News

Can Tiger help golf get its groove back?

 
By BILL HUFFMAN
    Tiger Woods is perceived as golf’s billion-dollar stimulus package, and now that he has returned to the game this week after an eight-and-a-half month absence – here in Arizona, no less – everything in golf is back to even par or better, correct?
     Unfortunately, I’m not so sure.
     The signs are certainly looking up in Tucson, where the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is totally “in the green’’ thanks to Woods. That the No. 1 player on the planet kept everybody guessing until the last moment (Friday) added to the excitement and made his comeback an even bigger deal.
     But to all those PGA of America types, golf course operators, green-grass retailers and PGA Tour junkies who think Tiger is the end-all, let’s stop and take a deep breath. Hey, this is kind of like the “other stimulus package’’ in that we really don’t know yet how it’s all going to shake out.
    My suggestion: Enjoy the moment. It’s something we all tend NOT to do when times get hard, and these are the hardest. Just lean back and smell the roses, and hope that Woods gives us five days of great golf down in the Old Pueblo.
   Besides, we’ve got plenty of time to worry about other things like:
  *The FBR Open is desperately seeking a new title sponsor in order to continue doling out millions of dollars to local charities. FBR has agreed (at least in name) to go forward in 2010 on the original deal that was supposed to end in 2012. But what if FBR goes BK in the meantime and the Thunderbirds can’t find a replacement?
  * Hopefully, The LPGA’s sudden leap to Papago Golf Course turns out well despite the almost impossible timetable of a little less than one month until the March 26-29 event. Don’t you think such expectations are almost unfair, especially when the course won’t even be six months out of renovation?
  *Hotels in the Valley and across Arizona in general are off by 40 to 60 percent in early 2009, according to numerous sources. Do you think that has anything to do with recent rounds on area courses being flat to 10-20 percent off?
  *An informal survey by www.azgolf.org of 12 middle- to upper-end courses in Arizona revealed that all have made significant reductions in staff – an average of 10 to 25 percent – in 2008-09 to counter lost revenues. But how many of those stories of lost jobs involving assistant pros, outside service, cart girls and maintenance workers have you read about?
  *According to recent statistics from the National Golf Foundation, factors like time, high costs and difficulty have kept participation in the game stagnant during the 21st Century. Is there anything we can do to revive the game?
   True, TV ratings for NBC will be large this week due to the return of the Mighty Tiger, a complete reversal from the abysmal ratings that plagued the rest of the West Coast Swing. But they could fall flat just as quickly if Woods ends up making a quick exit. And he might, considering the length of the layoff and the fact that his rebuilt left knee remains an unknown factor.
   Having viewed his new swing up close and personal a couple of times, I’m not so sure it’s the same one that earned him 65 wins and 14 major championships. I thought it was enlightening that Frank Nobilo of The Golf Channel noted the “snap movement’’ at impact that Tiger was known for is missing these days.
    How that new swing on the rebuilt leg equates into “Ws’’ remains to be seen. But I was troubled before Tiger showed up in Tucson by a comment made by caddie Stevie Williams, who revealed that his boss had “some trouble walking’’ following his surgery.
     Woods told a reporter who asked about the healing process, “Don’t go through it. It is not a lot of fun.’’ He cited “quite a bit of pain’’and “a lack of strength and mobility that’s all taken away from you.’’ And even though he said that he has started to feel “really good,’’ I’m not so certain that he believes that as much as he wants to believe it. Unlike his peers, the game really is 100 percent mental for Woods.
   It also was a little unsettling when Tiger revealed that it was nice to take a swing without having his “bones move,’’ and that for years he had, essentially, played with no ligament in his kneecap.
    “That’s why you saw me jumping off the ball (at impact), is to get off that leg,’’ he said of the aforementioned snap movement. “But it’s nice to be able to hit into it (the left leg) for the first time.’’
    The first time? You mean El Tigre accomplished everything he has on only one leg? That if his left leg holds up in the future, that he will be even mightier than ever before given the fact he’ll be driving the ball with two legs?
     Seriously, it all sounds too good to be true. It’s like the “other stimulus package’’ in that you hope it’s not another Ponzi scheme that seems to pop up almost every day. The cold reality is, we’ve had enough bad news to last a lifetime, and chances are great that Tiger can’t save the game all by himself.
    So please, golf gods, allow us to enjoy the return of the United States of Tiger Woods without the pressure. But even more than living vicariously through the one-and-only Woods, help all of us to get our groove back, which is the real deal when it comes to re-energizing the game.
   Bill Huffman has covered golf in Arizona for over 20 years for the Arizona Republic and East Valley Tribune as well as writing the book Arizona’s Greatest Golf Courses. He co-hosts Backspin the Golf Show on XTRA Sports 910 AM each Wednesday (6-7pm) and Saturday (9-11am).  To reach Bill directly please email him at [email protected] or call 480-540-1780. 
         
