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From the Editor What do you love most about this

addictive game? Is it the competitive aspect, the travel opportunities

it affords, the lifelong pursuit to master the game or the time spent outside in nature? It’s easy to say “All of the above,” but a recent experience really high- lighted this question for me. Our company began competing in a softball league and like many company teams, we enjoy the camaraderie and competition with other local teams. However, it occurred to me after one of our recent games that for all that other activi-

ties offer, nothing matches the package golf provides. After a softball game, no one raves about the great field they played on or plans a trip to see a new field in some exotic locale. Social advantages? Please. Your standard foursome isn’t the same as a large team, but the inti- macy experienced over 18 holes with three companions is almost unmatched in any other recreational endeavor. And while it’s a well-trodden aphorism, it bears

repeating. While I’ll never hit a baseball like Albert Pujols or pitch a softball like Jennie Finch, every once in a great while, I’ll pull off a shot that Rory McIlroy and Yani Tseng would be proud of. This issue of NCGA Golf certainly has much to

stoke the fires of your golf devotion. Two trips within California worthy of your next vacation—San Diego and the Livermore Valley—are detailed. In both ar- ticles, we make a point of providing budget options. No talk of great travel destinations in our region is

complete without acknowledging the Monterey Penin- sula, and our cover story celebrates The Inn and Links at Spanish Bay’s 25th anniversary. Playing 18 along the Pacific followed by a beverage at the Spanish Bay fire pits tops any list of great golf experiences. A new voice in golf journalism joins our ranks of

contributing writers with this issue. Stephanie Wei, editor of Wei Under Par, offers a guide to what you can learn from watching the professionals (and also what

Poppy Ridge in the Livermore Valley

you shouldn’t copy). Wei’s access to PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players makes this a lively and informative piece. Sports Illustrated’s Alan Shipnuck profiles two of the most dominant juniors in the region—San Francis- co City champion Alexandra Wong and 2012 U.S. Open alternate Sebastian Crampton—and the junior develop- ment programs (such as the NCGA Foundation’s Youth on Course program) that fostered their success. A Q & A with Northern California’s “golf sweet-

heart” Paula Creamer, point/counterpoint on the supe- riority of match play vs. stroke play, our usual feature on NCGA tournament action and essays from our expert columnists round out the issue. Also, Frank Thomas’ new book, From Sticks and Stones, is excerpted. The book is a fascinating and often complicated history of golf equipment regulation. We are in the midst of the NCGA’s Annual Fall Renewal Period and I heartily encourage you to renew your membership. Looking for a new club? has a host of choices on its “Clubs Seeking Members” page. Are you a club administrator and want to communicate what your organization has to offer prospective members? Contact us to set up a free listing. Is it possible you still don’t consider yourself

hooked on this great game? Read on—we will convince you otherwise.


8 / NCGA.ORG / FALL 2012

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