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Meehan: Area golf pros go the distance

Fri., Aug. 23, 2013, 8:37 p.m.

I played 54 holes in one day when I was a young pup. If I’d given up a few winks of sleep, I probably could have squeezed in 72.

I played 36 holes in eight hours a couple weeks ago and felt every swing for the next two days.

In the third installment of the round table, we checked in with three area pros and learned that one, The Highlands’ Mark Poirier, played 100 holes in one day.

We also quizzed Poirier, The Idaho Club’s Joey Lovell and Palouse Ridge’s Jeremy Wexler about the region’s toughest greens, escaping nasty rough and whose swing they’d borrow if given the chance.

If you could steal one PGA player’s swing, who would it be and why?

Lovell: I would have to choose Steve Stricker. I am a fan of his swing because there are few errors that can occur with the move he makes. It is simple, short, on plane and it works really well with his “inside 120 yards” shots as well. This is where he gains strokes on the field.

Wexler: I’d borrow Luke Donald’s swing, for his balance and tempo. Because of this, his swing is fluid and repeatable. He is a great ball striker! The way he keeps his swing on plane is phenomenal. He just makes it look easy and effortless.

Poirier: I’d choose Adam Scott’s swing. Along with having seemingly flawless set-up fundamentals, he also maintains exceptional width in his backswing, something I need to work on in my own swing! But most importantly Adam’s impact position is what I admire most and is probably why he always hangs around the top five in the world golf rankings.

What advice do you have for hitting out of thick, 3-inch rough?

Wexler: A couple of options, depending on whether the ball happens to stay up or sit down. If up, choke down and take a three-quarters swing; you may need to use more club. If down, you may have to use a lofted club and just advance the ball. Sometimes we have to take our lumps. Make sure the club head drops down and through the ball.

Poirier: I see a lot of amateurs hit either a low lofted fairway wood or even a hybrid out of deep rough. In my opinion the ways to combat a buried lie in the cabbage is to take a higher lofted iron and try and promote a steep descending blow to advance the ball the farthest distance and most importantly, get out of trouble. The deep grass will tend to grab the hosel of your club, closing it prematurely through impact, so remember to aim slightly right of your target to compensate the “pull.”

Lovell: My first advice would be to play for par the hard way. When you watch the U.S. Open and the pros hit into the rough, unless they are close enough to make a good shot or it’s a perfect lie, they usually lay-up to their favorite yardage and rely on their short game. However, if you want to take a swing at it, open the clubface a bit, aim your feet left of the target, swing hard and hold the face as square as possible through impact.

The most holes you’ve played in one day?

Poirier: I once played 100 holes in a day! When I was about 16, a buddy and I decided we would try the 100-hole golf marathon. We struck our first tee shot at about 4:30 a.m. and when we putted out on our 100th hole it was pitch black. I did this at Three Lakes Golf Course, a little course I grew up on in Wenatchee.

Lovell: The most holes I have played in a day is 67 holes in June, 2012. I walked the morning rounds at Bandon Dunes then Bandon Trails. We played Bandon Preserve, the 13-hole, par-3 course, then headed south of Bandon to the “locals” course, Bandon Crossings, where we could use carts for our final 18 holes at sunset.

Wexler: I’d have to say about 42. Weird number, but when I was in the Army they had a daily fee to play all day for one rate. The golf shop was located roughly six holes away to the closest point from my barracks. Of course, I was walking, so I’d check in and ended up looping twice for 36 holes and would play six more to exit at the part of the course nearest to the barracks.

Which course in the region has the toughest greens (can’t pick your own course)?

Lovell: If I cannot choose my own greens – (Idaho Club designer) Jack Nicklaus is known for his tough greens – I would have to choose Wine Valley in Walla Walla, other than the wine tasting that may throw your eye off! Those greens are very quick and undulated. They roll true, so when you get the correct line they hold to it, but if it misses the hole, they continue to roll and may catch another slope. Many double-breakers!

Wexler: Hard to say, reason being I don’t think I’ve played any courses in the area other than Palouse Ridge in the last 15 years, other than Tri-Cities courses. Going on hearsay, I’d say Wine Valley. Golfers tell me you really have to place your approach shot. The greens are big and very undulating. I hear it’s fantastic and can’t wait to play it!

Poirier: Clarkston Country Club has some difficult putting surfaces. They have decent undulations but the speed of the greens can bring a player many three-jacks if one isn’t careful!

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