Tag Archives: golf 50 states

Old American Golf Club

Old American Golf Club in The Colony, TX

old american graig mantle
Me and Greg

The Stats

Tee Time: April 10, 2015, 11:00, 70 F, Windy

Designer: Tripp Davis/Justin Leonard, 2010

Playing Partners: Greg Ryan

Tees: White, Par 71 (71.6 rating/130 slope/6,366 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (8.1 index)

Stats: 96 (48-48); 37 putts; 5/13 fairways; 2/18 greens; 4 penalty strokes

The Course

Old American Bunker Club, sorry, I mean Old American Golf Club in The Colony, Texas, is a newer, semi-private golf course along the shores of Lake Lewisville. If I said there are 500 bunkers on this course, I’d be low. And they’re all so easy to hit into. They’re not there just for show, to look good on the front of the scorecard. Technically, they’re waste areas and are played as such. The description says the bunkers here are meant to be true hazards, punishing missed shots instead of rewarding them with fluffy lies to make sand saves from. I personally didn’t find the actual bunkers that intimidating; there are just so many that it becomes a nuisance, like mosquitoes on a muggy summer day. Try as hard to avoid them as you want to avoid them, they’ll still get you. The sand isn’t that much different from the typical sand trap. I expected the “waste area” to be a dump of thin lies, scattered twigs and other muni lies. Instead the only difference is you’re allowed to ground your club in the sand. At least they didn’t rule some areas waste and some bunkers, or I could’ve pulled a Dustin Johnson. Now that I’ve described the bunkers, the other half of the course that isn’t sand is actually very nice. I didn’t mind the sand until about the twelfth time in them. The least they could do is not make me rake the waste area. Continue reading Old American Golf Club

SunRidge Canyon

SunRidge Canyon in Fountain Hills, AZ

sunridge canyon graig cj
CJ, Jim, Al and me

The Stats

Tee Time: March 22, 2015, 9:58, 84 F, calm

Designer: Keith Foster, 1995

Playing Partners: CJ Phelan, Al, Jim

Tees: Gold, Par 71 (70.1 rating/134 slope/6,403 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (7.4 index)

Stats: 82 (37-45); 31 putts; 9/13 fairways; 7/18 greens; 3 penalty strokes

The Course

CJ came down for his first desert golf experience. Also, my first taste of golf since October, almost six months! (No, the 9-hole, 7-iron round doesn’t count). So after two planned days at Wildfire, to check out the LPGA, and Southern Dunes, a favorite of mine, CJ wanted more. My wallet and wrist were hurting, but who says no to more golf? Thankfully, we got a prime spot at SunRidge Canyon. If you’d been out with us, you might even notice we were golfing. We were paired up with another twosome, Jim and Al who made the day much more fun. Jim and CJ became best friends by the third hole, carrying conversations from tee to green while Al and I watched in amusement. They’d still be telling stories mid-backswing and be just fine. I was thankful for the company, because toward the end of the round, SunRidge Canyon features the “Wicked 6.” It is the selling point of this course, a tough 6-hole slog back up the canyon to finish your round. I laughed it off. I was wrong. Continue reading SunRidge Canyon

Golfing in the Middle of the Colorado Winter

Indian Tree Golf Club in Arvada, CO

indian wells arvada colorado
That pond looks one cold night away from being ready for some hockey

The Stats

Tee Time: January 25, 2015, 2:15, 61 F, calm

Designer: Richard M. Phelps (1970)

Playing Partners: Lisa Modglin, Nicole, Kristen

Tees: ?, Par 27 (1,038 yards)

Course Handicap: 3.5 (7.4 index)

Stats: 37; 1 hit goose

The Course

People ask, why do you want to move to Denver? Well here’s my answer. Contrary to popular belief, the weather is pretty awesome. You can even golf in the middle of January! How cool is it that you can take in a round of golf on a course in pretty good shape that still has that week’s snow piled in the shadows? It felt good to land in Denver this Saturday with the sky as overcast as a Seattle summer and the next day the sun and the sixties were out for a fun day swinging a club before the sun would set again. And the best part is you can never truly lose your ball. You just have to sit at the shore of the pond and stare it sitting on top of a sheet of ice. Despite there being about 100 Canadian geese loitering on that fresh surface, I discovered it wasn’t thick enough for a person of my weight. Luckily I only dunked one foot in the icy waters and did not succumb to frostbite.

I think I made par on this hole
I think I made par on this hole

I can’t really review the golf course I played, Indian Tree Golf Club. It’s just a fun place to get some quick swings in. Our foursome could have been done in under an hour if we didn’t get stuck behind Demaryius Thomas and family. Okay, it was actually just an obnoxious little boy in a Broncos #88 jersey.

