A Historical Look at Randolph North Golf Club

By Martha BrendleMarch 10, 2001, 5:00 pm
Mar. 10, 2001 -- Randolph Park is gently nestled in the lowest point of Tucson, AZ. The park, home to Randolph North Golf Course, is the current site of the Welch's / Circle K Championship. What at first appears as an average public facility is at second glance a course steeped in history.
LPGA Tour names like Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam, Dottie Pepper, Lorie Kane and Julie Inkster have come to walk fairways flanked by mesquite and half-century old eucalyptus trees. All the while healthy crowds standby watching and making comparisons of what they would have done if their ball landed where Se Ri's or Lorie's did.
You see Randolph North is a municipal golf course. An oasis for the townsfolk left to them by Railroad tycoon Espes Randolph. Back in the early 1900's Espes Randolph donated the land with the stipulation that it be used strictly for parks and recreations.
Two golf courses, the North and South, arose from that generous donation. The newer of the two courses, the South, was originally built in the middle of the 1900's, was rebuilt in 1995 and renamed after the second head professional Dell Urick. The older North course was first laid out in 1925.
Back in 1925, golfers putted on sand fairways and sand and cottonseed greens. The entire course was sprayed with oil to keep wind from blowing the greens and fairways away. In all, the golf course bore little resemblance to today's lush, tree-lined setting.
Golf back then was a different kind of game then we know today. For one thing, you raked the greens after you were done. Also, playing partners were sometimes questionable. Back then it was not uncommon for rattlesnakes, scorpions or centipedes to join you in a round - whether you liked it or not.
The wife of local pro Dell Urich remembers when the course was finally grassed in 1936 under the direction of golf course architect Billy Bell: 'I believe Mr. Bell made about three or four visits to Tucson during construction,' Mrs. Urich recalls in notes scratched in her own handwriting. 'He stayed with us, and slept on a couch in the club house. 'This all occurred during the `Great Depression' so there was no staying at fancy hotels in those days. Money was scarce, and everyone had to economize.' Randolf North was a product of the times. Bell designed the new layout of the course and labor for the project was supplied courtesy of one of President Roosevelt's many government programs.

In 1933, when Mr. Urick took the job as head pro at Randolph North, greens fees were 50 cents for an 18-hole round. On October 31st, 1936, at the grand opening of the newly grassed course, greens fees shot up to a whopping 75. Today you can play a round for $16 in the summer or $27 in the winter. All things considered, it's still a pretty good deal.
Typical of most municipal golf course, Randolph North features less than perfect playing conditions for most of the year. That is until March when the public course puts forth its' best face for the LPGA Tour.
You see Randolph North has yet another special distinction. It is one of only a precious few municipal golf courses that host a professional golf tournament. This is no small accomplishment considering the size of today's purses.
Under the direction of Golf Course Superintendent Brent Newcomb, 47 part-time crewmembers work many months to prepare the North course for the tournament. All playable areas of the bermudagrass course are over seeded with rye during the winter months.
During tournament week greens are rolled three times a day and all efforts are made to supply the best possible playing conditions.
Newcomb's job is more difficult than that of most superintendents. He operates on a shoestring budget while trying to work miracles with a fleet of run-down Toros and Jacobsens. Seemingly, he does a good job. Although Newcomb has only been at Randolph North for 5 years, the LPGA has returned to this location 21 times.
In the last two decades conditions have improved. Newcomb feels that this year they did a better job of preparing greens and getting the greens up to speed. They also did a better job of building up turf density on the fairways - an improvement that came back to bite them after Wednesday's heavy rains made fairways impossible to mow.
Randolph North's history continues to grow. In 2000, Annika Sorenstam earned her final point into the Hall of Fame - and she did it all right here at the little municipal golf course born form simple, if not sandy, beginnings.
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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm