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Randy Haag’s Run at #1 Ends

After winning an unprecedented three straight NCGA Player of the Year awards at ages 50, 51 and 52, Randy Haag dropped from the top spot on the NCGA Points List in mid-July following a historic three-and-a-half- year hold on that position. Ben Geyer’s win at the NCGA Amateur Stroke Play ascended the 20-year-old St. Mary’s golf team member to the top spot. (Geyer would then battle U.S. Amateur finalist Michael Weaver, Valley Ama- teur champion Danny Paniccia and Haag the remainder of the year for the top spot.) So how did a golfer in his 50s practically

bronze his name into the top spot on the points list? The Olympic Club member got into a groove powered by hot putting that propelled him to a series of wins and point- earning placements.

“My consistency was due to my putting. It’s

really my savior,” Haag said. “That’s been the difference this year. Not putting well bleeds into other aspects of your game.” Indeed, the summer of 2011 might have been the 53-year-old’s greatest stretch; with the exception of USGA qualifiers, he never fin- ished out of the top 10 in any NCGA points’ event, qualified for three USGA events (the U.S. Amateur, Mid-Amateur and Se- nior Open), made it to the semifinals of the State Amateur and NCGA Amateur and took home low- amateur honors at the British Senior Open for the second straight year.

“I always liked getting a lead early in the points year,” Haag said in ref- erence to his three straight winning player- of-the-year campaigns. “But this year was a lot of fun trying to come back.” A complete profile of 2012 player of the year Ben Geyer will appear in 2013 Golf Course Directory edition of NCGA Golf.

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AN EPIC BLUEBOOK QUEST The casual golfer

might play a round or two a month. The avid golfer might up that count to a round or two a weekend. But sometimes Rich Narez might tally a round or two—or even three—in a single day in what he calls “binge golfing” episodes. You see, the 56-year-old is getting in all the golf he can, particularly as it relates to courses in the NCGA Bluebook. He’s on a quest to play every hole on every course listed in the annual golf course directory. An NCGA member since 1995 and a Serrano CC member since 1996,

keeping editions of the Bluebook and marking courses he had played had always been a mainstay of Narez’s membership. By 2003, with more than 100 courses played, he decided to take on the monumental task of playing every hole in the Bluebook. “I don’t have any chil-

dren, which affords me the opportunity to spend more time away from family stuff to get my golf in on week- ends when I’m not playing my home course,” Narez said. “I call my golf clubs my 12 boys. I have other activities; I scuba dive, I hike, I non-golf travel with my wife. But I have to say

West Coast Architect John Harbottle Passes

The golf world was saddened by the premature death of gifted architect John Harbottle in late May at age 53. The Pacific Northwest native left a prolific body of

work in Northern California, including original designs at Cinnabar Hills, Dairy Creek, Schaffer’s Mill and Stevinson Ranch and renovations in vari- ous forms to Castlewood, Del Rio, Marin, Monarch Bay, Napa Valley, Orinda, San Joaquin, San Jose, Stanford and Stockton. The Ameri- can Society of Golf Course Archi- tects’ member had a well-earned

reputation for refurbishing existing courses, preserving a course’s history while freshening its look and prepar- ing it for the length of today’s game. Harbottle graduated from the University of

Washington with a degree in landscape architecture and began his career working for Pete Dye. He trav- eled to Scotland and Ireland to study the great courses to develop an environmentally sensitive philosophy of natural-looking courses before starting his own design business in 1991. “Losing John is difficult to accept,” said ASGCA

President Bob Cupp in a statement. “This is a devas- tating loss.”

14 / NCGA.ORG / FALL 2012

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