JC Golf: What a Ball Fitting Is, and Why You Need One

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Bridgestone Golf will be conducting ball fittings for the first time this year at Golf Fest, March 14th & 15th at Oaks North Golf Course in Rancho Bernardo.

For those unfamiliar with what a ball fitting is and how it can benefit your game, we provide the following interview with Johnny McFarland of Bridgestone, who will be conducting the fittings at Golf Fest.

The reason for a fitting is simply to determine the best ball for your game to maximize distance and precision. People tend to underestimate the impact of the ball in this equation, McFarland says.

The fitting is done on a launch monitor that measures club head speed, ball speed and spin and then derives the best ball to optimize those conditions.

McFarland says the fitting begins with the player hitting a new ball with the brand he or she is currently playing. After five or six swings, the players switches to a comparable Bridgestone ball.

McFarland says that in 75 percent of cases, the Bridgestone ball – one of the eight the company produces – outperformers the players’ current brand.

“In the other cases, the ball is working and we’re happy to tell them that,” he says. “We’d love to have you as a customer, but we can’t improve much on what your ball is doing.”

Since Bridgestone switched from being Precept nine years ago, it has become the No. 2 ball in golf, behind only Titleist.

In that time, McFarland says the company has conducted more than 250,000 live ball fittings.

“We tested everyone from a 15 year old to an 80-year-old woman,” McFarland says, “and across all handicaps.”

That mountain of data is what the company uses today to help match players to their ideal ball, which is rarely Titleist, McFarland says.

“Titleist makes a great ball,” McFarland says, “but it’s not for the average duck. You have to have a swing speed of 104 mph or higher to compress the Pro-V1, and that’s not the average player.

“Yet 50 percent of players play a tour-grade ball.”

While Bridgestone has products to serve the pro player, it’s just as adept at helping the player with the 94 m.p.h. .swing speed, which is the average amateur, McFarland says.

What follows is a Q & A with McFarland about the benefits of ball fitting and what your game might be losing by playing a misfit ball.

Q. Let’s cut to what everyone wants to know: How much of a distance difference can a ball fitting make?

A. It can be as little as four to nine yards, but I’ve often seen it be 10 or more. It’s quite eye-opening when you get on the machine and do a comparison.

But when you’re swinging your own driver and wearing your own golf shoes, there’s no gimmicks. And you can’t deny the data. The results are often dramatic.

Q. How much do people underestimate the impact of the ball when trying to improve their games?

A. People still put a lot of time, money and effort into buying a driver when putting a little more money into the right golf ball is likely to give you more improvement. That’s just the way it is.

But I think people are starting to see the error of their ways.  And I also think they’re getting better at telling the difference in ball performance.

You can put all of our balls on an Iron Byron and they’ll end up about the same distance, but how they’ve gotten there will be totally different. Some will be high or low, or have a little more side spin, and that’s exactly what they’re designed to do.

People are coming around but it’s still very much a one-person-at-a-time education for us.

Q. What’s Bridgestone’s latest product advancement?

A. The newest thing is the B series, which has a rubber core, but in the formulation they inadvertently added water to the mixture and it changed how it reacts. The outer edges are 30 percent firmer and the center is 30 percent softer.

That takes some spin off the ball, which we all know makes it go further.

They’ve just started carrying these in the pro shop, but the pros on Tour already have them. They using will test a ball for two months before adding it to their bag, but they using these within a week. That’s how good it is.

We’re looking forward to a great year.

Q. How long does a ball fitting take? 

A. We can do it in about 10 minutes if it’s a busy day, but we’re happy to spend more time with people if they really want learn.

Q. What’s one of the most valuable things a player can learn?

A. We can tell you what your max drive is, meaning what’s possible for you to achieve with your swing speed.

For instance, I swing it at 92 m.p.h., so I’m never going to drive it 300 yards. We can determine what your max is and then fit you to a ball to help get you there.

That said, hardly anyone achieves their max. (Tour pro) Matt Kuchar’s max is 301 yards and he hits it 299, which is unbelievable.

We’re not so much interested in how far you hit it now but far you could hit and then helping you get as close as we can.

