Tag Archives: JC Golf

JC Golf: It’s Time To Join the JC Golf Junior Tour

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Image courtesy of www.juniorgolf.com

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Sign up has begun for JC Golf’s 10-week Junior Golf Tour, which starts Sept. 21 and is open to boys and girls ages 10 to 17.

Besides tournament experience, the tour presents weekly prize opportunities in the form of free golf rounds, with the grand prize for flight winners being free golf for an entire year.

The boys compete in age groups of 10-13 and 14-17, while the girls division is open.

While some of the competitors are experienced tournament players, program director Steve Lyons, Assistant Golf Professional/Tournament Coordinator at Oaks North, said some of the first players to sign up this year were tournament novices.

“For a lot of kids, this is their introduction into tournament golf, which is great because that’s what we’re looking for,” he said.

The experience is made fair for all, Lyons said, by the use of handicaps.

“We want to make it as level possible, so each player will get a handicap differential after the first event and then we’ll build their handicap from there,” he said.

“We don’t wants to kids to stay away or be intimidated because they might be playing against players who are at a higher level. It’s tournament golf, yes, but we still want it to be fun.”

The weekly flight winners win a free round of golf at that week’s course. The grand prize winners are determined based on a points system that rewards both participation and performance, similar to the PGA Tour’s FedEx system, Lyons said.

Other participation incentives include opportunities to partake in things such as driver and putter fittings provided by TaylorMade Golf.

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All the JC courses, save for Carmel Mountain Ranch, are used in the Sunday tournament rotation, so the players get to experience a mix of regulation and executive courses.

Each week also presents a chance to gain tournament experience, which Lyons said is essential to securing a competitive future in the game.

“Tournament golf is whole new realm,” he said. “If you get exposed early, it does nothing but build confidence as you get older. And that can lead to being on a high school team and eventually a college team. This gives you that foundation.”

And Lyons also stressed that the tournaments provide a broad range of experience as players join the tour from all over San Diego County. And those are the players the game is depending on, he said.

“Golf needs kids not only playing, but playing competitively. Competition is what the game is all about.”

There’s a one-time registration fee of $30 to join the tour. Beyond that, it’s $35 for 18 holes.

For more information, you can contact Lyons directly at 858.487.3021, or slyons@jcresorts.com.


Below is this year’s tournament schedule.

Schedule
Sept. 21 – Oaks North
Sept. 28 – Reidy Creek
Oct. 5 – Rancho Bernardo Inn
Oct. 12 – Encinitas Ranch
Oct. 19 – Reidy Creek
Oct. 26 – Oaks North
Nov. 2 – Encinitas Ranch
Nov. 9 – Temecula Creek Inn
Nov. 16 – Twin Oaks
Nov. 23 – Oaks North

Note: Consult www.jcgolf.com/junior-tour for more information, such as registration and weekly tee times.


Photo Post: Bad Lie

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This was my friend’s lie after a 290-yard drive on a par 5 at Encinitas Ranch. That’s what I call cruel and unusual punishment. And he had to hit it lefty.

Incredibly, he salvaged par. We know it’s not a fair game, but sometimes it’s just a little cruel.

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JC Golf: PGA Championship Preview and Picks From Our Pros

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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: Brewery Tour Tournament Beer-Ographies of Participating Brewers

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The following is a look at the nine local craft breweries who will each be pouring two beers for golfers to taste at the third annual Brewery Tour golf tournament on Friday, Aug. 8th, at Twin Oaks.
A few spots remain. For the $99 entry fee, golfers, who must be 21 or older, receive:

• 18 holes of golf with cart
• Range balls
• On-course contests and food
• Souvenir tasting glass
• Two five-ounce beer tastings from each brewery

To reserve your spot today, call 760.591.4700.

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Read on for a look at the company “beer-ographies” of the breweries in this year’s tournament line up.

Returning Breweries
Stone Brewing Company
Location: Escondido
Company overview: Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co. is the 10th largest craft brewer in the United States. Stone has been listed on the Inc. 500 | 5,000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies list nine times, and has twice been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine.
Known for its bold, flavorful and largely hop-centric beers, Stone has built a reputation on brewing outstanding, unique ales while maintaining an unwavering commitment to sustainability, business ethics, philanthropy and the art of brewing.
Web site: www.stonebrewing.com

The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing

Location: San Marcos
Company overview: Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey produces an extensive line-up of continental and American-inspired ales and lagers. Under the direction of visionary brew master and co-founder Tomme Arthur, the brewer has garnered dozens of awards in its seven-year history, including the 2007 Great American Beer Festival Small Brewery of the Year and the 2008 World Beer Cup Champion Small Brewery.
Web sites: www.lostabbey.com; www.portbrewing.com.

