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About heavygolffeels

  • Birthday January 15

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    : Phoenix, AZ
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  • Swing Speed
    101-110 mph
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    Multiple times per week
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    Short Game
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  1. Likely not necessary for a higher handicapper. I see people with too little skill using LW way too often. That being said, a 60 degree is my go to greenside bunker club and I may use it 2 or 3 other times to attack certain pins or carry or hit over an obstacle. Something I'll always have in the bag.
  2. I hate my team already. Cut +4 Highest Score 85
  3. Oh brother. Even on a par 3? This is the butterfly effect on how the course gets backed up all day. The guy driving 55 in the fast lane at rush hour sees himself as being safe and only a minor inconvenience for the driver behind him, when infact brake lights are flashing for 10 miles behind him. People are exiting early and trying surface streets. There's been an accident from people trying to switch lanes and get around. Aim for efficiency no matter the situation.
  4. That will be a blast. Definitely want to go back already and North Berwick is near the top of the list.
  5. Gleneagles - PGA Centenary Course (Ryder Cup Course) The complex at Gleneagles is a definite contrast from St Andrews. Its a solid hour drive inland, and gone was the heavier sea air. We caught one of the nicer days of the year again, and it was outright hot even. I had to strip down from my long sleeve undershirt on the first tee so my apologies to the starter. Don't believe everything you hear about Scotland, all my rain gear still had the tags on it, so I took it all back. Whereas St Andrews is a college town and you feel like your just as likely to see the mayor or the richest local in a pub, Gleneagles is a bit more uppity. More American country club/tennis club vibes. Perhaps a place to stay with another couple and golf while the wives hit the spa and ride equestrian or do some shopping. When we drove by a fishing pond, I realized that was the first time I had seen kids in a few days, so a bit more family orientated. I got the sense that the area was more used by Scots as a staycation of sorts more than world wide travelers but I could be wrong. The FA cup final with Man City vs Man U was that day and everyone was packed into the clubhouse bar, when outside was a spacious patio overlooking the Kings course with a prime opportunity to work on the sun tan. On one hand a place I would go back to and I think the entire family would enjoy, one the other hand a place I feel like I've already been to stateside. First, the PGA course is absolutely 100% American. Its a Nicklaus design and plays very tough, but fair. It's a brutal walking course. The tee boxes are miles from each other. Not an exaggeration, the walk is sometimes as long as the hole and its one of those were it always seems uphill. They have carts, and I am probably a bit jaded from never having to pay for a cart in Arizona, but at $55 a pop, that was a pass from me. I was going for the full Scottish experience and set to walk every course, but that was a mistake here. I had heard bad reviews on the conditions, but that was not the case at all from us. The course was absolutely pristine. I think the nicest course condition I played on the trip. The greens were soft and true. Again more American style in terms of holding shots than the links courses. Fairways and tee boxes were fantastic as well, but the course lacks pizzazz. I really liked the opening hole. The par 5s were all memorable, and played pretty long with some risk/reward opportunities, often with shots over water. There were a few par 3s that were framed nicely with the tree lines and water. But much of the course, and especially the par 4s are not overly memorable. It's all beautiful, but my eye was constantly wondering off to the hillside. Watching the sheep and cows, looking at some old stone walls running up the hills and pondering how they even collected and hauled that many stones hundreds of years ago, let alone built a wall. I wonder how much the design was influenced by the ability to hold large tournaments. From my neck of the woods, I sort of compare it to TPC Scottsdale. There's mixed reviews on that, just like our group had mixed reviews on Gleneagles PGA Centenary, but I find it to be underwhelming when the stands arent up. Nice course, but there are far nicer ones in the area for cheaper. Gleneagles was much the same for me. Nice course. A true test of golf. Absolutely beautiful country side setting. Couldnt imagine a better place for a picnic. But not seeing the appeal to drive an hour for the golf. Perhaps with family or to give others on your trip something to do once the small town of St Andrews had already been explored and shopped out, but just for golf? I'd say stay on the links. My mate used to drive it past me, so he didnt like when he found the fairway bunker on #3 and I flew it. Farmland and sheep OB to the left on number 4. Long par 3 playing 210. Good test there. Great par 5 on the back. I had a bad lie after my tee shot and had to layup short of the water, but still collected par. This was on a 7 iron on a great line on the par 3 number 17. I was staring it down thinking it was a potential hole in one ball, but got zero roll from these softer greens. Easy 20 feet short. I dont recall having to use a divot tool anywhere in Scotland, except here. More like US golf greens. Looking back down the 18th fairway from the green. Really postcard type scenery all day. Beautiful course. Beautiful day. Gleneagles is a great spot. I may go back if given the chance on a different type of trip. With the wife, with the kids, this is a fantastic resort. I'd echo the widely available sentiments in web reviews, play the Kings. The PGA is nice, but if you separate the golf from the country side views, it's not anything you couldnt find back at home.