    
      
 
 
 
 

News

\‘Bear trap\’ awaits WGC Match Play field

 
By BILL HUFFMAN
     When Jack Nicklaus was a youngster, he earned the nickname “the Golden Bear’’ for his ability to methodically take down foes and devour titles. For 25 years, the Bear stalked the PGA Tour, winning 73 times including a record 18 major championships.
     Today, at age 69, the Bear still is a force to be reckoned with. But these days he’s maintaining his reputation via the large tracks he leaves behind on the golf courses he builds – more than 300 worldwide and counting.
    Oh, you had heard Nicklaus has “mellowed’’ as an architect? Then obviously you have not seen or played The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain near Tucson, the site of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Feb. 25-March 1.
   At 7,849 yards Nicklaus’ latest-greatest is the longest par-72 layout on the PGA Tour in 2009, and probably ever if such records were kept. The gargantuan length despite the 2,600 feet of elevation (not quite a club less) is guaranteed to immediately eliminate numerous hopefuls in this elite 64-player field. (Maybe it was Jack’s way of retaliating against high-tech equipment, who knows?)
   But even more than the mindboggling yardage, which includes six par 4s that range from 476 to 536 yards and a par 5 that rambles on for 659 yards, are The Ritz’s roller-coaster-like greens. Fortunately, Nicklaus stopped just short of creating Six Flags Over Tucson.
   Having recently witnessed the rather extreme elevations and ubiquitous undulations first-hand, I’m more than a little curious to see how Tiger Wood and the "other” top 63  players on the planet  will approach, hold and putt these green monsters that offer up devilish pin positions tucked into small landing areas. Given the fact that many approach shots will come with mid- to long irons, it could get intersting.
   From a player’s standpoint, the saving grace to the new Ritz layout is its massive fairways, which are so generous that even slightly errant tee shots often rebound back into the emerald-green grass. That includes the rough, which is thick but not necessarily tough to negotiate. The chief hazard off the tee is the bunkers, and there are some real "beaches” in the fairways along with scattered pot bunkers. 
     At the same time, the surrounding desert remains very native and penal, meaning it’s loaded with all kinds of plants that will prick you, as well as lots of rocks. Uncork one into the surrounding saguaro forest – the most saguaros I’ve ever seen in Arizona in one location — and seldom will you recover without at least a one-stroke penalty plus distance.
    Another element that is certain to perplex players is the 45-degree mountain slope that the two nines – the Saguaro (front) and Tortolita (back) – are constructed upon. Sure, putts tend to break depending on whether you are going uphill or down — but not always! Nicklaus’ greens, in general, are hard to read because of their complexity and these being brand new might be more difficult than usual.
  In that regard, players will have a friend in The Ritz’s Jay Ervin, a third-generation superintendent from Lake Las Vegas who has every square inch of the course in tip-top playing condition. I am not being over-the-top when I say that, in my 20-some years of covering golf in Arizona, I’ve never seen a course in better shape right out of the starting gate.
   Ken Depew, who oversees the golf operations at The Ritz, agrees.
   “It’s pretty close to perfect,’’ DePew noted with obvious pride. “It’s one of the better courses I’ve seen (condition-wise) in the Southwest, which is amazing when you consider we just opened our doors (in January).’’
   There are 27 holes at The Ritz that eventually will be expanded to 36. Nicklaus had hoped that the other nine — his "favorite,”  Wild Burro — would be used for the tournament. But two tunnels that connect holes on that nine — Nos. 1 and 2, and Nos. 6 and 7 – were deemed too small by safety standards to move crowds through.
    Personally, I think they got it right the first time, because the Saguaro and Tortolita nines bring the most elevation into play, and that probably will test the best more than the never-ending yardage. The tournament 18 also boasts the most difficult greens – false fronts, run-offs, shelves, spillovers, etc – which should add up to lots of “accidents’’ and Augusta-like TV. And while the greens are enormous, many are quite shallow, another Nicklaus trademark that makes players dig deep.
    Overall, The Ritz should be better for spectator viewing than the South Course at The Gallery, which had been the WGC Match Play site for the past two years. Not being able to see players putt the ball due to the elevated greens at The Gallery had been the chief criticism. But that should not be a problem at The Ritz, espeically around the clubhouse, where Nos. 1 and 10 start out from the tee and 9 and 18 finish at the green.
     The critical difference between the two venues is certain to be the scoring. Birdies and eagles literally flew the past two years at The Gallery, but Nicklaus’ treacherous greens probably  will extingush any offensive fireworks at The Ritz. Par will be a good score, although there will be opportunities for some risk-reward at short par 4s like No. 4 and No. 15, where the tees could be moved up to "short” distances like 349 and 343 yards, respectively.
    As proof I offer Scottsdale’s Aaron Baddeley, the Australian star from Scottsdale who recently visited The Ritz for a practice round. Asked what he thought of the course afterwards, “Badds’’ told several members of the staff  that he thought it was pretty challenging, and that any player who shot 70 or better would probably win his match.
   I’ll go one better: Most players who card a 72 or better will win their matches, AND don’t be surprised if a few matches are won by players who end up over par. Good thing this is match play, where you can make a big number and still have a chance. Trust me, more than one "snowman” (8) will be made in the desert.
  Having said that, the PGA Tour could back off on the 7,849 yards at any point and make it more player-friendly. In fact, it probably will at some point  when it comes to the rugged closing stretch that includes a 247-yard par 3 at No. 16 followed by brutal back-to-back par 4s that play up the hill at 482 and 480 yards, respectively.
  It’s kind of amusing, really, but some 20 years ago, Nicklaus built 27 holes at La Paloma Golf Resort in the Old Pueblo and people called it the hardest golf they had ever seen. But today La Paloma is a pitch ‘n’ putt compared to The Ritz, perhaps the most demanding course the Golden Bear has ever built.
IF YOU GO
What: WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
When: Feb. 25-March 1.
Where: The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain.
Address: 6501 Boulder Bridge Pass, Marana (north of Tucson).
Tickets: www.worldgolfchampionships.com.
Directions from Phoenix: Take I-10 south to Tangerine Exit.
Parking: Near Tangerine Exit east of I-10.
 
   
 
        
  
      

News

Mexico – A Land of Opportunity

For the past 20 years or so, the tiny fishing village of Cabo San Lucas has been rising like a meteor
on the Mexico golf horizon.With architects like Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Tom Weiskopf and Robert Trent Jones paving the way, gringos have flocked to “Cabo” like lemmings to the sea — or, in this case, the Sea of Cortez. Yes, golf in Mexico has become a magical mystery tour for millions of tourists, especially when one considers other golfing ports of call, such as Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta. Acapulco was the forerunner to “Jet Set” golf in the 1950s and ’60s, while Puerto Vallarta’s vast array of links popped up in the 1970s and ’80s, shortly after the Oscar-winning flick, “Night of the Iguana,” was filmed there.
But all is not well when it comes to golf in Mexico these days as a gloomy global economy has buried golf bastions like Cabo, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta deep in a bunker of uncertainty. Americans are staying home, and the cash flow that comes with all things that are golf has started to dry up like parched earth for the Big Three of Mexican golf. Brad Wheatley, who arrived in Cabo in the early 1990s to help Nicklaus build Palmilla as well as the Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol, said he’s never seen anything like the current downturn in his nearly two decades of life on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula.
“Everybody is crying — the hotels, the restaurants, the golf courses — and making it worse, the predictions on the economy around here for the next year or possibly two are off the charts in a bad way,” said Wheatley, who played golf at the University of Arizona.“It’s the worst crisis since the peso was severely devalued in the mid-1990s. “I know that my home is located near the 16th hole (on the Ocean Course) at Cabo del Sol, and I’ve never seen that course so quiet. And it’s the barometer of golf in Mexico.” Speaking about the Cabo area,Wheatley said it “has just been devastated since Wall Street went south and took its group business with it. The panic has set in, but I’ve noticed that some people are getting smart and backing off their prices and rates. I’m sure there’s a very good chance those bargains from the past will soon be back throughout Mexico.”
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo, with some 20,000 rooms and 180 holes of golf, was built for golfers. For a few dollars more, don’t skip Nicklaus’s Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol, which literally dwarfs Weiskopf’s effort on the Desert Course.With seven holes on the Sea of Cortez (and free seafood tacos to boot!), players can survive the $350 green fee to experience one of the Golden Bear’s very best. Some people look at this as they do famed Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula; go ahead and splurge here just once in your life. Everyone, including the Bear, talks a lot about the Ocean Course’s closing stretch and the exhilarating ocean view at the 17th hole, but the front side has four beauties positioned along the beach that will have golfers keeping their cameras at the ready.
Another good bet in Cabo is pristine Palmilla, where the Desert, Mountain and Ocean nines collide gracefully — and the going rate is a few pesos less. Nicklaus also has two new 18-hole
layouts in the area, including Club Campestre and Puerto Los Cabos, and the old RTJ course called Cabo Real also is a treat at $220 as long as you can avoid the diving pelicans at the ninth hole.
The key to thoroughly enjoying Cabo, a village of 25,000, is where to stay with your No. 1 choice being the original inn at Palmilla, the quintessential Mexican retreat. The Westin Regina (big but awesome) and Hotel Cabo San Lucas (small but quaint) also are perfect places to kick back.What’s good is that all three are just a 20-minute cab ride to Cabo’s wild and crazy downtown, where the tequila pours virtually nonstop in party-hearty cantinas like the Giggling Marlin, El Squid Row and rocker Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo.