And we’ve done that for a lot of people now. That’s why our retention rate is so high.

Each person who participates in a ball fitting with get a free Bridgestone two-ball pack. For more information about Golf Fest, or to register, go to http://www.jcgolf.com.

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JC Golf: First Impressions of Oaks North

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First Impressions of Oaks North

When I entered into this agreement with JC Golf, I had played all their North County courses except one – Oaks North.

I’d heard good things about the 27-hole executive course in Rancho Bernardo, and every time I drove by it always looked to be in fantastic shape, but I just hadn’t had the opportunity.

Well, that opportunity arrived last Friday, and I have to say that I enjoyed this course very much.

I’ll play an executive course on occasion to focus on my irons, wedges and short game. By that measure, Oaks North gave me everything I was looking for.

On that note, I thought I’d highlight the five things that made my round at Oaks North valuable and enjoyable.

 1.   Birdies Galore

You come to an executive course to make birdies, which I did, but the unexpected bonus was the amount of wildlife on the course. Song birds and water birds abounded. Having only lived in California for about 18 months now, I’m still amazed and amused by the variety of wildlife here.

The highlight of the round came on the third tee of the South Course at around 9:30 a.m. As we were approaching the tee, a white heron was on the box. Rather than be spooked by our approach, it lingered on the box for about 5 minutes before casually strutting off into the landscaping.

I very much value these small encounters with nature and think they add a great deal to the golf experience.

My first golf birdie came on the next hole when I drove the green on the 260-yard 4th and two-putted. I carded three birdies in my round but would’ve had twice as many I’d made a few more putts.

Which brings us to …

2.   The Greens

The greens at Oaks North were in great shape and provided just enough of a challenge to keep things interesting.

You don’t get any severe breaks or pin locations at this course, but you do get enough break in your putts that you’ve got to make a good read. These aren’t the no-break tabletop greens you find at some executive and municipal courses.

 3.   A Variety of Tee Shots

I only hit the same club on consecutive tee shots once. I had 8-iron on back-to-back  shots on Nos. 5 & 6 on the North, which might not have been the case with a different wind or another pin position.

Otherwise, the tee shots varied nicely and worked most of my bag. I played two holes that were over 300 yards, just enough to air out my driver.

There’s actually more distance here to work with than at a few other executive courses I’ve played in the area, which is nice.

4.   Frozen Snickers

I’ve been known to have a sweet tooth at the turn and frozen Snickers is my snack of choice.

Oaks North has them. I always think a little more highly of course that thinks to stock frozen Snickers. Well done.

 5.   A Great Walk

I did not walk the first time, but I will the next time.

I enjoy walking my rounds and wish I had more options in the area in that regard. Oaks North is an ideal place to carry your clubs, or grab a pull cart, and enjoy the walk and take in the scenery at a more leisurely pace.

Though it can be a brisk walk, too. There’s no reason you can’t get around here in 3 hours, which I think is something as Southern California golfers we can all appreciate.

Highlight Hole: Meadow Lake GC No. 4

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First, the bad news about the par-3 4th at Meadow Lake Golf Club in Escondido: This is where play backs up.

The good news: You won’t mind. This hole is as much a joy to look at as it is to play.

No. 4 plays to 176 yards from the back tees and 160 from the blues, but the significant elevation change makes it play significantly shorter. The yardage book says one to two clubs “under normal conditions,” but it played to three clubs with the wind behind us the first time I played it. That meant I reached with an easy 9-iron.

The next time I played it, however, the wind was coming from the right and a smooth 8-iron found the front left trap. I’ve played it three times now and it hasn’t played the same twice.

That’s part of the fun of this hole, which I’m told used to play to a par-5 – using what’s now the No. 5 green – but it was changed to a par-3 to spare homeowners from errant tee shots.

Meadow Lake is uniquely situated with views of the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountain ranges. That makes for several stunning vistas, but none are better than what you see off the tee at No. 4.

