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From the Editor

Many golfers harbor fantasies of joining the PGA Tour. The lifestyle, the courses, playing the game you love

for a living—it’s pretty heady stuff. But most of us come to the realization that hanging with Rory, Tiger and the gang isn’t in the cards. Some lucky NCGA members got a firsthand

demonstration of what it takes to play on Tour the Monday after the 2000 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (the event finished on Monday that year due to rain delays). One high-handicapper was warming up on the range for a recreational round when he heard balls whizzing by with an entirely different sound, the resonant sound of balls being hit on the sweet spot every time. Little did this high-handicapper know that Tiger Woods liked warming up for the AT&T at Poppy Hills. This was during perhaps the greatest stretch of golf

ever played, when Woods won five of six majors in a 16-month span. It was also hours before he would rally from seven shots down with nine holes to play to claim a sixth straight Tour victory. Yet there he was warming up next to NCGA members. And while those golf- ers didn’t lapse into perfect swings, cranking 300-yard drives to the tune of Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz—as the popular Nike golf commercial would later depict— they did get a firsthand brush with the greatness of a Tour professional. There’s perhaps no one better qualified than Sports

Illustrated’s Alan Shipnuck to quantify just how much better the PGA Tour golfer is than the rest of us. Shipnuck’s piece, “Them and Us,” begins on page 36. Have you ever considered the implications on your handicap if you ever competed against a Tour pro? The handicap system anticipates this question as NCGA Director of Course Rating and Handicapping Jim Cowan explains on page 69. One of the great grillroom debates revolves around

the comparison of eras. In golf ’s case, the debate is especially compelling because of the game’s rich history of champions. Historian Al Barkow and the NCGA’s own Kevin Merfeld debate the topic of golf’s golden age beginning on page 16. Merfeld also paints a picture of a hole any NCGA

tournament player can relate to, and one that confounds the PGA Tour’s best every year at the AT&T; Spyglass Hill’s finicky fourth. They aren’t PGA Tour golfers, but our region is

hosting some of the nation’s best amateurs in 2013. The U.S. Junior Amateur comes to Martis Camp in Truckee in July, and Jay Stuller profiles the private club in our

cover story beginning on page 22. In September, the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur will be held at CordeValle in San Martin. Travel features on Mount Shasta, Hawaii and central

Oregon and a Q & A with NBA legend Jerry West round out an issue packed with features. As with the Golf Course Directory, this issue and all subsequent editions of NCGA Golf are available on your tablet. Visit iTunes or the Google Play store to install an application allowing you to download the maga- zine; you will first have to provide your last name and NCGA/GHIN number.

Your NCGA membership, Poppy Ridge and the

Monterey Peninsula will continue to provide great golf values during the Poppy Hills renovation that began last month. But hopefully you were able to play the old Poppy Hills one last time. I played a few holes on the last night it was open, becoming the last golfer to finish on the old course. It was a typical foggy Peninsula eve- ning. But as I holed out for the final time, the setting sun broke through, bathing the course in a beautiful, ethereal light. It seemed a perfect metaphor for a course with a storied past and an even brighter future.


8 / NCGA.ORG / SPRING 2013

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