Author: scrambler

Scrambler at The Masters – The Patron Experience

The morning finally arrived this Tuesday for the Patron Experience at The Masters.  I had been looking forward to this since I was a teenager, and when Mo’ Golf won the Practice Round Ticket Lottery, the dream became a reality.  The alarm was set for 5:30 am, but that was moot, as the house was buzzing with activity long before that.  We headed out from our Atlanta-area house, and set many land-speed records on Route 20 to Augusta.  And Augusta National Golf Club makes this a special experience for anyone lucky enough to calm themselves a Patron.  I had...

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Erie County Amateur: Scrambler’s Wrap Up / Final Thoughts

A few final thoughts to wrap up the 2nd Annual Erie County Amateur after sweating out a steamy round at Elma Meadows this morning, including one more ode to the greatness of Matt Stasiak’s closing 67. Future Amateurs – Elma Meadows or Grover Cleveland? After attending the first two Erie County Amateur Championships, I couldn’t help but think about future editions of the event.  When the Championship was started in 2012, the intent was to rotate between the two County courses.  But after seeing the challenge presented by Elma Meadows, I wonder if the event should alternate. Grover Cleveland was the obvious choice for the Inaugural Event, commemorating the Centennial of the 1912 US Open.  However, I ‘m not sure Grover Cleveland will generate the same enthusiasm from the area’s top amateurs outside of special occasions.   The former Country Club of Buffalo was far too short to challenge our area’s best, and ended up resembling a wedge skills challenge. I saw most players bomb away with impunity last year, while Elma demanded more thought off the tee.  With only one player finishing under par, Elma Meadows demonstrated that it can hold its own against the young bombers.  Further, Elma has more flexibility in terms of tee set-ups to provide different challenges than it’s Northern counterpart. Of course, some of Elma’s members may not appreciate the narrower fairways and...

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Erie County Amateur – Scrambler’s Final Round Recap

By now, I’m sure many of you have seen the final results from this weekend’s Erie County Amateur, but the numbers really don’t come close to the experience of watching the final groups up close.  I had the privilege of covering the contenders last Sunday and thoroughly enjoyed the swings in momentum, the brushes with history and, quite simply, the high caliber of golf meeting up with a course that surprised many with its resistance. Unless you were following @BuffaloGolfer.Com’s Twitter feed Sunday, you probably weren’t aware of the hole-by-hole lead changes, and the stretch from 4-10 on Sunday was one of the most exciting I’ve watched live.  After a few days reflection, I’ve only become more impressed with Matt Stasiak’s closing 67.  So without further ado, let’s recap the various stages of the final round: Stage One (Holes 1-3): Leaders Start Strong At the opening of Round Two Action, the leaderboard showed: -2 –  Dan Yustin -1 –  Billy Hanes E –  Matt Stasiak +2 – Johnathan Snyder On the opening hole, both Yustin & Hanes played the hole beautifully, with huge drives leaving both well inside 75 yards.  Yustin’s approach rattled the flag but ricocheted just into the fringe, while Hanes pitched up within a few paces of the hole.  Yustin dropped his birdie, but Hanes couldn’t convert to temporarily fall 2 shots back. On the 3rd,...

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Erie County Amateur – Scrambler’s Day 1 Thoughts

In my Erie County Amateur Preview, I felt pretty confident that Clyde Webber’s decades-old course record would hold up well against the area’s best this weekend.  After watching the opening tee shots from several groups, my conviction waned a little bit.  I was seeing approach shots on the 1st hole from areas rarely seen.  Sean Mahon was left inside 50 yards, and this was with the soft conditions, and promptly pitched to inside 5 feet.  Perhaps I had underestimated just how good these guys were. But then Elma Meadows reminded me that #1 is not meant to be a punishing start.  Rather, the downhill opener is Elma’s way of saying  “Welcome to our beautiful park.  Enjoy your day!”  The subtext to that sentiment is “enjoy it while it lasts, because you’d better be ready for #2.” It turns out that Elma Meadows had plenty of punch for the area’s best amateurs.  While the rough didn’t prohibit players from reaching greens in regulation, it definitely wore on the players.  Under normal conditions, the rough at Elma can provide the gift of flyer lies on a regular basis, but that wasn’t the case yesterday.  Even if the lie wasn’t bad, the extra water weight provided more uncertainty. Yet, it wasn’t just a more difficult set-up that kept the scores in check.  Elma’s angled landing areas and doglegs provided uncertainty and punishment...

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Erie County Amateur – Holes / Players to Watch

In Part 1 of my Erie County Amateur preview, I discussed how Elma will defend itself against the area’s best amateurs.  In this edition, I hope to highlight some holes / set-up possibilities in greater detail, as well as discuss a few players to watch during the event.   Holes to Watch / Set-Up Notes Having played ~ 500 or so rounds at Elma, the set-up possibilities are wonderful to contemplate.  While the teeing areas at Elma are generally small, a shift of tee position by a mere 5-10 yards can completely change the nature of the hole.  I hope the PGA will maximize the variability possible at the course.  A few holes to watch (NOTE: The references to “old hole #” are for the benefit of those who have not been to the course since the reversal of the nines.  Also, due to decades of ingrained play, I still have trouble referring to the the old 18th as the 9th):   #2 (old 11) – 438 yards – This hole features a kick-slope in the landing area that can propel a ball forward an additional 20 yards.  Combined with a draw flight, many hitters can get well inside the 150 yard marker if they catch the slope.  However, if the draw doesn’t come, a long, straight ball down the right will sail through the dogleg into a cluster of...

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Scrambler’s Erie County Amateur Preview – Part 1

Ever since the thrilling conclusion to the inaugural Erie County Amateur, the Scrambler has been looking forward to this weekend.  As many long-time readers know, I first took up the game at Turkey Run, but most of my golfing life was spent at Elma Meadows.  My first hole-by-hole review for BuffaloGolfer.com was about the William Harries / Russ Tryon Design (Note: Hole numbers are off because of the reversal of the nines during 2012).  Thinking about the best players in the area competing at my “home” course raised a number of fascinating thoughts. In this segment of my Preview, I’ll be discussing how the course will challenge the area’s best, while my second part will discuss some of the Holes / players to watch this weekend. How Will It Hold Up? Obviously, modern technology has taken its toll on many older designs, as the original hazard and tee placements weren’t made in anticipation of titanium-faced drivers, Pro V1’s or 280 yard carries.  This was revealed last summer at Grover Cleveland, as the area’s best turned multiple par 4s into glorified par 3s.  For the inaugural Amateur, 5 of the par fours topped out at 320 yards or less, with the 16th a mere 260 yards.   Length provided little, if any, defense against the top Amateurs. Sione Akauola saw his course record 63 fall by the wayside last year, as...

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