Category Archives: Southeast

TPC Louisiana

TPC Louisiana in Avondale, LA

TPC Louisiana
Jordan, me and Greg

The Stats

Tee Time: September 6, 2015, 10:20, 88 F, partly cloudy

Designer: Pete Dye, 2006

Playing Partners: Jordan Ritenour and Greg Ryan

Tees: Tournament/Players, Par 72 (71.0 rating/133 slope/6,374 yards)

Course Handicap: 8 (7.0 index)

Stats: 85 (45-43); 34 putts; 8/14 fairways; 6/18 greens; 2 penalty strokes

The Course

Home to PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic every year, the TPC Louisiana is one of the few premier courses in the New Orleans area, about twenty minutes south of the sights and smells of Bourbon Street. At first appearances, it’s obvious that this course was designed to be spectator friendly. Wide expanses allow of easily moving among the holes routed in a good way to see your favorite golfer or park at one hole and watch players come through. No elevation change whatsoever. On a hot, muggy, post-thunderstorm day with a sparsely populated tee sheet, TPC Louisiana comes across as a benign, pleasant place to play a round. Located in what was a swamp just a few years ago, you’ll still see remnants of that. The bald cypress and their “knees” dot the fairways. The water birds wade along the shores of the ponds and turtles enjoy their pool days. A serene setting even in the oppressive late-summer heat. Continue reading TPC Louisiana

Fallen Oak Golf Club

Fallen Oak Golf Club in Saucier, MS

fallen oak us
Jordan, me and Greg

The Stats

Tee Time: September 4, 2015, 8:24, 95 F, partly cloudy

Designer: Tom Fazio, 2006

Playing Partners: Jordan Ritenour and Greg Ryan

Tees: Third, Par 72 (71.7 rating/138 slope/6,549 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (7.0 index)

Stats: 88 (45-43); 36 putts; 6/14 fairways; 8/18 greens; 5 penalty strokes

The Course

A stay at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi is required for access to Fallen Oak Golf Club. That is not a bad thing. An MGM casino, the Beau Rivage is the most luxurious casino resort on the gulf coast. The flair and flash of the Las Vegas strip combined with the southern hospitality of the South. It’s literally right on the coast. Exiting the I-10 takes you to the off ramp over the water. With the brand new MGM Park, home of the AA Biloxi Shuckers baseball team, right across the street, a game and some gambling is a great way to spend your night before getting out to your round the next day. The actual course is about twenty miles north in Saucier, through a private gate and down a road into the Mississippi woodlands. This is where you get to you enjoy a little slice of heaven for a few hours. Continue reading Fallen Oak Golf Club

Golf is a Hazardous Game

Giant ‘dinosaur-looking’ gator found on Florida golf course shocks natives 

When I went to Florida last spring, I came back somewhat disappointed. Despite three rounds of golf in three different cities of the Sunshine State, I only saw one alligator, a baby one at Bay Hill. Now that I know some courses (this one being Myakka Pines Golf Club) out there have actual monstrous dinosaurs prowling the grounds, maybe I should consider myself lucky I didn’t see anything else. Though who knows what might’ve been lurking in all those ponds…

COURTESY MYAKKA PINES GOLF CLUB
COURTESY MYAKKA PINES GOLF CLUB

World Woods Golf Club

World Woods Golf Club Rolling Oaks Course in Brooksville, FL

world woods golf club rolling oaks course
John, me and Craig

The Stats

Tee Time: April 19, 2014, 9:39, 69F, scattered showers

Designer: Tom Fazio (1993)

Playing Partners: Craig and John

Tees: Black, Par 72 (72.3 rating/129 slope/6,873 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (8.5 index)

