March - The Putting Issue

Newsletter Section: 
Welcome to the March Newsletter

It's March, the beginning of the golf season  ...  now, would someone please inform Mother Nature.

February was not the most forgiving of months for the golf enthusiast.  A foot of snow will put a damper on even the hardiest and hardest core golfer.  Fear not!  This month's newsletter will bring back the enthusiasm and drive to see the short grass again.

We're offering a putting issue this month.  The art and witchcraft of putting has long dogged all serious (and semi-serious) golfers.  No more! This is the season to start getting more (by which I mean less) out of your time on the greens.

Please read and enjoy.  Feedback is always welcome...

The Cordova Bay Crew

The Short Strokes by Lance McCullough

At press time, I have collected over a dozen putters that live on the club rack in my garage. They are of different designs (mostly) and each one has a story. Some are short stories, some are novels and, I have to admit, there are a couple of ‘one-liners’ on the rack as well.

Finding a putter that is fit to match your eye and your stroke is the first step to holing more putts. Did you know that the placement of lines on a putter can drastically change the loft on your putter at impact? Did you know that the head design can, in itself, affect you ability to aim at your target? This is as true of the best players in the world as it is of the most ardent Winter League members.

Over the past several seasons, we have offered putter fitting technologies that have helped numerous players improve their putting. This year, through a partnership with Odyssey Golf, we are ready to offer our players a complete line of Odyssey putters to compliment our existing putter fitting program. The addition of Odyssey allows us to take students into many different head designs that can help isolate the putter best suited to increase your confidence on the green.

See what ‘The King’ has to say about eliminating doubt when putting…

Putting has been the demise of more than one great approach shot over the years. Take the time to learn more about your game and make putting your strong suit. Our CPGA professional staff is here to guide you through the maze of putters that are on the market so that you make the choice that will deliver confidence.
We are looking forward to adding more short game offerings for the coming season including a comprehensive offering of Wedges for your trial.
Keep your eyes peeled for special events coming in the Spring and Summer of 2011…or just call us today and get on the road to better golf today.
Lance McCullough, CPGA, Head Professional of Cordova Bay golf Course
“What are they stimping, today?”

“Sooo…,” says the avid golfer, fondly caressing his custom built putter, the grip matching his argyle plus 4’s, “What are they stimping, today?”
Certainly one of the most popular, but least understood topics in golf course maintenance is the speed of golf course greens as measured by a stimp meter.
The stimp meter was developed by Eddie Stimpson in 1937 as a useful tool to compare the speed of each green on any particular golf course. This allows your Golf Course Superintendent (that’d be me, Dean) to fine tune management practices to provide as consistent a putting surface, over the 18 greens, as possible.  Unfortunately, over the years stimp speed has been misunderstood and is used by many to measure the speed of the greens, period, rather than a tool used to measure consistency (thank you, Golf Channel)! 
I enjoy fast greens as much as the next guy, however, I do get concerned when I hear people talking about greens that are stimping 11 at a particular course and why they can’t be that way at their own club.  For one thing, every golf course is created to the specifications of the time in which it was built. Several decades ago much greater slopes were used when greens were much slower. 
How Fast is Fast?
2’3”     The greens speed at the 1937 US Open at Oakland Hills Country Club.
3’2”     The greens speed at the 1963 US Open at The Country Club in Brookline.
6’6”     Average greens speed of 1500 greens in the US between 1976 and 1977.
15’to 16’Average greens speed of a pool table (Don’t you dare start putting on mine!)

With these facts in mind, I am fairly confident that unless greens are rebuilt to resemble the levelness of a pool table our limitations for greens speed will probably end somewhere around the 12 foot speed.


At Cordova Bay our goal from March 1st to October 31st each year is to provide a greens speed that measures between 9’0” and 10’6” depending, of course, on the weather conditions, seeding periods, hot spells and moisture from periods of rain.  In my opinion a stimp measurement of 10 produces the best putting surfaces for most levels of skill. Even at these speeds, though, pin placement can be a challenge, we have to be aware of avoiding portions of the greens with heavy slopes.
Happy Putting!
Dean Piller, CGSA
2010 CGSA Superintendent of the Year.   

Did you know...

Many of you watched Freddy Couples make an amazing run at the Northern Trust Open but did you know that our very own Jim Goddard had a competitive match with the legend.


The year was .... well, let's just call it 'back in the long haired times'.  The Venue...Seymour Golf & Country Club .

Seymour had been chosen to host the Pacific North West Golf Association's junior tournament.  Playing were two golfing legends' to be, one would become a local legend and one an international star.  On that fine day Jim Goddard teed it up with Fred Couples for honor and glory.

The result?  Let's just say that Freddy Couples was not a late bloomer.  For more details you can always buy Jim a beer and have him tell you all about it.

Golf Wellness with Chris Scheel, TPI Level 3

The 40+ Golfer-“We’re talking age, not handicap!”

Hi everyone, I’ve been working with the team at Cordova Bay for a while now and on a daily basis we see a reduction in the flexibility and mobility of today’s golfers, especially those over 40.
Today’s professional golfers have an average of 50%-100% more flexibility in their upper body than the average person on the street – and in fact, possess more upper body flexibility on average than NBA basketball players!

The lack of flexibility in 40+ golfers causes a few common ailments:  bodies begin to get “brittle”, posture becomes stooped over and strides become shorter.  In desperation, golfers reach out to the latest state of the art driver. The truth is, until older golfers restore the RANGE OF MOTION in their bodies, choosing state of the art clubs or the latest longest ball will provide only temporary relief.

