Shopping at Fiddler’s Green

20170708_171503
Fiddler’s Green Golf Center is literally filled to the rafters with golf merchandise.

After a long two-week road trip that would have made Thelma and Louise proud and a particularly stressful day in I-5 traffic, there it loomed in front of us – the “Promised Land” in Eugene, Oregon – Fiddler’s Green Golf Center, home of the largest on-course golf shop in the USA.  We felt the tension drain from our tired bodies; we were about to go golf shopping!

We opened the front door and walked into a cavernous whole new world of all things golf related.  The store (it seemed as big as a football field) was an attractive warehouse with rows of colorful golf clothes for women.  I’m pretty sure it carried men’s clothing as well.  Toward the back around the 50-yard line, a cornucopia of golf clubs, all brands and all shiny and new, waited for a lucky player to select them.  At the far end zone was a wall of attractive (too attractive) golf shoes.  Fiddler’s Green also had separate rooms attached to the main large room, one dedicated to golf bags and one dedicated to wedges and putters, enabling a customer to make her choice away from the general hubbub created by the masses of shoppers.  As we wandered around the sidelines, we found everything a golfer could possibly need, including the latest technology.

We definitely needed a guide in this place that so easily overwhelms the senses, and Raymond Moore, a personable manager, came to our rescue.  He was eager to fill us in on the history of the golf center while he tempted us with various “good buys.”  Zeke, another personable and successful employee, was content to help Mary buy her first pair ever of full-priced golf shoes.

Raymond explained that the current owners founded Fiddler’s Green in 1976 when they took over a small, rundown golf course by the Eugene Airport.  Over the years they built addition after addition to the pro shop until golfers now enjoy the current behemoth they see today.  Fiddler’s Green still maintains the 18-hole, 2315-yard short course originally in place.  In addition, it has added a driving range, not only for warming up but for testing prospective purchases as well.  The original pro shop in the back is now a small coffee shop for both players and customers.  To get to the coffee shop from the shopping center, Raymond led us past an in-house embroidery shop, a golf club repair shop, a shipping/receiving space, and Mary and Zeke trying on shoes.  judging by all the services available, Raymond justifiably boasted that “customer service is primary” at Fiddler’s Green.

I know the big questions all you readers are asking are “did you buy anything” and “was it a good deal.”  The answers, of course, are “yes” and “yes.”  How could we resist?  I bought a golf watch that also counts steps, and Mary bought a new, longed-for pair of Footjoys. The purchases did not break the bank.  We will chalk them up to our road trip budget.

Hope to see you again soon, Fiddler’s Green.

Address: 91292 Highway 99N, Eugene, OR 97402.

4th of July Fact

20170612_151919
Feeling patriotic. Teeing it up at Mather’s red, white, and blue tee markers.

We learned so much history about the former Mather Air Force Base when we played Mather Golf Course that I thought I would share a little-known fact with you in honor of the 4th of July.  Mather was not the original name of the air field.  It was christened Mills Air Field, named after the community Mills Station where it was located.  Built in 1917 in preparation for World War I, it was one of the original Army Air Service training camps in the United States.

Enlisting in one of the first training classes, Second Lieutenant Carl Spencer Mather proved himself a talented and well-liked pilot.  Sadly, while continuing his training in Texas, he was killed in a mid-air collision on January 30, 1918.  The remainder of his class requested that Mills Field be renamed in Mather’s honor.  Mather Air Field eventually became Mather Air Force Base and continued under that name until it was decommissioned in 1993.

Over that period of time the military also built a golf course named after 2nd Lt. Mather. I wonder if he ever played golf.  Probably not – he was too busy flying.

Let the Scorecard Be Your Guide

20170616_125535
Another lost ball! Playing from the wrong set of tees can be dangerous.

If you are in a position to choose the set of tees from which you will play, use the tees that match your abilities.  Ask yourself questions like – How many holes can I reach in regulation? How long are the par 4’s? Are the par 3’s reachable?  Haggin Oaks suggests that if you hit drives over 200 yards, you can play a 6,000 yard course; 160 to 199 yards, a course around 5,300; and 159 or less, a course under 5,000 yards.

The course distance rating/slope numbers can also help you choose the tees that will provide the most fun and better scores.  Remember, the distance rating, such as 71.2, tells you what a scratch player (one with a 0 handicap) should shoot on that tee.  The Slope number tells you how difficult the obstacles are.  Note: the average slope obstacle rating is 113.  See Mary’s post under “Course Rating” for more details on Slope.