Oceanside Ale Works
Location: Oceanside
Company overview: Oceanside Ale Works crafts award-winning ales in the first microbrewery to find its home in beautiful Oceanside, California. Using the freshest hops and finest malted barley, their ales are hand-crafted to exacting standards “ensuring a taste experience you are sure to remember.” Oceanside Ale Works is located along the North Coast of San Diego County, and right now you can taste their products at many locations in San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties.
“We are committed to crafting fine regional ales of great quality, character and taste.”
Web site: www.oceansidealeworks.net

Ballast Point Brewing

Location: San Diego
Company overview: What started in 1996 as a small group of home brewers who simply wanted to make great beer evolved into the adventurers known as Ballast Point. From bringing a hoppy twist to a porter, or adding four types of malt to its amber ale, to creating a breakthrough gold-medal winning IPA, the San Diego-based company is known for adding its own touch and asking if there’s a better way. Today an internationally recognized leader in the craft brewing and spirits industry, the company makes over 40 styles of beer and bottles five spirits.
Web site: www.ballastpoint.com

Mother Earth Brewing Company
Location: Vista
Company overview: Mother Earth caters to home brewers seeking the highest quality and freshest ingredients to people who enjoy sampling great beers – many of which are exclusively available at our tasting bar.
Come by for a truly unique experience, and always remember … Love Your Mother.
Web site: www.motherearthbrewco.com

New Breweries

Saint Archer Brewery
Location: San Diego
Company overview: The craft beer experience happens where art and science meet. Saint Archer understands this, so our company was founded on a unique strain of creative talent. World-class brewers. Artists and musicians. Professional surfers, skateboarders, and snowboarders.
Web site: www.saintarcherbrewery.com

Modern Times Beer

Location: San Diego
Company overview: Modern Times Beer focuses (non-monogamously) on aroma-driven, complex, flavorful, session-ish beers. They often brew hybrid styles, combining the features we like from established categories to create new mash-ups.
Web site: www.moderntimesbeer.com

Dos Desperados Brewery

Location: San Marcos
Company overview: Dos Desperados is the San Diego area’s newest craft brewery and tasting room. Dos Desperados Vixens’ meaning and motto – We will live; we will enjoy life. We will not break the law, but go around the conventional when needed – not necessarily following the normal standards and styles of beer and customer service
Web site: www.dosdesperadosbrew.com

JC Golf: Third Annual Brewery Tour at Twin Oaks

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Eighteen holes. Nine local breweries.

If that’s your kind of golf math, we’ve got an event for you – the Brewery Tour at Twin Oaks on Aug. 8.

The tournament combines great golf and great craft beer for a unique afternoon on the golf course. This 1:30 p.m. shotgun scramble event allows golfers to sample a beer at every other hole. The nine participating local breweries each bring two beers for golfers to taste.

Now in its third year, Twin Oaks Tournament Director Scott Butler says the tournament already has a loyal following.

“I’ve got people booking eight-somes and 12-someones,” he says. “They want to make it a day with a group of friends. We had 40 people sign up before we ever sent out the e-mail announcing the date. Those people say it’s their favorite tournament now.”

The tournament is moving from Monday to Friday this year, which Butler expects will only increase the appeal of the event.

“If it can be, it should be even more popular than it was,” Butler says.

The premise of the tournament remains the same – it’s a safe and affordable way to experience the craft breweries of San Diego.

“You can never really go tasting to nine breweries in a day,” Butler says. “At most you could probably do three or four. And here you don’t have to worry about driving from one place to another. And you get to play golf.”

The five-ounce glass each player receives to taste samples doubles as a souvenir commemorating the tournament.

Butler says the tournament has become as popular with brewers as it is with golfers.

“The breweries are fighting to be part of it now,” he says, noting three new breweries – the Saint Archer Brewing Company, Modern Times Beer and Dos Desperados Brewery – join the line-up this year.

The returning six breweries are: Stone Brewing Co.; The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing; Oceanside Ale Works; Ballast Point Brewing and Mother Earth Brew Co.

Just as the event is a competition for the golfers, it’s a competition for the brewers as well. The golfers receive a scorecard to rate the beers – 1 to 5. The winning beer – the brew of the tournament – is put on tap for a year in the clubhouse, Butler says.

“Seeing as this is Southern California, it’s been an IPA both years,” Butler says of previous winners.

