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News

Bunker Blues

By Scott McNevin
Everyone loves sand and shovels on a beach, but when it comes to sand and clubs in a bunker that’s usually a different story When a player’s ball lies in a hazard (bunker or water hazard), a player is restricted on what he can and cannot do. He must not (1) test the condition of the hazard or any similar hazard, (2) touch the ground in the hazard or water hazard with his hand or a club; or (3) touch or move a loose impediment lying in or touching the hazard. (Rule 13-4)
So what happened with Stewart Cink at the recent Zurich Championship in New Orleans? Cink walked into a fairway bunker to survey his next shot. His ball was lying outside that bunker (on grass, through the green). He proceeded to hit his shot into a greenside bunker. Cink’s caddie then raked his footprints in the fairway bunker.

What was wrong with that action? Why did it result in a two-stroke penalty and his subsequent disqualification?
The first thing to ask yourself is “Where’s the ball?” In this situation, Cink walked into the bunker to consider his options for hitting the ball, but the ball itself was in grass outside the bunker. Before making his stroke he or his caddie could have raked the bunker with no penalty. However, once he hit his shot into the greenside bunker, Rule 13-4 kicked in.
One of the restrictions we mentioned above states that while your ball lies in a bunker, you cannot test the condition of that hazard or any similar hazard. The bunker in the middle of the fairway is considered a similar hazard. When his caddie raked that bunker while Cink’s ball was in the greenside bunker, he incurred a two-stroke penalty.
To make things worse, Cink did not realize he had incurred a penalty until the next day. As a result, he returned a score card with a score lower than he actually had and was consequently disqualified.
How could Cink have avoided the penalty? He could have walked forward 150 yards, played the shot and then returned to rake the fairway bunker or, alternatively, one of the other players or caddies could have raked the bunker for him.
Subsequent to this incident, the USGA and R&A came out with a position statement removing the penalty for this situation. A portion of that statement reads as follows:

“It is not the intent of Rule 13-4a to prohibit players from practicing the proper etiquette of the game when more than one bunker is involved. Therefore, when the player’s ball lies in a bunker, it would not be a breach of the Rules if the player were to smooth the sand in another bunker, provided (a) the smoothing is for the purpose of tidying up the bunker, (b) the smoothing does not breach Rule 13-2 (Improving Lie, Area of Intended Stance or Swing, or Line of Play) with respect to his next stroke and (c) there is not a reasonable possibility that the smoothing could affect a following stroke by the player.”

For the complete statement, go to www.usga.org/news/2008/april/JRCAnn.

News

Just Hit It!