While the tee shot is a bit of a guessing game – fyi: there’s ample room short and left – it’s only half the battle. I have yet to par this hole despite three great chances. The green is deceptively slippery, with putts moving right and being unexpectedly quick. It’s tough to prepare for if you haven’t played here previously. I’ve decided I’m going back until I make par or better here.

Southern California is blessed with a bevy of fun elevated par-3s. Add Meadow Lake to list of those check out. I’m banking par will elude you at first and you’ll want to come back, if not for the score then for the view.

JC Golf Spotlight Hole: No. 9 at Rancho Bernardo Inn

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Just as the classic short par-4 10th at Riviera Country Club in LA tests the pros on tour, No. 9 at Rancho Bernardo Inn offers its own set of temptations, options and risks.

The temptation is seeing the green 306 yards from the back tees and grabbing driver –  thus ignoring the sizeable pond and pine tree on the right – and going for glory.

Rancho Bernardo Inn Director of Golf Blake Dodson says this option has progressively paid off with time thanks to advances in club and swing technology. For the same reasons, the risks have also changed – for the golfer and the course.

(Note: the ninth green sits adjacent to the resort’s banquet facility.)

“With the modern equipment and the modern swing, it’s a very attainable golf hole,” Dodson says. “In 1962, the year we opened, the driving average on tour was 240-250 yards. You used to challenge the hole and the water would come into play.

“Now the Aragon Ballroom comes into play.”

Yes, a tee shot flying the green and ending up in the landscaping is a legitimate concern these days for talented and well-equipped players.

“A better player can get there with a 3-wood,” Dodson says.

The reward is a possible eagle or even birdie. The risk, for most of the recreational field, is a ball in the water and a sour end to the front nine.

“I’ve seen a lot of watery graves and good scores lost there,” Dodson notes.

But Dodson says there is a time and place for the driver play.

“When the pin is front left, that completely makes sense,” he says. “If you’re drawing the ball off the water, there’s a bail-out left and it plays into an easier chip.”

But he cautions about OB left.

“If it comes in hot (and turning left), it ends up in my cart barn. I’ve seen that, too.”

For his part, Dodson espouses a layup, especially after a birdie on No. 8, a very attainable par-5.

“You want to give yourself the best chance of that birdie/birdie finish,” he says.

That means playing to set up your most comfortable second shot.

“Some days I’ll take a 6-iron just to have a confident full swing on my second from maybe 150 yards,” he says. “I’d rather have the full swing and control the flight.”

And that avoids the most common predicament Dodson sees, which is a driver that doesn’t quite reach its destination.

“Then you probably have an awkward distance with your wedge,” he says. “ You’re at less than a full swing, which a lot of people struggle with.”

As far as Dodson is aware, no one has ever holed a tee shot on No. 9, but he says that’s only a matter of time.

“I expect we’ll see an albatross there,” he says.

However, that soon may become a bit bigger challenge than it is now. To help No. 9 stay challenging in today’s equipment environment, Dodson says the course is looking at lengthening it.

“That’s one of the few places on property where we can add yardage,” he says. “We’re considering it.”

Some golfers may not appreciate that, but the Aragon Ballroom and the cart barn certainly will.

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 The sand trap lurking behind the green at 9; you don’t want to be hitting out toward the water

Ask The Pro: Rancho Bernardo Inn’s Blake Dodson

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It’s always golf season in California, but for golfers in most of the country, this time of year is when their thoughts turn to their golf gear and making upgrades.

With that in mind, Rancho Bernardo Inn Director of Golf Blake Dodson touches on three equipment areas – driver, hybrid, putter – that deserve your utmost attention this spring due to changes in trends and technology.

How often should you upgrade your driver?

“If you’ve got a driver that’s more than three years old, you’re running on antiquated technology. The technology turns over so fast now that your driver is like your computer.

“For the golfer, life is too short to play bad golf. Get modern technology.

“If you’re a beginning golfer, there’s such a flood of second-hand technology out there that there may be driver a year or two behind that could be a real steal for you.”

How much more prevalent is it becoming to carry multiple hybrids?

“We’ll, I carry two. I used to hit 1-irons and 2-irons, but they don’t make those any more. But I’ve made the transition and you’re seeing people now carrying as many woods and hybrids as you are wedges.