To boost their marketing and maximize the day on the course, Butler says some of the participating brewers create side games on the course and give out merchandise – hats, shirts, beer glasses etc. – as prizes.

“It’s cool that they’ve taken it upon themselves to find ways to make it a fun day for the golfers,” he says. “And it’s also cool for the brewers because it gets them in front of people who might not come to the brew house.”

For the $99 entry fee golfers, who must be 21 or older, receive:
• 18 holes of golf with cart
• Range balls
• On-course contests and food
• Souvenir tasting glass
• Two five-ounce beer tastings from each brewery

“To get 18 holes and 18 tasters, that’s a heck of a deal,” Butler says.

To reserve your spot today, call 760.591.4700.


JC Golf: British Open Preview and Picks By Our Pros

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Storylines abound as the Tour makes its annual trek across the pond for the third major of the year, the British Open, which begins Thursday at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake.

Just like the course, we don’t allow slow play on the blog, so let’s get right to the tournament preview followed by predictions from our pros.

Tiger And His Healed Back Are Back – After missing the Masters and the U.S. Open while recovering from back surgery, Tiger Woods returns to major championship competition at the site of one of his most revered major wins.

Woods famously rode his iron play to victory at Hoylake in 2006. Hitting just one driver, Woods negotiated a veritable minefield of bunkers without going into a single one to claim the Claret Jug.

Having played just one tournament since his return (he missed the cut), Woods will have to find his form quickly to have a chance to notch his first major victory since the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008.

Regardless of how he plays, him merely teeing it up to resume his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus and the major victories record is sure to at least be worth a bump in the Open’s TV ratings.

With just the British and PGA Championship remaining, Woods is looking at another year of losing ground to history if he can’t get a win.

Can Phil Two-Peat? – A year ago, Mickelson book-ended a win at the Scottish Open with astellar Sunday charge to claim his first victory in the Open championship to get him to three-fourths of career Grand Slam.

Mickelson wasn’t even on the first page of the leaderboard when the day began, but he bolted past the field with a birdie binge to pull out a thrilling win, one of the best in recent major championship history.

Mickelson birdied four of the last six holes, including a legendary 3-wood into the par-5 17th to set up birdie. Mickelson’s caddie, Jim “Bones” McKay would later compare the shot to someone driving it through their garage door from nearly 300 yards out. Mickelson put it to 25 feet.

“Best round I’ve even him play,” McKay told Fox Sports.

A year later, Mickelson has just one top-10 finish and his year mostly consists of being the media darling in the run up to the U.S. Open, where Mickelson finished tied for 28th after battling his putter all week long.

Like everyone else, Mickelson spent the weekend chasing Martin Kaymer in futility as Kaymer dusted the field at Pinehurst, which brings us to …

What Can Kaymer Do For An Encore? – Kaymer’s methodical march to the title at Pinehurst after posting opening 65s was pure dominance.

Can Kaymer do it again? History, of course, says it’s unlikely. The last player to win repeat majors was Padraig Harrington in 2008 (the British and the PGA).

Then again, Kaymer only wins the biggies. His only three Tour wins are the PGA Championship and this year’s U.S. Open and the Players Championship.

Kaymer’s best British finish is T7 in 2010. He finish T32 last year.

By the way, according to Bleacher Report, the U.S. Open-British Open championship has been accomplished four times.

Favorite Son, Justin Rose – A year ago, it was Lee Westwood. This year, Justin Rose, coming off consecutive victories, including the Scottish Open, is the countryman of choice.

To do it, he’ll have to pull out a performance his championship resume doesn’t currently qualify him for. He’s missed five of the last six cuts, including the last two years.

But you never count out the hot guy, especially when he’s proven himself consistently to be among the best ball strikers in the world.

Is the Winning Strategy Tiger 2.0? – Can someone just do what Tiger did in 2006 and basically bag the driver?

Well, the course is reportedly only 54 yards longer than 2006 and actually has fewer bunkers, so it seems plausible.

Will Tiger try it again? Will anyone? Tune in very early tomm. a.m. and we’ll start to find out.

Happy British Open week.

Now the predictions from our pros …

 

Jay Navarro, Tournament Director, Temecula Creek Inn – Rory McIroy is overdue to win his third major.

Troy Ferguson, Head Professional, Twin Oaks – Miguel Angel Cabrera

 

Lloyd Porter, Head Professional, Oaks North –I like Justin Rose . Maybe the hottest player in the world. He is from Europe and knows the style of golf.

My second choice is Martin Kaymer – pure golf swing and great putter.