What would you pay for a golf club that is guaranteed to hit every drive 260 yards down the center of the fairway? I don’t mean a club that’s simply more forgiving, that will reduce your hook or your slice or give you more distance on your off-center hits. I mean a beautiful boomer into the middle of the short grass, every single time.
There are already plenty of clubs on the market that make promises like this, and they generally cost $400-500 new. You’ve probably got one in your bag right now. So how much more would you pay to know for certain that you’re going to get the result you want? An additional $500? $1,000? More?
I wouldn’t pay a penny for such a club.
Are you surprised? Let’s think about it for a bit. Yes, the first time you swing this Biggest Big R7-983 Bigfoot you’ll thrill to the sight of the ball soaring into the sky and settling to rest in Position A. Your friends will ooh and aah, you’ll walk a little taller, and you might even play the game of your life—though you’ll still be on your own for the approach shots, the short game and the par-threes. For the first time in ages, you’re not buying the drinks after the round. The ride home feels shorter somehow. Your wife looks prettier. The kids are better behaved.You are TheMan.
But what happens next week? You show up, full of your newfound confidence, swing smartly, sending your opening drive straight and true—and then your brother-in-law steps up with his brand new Biggest Big Et Cetera and the next thing you know his ball is sharing prime real estate with yours. Your step loses some of its spring, your pride and joy feels a little tarnished, and you’re not looking forward quite as much to next week’s round.
And, sure enough, at your next game, the rest of your foursome drags out their Biggest Bigs, and you begin to notice a nasty cluster of divots right down those formerly green paths. Pretty soon, you all agree that there’s really no point in bothering to swing this Biggest Big driving club, so you walk directly from the previous green to a spot 260 yards from the hole’s former teeing ground and each drop a ball somewhere away from an existing divot. Your round is quicker, and your scores are reduced significantly, but you know that something’s not right. You consider sleeping in or cleaning the garage next week. Or taking up tennis.
You realize that the great score you recorded when you first used the club was something you bought, not something you earned. The pride you were feeling seems pretty hollow about now. What’s happened is that the game you once enjoyed is no longer your own.You’ve taken the value of the effort that led you to your best results and exchanged it for the false economy of someone else’s certainty. The only thing such a magic club can do is to take all themagic out of the game itself.
Golf club manufacturers seduce us with the promise of implements that will undo our errors, and lead us down the straight and narrow. They can’t, of course, and that’s a good thing—even though we would like to believe they can. Such fantasies have always been part of this complex game’s charm. And yet, the moment we realize we would reject an all-correcting club is when we move closest to a true understanding of why we play at all.
We’re funny creatures, we humans. We construct our lives so as to eliminate as many obstacles aswe possibly can. And then we take a whole set of artificial difficulties and obstacles, put them directly in our way so we have to maneuver around and over and through them, and we call it a game.
Why do we play golf? What are we hoping to prove when we do? Is it just a pleasant walk or ride in the country, or is there something more that draws us back to the course time after time?
Golf is a game of overcoming challenges. Many of them are internal. But more of them are external: water hazards, sand bunkers, long rough, trees, elevated greens, tricky putting contours, and the sheer distance from tee to green. For every golfer, there’s an ideal mix of difficulties and opportunities that will provide the internal tingling warmth of knowing you overcame the obstacles and didwhat you set out to do.
It’s the job of the course designer to provide those difficulties, ideally a host of options that allow a hard way home for the highly-skilled player and a safer route that requires more strokes but lets the lesser player complete the hole without shame. It’s the job of the equipment manufacturer to create implements that allow the player to enjoy the game. And it’s the job of the governing bodies to maintain and protect the challenge of the game, making sure that it neither becomes so easy that we quit because of boredom nor so difficult that success by our own measure is hopelessly out of reach.
The player has the easy job. There’s a ball in front of you. Just hit it!
Just Hit It is available to order at www.franklygolf.com or Amazon.com.