Stats: 81 (39-42); 34 putts; 8/14 fairways; 9/18 greens; 0 penalty strokes

The Course

My weeklong Florida journey ended with a third round of golf. (Don’t worry, I did put in a full work week, for those who would be interested). This time I drove north from St. Petersburg and my hotel right next to the Tampa Bay Rays baseball warehouse known as the Tropicana Dome. I continued to drive north, and then north a little more. Google has it as a 74-mile drive, but I swear it never ended. I got close to the panhandle I’m pretty sure. And then I took an exit off the toll road in the middle of nowhere. I thought the Garmin was taking me to a rest stop. I finally saw a sign poking out of the grass and made my way to World Woods Golf Club in Brooksville. I’m glad I found it, because the Rolling Oaks course here is actually my favorite of the trio of courses I visited while in the Sunshine State. Continue reading World Woods Golf Club

Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge

Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, FL

arnold palmers bay hill and lodge club
Me

The Stats

Tee Time: April 18, 2014, 10:10, 81 F, overcast

Designer: Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay (1961)

Playing Partners: Brad, Tyler

Tees: Blue, Par 72 (73.7 rating/139 slope/6,895 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (8.5 index)

Stats: 96 (53-43); 32 putts; 6/14 fairways; 2/18 greens; 6 penalty strokes

The Course

According to the United States Geological Survey, the state of Florida is 18.5% water. And according to my personal research, 50% of that area can be found at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Trust me. Some form of water is in play on 10 of the 18 holes, and you will find it. There is greenside water, long carries over water, water to the left, water to the right. There is nowhere to hide, it will get you. Fortunately only the water is dangerous, as I only saw one baby alligator patrolling one of the 8 or so lakes. Continue reading Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge

The Biltmore Miami-Coral Gables

The Biltmore in Coral Gables, FL

biltmore miami graig mantle
Me and Tyler, dressed in appropriate Miami colors

The Stats

Tee Time: April 13, 2014, 11:39, 84F, breezy

Designer: Donald Ross (1925)

Playing Partners: Tyler

Tees: Blue, Par 71 (69.7 rating/119 slope/6,286 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (8.6 index)

Stats: 86 (40-46); 38 putts; 7/14 fairways; 8/18 greens; 3 penalty strokes

The Course

The list of golf courses in Miami always begins with Doral, and deservedly so. But since the thought of giving any of my hard-earned dollars to Donald Trump makes me want to puke, I looked elsewhere. Turns out there are a lot of interesting golf courses in this area, but who am I to resist a Donald Ross design? I actually had never played any of his many masterpieces so it worked out perfectly. I showed up at The Biltmore an hour before my tee time on two hours of sleep after a red-eye flight out of the desert, so I was a little out of it before the round. I’m surprised I even found the course. But I’m glad I did. It’s actually not too hard to spot. The resort features a soaring, Spanish-looking tower that is visible for miles around. I could see it from our Miami office a few miles north when I was working a couple days later. Continue reading The Biltmore Miami-Coral Gables

Kingsmill Resort

Plantation Course at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, VA

kingsmill resort plantation course
Greg and me

The Stats

Tee Time: October 19, 2013, 12:00, 67 F, overcast

Designer: Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay (1985)

Playing Partners: Greg Ryan

Tees: Blue, Par 72 (69.4 rating/125 slope/6,060 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (8.8 index)

Stats: 93 (43-50); 38 putts; 7/14 fairways; 8/18 greens; 3 penalty strokes

The Course

This round started tough, given that just 3 days prior I took a hockey puck to the gut. It’s not easy to get all that torque through your torso when your stomach is bruised. But since it’s a hockey injury, I can’t be too specific. Let’s go with the Rick DiPietro school of medicine and classify it as “General Body Soreness“. I don’t ever remember being hurt as much as when I play ice hockey. I’ve been hit by fastballs, crashed cars, skied and snowboarded poorly enough to deserve injury, jumped off roofs and probably a few other things, too. But play just two years of hockey and it’s sprained this, bruised that. Or I could be getting old… And actually once I stopped compensating for my hip being in pain, my swing felt all right. It was the previous night’s dinner that did me in on the back nine. It’s tough to survive 30 or 40 swings with a stomach that just won’t settle. I blame Greg for the restaurant choice, clearly he knew what he was doing. Continue reading Kingsmill Resort