“They’re easier to hit and you get a lot distance out of them.

“When you look at a look of college kids, they’ve been carrying multiple hybrids for years and you’re going to start seeing that evolve through the rest of the game.

“That’s the big shift in the make-up of people’s bags. Three-irons and 4-irons are becoming like the eight-track for a lot of people – outdated.”

The banning of the anchored stroke was the big putting story of 2013, but oversized putter grips seemed to be the next biggest. How much are you seeing this trend reflected in recreational players?

“It’s lighting in a bottle for people. My advice is to use one but to try the different sizes. The size of the grip needs to correlate to the size of your hands.

“It’s all about how the putter rests of your hands, especially if you have larger hands. And for those people, these grips have especially been salvation for them.

“You want to have an oversized putting grip installed professionally, so let your pro help you with sizing and make sure you get into the right equipment.

“The grips helps you have firm wrists and soft hands and takes the play out of your putting stroke, which is what we’re all after.”

Revisiting “The Big Miss” and Hank Haney’s Predictions About Tiger and Majors

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I use the word “revisit” but that’s mostly in reference to myself as I have yet to meet someone in California who actually “visited” Hank Haney’s tell-all about coaching Tiger Woods when it was released prior to the 2012 Masters.

So, for almost all of you, the passages I’m about to quote from the closing chapter of “The Big Miss” will be entirely new.  For what I remember reading at the time, that chapter, titled “Adding It Up,” didn’t get any play in the press coverage of the book, which focused almost exclusively on injuries Tiger incurred while being fixated for a time on being a Navy SEAL and training toward that end.

That was the easy tabloid takeaway at the time from a book that actually gave quite a bit of insight into Tiger and his game, enough that you never watch him the same way again after reading it.

The title ends up having multiple meanings and applications in the book, but its literal meaning is “the big miss” the pros fear off the tee. In Tiger’s case, that’s a big duck hook that comes out under pressure and can ruin runs at titles, and, in the bigger picture Tiger is always measured in, majors.

Haney contends in the book that Woods has more less become scared of his driver and controlling his otherworldly swing speed, thus the club he rode to greatness and domination becoming his nemesis as this point in his career.

That’s why Haney concludes that if Tiger is to break Jack’s record of 19 majors, he’ll have to do it via British Opens, where the courses are hard and fast and more conducive to iron play off the tee.

Eight majors have passed for Tiger since the book was published and so far the predictions in “The Big Miss” are 8-0. I thought about this after the Farmers, when Haney and Tiger got into a media tiff about how much his emphasis on weight training has hampered his swing.

Haney certainly seems to have plenty of appetite left for his issues with Tiger, who now has not won a major since his epic U.S. Open win at Torrey in 2008, leaving him stuck on 14 majors, five short of passing Jack.

As we all recall, Tiger bombed out of the Farmers this year, not even making it to Sunday on a week that many predicted would be just another victory lap at Torrey Pines for Tiger.

That wasn’t the way anyone expected Tiger to start up a new year that followed five wins and another Player of the Year honor in 2013. Momentum seemed to be building again for him and many looked at the Tiger-friendly majors line up and had already predicted, of all things, multiple major victories for him in 2014.

You haven’t heard much from those people since Torrey, but we have heard from Haney, whose book I recently tracked down and partially re-read. Since the Jack vs. Tiger debate is always just bubbling below the surface in golf when it’s not at a full boil, I thought I’d go back and quote a few portions of the book and see how it scores two years out.

I was going to wait to do this prior to the Masters, but Tiger and Hank’s media squabble prompted me to move it up.

So here’s some of what you missed in “The Big Miss” when you missed it the first time.

         “The most asked question about Tiger is whether he’ll break Jack’s record for major championships. … Certainly there are questions of health, physique and technique to consider, but to me the most important issue is desire.”

Here’s where Haney picks up his familiar theme of questioning Tiger’s practice habits and it echoes those of people who wondered how much Tiger prepped for Torrey.

