Thursday, December 18, 2014

Roadgolf: Tustin Ranch GC, Tustin CA

Greetings from Southern California. I had no specific plan to play golf while I was out here, but I was invited by my sister's husband to play a round at his club, the Tustin Ranch GC. I tend to feel out of my comfort zone at places like this but I just kind of rolled with the tide and accepted, for better or worse. Anyways it's a very gracious offer, so why the hell not.

Before I head to the course, I have to ready my set for the day. Whenever I play golf out here I use a bag made up of some of my dad's old clubs. It sits in the attic save for my visits. It's got a matching set of Callaway woods: 1, 3, 5, and 7! They are softer flex than I'm used to, and not quite as long, but hey--golf is not all about distance! Besides, when do you even see a 7-wood anymore? I think that's cool, and something different from what I'm used to, so I'll try to be excited about using it.

These irons are from the dawn of the graphite shaft era--the brown shafts are regular flex and extremely light. Feel like whips. Makes sense, because this Daiwa company also makes fishing rods.

The heads are pretty wacky-looking, but at least the top line is somewhat thin. I can live with it. Hey, a flush hit feels great with just about any iron. Still, the dispersion off these clubfaces is little troubling.

An old TourEdge putter that nobody wants. The lie angle is probably too upright and the shaft is too short, and my dad's got some much "better" putters lying around, but I putted well with this one time, so whenever I visit Orange County, it's what I putt with. I probably like it because it's so beat looking, I guess I am a smartass hipster like that. Hey, it squares up nice at least. What more do you want from a golf club anyways.

It's a ragtag set , a motley crew, but I believe in them. I ran into some traffic on the way of course, so only time to hit three range balls and then we're next on the tee. By the way my humble iron set is missing the 9-iron. I've looked all over for it but I'm afraid it's gone. To make fourteen clubs, I put another putter, an Odyssey blade in the bag. Just in case.

Plush leatherette seats, alloy wheels, smooth electric motors--these are some high-end carts, la dee da.

While I was driving on the 5 Freeway to the course, I actually had the thought--"Wouldn't it be cool if you could charge your phone on the golf cart?" In my naive world, such a thing didn't yet exist! When I got to the course, seeing this just about blew my mind.

This is one of those fancy courses where they take care of everything. Cooler stocked with ice and bottled water. You might think it's a small thing, but to me this is the luxury of luxuries on a golf course. All the other accoutrements of country club life I could take or leave, but having ice cold liquid refreshment at arm's reach throughout the whole round, that is truly awesome.

GPS much like the one I encountered for the first time a couple weeks ago up in Yonkers.

Postcard moment on the first tee. Another great December day in California. Just think, not that long ago I was freezing my ass off up in Yonkers and today, I wore short sleeves. Gratitude.

Tustin Ranch is a fun, challenging course. Tight fairways. Tiered greens. Bit of everything.

The bunkers here are very fine, like sugar. I got my fill today--eight bunker shots in all. Hit some good ones too, probably the highlight of my day.

One old stereotype of Southern California is actually true--there are a lot of palm trees.

Here I am miles away from the 9th green, third shot on a par 5. In a desperate bid for a GIR I attempted to work a fairway wood around that palm tree, over the giant water hazard and onto the tiny green. I failed miserably but fuck it--for a brief moment as I stood over the ball, I believed. That counts for something in my book.

The signature par 3 11th. Picturesque, right? But this is sort of where things went south for me. I totally came out of my tee shot and thinned it straight into the water. The shot from the drop area was no picnic either, touchy little half wedge to a tiny little fingertip of a green. I chunked the first attempt into the hazard. It didn't help that the brother-in-law kept trying to hurry me along, telling me to improve my lie when I dropped into a divot, and then to pick up the ball once I was on the green. I ended up making a 10. I know that's a lot of strokes but I didn't see why I couldn't at least finish out the hole with some dignity. It's not like I am doing this on every hole. There's not even anyone behind us for God's sake. All internal thoughts of course.

This brother-in-law and I have a basic disagreement on how a casual round should be played. That's been well established and even reared its ugly head way before we were even legally related. So I should've just sucked it up. But I let him know that I didn't appreciate being rushed on that 11th hole. He responded that it's more important in those situations to play fast, and that nobody he knows around there really bothers to follow every rule in a non-tournament situation. Well, that being the case, the fault's mine for not being a good guest and for going against common procedure on this course. As I said at the beginning, out of my comfort zone at a place like this.

In spite of my uncouth behavior we managed to finish out the round while being mostly civil. Look, some orange trees. Yay. Orange County. Orange trees.

I got a tough break on the 16th. I sailed the approach one club long and plugged it straight into the rear face of this back bunker. With a violent swipe I managed to dump it out onto the flat of the bunker, where I made a really difficult up and down for a bogey. I'll remember this one for a while.

The home hole. A daunting approach, which I fanned right. A weak double bogey to finish with a 98. Even though I'm wearing running shoes, and playing with a jalopy set of outdated golf clubs, it still stings. In my mind, on that first tee I still feel like anything's possible! But making a ten on a par 3 has a way of blowing up any scorecard. Oh well, it was golf, it was 18 holes, it was free, so I'm very grateful--I am not a complete scoundrel. Anyways frustrating as it was for me to shoot 98 my brother-in-law didn't fare any better and that had to really bite. It's his home course and he usually shoots much better. Two rough rounds; oh well, for my part I had fun overall, as I always do when I'm playing golf. This a fun course.

Well, I got in a full 18 under the California sun before I head back to the east coast, and that's a nice treat any way you look at it. Now, maybe before I go I'll get a chance to hit up the driving range and make some amends for that disaster from the other day...


  1. See, Southern California isn't all bad, right? Glad you got some play time in.

  2. bkuehn "No frickin' Palm Trees Here" 1952December 20, 2014 at 4:46 AM

    Great up & down for bogey from that back bunker. When I first saw that photo I thought, "Gee, that little leaf near the back edge of the bunker almost looks like a plugged ball. I wonder why he took a photo of this?"

    Ahhh, palm trees. Wish I had me some palm trees outside right now ... instead of an inch of frozen crap. Grrrrrr!

  3. Always a treat to play on such a fine course.


  4. I'm impressed with bogey on #16 after that lie. And tell your BIL that if there's nobody behind you, lighten up Francis.



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