News

Paradise Found: Kauai

By Wes Bolyard
First to be formed of the eight main Hawaiian Islands, this “Garden Isle” is so named because it is still mostly preserved in its natural state. With the majestic cliffs and valleys on the western side of the island, including the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”—3,567-foot deepWaimea Canyon, only the northern, eastern and southern areas can be developed. James Michener took 14 pages in his book “Hawaii” to explain the formation of the islands over millions of years. The islands have gradually moved westward since their creation due to the shifting of the tectonic plates upon which they rest. Kauai, Hawaii’s fourth largest island, is the shape of an almost perfect circle and covers 552 square miles. The driving distance from southern Poipu to northern Princeville is less than 45 miles. Don’t let the small size of this island fool you; it has a great deal to offer, especially some of the world’s best golf courses and accommodations.
The Kauai Lagoons Golf Club boasts two Jack Nicklaus designed courses: the Kiele Course and the Maile Course. Owned by the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club, these courses are only a five-minute walk (or shorter shuttle ride) from the resort. Both courses offer beautiful views of Kauai’s natural beauty, and are currently being remodeled with nine holes open on each. Maile is more open (and forgiving) for stray shots with a greater opportunity for success for players of all abilities. Kiele offers more of a challenge via subtle undulations and narrow fairways. When the remodeling is done, Kiele will have more holes along the ocean than any other course in Hawaii.
www.kauailagoonsgolf.com
1-800-634-6400
The Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club, just a three minute drive from the airport, has 356 rooms and 11 suites with a very scenic view overlooking the pool area, the Kalapaki Beach and the Hawiliwili Harbor. Marriott also has a Vacation Club wing with 464 rooms for members. As you enter the main lobby, you can’t help but notice the hanging 35-foot dugout canoe built in the period of 1860-1890. Just outside the main lobby there is a pond with a waterfall plus short walking trails to explore. Five restaurants, a fitness center, a full service spa and a 26,000 square foot swimming pool (one of the largest in Hawaii) are just some of the resort’s other amenities. In addition to the Kalapaki Kid Camp for fun and educational activities, the Marriott also offers a full array of daily adult activities starting as early as 7:15 a.m. and as late as 7 p.m.
www.Marriott.com/Lihhi
www.marriotthawaii.com
808-245-5050 or 1-800-220-2925
Golfweek’s top course rankings by state (March, 2008) placed Puakea Golf Course as the seventh best on all the Hawaiian Islands. This may not be evident when you first pull into the parking lot, but after playing the course, you will understand why. Kauai’s newest 18 holes offer a stimulating layout with great bunker placement, just enough water to intimidate your thinking and rolling fairways where your ball needs to stay for a good score. The course was designed by Robin Nelson (known as “Mr. Hawaii”), who is the most prolific golf course architect on the islands. Our group included Paul Ito, the Director of Golf, and Stan Kua, a Puakea employee. Stan is best known around the isle for serving 25 years as a policeman. The fact that one member of our foursome had a hole-in-one on the fourth hole only added to the excitement of playing Puakea with my new friends. Just to theWest of the golf course sits the lush tropical landscape where Jurassic Park III was filmed. In fact, more than 60 feature films have been shot on Kauai.
www.puakeagolf.com
1-866-773-5554
A northerly drive from Puakea Golf Course to Princeville will take about 50 minutes. The scenic drive meanders through towns and occasionally along the coast. You will pass private houses and condominiums before arriving at the upscale Princeville Resort on the northwest end of city. The resort offers spacious rooms overlooking Hanalei Bay where you can hear the soothing sound of rolling waves. There is a unique feature in the bathroom that allows you to magically change the large picture window from a clear view to an opaque one through an infusion of gas between the panes, giving you instant privacy with the flip of a switch. There are three restaurants within the resort, with the Café Hanalei offering breakfast on the patio. At sunset, a special romantic supper is offered on the beach. A swimming pool is available, and you can also relax on the sandy beach after a refreshing
swim in the bay.
www.princeville.com
1-800-826-1260
The Princeville Resort is scheduled to be re-branded as the St. Regis Resort, Princeville, and will be the first St. Regis hotel in Hawaii. The multi-million dollar St. Regis re-branding will accentuate “refined Hawaiian luxury, seductive style and a timeless elegance.” The Princeville Resort will close for seven months between September 2008 and April 2009. It will include a complete re-design of guest rooms and meeting function space, renovation of public areas, including the lobby and swimming pool, new restaurant concepts and the addition of a luxury on-site spa.
The two golf courses on Kauai’s dramatic North Shore were both designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Makai Course consists of three separate 9-hole courses, Ocean, Lakes and Woods, each with their own distinct personality. Originally built in 1971, the course offers some stunning views from the tees and requires well-thought-out shots. An example of both is the seventh hole on the Ocean course, a 224-yard par 3 with a carry of 200 yards across a canyon. Take time to listen to the crashing waves below the tee and note the spectacular view of the shoreline. Later this year, Makai will start a facelift program, renovating each nine at a time. Changes will include elevating some tees and updating the irrigation system. All carts at the course are equipped with Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) equipment.
www.princeville.com
1-800-826-1105
