But this week, as the Buy.com Tour stages one of the final three tournaments before the season-ending Tour Championship, any sign of misdirection off the tee or from the fairway and you might as well head straight for the barracks!
Interestingly enough, this week's tournament takes place at old Fort Ord. Just north of Monterrey, California, the inactive military base is home to two of the great gems of this tour. Military personnel designed the Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses in the 1950's and 1960's. They are now owned by the city of Seaside, California and have been since the city purchased the courses in 1997.
Bayonet is the test this week. And what a test it is. Last year in the inaugural Monterrey Peninsula Classic just 3 players finished four rounds under par! The winner was Richard Johnson, a long-hitting Welshman who opened with a round of 75 but came back to finish at 3-under for the tournament and win by 1 over veteran Michael Allen.
That winning score posted by Johnson was the highest winning total on the tour last year as the field played Bayonet (7117 yards, par 72) at a stroke average of 75-plus. That said, Johnson's opening round of 75 wasn't so bad now was it?
So what's so tough about this place? Start with the tee shots! They must find the fairways. The rough-, which just happens to be a mix of rye and dreaded kikuyu is at 5 inches and growing! Tee shots are shaped here, not just crushed. And you'd better have a good ball-striking week.
And how about this - you'd better be able to work it right to left. This course, named after the Army's 7th infantry division, was designed by a lefty with a bad slice! General Robert McClure, a commanding officer of the post at the time, built the place with his game in mind, as the 11th - 15th holes are dogleg lefts. The stretch is known as 'combat corner.'
As for the 'money game' at this point of the season - no time like the present to have your best stuff! Chad Campbell (2nd) and Australian Rod Pampling (3rd) have sights set on the top money spot which would give them full exempt status on the PGA Tour next year without worrying about being a part of the re-shuffle used at various parts of the season to determine who does and who doesn't get into tournaments.
The 'bubble-man' is Paul Claxton. He's 15th on the money list with a hunch that he might have a good week this week. The 'Georgia Gentleman' as he's known could politely remove himself from worry the next few weeks should he win.
This should be a great week of golf. A golf course which ranked 3rd most difficult on tour last year plays host, and you can see it all unfold on the Golf Channel. Mark Lye, Jerry Foltz and Kay Cockerill are here to join me in our coverage. And, NO, we won't be wearing fatigues!
See you on the tube!