  6. Kingsbarns There was complete consensus among our group of 20 that Kingsbarns was the best golf course on our trip. The chatter on the bus afterwards was how it ranks world wide. Many said it was the best course they've ever played. There were alot of Pebble Beach comparisons. Top 3 or top 5 was a consensus for most. I have to agree. Admittedly, I'm not a connoisseur of world golf or even American golf. I'm a west coast guy, but I've played Torrey Pines, Pebble, Spyglass, Spanish Bay, Pasatiempo, Bandon Dunes and Trails, Pacific, Old Mac, Chambers Bay, Kapalua. I grew up in Vegas and played all the top rated courses there and now I'm in the Scottsdale area and have played just about everything on everyones top 10 list in the area. And I'm fully aware there's likely some recency bias, but yeah, Kingsbarns was a top 5 course for me. I think 6,7,8,18 on Pebble are incredible, but 1 through 18 Kingsbarns is the better course in my opinion. The criticisms are fair. Is it an authentic Scottish links course? No. The locals will say its an American designed course catered to American tourists. I'm not sure that was the intent, but regardless, it at least achieved the goal by massively impressing all of us. The greens were especially applauded. They are fast. The ball takes its time to rest. You hold your breath from the fairway as the ball moves closer or further from the pin at a trickle. The clubhouse is well adorned. By far the best locker room I saw in Scotland. The scenery from every spot on the course is stunning. Had I not previously read that loads of Earth was moved to build Kingsbarns, I would have bet my life that it was built on natural terrain with little heavy machinery. Complete opposite feel of Dumbarnie. The designer, Kyle Phillips, also does so well keeping the ocean in view. Yes, there are incredibly picturesque holes like the par 5 number 12 which plays right along the water and is somewhat reminiscent of 18 at Pebble. The par 3 number 15 can force a dangerous carry over the sea with the proper pin placement. We got the full ocean experience on 15 with the sight and smells of a dead whale washing ashore. But the real victory from a design standpoint is the inland holes. Everything is built on a 3 tier platform that is all pretty much parallel to the water. Number 1 works down toward the sea, 2 and 3 play alongside it, but even as your turn inland and uphill, 4 and 5 have unobstructed views of the ocean and even the greens are perched so that from the putting surface it looks like they run off into the water despite being 100 yards from it. The third tier offers high points of much of the layout, and even on the few tree lined holes, the ocean side is always kept clear. The landscape just makes every hole picturesque, yet moving around the terrain at different elevations and keeping the sea on different sides of you so that no view gets repetitive. Something is always unveiling itself. Genius. Kudos to the course for being extremely playable as well. I shot a 77 on a beautiful day even though the putter was ice cold. I was in command of the ball, but even our higher handicappers had a good time. The fairways are often generous, and even on the tighter holes, a big miss to either side might just put on you on a different fairway. Most of the rough that I was in was wispy heather and dried, thinner grass that you could advance the ball from. As long as you werent in the water, you could find your ball and get a club on it. So a very fair design and enjoyable to play, which for me adds to the acclaim. If you are making the trip to Scotland, you don't pass on this one. The green on hole 5 looks like its floating on the water when its really 100 yards away. On the teebox at 15, looking back at number 12. Par 5 number 12. Absolutely gorgeous hole. I think my favorite par 5 I've played. Par 3 number 15. Absolute stunner. From the green on 15, you could smell it before you saw it, but I believe an orca calf washed up.
