Pasatiempo Golf Club maintains elite status with redesign
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Marion Hollins was the preeminent female athlete of the 1920s, earning accolades in tennis, golf, polo and steeplechase. Hollins was also involved in real estate, and managed the development of the Cypress Point Club.
She was also the visionary behind Pasatiempo Golf Club, one of the finest public courses in the country. Hollins teamed up with another giant of the era, Alister MacKenzie, to build the layout in Santa Cruz, north of the Monterey Peninsula.
Its one of Americas treasures, and the most MacKenzie of MacKenzie courses, says Tom Doak, a MacKenzie expert who led the recently completed restoration of Pasatiempo. At other great MacKenzie courses like Augusta National and Royal Melbourne, he left behind his ideas for others to implement, says Doak. But MacKenzie lived on Pasatiempos 6th fairway from 1929 until he died in 1934, and he was constantly tweaking and tinkering even after construction.
For the courses opening on September 8, 1929, Hollins enlisted Bobby Jones for a match. The U.S. Open champion on the eve of his Grand Slam season found a kindred spirit in MacKenzie, who shared Jones affinity for the Old Course at St. Andrews. There is little doubt that this meeting at Pasatiempo played a key hand in Jones later decision to draft MacKenzie to design Augusta National.
But over the next few decades, Pasatiempo didnt age as well as some of MacKenzies other designs. Throughout the Great Depression and into the 1940s and 50s, the cost of maintenance resulted in the filling in of many bunkers. In the 60s hundreds of trees were planted to bring in a parallel structure that didnt exist in the original design.
The courses 50th anniversary in 1979 triggered an interest in the courses origins, and former club historian Bob Beck uncovered a collection of photographs, including some from the opening-day exhibition by famed celebrity photographer Julian Graham, that showed how much the course had transformed over the years.
In the mid 90s, when shareholders of the semi-private Pasatiempo decided to explore a restoration effort, the obvious choice was Doak, co-author of The Life and Work of Dr. Alister MacKenzie. Doaks presentation to the shareholders was simple and direct. I told them it didnt have to be complicated, Doak says. They didnt need us to draw a blueprint; they already knew what it was like from the photos.
However, there was still some hesitation. So the plan was for Doak to prove his mettle with a relatively benign restoration of No. 12 as a test case. After it was deemed a success, the overall project gained momentum.
Even so, due to the lack of a strong consensus among the shareholders, the project took almost as long to complete as Bostons Big Dig. Doak and associate Jim Urbina performed much of the restoration piecemeal'one hole at a time, followed by an evaluation before receiving approval to start the next hole. When Doak finally completed the entire course in 2007, the project had taken more than 10 years.
In the end, Doak and Urbina restored 36 bunkers'most dramatically a large cross bunker on the uphill 214-yard 3rd hole'that had been grassed over, rebuilt several others, removed more than 50 trees, and recontoured the greens, as well as enlarging all 18 by a total of 26,000 square feet.
The results are dazzling'improving vistas, playability and MacKenzies belief that golf was about more than just pure distance. He wanted to design courses players couldnt just overpower, and 6,500-yard Pasatiempo remains a perfect example.
Located just miles off the Pacific coast, Pasatiempo has virtually no water on the course. Yet the back nine has plenty of hazard stakes marking steep ravines that skirt the holes. Almost as treacherous are MacKenzies bunkers, with lips so formidable they could more correctly be characterized as walls. Finally, the severity of the greens'due in part to elevation changes of 300 feet on the site'make three-putting simply an accepted way of life for regulars.
These bold features are in abundance at the 387-yard 16th, MacKenzies acknowledged favorite. A blind tee shot leads to an approach to a triple-tiered elevated green in the sky, guarded by barranca, stream, false front and a restored bunker that is, in Doaks words, stunningly rugged.
But reaching the green is not the end of the considerable task on this hole. Should a player be unfortunate enough to have misjudged the approach and leave a putt from above the hole on one of the more menacing and unforgettable greens in golf, the ball will simply not stop on the lower portion of the putting surface.
Similarly unforgettable is the 392-yard 11th, which dares players with a severely uphill carry across a diagonal barranca to a sloping green that demands precision. For those who like challenges, this is one of the most memorable holes in the game.
Like much of the back nine, the closing hole ends with a carry over the imposing barranca. Joining the likes of the Homesteads Cascades and East Lake Country Club, Pasatiempo is one of a handful of great courses with a par-3 finishing hole, 169 yards that is virtually all carry to a green guarded by a group of newly restored bunkers.
Although Pasatiempo always has been a must-stop for Golden Age aficionados making the journey from the Bay Area to the Monterey Peninsula, Doaks restoration rightfully has brought renewed attention to the MacKenzie gem. In The Spirit of St. Andrews, MacKenzie wrote: Many good golfers consider the second nine holes at Pasatiempo the finest in existence.
Especially now, its hard to argue with him.
Take a video tour of Pasatiempo
Photo courtesy, Pasatiempo Golf Club
Davies leads Inkster after Day 1 of Senior LPGA Champ.
FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies opened with a 4-under 68 despite finishing with two bogeys Monday, giving her a one-shot lead over Juli Inkster after Round 1 of the Senior LPGA Championship.
Davies, who earlier this year won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open, had a lost ball on the par-5 18th hole on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort. She still salvaged a bogey in chilly, windy weather that had the 55-year-old from England bundled up in a blanket between shots.
Inkster, runner-up to Davies at the Senior Women's Open, made eagle on the closing hole for a 69.
Jane Crafter was at 70. Defending champion Trish Johnson opened with a 73.
Temperatures were in the high 40s, but the damp air and wind made it feel even colder.
Inkster made a bogey on the 17th hole by missing the green with a 9-iron.
''As old as I am, I still get made and I crushed that drive on 18,'' said Inkster, who followed with a 3-wood to 15 feet to set up her eagle.
The 54-hole event concludes Wednesday.
Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019
After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.
Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”
Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.
Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.
His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.
“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”
Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.
Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff
Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.
The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.
Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.
Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.
He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.
There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.
In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.
So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.
The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.
Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.
When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.
Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.
Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.
Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.
“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.
This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.
The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.
It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.
“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.
Pay per view does that.
“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.
If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.
Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.
Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena
AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.
District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.
Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.
Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.
Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.