Butler Cabin, Augusta National (c) Burgh Golfer

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Troon North Course Review

           This is the second in a series of three course reviews from our recent Arizona golf trip.  On day two we played the world-renowned Troon North Golf Club.  Troon North features two world class golf courses; the Monument and Pinnacle.  We played the Monument Course on this outing.  The Monument Course plays to a yardage of 7,070, has a course rating of 72.9 and a slope of 147 from the Black Tees.  We chose to play the Gold Tees.  The Gold stats are: yardage - 6,716; course rating - 71.6; and slope of 137.  It was still quite a challenge from these tee boxes.
Troon North, like most great desert courses, is first class all the way.  This facility has every amenity a golfer could want.  They have a wonderful driving range and putting green that players can use to knock the rust off.  They also have a fully stocked golf shop with anything you might need in case you under packed.  If your foursome is looking for a facility that offers a great place to practice, as well as a great golf experience, you cannot go wrong with Troon North.
One of the features that impressed me the most about Troon North was that it is a true championship golf course.  This course will challenge you in every aspect of the game.  Although the greens were a little on the slow side the day we played, you can tell they can make them quite challenging for a tournament setting.  The only element of the course that I did not prefer was the surrounding residential subdivisions which took away from the natural views.  However,  I realize that in modern golf course planning, expensive homes dotting the fairways is a given.  Even with that I still loved the layout.
One element that you need to be wary of on this course is that there are a lot of forced carries off of the tee boxes.  So, if you struggle off the tee or are a short hitter be sure and take plenty of golf balls.  There are rattlesnake warning signs positioned around the course, so you might not want to go searching for your lost ball in every instance.
The Monument course has a great variety of holes.  There are challenging par 3s, reachable par 5s and long par 4s.  My favorite par five on the course was the eleventh which played to 504 yards.  This may sound like a short par five but it is straight uphill the entire way and has a pretty daunting tee shot.  The tee shot is framed by large boulders and has a fairly lengthy carry to get to the fairway.  I also really enjoyed the par three 13th which played to 206 yards. This hole is bordered by a lake on the right and plays at least one club downhill.  It offers a large green and a generous approach area where you can run the ball in from the front.  The miss is short or left where you also have a number of chipping options.
All in all there are many great holes on this course and it is a must play if you get to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. 
Send us a comment if you have ever played Troon North; we would love to hear your feedback.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Positive Thinking on the Golf Course

I played golf over the weekend with a good friend of mine and we had the opportunity to discuss golf strategy.  I told him that I am a huge believer in the power of positive thinking.  I am no Tony Robbins but I firmly believe in the power of positive thought in all aspects of life.  I do not know where this stems from or whether it is a learned behavior or a personality trait.  You will need to read a psychology blog to get an answer to that one! Regardless, I have experienced it enough in my life and noticed it enough in other people to trust in the power of positive thinking, but on and off the course. 
Anyhow, here is how the topic came about.  We were playing a match and upon entering the eighth hole the score was tied.  We were on the par five 8th hole when my buddy hit his third shot to two feet and made the putt for a birdie four.    I missed the green with my third shot and was pin high about twenty feet from the green.  I told my buddy that I need to make the chip to tie him.  It was not a particularly difficult chip shot and one that a player could make if you get the ball tracking online.  So, I approached the shot, hit it perfectly, and holed it! 
The discussion about positive thinking began on the 11th hole, which is another par five.  As I hit my third shot the turf gave way and my ball came up about ten feet short of the green.  I then chipped the fourth about twenty feet past the flag leaving myself a tough downhill putt -- not very good.  At this point I felt like the eleventh hole owed me one.  I said as much to my buddy as I approached my par putt.  I do not know why I think that way, I just do.  I always feel like if the course delivers a bad break, it owes me.  Needless to say I stood up and knocked in the par putt to win the hole.
I explained to my buddy my theory on the power of positive thinking and how I use it on the golf course.  If you play golf long enough you almost have to think this way.  This is especially true if you play any competitive golf events.  You always have to believe that you can still win the hole, the match or the tournament no matter how dire the circumstances.  Tiger Woods is the master at this.  He always thinks he has a chance to win and usually does. 
I personally believe that players either think positively or negatively on the golf course and there is no in between.  If you ask most players if they are thinking positive or negative thoughts during the course of the round they would probably say the latter.
The next time you are faced with a difficult situation on the golf course, think positive.  Imagine yourself remedying the situation, improving your score, making a better swing, etc.  Do not let negative thinking creep into your game.  If you think positively, I promise you will play better, score better and enjoy the game much more than you ever have before.
Please share with us stories you have about positive thinking on the golf course.