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From the Editor by Scott Seward Why is Golf Fun for You? W


hat makes golf fun? I don’t mean the kind of fun you might have spending time with your buddies or par-


taking in an outdoor activity. I mean, what about the actual game is fun? I’ve been mulling that over ever since NCGA staffer Kevin Merfeld led his Poppy Hills course review in the spring issue of NCGA Golf: “It’s really fun.” As I’ve gotten to know the new


Poppy Hills over the last few months, one of the things that I’ve most enjoyed is the absence of rough. I can use my putter or utility iron from around the green. This means I’m usually left with a makeable par putt and finish with no worse than bogey. Fun = Scoring well and not


stubbing your chip shots. Not fun = making double bogey


because of a bladed lob wedge. (I was gratified that U.S. Open


champion Martin Kaymer seemed to agree based on his performance around the greens at Pinehurst). Fun = Having room to drive


the ball. Not Fun = A drive 5 yards off the


fairway landing in thick rough. We hope your NCGA member- ship enhances the fun factor in your golf game, and this summer issue of NCGA Golf packs a lot of enjoyment. Golfweek’s Brad Klein, perhaps the


foremost golf architecture critic in the world, contributes two pieces. One cen- ters on the criteria golf magazines utilize to rank courses. It’s easy to understand why Pebble Beach is ranked so highly. But what about your local course? It might not have hosted the U.S. Open or have a dramatic ocean setting, but how much do those factors matter? Klein’s second story evaluates


the new Poppy Hills. Once one of its toughest critics, he details the strengths of the renovation and why the course should rise in the rank-


6 / NCGA.ORG / SUMMER 2014 Poppy Hills’ 10th hole showcases the absence of rough.


ings. We asked Klein for his unfiltered thoughts, and have only edited the essay for length. Sports Illustrated’s Alan Shipnuck


introduces us to NCGA member Curt Breitfuss, whose business, Tee Time, finances the careers of nascent tour professionals. Why would someone choose to invest in such a hard-to- predict activity? The reasons are more complex than you might think. The NCGA has a heritage of


developing golf courses to host its championships that stretches back to 1960s. The Association was the first to own and operate its own course in Poppy Hills, but forward-thinking NCGA leaders also were the first to conceive the notion of financing the construction of a golf course. The result, of course, was the Robert Trent Jones Sr. masterpiece, Spyglass Hill. Our Jerry Stewart details that history beginning on page 34. Spyglass Hill cemented the close


relationship that still exists between the NCGA and Pebble Beach Com- pany. That relationship will blossom again when the Champions Tour visits Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills in late September. Look for complete coverage on NCGA.org. Anyone who passionately plays


golf has rules they don’t like or un- derstand. Two of the foremost Rules of Golf experts in the world, former


USGA staff members John Morrissett and David Hayes, agree. They propose a simpler code that has far-reaching implications. Will some of their sug- gestions make it into the official rules? We’re rooting for them, because a lot of their proposals make tremendous sense. The Q & A is also rules centric, as we talk to Fox NFL officiating czar and NCGA member Mike Pereira, who also has an interest in mastering the Rules of Golf. A travel feature on Lake Tahoe, one of the most friendly regions to NCGA members, and tournament coverage of such prestigious events as the California State Amateur and the NCGA Women’s Amateur round out the issue. This edition also signals the begin- ning of Jeff Ritter’s tenure as Poppy Hills’ director of performance. You might have seen Ritter’s work in Golf Digest, or on YouTube. His first contribution to this magazine is in the form of an instruction column beginning on page 56. Look for more of Ritter’s teaching and professional videos on the NCGA and Poppy Hills’ websites and Facebook pages. And if you follow Ritter’s advice,


you might just have more fun on the course, too.


SCOTT SEWARD


PHOTO: TERRY VANDERHEIDEN, 2014 WWW.IMAGELIGHT.COM


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