On a cold but occasionally clear Sunday a couple weeks ago, I played my first round of 2017 at Fairway Hills. A frost delay wasn’t entirely unexpected which delayed our start by 30 minutes or so. Overall, what I found was about what I expected to find. A course in decent shape, greens of a mixed bag, but one that has had the needed repairs after the floods of July. Note- the brown grass is normal. Fairway Hills converted to Bermuda grass years ago, which goes dormant (brown) in cool to cold weather.
All 18 holes were open and playing normally (currently cart path only so plan accordingly). No temporary greens or goofy tee boxes. The 5th hole still needs a clown’s mouth, and the 18th hole is still a 3-shot beast straight uphill. I hadn’t played Fairway Hills in some time, so it was nice to get back out there. The bridge repairs are completed so no having to double back. The back nine is still significantly tougher than the front side (11 and 16 are, to borrow a Pierre Lebrun slogan, big-boy holes, and as mentioned 18 is one of the tougher finishing holes in the DMV).
For the most part, we’ve had a fairly mild winter (last year at this time we still had fairly heavy snow pack from the January 2016 Nor’easter; no such luck this time. A good number of courses are open, so there’s really no reason you can’t go play if you’re so inclined. Just dress warmly (think layers), and focus on having fun and not breaking 90/80 or whatever. Ranges are generally open everywhere (call ahead before you go if you’re not sure), so might as well take advantage of above-freezing temperatures.
PRO TOUR RANT
Golf Digest got their collective underpants in a knot over the discovery that people at the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale might be imbibing a bit (I’m shocked…shocked to find out there’s gambling going on here!). You can’t have it both ways. If you want the event to be sedate, then they have to crack down on alcohol purchases and people pre-gaming in the parking lot in the dark. People having sex in the port-o-lets? Clearly they’ve never been to a concert or a festival. I’ve seen people blazing up at the DMV tour stop and saw a couple engaging in their own form of anchoring as well. Oh, but there’s a video of a guy drunk-walking who ends up going down for the count. This happens at nearly every event but because the Waste Management Phoenix Open is known for being a drunk-fest we’re having the inevitable blow-back. It’s one hole one week a year. Encourage sober rides home, and encourage people to take care of each other (no slipping someone something). Use CCTV if needed. You still had just shy of 205K people show up to the event on Saturday which is impressive as heck.
SONG OF THE DAY
Given the current state of affairs, this seems about right. Always loved the Cowboy Junkies (the never got the attention they deserved):