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Point Counterpoint What’s on Your Golf Bucket List? Kevin Merfeld, Communications Manager for the NCGA


When I was stuck on a calculus word problem in high school, I would comfort myself with the idea that I would never need to know how to come up with the half-life of carbon-14 once I was playing on the PGA Tour. I managed to find a career where I don’t need calculus, but it definitely isn’t on the PGA Tour. And that’s OK. But even though I didn’t fulfill my childhood fantasy of playing golf for a living, I’ve still got some goals left. My golf bucket list:


PERSONAL


ACHIEVEMENTS Sink a hole-in-one: It took


my dad 60 years to get his first ace. And then he knocked in two in eight months. You just never know in this crazy game. Make an albatross: How about just making a hole-in-one on a par 4 and killing two birds with one stone—preferably a Pro V1?


Play a bogey-free round:


Golf ’s equivalent to taking a perfect game into the late innings of a baseball game. It’s a thrilling ride to still have a perfect round intact on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes, but the closer I get, the stranger my ball seems to behave. Play in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am: Sure, I’d probably feel rushed and jittery and self-conscious the whole time, but how could it not be the best week of golf ever? Just the practice rounds alone. I’d get to play Pebble Beach, Spyglass and the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club in tournament conditions…in front of a gal- lery…and TV cameras…with two pros. Wow.


Honorable Mention: Play a course set up for a major; set a course record.


TOURNAMENTS I NEED TO SEE IN PERSON The Masters: I am dying for


the experience of traveling back in time and soaking in every moment on the enchanted golf course, checking out the Par 3 Contest and splurging on a $5 lunch at a concession stand.


24 / NCGA.ORG / WINTER 2013


But even better than seeing the blooming azaleas up close will be hearing—and feeling—the roars volley across the course on Sunday.


Ryder Cup: Golf turns into


a sporting event once every two years—at the Ryder Cup. I love the partisan cheering—and jeering—the match-play event evokes. It saddens me that the Olympics didn’t piggyback off the nationalism displayed during the Ryder Cup, instead choosing to host just another 72-hole stroke-play event. Honorable Mention:


Attend every major; spend a day at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Hole.


COURSES TO PLAY Augusta National: After


the goose bumps subside from my drive up Magnolia Lane, I would love to find out how many holes I could go until my first four-putt; to experience the swirling winds at Amen Corner; to throw down a small bucket of balls and try to replicate Mickelson’s shot between the trees at No. 13, or Woods’ curling chip at No. 16. (Pebble Beach, Cypress Point, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Dunes, Pine Valley and Merion are all in the conversation for best course I’ve been blessed enough to play.)


Anything that starts with


“Royal”: Royal Dornoch, Royal Troon, Royal County Down, Royal Portrush. You get the idea. A golf trip to Scotland and Ireland/Northern Ireland. I made the pilgrimage to St. Andrews with my dad once in


2007, playing the Old and New Courses, plus Carnoustie, North Berwick and a delight- fully quirky course called Lundin Links. I’d be perfectly content playing nothing but diamonds in the rough like Lundin Links. But many will staunchly defend that golf in Ireland is even better. I need to be able to join the debate. Honorable Mention (North America edition): Shinnecock Hills, Pinehurst (No. 2), Cham- bers Bay, Bethpage Black, any Alister MacKenzie, C.B. Mac- donald or Tom Doak course. Honorable Mention (British Isles edition): Ballybun- ion, Old Head, Tralee, Muir- field, Kingsbarn, Castle Stuart, Prestwick, Trump International Golf Links, any course used in the Open Championship rota.


UNIQUE GOLF EXPERIENCES Play St. Andrews in reverse: One weekend a year, the Old Course at St. Andrews is played


Augusta National and The Masters are on many bucket lists.


backward, in a clockwise order. The opening tee shot is played from in front of the ancient R&A building to the 17th green—the site of the Road Hole bunker, while the second hole is a dogleg left around Jigger Inn and the Old Course Hotel to the 16th green, etc. It sounds fascinating, and there is a sentiment out there that the Old Course is a better setup played this way. Sheep Ranch: Perched atop spectacular oceanfront bluffs just north of Bandon Dunes Resort in Oregon, the Sheep Ranch has 13 greens. And that’s all. No routing, no yardage, no par. Just point at a green and hit it there. It’s like a blend between a putting contest and H-O-R-S-E, except you get to dream up full golf holes. A 1,000-yard hole? Sure, why not? Honorable Mention:


Play a round of golf with hickory sticks and gutta percha balls.


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