A bit shorter version of The Numbers Game this week as we had an eventful weekend in Pinehurst. Everyone had a great time, especially the blue team… of which I was a proud member. I thought I'd talk about a few numbers associated with the tournament and add to some of the other reports my fellow staff members have given you already.
That is the place of Pine Needles in Golf Digest's latest ranking of top courses in the state of North Carolina. Not too bad given the number of courses in the Tar Heel state. Looking through the list, I've played a bunch of the other courses as well. After playing Pine Needles this weekend, I gave it some thought on where I would rank it.
Going into last weekend I thought that Old North State was the best course I had ever played. Pine Needles is now at least tied (in my mind) with it. In the list, Old North State is above Pine Needles and I think the reason for that is because Pine Needles just underwent a massive renovation on its greens and fairways. Both of which I couldn't even really tell except for a bit of tightness in the fairways. While Pine Needles may not be as mature right now as Old North State, the layout and feel of Pine Needles is something different. You're either going to love or hate a Donald Ross course, and I loved it.
The year the U.S. Women's Open is coming to Pine Needles. I didn't realize this until a few days before playing the course. I totally understand why they want to have it there though. Pine Needles is a shorter and more subdued version of Pinehurst #2. I got to go to the Open this year and saw how the greens and course was playing. Pine Needles will be a great test for the women and I'll be in line to get tickets.
The renovations I talked about earlier were done in preparation for the Open in 2007. They've done a great job and I look forward to seeing the best women players in the world competing at Pine Needles.
The average length in hours for our rounds. I always want to finish close to 4 hours. Under normal circumstances there really isn't a reason to take longer than that. The Newport Cup was not normal though. We had some extra time spent over some putts and helping each other out with some reads. Also, lost balls were not abandoned as quickly as our regular Saturday or Sunday games. Not too bad though. We got off a bit late at Talamore, pushing our round back a bit at Pine Needles, but we managed to finish just as darkness was setting in.
The percentage of greens I hit over the weekend. This is about 12-13% less than the average I was hitting going into the Newport Cup. I wasn't too happy with this and it reflected on my scores. My ball striking all weekend was erratic until the last nine on the last day. The back nine at Anderson Creek was probably the best stretch of holes I put together… but that's not saying much. Maybe I was distracted by how beautiful the golf courses were. Sure… that sounds right.
432 and 19
The number of holes golf played by the eight Newport Cup contestants along with the number of natural birdies (no eagles) made. That's 4.4% of the holes, 0.8 birdies per 18 holes, and one birdie every 22 holes. That's not the best golf in the world. Fortunately, as the scratch golfer in the Cup, I accounted for about half of those birds.
The weeks I'm taking off from golf. This was the last 'planned' golf of the year and I'm a bit burned out now. I'm going to take a bit of a rest and come back in a couple weeks to practice and see if I need some changes to incorporate for next year. The Newport Cup was a fun trip and I look forward to next year not only for the competition, but to see a group of good guys I got to know and become friends with.