Monday, March 27, 2006

Review: The Ranch Golf Club, San Jose

When you go to play the Ranch Golf Club in San Jose, make sure you bring 3 things with you:

1) Your camera.
2) Your A Game.
3) Your duffel bag full of golf balls.

You'll want your camera because this course has the most stunning views of any course in the Bay Area. And to try to describe the vertical drops some of your tee shots will make to someone is hard to explain in words. Props to the course designers for placing this course in some relatively rugged terrain.

You'll want your A game because this is probably the most challenging course in the Bay Area. The blue tees have a slope of 147, and the black tees have a slope of 152...yes, thats 152. Lets just say, if your game isn't on (like mine wasn't that day), its hard to relax because accuracy is not a luxury, its at a necessity.

You'll want a duffel bag of balls because there are many opportunities to lose your little white friends. Trouble abounds, and many of the areas available to hit your wayward shots are environmentally protected grounds, so no searching is allowed.


Hole #12, by A. Bradley


BUT, even though I shot my worst score in years, this course is one I will be returning too. Why? Well, it's a diamond in the rough with regards to public courses in the Silicon Valley. It reminds you of no course you've ever played (except for maybe Wolf Creek in Mesquite Nevada), and definitely not one you'd find in San Jose. On some holes you'll have spectacular views of downtown San Jose and on others you can see the San Francisco skyline on a clear day.

The course is target golf at its prime. I took driver out only on 4 holes. Many calculations were required on the tee to figure out your yardage given the elevation changes, the wind, and the numerous hazards. It's very much a thinking-golfers course. The greens do role very true and are some of the best conditioned public greens around. One more thing, carts are required on this course.. and at about half way thru, you'll really understand why.. I think it took us literally 5 minutes to drive between holes 11 and 12.


Hole #14 and #16, by A. Bradley


The first hole to highlight is number 9. A devilish par 5. Although it seems short at 528 yds, every shot requires accuracy. You start off with a tee shot over a long ravine, and if you take driver, you'll have a 15 yd wide landing area. Plus, there's no going for the water protected green in 2 unless you can hit a high towering Tiger-esque 4 iron cut with laser-like precision. And just when you think the fun stops when you get to the green, you'll have an extreme two-tiered demon to contend with.

My favorite hole on the course was number 10. If you have fear of heights, beware, as the elevation difference from tee to green seems higher than the length of this 343yd par 4. A mid-iron off the tee is the smart play, but one could easily reach the green with a 3 wood, although errant shots will pay deeply. The green is protected by yellow stakes, red stakes, water, bunkers, landmines, sharks, you name it!

Overall, the Ranch is an exciting course, and one that will humble your game for sure... in the true words of the Terminator, "I'll be back".

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Url Rewrite Filter

Found a cool tool today that allows you to easily rewrite your URLs from your J2EE compliant application server, similar to Apache's mod_rewrite. Its URL Rewrite Filter.

The configuration is contained in its own XML file and allows you to rewrite a URL and either redirect or forward to a new URL as an example. The parameters are in Perl5 style regular expressions or wildcard expressions.

Of course its great for URL abstraction and tidyness. You can even easily rewrite url's based on the client Browser type.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Woo Hoo! New Clubs!

Finally, the moment has arrived. I got new clubs (irons, 3 - pw). After playing with the same knock-offs for over 7 years, I finally broke down.

I bought the Taylor Made RAC LT's. I tried the Mizuno MP-60's and 32's, equivalent Titleist and Cleveland's and the Nike Slingshot. I wanted to also try the Bridgestone J30 and the Nike Pro Combo's, but they were not available. But the Taylor Made clubs really stuck out and felt comfortable. Plus their topline just looks the best. The shafts are steel and Taylor Made branded, but a lot lighter than the Dynamic Gold's which I immediately liked, being that i played graphite shafts before. The Taylor Made's also came in cheaper than the others, especially the Titleist.

I was able to take them out for a spin yesterday for the first time at Harding Park. Although my swing wasn't altogether there, when i did strike it well, they felt so good. I probably hit one of my sweetest feeling 3 irons ever, about 220.

One other thing, i bought the clubs at a small shop in Belmont called Golf Town. Don't be fooled from its small appearance on the outside however, this place is very well stocked. And the owner, Nancy, was very friendly and helpful. Its dangerously close to my house, however, so I'll be making many more investments there.

Friday, March 17, 2006

OpenLaszlo and Gliffy

We presented Gliffy to over a hundred developers last night at Laszlo System's "Pizza, Beer and AJAX" event in San Francisco. We got some great positive feedback from our presentation and product demo. Check out the Gliffy Blog.

There were some other excellent presentations including one by Pandora's CTO on their use of OpenLaszlo.

Props goes out to the Laszlo crew for putting on a great event. Its great to work with OpenLaszlo for more than a kick-ass platform to develop on, but it also provides for a great community.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Golf Tasks and Goals for 2006

For those of you following my golf career intensely, I've published the following diagram below showing my tasks and goals for 2006. I think its doable, however, in order to reach a five handicap by year's end, i might need to practice more than once a week.