Tag Archives: Erik Johnson

WV7

Southland: Woods Valley Joins JC Golf

Jan. Southland

www.southlandgolf.com/articles/location-304-north-northern.html

Tucked away in Valley Center, in northern San Diego County, Woods Valley Golf Club has quietly remained a local favorite since opening in the early 2000s. JC Golf is looking to turn up the volume of players discovering, and talking about, the course.

JC Golf added Woods Valley to its popular JC Players Card in November and is hoping it entices more of its golfers to make the trek north.

JC Golf Director of Operations Erik Johnson said the initial response from players has been enthusiastic and positive.

“As soon as we announced it, it was really amazing to see how many new golfers showed up,” Johnson said. “It’s a great golf course that’s been around for over 10 years, and we are excited to use the JC brand to broad their exposure in the San Diego golf market.”

A boost in play would complete a year that has seen a remarkable improvement in the course conditions at Woods Valley, Johnson said, despite the drought. He credits superintendent John Martinez, who formerly oversaw Journey at Pechanga, for coaxing the course to its peak.

“It’s in great condition,” he said. “It’s up to the standard we expect for all of our courses.”

As the name suggests, the course is indeed tree-lined, but the layout alternates between being tight and open, somewhat akin to another JC course, Twin Oaks in San Marcos.

The front nine is more open and receptive to scoring. Then the course ups the ante on the challenge on the back with what many regard as one of the strongest back nines in in the region.

“It’s one of the best back-nine layouts in all of San Diego,” Johnson said. “It goes in and out of the woods so there’s a lot of visual effect.”

The stretch begins with one of the more daunting tee shots in San Diego. The par-4 10th has an elevated tee with water on the left and a wooded out of bounds right. There’s a narrowing landing area to hit to position yourself for an uphill approach. The wind often comes from your right, which makes the tee shot even more demanding.

Perhaps the most picturesque hole is the 15th, a strategic short par 4 with a sharp dog-leg right played from an elevated tee that offers a gorgeous overview of the valley and mountain surroundings. Carrying the dogleg with a driver brings the green into play, although the more sensible play is a hybrid or long iron aimed at the turn to set up a wedge approach.

The course has a few drivable par 4s and reachable par 5s that bring low numbers – and also usually risk – into play.
Johnson said the myriad shot options give the course a high degree of repeat playability.

“You could play this course several times a month and not get bored.”

Throw in some eye-pleasing and playable par 3s and you have a layout that offers something for everyone but has flown under the radar despite being 15 minutes from Escondido and the I-15.

JC Golf’s mission is to let the secret out and invite more golfers to the experience.

“Golf courses can be challenged in a lot of ways, but with Woods Valley it’s simply getting the word out, because it’s a great product,” Johnson said. “With our marketing and the JC brand, we’re expecting the course to see sizable growth in rounds (in 2016).”

Woods Valley is also unique, Johnson said, in that it’s a pure playing experience, meaning there’s no attached resort or additional amenities, making it a great place to escape to work on your game.

The course has an all-grass driving range – “They don’t even own mats” – and boasts the current Southern California PGA San Diego Chapter 2015 Player of the Year, Grant Strobel, as its head golf professional.

A personal word of advice for first-timers at Woods: You’ll look at the overall length (6,291 from the blues; 6,670 from the blacks) and want to step back. Play the course once before you do. That decision really hits home on the back, where you’ll want to see the holes once before you take on the extra distance.

“It’s a really unique place to play,” Johnson said, “If we get people here once, they’re definitely going to come back.”

By The Numbers

2003 – Year Woods Valley opened as a nine-hole course

2004 – Year it expanded to 18

2015 – Year it was added to the JC Golf Players Card

15 – Number of minutes it takes to reach the course from the I-15

6,670 – Number of yards from the back tees

0 – Number of practice mats the club owns; the range is all grass

$59/$79 – Public weekday/weekend rate

JC Golf: Farmers Insurance Open Preview W/Pro Picks

north no. 1

The last time Tiger Woods’ winning aura was seen was when he pulled into the parking lot at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open a year ago.

As the reigning Player of the Year, it was anticipated Tiger would take another victory lap around Torrey Pines, a track where he’s won eight times as a professional … and that’s so not what happened.

After getting thrashed on the North Course by Jordan Spieth on Friday, Woods managed to make the cut but miss the secondary cut on Saturday. We later learned of Tiger’s back issues, which led to him missing much of the season.

