In a perfect world, every place would get as many sunny days as Phoenix, Arizona. I was fortunate enough to golf at one of Arizona's better courses a couple of years ago, the TPC Scottsdale, home of the FBR Open. It was late May, 2003 which is when the tourism season winds down somewhat in Arizona because the summer is quite hot and the weather is starting to get better everywhere else.
Because we were part of a large group, we started on the 5th Hole, a 453 Par 4. My foursome all agreed we'd play from the Pro tees and measure up how we would compare to the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. I know, it's a silly thing to do but we enjoyed it none the less.
The course was beautiful and in great shape. It's amazing how the ball flies through the air in the dry climate of Arizona. I managed a 7 to start at 3 over after the first hole and followed that with a 10 on number 6. My partner wanted to give me an 8 there but I wanted to see what my real score would be so I kept it.
The problem I had on number 6 was the bunkers and this seemed to be the biggest difference with the TPC Scottsdale course compared to other courses I have played. I had a real problem with how deep they were so I knew I had to stay out of them for the rest of the game.
I actually managed to pull things together nicely (for me) and put together a string of 5's but the best hole of the day was by far the 18th. This is a beautiful finishing Par 4 that starts with a carry over the water. You need about a 190 yard carry to clear the water and I hit my drive perfect, avoiding 2 of the dreaded bunkers on the other side of the water. I've never been known for my short game so I was happy with my second shot that landed safely just short of the green. Here's where I usually gain a couple strokes but I pulled out a nice par with a short chip and an easy putt to finish.
At the end of the day, I was pleased to finish with a 103. Considering my 10 on number 6, I left knowing that I was within striking distance of breaking 100 which was where I usually shoot on an average day. Throw in the fact that I was using rental clubs and they had cold beer on a hot day, I can't wait to go back and break 100.
The following year I watched the FBR Open from the comfort of my own home while the snow fell outside. As I watched Mickelson tee off on number 18 I thought of my shining moment where I pulled out the par and wondered how Phil would play the same hole. I can't remember what Phil's score was on 18 that day in 2004 but it was either a bogey or a double bogey so I had to smile to myself watching at home. Of course I don't think I would have handled the pressure as well if I were there in the FBR Open but it was fun to play the same course as the best golfers in the world.
Mike Wyman is co-owner of the singles site http://www.DateAGolfer.com, the perfect place for golf singles to find their golfmate. He also runs http://www.PuttingForPar.com, a site specializing in the sale of personalized golf ball markers.