Posts Tagged ‘US Open’

Junior Golf: The Majors

In this Friday Flop Shot we will introduce you and your son to The Majors, the men’s major golf championships. Yes, The Houston Open is in progress and it’s an excellent tournament but for today’s purpose, it is the event the week before the 1st major of the year. (photo offcoursegolf.com)image

What are “major championships”? Well, they are rare since there are only 4 men’s majors in a year. They are prestigious as each major has its own strict qualifications to be able to enter. You don’t just go sign up. They are also prestigious because every course is set up to be a rigid test of a professional golfer’s skills. So the courses are tough. They are prestigious because they have a mental pressure far greater than a regular PGA tour stop. They are difficult to finish out to win because frankly the thought of being in a position to win a major can blow a player’s mind. So they are 1 of the ultimate mental tests. And of course winning a major puts a golfer into the extremely rare air of a very elite status. Winning majors and how many a golfer has won is how the greatest golfers are measured. And a professional golfer with no majors won will find it difficult, if not impossible to get into the World Golf Hall of Fame, in fact it may be that 2 major victories are now required to be considered for induction.image

The 1st major is The Masters, played at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, starting Monday. It is unique among the majors because it is played at the same course every year. Previous champions have an advantage and it’s not uncommon to win this event more than once. Of course the pro must get that 1st Master’s win. (wghof photo by golfscene.ca)

The 2nd major each year is The U S Open, to be played this year at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania near Pittsburg, June 13-19. The US Open is also commonly called the US National Championship since amateurs as well as pros can qualify to enter. It changes courses every year but a number of sites have hosted more than 1 US Open. This is another tough event folks as testified by Oakmont Country Club regarded as perhaps the most difficult golf course in America is hosting its record 9th US Open. Now that’s impressive and it shows you the USGA, who runs the US Open, isn’t kidding around when it crowns a national champion!

The 3rd major of the year is The Open Championship, formerly called The British Open. 14 different courses have hosted this event. This year the 145th version of The Open Championship will be played at Royal Troon on the rugged awe-inspiring coastline of the West of Scotland, July 10-17. And since Scotland is the birthplace of golf, winning The Open Championship has a prestige and historical significance all it’s own. Also, the winner is called The Champion Golfer of The Year, which sounds really cool!

The 4th and final major is the PGA Championship which this year will be held at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, July 25-31. Since the PGA Championship’s inception in 1916, Baltusrol is 1 of the very few courses to host this event more than once. This tournament is unique in that only PGA professionals are eligible to enter. And there are entry slots available for PGA pros who are not on the tour. No amateurs.

See you on #1 tee looking ready for a major win… Sam

Junior Golf At Torrey Pines

In today’s Friday Flop Shot we will relive our adventure at 1 of the legendary golf courses in the US and in the World, Torrey Pines, just north of San Diego, California. This is fun, get excited!image

In late June of 2007, we packed up the car and Linda, S3 and I started heading west on I-10 ultimately to spend a few days in San Diego. Our 1st overnight stay was at a Holiday Inn in Deming, New Mexico. This is a fun side note, so please bear with me. At check-in I asked how business had been, were they pretty busy? The unexpected response was, “We’re a bit slow today and glad of it. The whole cast and crew of the new Indiana Jones movie has been here filming for the last 6 months and they just left yesterday.” Yep, Harrison Ford and everyone else. So it was fun learning where the filming locations were and we heard a bunch of interesting stories. (Offcoursegolf.com)

Next morning we blasted west again reaching our destination in the late afternoon. S3 and I had some golf planned and we had tried to make a tee time at Torrey Pines on the Internet, but it was a pain and the agent wanted another $25 each to make the reservation. No thanks.

On the morning of July 4th, 2007, we got up with nothing to do until 6:00pm so I said why don’t we drive to Torrey Pines buy some logo shirts and practice on the putting green, expecting there to be no way to get a tee time. So we are talking to the guy at checkout and it happens he is from our part of San Antonio. As we visit, he says,”When’s your tee time?” I told him about our unproductive internet experience to which he replied, “How many are playing?” I said, “2”. He said, “Sam this is a muni (municipal golf course owned by San Diego County). We work in 1’s and 2’s all day long. Go see the starter and tell him you have 2 for the South Course.”

imageS3 and I got in line, we were maybe 3rd. All the guys ahead of us professed to be locals, meaning they got a MUCH lower rate and the starter made them show about 3 photo ID’s and everything except for a blood test. They paid like $45 walking. It’s our turn and I say, “2 for the South Course.” Starter says, “2 for the South Course, #1 tee in 10 minutes. That’s $185 each, no junior discount and $50 for the cart.” We expected it to be expensive so the money didn’t matter. I asked if we could ride 3 in the cart so Linda could join us and the starter said yes. (fitnessfatale.com)

We teed off and frankly I played quite poorly and S3 played pretty well. We were grouped with 2 brothers from the local area who were nice guys. And Linda had the time of her life videoing the course and all the absolutely stunning views. Some of the holes are on top of the cliffs that run right along the edge of the Pacific and others have views of the surrounding countryside. Torrey Pines is a beautiful amazing golf course. There is a reason why a number of US Opens in addition to the annual Farmers Insurance Open are played there on the South Course, the tougher and more famous of the 2 courses.

If you are ever near San Diego, make it a priority to play the South Course at Torrey Pines. Just walk up to the starter, don’t mess with a reservation if there are 2 or less of you. Don’t worry about how you play. You will get an education in Kikuyu grass (tee boxes and fairways) and Poiana grass (on the greens). You’ll understand after a couple of holes.

See you on #1 tee on an amazing golf course… Sam

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