  7. Carnoustie CarNASTY. I drove my wife mad saying that for months in the best thick Scottish accent I could muster. I'm sure we caught it on a good day by Scottish standards, but as the trip goes for this fair weather golfer from Arizona, this was the coldest, windiest day by far. We played from the standard yellow tees, making this the supposed hardest golf course in Scotland and often mentioned as one of the toughest in the world. Admittedly, I didn't bring my A game to Carnoustie. I played so well the day before and I had high hopes, but I just didnt have my swing. Ball striking was poor. Felt bad on the first few holes as I had my caddie hiking the hills. I didnt flush an iron until the 17th hole. I'll give the course it's credit. Especially on the back 9. Felt like 14, 15, 16, and 18 were into the wind and we were basically playing for bogeys off the tee box. Unfortunately, I'm juvenile enough to like a course more when I play better and like a course less when I play poorly. I shot 85 at Carnoustie and generally felt like a sadist for even being out there. It's just brutal with the wind and your are just at its mercy. So not my favorite course in the world. Whereas I could gladly play the Old Course every Saturday as a member, I think once a year would be enough for me at Carnoustie if I was a local. That being said, its still a must play in Scotland. I'm glad to have check it off my list. It did live up to the hype for me at least. My plan was to take ball out of bounds on Hogans Alley and fade it back in as Hogan did. I naturally hit a fade with driver anyway. But I didnt have much confidence in my swing, and the wind was hurting that move, so I decided to aim down the middle and slice it into the right rough instead. My playing mate was so confident he carried the bunker, but I watched it go in so that was worth a laugh. He wanted to play out backwards but we convinced him to go for it! He wasn't comfortable with it though! The long par 3 16 was a hellish hole for me. We had it at 245 playing dead into the wind. A mishit a low cut driver pretty thin but it was looking like it was going to run up onto the green before a bad bounce took into the front left bunker. Still some 40 yards out, I hit a lob wedge out to still just off the green. 3 putt from there and a nice double. I tried my best to Van De Velde it and soared my driver over to the tee box on 17. Nearly hit my mates so they hardly made fun of me for that. Played it as a par 5 from there and took my medicine. Carnoustie is not the place to play hero golf. Time to recover from the beating at Carnoustie with a whiskey flight from the Keys Bar. Highly recommend that place! A couple fun putts here and the outcome from the spectacles bunker
  8. The New Course Finally, our group of 20 has graced Scotland's golf courses! For this round we had a team game going where on Hole 1 you had to take 2 scores, Hole 2 you had to take 3 scores, and Hole 3 you had to take all 4 scores from the group, and then repeat 2, 3, 4. As the B player in the group I birdied the first and third holes and shot even on the front, before settling into my 'normal' game on the back with a 42, but making for a quality 78. I was testing the Garsen Ultimate grip in Scotland, and putting was clutch today. We ended up winning the game handily and I grabbed a few skins as well. Since I was the only person in the group that played the Old Course everyone was asking how the two compared. I've heard over and over again that the New is the better course. I completely disagree. The Old was in much better condition. The holes are more memorable, there's more of a climax to the finish. The shared greens are more interesting and theres just a different energy on the course. That is by no means a knock on the New. I gladly play it again. I had a blast out there. It's really a must play if you are in St Andrews, but its not the Old. I didn't take as many pictures because I was trying to coach our C and D players. Weather started out calm and overcast but turned into blue skies with alot of wind at the turn. Was interesting to see the tide out so much compared to the day before. Also got to see, and hear, some of the Royal Air Force training going on out over the sea. We were last to tee off in our group, so was nice to be able to 3 putt 18 with everyone watching. Oh well, my winnings paid the caddie fees and the drinks at the bar.
  9. The Duke's Course Duke's was a late addition to the card and probably the course I was least excited to play. We had a large block of tee times at the New Course that day and I was teeing off at noon. So the thought was to find a course to play as a warm up early that morning. Had to be close by and have some scheduling flexibility as we werent sure if we were going to have 2, 3, or 4 people. Jubilee and Castle were unavailable, I vouched for Eden and there was some thought to try the Fairmont, but my playing partner wanted a different style course than the New, so Duke's it was. We made a tee time at 8AM the night before. They call it a heathland course, and to be fair I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I found the course to be an interesting mix of forest and sloped, ungrazed pastures. I was expecting a simple warm up course and Duke's is not that. It's 7512 yards from the tips. We played from the Blues at 7002 yards. This was a true test of golf. The rough out there was insane. My playing partner lost 7 balls and shot an 83 so he was playing well, but if you are off by a little you can be dead. But it was incredibly peaceful and idyllic up there. We saw a single tee off before us, hit his second, and then never saw another person again. Not the easiest walking course, I would have done a cart next time around especially having another 18 on the ticket, but I was trying to do Scotland proper. A couple shots with St. Andrews way in the background. Conditions were hit and miss. There were a number of fairways that had some sanded drainage lines, and a few holes on the back 9 had greens that had been punched and sanded recently. Mission accomplished and the round served its purpose, but I would pass on this one next time. We didn't have the time, but I'd go do Ladybank if you were looking for a heathland course to mix it up. Otherwise, the options in St. Andrews are better in my opinion.
