Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Golf Confessions

Keith and Brenda met while on a singles cruise and Keith fell head over heels
for her. When they discovered they lived in the same city only a few miles
apart Keith was ecstatic. He immediately started asking her out when
they got home. Within a couple of weeks, Keith had taken Brenda to dance clubs,
restaurants, concerts, movies, and museums. Keith became convinced that Brenda
was indeed his soul mate...and true love. Every date seemed better than the last.

On the one-month anniversary of their first dinner on the cruise ship, Keith
took Brenda to a fine restaurant. While having cocktails and waiting for their
salad, Keith said, "I guess you can tell I'm very much in love with you.
I'd like a little serious talk before our relationship continues to the next
stage. So, before I get a box out of my jacket and ask you a life changing
question, it's only fair to warn you, I'm a total golf nut. I play golf, I read
about golf, I watch golf on TV. In short, I eat, sleep, and breathe golf.  If
that's going to be a problem for us, you'd better say so now!"

Brenda took a deep breath and responded, "Keith that certainly won't be a
problem. I love you as you are and I love golf too. But since we're being totally
honest with each other, you need to know that for the past several years I've been

Keith said,"I bet it's because you're not keeping your wrists straight when you hit the ball."

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Photo Highlights of 2014 Scotland triip

Below is a condensed version of the hundreds of photos I posted from my recent trip. They are organized in chronological order starting in Edinburgh and ending in the Dundee region. Just click on the direct links below to view.

Part 3- Edinburgh to St Andrews.

Part 4- Aberdeen to Cruden Bay to Dundee

Old Course

Parts 1 and 2 condensed version from last years trip can be found under the Slideshow section of the blog, as can photo's of every individual Scottish course.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

After golf stop at Hooter's

After a long day on the golf course, I stopped in at Hooter's with some friends to have some hot Wings and a "soda pop". After being there for a while, one of my buddies asked me which waitress I would like to be stuck in an elevator with.

I told him, "The one who knows how to fix elevators."

I'm old, tired, and pee often!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Play golf your way

"Play golf to please YOU. Make yourself happy; happy to be playing the greatest game, happy with occasional greatness, and happy to be with golfing friends in a great environment away from the pressure of life. Relax and enjoy the four hour experience while being thankful for the opportunity and thankful for the challenge. Life is too short to worry about score or performance. Keep it simple, enjoy golfing your ball, and have fun." -Craig Shankland

I interpret what Craig is saying above as if you want to play winter rules year round, drop another ball and play it after a bad shot, or not keep score at all, go right ahead if this is what gives you enjoyment. Hundreds of thousands of people are leaving the game every year because golf isn't fun to them anymore due to its difficulty. If you are not playing in a competition or have a wager on the line, do what you dam please on the course to keep it fun. One of the fun games I play is a one man 2 ball scramble, providing there aren't any players pressuring me from behind. Supposedly, this game will show you your true scoring potential. Birdies to me equal FUN! A variation of this is to allow only one mulligan per hole, which puts a bit of strategy into the game.

One thing to keep golf fun is to be fortunate enough to find interesting courses to play. Links style golf has become my latest passion. Pacific Dunes was the first course that really liberated me from the doldrums of tree lined RTJ style target courses. I am up to around 100 rounds of golf on links courses and have found the vast majority of those to be great fun.

So, if golf is getting stale for you don't feel compelled to always play by the rules and seek out some links style courses to play. Cherish the pure shot you hit on the sweet spot that flies over the green, don't curse it.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Scotland 2014 places I want to visit again

Another great golf trip to the British Isles and I am already dreaming about a return journey. We had the best golf weather of my four trips, with only about 5 minutes of rain during the start of our round at the Eden Course. No lost clubs, no flight delays this year.

After returning home and reflecting on my trips I always ask myself where would I make time for a return visit. At my age there are way to many golf courses and places I want to travel then I have days left. Below are three stops from this years trip I want to see again:

1. Archie Baird's Heritage Museum- 90 year old Archie Baird has his small museum attached to the Gullane Pro Shop. Archie having married the granddaughter of Willie Park Jr. took an interest in the 50's trying to find old clubs Willie had built. This started his hobby of collecting golf memorabilia. He now has one of the world's most valuable collections of golf art, books, and equipment. By appointment you can have Archie give you his history of golf narrative and show you in his museum the evolution of golf balls and clubs. After his interesting 45 min presentation you will be convinced that the game originated in Holland and was brought over to Scotland. Click on the Old Musselburgh slideshow link to view pictures of Archie at his museum and home. We also played 9 holes with hickories we rented at Old Musselburgh on our first round in Scotland.

2. St. Andrews- The Old Course, Dunvegan Pub, the charm of St Andrews University campus, and more golf shops and pubs per capita then any place in the world. What is not to like? It is now a toss up between Bandon Dunes Resort and St. Andrews as to THE ONE last place I would return to play golf.