Hermitage President’s Reserve

Hermitage President’s Reserve Golf Course in Old Hickory, TN

The tee box at #10

The Stats

Tee Time: October 19, 2012, 1:40, 62 F, Breezy

Designer: Denis Griffiths, 2000

Playing Partners: Dave, Dave and Don (all executives at La-Z-Boy)

Tees: Blue, Par 72 (70.4 rating/124 slope/6,492 yards)

Course Handicap: 13 (11.7 index)

Stats: 84 (42-42); 29 putts; 6/14 fairways; 6/18 greens; 5 penalty strokes

The Course

Fall golf in Tennessee marks state #9, just 41 to go. Really should have made it Ol’ No.7 instead… oh well, close enough. It was a chilly afternoon out in Old Hickory at the Hermitage Golf Course, staying 62 degrees throughout the round. Hermitage has two courses, the General’s Retreat and the President’s Reserve. I played the latter from the middle Blue set of tees with a slope of 124, 70.4 rating and coming in at 6,443 yards. The tougher of the two courses, it can play a brutal 7,157 yards from the Black tees. Play off the tee is the number one factor in scoring well, so the extra carry needed from back there would really add to the challenge. As long as you avoid the various sand traps dotting the course it won’t be too hard. The rough is soft and fluffy, perfect for consistent chipping. The greens roll very well. They are soft and receptive to good approach shots yet anything going downhill even slightly will take off with just a tap. There are several spots where the putt will break the completely different direction from where the read appears. Just keep your first putt inside of your partner’s and learn from that, makes things much easier. Continue reading Hermitage President’s Reserve

Windermere

Windermere Golf Club in Cumming, GA

Me and Nicholas

The Stats

Tee Time: August 13, 1:09, 85 F, Breezy

Designer: Davis Love III, 2000

Playing Partners: Nicholas Carroll

Tees: Love, Par 71 (71.8 rating/137 slope/6,592 yards)

Course Handicap: 13 (11.3 index)

Stats: 89 (49-44); 34 putts; 9/13 fairways; 6/18 greens; 5 penalty strokes

The Course

Windermere Country Club in Cumming, Georgia about a half-hour out of Atlanta captures all the basics for country club living and golfing. Million-dollar homes line the course throughout. Expertly maintained grounds seem to shimmer in the summer sun. An atmosphere so calm and quiet it seems even the animals take care to quiet down during your backswing. Of course with that comes all of the shortcomings of country club golf, such as a lack of a beverage cart roaming the countryside. And… well that’s about it. Having grown up playing Blackhawk Country Club right up until finally getting a job and having to leave the nest, coming out to this Canongate facility felt like playing a round at home. The only exception being that this course’s maintenance and beauty for a country club setting goes unmatched. On some tee boxes, the only thing keeping me from feeling like I was walking Augusta was the lack of azaleas in full bloom. Continue reading Windermere

North Fulton Golf Course

North Fulton Golf Course in Atlanta, GA

Me and Nicholas

The Stats

Tee Time: August 13, 9:30, 88 F, Calm

Designer: Chandler Egan, 1935

Playing Partners: Nicholas Carroll

Tees: Blue, Par 71 (71.9 rating/126 slope/6,570 yards)

Course Handicap: 13 (11.3 index)

Stats: 93 (49-44); 38 putts; 5/14 fairways; 5/18 greens; 3 penalty strokes

The Course

North Fulton Golf Course in Atlanta is a deceptively tough track, especially for an average public golf course. The course on the whole plays fair and doesn’t cost you any unnecessary strokes if you play well, but bad golf is punished. The vegetation lining every hole is thick almost to the extent of being impenetrable. There are hazards that do come into play and force second thoughts on strategy before teeing off. The greens have tricky breaks that even after the second round in as many days, I still had no clue to what any one putt might do. I swear some broke one way and then the very next putt darted in the opposite direction. The layout, however, is pretty bland. No holes really stand out as memorable and most play either straight away or with slight dog-legs. The creek does snake throughout the course and every appearance it makes is in a spot perfectly located to swallow even well-struck shots. Snake is the operative word there, as numerous signs warn of cottonmouths and deter all but the most desperate from treading past the red stakes. Continue reading North Fulton Golf Course