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The Importance of a Proper Golf Handicap

How many times before we tee off do we find someone in our golf group begging for strokes? You might have heard the terms “sandbagger” or “bagger” in golf, and these words refer to someone who tries to inflate his/her handicap in order to win a bet or tournament at the expense of his/her group.

2012-2015 USGA handicap manual

If we look at the definition of a handicap in the USGA handicap book, we read that the purpose of the USGA handicap system is to make the game of golf more enjoyable by enabling players of different abilities to compete on an equal basis. The two basic points that make the system work are:  (1) the player must try to make the best score at every hole in every round, regardless of where the round is played; and (2) the player must post every acceptable round for peer review. The player and the player’s handicap committee have the joint responsibility for abiding by these rules.

So, to sum up what the USGA handicap manual states, if you turn in all of your scores and post your scores to the best of your ability, you should have a true handicap. A common misconception is that a player’s handicap represents his/her average score. This is incorrect; a player should only shoot his/her handicap 25 percent of the time.

Handicap posting computer at Kissing Camels

The possibility does exist that a player will play exceptionally well, and with that comes a lowering of the handicap once the handicap revision comes around. Handicap revisions take place every two weeks, so if a player is getting better every week, the handicap revision should reflect that after the revision has been posted.

Another issue that comes up is players competing from different tees. How can a man compete against another man from a different set of tees? Section 3-5 of the handicap manual clearly explains this by using the following situation as an example: If a man playing from the middle tees, which have a course rating of 70.3, wants to compete against a man from the back tees, which have a course rating of 72.6, the man playing from the back tees will add 2 strokes to his handicap. This simple equation keeps each player protected and will then generate a competitive match by giving the appropriate amount of strokes.

The GHIN system has made it very affordable for you to have a handicap at your local club. Signing up for a handicap and abiding by these simple rules makes golf more fun for the average player as well as the player who likes to compete in tournaments. The GHIN system even has an online posting site, which is www.ghin.com. The technology that we have in this day and age even allows us to receive our handicap by email. When the revisions come out every two weeks, a simple email comes to you with your current GHIN index.

I hope these simple steps and proper handicap education will help you establish a GHIN handicap and also help you understand what a true handicap is. Our team at Garden of the Gods has established a handicap committee composed of men and women from the Men’s Golf League the Ladies Golf Association here at the Club. I am thankful to each one of them for helping us to maintain fair competition in the Club for all Club-sponsored events. Without their support, we would likely encounter that dreaded “sandbagger.”  If you have any questions, please share them with me by leaving a comment in the box below.


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Delight Your Tastebuds With Comfort Food

Although the hope of spring is just around the corner, winter is still here–and that means cold temps and more time spent indoors. To help you sail through chilly days and nights, Garden of the Gods Club’s culinary team has prepared a couple of tasty comfort food recipes that capture the “comfort of home.” Below you will find some excellent recipes for Rabbit Stew with Herb Dumplings and an additional recipe for Colcannon Potatoes. We hope you enjoy.

This winter, enjoy some delicious rabbit stew.

This winter, enjoy some delicious rabbit stew.

Rabbit Stew With Herb Dumplings

2 small rabbits, cut into 6 pieces each
salt & cracked pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, cut into ¼” chunks
2 cups pure apple cider
8 cups chicken stock or rabbit stock
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 dried bay leaf
1 large carrot, cut into ¼” chunks
1 stalk celery, cut into ¼” chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek (root part only), cut into ¼” chunks
½ cup finely chopped pancetta
½ cup dried currants

Season rabbit pieces generously with salt and pepper. Next, dust with flour, shaking off and discarding excess.

  1. In large skillet, heat 2 tbsp. of the oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Add rabbit pieces, in batches, and cook, turning, until a deep, rich golden brown on all sides, about 12 minutes per batch, adding more oil between batches as need. Using tongs, transfer rabbit to a large pot and pour off fat from skillet.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add 2 tbsp. of the oil to the skillet. Add onions and sauté until they begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add cider and bring to a boil; boil until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.  Add stock.
  3. Pour stock mixture over rabbit and add thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 1½ hours.
  4. Transfer rabbit to a large bowl. Strain liquid and discard solids. Set rabbit and liquid aside separately.
  5. In clean skillet, heat the remaining oil over high heat. Add carrot and celery; sauté until soft and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add garlic, leek, pancetta and currants; sauté until vegetables are softened and fragrant, about 6 minutes
  6. In pot, combine rabbit, strained liquid and vegetable mixture. Cook over medium-low heat, turning rabbit to coat with sauce, until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Add dumplings and cook about 7 minutes. Serve in cooking vessel.

Herb Dumplings

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup minced fresh chives
¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces.