The tournament unfolded as a Sunday horse race where, at one point, it looked like an unprecedented six-man playoff seemed possible. Instead, Scott Stallings, a name many fans probably had to Google search, emerged as the winner by a stroke.

This year Tiger returns under what couldn’t be a more different set of circumstances. Here we preview this week’s event followed by picks from our JC pros.

1. Bizarro Tiger – The golf world is wondering what to make of Tiger after his short-game yip-fest in Phoenix. Coming off a career-worst 82, and with football season over, you can bank on his Thursday round getting the full attention, and scrutiny, of a round at a major.

Can Woods piece it back together on one of the courses where’s most comfortable? No one knows, and Vegas is doubting it – posting him at 50-to-1 odds.

Instead of people asking if Tiger can win, they’re wondering if he can make it to the weekend. Quite a different set of a circumstances for a 14-time major winner, indeed.

2. A Tougher TP – Favorable weather conditions, namely a mild winter, in 2014 allowed for a set up closer to a U.S. Open and Torrey Pines took advantage. A similar set-up seems likely this year.

That means a lower-scoring tournament, where it’s doubtful someone goes low and pulls away. That could leave us with a Sunday leaderboard more like last year.

Several media members panned last year’s set-up as being too tough for a February Tour event, saying it created “boring” scoring conditions. They might be hitting copy-and-paste on those columns this year. We’ll see.

3. Time for Spieth, Fowler? – After trouncing Tiger on Friday, Jordan Spieth was the story of the tournament last year until he ran out of gas on Sunday. It was later learned he played on an injured ankle.

Can Spieth come back and finish the job this week? Or will it be another 20-something – Rickie Fowler.

Fowler finished top-five in every major last year, a spectacular year only lacking a victory. Fowler’s visage is everywhere on the course this year. Will it be featured on next year’s winner’s poster at the course entrance? We’ll see.

4. A Favored Son, Anyone? – Pat Perez, a graduate of Torrey Pines High, finished a shot behind Stallings last year after being forced lay up on No. 18. It was Perez’s best finish in the event, but a shot short of the outcome he’s been dreaming of since he worked the range for this event as a youth. There’s no doubt he’ll have the crowd support. Will Perez finally raise the trophy on No. 18 on Sunday this time?

Another local of note is Daniel Miernicki, son of Twin Oaks Director of Instruction Paul Miernicki, who made the field as a Monday qualifier. Miernicki is a University of Oregon recruit.

5. DJ’s back – After a six-month leave for “personal reasons,” Dustin Johnson makes his 2014 Tour debut at Torrey. As the consensus most talented player on Tour for several years running now, will Johnson now have the discipline and focus to turn that potential into a major championship? He can gain some momentum this week with a strong showing. At a minimum, it’ll be fun watching him bomb it on the par 5s at Torrey.

Now the picks from our pros …

Erik Johnson, JC Golf Director of Golf –
My favorite: Tiger Woods. It may seem cliché, but how many times have we seen Tiger come to Torrey Pines feel right at home and bring home the trophy…. eight – seven Farmers Insurance Opens and the 2008 US Open.

In the mix – Brandt Snedeker. He is coming off a lackluster year and is gearing up to get back on top of leaderboards. Watch for him coming off another course he enjoys out in Phoenix…

The long shot – Justin Thomas. This young player bombs the golf ball! He’s 5-10 and 145 pounds and is averaging 302.6 in driving distance this year. He is building confidence with top-10 finishes at The Sony Open and the Humana Challenge and he finished T-10 in 2014.

Blake Dodson, Head Professional, Rancho Bernardo Inn – Rickie Fowler finds his stride.

Troy Ferguson, Head Professional, Twin Oaks – Graham DeLaet (if he plays).

Brandon Delgado, Head Professional, Carmel Mountain Ranch – Charley Hoffman. Coming off a second-place finish at the Humana Challenge, Hoffman is off to a great start in 2015. Seven of his eight rounds in 2015 have been under par and he has already won this season at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Hoffman, who is one of my favorite golfers, is a San Diego native and has helped promote many junior golf programs at some of our JC Golf facilities.

Lloyd Porter, Head Professional, Oaks North – I am going with my “local boy” connections. – Charlie Hoffman and Pat Perez. They both grew up here at Oaks North. Charlie used to pick the range for free balls. Charlie is playing well, and Pat is due to make a big breakthrough. He was in contention last year.