If you look closely you can see #88 goofing off in the distance
If you look closely you can see #88 goofing off in the distance

Continue reading Golfing in the Middle of the Colorado Winter

Arrowhead Golf Club

Arrowhead Golf Club in Littleton, CO

The clubhouse
The clubhouse

The Stats

Tee Time: October 29, 2014, 8:15, 71 F, Windy (at least Category-1 hurricane-force gusts)

Designer: Robert Trent Jones, Jr. (1974)

Playing Partners: None

Tees: Black Bear, Par 70 (71.5 rating/138 slope/6,636 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (7.8 index)

Stats: 88(39-49); 32 putts; 3/13 fairways; 6/18 greens; 8 penalty strokes

The Course

Two words that don’t exist in Arizona golf: Frost Delay. After three summers in the desert, it felt refreshing to be freezing cold again. Once the course opened at 8:15, it was still about 42 degrees with an icy wind blasting, chilling my Sonoran blood. As enjoyable as it was getting reacquainted with the feeling of shivering and clutching handwarmers like they are life-preservers, I putted out on number 1 and just about ducked into the bathroom across the cart path and hunkered down for winter. But, I fought on, like Ernest Shackelton would’ve. Mostly because I had an early-afternoon flight to catch. Once my face started to thaw out I began to appreciate how awesome Arrowhead Golf Club is. Nothing like it. All I really need to do is put up the pictures. That’s all you’re gonna notice, they’re that good. Even my little pocket Nikon captured how special this place south of Littleton is. I’ll waste no time getting to it. My fingers are still frozen. The fact I put up a front-side 39 is a miracle in these blustery Arctic conditions. The back-nine 49 is less of a surprise. Oops… Continue reading Arrowhead Golf Club

Wasatch Mountain State Park Golf Course (Mountain)

Mountain Course at Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway, UT

wasatch state park mountain course
Me and CJ, who went straight from golfing to riding his bike up Guardsman Pass apparently

The Stats

Tee Time: October 26, 2014, 10:42, 68 F, Calm

Designer: William H. Neff, 1972

Playing Partners: CJ Phelan

Tees: Blue, Par 71 (70.4 rating/125 slope/6,459 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (7.8 index)

Stats: 77 (35-42); 34 putts; 6/12 fairways; 11/18 greens; 3 penalty strokes

The Course

CJ and I closed this course down. I beat him so badly (5 & 3, 12 strokes) that the police opened up an investigation. In reality, it was the last day of the season before another harsh Wasatch winter sets in. I did beat him though. Once it does reopen next spring, the Mountain Course at Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway is definitely worth the trek into government lands. It’s short, fun and offers dramatic views. As far as mountain vistas go, only Lake Tahoe surpasses Utah in beauty. And the best part about the Mountain Course is that you get to enjoy all those incredible views of the peaks and Heber Valley without even having to hike, thanks to those lovely gas carts. The front nine plays into the mountains. Today, every green was framed from behind by naked aspen trees waiting for the snow to come. The back nine comes out of the mountains and gives awesome views of the valley below, dotted with chimneys puffing smoke, maple trees desperately holding onto their yellow leaves and large expanses of open land. Continue reading Wasatch Mountain State Park Golf Course (Mountain)

Park City Golf Club

Park City Golf Club in Park City, UT

park city golf club utah
CJ and I, next to one of Park City’s many moose

The Stats

Tee Time: October 25, 2014, 1:30, 71 F, Windy (gusts of 44mph)

Designer: William H. Neff, 1963

Playing Partners: CJ Phelan, Ashley, Josh

Tees: Middle, Par 72 (69.7 rating/129 slope/6,277 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (7.8 index)

Stats: 83 (40-43); 36 putts; 6/14 fairways; 6/18 greens; 2 penalty strokes

The Course

Fun fact is that if you go back through the last four years, basically since I started trying to golf nationwide, Park City Golf Club is the course I’ve played the most. It’s been three years since I moved down to Arizona, but that still holds true. When I got to make a quick work trip to Salt Lake City in late October, I had originally tried to get on one of the top flight private courses in the area, such as Glenwild, Promontory or Red Ledges. Having no luck, I booked a tee time at a respected course in the Salt Lake region. But as soon as I landed and all those memories of being outside in the fresh mountain air of Park City came back to me, I called a quick audible for an afternoon tee time. By the end of the round, it was 6pm with temps in the 40s and gale-force winds. That’s a big drop from the 90s I had just flown in from, but I loved every second of it. CJ and I paired up with a couple around our age. Since she was actually better than him, he took every advantage he could to have a chance and we ended up playing the middle tees. At 6,700 feet, the altitude made the 6,277-yard par 72 play like the junior’s tees. Continue reading Park City Golf Club

Portsmouth Country Club

Portsmouth Country Club in Greenland, New Hampshire

portsmouth country club
Me, Matt and CJ

The Stats

Tee Time: July 30, 2014, 11:37, 72 F, partly cloudy

Designer: Robert Trent Jones Sr

Playing Partners: CJ Phelan, Matt

Tees: White, Par 72 (71.7rating/122 slope/6,669 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (8.0 index)

Stats: 84 (42-42); 34 putts; 3/14 fairways; 9/18 greens; 0 penalty strokes

The Course

I’m typing this on a tablet where the ‘U’ key doesn’t work, so if I write course as C-O-R-S-E, blame Logitech. Of all the letters to lose, they had to take a vowel away…

portsmouth country club greenland new hampshire hole 1
Flowers lining the 1st tee box