The Gym is not Enough (in fact, by itself, it’s too much)

The most effective way to restore the seniors’ golf game is by instilling an effective flexibility program.  Although they clearly need strength and cardio as well, I’ve seen too many people with tight bodies actually become tighter by incorporating a strengthening program.  In other words, when a “tight” body is strengthened it will , in most cases, become tighter. A tight body is death to a golfer.

Consistency is vital.  We live in a “flexion” (round shouldered from office chairs, couches, movie seats) dominated culture. In order to counter the damaging effects of our sedentary life style we must get on a regular stretching regiment.  The very good news, though is that the more flexible you become, the less you have to do. Rule of thumb, for every decade of age you are that is how many days a week of stretching you should be doing. 40 year old golfer, 4 days a week, minimum.

People say to me all the time, “Yeah, I know I should stretch and workout BUT - I’m too old to do that stuff”.   To those people, I say, “You’re too old not too, and if you EVER want to play good golf again, you’d better start!”  Their next question is always, “Yeah, but CAN I get more flexible at my age”?  The answer is “ABSOLUTELY!  IF, you stretch the right muscles, the right way”.

“I just wish I had started my flexibility program 20 years ago.”  Arnold Palmer

You can contact Chris Scheel at

Titleist Performance Institute Certified Fitness Professional
“Vancouver Islands Only Level 3 TPI-CFP and Level 2 TPI-JFI”

Celebrating the Green (A Different Kind)

by Grant Soutar, Manager of Bill Mattick's Restaurant

March brings the beginning of Spring and hopefully the beginning of warm weather for the golf season.  March also offers an opportunity to celebrate all things Irish and, therefore, all things green.  March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, the day that millions of people worldwide declare their (previously non-existent) Irish heritage and don every piece of green clothing they can find. 

But why green?  The national colour of Ireland has long been accepted as green. Irish sporting teams wear green.  Seemingly normal, responsible people take one day each year, paint themselves green, paste on temporary shamrock tattoos and drink green beer until the wee ‘oors o’ the night.  The connection between Ireland and green has many possible roots.

It was St Patrick, the most generally recognized patron saint of Ireland, who used the shamrock to introduce Christianity to Ireland (each leaf representing one part of the Holy Trinity). 

In the late 18th century, the colour green was worn in a show of support for Irish independence from Britain to the point that Britain actually banned the wearing of green. The blankets of clover and other green landscapes throughout the country has lead to the nickname “The Emerald Isle”.

Although Ireland may endure “spells” of winter or summer, the weather changes very little from season to season.  No matter what the season, looking out over the Irish countryside will be looking out over fields of green.  Many an Irish poet living abroad has longed for the “Emerald Isle” and even Johnny Cash wrote a song in 1961 about the “40 shades of green” in Ireland. 

  So on March 17th, whether you are truly of Irish heritage or just want to pretend for the day, wear something green, have some Irish stew, wash it down with some green beer or Irish Whiskey and offer your friends and family one of the many Irish blessings like these;

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall softly upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May you always have walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
Laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire.

March Happenings

March 13th - Men's Club Captains and Presidents Tournament (click for info)

March 13th - Spring Shoulder Season Begins.

March 13th (busy day) - Daylight Savings begins.  Spring ahead one hour.

March 17th - St. Patrick's Day.  Everybody remember to wear green.

March 18th - Winter League ends.

March 19th - The First Men's Interclub Qualifying (click for info)

March 22nd - Ladies' Club Spring Annual General Meeting

March 25th - Winter League Wrap Up Tournament (click for info)

March 26th - Ladies' Club New Members Orientation

March 27th - Second Men's Interclub Qualifying (click for info)

Thank You: 

It might seem a little self serving  but we'd like to give a big thanks to all the grounds crew and outside services staff who worked incredibly hard at clearing the snow and ice. 

Cordova Bay was one of the only golf courses able to open during some of the recent inclement weather.  This was due in large part to the work clearing the greens and making the paths and parking lots safe for people.

That being said, we'd also like to thank all the seriously hard core golfers who came and took advantage of the hard work done by Dean and his crew. 

See you all in March!

Tip of The Month: 



Maximum results in putting occur when all the technical and scientific variables that negatively affect the putt are eliminated or minimized.

The 5  Elements that represent the correct fit of a putter.

Element Number 1 – LENGTH – the importance is to place the golfer in the proper posture position with the eyes directly over the ball.  Proper length heavily influences both distance control and directional control.

Element Number 2 – LIE - is the major factor in controlling the initial direction the ball will go after impact. 85% of direction is controlled by the clubface angle at impact.

Element Number 3 – LOFT The ball will skid approximately 14% to 20% of its total distance regardless of how hard it is hit, resulting a pure roll of some 80% to 86% of the total distance The purpose of a putters loft is to consistently hit any length putt with a consistent amount of skid and roll every time.

Element Number 4 – Head Weight /Swingweight - A putter that is too heavy is better than a putter that is too light. The proper putter head weight (swingweight) promotes the proper feel of the putter and is a major factor in distance control.

Element Number 5 – Club Head Design - Head Design affects the MOI - the putter head’s moment of inertia or resistance to twisting on off center hits. A golfer who does not consistently hit the putt on or near the center of the putter face would benefit dramatically from more balanced putter design. Those golfers who are able to consistently strike the center of the clubface with the ball benefit from a toe weighted putter.
Design also has an effect on how a golfer aims the putter face at address.

by Doug Mahovolic, CPGA Teaching Professional