shot came to rest. After searching the usual suspects, i.e., the sloping left side, the bank on the right, the bunker on the right, someone looked in the hole. Behold! Heard had claimed our group’s fifth ace of the season. And we’ve got plenty of time left to go.

Congratulations to Heard. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. (And thanks for the drinks.)