JC Golf: New GolfTEC Building to Open at Encinitas Ranch on Dec. 6th

buildingphoto (8)

Shop the TaylorMade 2014 Holiday Gift Guide and get free shipping on all orders! Offer ends 12/25/14.

The first GolfTEC facility to be located on a golf course property in Southern California will open at Encinitas Ranch on Dec. 6th.

The 2,500-square-foot facility consists of four teaching bays, a putting lab and a fitting studio. GolfTEC is the nation’s leading provider of golf lessons, giving millions of lessons a year in high-tech settings around the country.

At the launch event, which will take place from 3-7 p.m., golfers will be invited to tour the new facility and learn about GolfTEC’s instruction programs. GolfTEC will provide food and beverage and giveaways and contests for guests to participate in. There will be a contest on a virtual course, for instance.

hitting bay

Golfers are invited to bring friends and family to the opening. GolfTEC Regional Franchise Owner Suzanne LaTour says the Encinitas Ranch location will be one only three studios located on a golf property. The company has 190 franchises total.

“It’s just a great environment and it gives us our natural audience,” LaTour said. “We love to support local golf courses and local golfers who want to get better. And we think JC Golf does a great job. We think this all matches up pretty well.”

JC Golf Director of Golf Erik Johnson said this project was years in the making and is a ground-breaking partnership.

“This is a pretty unique situation for us and for GolfTEC,” he said. “To us, it’s a natural relationship. We’re trying to offer as many golf opportunities to our guests and players as possible.”

Johnson said Encinitas Ranch will maintain its current instruction staff of nine teaching pros. GolfTec will provide an alternative to or an extension of that instruction.

“GolfTEC is a very different instructional model than a private model. For instance, it you take a lesson here and go to Myrtle Beach, your next lesson will be waiting for you at GolfTEC there,” he said.

“We feel GolfTec complements our current instruction and exposes our players to their brand. And having them there also brings new players to Encinitas Ranch. It’s very mutually beneficial.”

Questions about the event and new facility can be directed to GolfTEC Encinitas Ranch at 760.208.1400.

photo (6)


JC Golf: Demo Day at Encinitas Ranch on Saturday Provides Unique Equipment Environment

demo

Save Up to $100 On the Speedblade Irons + Free Shipping for a Limited Time at TaylorMadeGolf.com!

Five major equipment manufacturers – TaylorMade, Titleist, Ping, Cobra and Nike – will be represented at the biggest demo day of the year at Encinitas Ranch on Sat., Aug. 30th.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., golfers will have an opportunity to test clubs on the driving range at Encinitas Ranch and ask questions of the attending equipment professionals. In addition, fitting appointments will be available from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Golf Pride will also be taking part and providing free installation of new Golf Pride grips.

Encinitas Ranch General Manager Erik Johnson says that for golfers who’ve been pondering purchases or are simply curious about the volume of new product that has come onto the market this year, the demo day is an ideal opportunity.

“There is no obligation or commitment,” he says, “but for someone who’s considering possibly a new driver or a new set of irons, I think this is a terrific opportunity. For one, you’re hitting clubs outdoors, as opposed to inside, where can really see what the club does. And on top of that, we’re going to have the latest technology including launch monitors that can measure ball speed, launch angle, spin, etc., so you’re sure to really know how that club is performing.”

If you’ve never participated in a demo day before, know that the experience can be a little overwhelming, and exhausting, without the right approach. Swing fatigue can be an issue, Johnson says.

“We’re not PGA Tour pros. We’re not conditioned to hit 150 to 200 balls without experiencing a significant drop in swing performance,” he says.

That said, Johnson advises limiting each new club tested to a maximum of 15 swings, even including swings with differing loft settings or shafts.

So that means when comparing, say, a TaylorMade driver and a Titleist driver, it’d just be around 15 swings apiece.

“After hitting 60-75 balls, it’s usually diminishing returns. You’re going to buy off of how the club looks, feels and performs. That’s enough swings to determine that.”

A free 10-minute driver tune-up is also be offered, where your driver’s set up is evaluated to make sure the settings match your swing.

Golfers can also participate in a long-drive contest that awards a free club fitting to the winner.

Johnson says that if you’re a player pondering an equipment purchases or possibly in need an equipment adjustment, Saturday is a day to have on your calendar.

