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KAXE Programs - Diamonds in the Rough

Occasionally on the Morning Show Thursdays at 8:40am

Diamonds in the Rough is the only golf show on public radio in the United States. John Bauer and Bogey Bob Cahill cover the Minnesota golf scene and beyond interviewing the games top names both professional and amateur, discuss the latest equipment and feature an in depth review of golf course across the United States and beyond.
Golf Courses


DFor most golfers the ultimate dream vacation would be Scotland.   Where pot bunkers, gorse,  firm fairways, and strong winds force you to play a game you are unfamiliar with.  You don't have to head overseas to experience putting from 60 yards out, hitting backwards out of a bunker or hitting a 5-iron from 120 yards? All you have to do is head down the coast of Oregon to a golfing destination that's second to none . . . Bandon Dunes.

Imagine playing four golf courses at one location that are in the top 15 of the Top 100 Courses You Can Play ranked by Golf magazine.  Whether it's Bandon Dunes perched on a bluff high above the Pacific Ocean designed by Scotsman David McLay Kidd; Tom Doak's windswept masterpiece of sand and sea Pacific Dunes; sprawling meadows, coastal forests and sand dunes of Bandon Trails uncovered by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw; or the C.B. Macdonald inspired masterpiece Old Macdonald created by Tom Doak and Jim Urbina . . . this is how golf is meant to be played!

DunesDon't expect lush, perfectly manicured conditions and hitting soft wedges that stop on a dime.  Expect links style golf which means brownish fairways and roughs, sand traps with rough edges and greens that won't scare you with their speed but mystify you with their subtle undulation and frustrate you with reading the brake.

Bandon DunesThere is no need to feature any specific holes because they are all spectacular and will take your breath away.  Make sure you take the time to enjoy every second of your walk . . . you may not be fortunate enough to go back!  There are two things I would recommend to make your walk a pleasant one.  Bring rain gloves and buy a Bandon Dunes Bucket Hat.  I'm not telling you it's going to rain, but if it does, you will be ready.  I think you should also buy one of the beautiful prints of golf holes of Bandon Dunes in the pro shop.  Why?  Because if you never return, that photo will remind you of how lucky you were to play there.

DThe resort offers varying lodging options to fit your needs.  When it's time to golf you can either be picked up by a shuttle or walk to the course(s) of your dreams.  After a golf, make sure you visit McKee's Pub for a microbrew or Scoth and don't forget to order Grandma's Meatloaf.  You won't regret it!

Hole #7

The anticipation of seeing Whistling Straits for the very first time consumes you as you enter the front gate and drive down the winding road to the bag drop.  Once there, you are greeted by what seems to be hundreds of caddies dressed in their white overhauls waiting to take you on a once-in-a-lifetime journey. 

 Legendary course architect Pete Dye claimed to "apply every trick he learned" into building Whistling Straits.  My advice to you, bring you're your own bag of tricks and listen to your because you're going to need both of them.  This course isn't for the faint at heart.  With over a 1,000 sand traps (999 if you're Dustin Johnson), fast undulating greens and strong winds, you have to be ready. 

At first glance down the first tee you think you were on a different planet, perhaps the moon. You will ask yourself, "How the hell did they build this thing?"  Pete Dye did it by moving over 1,000,000 yards of dirt and studying courses like North Berwick and Royal Dornoch in Scotland.  Mixing that with breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and you have a public course that has held a U.S. Open, PGA Championship and in 2020 a Ryder Cup.  

 The course is very hard and so is the ground so bring your best shoes because you have to walk. If the wind blows you will have a difficult time ... trust me.  Reading the greens is nearly impossible without the help of your caddie.  If your caddie proves he can read the subtle breaks on the greens for the first few holes ... trust him/her the rest of the way. 

"Don't keep score, just add them up at the end of the day."  That's what they say in Scotland and I highly recommend you do the same.  You will experience the wind in your face, sand traps like you've never seen before, greens that confuse the eye and club selection issues beyond your imagination.  One thing you can count on if you play the correct tees, you'll have the time of your life.   

Pinehurst #2


They say you can feel the spirit of Donald Ross on Pinehurst #2.  I couldn't agree more.  Pinehurst #2 is the masterpiece of Donald Ross and his roughly 400 golf course designs in North America.  After all, it's hosted more major championships than any other United States golf course. 

What's so special about playing Pinehurst, specifically #2, is that the fairways are generous and you won't lose many golf balls.  However, you had better bring your "A Game" when you approach and putt their renowned crowned greens.  Do you remember John Daly hitting his moving ball after failing twice to putt his ball onto the 8th green?  They drove him completely nuts and they will you as well if you aren't ready. On nearly all the holes, if you don't keep your approach within a 5-yard radius of the pin, your ball can easily roll down to the bottom of a tightly shaved collection area or worse yet, a bunker.  Bring your 60 degree sand wedge along. You getting the picture?  

Driving up the inclined oval driveway gives you goose bumps.  Once there you are asked your tee time and course you are playing.  You are directed to the club house and informed that your clubs will be waiting for you.  After leaving the Pro Shop you head downstairs where the caddie master directs you to your cart or assigned caddie, the gigantic putting green and the driving.    Expect to ask questions because there are 5 world class courses right in front of your eyes.  

All the courses at Pinehurst are beautiful but #2 must be played at least once for historical value alone.  The constantly swirling winds, tall pines, white sand and greens make it a real challenge to shoot your handicap.  It's a fine example of classic golf and know that when you are putting these greens you need to remember that Donald Ross and crew used teams of mules to build them. 


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