Puerto Vallarta
Most Americans had never heard of Puerto Vallarta until Richard Burton starred in “Night of the Iguana,” which was filmed just south of the city in the mid-1960s. Iguanas actually are the least of your worries, considering there’s a downtown course called The Marina that is loaded with alligators, as well as a Robert von Hagge-designed championship course called El Tigre that also packs some teeth. The course on everyone’s must-play list is Nicklaus’s Punta Mita-Four Seasons, where one hole, 3b, features one of the world’s true island greens. Hole 3b, which the Bear dubbed “Tale of the
Whale” because it actually looks like a whale’s tale from the tee, is accessed by an amphibious golf cart. When the tide is high or choppy, however, land-locked 3a comes into play. Two other superb offerings in the Puerta Vallarta area include Nicklaus’s Vista Vallarta, the site of the 2002 World Cup, and Weiskopf’s sister course on the same property. Of these two jungle-like experiences, stick with Jack’s version, as his course is higher in elevation and boasts views of the Sierra Madre Mountains and surrounding water. Like Punta Mita, both courses at Vista Vallarta are in the $200 range. There are two distinct options when it comes to where to stay in Puerto Vallarta.The Four Seasons Punta Mita is more than likely out of reach for most visitors (at $600 to $900 per room per night), while the Marriott is in the heart of the city, near the marina, and about one-third the price. Nightlife has a feel of yesteryear along a strip of old restaurants and shops that front the city’s flat-as-a-pancake beach. It’s why the Four Seasons remains popular despite its jaw-dropping price.

Acapulco

Sometimes a third alternative can offer high hopes, too, which is certainly the case with Acapulco, a classy city of 250,000 located high on the cliffs above a big bay of the same name.This is where Richard Burton and Liz Taylor once hung out and the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Elvis and The Beatles followed. Even today Acapulco offers trendy attractions like Alebrije (the largest night club in Latin America) and Baby’O, one of the world’s most famous discos. Acapulco’s course of choice is Von Hagge’s Tres Vidas, where the par-3 12th hole plays directly toward the ocean. Five holes are actually on the water in what Von Hagge refers to as his “Mexican string of pearls,”which comes with a reasonable green fee of $195. Even though Tres Vidas is somewhat off the beaten path, about 20 miles south of the city, this unique “almost islandlike” layout is well worth the drive. Otherwise there is no need for a rental car as the rest of Acapulco’s fab four of courses — the Acapulco Princess,Mayan Palace and Pierre Marques — all are near enough the Fairmont Princess Hotel to just jump in a cab. Of the three, the Princess layout is visually alluring. All three are a great value at $125 or less. Another five-star resort that’s a little out of the way but deserves consideration is Las Brisas-Acapulco, where the pale pink-colored bungalows are stacked like a pyramid on the cliffs overlooking Acapulco Bay. Legendary Las Briasa remains one of the most romantic retreats in the world, as every room comes with a picture-window view of the nearby Pacific.