“It’s a great opportunity to come hit some new sticks.”

For more information about scheduling a fitting, please call the pro shop at 760.944.1936.

Take 43% Off the Rocketballz Stage 2 Driver + Free Shipping for a Limited Time at TaylorMadeGolf.com!

ER7


JC Golf: PGA Championship Preview and Picks From Our Pros

valhalla_golfcourse[1]

Shop the New SLDR Mini Driver + Free Shipping at TaylorMadeGolf.com!

On this week’s episode of “As The Tour Turns …,” Rory is back at No. 1 with a bullet, Tiger’s bad back is back, Phil might be back to form and our JC pros back are back to see if they can predict two straight major champions.

The fourth and final major of the year, the PGA Championship, is being staged at Valhalla Country Club in Louisville. This is Valhalla’s first major since the 2000, when Tiger Woods fought off a game Bob May in a three-hole playoff. Since then Valhalla has hosted, among other events, the 2008 Ryder Cup, but not one of the big four.

The Tour scarcely could’ve fit more drama into its quick turnaround from the British and is down one major star (and we all know why), Tiger is wounded once more and Rory is rolling as the major championship season concludes at Valhalla.

Now to the preview and then the picks …

Another Rory Run Away? – Save for a Sunday pursuit from Sergio that never really got there, Rory’s win at the British was a run away as he notched his third major before age 25.

He just bested Sergio again at the Firestone after a three-birdie burst to open his Sunday round. Rory is rolling and making it feel like his reign at No. 1 could be here to stay this time.

A major double to end the season would have Nike creative writing commercials as fast as Rory could make them – & give Tiger a break from the major history discussion because it would be all about Rory going into the Masters next year looking at a career Grand Slam.

The golf world is teed high for Rory right now. Can you let it fly again?

Rory v. Sergio III? – Sergio’s resurgence has been reduced to secondary storyline status thanks to his two runner-up finishes and other Tour goings on, but it can’t be ignored.

The Spaniard is playing well and has experience on his side, but he needs to eliminate the Sergio moment (i.e. leaving it in the bunker in the British) that golf fans have now come to expect, especially in majors.
Can he do it at Valhalla? Stay tuned.

Is Rickie Finally Ready? – T5, T2, T2. That’s Rickie’s record in the majors this year.
That’s impressive and has started the clock again on when Rickie’s going to finally break through in a major.
His work with Butch Harmon has clearly paid off. Now can Rickie finally make it happen on Sunday?

He’s got legions of fans just waiting to celebrate the big one with him. Rickie vs. Rory has rivalry potential, but Rickie’s got to come through on Sunday for it to happen.

Will Phil Finally Thrill? – A 10-birdie Sunday at Firestone for a season-best 62 provides some hope Phil Mickelson’s so-far-forgettable major season can provide a final flurry of excitement.

To do it, Mickelson will have to harness all phases of his game, something that has proven elusive for Phil this season. But Mickelson exposed optimism to CBS after his Sunday performance.

“My confidence heading into the PGA is astronomically higher than it was 24 hours ago, and I feel like, heading into Thursday’s round, that I’m not searching to find something, that I have what I’m looking for,” he said. “I just have to maintain it. … As I was saying yesterday, I’ve struggled with my iron play and not making enough birdies, and then I come out today and make 10. That to me was the big change.”

Mickelson also expressed enthusiasm for the Nicklaus-designed Valhalla course. It would be yet another classic Phil recovery for him to make a run into the weekend.

Now the predictions, led off by Jay Navarro, who correctly forecasted Rory at the British.

Jay Navarro, Tournament Director, Temecula Creek Inn
Rory McIlroy – His game is at its pinnacle.

Erik Johnson, General Manager, Encinitas Ranch
Rory McIlroy – Was first in driving distance and sixth in driving accuracy at Firestone. Combine that with never missing a four-footer and he’s a one-man wrecking crew. That’s why he’s the No. 1 player in the world.

Rickie Fowler – Yes, I am taking Rickie again. The only player on Tour with top-five finishes in the previous three major championships has to break out sometime…

Steve Stricker – He’s my long shot because he hits it right to left and is one of the best putters in the world. Plays really well on Midwestern golf courses and is winding down his career. A major championship would be the cherry on top.

Scott Butler, Tournament Director, Twin Oaks
Rory McIlroy – Look out, Tiger. Here comes Rory.

