Winter - Spring 2013 Newsletter:
The 2013 Golf Season
The New Year is underway, and the River Ridge staff is bringing back some great programs while adding in a few exciting new ones. Every month we will post playing and club-fitting opportunities on our website at www.riverridge-golfclub.com.
The Beginners’ Club: This club was designed to comfortably introduce the game to new players who are not quite comfortable enough to venture out on their own. Each month we attempt to allay their concerns by hosting two 1½ -hour clinics that begin at 11a.m. The clinics cost $20 and cover the full swing, chipping, and putting. Beginning in March, we include late afternoon play dates at 3:30p.m., during which we accompany players on the course. The cost for the play day is $25 and includes a practice bucket, green and cart fees, and on-course instruction. Scheduled Beginners’ Club dates are: February 3rd, and 23rd; March 3rd, 23rd , and 30th (play day); and April 7th, 20th, and 28th (play day).
The Award-Winning Couples Club began its seventh year in January. One Sunday each month River Ridge hosts an 18-hole “fun” tournament for couples. We use the term “couples” loosely; bring your mom, dad, child, friend, etc. to be your partner. Play days alternate between the two courses and the cost is $120 per couple which includes a small bucket, green and cart fees, dinner afterward, and a modest prize fund. This truly is a non-competitive, social function with many wonderful people. The next event is February 24th at Victoria Lakes starting at 11a.m. The format is two-person, better ball of partners. On March 31st we will play the Vineyard course starting at 12p.m. with a four-person best ball format. In April, we’ll play on the 21st on the Vineyard course with a two-person scramble format.
Free Fittings: Each month we will pick one Saturday and one Sunday to offer free fittings from one of the River Ridge staff professionals. Fittings begin at 10:30a.m. and there are four half-hour slots available. These fittings normally cost $60, so this is a great opportunity to upgrade your equipment the “right way.” The golf professional will check: your club head speed to fit you with the correct shaft type and flex; your club length to ensure on center, solid contact; and your lie angle to ensure direction accuracy. If you elect to update the clubs in your bag, we will guarantee prices lower than any of our competitors including big-box stores.
Strawberry Classic entries are already available for download on the River Ridge website. The two-person (women are invited to play from the red tees) 36-hole shamble/better ball event, with a Derby following the completion of the first day of competition, is slated for April 13th and 14th. The $190 entry fee includes range, golf and cart, morning coffee and donuts, barbecue lunch each day, entry into the derby, and, of course, lots and lots of strawberries.
Happy New Year! This year’s resolutions include only pars, birdies, and an occasional eagle, so it will either be a great year or a very short one! The maintenance crew thought we would give you our Spring greens aerification schedule as well as some of the bigger events we have on the books for 2013.
We’ll aerify the Vineyard greens March 18th & 19th; however, we’ll keep the course closed until the 22nd. The extra closed days allow us to accomplish a great deal. The Lakes greens will be punched right after the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) invitational taking place May 3rd – 5th. The AJGA is the PGA equivalent for junior golf and the players are among the best in the nation. If you missed them in previous visits, you might want to come out and watch the young teenagers shooting in the 60’s from the back tees; these are the faces that will be on television in a few years. After their visit, we’ll aerate the Victoria Lakes course on May 6th & 7th and, like Vineyard, keep it closed for two additional days until May 10th.
Another event for which we will attempt to get the course in top condition for is the Strawberry Classic. The tournament which is scheduled for April 13th & 14th (right before tax day, but we don’t think you can write off the entry fee). As summer approaches, we’ll gear up for the City Net Championship on May 25th & 26th followed by the City Gross Championship on June 15th & 16th. Last year, for the Gross Championship the greens stimped at 13’ and 14’2” for the Gross Championship. Then in July we’ll welcome the Dallas Cowboys back for training camp.
On the courses we’ve made a few changes, including the construction of a new gold tee on the Vineyard 1st hole. We’ll replace the rye grass growing on the tee now with hybrid Bermuda when it starts to warm up. On the driving range we’ve added one new target net and will install another later this year to provide a target for the “missing” distances. On Victoria Lakes we are currently irrigating and landscaping the area between the 12th tee and the 13th green to bring some color and a “waste area/sand dune” to the site. It should provide a nice backdrop for approaches to 13 and provide color for both tee shots from 12 and for people entering Oxnard on Victoria Avenue.
Finally, we’d like to toot our own horn and announce our selection by Greenskeeper.org as the best value course in Ventura County for the money. Greenskeeper.org is a web- based information provider on golf courses in several states. They base the award on the complete experience, not just the condition and layout of the course, so we all share in this recognition.
Driving Range Changes: River Ridge joined the 21st century and is now using “high tech” pin numbers for driving range buckets. Last month we quit selling tokens in the pro-shop and transitioned to a six-digit pin number that is printed on your receipt. Simply put the appropriate bucket under the ball dispenser and type in your pin. Pins are only good for the day of purchase. If you have 30 tokens in your change drawer at home, don’t fret. We will continue to leave that option open until everyone has used their tokens. For those of you who enjoyed buying multiple tokens at a discount, we now offer a $59 e-range key that is valued at $84. If you buy this key and use it on small buckets you will save an average of $1.50 per bucket. You’ll do even better by joining the loyalty club (see related story on page one). Finally, we are adding two additional target nets to “fill-in” the missing distances caused by the drainage swale.
Daylight Savings Returns: On March 10th, set your clocks forward one hour as Spring golf returns. On this date twilight will start at 1p.m., sunset at 3:30p.m., and the new favorite dusk rate commences 5p.m. Haven’t heard of the dusk rate? River Ridge offers golf with a cart for $14, or walkers can hoof it for $7 starting at the scheduled dusk time. This is a great time for beginners, families, and “just got off work” players to get some bargain golf time and tune the game up for the weekend.
Use Your Practice Time Wisely
By Susan O. Sipes, PGA
If you have one hour to practice, DO NOT spend it banging ball after ball on the driving range. Remember the percentage of the types of shots used during an average golf round of 84. A player of this caliber will hit six to nine greens a round. This translates to an average of 36 full-length shots a hole, 11 to 20 partial or short shots, and 30 to 36 putts. That means that an average of 48 shots (57%) will be used when close or on the green. This percentage is even more dramatic if you are shooting in the 90s or higher. If you are not allotting half of your practice time to improving this percentage, you are not taking advantage of the easiest way to improve your scores. If that 84 shooter got up and down (one chip, one putt) five times out of 12 attempts his/her score would turn into a 79 (36 full shots + 12 partial shots + 31 putts). So use your common sense and practice sensibly.
Synchronize Your Golf Swing
By Chad Wright
Building a solid connection between your arms and torso is a necessity for consistency and power in your game. If one is working independently of the other, perfect timing and a rerouted swing plane are needed to hit the ball solidly. Another common fault occurs when your arms and hands move much too fast for the rest of your big muscles (torso, back, etc.) to catch up, leading to an unsynchronized swing.
To help insure that you synch up the movements of your arms and body, it’s crucial to feel a connection between your upper arms and your torso throughout the entire golf swing. Next time you are practicing with a short iron or wedge simply tuck in the material of your golf shirt under both armpits. Then swing back and through keeping that material in place in each of the upper armpit areas. This tuck-in drill is less intrusive than using an object, such as a glove or head cover, and will help you synchronize your movements, become more consistent, and channel more of your big muscle power at impact rather than swinging primarily with your arms and hands. Also, it will help your arms and club travel on the correct swing plane.