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I was lucky enough to get invited by my friend, (and sometimes tournament partner) Sarah Scott, to attend the LPGA Women’s Match Play Tournament at Shadow Creek, Las Vegas’ most exclusive golf course.  There were only a limited number of spectators at this MGM Resorts International/Bank of Hope event.  If you haven’t been to Shadow Creek, it’s an absolutely beautiful course just north of the Strip here in Las Vegas.  The only way to play it is to stay at an MGM property and pay the steep greens fees— $600-750— or get comped because you are a celebrity or bet big at their casinos… making you what they often call “a whale” in Vegas.



It’s immaculate and frankly, hard to believe you are in Nevada when you look around at the landscaping on the course — you wouldn’t know you are in the desert but to me, rather in Pinehurst.  They wanted to create some combination of Augusta National, Pine Valley and Sherwood Country Club in Los Angeles.  Interestingly, the trees have all been brought in from elsewhere.  The course was sculpted from flat  desert and I’m not sure there is one thing that is natural to the topography.  It was designed by Tom Fazio and INCLUDED ON GOLF DIGEST’S LIST OF AMERICA’S 100 GREATEST GOLF COURSES FOR 2019-2020 a distinction of which Fazio is proud.  Most notably, this course hosted the 2018 match between Tiger and Phil.

While I was only able to see a few players on the last day (this was a match play event), it was so great to see them up close and personal.  I followed Shanshan Feng and Sophia Popov in one of the semi-final matches in the morning.  Popov was 2 down after 10 but managed to come back and win.  In her post-round interview, she said she had confidence in her game (wish I had that) even when she fell behind.  Here are the things I walked away with after watching these two play.


This is once again the question during rounds.  Some people take the pin out and others leave it in.  There is no right or wrong, just personal preference.  This new rule has been place but for a refresher on it, check out this article – STUDY: Are you an INNIE or an OUTIE ?







There is never an issue with their etiquette.  Between the players and the caddies, everyone knows their place.  They follow golf etiquette perfectly.  We should all strive to behave like the pros.  For a refresher on etiquette, check out my previous post 9 Rules of Golf Etiquette You Are Probably Breaking.







When you watch them swing (here you’ll see Feng swing), there is absolutely no extraneous movement.  No swaying.  No over swinging.  Their head does not move up or down nor back during their backswing. They swing the club around their bodies and their spine.  That’s probably why even their misses are so good.  The variability from swing to swing is miniscule.







They do their pre-shot rountine. And they do it again on the next shot.  It doesn’t change.  They prepare the exact same way before every shot.  They don’t let pressure change their pre-shot routine.  They may get flustered on the inside, but you’d never know it on the outside.



#11 Par 4

They ocasionally hit horrible shots into deep trouble just like we do.  Here is a photo of Feng hit in a bunker.  Popov hit her share also, but unlike us, they always get out on the next shot.  They realize that it’s not over, til it’s over.  The next photo is of #11 where Popov was in that front bunker which was so deep.  She hit a great shot out and saved par.






17th Par 3

Last, there isn’t one aspect of their game that isn’t absolutely great.  Yes, they bomb their drives.  Yes, they hit lots of greens in regulation.  They can chip and pitch like you can’t believe from any lie and they putt incredibly well.  They simply don’t 3-putt. It’s more than “drive for show, putt for dough”.  They do all things well.

So what’s my take away from all this?  I have a lot of work to do– identify my weaknesses and work on them. If I get a chance to see an LPGA event again I’ll attend because I’m inspired by these great players who have dedicated their life to the sport.


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