  10. The Old Course Travel was a bit of a headache getting into Scotland. My plane was delayed 3 hours, I missed my connection, had to wait another 3 hours for the next one, so I got into Edinburgh at 10PM instead of 4PM. Car rental took forever, and now I'm trying to drive on the wrong side of a skinny road in the dark. I ended up in St Andrews at midnight, played 36 holes the next day getting back to the hotel at 9PM. I was wiped out and jet lagged, but set my alarm for midnight. I ended up waking up from the cat nap at 11:30, took a shower, and got to The Old Course Clubhouse at 11:55. I was hoping to land a decent number, but it was already packed. I was number 19 in line. How is that possible? A foursome from Australia started camping out at 7pm. That drew attention and more people that were checking on the queue decided to pile in. I was already disappointed and wasnt sure if that number was going to make it. I quickly learned that I was ill prepared for the cold as well. I had no beanie, no gloves, no thermals, no blanket. Even my slacks and jacket are more suited to the Arizona climate I was coming from. I tried my best to fall asleep using my back pack as a pillow, but the areas around the tiny lights and heaters were already taken, the cement was cold, the wind coming from off the North Sea was relentless, and it didnt help when the sprinklers came on and misted all of us. I thought about calling it a night a few times, but luckily the 4:30 sunrise breathes life and energy into you. By the time the personnel showed up at 6 we had 43 people in line. The starter gathered us around and basically told us it was bad news today. There were only going to be 8 guaranteed tee times and much of the day was booked out from company bookings that hardly ever cancel unlike the locals. I decided to stick around till 9, then I would go try to jump on Jubilee or something, but at 8:30 a foursome of locals cancelled. Minutes later one guy was held up at the airport because he didnt have his passport. Another person failed to make the bus after a night of partying. By 9:30 AM I was number 3 in line. Now, I figured I'm waiting all day. Not sure if that's good or bad. #17 in line was known as tall guy (easy to spot in the daylight picture). He didn't sleep a second all night. He was quiet but had a focus about him just sitting in the clubhouse watching all the groups tee off. Finally, his number was called. Then there was #18. He was on his honeymoon and his wife slept out all night in the cold with him. They had a busy trip and this was his one day to golf. He was crying in the morning with his wife consoling him as they thought this once in a lifetime experience wouldn't pan out. But then he got his chance. At that point it was pretty much inevitable for me. A half hour later only 3 of a Chinese foursome showed up. I couldn't understand the story of the missing person. But I didn't care. I got my chance at The Old Course. Maybe ashamed to say it as a happily married man with 3 beautiful kids, but that was one of the happiest moments of my life. I'm not sure I can accurately review the The Old Course. There's no way to separate the thrill from getting to play it, the year of buildup, the months of research, the hours in the cold waiting, from the actual play. I yanked the tee shot on 1 about 20 yards left of my line, which was already well left. My hybrid ran out forever, into the middle of the 18th fairway and just yards from the burn, but I was beaming. Just pure joy to be out there. What I quickly noticed, is that just playing the Old Course is a completely different experience. We've got a foursome with 4 caddies, we are standing on a shared green with another 8 people. That's 16 people on a green. There's people standing in your fairway from different holes and sometimes from a different course. There are locals jogging around, tourists walking the outside paths, people taking pictures of you in your backswing at number 1, and as you get back to the city a whole slew of people are lined watching the final holes. In fact a big chunk of our 20 person group happened to be watching at 18 as I came in and cheered me on! Sort of feels like playing on a tour event. And that energy kept me on cloud nine the entire time. Meeting up with out group of 20 and a great steak dinner at the Road Hole Bar at the top of the Old Course Hotel made for a great end to the day. Well besides the pints at the Dunvegan.