         “I’ve never known a player who lost his hunger for practice to regain that same level of hunger. Nick Faldo, who in his prime was one of the most diligent and intense workers the game has ever known, said that after he won the 1996 Masters, he lost the drive to practice. … That drop-off marked the end of his career as a champion.”

But then Haney’s tone changes and he seems to forecast Tiger being an exception.

     “If Tiger can keep his work ethic strong, he’ll sort out his golf swing. Whatever theory he’s using, he’ll find a way – either in concert with Sean Foley or another teaching or be finding his own accommodation of their theories.”

        However …

        “However, I don’t think simply solidifying his technique alone will fix his problem with the driver. There is a mental issue there that needs to be addressed, and the odds are against it ever being completely resolved.”

And here’s what mean when I talk about this book changing how you watch Tiger. Remember the British Open last year when Tiger couldn’t keep up with co-leader Lee Westwood on Saturday? Westwood was hitting driver and blowing it by him, while Tiger was settling for 3-wood/5-wood/irons and finding traps and losing ground. According to an SB Nation column from the tourney, Woods didn’t hit his first driver until the 39th hole of the tourney. You can look up the column by Emily Kay that basically reads like it came right out of Haney’s book.

Which brings us to Haney’s British Open theory.

        “(The driver issue is) a weakness that tells the most in majors. It’s why, unless he finds some kind of late-career fix with the driver, Tiger’s best chances in majors will come on courses with firm, fast-running fairways that will allow him to him irons off the tee. Of the four majors, the British Open best fits this profile.”

After a strong start, Tiger finished tied for sixth, five shots behind winner Phil Mickelson. His week at Muirfield played into Tiger’s new trend of fading on the weekends of majors.

And it’s largely due to putting. Tiger seems to lose his touch and feel for the greens, which he was already struggling with when Haney wrote his book.

Here’s Hank on Tiger’s putting:

        “I’m not sure what to make of Tiger’s putting problems. Technically, he still looks good over the ball and has a textbook stroke. But putting is undone by the smallest and most mysterious of errors, and players rarely improve their putting after their mid-30s. … His putting, both his ability to lag long ones close and his solidness in holing from within six feet, was the foundation of Tiger’s ability to close out victories when he had the lead.”

And save for a few flurries of vintage Tiger putting in 2013, he largely didn’t look like the player we’ve known.

And if you can’t putt in the clutch, you can’t close, which is what leads Haney to doing a little math about how many majors Tiger will likely need to contend in to get five major victories. And this was Hank’s math going into 2012.

         “He’s not quite the same closer kind of closer, or not quite as fortunate as he’s been, (so) it could take 15 or more such opportunities. It seems like a tall order for the Tiger who enters 2012.”

And now for the Tiger who enters 2014 staring at basically the same equation, but now at age 38.

Hank closes by playing into an argument John Miller trumpets of how intense the media scrutiny will become if/once Tiger moves off 14 and gets his majors train moving again. And this is also where Haney sees the biggest difference from Nicklaus.

         “A final factor to consider it that, whereas Jack Nicklaus’s final few majors were won in a historical vacuum and were essentially padding to his record, Tiger will face ever mounting pressure and scrutiny the closer he gets to No. 19. Assuming the erosions of age, for Tiger, the soon he can get to 18, the better.”

Haney then predicts Tiger needed a major in 2012 to put a restrictor plate on the pressure he’ll feel to go faster to catch Jack as the battle with age and time sets in. Well, we know how that turned out.

Haney closes with a hopeful note on never counting out Tiger’s genius, but then gets back to a central theme of  how Tiger’s personal turmoil caused him to lose his mental edge – and caused his biggest miss, a shot at golf history.

         “Unlike the Tiger who in his 20s and early 30s was virtually indomitable, today’s Tiger has discovered that in like real disaster lurks. … That realization creates doubt, and in competitive golf doubt is a killer.

         “The big miss found its way into his life. If it’s ingrained, primed to emerge at moments of crisis, his march toward golf history is over.”

So there you have it. You can question Hank Haney’s motivations, and especially his ethics, for writing the book, but his observations to date are spot on.