  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour and salt.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Whisk into flour mixture until smooth. (The batter will be quite sticky and stiff). Stir in chives, parsley and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 2 hours.
  3. Bring a pot of salted water to a simmer over medium heat. Using a soup spoon, scoop out spoonfuls of batter and gently slip into simmering water. Continue scooping batter until water is slightly crowded with dumplings. Cook until dumplings are floating on top of the water, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer dumplings to a colander to drain. Repeat with any remaining batter.
  4. Place dumplings in a bowl and toss with butter. Immediately add to hot rabbit stew.
Get creative with a staple of comfort food - potatoes. You will enjoy this recipe for Colcannon Potatoes.
Get creative with a staple of comfort food:  potatoes.

Colcannon Potatoes

5 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1” chunks
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
¾ cup finely chopped smoked bacon
1½ cups finely sliced Brussels sprouts (about 5)
¼ cup dry white wine
2 tbsp finely minced fresh thyme
1¼ cups 2% milk
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup finely minced fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan and add enough cold salted water to cover by 1 inch; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 1 tbsp. of the oil over medium heat.  Add bacon and sauté until slightly crisp, about 4 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts, wine and thyme; cook until Brussels sprouts are tender and wine has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Drain potatoes and, while still steaming, add to bacon mixture.  Add milk, butter and chives.  Using a fork, lightly mash potatoes until crushed but still chunky.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

GGC Members and Lodge guests regularly enjoy a variety of creative cuisine–including comfort food if needed. To learn more about the various membership opportunities offered at Garden of the Gods Club, we encourage you to contact Director of Membership Tracey Kalata at 719.520.4980 or tkalata@ggclub.com.

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What to Expect from Your First Facial

If you’ve had enough of winter’s cold temperatures and gray days, chances are that your skin feels the same way.  Wintry weather often leaves skin dull, dry, and longing for healthy color. If this sounds all-too-familiar, a facial might have your skin feeling up to par in no time. However, if you have yet to experience a facial, we want to let you know what you can expect, along with some of the benefits of receiving a facial. Read on to learn more.

Knowing what to expect during your first facial can help make it a great experience.
Knowing what to expect during your first facial can help make it a great experience.

• Anticipate having a conversation with your technician. Before your facial begins, you should anticipate having a conversation about your skin with your technician. “Even if this is a delicate topic for clients, it helps the tech to know how to effectively treat the skin,”Amanda Rigby, spa director at The Spa & Salon at Garden of the Gods Club, said. “Clients should be ready to discuss any skin issues, such as dryness, acne, etc., as well as personal cleansing habits, how certain foods affect the skin, and more,” she continued. “It’s important that the client trusts the tech and that clear expectations are laid out before the facial.  A client can even book a consultation ahead of time to talk about goals, objectives, and which facial is right for them.”

• Expect a very tactile experience during your facial. “If a client has never had a facial, he or she should be prepared for a variety of sensations, such as the light of the magnifying lamp or having the skin very closely examined,” Amanda cautioned. “Without preparation for such experiences, they can feel somewhat invasive,” she continued. “The overall experience will also depend on the type of facial received,” she advised. “For example, a deep cleansing facial will be a different experience that an aromatherapy or a deep-hydrating facial.”

• Realize that you may need more than one facial to achieve certain results. It’s important to have realistic expectations when it comes to the results of a first facial. “In order to obtain certain results, like anti-aging effects, a client may need a series of up to six facials,” Amanda said. “Our anti-aging facial is designed to correct the structural causes of aging and it often takes more than one treatment to see the desired results.”

• You can expect to see some instant changes. Although some goals may require more than one treatment, you can expect to see some changes with just one treatment. “Clients should notice instant tonality changes after the dry, dead layers of skin are sloughed off,” Amanda said. “Brighter and firmer skin are some other instant perks that clients may notice.”

• Expect a hand and foot massage. “While the mask is setting, the tech will provide a luxurious hand and foot massage,” Amanda said. “It’s a very relaxing experience.”

• Expect a variety of benefits to your skin. Besides being an excellent way to improve and maintain the skin’s health, facials also offer a wide mix of other benefits. “Facials provide a much deeper detox and cleanse than would be achieved at home,” Amanda said. “In addition to exfoliating to the first layer of the epidermis, facials also strengthen the skin’s collagen and elastin.  Depending on the type of facial, results can range from dramatically tightening and firming to a reduction in acne-caused redness.”

If your skin needs a pick-me-up, consider treating yourself to a facial. And if you’ve never before received a facial, knowing what to expect will help make the experience a great one. If you need even more incentive to give your skin some TLC, our Spa & Salon is offering you the choice of any six facials in a row for 30% off the total. You can mix and match any six facials to meet your skin’s unique needs. If you have any questions or would like to book a facial, we encourage you to contact the Spa Concierge at 719.520.4988 or ggcspa@ggclub.com. We look forward to helping you put your best face forward!