Scott Butler, Tournament Sales Director at Twin Oaks – Adam Scott by six or eight shots – or Tiger in a close one.

Blake Dodson, Director of Golf, Rancho Bernardo Inn – It’s all about crisp irons and great putting in order to capture the Claret Jug.  Justin Rose is one of the best long iron players on the planet, while possessing an incredible short game

For such a talented player, though, he has had a poor track record at the Open since his breakthrough performance in 1998. I expect Justin to do what Phil Mickelson did last year; Go back to back, winning the Scottish Open and following it up by winning the Open Championship, bringing an end to the drought of Englishmen to win since Nick Faldo in 1992.

Erik Johnson, General Manager, Encinitas Ranch – Rickie Fowler: Time for him to break through and win a big event. After his showing at the U.S Open, he could finally be ready.  Great ball striker with a lot of imagination around the greens.

Martin Kaymer – perfect ball flight for links course (as proven at the US open) and loves to putt around the greens.  At 20-1, he’s also a great value!

But, Erik adds, …

I would love to see Tiger win. It would be great for the sport.  With his deteriorating health over the last few years, we may not get to see much more of the brilliance that he has spoiled us with for over 16 years.

JC Golf: Drive, Chip and Putt at Encinitas Ranch Q & A

 

 

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   A year ago, the PGA instituted its answer to the NFL’s long-standing “Punt, Pass and Kick” youth skills competition with “Drive, Chip & Putt.”

          The competition culminated in the finals being held at Augusta National the week of the Masters, which got the attention of youth golfers everywhere – and their parents.

          Seeing the finalists on television at the Masters, including 11-year-old Lucy Li, who played in last week’s LPGA U.S. Open, has already sparked a rise in this year’s turnout. To handle the anticipated increase, the Southern California PGA has expanded the number of Southern California local qualifiers from 10 to 14, including one for the first time at Encinitas Ranch on July 7th.

          Finalists in the four age divisions for boys and girls at Encinitas Ranch will advance to a sub-regional on Aug. 18th at La Costa Resort and Spa and then on to Torrey Pines on Sept. 13th to compete for the trip to Augusta.

          Matt Gilson, Player Development Manager at the Southern California PGA, took a few minutes recently to answer some questions about this year’s competition.

Q. Southern California had two winners at last year’s inaugural competition at Augusta. What was their experience like?

A. Everybody had a blast. They got to meet (past champion) Adam Scott and (current champion) Bubba Watson. Going to the Master is every golfer’s dream come true. And they got everything covered for them and one parent, including tickets to the practice round on Monday. The whole package was really good.”

Q. How much has seeing all that one TV stirred interest this time around?

Sign-ups were a little slow because we were competing with school, but they’re starting to pick up. We’re definitely seeing an increase in participation. And I’ve seen kids who’ve never picked up a club before now going to the range the week before. There’s definitely motivation there with kids realizing they could end up on TV.

Q. Besides the increased number of qualifiers, how has the competition changed in year two? And what are the age categories?

Last year, we maxed out our qualifiers at 120 participants and this year it’s 200. The age ranges are 7-9, 10-11, 12-13 and 14-15 with both boys and girls division. And those ages are determined by how old they would be on April 5th, 2015, which is the date of the national championship, so the youngest age to enter would be 6 if they would but 7 on or by April 5th, 2015.

Q. How does the competition work?

It’s a nine-shot competition that starts with putting. There’s a 6-foot putt, a 15 foot and a 30 foot. The hole is surrounded by scoring rings that provide points for how close they get. The max is 25 points for a holed putt.

They then have three chip shots, from about 12-15 yards, to a hole with scoring rings out to 10 feet and a make, again, is worth 25 points.

Then they have three swings on a 40-by-300-yard grid on a driving range. Beyond 300 yards is 25 points.

The highest total score wins and the top three in each age division advances from that age group’s qualifier to the next round. The top two in the sub-regional advance to Torrey Pines and the boy and girl winner in each division advances to the championship at Augusta.

Q. How do players or parents register, and how much does it cost?

Registration is free, and players sign up at www.drivechipandputt.com.

Q. What’s the atmosphere like at these events?

It’s competitive, but we still want kids to have fun. That’s the most important thing.

 

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

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          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.

Summertime and the Bloggin’s Easy … A Note to Readers

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No. 15 at Woods Valley

       Astute followers of the blog may have noticed that in the past month or so, the content has morphed almost entirely into my published work and my web work for JC Golf. Seeing as I use this as a digital portfolio, that’s fine because it means I’m getting paid.;)

     Fortunately, I’ve got more work to come, some of which may not appear here for months. I don’t want the blog to go static or get stagnant however – and I very much appreciate the nice comments I’ve gotten recently, btw – so I’ve tried to come up with a plan for some easy, yet fun, content to get us through the summer months.