Lloyd Porter, Head Professional, Oaks North
Phil Mickelson – Like him after his 10 birdies on Sunday; he is due for a good tournament.
My dark horse is Rickie Fowler – would be a great win for the U.S.A. but … my final pick is Justin Rose – the European golfers are just playing better now!


JC Golf: U.S. Open Preview & Picks By The Pros

Image

          As the year’s second major, the U.S. Open, arrives, storylines abound that, refreshingly, don’t involve Tiger Woods.

Unlike the Masters, Woods’ absence at Pinehurst has been barely a blip on the media radar this week. Instead, players who are actually playing in the tournament have been the storyline and, of course, the course itself.

According to my golf-centric Twitter feed, these are the lead stories going into the tournament.

  1. Can Phil Mickelson complete his career Grand Slam?

After his win at the British Open last year, Mickelson has now won them all, save for the Open, at which he’s finish second an incredible six times, including at Pinehurst 15 years ago. Despite his clout of having won five majors, a Mickelson victory seems a bit unlikely when you consider his atypically quiet year on Tour. And he’s tinkering with his putting grip (going to the claw), which is already drawing doubters. As one columnist wrote, “There goes Mickelson, out-thinking himself again.”

But a Mickelson victory would certain give the Tour season a shot in the arm. As would …

2. Will Jordan Spieth Finally Break Through?

The Next Big Thing in golf would erase the “Next” with a major championship. To do it, he’ll have to learn to close, something he’s been unable to do thus far this season. But after finishing second to Bubba Watson at the Masters, a breakthrough at the U.S. Open would announce an arrival that seems inevitable. But as Jack Nicklaus says of Tiger Woods’ major chase: You haven’t done it until you’ve done it.

3. A Classic Venue Restored

Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore oversaw a $2.5 million renovation of the No. 2 course to restore it to the original Donald Ross design and a more natural state. Among other things, that meant removing turf and restoring bunkers and waste areas. As a result, this Open isn’t expected to play like an Open in that it won’t have ankle-high rough. However, in the practice rounds the pros have reported that the greens have been tough to hit, thus the winner’s chance possible riding on a strong short game, which (back to No. 1) … hello, Lefty.

But the course setup has some forecasting controversy …

4.  Could We See A Rules Controversy Like the 2010 PGA?

The 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits is where a rules controversy erased Dustin Johnson’s best chance at a major victory. He grounded his club in what he believed to be a waste area instead of a bunker. He thus invoked a two-stroke penalty that cost him the championship.   

Similar course conditions at Pinehurst abound, meaning the rules official is certain to get a workout this week. Something to watch for, but here’s hoping we don’t have another major overshadowed by a rules controversy.

There’s also the chance for Bubba Watson to notch a second major and really put some sizzle into the Tour season. But none of our JC pros chose him. Their picks are listed below.

Erik Johnson, General Manager, Encinitas Ranch

Rory McIlroy – I think he has momentum on his side and his game 9and mind) are now sharp enough to return to top form

Adam Scott – He has become one of the most consistent players on the planet (hence his No. 1 world ranking), he is one of the best ball-strikers in the game, so if the putter is working he should be a favorite

Long Shot…..Webb Simpson – Wait a second, a former champion as a long-shot?  After the 2012 championship, his game has fallen off, but he is getting hot at the right time and has the experience to prevail.

Jay Navarro, Tournament Director, Temecula Creek Inn –

Webb Simpson – Played well in the FedEx.

Troy Ferguson, Head Golf Professional, Twin Oaks –

Graham DeLaet. Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Blake Dodson, Director of Golf, Rancho Bernardo Inn

Jordan Spieth – Too young to be scared of the U.S. Open.

Lloyd Porter, Head Professional, Reidy Creek and Oaks North

Sergio Garcia – My wife’s favorite.

JC Golf: The Ranch Grill at Encinitas Ranch Is Now Open

Image

Free Shipping On All Golf Shirts for a Limited Time at AshworthGolf.com!

         The Encinitas Ranch Golf Course’s remodeled bar and grill, now known as the Ranch Grill, is officially open and will soon be serving a brand new menu.

The Ranch Grill is the third phase of an extensive $1 million renovation of Encinitas Ranch.

Encinitas Ranch General Manager Erik Johnson describes the Ranch Grill as a “coastal casual gastropub” that is meant to encourage post-round camaraderie and be conducive to sports-related social gatherings.

