Butler Cabin, Augusta National (c) Burgh Golfer

Friday, April 20, 2012

Course reviews; Plantation Preserve, Emerald Hills and Jacaranda

source; plantation.org

We have returned from another successful, spring golf trip to Florida.  This year we chose to go to the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area.  I was chosen to organize the trip this year.  This included the nervous task of selecting the golf courses.  As golfers we really do not care about the hotel or food choices, it really is about the golf.  However, picking good courses to play is essential to a successful trip.  Since I did not receive any course recommendations prior to the trip, I began the online quest.  After much reading and research I selected Emerald Hills, Plantation Preserve and Jacaranda Golf Club –East Course.  None of these courses were actually in Ft Lauderdale, two were in Plantation, FL. and one was in Hollywood, Florida.  One point to make when playing in Florida is the wind, water and sand.  Pretty much every course has a lot of each so take plenty of balls. 
Plantation Preserve
The Plantation Preserve Golf Club was the final course we played and was the best maintained.  The fairways, greens and tees we plush and were “country club” like.  You got the feeling you were playing a private gold club not a public course.  They also had a great pro shop with a nice variety of merchandise and an excellent lounge.  I also wanted to point out the quality of the service as it was great.  From the time we pulled in until the time we left the property the staff was very attentive.  I highly recommend this facility for a day of golf.
Emerald Hills
Emerald Hills was without a doubt the most challenging course we played. Of course, a thirty mile per hour wind all day did not help.  The pro shop worker warned us that we would face several holes where we could putt the ball off the green due to severe slopes in the greens.  This was true and if the greens had been faster that would have happened.  There are also a number of forced carries over water and into the greens.  I would love to play this course again under more favorable conditions but do recommend you play the course if given the chance.  Another note is that the course hosts pro qualifiers for tournaments such as the WGC event played at Doral.  I can see why as they could make this course quite difficult if they chose to.  The only knock on this course was a poorly stocked pro shop.  If you’re looking for a souvenir shirt or hat from Emerald Hills you may be disappointed by the selection.

Jacaranda Golf Club- East Course
Jacaranda was the easiest golf course we played and reminded me of a municipal golf course.  The fairways are very wide and the approach shots to the greens are quite generous. Like a lot Florida courses it is very flat with little elevation change.  I think it is a great course to play if you are a beginner or intermediate player. You will not be overwhelmed with forced carries or long, tight par fours.  With a variety of tee placements it is a very playable course.   It is the type of course where you do not feel rushed and can have a relaxing round.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Masters Week 2012

Master Week is finally upon us, yippee!!!!!!!!  When did the Master’s, US Open or British Open  begin having “Weeks” anyway?  Who started it?  I think it was the Golf Channel as they needed to fill a full week’s worth of programming air time.  Anyhow, I am glad they did as it is my favorite golf week of the year, TV wise.  I can watch hours of in depth analysis and interviews on the Masters.  It is such a unique event for many reasons.  First, it is an Invitational unlike most other PGA Tour stops or Major Championships.  We tend not to think of it that way but that is what it is.  If you do not earn your way in then you have to be invited.  Another unique aspect to the event is that the former players get to come back and play.  It is great to see guys like Couples, Stadler, Player and others grace the fairways once more. 
Another great feature to the event is the beautiful colors on the property and how they are displayed on TV.  Now with High Def TV you get even more amazing images of the golf course, conditions and sounds.  There is nothing like a well struck shot that echoes through the Georgia Pines.  It is a truly unique sound and one that I look forward to hearing each spring.
I respect the Commitment to tradition that Augusta National keeps intact.  They do not bow to pressure from outside influences.  They keep traditions alive that make Augusta National one of a kind.  Before I attended the Masters in 2010 I always thought they did so to be snobby.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I believe they do so to keep the connection back to the days of Bobby Jones.  They want to keep his memory and legacy alive.  They want the traditions he began to live on forever.
I think it is cool that they play the Par 3 tournament.  It is even better that they televise the event now.  It is always great to see Jack and Arnie tee it up one more time.  Even though it is not a competitive round it does not matter, watching The King and Golden Bear play is always a pleasure.
I Have to mention the lack of commercials during the competitive rounds of TV coverage.  Absolutely, it’s one of the best parts about watching the championship.  I also like the Internet streaming so we can watch at work when time permits.
It’s the one event each year where the TV commentators have to be on their best behavior.  Even David Feherty has to tone it down.  It is great to listen to the commentary of an event that is all about golf and not a commentators attempt at humor.
Last but not least, I love to watch the Back Nine on Sunday.  Is there a more exciting nine hole stretch of golf to watch anywhere?  More things can happen and usually do each year to determine the eventual winner.  The back nine has the perfect blend of reachable par fives, challenging par threes and difficult par fours.  The entire event can turn on one swing of the club or one putt. 
What is your favorite part of Masters Week?