Portsmouth Country Club is a great place for golf. Given that it’s barely an hour outside of Boston, it might be the best public access course in the Boston area, given the slim pickings around there. Turning onto Country Club Lane, it’s clear this place takes pride in their work. The drive into the clubhouse might as well serve as the New England version of Magnolia Lane in Augusta. The sunlight filters through the leaves overhead, giving the road a golden glow that makes it feel like you’re driving into you’re own world away from everyone else. The entire course is surrounded by groves of trees or the gorgeous bay. The water is clear, calm and a perfect blue that stretches as far as the eye can see, winding through the inlets back out to the Atlantic Ocean. I’m sure even the winters here are lovely. There was never a Revolutionary War battle fought in New Hampshire, and I’m sure that it was because neither the Brits or Americans wanted to spoil the perfect landscape of The Granite State. Or maybe it was just too far north for any hostilities, who knows. I enjoyed every minute on this golf course, from the 1st hole through the 19th. Continue reading Portsmouth Country Club

The Harvester Golf Club

The Harvester in Rhodes, IA

the harvester golf club rhodes iowa
Me and Greg

The Stats

Tee Time: July 6 2014, 12:00, 86F, breezy

Designer: Keith Foster (2000)

Playing Partners: Greg Ryan

Tees: Blue, Par 72 (73.1 rating/132 slope/6,840 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (7.9 index)

Stats: 91 (42-49); 40 putts; 8/14 fairways; 7/18 greens; 4 penalty strokes


The Course

“Is this heaven?

It’s Iowa.

I could’ve sworn this was heaven.”

I wonder how many sports related posts by sports related blogs talking about something sports-related in Iowa start with that Field of Dreams quote. Well, in the interest of being original, I’ll try something else.

Baseball, Ray…

Oops, wrong sport.

That’s my corn out there. You guys are guests in my corn.

There, that fits.

harvester golf club rhodes iowa hole 17
The 17th green at the edge of Lake Harvester

The Harvester is the unanimous choice across every list published for the best course in Iowa. You’d think, well, it’s Iowa, how many golf courses can they really have? Being named the #1 golf course in Iowa seems like it would be like being the MLB All-Star from the 2014 Padres. You’re only there because someone had to be. I was a little excited to come, because my only other visit to the Hawkeye State was a fun afternoon at the Field of Dreams a few years ago. Just stepping out of the car I was instantly amazed at how awesome The Harvester is. It’s not just the best course in Iowa, it immediately took a spot in my top 5 golf courses period. Under the overcast skies of a muggy day, the lush green hills seemed to extend infinitely into the distance. A condo complex and a few houses dotted the landscape, dominated by the massive plantation clubhouse overlooking the entire course. But aside from that and some barbed wire fencing, this place is pure nature. Continue reading The Harvester Golf Club

2014 in Preview

Ahh New Year's fireworks
Ahh New Year’s fireworks

I know, sorry. Usually these preview editions and posts pop up before the new year actually starts. Well, I forgot. At least I’m beating Chinese New Year by a couple of weeks. So where do I want to play this year? And are there any goals I might have? Last year, which, in case you missed it, is detailed here, I made it to 6 new states. Meaning I’m ahead of my pace. Instead of July 2021 I think my new scheduled ETA is May 2021. Who knows, those two months could make all the difference. But now, 16 states in, things get dicey. There are 34 to go, and it seems daunting. Like when taking a long run (which my dog enjoys much more than I do) and you finish the first mile feeling fresh and think, “that wasn’t so bad” before realizing you’ve got 4 long, shin-splinting miles to go. I’ve still got to reach the four corners of the country: Alaska, Hawaii, Maine and Florida. It’s over 2,000 miles from Phoenix to each of those states’ capitals. At least if I ever end up moving to Denver, Juneau, Augusta and somehow Tallahassee become closer.  I still have yet to make a dent in the Midwest. I’ve gotten to second base with that region, skirting the edges in Colorado and Missouri. But soon I’m gonna have to dive headfirst into the Great Lakes, which is currently swimming in ice balls. Could get a little chilly.

At least Mojo can handle any frigid golf we may encounter
At least Mojo can handle any frigid golf we may encounter

Continue reading 2014 in Preview

2013 in Review

Last year, my USGA index skyrocketed to embarrassing heights and I scrambled for excuses in this year end post of 2012. And then I played the same type of schedule in 2013 and dropped down to my pre-season goal of a handicap in the 8’s, finishing at an 8.8. So I guess all my logic from last year didn’t hold water. Out of about 35 rounds, at least 20 were on courses new to me and I shaved 4 strokes off anyway. Only five rounds crept into the 90’s, and two of those were in February when I only had one working wrist. But only two rounds snuck into the 70’s, one of which won me $200. So now I’ve settled into a low 80’s threat in the midst of what are supposedly my prime physical years (though at the moment I look more like the “before” pic). So then what changed?

graig mantle kierland
This awesome swing was never the problem

Continue reading 2013 in Review