“I want it to be like when I was young and for golf to become more social again, like it was meant to be. When I was a young golf professional, players would hang out at the club for another two or three hours,” he says. “We want people to come in here and settle their bets, talk about their rounds and hang out to watch the game.

“It’s healthy for the game of golf to have people hanging out at the golf course.”

Encouraging that sort of activity started with a complete remodeling of the bar and grill space. Wood paneling now compliments new wood furniture that is grouped around eight television sets, including five large flat screens that will soon be connected to a brand new sound system.

Guests will immediately notice three large communal tables made of aged wood that can seat up to eight people comfortably.

Part of the $200,000 investment included doubling the beer taps to eight. Johnson says this was done in part to cater to the new menu, which will pair local craft brews and pub-type comfort food.

“It’s not fancy,” Johnson says of the new dining theme, “but it is upscale and fun.”

Eight-ounce burgers form the base of the new menu, which will also include sandwiches, salads, an array of appetizers and breakfast.

A “secret ingredient” to the new menu is Canadian culinary creation called poutine. Native to Quebec, poutine consists of French fries topped with a light brown gravy-like sauce and cheese curds.

“We’ve added beer and cheddar to make it an amazing gravy to have over any of our menu items,” Johnson says.

While golfers are, naturally, the immediate target for the new space, Johnson says he has ambitions of the Ranch Grill becoming a dining destination for members of the community for the sheer experience of enjoying a delicious meal in the setting of a beautiful golf course.

“I think it’s going to be a cool place to hang out whether you’re a golfer or not,” Johnson says.

Here’s a sampling of menu items you can look forward to soon:

Smoked Bacon & I.P.A Chili – Harvest vegetables, ground turkey, picked herbs and tomatoes roasted and stewed with a local I.P.A.

Waffle Fry ‘Poutine’ – Crisp waffle fries topped with cheese and our house garlic & cheddar I.P.A. poutine gravy.

TJ Dog – Bacon-wrapped all-beef hot dog, chipotle mayo, avocado slices, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce.

Cali Burger – Pepper jack cheese, avocado slices, lettuce, tomato, red onion, mayo.

The Poutine Burger – Topped with cheddar I.P.A. gravy fries.


JC Golf Spotlight Hole: No. 17 at Encinitas Ranch

Image

Photo courtesy of JC Golf

There are ocean views from 11 holes at Encinitas Ranch, but water – not the ocean – only actually comes into play on three.

The one hole where you get the most of both is No. 17.

Played against an expansive backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, and often into an ocean breeze, the par-3 17th lurks as potential stumbling blocking toward the end of your round.

Playing to 185 yards from the blues and 160 from the white, the large pond to the right has attracted its share of tee shots over the years. But with the large green to hit and the bailout area to the left, that doesn’t have to be you.

Encinitas Ranch General Manager Erik Johnson says people playing the hole for the first time make a common mistake that leads to bad outcomes.

“You don’t want to go at the right side of that green, even when the pin is over there,” he says. “That doesn’t allow enough room for your miss, and the next thing you know your shot is high, right and caught in the wind and you’re wet.”

(FYI: If your ball finds the lake, the drop zone is about 50 yards from the left front of the green.)

When I played the hole recently, I felt my felt my threesome had a fairly representative experience. My first playing partner’s tee shot met the fate described above. My other partner missed the green short and left.

Having my own history with this hole, I chose to club up and ignore the front pin and try to hit the middle of the green. My hybrid carried beyond the back of the green and right, where I discovered a collection area I didn’t know existed.

The two of us who stayed dry off the tee both got up and down for par. Our third impressively scrambled to save bogey.

We played the hole around 4 p.m., the time when Johnson says the hole is usually play its toughest.

“About 10 or 11 in the morning that prevailing wind kicks up,” he says. “It starts out as about one club and then can become two, especially when the pin is in the back. And people don’t factor in that as the day gets cooler, the fall doesn’t fly as far, so you might lose 10 yards off your 5-iron.”

And from the back tees, largely because of the wind, this hole is a long iron for most players, including Johnson.

“The best strategy I’ve come up with is to take a little bit more club, choke down and always play to the left-hand side of the green,” he says. “I’m going to resign myself to a two-putt or getting up and down if I miss the green.

