Play of the Week 22

August 31, 2011

This week’s POTW goes to: VEGAS, BABY!

In pursuit of our goal of documenting our golf adventures and providing colorful and exciting reviews for our readers, the principals of the Power Fade are heading West to sunny Las Vegas this weekend.  We will be taking a detour to Mesquite, NV to play one of our favorite courses – Wolf Creek.  Expect reviews, exciting accounts of gambling gone awry, and a breakdown of our first ever PF alternate shot round!

Happy Labor Day Weekend, PF’ers

My recent review of the New Delhi Golf Club inspired me to put these ideas together for our readers.

One thing we appreciate more than most here at the PowerFade is a good deal.  If you are thinking about teeing it up abroad, the following tips are for you.  Note:  I strongly advise you to take a little time to plan your foreign links adventure with someone who has done a similar trip to the one that you envision for yourself.  They are usually the best sources for local knowledge and may even have connections to get you onto a nice private course you would otherwise never get a chance to play (maybe even for free!).

Let’s assume you’ve already picked out your course(s), or are simply relying on good fortune to land a tee time when you get there.  Let’s consider packing for this trip.  The first question you need to answer is whether you are going to be taking your clubs with you.  To this point, unless you KNOW you will be happy with the rental clubs provided by the course(s), I STRONGLY suggest bringing your own clubs.  The point cannot be made strongly enough.  Your own clubs will make the round exponentially more enjoyable than a set of cheap, worn, and generally dilapidated clubs that are available for hire at most (even very nice) courses abroad.  If you need any further reading on this subject, please refer to the review of the Delhi Golf Course.

While most of us in the US are used to Southwest Airlines (bags fly free – including golf clubs), this is NOT the case with respect to nearly every international flight.  Some carriers will allow you two bags (and may charge extra if one contains clubs) or may even be so stingy as to only allow one bag.  Lufthansa, for example, only allowed me one checked bag on a recent trip and was requesting $70 for a second!  (absurd).  Assuming you make the correct decision to bring your own clubs, you should really have no issue with enjoyment of the round due to equipment.

If you choose not to bring your own clubs, then do your best to pack the following: shoes, clothes, socks, balls, gloves, tees, range finder, and any other on course necessity.  While these things can take up a large amount of space even in your checked baggage, the premiums that most international clubs charge for these items makes the larger checked bag worth it.  For example, during my recent trip, a standard FootJoy golf glove cost Rs. 900 or about $20 U.S., while a sleeve of Pro V1X’s ran around Rs. 810 or $17.50.  While these prices don’t sound too far off from U.S. club prices, keep in mind the greens fee at this highly exclusive club was a mere Rs. 1500 ($32), and Rs. 400 ($8.70) is enough to feed a fully grown man for roughly 3 days.  All in all, I paid about Rs. 1000 more in assorted fees (shoe hire, club hire, caddie, etc) than I did for my actual round because I neglected to pack these essentials.

Also, with respect to local custom, it’s a good idea to find out from local caddies if the pro shop is the best place to get equipment (if you’re in a pinch).  It was only after paying Rs. 810 at the pro shop did I learn that the caddies carry balls with them that they sell for about Rs. 50 each.  At highly exclusive clubs, it’s not difficult to imagine the quality of balls they tend to find.

Additionally, be sure to get to the club extra early whenever you are playing abroad.  Customs in different countries vary widely, so being prepared is always the best plan.  I was told that my round would begin “after 12:30” and arrived accordingly.  I teed off at 2:30pm.  If nothing else, you get chance to soak in the local differences that make the international game a little more interesting.  Also, be sure to bring official record of your handicap.  It’s a good idea to keep this on you generally for playing tournaments, but international clubs tend to be sticklers for this information before letting you tee it up.

Finally, be sure to check local rules for details such as required dress for men and women.  While these things are more trivial in the U.S., these details can create problems in other countries that either result in your not being allowed to play without purchasing clothing from the clubhouse, or at the very least, an embarrassed host to the club that is not likely to pass a favorable recommendation the next time.  Calling the clubhouse and talking to the pro shop will generally resolve these issues.

As always, enjoy the links!

Namaste, PF Readers!  Today, we review the New Delhi Golf Club.

A little background on how I got to play.  A business contact was able to arrange a tee time for me at this course.  The website (http://www.delhigolfclub.org/) seems to suggest that this is a public course because it lists greens fees.  The issue is getting a tee time.  Only members are allowed to reserve tee times.  Once this was arranged for me, however, I realized exactly how exclusive this club is.  For example, my group was a threesome that included a retired three star general in the Indian Army and a retired three star general in the Indian Airforce.  Powerful company indeed.  On the back nine, I was paired with the former Chief Justice of the Indian High Court.

Upon arrival, a group of caddies descended upon me.  Two of them promptly began to argue about who would be allowed to loop for me because I had never played here.  Once resolved, I paid the exorbitant sum of about $100 total for greens fee, caddie, two sleeves of Pro v1x’s, tees, rental shoes, rental clubs, and two bottles of water.  While this sounds like a deal any of us would take in America, I was essentially bent over a barrel by Indian standards.  A little local knowledge goes a long way.

