Tag Archives: golf50in10

Sandpiper Golf Course

Sandpiper Golf Course in Santa Barbara, CA

sandpiper golf course hole 12
Sandpiper, the land of dramatic panoramas

The Stats

Tee Time: June 28, 2015, 8:20, 75F, sunny

Designer: William Bell (1972)

Playing Partners: assorted (tournament)

Tees: Gold, Par 72 (72.8 rating/131 slope/6,646 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (7.7 index)

Stats: 91 (48-43); 34 putts; 6/13 fairways; 3/18 greens; 4 penalty strokes

The Course

Best I recall, there are two spots on the California coast for golf that everyone agrees are the best. Obviously the trio at Pebble Beach and then the south course at Torrey Pines in San Diego. In between, in Santa Barbara, is a coastal course that is worthy of the same praise the others get. Sandpiper Golf Course, just north of Santa Barbara on the 101, features six holes that take you right up to the cliffs or beach of the Pacific Ocean, and another with an approach that fills the viewfinder with pristine blue ocean. Well, once they clean up the oilContinue reading Sandpiper Golf Course

I Won Something!

Capture

A couple months ago I saw an ad for the Golf Channel Amateur Tour. I did some research and thought it would be something fun to try. Beating my regular playing partners gets old, you know? The price isn’t too bad considering all the work that goes into these events, and I will definitely sign up for more in the future. I’ve had fun in all three events so far.

I started with a T6 at the Corta Bella Invitational, where I lost to, among others, former Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz. That was interesting, but he’s a cool guy and it’ll be fun to get another round in with him. The I finished third at the Trilogy Power Ranch tournament, despite playing in a wrist brace. It wasn’t even my wrist’s fault. One four-putt and one bad chip were all that kept me out of first. Golf gets a lot tougher, but so much more rewarding, in a tournament setting where every shot must be holed out (so long, gimmies) and the rules followed to the letter. Out of bounds gets a lot scarier knowing you could be hitting 3, or even 5, off the tee.

grayhawk raptor hole 1
The first tee at the Raptor Course

Then last week, May 31, was the Grayhawk Open, on the Raptor Course. I had never played either course there. Luckily, the tour secured discount rates for the week to anyone who wanted a practice round beforehand. I took them up on the offer and headed up the day before at 3pm. It was a disaster. The temperature when I teed off was 107 degrees. This was the first extreme heat of the year, and that mild May that Arizona was blessed with did not have me ready for triple digits. I couldn’t keep a ball in play, hooking, slicing and topping drives. I don’t think I’ve topped a drive in like 5 years. I started the day with 10 golf balls in the bag and was flying around the empty course until the 8th hole. I skipped some foursomes until I found another opening, but kept losing balls and ran out after the par-3 16th. Continue reading I Won Something!

Cowboys Golf Club

Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, TX

cowboys golf club
Me and Greg (and a cutout of the Golf Channel’s Charlie Rymer photobombing us)

The Stats

Tee Time: April 12, 2015, 8:30, 78 F, Cloudy

Designer: Jeffery Brauer, 2001

Playing Partners: Greg Ryan

Tees: Silver, Par 72 (72.6 rating/135 slope/6,563 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (8.1 index)

Stats: 83 (39-44); 38 putts; 10/14 fairways; 11/18 greens; 2 penalty strokes

The Course

cowboys golf club hole 13
The gorgeous approach to the 13th

There’s a lot of expected extravagance at the Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, Texas. Four replica Super Bowl trophies prominently displayed just inside the pro shop. A six-foot wide Cowboy star in the middle one of the fairways. A Cowboys magnetic pin given to all golfers to wear that lets the cart girls know you can eat and drink for free. Markers at every hole detailing various moments in the Cowboys’ rich football history (just ignore those past twenty years or so since their last Super Bowl…) Golf carts without numbers but labeled with names of Dallas Cowboys of the past instead (we got Randy White). There are constant reminders that this is the world’s only NFL themed golf club. Though being the world’s only NFL themed golf club is a lot like being world’s only golf-themed football stadium. What? Exactly. Especially to a non-Cowboys fan like myself, all of this can detract from what is a very good golf course that more than holds up to the Jerry Jones-driven hype. Even that great carnival barker who just happens to own an NFL team can’t oversell this well-constructed track. You probably won’t even hear him, what with the 747’s coming in for landing at the nearby DFW airport all day. Maybe that’s why I played well here, I couldn’t even hear myself think. Continue reading Cowboys Golf Club

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

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