A golf club with a bright future
Sunrise Golf Club, located off Clark Road by Palmer Ranch, is a public-friendly golf facility that features a very playable course and a professional, Doug Mochrie, with a lot of experience. Mochrie was married to Dottie Pepper, a golf pro who still competes on the LPGA Tour, and is known as an especially good, low-handicapper's teacher.
The course itself draws a good crowd because the price for green fee and cart is modest by today's standards (prices fluctuate dramatically, so it's best to telephone the pro shop). The course is good, too. It only plays to just over 6,000 yards from the blue tee markers, so powerful drives are not required. However, mature oaks and water frame many of the fairways (water comes into play on 15 of 18 holes), so to shoot a low score you have to hit the ball accurately off the tee and hit approach shots to an area of the green that will allow you to hit a level putt or an aggressive uphill putt.
Many of today's courses are overly long and difficult, plus the greens are so expansive that if you do reach a par-four in two shots or a par-five in three shots, you're so far from the hole that a three-putt is likely unless you have superb touch. That's not the case at Sunrise. The greens are quite small, so if you hit a green in regulation, you usually leave yourself a make-able birdie putt.
My favorite hole on the course is the dogleg right par-five ninth hole, simply because if you hit a solid drive you can gamble and try and reach the green in two shots and putt for eagle.
Sunrise lets you feel like a member for the day. The facility features a super practice area, clubhouse with pro shop, restaurant and lounge. The bottom line: It's worth a visit.
Sunrise Golf Club
5710 Draw Lane, Sarasota
Call pro shop, 924-1402, for tee times and course hours
Hole high: A ball that comes to rest even with the hole, off to one side.
Home: The green.
Lag: To hit a long first putt close to the hole.
Making the turn: When a player finishes the first nine holes, he or she makes the turn to start the second nine holes.
Punch: A low shot.
Soft draw: A controlled shot that flies slightly from right to left.
Soft fade: A controlled shot that flies slightly from left to right.
Waggle: The preliminary movement of the club prior to the swing.
For Women Only
In Sarasota, women certainly don't receive such a hard time joining a golf club as they do in other parts of the country, namely Augusta, Georgia, home of the Augusta National Golf Club, where the Masters is played every year in April.
The Greater Sarasota Women's Golf Association is an active group with over 200 members. Should you be interested in joining and getting together with a great bunch of women to play some super courses, call Bernadette Gottschalk at (941) 925-8053.
Want to win more matches without changing your swing? Learn the rules of golf set down by the United States Golf Association. To get off to a good start, know how long is too long to wait for your ball to drop into the cup.
Situation: The player putts the ball toward the hole from 15 feet away. The ball stops on the lip or edge of the cup and looks as if it may drop into it.
Common mistake: The player pauses for around five seconds before walking toward the hole. Then he circles the hole for another 10 seconds, waiting for the ball to fall into the hole. By now, he has unknowingly violated Rule 16-2. He stands over the ball for another five seconds, hoping it will fall into the hole. It does. The player is told by a member of the tournament committee that he waited too long for the ball to drop, so he is penalized one stroke.
Correct procedure: In such circumstances, do not linger where you last stroked the putt or by the hole. You have a reasonable amount of time to reach the hole. Once there, you can wait 10 seconds for the ball to drop in. If it doesn't drop in that time frame, you must putt into the hole.
Fun & Games
If your regular foursome is looking for an exciting game to play, try Six-Six-Six. Here's how to play:
This game allows a foursome of two teams to play three different games within one round. The team members alternate shots for six holes, play their own ball for another six holes, and scramble (with each team hitting from the spot of their team's best shot) for the last six holes of an 18-hole round.
A point is awarded to the team that wins each match. The team with the most points wins.
Should you be one of those golfers who shuns practice because you feel self-conscious hitting shots in front of other players, or because you can't concentrate, here's a suggestion: Consider building your own backyard practice area, with the help of AlternaScapes.
This Sarasota-based company will build you a synthetic putting green that will give you the true feel of rolling the ball across a well-manicured surface. In fact, its slogan is "Looks like grass, feels like grass, plays like grass."
If you're really into the game, they'll even add fringe grass and sand bunkers if you like. That way, you have no excuse for not learning to become a short game ace.
For further information call (941) 355-3916 or check out www.GetScaped.com.
Here's a joke I heard recently that you should try and remember, since it shows how getting hooked on golf can really make you think with blinders on when off the course.
An avid golfer was on a cruise when the ship sank. The ship's only survivor, he managed to swim to a desert island.
After several weeks of no signs of life, he was awakened one morning by a beautiful young lady walking out of the sea wearing only a skintight wet suit.
"You must be hungry," she said to the castaway golfer as she stroked his hair.
"S-starving," he replied, at which point she unzipped the top of her wet suit and pulled out some cheese and French bread.
"Thirsty?" she asked as the golfer tucked away the food.
"V-v-very," he said, at which point she went into her wet suit again and pulled out a cold beer.
"Like a smoke?" she asked next.
"L-l-love one," said the man as he drained the beer.
"Now," she said, leaning close to him, "I suppose you'd like to play around."
"Wow!" exclaimed the man. "You've got golf clubs in there, too?"
Sarasota's John Andrisani, the former senior editor of instruction at GOLF Magazine and the author of more than 25 books, including The Tiger Woods Way and Think Like Tiger, is a six-handicap player and former winner of the World Golf Writers' Championship. Most recently, Andrisani received the United States Teachers Federation Media Award for outstanding golf instructional writing in books and magazines.
Send questions and comments to John at firstname.lastname@example.org