In playing so many different courses, we have noticed some mistakes and omissions on printed score cards, especially for women.  For example, Turkey Creek has a misprinted rating number for the white/gold combo tees.  If a player posts using that number, she will see some surprising changes in her handicap.

Update: Turkey creek has corrected their scorecards.

Bartley Cavanaugh shows a woman’s rating/slope for only the forward tees which are very short.  Most women will probably choose the white tees at 5,393 yards. Unfortunately, these tees only show a men’s rating.  Be sure to use the rating for women, which is shown on the computer when you post.

Most important, no matter which tees you choose from the scorecard, have fun using them!

Mary adds:

Don’t forget, one of the factors to consider when selecting tees is the number of golf balls in your bag and the current price of a dozen balls.

Haggin Oaks Focuses on Women

20170316_153255
This magnificent oak tree is down at Haggin Oaks, another victim of winter storms.

“Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” The lyrics from Cheers seem to be appropriate for a woman’s golf (and social) experience at Haggin Oaks Golf Course.  The facility boasts several opportunities for women to join a group, play every week, and establish a handicap.  First, the Sacramento Women’s Golf Club, one of the oldest established groups in the area, offers 18 holes of golf weekly on Wednesdays, club tournaments and activities and handicapping through the Pacific Women’s Golf Association.  Similarly, the Haggin Oaks Women’s Golf Club, also a PWGA club, tees it up for 18 holes every Tuesday while the Haggin Oaks Business Women’s Club (PWGA) plays every other Sunday. Nine-hole players are not left out; the Haggin Oaks Niners Club meets every Thursday.

What is most exciting about Haggin Oaks is how it is focusing on improving the overall golfing experience in an ongoing program to attract more women players.  Head pro Mike Woods has established a women’s focus group that meets monthly to discuss how the overall operation can make Haggin Oaks more women and family friendly.  To that end, they have hired Linda Reid as “Golf Ambassador” charged with creating and coordinating women’s golf activities.  She is a personable and energetic presence who has already made her mark on the program.  She is most excited about the two 9-hole leagues that she has organized, one Wednesday morning and one starting in May on Wednesday evenings.  Currently boasting about 50 players, many of whom are just starting to play, the foursomes include at least one mentor, an experienced player who shares information about all the idiosyncrasies of the game and about how to become more comfortable on a golf course so they can confidently play with anyone. What a fun and effective way to learn the game! Anyone interested in any of these clubs and/or programs is welcome to contact Linda at lreid@hagginoaks.com or (916) 808-0861.

With its very positive focus on women and its outstanding golf facilities, practice areas, and courses, Haggin Oaks offers something for every woman player.  Frankly, it is nice to experience a golf course that views women golfers as important and welcome.  If you are new to the game, looking to connect with a good women’s group, or just wanting to broaden your golf experience, Haggin Oaks just may be your answer.

 

Masters Sunday 2017

Augusta National.  Sunday at the Masters.  Golf’s high holy day.  We admit it; we are “Masters Maniacs.”  From the par 3 contest on Wednesday to the two days leading to the cut to “moving day” Saturday, we are glued to our HD, 4G Ready TV that we bought when we saw how much better it picked up every magical moment of golf’s own heaven, Augusta.

This year six of us gathered at our home on Sunday as we do every year.  Our group, almost homogeneous with five women and one man, sat on the edge of our seats watching the drama unfold while munching on the requisite pimiento sandwiches, a tradition at the Masters.  How peaceful it is to watch a tournament where you do not hear “You the man” or “Baba-loo-ie” or “In the hole” shouted out after every shot!  You are watching a tournament so well run that even the galleries must obey certain rules.

As the tension mounted as much in our living room as on the golf course, we suddenly became aware of a puzzling yet intriguing phenomenon: all of the women in the room were rooting for Sergio Garcia, and our lone male companion definitely had very different feelings.  He had never forgiven Sergio for spitting in a hole after missing a putt and for slowing his pre-shot routine down to interminable. We women admired his new maturity and his perseverance. Why had all of us women gotten over Sergio’s early, immature behavior in order to cheer him on to his first Masters win (and his first major) and our lone male had not?

His opinion did not dampen our Sergio enthusiasm.  Our disagreement was much more congenial and light-hearted than a discussion about current politics.  The Masters allowed us to escape from all that.  We returned to the Sergio/Justin Rose showdown and found ourselves happily mesmerized by the superb exhibition of skill and sportsmanship they gifted to us at another magical Masters.