3. Cruden Bay- one of the most stunning golf sights was sitting in the clubhouse of Cruden Bay, overlooking the glorious dunes and golf course watching the sun set. Match that up with some of the best food I have eaten and the world's greatest desserts, made by Irene, and you are in golf heaven. The course is described by some as quirky, I describe it as magnificent fun. What a variety of golf holes you experience from blind shots, back to back par 3's, spectacular views of the ocean and Slains Castle from atop the 9th hole. The people are just as friendly as the course is great. We stayed four nights at the Kilmarnock Hotel and can't wait for another chance to return and do it all over again.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Scottish Humor

A Scottish woman went to the local newspaper office to publish the obituary for her recently deceased husband.
The obit editor informed her that there is a charge of 50 cents per word.
She paused, reflected, and then said, "Well then, let it read, "Angus MacPherson died."
Amused at the woman's thrift, the editor told her that there is a seven word minimum for all obituaries.
She thought it over and in a few seconds said, "In that case, let it read....... "Angus MacPherson died.  Golf clubs for sale."

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Scotland 2014

One week until heading back to the British Isles for another tour of its wonderful Links courses. This year I will be returning to Scotland for two weeks. Have most of the rounds booked but waiting to see if I can get on at Muirfield to finalize the beginning and end of the trip. Below is what is confirmed.

5/21 Musselburgh Links Old(9)
5/22 Gullane #2
5/23 Gullane #1 and #3
5/24 Elie
5/25 Eden
5/26 Jubilee
5/27 Old Course
5/28 Murcar
5/29 Royal Aberdeen
5/30 Cruden Bay and St Olaf(9)
5/31 Trump Internatinal
6/1  Montrose
6/2  Panmure
6/3  Monifieth

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Put or Putt?

The schoolteacher was taking her first golfing lesson.
"Is the word spelled p-u-t or p-u-t-t?'' she asked the instructor.

"P-u-t-t is correct,'' he replied.

"Put means to place a thing where you want it. Putt means merely
a vain attempt to do the same thing."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Highlights of Dominican Trip

This past February I ventured down to the Dominican Republic and spent several days relaxing in the +82 deg sunshine and golfing. I flew JetBlue through San Juan into Punta Cana and was surprised by the large size of its international airport. The first night we stayed at the Sheraton Four Points which is conveniently located near the airport. Across the street there is a quiet village atmosphere with several restaurants and a grocery store that carried a nice variety of food at prices similar to the USA. One dollar equals about 39 Dominican pesos.

The next morning my group headed 15 minutes South to the 30,000 acre gated Cap Cana region and spent the next 5 nights at the all inclusive Sanctuary Resort. Located on the ocean it includes 5 restaurants with all different cuisines, 5 swimming pools and a spa. The service and food/drink were excellent and well worth the $200 per person a night charge.

The first course we played was Punta Espada located another 5 minutes south in Cap Cana and had the most impressive assortment of ocean holes of all the courses we played. It certainly provided the sternest test of golf of the four courses. Not a big fan of Jack Nicklaus designed courses, I really enjoyed this one. You are so close to the water on several holes that you can feel the mist from the spectacular aqua colored ocean. The par 5 second hole is one the best I have ever played. At $325 plus a tip for your fore caddy it was the most expensive but provided me with a nice golf experience and the best conditioned course of the trip.

The second day we ventured back up to Punta Cana and played the P.B. Dye designed La Cana Golf Club. This course was the weakest of the group but still enjoyable with it's green complex designs. The short par 4 eighth hole located on the ocean was my favorite. At $150 plus caddy tip it was worth the money. Golf is not cheap in this part of the world.

Day 3 was our biggest adventure as we traveled NW about 70 miles in a rental car to La Romona and played The Teeth of the Dog. The highway over there was just like the four lane turnpikes in the US with the exception of the numerous armed personal positioned along the way. Initially, I thought they were traffic cops but once I was passed by a bunch of motorcycles going about 120 mph I realized these guys weren't interested in speeders. The numerous toll booth costs depended on how much the attendant felt they could give back to you in change, if any. I like to bargain, so on the way back I got the best of them after they had fleeced me a couple of times on the way there. It cost us about $125 to rent the car, gas, and tolls for the day. Teeth of the Dog was one of Pete Dye's original (1971) Top 100 designs and I think he came back and tweaked it in 2005. One of the best par 3 collections of ocean holes you will ever play. All together there are seven holes next to the Caribbean. Conditioning of the course was below that of Corales and Punta Espada. Shot a 75 with a couple of birdies. $245 plus caddie fee.