“But that chip isn’t a gimme. It challenges people.”

No. 17 follows a short par-4 and leads into the par-5 18th. Johnson says there’s a chance for a strong close to your round -as long you don’t let it get away at 17.

“What you really don’t want is double bogey or worse,” he says. “Four is a pretty OK score on 17 and three can feel like a birdie.”

Tom Watson lamented on Twitter recently – yes, Tom Watson is on Twitter – that players who are smartly willing to lay up on tough par-4s and -5s, stubbornly won’t use the same approach on a par-3.

If you really struggle with this hole, that might be something to consider here.

Feel free to share your successes, struggles and strategies for No. 17, especially if you’ve ever made an ace here. JC Golf would love to hear about your experiences with this challenging par-3.

You can also find this post at jcgolf.com, where you can also book a lesson or a tee time at one of their six North County courses.

JC Golf – Encinitas Ranch: Slow Play? No Way

Image


Editor’s Note: Socalgolfblog.com will be providing weekly blog content for JC Golf and its group of courses in Southern California. Those posts will appear here and at www.jcgolf.com.

New pace of play initiative keeps things moving at Encinitas Ranch

On Sept. 1, Encinitas Ranch instituted a new pace of play initiative that General Manager Erik Johnson says not only has proven effective but has been supported strongly by regular patrons of the course.

“I’ve had a ton of positive responses about us carrying through on this,” Johnson says, “and, yes, we’ve seen more players coming out because of it.”

The process of encouraging proper pace begins with simple awareness of the target time of 4 hours, 30 minutes, or less, for a round. Johnson says players are made aware of this expectation at the time of reservation, check-in and again at the starter.

And the 4:30 goal actually begins after 9 a.m. Before that, it’s faster.

“We want our 8 a.m. group to play in four hours,” Johnson says. “Then until 9 a.m., the goal is 4:15.”

Pace is monitored at the fourth hole, where a players’ assistant times the groups and then assists any group that has fallen behind.

“We have someone go with that group until they’re back in position,” Johnson says. “If that means shooting yardages, raking bunkers, pulling the flagstick, we do it. If it takes several holes, then that’s what it takes.

“Our goal isn’t to scold or upset people. It’s our goal to assist them so everybody has a great day.”

Overall, Johnson says 90 percent of the course’s patrons play to pace. It’s the remaining 10 percent that the initiative targets.

“My dilemma is that the person at 8 a.m. pays the same amount as someone at 11:30. Those two people deserve the same golf experience.”

A hectic two-week holiday period, which saw increased play beyond the seasonal average due to summer-like temperatures, gave the new initiative a stern test, but Johnson says the new program produced impressive results.

“We didn’t have a round go over 4:30,” he says proudly.

In a hospitality industry, Johnson says pace can be as much a political issue as a playing issue, but the staff at Encinitas Ranch has found an approach that works on both fronts.

“We wanted to do more than set an expectation. We wanted to be assertive about reinforcing that expectation,” he says.

“Pace can be a difficult conversation to have on the golf course but we’re trying to find a positive approach to it.”

Tips to Speed Up Your Play

–       Always carry a second ball.

–       Don’t figure your scores at the green; do it at the next tee box.

–       When sharing a cart, when possible, try to park between shots and have each player walk to his/her ball.

–       Don’t honor the honor system; play ready golf, especially on the tee box. Female players should tee off as soon as it’s safe and distance to the group ahead allows.

–       No search parties, meaning the entire group doesn’t need to pursue a lost ball. Let the player and one other look. while the rest locate their balls and prepare to play. You can also spend this time figuring yardages.

–       Play the proper tees. When you play farther back than you’re capable, your game suffers and so does pace.

–       If there’s doubt about a ball being lost, play a provisional to avoid having to go back to replay the shot.

–       Keep mulligans to a minimum. They’re not allowed by the rules, but we all know they occur. Be mindful of the groups behind you before hitting a second shot. There is a time and play for a practice round, but it’s not when two groups are stacked up behind you.

–       Curb your pre-shot routine if it includes excessive practice swings. The pros don’t need eight practice swings; you don’t either.

–       On cart path-only holes, take multiple clubs.

–       Start reading your putt as soon as you walk on the green. One of the best ways to read a putt is from the lowest part of the green. Start there and work toward your ball.

 To find a JC Golf course in your area and book a tee time or a lesson, go to jcgolf.com.