Missing out on deal will cost you at Running Y
I've run into a fair number of golfers who enjoy playing the Running Y.
These days, they're either thrilled they acted on a special rate to play the course or they're kicking themselves for procrastinating — I'm among the latter — because the cost has increased 60 percent this year.
With the peak season upon us, it now costs $150 for 18 holes, a cart and range balls, up from $90 at this time last year.
The course ran newspaper ads and Web site advisories for a rate of $69, but that deal expired April 1.
The reason for the sharp greens fee increase?
"Really, it's a matter of the condition and the quality of the course and the accolades it continues to receive," says Kendal Daiger, director of marketing for the Running Y Ranch Resort.
She notes that the Arnold Palmer course is rated No. 13 among the top courses in the nation for women by Golf for Women magazine and No. 66 among the country's best 100 public courses by Golf Digest.
It's too early to tell whether the increase will hurt business. Those special certificates are starting to be turned in, says Daiger, and there seems to be little backlash over the new fee structure.
"We're getting very, very few comments about it," she says. "People don't blink an eye at it. They recognize the value in it."
Fees at comparable local courses — Centennial, Eagle Point, Stone Ridge — are $64 or less for rounds that include a cart, according to their Web sites.
One of the reasons for the pre-sold certificates, says Daiger, was so local golfers wouldn't be deterred from playing.
Because the Running Y is a resort, the price change could help lure overnight visitors. If $150 seems steep to some, perhaps a lodging and golf package for two for less than $300 is more appealing.
Daiger isn't certain if the early-bird special will be offered again next year.
"We evaluate the programs every year," she says.
IT'S HARD ENOUGH to get a hole-in-one. But what are the odds that after 30 years of golfing, a player's first one would come on his birthday?
That's what happened for Mark Comish of Central Point. He aced the 15th hole at Eagle Point Golf Club on April 18, 42 years to the day after his mother brought him into the world and three decades after his grandmother got him lessons at age 12.
"To have it happen on my birthday, that was pretty cool," he says.
There was a bit of foreshadowing, too. A week before, when one of his playing partners, Billy Buakhieo, made the tee time, Comish told him he'd get an ace. In the parking lot on the day they played, Buakhieo handed Comish a present and said, "OK, here's the balls for your hole-in-one."
"We just laughed it off," says Comish, who was also joined by Tom Zakowski.
Comish, who plays once or twice a week to a 10 handicap, birdied the first hole and shot 2 over par on the front for a 38. His game began to lag on the back nine until the 15th, which played 130 yards from the gold tees to a pin that was back and a bit right.
"It was a perfect pitching wedge for me," says Comish.
A greenside bunker influences a right-to-left slop, and when Comish saw his ball heading to that part of the green, he didn't worry.
"Making a hole-in-one was not going through my mind at all," he says. "I knew it was a good shot, about 6 or 8 feet right of the pin."
As it rolled toward the cup, says Comish, "One of the guys said, 'It's going in, it's going in!' I didn't think it was, then it hit the pin and dropped straight down. I thought I was dreaming. It was just really shocking."
He jumped in the air, then fell to the ground for a couple seconds. When he got up, it was high fives and knuckle bumps.
The next three holes, however, weren't as pretty.
"I fell apart," Comish laughs. "It was like I couldn't even play golf."
He triple-bogeyed the 16th and doubled the 17th. Still, he shot an 83.
"Now," he says, "I've got till I'm 84 to get the next one."
EVEN HARDER THAN aces are double-eagles, but there were at least a couple during the morning session of the St. Mary's benefit scramble tournament at Centennial Golf Club last week.
Kelly Rasmussen made one of them.
"My first tainted double-eagle," he says. "It comes with a major asterisk."
Dave Schoenmann was involved in the other.
"It was kind of a quasi-double-eagle," he says.
On the ninth hole, teams paid $40 to have former St. Mary's player Nick Terry launch a drive, and they'd lie zero from there on the par 5. Some balls hit by Terry — who later played in the afternoon session and won long drive for the 10-to-17 handicap division — were better than others.
Rasmussen's group played what would count as their first shot from about 250 yards out.
"He (Terry) has a beautiful golf swing and he got one out there," says Rasmussen, who then rifled a 3-wood to the back fringe before sinking a 60-foot putt.
"It was a long way," he says. "I walked for about two minutes, then it fell in."
Schoenmann's group played from the right rough and had about 10 more yards to the green.
"On the tee, we were talking a little smack," he says. "'Hey, let's go get an albatross.' That's why we ended up in the rough."
He hit driver and ran it to the back of the green. Brother-in-law Stewart Michelon knocked in the 50-foot putt.