19th Hole

Greg Ellis
Great Golf Academy
Goodyear, AZ

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U.S. Open is Wide Open

The U.S. Open is the second major of the year but the most interesting to watch. This year 9,006 golfers with a 1.4 handicap index or lower entered with the hope of qualifying for one of the 156 spots available. No other event in the world draws this kind of interest. You play 18 holes in the “local” qualifier; then 36 holes, in one day, in the “sectional” qualifier; and then finally you are in one of the most historical championships in the world. This is a grueling marathon with a great reward at the finish line. This year the finish line is the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Playing the Olympic Club back in 1998, this is a golf course like no other. I was in awe from the moment I drove onto the property, and was so excited to play Olympic that I was so early for my starting time I actually beat the golf staff to the golf course. Once the staff arrived, I checked in and then headed to the practice tee to warm up. The weather was perfectly clear while I was warming up. After warming up, I headed to the first tee to meet the member that I would be paired with for the day. After introductions were completed we were allowed to tee off…well sort of. You needed a foghorn on your golf ball because one of the daily fog delays due to the marine layer came blowing in from the Pacific. We could not see more the ten yards in front of us and thought we would never be able to start. We finally did and once we got on the golf course the true challenge began. The length of the golf course at 7,163 yards does not play like a 7,100 plus yards golf course here in the desert. In ‘98 I could hit a 3-wood 235-240 yards; I was on the 9th hole and had 190 in and the member I was playing with asked me what I was going to hit and I said, “3-iron”. He said, “Hit your 3 wood”. I thought he was crazy but it was the correct club as I crushed it and it ended up on the green for a birdie putt. 

Watch the best players in the world Father’s Day weekend and see how they do. I promise this will not be a blow out win like Rory McIllroy’s 2011 win at Congressional. It will be fun to watch.

 On a final note, each year for as long as I can recall, the U.S. Open ended on Father’s Day. For me, I remember watching this with my Dad. My Dad taught me how to play golf when I was seven years old.  I loved going to the golf course with him and caddying for him. He would let me hit an occasional shot as we walked down the fairway.  Every Father’s Day we would go to the golf course very early in the morning and then hurry home to watch the final round. This was a great tradition. I wish all of you ‘Dads’ a very happy Father’s Day.  Hopefully you will create some lasting memories with your kids, as well.

Be sure to tune in to the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show every Saturday morning from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. on Arizona Sports 620 or on the internet at www.arizonasports.com; click on Sports, click on listen now for more tips and updates on all of the week’s golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Greg and co-hosts Jim Hill, and or Marty Monaghan will give you a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week. Greg is General Manager at the Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia, in Peoria.  Visit him and play the only 5-Star rated golf course by Golf Digest – Best Places. Call Greg at 623.328.5100 for a starting time.