News

Arziona Travel – Golf Along the Border

Whether it’s golf on the cliffs above Lake Powell in Page, or equally surreal golf on the bluffs above the
Colorado River near Bullhead City, or even the ricochetrabbit game off the canyon walls in Parker, there’s much to love about road trips in Arizona. One that is not to be missed is the trip from Bisbee to Nogales to Rio Rico to Tubac. Call it,“Golf on the border,” even if “Golf almost in Mexico” describes it quite
well, too. There are several reasons why this road trip to southeastern Arizona stands out more than others and it starts with the beauty and views that are tied to 4,500 feet of elevation. Ranges like the Mule,
Santa Rita and Tumacacori mountains are seemingly in every direction, and a river called the Santa Cruz runs through it. The history tied to southern Arizona also is rich. For instance, Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa once roamed these parts, as did General John “Black Jack” Pershing, who was chasing
him. Actors John Wayne and Stewart Granger owned ranches on what are now golf courses, with visitors like Elizabeth Taylor and Doris Day. And an outlaw named John Dillinger once terrorized these parts, and even former Beatle Paul McCartney hung out there in a secluded canyon.
But for the most part, the lower, right-hand corner of Arizona is just a great place to get lost in and discover new things. Oh, yes, and there’s some mighty good golf to be had from classic architects like Robert Trent Jones and Red Lawrence, “the Desert Fox.”

DAY 1
First up on this itinerary of
stately hidden gems is Turquoise Valley Golf Course near Bisbee, down Interstate 10 and U.S. Highway 90 about a three-hour drive from Phoenix (which includes a halfhour
stop at the OK Corral in Tombstone, which is right on the way). Turquoise Valley, which actually is in
Naco, a “suburb” of Bisbee located right smack dab on the border, celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.Those first nine holes are believed to be among the oldest in Arizona, and surprisingly they blend
quite nicely with the “modern” nine built in 1999 by a local professional. That new nine includes the 747-yard 15th hole, a par 6 believed to be the longest hole in Arizona. And then there is
the Greenbush Draw, a 20-foot-deep chasm that divides Turquoise Valley right
down the middle. Bisbee is a wild place to stay, like something right out of The Twilight Zone. The downtown dates back to the early 1900s, with turn of the century hotels like the venerable Copper Queen and the Bisbee Grand, and watering holes like the Stock Exchange. It’s as if the late Rod Serling should be the tour director at the Lavender Pit, an old Phelps Dodge mining remnant in the center of the city that looks like it’s dug so deep it might reach China.

DAY 2
Bright and early the next morning, head for Nogales, which is about a two-hour drive over the old Pony Express route (highways 82 and 92) that runs through Patagonia. Just before Interstate 19 in Nogales, however, stop in for 18 holes at Kino Springs, a quirky layout built right on the border by Lawrence.
Kino Springs is the old Yerba Buena Ranch that belonged to Granger, who lived right next door to “the Duke.” In fact, the clubhouse was once Granger’s ranch house and the old Hollywood photos are still everywhere, along with the ranch’s crest, which features the all-white cows Granger raised called Charolais at Yerba Buena (“good weed”). For the second night on the road, one solid recommendation is the Old Mexico-styled casitas of Tubac Golf Resort, just 20 miles north of the border on I-19. Tubac is where much of the movie “Tin Cup” was filmed, and not only do the lockers carry such names as Kevin
Costner, Cheech Marin, Phil Mickelson and Gary McCord (all in the cast), but an old movie poster remains that declares Costner’s character Roy McAvoy as “Golf Pro, Love Amateur.”