Also on the North Shore is the Prince Course—Hawaii’s No. 1-ranked course according to Golf Digest, 2007-08 Best in State. Sitting high up in the 60,000 square foot clubhouse with a majestic view overlooking the course and the Pacific Ocean, you will wonder what challenges await your golfing prowess. In addition to the ladies and men’s locker rooms, the clubhouse contains a very well appointed golf shop, spa, fitness room and a restaurant which overlooks the course. A driving range and putting green will help prepare you for one of the most interesting rounds of your life.
While the Prince Course is beautiful with breathtaking views, it is also very demanding. Starting with the opening hole, you are faced with an interesting decision—try to fit a perfect tee shot into a narrow landing area, or lay back with a safer tee shot and have a long second shot over an expansive hazard. The course routing continues over undulating terrain, through and over ravines, terrific bunkering and some tees perched high above the fairway. Robert Trent Jones, Jr. said this was “one of the top five courses I’ve ever designed.”
The Prince Course has several signature holes that standout from the others. Number 7 is a long par 3 across a tree-covered ravine, and number 12 is perched high (100 feet) above a barely visible fairway that is lined with dense jungle. The 13th hole is possibly the most interesting hole on the course with a landing area 200 yards off the tee (you’re not sure where you’re going as there is thick jungle on the right and a lateral hazard along the right side). Once you get to the green you are rewarded with a beautiful waterfall behind it. Overall, this might be one of the most challenging courses you’ll ever play. The difficulty can be tempered by choosing the most appropriate of the multiple tees available. Be sure to include a camera in your bag. The course will be open during the resort’s renovation.
www.princeville.com
1-800-826-1105
The southern end of Kauai is where you will find the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa and its renowned Poipu Bay Golf Course. This luxurious 602-room, 37-suite resort is spread out over 50 meticulously groomed oceanfront acres. A well planned design gives seventy percent of the rooms an ocean or partial ocean view. As you enter the foyer, you are offered the opportunity to learn about and experience Hawaiian cultural crafts. An atrium displays three parrot stations for all to enjoy. There are 12,000 square feet of retail shops offering fine art, fashion apparel, fine jewelry, gifts and sundries. Seven restaurants and six lounges should fulfill almost any culinary desire. The resort activities are designed with the entire family in mind. Children’s programs abound. Water activities, if you so desire, include an expansive saltwater swimming lagoon (and of course the ocean with 500 yards of white sand beach), a fresh water swimming area featuring a quiet pool, a meandering river pool, an “action” pool with waterfalls and a 150-foot water slide. For the adults seeking relaxation, there is the award-winning ANARA spa. This 45,000 square-foot facility includes eight indoor-outdoor massage rooms, two couple’s bungalows, special treatment rooms and a full service beauty salon.
www.grandhyattkauai.com
1-808-742-1234
Poipu Bay Golf Course hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994 through 2006. This Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design is an ocean links style course with stunning vistas. To help distract you from your shot making are 85 bunkers, five water hazards, exceptional landscaping, ocean views and wind. The course will challenge and reward you at the same time, but you can still come away with a sense of accomplishment. With all the beauty around you, it’s difficult not to enjoy your round. This course offers an array of great holes, but holes 15 through 17 will distract you with their ocean views and then 18 hits you with its blind tee shot and water hazard at the green. The 71,000 square foot clubhouse includes a golf shop, locker room facilities, snack bar, restaurant, lounge and club storage. When you are finished with your round, you can either take the shuttle to the Grand Hyatt or enjoy a short five-minute walk along paths of foliage.
www.poipubaygolf.com
1-800-858-6300
The Kiahuna Golf Club on Kauai’s South Shore contains a heart warming story. In the early 2000’s, the course came under disrepair and wasn’t being maintained as well as several of the local homeowners thought it should be. In 2003, nine of them bought the course, buildings and all. They immediately went about making the necessary changes to restore the 144-acre Robert Trent Jones, Jr. course. Changes included extending the yardage from 6,400 to 6,900, adding both junior and championship tees, plus enlarging and reshaping the bunkers. Most significant was replacing the Bermuda fairways with Seashore Paspalum, which ismore drought and salt-tolerant. This has reduced the club’s dependence on water from an average of 300,000 gallons to approximately 9,000 per day. The lighter lime green color and different texture provides an attractive contrast to the Bermuda rough. At this time, it is the only course on the island with this type of grass. Prior to the upgrade, the course earned the nickname of “the longest short course you’ll ever play.” This was due to the abundant water hazards and challenging, prevailing trade winds. Trust me, hitting off the tee on number 18 is definitely a challenge. Of special note is the cave (lava tube) entrance on the second hole. The tube runs about one-half mile under the course and houses the “Koloa Blind Wolf Cave Spider.” Real estate is available for sale on the course.
www.kiahunagolf.com
808-742-9595
While some members of the family play golf, an abundance of other activities are available on Kauai including scuba diving, kayaking, horseback riding, zip-lining, hiking, sailing, windsurfing, fishing, helicopter rides and cycling.
As you travel around the island, you will fall under the spell of its beauty. A wonderful cornucopia of flora and fauna will enthrall your visual senses while your inner being will be enhanced by the Mana you feel—the Island’s life force. So enjoy your visit, take many photos to capture your memories and start planning your return trip.
Traveling to Kauai by air will bring you into Lihue airport on the southeastern side of Kauai. Some airlines offer direct flights from a few West Coast cities, or it’s a quick “island hop” of just 30 minutes from Honolulu. Arrival by inter-island ship is also available.
www.kauaidiscovery.com
1-800-262-1400

