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One of the amazing things about the persimmon and blade age is the litany of course records that survive to this day. Bill Dunk in a recent interview claimed to hold no less than 80 course records in his prime. We recently caught up with Ken Harrington who tied the course record at Lincoln Park, one of the oldest courses on the west coast. Lincoln Park was designed by Jack Neville (Pebble Beach), Herbert Fowler (Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s) and Jack Fleming (Fleming Course at Harding Park). It plays 5416 yards, par 68 from the tips. Ken is a fine player who still spends a good amount of time with persimmon and blades in his bag. As recently as last January, he fired a 69 with vintage gear to win a tournament at Lincoln.

Ken was gracious enough to let me print his account of that incredible round. Please enjoy and see if you can learn to take it low! Look for more from Ken this year including some possible outings!


“It’s interesting that when I tied John Susko’s course record 8-under par 60 at Lincoln Park golf course 20 years ago I was using this exact bag of supposedly ‘outdated’ clubs. At 48 years of age, I consider myself “at least as good a player” as the time period that this 60 was shot—- and some would opine that with the advancements in technology mid-50 scores should have been shot by now. But there-in lies the paradox. When we play our old clubs with the smaller sweet spots and heavier overall weight, we get true and useful feedback from both good and bad swings. A few people have asked that I give a summary of my 60. Disclaimer: Remember that I’m not boasting in any way….we all know this is a humbling game.

It was a Saturday morning and I was playing in one of our men’s club events. Back tees and ball down were the rules [with all putts holed]. I parred the first 4 holes and had hit a fabulous drive on hole #5—but my ball was in a terrible hole….completely un-hittable. I called one of my playing partners over to inquire about a possible drop, but in the end decided to ‘eat it’ and hacked a wedge down fairway. After another wedge, i had about a 40 footer for par…..and somehow rolled it in! Wow…what a save—but with 5 pars to start certainly there was no such thought of ‘course record’ on anyone’s mind. At #6 I carved a driver around the corner, wedged to 10 feet, and made the putt to go -1. I birdied the short 7th, parred #8, and then made a 20 footer at the 9th for a three-under par from nine. Still nothing special as I had shot -3 on this front at least 50 times. Two of the ‘easiest’ holes at Lincoln are the 10th and 11th—2 par 4′s that measure about 260 yards each. Incredibly, I failed to make birdie at either, so I was on the 12th tee at -3 for the round. 20 years ago holes #2 and #12 were switched from there present routing, so at this old #12, I hit an incredible 2-wood to the front edge of the green and made a quite easy birdie to get to -4, and then birdied the only par-5 Lincoln has to offer by 2-putting from 30 feet. After parring #14, I made a great birdie at #15 as my drive was in the left pine trees, and hit a specialty shot to 20 feet and sunk the putt. So I was facing the last 3 holes at Lincoln park at -6 for my round. As anyone who has played Lincoln knows, these three holes are incredibly difficult. Both 16 and 17 are 240 yard par 3 holes with trouble everywhere and 18 is a 400 yard narrow gem. At #16, the pin location was front left. I hit a beautiful drawing 4-wd down the right tee line that bounced in there ‘dead stoney’ to less than 1 foot. A near ace. Wow. At #17, I once again hit the 4wd but it was pushed and found the right front bunker. After a rather poor explosion to 15 feet, I stayed focused enough to make the putt!….so we headed to 18 at 7-under. After a fabulous drive, I had exactly 150 yds to a front left hole location–and I push-hammered the 7-iron all the way to the back fringe. I had about 55-60 feet and was deciding whether to chip or putt. The lie seemed smooth and knowing that I had to hit it hard, I went with the putter. The putt had great line but seemed to be going to fast……but clearly all golfing Gods were on my side this day as my ball hit the pin squarely and disappeared into the ground for a round of 60 strokes, a feat which i have not equaled ever again…..and I think what makes this accomplishment special and noteworthy is “that I have not come close to equaling it” again. This is the 1st time I’ve ever been asked to recount and share this round, so let me please ‘thank all’ who have the time to read my thoughts.”

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