Saturday, January 17, 2009


In the past I've written about the uninspiring architecture in SE DC. It is unfortunate when buildings are nicknamed 'The Tetris Building', 'The Block Building', 'The 'I can't believe people are still paying 380 for a one-bedroom' Building'.

What the area needs is an iconic building, which takes advantage of light, shape, color, and texture, as a neighborhood landmark. Instead, every building further commoditizes its neighbors in its uniformity and blatant attempt to squeeze every penny out of the space. Each new building gorges on real estate, supersized and maxed out, where neighbors in adjacent buildings could pass a cup of sugar across the space (not a good thing).

I keep my fingers crossed for a building which exercises humility and constraint, and shrinks from the sidewalks to grow irregularly, abnormally, and strikingly, in a show of architectural ingenuity.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Quick Dice for Friday

- Underrated song of the moment - Easily, RHCP (Califonication). One Hot Minute is also a vastly underrated album. Also, Porch Song by WP.

- Need new adverbs to go with 'underrated', vastly/highly are probably used 98% of the time.

- Talking garbage about VJ after a poor performance at the Mercedes is an acceptable (and highly probable) consolation prize. I'd don't think a lobotomy could make me like his game.

- When a golfer is said to 'manufacture good swings' it means he hides his swing flaws well, or has a terrible swing. Might as well say he makes a bad cut.

- Soon to finish reading Buried Lies by Peter Jacobson, I hope the book was poorly edited, or else he's a thinly veiled Curtis Strange.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Holidays and the Beach

During the holiday I had the opportunity to play a few rounds of golf in Myrtle Beach. I hold Myrtle, and its courses, in high regard, as I have been playing golf in the area for the better part of 20 years. With Golf Digest's Top 50 Myrtle Beach Courses in tow, I happily got in three rounds, in 80' weather, at the end of December.

Saturday - Ocean Ridge Plantation (Tiger's Eye) (3) - Tiger's Eye is part of the Ocean Ridge affiliation, now encompassing five courses. Tiger's Eye is a stern test of golf, with multiple risk/reward offerings on holes, and the ever impending threat of Carolina pines to snare a wayward parry. Ends on a difficult 5-par with water/waste right, and encroaching from behind the green. Greens were slow(ish) on account of thick/mature grass, allowed to grow to protect against the winter temperature shifts. Staff was courteous, laid-back, and friendly.

Sunday - Barefoot Resort (Love) (1) - Underwhelming, for a number of reasons. Much like an Atlantic City casino, I felt their entire intention was to take my money (ATM in clubhouse noted). The Barefoot ecosystem is quite interesting, and wholly caters to property owners, who gain memberships to all the courses. We played with Barefoot homeowners, who had their own (tricked-out) EZ Go, which was all too common, but, in my opinion, still unacceptable. Course situation catered to personal use of a golf cart, as the massive range, which serves all courses, is located .5 miles from the clubhouse, serving 3. At the clubhouse, there is no range or immediate putting green, simply a bottleneck from which tee times for all the courses are launched. Staff seemed more suited to be loading airplane luggage than performing golf-related tasks. Once our name was called, we were directed to the starter, and a small putting green with no actual holes, and given five minutes before the round.

The Love course was a combination of uninspiring holes, with a sprinkling of complete throwaway holes, especially the 3 pars (one of which was 145 from the tips). I equally blame DL III and whoever orchestrated the four course complex. When you build four courses, designed by four name designers, your end result is equal mediocrity, rather than catering to any of the competing interests. Space constrictions made many of the holes feel pinched, in some cases requiring a sparse ribbon of trees separating different courses. Additionally, the land on which the courses were built was flat/barren/sparse, so the only hazards entirely consist of water, which was the only option to be easily incorporated into the course design. The Love course lacks elevation change, and rarely required pre-shot contemplation, based on the potential for disaster. Many of the holes were straightforward, with simple green complexes and unimaginative bunkering. I couldn't imagine paying $90 to play the Love course, let alone the near $200 in-season rate.

Oh, and I didn't even mention the ubiquitous housing.

Monday - Myrtle Beach National (King's North) (20) - While the lowest ranked course on the list, easily my favorite, and the truest test of golf. Approaching the complex, the dated clubhouse (featuring a cafeteria line refreshment stand) was a minor deterrent to a championship course. We played the first five holes in a squalor, and loved every minute of it. Exacting shots required on risk/reward holes, interesting and imaginative green complexes require a variety of approach trajectories, and, lest I forget, 'The Gambler', the most welcomingly cheesy hole in golf. Course conditions were amazing (far better than Barefoot), and the greens rolled true, albeit a bit slow, in season, they could be the best in the Strand. It was a blast to play.

It was a highly enjoyable trip to Myrtle Beach, I can't wait to return.