DAY 3
Start off at Tubac Golf Resort, which also was built by Lawrence and now includes 27 holes. It is staged right along the Santa Cruz River, and several offerings actually require going back and forth over water. The 15th hole, where Costner had his infamous meltdown at a fictitious U.S.Open, is memorialized with
a bronze plaque. Even more impressive, the course was built right on top of the original Anza Trail — the historic path used by the Spaniards that once ran from all the way from Culiacan, Mexico, to San Francisco. Then head back down Interstate 19 (south) about 10 miles to Rio Rico Country Club. This is Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr. at their best, with brilliant doglegs and lots of outstanding par 3s and par 5s, which is why it served as a PGA Tour qualifying site on numerous occasions. The nines are as different as night and day, and the best stretch comes early as No. 5 through No. 8 is among the best runs of great golf in the entire state.
That’s the end of a solid trip: four fun golf courses in three days and two nights — the perfect Arizona road trip. Along the way the adventurous traveler will find some incredible Mexican cantinas, such Santiago’s in Bisbee, the Outpost in Nogales, Wisdom’s near Rio Rico, and Dos Silos at Tubac. They’re equally as enjoyable as the golf.•
 

News

Frank Shipman as President – Labor of Love

Golf’s ability to serve as a medium to conduct business has not been lost on Frank Shipman. Not only did golf serve as a conduit to the printing business he owned in Niagara Falls, N.Y., but it led to his involvement in a career of volunteerism that is approaching 40 years and, in 2009, reaches a pinnacle with Shipman serving as president of the Arizona Golf Association.
In the area of golf history, Niagara Falls pales in comparison to many other cities around the country, but it is home to the Porter Cup, one of the country’s top annual summer amateur events that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008. Its list of champions includes many outstanding names, including former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman, Ben Crenshaw, Jay Sigel, Phil Mickelson and Robert Gamez. Shipman’s company was chosen to print the Porter Cup’s tournament program, but further involvement landed him a position on the tournament committee. Shipman eventually served as the tournament chairman in 1984 and tournament director in 1989. “I was a 12 month-a-year volunteer,” Shipman says. “When we decided to come out here to Arizona, quite honestly that was the toughest thing to leave behind because it was a true labor of love.” Shipman and his wife, Jeanne, relocated to Prescott in March 2001. At first, Shipman’s days were filled with golf — maybe too much golf. “In 2002 and 2003, I was on the golf course approximately 180 days, either playing or officiating,” he recalls. “That told me I needed to put a little structure back in my life. I needed to be a little bit more diversified.” Shipman became a Realtor but still maintained his interest in golf administration. He joined the United States Golf Association’s Mid-Amateur Championship Committee and began volunteering with the tournament committee of the AGA as a rules official. One of his first assignments demonstrated the stark contrast from Western New York. On his way to the golf course at 6 a.m. one day in Phoenix, he glanced at the outside temperature gauge of his car and noticed that it already was 97 degrees. He remembered thinking to himself, “What have you gotten yourself into?”
In 2007, Shipman received a telephone call from Tom Beach, a past AGA president from Tucson.  "He said, ‘Frank, we’d like to see you step up and becom a little more involved,’ ” Shipman recalls. “ ‘We’d like you to be treasurer.’ “I replied that it was nice of him to ask and I’d be happy to do that. Then he called back two or two and a half weeks later and said, ‘Frank, we changed our mind. We want you to be vice president.’ “I said, ‘Tommy, that one I have to think about. I’ll call you back. . . . I talked to my wife about it and eventually decided that, yes, that would be a very nice honor, and I also thought I could do a good job.’ ” As president of the AGA, Shipman would like to expand some of the association’s programs and services. “We want to provide resources to our members so they can get added value,” he explains. “We’re in the process of putting together an individual member program for, let’s say, $50, and they’re going to get a gift card to a retailer as well as discounts at various golf courses that otherwise they might not have. It’s an absolute no-brainer from my perspective that if it costs $50, there will be $100 or $200 worth of value.
The challenge will be to market that product and make sure everybody understands there’s a true value in it.  "Secondly, I want the association to be perceived as more than handicaps, course ratings and running tournaments.  If you look at the tournaments we run, you see they’re more for the very competitive, low-handicap golfer.  I want to make certain we’re able to run events that will fit a much larger scope of our membership.
"Lastly, with the reopening of Papago Golf Course, that’s something we’re really excited about.  The guys have done a wonderful job with the rehab of that facility.  We’ve got a lot of work to do in the area of fund-raising so we can build a clubhouse.  There’s a lot of things going on there that will challenge us to make sure it happens and bring it around to become a crown jewel of golf in Arizona."
If that sounds like a busy agenda Shipman has crafted, it certainly helps that he possesses a lifetime of experience to call on.