News

Make It Simple

By Michelle Evens
"How hard can it be? Swing the club – hit the ball."
These were the simple words of encouragement given to me by Keith Kalny, who during my days as a “cart girl” at the Wigwam Golf Resort, was an aspiring golf pro. He made it sound so basic—so simple. It certainly is not!
Years ago—many years ago—I had the opportunity to work at the SpangdahlemGolf Course in Germany. The scenery was beautiful, and the weather in the summertime was absolutely wonderful. With daylight lasting until 10 p.m., there were many opportunities to play, and my golf game was not too shabby.
Fast-forward to 2008: Playing less frequently, combined with the addition of a few extra pounds and loss of some flexibility, managed to change the swing of my younger days.My golf game could actually be downright embarrassing at times. During bouts of topping, slicing and every other way of sending the ball somewhere other than its intended path, I would often repeat the old, “Swing the club—hit the ball.” If it were only that easy!
People seem to assume that those of us who work for the Arizona Golf Association are actually good at the game. Granted some are, but I needed an overhaul. I decided that getting back to the basics was probably a good place to start. With 6-iron in hand, I ventured into GolfTEC in Peoria. There I met the director of instruction, Peggy Gustafson, an LPGA teaching professional with 27 years experience. She hooked me up to monitors that measure shoulder turn, hip turn, swing path, club head angle and just about every other part of a golf swing that can be analyzed.After a few swings, Peggy took one look at the playback of my swing on the monitor and, in her endearing Texas accent, summed up my problem in one sentence: “You’re making this a lot harder than it needs to be.”
So, back to the basics we went. Just as a mechanic builds a high powered engine one piece at a time to obtain optimumperformance, so goes the building of a proper golf swing. Accuracy and Power can only be realized though the learning and practicing of each component. Correct grip, stance and ball placement, combined with a back swing suited to the individual, proper release point, hip turns, shoulder turns and swing speed all factor into the making of a finely tuned golf swing.
First, we changed my grip to enable a better wrist hinge.Next, we took out some unneeded twists and turns and then shortened my back swing. I was concerned that I might lose power with these changes, but Peggy kept encouraging me to stick with it and practice. The videos of recent lessons and drills that were available on GolfTEC’s website provided an excellent source of review before hitting the driving range.
Then the day came to put it to the test. I joined the Southwest Golf Media Association at the Rim Golf Club in Payson. Even though I’d only had a few lessons up to this point, I just knew I was going to knock at least ten strokes off my game!My boss forewarned me that it would be natural to revert back tomy old swing once I got out on the course.Whether it was natural or the power of suggestion I’m not sure, but that’s exactly what happened.
In lessons to follow, Peggy brought out the big guns. I began to train with some of their unusual golf toys. Included in the GolfTEC toy box were balance aids, weighted clubs and,my personal favorite, the power swing fan. Each week, different components of my swing would be compared to various golf pros on the monitor. Similarities were rewarded with Peggy’s “That’s awesome!” One day, while going over the stats, she mentioned a smash factor number, and this one really got my attention. Although this new swing took a lot less effort, I was actually hitting the ball a lot harder!
In February, I noticed an upcoming charity event on the AGA website. Sanderson Ford was hosting an event at the Wigwam to benefit the West Valley Child Crisis Center. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to once again try the new swing—good course, good cause and scramble format. I called Andy Reece at Sanderson and was paired with three other players.
The day of the event, I was surprised that instead of having a case of the “first tee jitters,” I was thinking about that smash factor. And smash it I did! We actually used my tee shot. Many times throughout the day, I was pleased that I was able to hit quite a few shots that were used during our round. As an added bonus, my fellow players were complimenting my new swing.
Hitting better has incurred a new obstacle, however. Being in a hurry to see just how well and how far I’ve hit the ball, has given me an annoying case of the “lookups.”We all know what that can do to a golf game—the proverbial cat isn’t the only thing that was killed by curiosity. Peggy’s advice on looking down the fairway in that split second before you have even hit the ball: “That ball is not going to get so far away in the few seconds after you hit it that you will not be able to find it.”
I wonder if they have anything in the golf toy bag for this one!
Michelle Evens is the AGA’s club programs manager.