      It dawned on my recently that, after playing Woods Valley in Escondido and Fallbrook Golf Club, I’ve now played basically all the North County courses in my two years here. Or if there’s one I’ve not been to, maybe a country club or two, I’m unaware of it.

      Thus, I thought it might be fun to make some lists of the North County courses, stuff like best finishing holes, toughest par-5s, toughest courses period, etc. I will be using no research beyond my own playing experiences to do this, so we’re not talking about the most scientific process here … but lists are largely to generate discussion and debate anyway, so hopefully this will prompt some of you to weigh in and we can get a little debate going and some good old fashioned golf talk.

      If I don’t get a list up this week, I’ll pop one up next week and see how it goes. I’ve got a few ideas.

      If you have any list topics you’d like to see, let me know. I’m always open to input, and, like I said, I think it’d be cool if this became a group exercise. We all talk about this stuff on the course, but no one ever writes about it. Until now.

      Stay tuned.

JC Golf Spotlight Hole: No. 8 at Encinitas Ranch

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The short stretch of canyon holes on the front nine at Encinitas Ranch ends with the par-4 8th, which General Manager Erik Johnson deems possibly the toughest hole on the course because of its make-or-break tee shot.

Standing on the blue tee box, you’re faced with carrying a diagonal canyon that poses a double dilemma. One, is making the nearly 200-yard carry into the fairway on this 407-yard hole. The second is the risk-reward of setting up your second shot. But the more left you go, the more risk you incur of contributing to a canyon full of golf balls.

From a design standpoint, No. 8 is a masterpiece, Johnson says.

“It’s truly a brilliant design,” he says. “It’s by far the toughest drive on the course because it’s visually intimidating.”

And for those who know this tee shot well, you know the numbers for the canyon carry are variable and deceiving because of one formidable factor – wind.

“A 195-yard carry doesn’t sound like much,” Johnson says, “until you figure it plays into a prevailing wind. A safe shot is to play a 200-yard hybrid or long iron out right (which carries its own danger of OB), but that leaves you a very long second.

“In that regard, there really is no safe shot here. It simply rewards the best tee shot. A good drive can you leave you 8-iron, 9 or wedge. A lesser drive can leave you  200-plus.”

And that’s to an uphill green on this dogleg left, where the wind becomes a crosswind on your approach.

For aiming purposes, three fairway bunkers present convenient targets. For every bunker you move your aim left, however, the more aggressive your tee-shot ambitions become.

Playing with a threesome recently, my group came to this hole under unusually benign wind conditions. Per my usual, I aimed at the middle trap and comfortably found the fairway. Our straightest hitter took a more aggressive route and seemed to clear comfortably, though that later proved deceiving. Our third hit a push that just barely managed to find a patch of remote right fairway.

As is often the case on this hole, what looked to be our best drive on this hole wasn’t. Our friend who played the farthest left tee shot found his ball barely beyond the canyon in the rough instead of the fairway.

My ball sat on the short grass a comfortable 180 yards out. Factoring the uphill and a back pin, I clubbed up to a 5-iron, which I pushed right, about pin-high in the rough right of the sand traps.

The player with our longest second shot recovered nicely with a flushed 3-wood that resulted in a ball over the back of the green. Our canyon survivor’s second came up short left, a common result from that position.

In all, we netted two pars and a bogey, with the bogey being the least likely suspect based on our original perceived tee shots.

With a back pin on a long green, that outcome is no surprise to Johnson.

“If the pin is in back, I’m not going to say it’s impossible, but it’s really hard to get your approach back there,” he says. “You’re normally looking at a long putt if you’re going for birdie. Sometimes a better plan on the approach with that pin is just to play short of the green.

“Par is just like a birdie here.”

Johnson says the hole distributes its difficulty evenly from the blue tees and the whites, which play to 330 yards. The white tee spares players some of the crossing, but the fairway traps and canyon remain a factor.

“It’s a good tee shot no matter what set of tees you’re playing.”

And most likely the key to your success on the front nine if you’re in the hunt for a good score.

“On a course known for scoring, No. 8 and No. 17 (par 3 guarded by water) are where the teeth of the course really come out,” Johnson says.

“If you do well on No. 2 (long par 3) and No. 8, you’re most likely going to have a good score on the front nine.”

JC Golf would you love to hear you stories and strategies from playing No. 8. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section at jcgolf.com.