April 27, 2016
The Pimple Part of Tough 15th at Chuck Corica’s Earl Fry Course
Pick a Target and Hope Your Ball Lands on the Green
It’s a little taste of the U.S. Open.
As usual, players in Sunday’s final round of the 89th Alameda Commuters Championship each got their turn standing on ‘The Pimple’ of the Earl Fry Course at Chuck Corica Golf Complex.
That would be the tee box on the par-3 15th. While not nearly as much of a beast as the par-3 8th at Oakmont Country Club, which will again play from a record 288 yards for this year’s U.S. Open, the 15th at Earl Fry has some teeth of its own.
From ‘The Pimple’, the 15th hole plays at 230 yards. There’s a carry of over 200 yards over a pond, and a series of bunkers both on the left and right of the green. Should one pump their tee shot too long, there’s water behind the green as well. If the wind is blowing, which can happen a lot with the San Francisco Bay just a few miles away, the hole can be a quick card-wrecker.
“We run into that kind of hole only once in a while,” said UC Davis sophomore Ryan Han. “You just try to pick a target that’ll hopefully get your ball to the center of the green.”
At the Commuters, the club of choice off ‘The Pimple’ seemed to be either a 2 or 3-hybrid.
“It’s one of the toughest holes we face all year,” said St. Mary’s freshman Jeffrey Inouye-Wong. “You just make a solid swing and hope to be on the green. You just want to make par.”
Or you can get a really rare ace. One of the last recorded aces on the 15th from ‘The Pimple’ was made by Elesio Buccat in the early 1980’s. At the 1976 Commuters Championship, Doug Poole had a three-shot lead going to the 15th. His tee shot drowned in the pond en route to a triple-bogey six that helped Mike Powers win the title.
“It always plays a pivotal role in determining the champion,” said Commuters historian Mike Maurice.
According to Maurice, long before the days of ‘The Pimple’ the teeing area on the hole was horseshoe shaped, wrapping around the pond. Architect Robert Muir Graves re-designed the teeing area in the mid-1960’s, putting the boxes more behind the water.
“Before Robert Muir Graves did the re-design, the 15th was the longest continuous tee in America,” Maurice said. “Back in the day, if you went over the green and into the water, you had to drop on the 18th tee.”
Still, that’s not as bad a fate that the last place finisher of the Commuters used to experience. Back in its early days, the last place finisher of the Commuters was awarded a sack of manure.