  11. Dumbarnie Dumbarnie is just a 6 min drive from Lundin. I had nearly 3 hours to kill before my round, which was fine by me because the clubhouse at Dumbarnie is immaculate. They've got a great patio overlooking the teebox on 1, the green on 18, and the driving range and practice green. I did some shopping, downed a few pints, had the best fish and chips of the trip, and worked on my suntan - something I was NOT expecting in Scotland. All of the staff here is incredibly kind and accommodating. Thought I was leaving with some new best friends. The course gives off strong Whistling Straits and Bandon vibes. It feels like a great wine that still needs some time to peak though. The greens were a bit slow for my liking, although some other golfers knew I was American the second I said that back at the bar because they were from Switzerland and thought they were quick. The stacked sod in the bunkers is artificial turf and in 80% of it, natural grasses have grown over it as planned, but in spots the brighter turf still shows. The mounding is an incredible feature that will look more natural as it softens, but I really enjoyed how each hole is sort of set down in the land and you dont see much of the others holes save for a few high points. Really feels like you are the only other group out there and you just get lost in the terrain. Sort of like an expanded corn maze. I do wish they made better use of the water views, as its always off in the distance and never in play save for a pond. Still, its a high end course. The turf conditions were phenomenal and the design is fantastic. The wind really picked up in the afternoon and humbled me, but it was a great time. I could see it being a decent scoring course when the wind is down because the fairways are mostly wide, but when you miss you get in some serious stuff. The view from the patio, watching other groups tee off while enjoying lunch. You get a nice welcome kit on the first. The also dish out a wee dram of Scotch. I happened to play it on the 3 year anniversary of the course, so they busted on the good stuff. Starter was nice enough to take some pics on the first tee box as well. The pictures speak for themselves. Expansive layout and seemingly endless mounds across the horizon. It's really captivating. Almost like staring at a camp fire. My playing mate had to play out sideways from this nasty bunker. How's that for a par 3?
  12. What a trip. We were blessed with great weather. The golf was fantastic. An absolute dream. I'll put up some course pictures and reviews for others interested in making the trip. Lundin Links I'm so glad I got this course on the schedule. It was truly a fantastic introduction to Scottish golf. Lundin is a 20-25 minute drive from St Andrews and is an Open qualifying course on years the Open is set to be played at The Old Course. So much history here with Leven being one of the first modern style golf courses with 18 fairways and 18 greens back in 1846. And then the course being split in two with Lundin in 1868. Each took 9 holes and added their own 9. Would be a blast to play both and compare. As it is, there's an old stone wall running through and separating the courses. Obviously, not as heralded as some of the big names courses in the area, and that's understandable. But honestly, Lundin was one of my favorites. I had an 9AM tee time and the starter sent me off by myself. Finished the round in 3 hours. Lundin felt like a time portal, where I was free to meander about and explore the terrain. A walk along the beach, a flat valley of links golf, a trip up the hill and through a forest, before one more pass through the valley back to the town and clubhouse, with all the odds and ends you expect on a course in Scotland. I'd gladly play it again, and strongly recommend playing if not Lundin, Leven, Crail or Elie. Some sort of locals style course to help capture the essence of golf in Scotland. Course opens up with a few holes running down a picturesque beach. Lucky to catch it on such a beautiful day. As you get to the 5th hole, the course turns back inland, and you play along the wall separating the two courses. Leven Links is on the other side. Every year the members from each course play a tournament as the course was originally constructed with 9 from each side. I love that! Some quirky elements here, where the 6th tee shot is blind over a mound and you have to make sure the group in front has cleared. There's a few other viewing towers on the course as well. Wouldnt be Scotland with a burn. Comes into play on several holes and are often blind from the tee box. Yes, I found it once. The back nine has a couple holes that run along the trees which makes for a nice change of scenery, but it quickly turns back towards the water for a proper links finish. A couple of shots from the high points of the course. The 18th finishes back to a wonderful clubhouse with some houses overlooking the green. Had me thinking about real estate. Not a bad place to be!
  13. My first thoughts are unrelated to technique. We need to know where the pin is, where the trouble is, are we carrying water or bunkers, what is the wind doing, what's behind the green, wheres the best spot to miss, what sort of spin am I getting from this lie, is the green contoured in a way where you dont want to be above the hole, etc, etc. If the pin is in the back, trouble is long, you are sitting in the rough and expecting to lose spin, then 135 to a 139 pin is a great play. If the pin is in the front, there are 2 greenside bunkers on the front left and right, and you are hitting from a tee on a par 3 and expect high spin, then 145 is likely center of the green and gives you a safe play to cover the traps.
  14. Your swing thought it generally countering your biggest fault. My worst shots are getting steep and coming over the top. So for me the thought is keeping the face closed and taking it back feeling like I am way outside. Sort of outside, stand it up, get wide and tall. Once I'm there, the swing is basically done. Just time to snap it all back to the ball low, shallow, and from the inside.
  15. Youtube is your friend if you know what you are looking for.
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