Like I said, I found the book an insightful read, though a bit of flat one, and it adds perspective to understanding of the greatest sports chase/storyline of our lifetimes and the debate that will never die until Tiger either breaks Jack record or hangs up his clubs.

We’ve got a lot of years left on this debate, but the score for “The Big Miss” going into year three post-publish is that it hasn’t missed yet.

JC Golf Spotlight Hole: No. 17 at Encinitas Ranch

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Photo courtesy of JC Golf

There are ocean views from 11 holes at Encinitas Ranch, but water – not the ocean – only actually comes into play on three.

The one hole where you get the most of both is No. 17.

Played against an expansive backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, and often into an ocean breeze, the par-3 17th lurks as potential stumbling blocking toward the end of your round.

Playing to 185 yards from the blues and 160 from the white, the large pond to the right has attracted its share of tee shots over the years. But with the large green to hit and the bailout area to the left, that doesn’t have to be you.

Encinitas Ranch General Manager Erik Johnson says people playing the hole for the first time make a common mistake that leads to bad outcomes.

“You don’t want to go at the right side of that green, even when the pin is over there,” he says. “That doesn’t allow enough room for your miss, and the next thing you know your shot is high, right and caught in the wind and you’re wet.”

(FYI: If your ball finds the lake, the drop zone is about 50 yards from the left front of the green.)

When I played the hole recently, I felt my felt my threesome had a fairly representative experience. My first playing partner’s tee shot met the fate described above. My other partner missed the green short and left.

Having my own history with this hole, I chose to club up and ignore the front pin and try to hit the middle of the green. My hybrid carried beyond the back of the green and right, where I discovered a collection area I didn’t know existed.

The two of us who stayed dry off the tee both got up and down for par. Our third impressively scrambled to save bogey.

We played the hole around 4 p.m., the time when Johnson says the hole is usually play its toughest.

“About 10 or 11 in the morning that prevailing wind kicks up,” he says. “It starts out as about one club and then can become two, especially when the pin is in the back. And people don’t factor in that as the day gets cooler, the fall doesn’t fly as far, so you might lose 10 yards off your 5-iron.”

And from the back tees, largely because of the wind, this hole is a long iron for most players, including Johnson.

“The best strategy I’ve come up with is to take a little bit more club, choke down and always play to the left-hand side of the green,” he says. “I’m going to resign myself to a two-putt or getting up and down if I miss the green.

“But that chip isn’t a gimme. It challenges people.”

No. 17 follows a short par-4 and leads into the par-5 18th. Johnson says there’s a chance for a strong close to your round -as long you don’t let it get away at 17.

“What you really don’t want is double bogey or worse,” he says. “Four is a pretty OK score on 17 and three can feel like a birdie.”

Tom Watson lamented on Twitter recently – yes, Tom Watson is on Twitter – that players who are smartly willing to lay up on tough par-4s and -5s, stubbornly won’t use the same approach on a par-3.

If you really struggle with this hole, that might be something to consider here.

Feel free to share your successes, struggles and strategies for No. 17, especially if you’ve ever made an ace here. JC Golf would love to hear about your experiences with this challenging par-3.

You can also find this post at jcgolf.com, where you can also book a lesson or a tee time at one of their six North County courses.

Highlight Hole: No. 12 at Eagle Crest

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Photo courtesy of Eagle Crest General Manager Mark Hayden

If you’ve played Eagle Crest Golf Club in Escondido in the past but haven’t been in a while, you’ll notice some changes when you return.

Since coming under new management late last year, Eagle Crest has embarked on some course-improvement projects, mostly involving reworking tee boxes and bunkers.

To date, the most significant change you’ll notice is around the green on the par-5 12th.  What used to be a sizable and steep sand trap on the left has been converted into a water hazard, returning the hole to its original design.

From a playing perspective, it raises the risk when thinking about going for this green in two on a hole that plays to 529 yards from the blues and 514 from the whites.

Granted to do that, you’ll have to get off the tee box in decent shape first, which is a stumbling block for many.

