There weren't any gimmicks or bending of the rules, either. We putted everything out, raked every bunker, repaired every ball mark and divot, and even stopped to take a picture or two along the way plus spent a few minutes interviewing head pro Dave Pfisterer about the course. Most importantly, we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and had plenty of laughs during the round. By the way, one member of the foursome was a woman, fellow golf writer Alice Scott. Her husband Danny (the other half of "America's Golfing Couple") and freelancer Steve Habel rounded out the group.
The round was played on the Dye Links course at Casa de Campo, a fun companion to the better-known Teeth of the Dog at the fabulous resort in the Dominican Republic. The Links sits just east of its big brother and winds through the interior of the resort. It's not too long, playing 7,003 yards from the tips and 6,624 from the next tees up (the blues, which the guys played), but driving accuracy is paramount since water comes into play on five holes and Dye liberally sprinkled the track with well-placed fairway bunkers. The greens are small and many of them are elevated, so your iron play needs to be in top form, too. The course rating is 68.6 with a 122 slope.
None of us had ever seen the course, but that didn't slow us down. We are all experienced golfers, although not scratch by any means, so we could generally figure out the lines from cues Dye provided in his design. We even hit the ball there most of the time, which helped a lot. We didn't have a caddie so everyone in the group watched the other players' shots to cut down on time spent looking for errant balls. We were the first foursome off the tee, too, so we never had to wait for the group ahead. But here are the real reasons we played so quickly:
- We played ready golf -- whoever got to the tee first hit away. Same in the fairway.
- We were in carts, but no one sat waiting for another player to hit before being driven to his or her ball. Instead, we tried to stop where both players could walk a few steps to their balls at the same time.
- Nobody in the group had an elaborate pre-shot routine. We didn't rush, but typically the player checked the distance, picked a club, set up alignment, and hit the ball. Very few practice swings were taken.
- Speaking of distance, we didn't waste time looking for sprinkler heads or fiddling with a GPS or laser range finder. We simply used the 100, 150, and 200-yard makers in the middle of the fairway and adjusted accordingly.
- We didn't dally on the greens, either. Whoever got there first putted (if they could without stepping in someone else's line), then putted out if they missed the first one. We read the greens as we walked onto them, then took a quick look from behind the ball. Nobody rushed, but nobody plumb-bobbed, paced off distance, or read the putt from four directions either. There may have been a three-putt, but I don't remember one. I personally putted better than I had in either round on the two days previous.
Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf