Palm Springs ON YOUR MIND
This is the time of year when the housebound Northwest golfer begins yearning for the Coachella Valley to come to the rescue.
Every golfer knows the story of how Robert Trent Jones joined club members and club pro Johnny Farrell at the tee of the 4th hole on Baltusrol’s Lower Course, ahead of the 1954 US Open to prove to them his changes had not made the watercarry par 3 too difficult. He promptly golfed a hole-in-one. A similar thing happened during construction of the infamous Stadium Course at PGA West in 1986. Pete Dye, taught by Ernie Vossler and Joe Wasler – principles at the Landmark Land Company – to build the ‘hardest damn course in the world’, was considering how deep to dig a bunker to the left of the green at the par 5 16th. He told his bulldozer operator to go down until he hit water. That didn’t happen until well after the 20-foot mark, however. Joel Zuckerman tells the story in his excellent book ‘Pete Dye Golf Courses’, published in 2008. “The developers were dubious about the penal nature of the hazard,” Zuckerman says. “Even though they had asked Dye for an extremely difficult course, they thought this 20+ foot bunker might be a little too much. But with his first attempt, Dye managed to extricate his ball and put it on the green. So they let it stand.” Okay, Dye didn’t hole out like Jones had done at Baltusrol, but it was still a pretty impressive shot. Unlike most of the public golfers that would subsequently struggle in this subterranean cavity, however, Dye had been an accomplished amateur golfer, good enough to win the Indiana State Amateur and qualify for both the US