As far as a review, I must say the course was stellar.  The layout was challenging, the course, minus the greens, was in pretty good condition, and the views were amazing.  some of the holes were more narrow than almost any other course I’ve seen, but the course is located in the heart of downtown New Delhi (real estate is not cheap here).  Parts of the course had less grass than we are used to on American courses.  This made for some interesting muddy/dirt lies in the middle of the fairway.  Part of my hesitation in providing my top ranking to this course is the fact that I didn’t get to play it as the designer intended.  The rental clubs I was provided were of such low quality that I was unable to play the driver and I broke the three wood on the first swing I took with it.  (again, local knowledge).  All in all however, the course provided a rich golf experience that I hope to relive with my own sticks.

My favorite story of the day, not surprisingly, comes from one of the holes where I had my “shot of the day.”  The seventh hole is a long par 3 that played 185 yard from the blue tees.  The two retired military men had taken their shots as I had run back from the facilities.  They were waiting around the green for my approach.  I hit the “6” iron that came complete with a tennis grip to about 6 feet and received the loudest ovation I’ve ever received on any golf course for a single shot.  I was slapped on the back and bought a round of beers for that shot alone.  I wish it had gone about 6 feet farther, but for that reaction, I’ll take it.  The result is shown below:

One other feature of golf courses that we generally fail to review is the wildlife.  It is impossible to think about this course without thinking of the peacocks.  They were everywhere!  In particular, they were very social.  One came close enough for me to snap this picture on the third hole.  In fact, the caddies carry sweet treats to entice the birds near for pictures for tourists.  See below!

All in all, I must say this trip to the other side of the world (12 hour time difference) found me playing some very interesting and unique golf.

Layout: 8/10
Greens: 4/10
Fairways: 7/10
Cost: 9/10 (conversion rate based review)
Location: 9/10
Staff: 8/10

Overall: 8.5/10

17th Tee

Fail of the Week 7

August 22, 2011

This week’s FAIL goes to the crowd at Atlanta Athletic Club.

On Thursday, I was at my desk quietly watching Tiger in his round. He pushed a ball into the trees and hit a beautiful 4-iron onto the green. Then, this guy comes running out of the crowd for his 15 minutes.

I almost fell out of my chair.

All week long the announcers were ripping on the AAC crowd. I think perhaps the best is Ian Baker-Finch’s line “I told you they were breeding in there.”

A friend of mine went on Friday and saw Rory McIlroy hit a poor shot from a bunker, wherein it rolled back to his feet. A fan (not 10 feet from the action) yelled out “Oh my God! That was a horrible shot! He didn’t even get it out of the bunker!” While I have used this line repeatedly on my friend since then, it’s absolutely unacceptable at a major tournament.

On Sunday, I was standing on the tee box of the 14th hole when Bubba Watson came through with a crowd of followers. After hitting his shot, literally 7 different people in the crowd yelled out “Go Dawgs.” Like we’re at a football game instead of a golf tournament. I’m sorry, who are the dogs? Which player is the dogs? I must not understand this idiotic recitation–in the middle of a pro golf tournament. I know Bubba went to UGA, but come on. I doubt the guy even likes football.

Given the events of the week, I can’t see the PGA returning to AAC for awhile. While it was a great tournament, the players HATED the course–they couldn’t stand the bermuda rough and really didn’t care for the greens, everyone disliked the bunkers, and most thought the course was too penal in the final stretch of holes. And, as noted here, the crowds were obnoxious (thanks for giving ATL a bad name).

Given all, it was a great tournament, but we can expect it will be awhile before they return to AAC. Here’s looking forward to East Lake in a few weeks.

Play of the Week 21

August 22, 2011

This is a belated play of the week in honor of Keegan Bradley. Keegan played tremendously at the PGA Championship, battling back from a triple-bogey 6 on the par 3 15th to close with two birdies and a par and win the 93rd PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Congrats to you, Keegan. You’ve earned this.

PS, we are sorry for waiting so long to post, but LG and I have both been very, very busy with our real jobs.

ANSWERS IN BOLD – YIKES! This is probably our worst job yet. Thanks LG for helping us achieve a new low here at the PF.

The Tiger Woods edition was fun but (thankfully) is now over. It’s time to load your predictions for this year’s final major. Did you hear the fairways at AAC are running 9 on the stimp! Unbelievable! The course is in tremendous shape and I’m looking forward to going out and seeing the best of the best.

It’s hard to believe it’s already the time of year for the final major, but, alas, the golf season must end sometime. I’m looking forward to some September and October baseball, when my Braves crush LG’s Giants. However, first things first. Without further ado, our PGA predictions.

Response from LG – I love the Braves as well, sir. My first professional team ever when I moved to Atlanta. Last year when my Giants had to crush the Braves during the playoffs, I was torn. Care to wager?

RE re from JK – I’m not even sure the Giants will make the playoffs this year, but assuming they do–yes.

BACK TO GOLF!