Our last day of golf was back in Punta Cana at the Corales course. The course was designed in 2010 by Tom Fazio. As usual with most of the Fazio courses I have played, he does a marvelous job integrating different types of vegetation to produce a very aesthetic result. At Corales he has two dual green holes scattered among an assortment of very playable holes. I wasn't overly impressed with what he did with the ocean holes. Maybe it was because I hit a ball in the water on both the ninth and last hole that cost me a sub par round. I started the day off by dropping a 40 footer, the first of four birdies, and was 3 under par going into #9 where I misjudged the wind and hit it long into the Caribbean. We had a couple of fun caddies, one who could not count past Par for our two opponents he was keeping score for, which produced some added banter. $300 plus caddie fee.

The enormous homes surrounding these four golf courses really surprised me. I thought I was going into a country of poverty and I came upon a region of the rich and famous at these resorts. I enjoyed the native people I met on the trip and would return again in the future.

For those who didn't see the individual slideshows of each course, below are some highlights.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Man who gave up Sex for Golf

A golfer is in a competitive match with a friend, who is ahead by a couple of strokes."Boy, I'd give anything to sink this putt," the golfer mumbles to himself. Just then, a stranger walks up beside him and whispers, "Would you be willing to give up one-fourth of your sex life?" Thinking the man is crazy and his answer will be meaningless, the golfer also feels that maybe this is a good omen so he says, "Sure," and sinks the putt.

Two holes later, he mumbles to himself again, "Gee, I sure would like to get an eagle on this one."
The same stranger is at his side again and whispers, "Would it be worth giving up another fourth of your sex life?" Shrugging, the golfer replies, "Okay." And he makes an eagle.

On the final hole, the golfer needs another eagle to win. Without waiting for him to say anything, the stranger quickly moves to his side and says, "Would winning this match be worth giving up the rest of your sex life?" "Definitely," the golfer replies, and he makes the eagle.

As the golfer is walking to the club house, the stranger walks along side him and says, "I haven't really been fair with you because you don't know who I am. I'm the Devil, and from this day forward you will have no sex life."

"Nice to meet you," the golfer replies, "I'm Father O'Malley."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

630 Holes of Golf at The Villages

The largest collection of golf holes in the world are found north of Orlando, Florida in The Villages. With 48 courses (10 courses @ 27 holes, 2 @18, and 36 executive @ 9 holes), over 12,000 tee times a day, 340,000 rounds per month played, and 100 miles of cart paths you would think this development would have more than enough holes at 630. But with about 112,000 residents, most who are retired, and nearly 60% who played over 2.6 million rounds last year, tee times are at a premium.

Well over 6 million miles where driven in carts on the courses alone, not counting all the other miles that this golf cart (50,000 total carts) friendly community also drive. An average of over 5 holes in one per day are recorded. Over 300 people shot their age about 1500 times. 6 million golf balls where lost, which tells me there are a lot of bad golfers there if they are losing 2-3 balls a round on mainly 9 hole exec courses.

Golf is not the only thing these old timers do. There is a softball stadium with over 200 teams and 3000 players, 100 tennis and pickle ball courts, a polo field, 2200 individual clubs, 63 recreation centers. Over 20 people a day are moving into The Villages. Between 400-500 new and used homes are sold monthly. Over 23,000 acres are currently built with 57,000 homes and over 112,000 people.

11/1/16 UPDATE
Currently, at The Villages for 6 weeks and will try and play every course. This is one active Senior Mecca. The executive courses have exceeded my expectations with nicely designed green complexes, challenging from the back tees, and well conditioned. The Championship courses are resort style with generous FW landing areas and multiple tees to allow for the shorter hitting old timers.

3/28/17 UPDATE
I decided to stay for January and fore go returning to New Zealand. I found the perfect situation for me in The Villages and purchased a Villa on 1/21/17. Just took possession of it today. It is a lifestyle that I think I am really going to enjoy. The Villages continues to grow with the recent purchase of an additional 10,000 acres which will add another 30,000 people and soon another two nine hole courses bringing the total to 648 holes.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Will Greens in your area have winterkill from ice??

Dr Kevin Frank, MSU, turfgrass specialist states: "In Michigan especially for Poa annua greens, crown hydration and subsequent refreezing are often the primary culprits of winterkill. However, this year ice sheets are a cause for concern.  In the 1960’s James B Beard conducted research at MSU on survival of creeping bentgrass and Poa annua under ice sheets. Creeping bentgrass survived 120 days of ice cover without significant injury while annual bluegrass was killed somewhere between 75 and 90 days of ice cover. More recently Darrell Tompkins conducted research at the Prairie Turfgrass Research Center in Canada that suggested Poa annua greens could be damaged in as few as 45 days under ice.  The primary cause of death to turfgrass under ice sheets is most likely from toxic gas accumulation under the ice sheet from soil and turfgrass respiration." 

Appears that most of the Poa annua greens in the north will see some degree of damage this year and in the far north Bentgrass may even have problems if there isn't a warm up soon. Blame the Polar Vortex, not your groundskeeper when you have bare spots on your greens this Spring.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's not a Gimme if you're still away.

A Gimme can best be defined as an agreement between two golfers...neither of whom can putt very well.