I’d rather write about what an awesome place Torrey Pines is than talk about how I played the back nine on the South course yesterday. I am disgusted at my 35-43 =78 as I had a chance to make my very last round ever in the California State Am a very memorable one. But it didn’t happen.

The game of golf has changed so much over the past 10, 20 and 30 years that I wonder if the old style of shaping shots and moving the ball around will ever matter again. Corey Pavin once won a US Open by hitting precise shots off the tee and into the greens. If he were to play Torrey South today at 7800 yards, he would not have any reasonable chance to compete.

The 12th hole is a par 4 at 503 yards, and is into a stiff ocean breeze. The tee shot plays uphill unless you can fly the ball 300 yards to the top of the hill. All three of us hit our drives into the hill leaving us 270 yards to a back pin. Well good luck to the mere mortals that hit their 3 medal 240-250. Hogarth made his 10 footer for par while Craig Davis and I missed ours.

This was a stretch of holes when I went double bogey in 11 (215 yard par three into the wind) bogey 5 on 12, bogey 6 on the 13th, bogey on 14 and 15. I played that stretch 6 over par, while the younger generation had short shots into most of these holes.

The fact that the match play cut was -2 over the 36 holes of qualifying blows my mind. 32 players out of 156 shot 2 under par or better at a VERY tough test of golf. Granted the North Course is easier, but at over 7,000 yards long its no slouch.

Some of these kids (by kids I mean under 25 years old) are 5 foot 8 inches tall and 150 pounds and there are driving the ball in excess of 300 yards. These courses are now all lengthened and if you don’t bomb it, forget about how good your short game may be. In our group of the 3 oldest players in the tournament by a lot at ages 54-Tim Hogarth 58-Craig Davis and me at 61 there is just no chance for us to compete on a course this long when we kill a drive on a hole and have a 6 iron from 180, the kids have bombed a drive and they have a wedge from 140. Good luck with that!

Despite my ankle injury, I was determined to go out of this event playing with these two legendary players. Tim Hogarth has won EVERYTHING, and has played in the Masters. He’s won the Cal State Am, the USGA Public Links and about a thousand other local events. Craig Davis is another winner with a resume that includes his recent win in Scotland at the Senior Amateur against the best senior field in the world.

So I was thrilled to play with them, and actually had both of them with 9 holes to go on Torrey South. But as I played poorly, Tim got his act together and played beautifully on the back nine. I had a one shot lead over Craig going to the 18th hole, and proceeded to make bogey while Craig made a finishing birdie. So I ended up behind both of these stalwart players and enjoyed every second with them.

What I’ve learned is that I need to soak up all the great privileges and beautiful things while my senses are still acute. The beauty at Torrey Pines is stunning with the steep cliff that falls 500 feet down to the beach. I am so impressed with how the course looks with its 1000 trees taken out, it is open and beautiful. This is a must play course.

Check this out:


You can follow the progress of the Cal State Am here:

Stay tuned for some great photos I took at Torrey Pines

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