Winner: Dustin Johnson Cut, +7
Runner Up: Jason Day Cut, +5
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Larry Nelson Cut, +13. Let’s go with…Keegan Bradley
Last Year’s Winner (Martin Kaymer) Will … (Win, Top10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut): Make the Cut Cut, +5
Tiger Woods will: finally show up for an event. T-3 Cut, +10
Phil Mickelson will: Top10 T-19, E
Bubba Watson will: hit some big drives, but otherwise not do much. Barely make the cut. T-26, +1
How many prior winners in the Top 10: 2 1, David Toms
How many prior major winners in the Top 10: 4 1. David Toms
The Master’s Champion (Schwartzel) will: Make the Cut Correct, T-12
The US Open Champion (McIlroy) will: miss the cut T-64, +11
The Open Champion (Clarke) will: miss the cut CORRECT. +14
Will the winner lay up on the 72nd hole? Since I’ve picked DJ, definitely not. Bradley didn’t lay up on either try. Played it beautifully both times. Hybrid 5i to go par-par for regulation and playoff. Pretty awesome stuff
David Toms (winner of the last PGA Championship at AAC) will: Make the Cut T-4, -5. so, not wrong, but not right either
Who is most likely to Dustin Johnson it? Phickelson Definitely Jason Dufner. Although Phickelson had his own little meltdown after a few birdies on the front side.
Will Dustin Johnson do a line of coke off his driver face? Not while the cameras are on him i didn’t see it, but he wasn’t there on the weekend…so….
Will Tiger shave? I hope so. He looks like he dipped his chin in a bowl of poop sadly, no. he still looks evil.
Will someone win it or will everyone else lose it? The PGA is normally won, not lost. Phil did lose it once, and DJ and Bubba each “lost it” last year, but there is a long history of guys winning it–even Kaymer came up and got it when DJ and Bubba choked. I’m going with win. Bradley definitely came up and won it. He played awesome, dunked a chip on the par 3 15th then had the stones to birdie 16 on a great shot from the fairway, birdie 17 on a tiger-esque 35 footer, and par 18, which is no easy feat. Congrats Keegan
Will Rickie Fowler wear all orange on Sunday? I hope not. Atlanta has enough pollution. It doesn’t need nuclear radiation along with it. yes, and my eyes will never heal from the pain they experienced at seeing him live. I’m just waiting for that kid to paste a Home Depot logo on the back of that thing.
Will JK be on TV on Sunday? Hopefully not, although I will be there =). I don’t think so. LG thought he saw me, but alas, it was only Tony Romo
Will LG be jealous of JK’s Sunday ticket to the PGA Championship? He already is =).CORRECT. I had a blast. 11 hours at a golf course, worth every ounce of pain I’ve endured this morning.

LG (from INDIA!)
Winner: Rory McIlroy No, T-64
Runner Up: Dustin Johnson No, Cut
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Kevin Na Na was in the Top 10 (T-10, -2), but once again LG picks an “unknown” that everyone knows. You picking Sergio Garcia for the Masters, LG?
Last Year’s Winner (Martin Kaymer) Will … (Win, Top10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut): make cut no
Tiger Woods will: make cut no
Phil Mickelson will: make cut yes
Bubba Watson will: make cut, possibly top 10 yes
How many prior winners in the Top 10: 1 correct
How many prior major winners in the Top 10: 0 this makes no sense. you picked 1 prior winner in the top 10 and 0 prior major winners in the 10 top. this is a fail
The Master’s Champion (Schwartzel) will: Top 10 no, T-12
The US Open Champion (McIlroy) will: Win! not even close
The Open Champion (Clarke) will: miss cut correct
Will the winner lay up on the 72nd hole? hell no correct
David Toms (winner of the last PGA Championship at AAC) will: miss cut uh, no. top 10 bud
Who is most likely to Dustin Johnson it? DJ himself nope. duffner. johnson wasn’t there to choke
Will Dustin Johnson do a line of coke off his driver face? Driver face? If that’s what you call some chick in the crowd, sure. probably was doing this in myrtle beach
Will Tiger shave? I hope not. Beards rule! It’s okay, JK, not everyone is man enough to grow a beard. sadly, correct.
Will someone win it or will everyone else lose it? Rory will win going awaywrong on rory, wrong on “going away.”
Will Rickie Fowler wear all orange on Sunday? obviously. yah
Will JK be on TV on Sunday? Hopefully falling into a lake. almost, but no
Will LG be jealous of JK’s Sunday ticket to the PGA Championship? I Already am. I’ll hopefully be using a telecast of the PGA to get over jet lag on Sunday. Let’s hope for some red in contention so I can stay awake!

Grades:
LG – F
JK – F-

so much for our predicting skills

This week’s play of the week goes to … THE PF! In our 20th POTW, we post our 100th post all-time.

At the current moment, we have been writing for less than one year and have over 7,700 views all-time–and are climbing every day. LG, I have very much enjoyed this little project we have. Although it’s not always easy to maintain, it’s milestones like these where we remind ourselves just how much fun we have here.

Thanks to all our readers for keeping us in it. Your thoughts, comments, and viewership have been a great benefit to us. We look forward to posting our 1000th post sometime soon.