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Tee shot on 12

From the blues, the tee shot looks narrower than it actually is. That said, your best bet is to favor the left side as the right side of this fairway is tree-lined and mounded. You’ll either likely have an uneven lie or be hitting a knockdown if you end up there.

The second advantage of the left side is that it’s bowled a bit to keep errant tee shots in. I used that to my advantage on Sunday and was sitting about 260 out. That’s not ideal “go” range here especially when hazards lurk left (water) and right (traps) and there’s plenty of room to lay up short to a green with a very narrow opening.

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The look on your second – notice you can’t see the water on the left yet

I hit a rescue to within about 90 yards and then had no trouble hitting wedge to the back of the green and making par.

This hole comes in the middle of a very score-able stretch of the golf course, being preceded by a short elevated par-3 and being followed by a short par-4.

When deciding how much you want to push it on No. 12, you’ve got something new to consider that’s more penal than before.

I’m guessing the course’s flock of wood ducks will like the hole’s new design more than you will if you miss left.

My Dream Episode of “Feherty”

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Photo courtesy of newsouthfoodcompany.com

I’ve got a post coming at some point about David Feherty and how much I enjoy and appreciate his show “Feherty” on The Golf Channel and how much good I think it does for the game.

In the meantime, I’ve got something that would probably go very well as a follow-up post to that post, but alas the original isn’t written.

One of the rules of writing, especially when you’re stuck, is “Start where you can,” and tonight this is where that is.

My two favorite current television personalities are Feherty and chef Anthony Bourdain of The Food Network and the brilliant CNN series, “Parts Unknown.” I think they’ve got the two most unique and interesting voices on TV, and, in fact, were I to re-cast “60 Minutes,” a show badly in need of a line change, Feherty and Bourdain would be my lottery picks.

I admire and envy them for many things, but one thing in particular: Their ability to be social chameleons.

Feherty is equally adept interviewing people inside the game as outside of it, which is something I don’t think he gets enough credit for. The man has serious range when it to comes to interviewing. He gets more out of the pro golfers than anyone else because they relate to him, but then he can turn around and interview someone like “Seinfeld” creator Larry David and be equally brilliant, using golf as their common conversation piece.

Bourdain uses food to accomplish the same thing, basically, except he does it while traveling the globe and often goes way behind just revealing people to probing poverty, government corruption, oppressed societies and the other socio-economic conditions that plague much of our world. And he just happens to discover a great meal or 10 along the way.

So, to review, Bourdain’s conversational vehicle is food; for Feherty, it’s golf.

I’m normally against a media figure interviewing another media figure, but in this case I’m willing to make a huge exception. I find the potential results of Feherty’s self-deprocating Irish wit meeting Bourdain’s worldly wisdom and New York street smarts simply too explosively great to resist.

But here’s the rub: I’m fairly sure Bourdain doesn’t golf. First of all, while making TV shows, writing books and eating 10 meals a day traveling the globe, when would he have time?

Then it dawned on me how to get them together.

The most famous food in golf is … the pimento cheese sandwich served at the Masters.

It sounds a bit gross, and I’m assured it is, but that doesn’t matter to Bourdain. He’ the modern-day Mikey: He’ll eat anything.

Feherty could have Bourdain on his show at Augusta to review the pimento cheese sandwich – and you don’t think Feherty has a joke about that?  – and then let wackiness ensue from there.

Those two sharing world views, exploring each other’s careers and their somewhat unlikely stardom to both become the respective TV stars of their industries, all which breaking the bread of the famous Masters pimento cheese sandwich? Seriously, forget the Super Bowl. I’m watching this. (OK, I’m DVR-ing the Super Bowl.)

I see at least two stumbling blocks to this: One, the Masters isn’t exactly known for having a sense of humor (Gary McCord is still banned, right?); and I’m guessing you can’t get on the grounds at the Masters without a collared shirt. That might be a tough sell for Bourdain, but considering the current sacrifices me makes for food – the man has eating moss for Pete’s Sake – this one seems small.

So there you have it. I read a story about Feherty last year that says he has an interview wish list for his show that is topped by Bill Murray.

I’m all for that one, but, David, you now have my write-in candidate. Who’s with me?