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Things to Do in Colorado Springs This Weekend: Feb. 24-26, 2012

It may look like a blizzard outside our windows in Colorado Springs this morning, but the weekend forecast is calling for sunshine.  Colorado Springs’ high on Saturday is expected to be a mild 56 degrees!  That’s Colorado, right?!  Anyway, this weekend will be the perfect time to gather up your family and burn off those extra calories from Valentine’s Day chocolates.  As long as you dress appropriately, you should be able to enjoy some winter golf or tennis–or maybe a hike or bike ride is more your family’s style?  Either way, we hope you have a great weekend.  Here are a couple of other local options you might want to check out this weekend:

Cirque du Soleil Dralion - Colorado Springs

Catch a jaw-dropping Cirque du Soleil show this weekend at the World Arena.

  • Cirque du Soleil’s DRALION — Thursday, 7:30 pm, Friday & Saturday, 3:30 pm, and Sunday, 1 pm, Colorado Springs World Arena.  Two emblematic creatures, the dragon from the East and the lion from the West, bring a fusion of ancient Chinese circus tradition which blends Eastern and Western acrobatic prowess on the stage.  Tickets $30.50-$143 each.
  • Life in a Marital Institution — Saturday, 8 pm, and Sunday, 2 pm, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.  Description from the Fine Arts Center’s website:  “LIFE IN A MARITAL INSTITUTION is a poignant, darkly humorous autobiographical comedy. Set improbably in a hospice, James sits at the bedside of his dying sister, who asks him to trade places with her. Until she realizes that would mean trading places with him…being in his marriage…a fate worse than death! The monologue cuts back and forth between the hospice, where his sister is engaged to be married, and scenes from his marriage, exploring infidelity, near-death childbirth and other high-stakes yet hilarious adventures. In the process, the comedy explores the roots of romantic love in familial love, and the notion: not only can you go home again, you can’t not go home again; you can’t escape your past. Until you confront it…which James does through his sister’s deathbed wedding, before returning home to confront whether his own marriage should come to an end.”  Tickets $18-20 each.

As always, if you’re expecting out-of-town visitors this weekend, encourage them to stay at our Lodge to experience what are arguably the most breathtaking views in the city–plus spacious rooms and excellent service, to boot.  Or you could stay here yourself for an incredibly relaxing staycation!  We hope to see you or your loved ones soon.

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2012 New Rule Book and Handicap Manual

The new 2012 USGA Rule Book and Handicap Manual have just been released, and they include some important rule changes that could affect your game this year. It’s always a good idea to carry your rules book with you so that you can have a quick reference to answering a rules question. The rules book and handicap manual will be valid from 2012 to 2015.

2012 Rules Book and Handicap Manual

Addressing the Ball

The definition is amended so that a player has addressed the ball simply by grounding his club immediately in front of or behind the ball, regardless of whether or not he has taken his stance. Therefore, the rules generally no longer provide for a player addressing the ball in a hazard. (See also related change to Rule 18-2b)

Rule 1-2. Exerting Influence on Movement of Ball or Altering Physical Conditions
The rule is amended to establish more clearly that, if a player intentionally takes an action to influence the movement of a ball or to alter physical conditions affecting the playing of a hole in a way that is not permitted by the rules, Rule 1-2 applies only when the action is not already covered in another Rule. For example, a player improving the lie of his ball is in breach of Rule 13-2 and therefore that rule would apply, whereas a player intentionally improving the lie of a fellow-competitor’s ball is not a situation covered by Rule 13-2 and, therefore, is governed by Rule 1-2.

Rule 6-3a. Time of Starting

Rule 6-3a is amended to provide that the penalty for starting late, but within five minutes of the starting time, is reduced from disqualification to loss of the first hole in match play or two strokes at the first hole in stroke play. Previously this penalty reduction could be introduced as a condition of competition.

Rule 12-1 – Seeing Ball; Searching for Ball.
This rule has been amended to apply a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a if a player moves his ball in a hazard when searching for it when it is believed to be covered by loose impediments.

Rule 13-4. Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions
Exception 2 to Rule 13-4 is amended to permit a player to smooth sand or soil in a hazard at any time, including before playing from that hazard, provided it is for the sole purpose of caring for the course and Rule 13-2 is not breached.

Rule 18-2b – Ball Moving After Address.
A new exception is added that exonerates the player from penalty if his ball moves after it has been addressed when it is known or virtually certain that he did not cause the ball to move. For example, if it is a gust of wind that moves the ball after it has been addressed, there is no penalty and the ball is played from its new position.

Rule 19-1. Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped; By Outside Agency
The note is expanded to prescribe the various outcomes when a ball in motion has been deliberately deflected or stopped by an outside agency.

Rule 20-7c. Playing From Wrong Place; Stroke Play
Note 3 is amended so that if a player is to be penalized for playing from a wrong place, in most cases the penalty will be limited to two strokes, even if another rule has been breached prior to his making the stroke.

I hope that the above information will help you comply with the rules of golf. If you have any questions or would like to discuss these new rule changes, I encourage you to leave a comment on this blog in the box below. The new rules book and handicap manual should be available at your local golf shop, or you can log on to the USGA’s website at www.usga.org to order you copy of the new rules book or handicap system manual. Stay tuned for part two to this blog, which will focus on the handicap manual and what a true handicap means in golf.


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