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Back to Reality

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Well, I am back in MN, and back to reality.........

We landed Saturday Morning, drove to Chick Fil A and then we hot footed ourselves to the first tee time: Eagle Landing, no time for warm up, rolled three putts and we tee'd off. I can't remember anything special about the course the greens and fairways were okay, but everything else was hard pan, but for 30 bucks with a cart, you can't complain

Sunday we woke up and drove 2 hours to Brooksville and played the Rolling Pines course at World Woods.....phenominal course (compared to the day before) lush green fairways and greens that had some movement in them. we paid 52 bucks with a cart, about the same if I walked many of the nicer metro courses, but this course was NICE.....

Monday we drove to St. John’s Country Club near Jacksonville, lots of water, sand and tree’s, I found a lot of those and a couple of houses too. We encountered a 90 minute rain delay which included a scary electrical storm, just as we came in off the ninth green. In fact we left our ball markers and headed for the clubhouse…….I picked up a nasty case of the shanks during warmups that day that would plague me the rest of the trip. It is a little different hitting off of grass than it is a mat.

Tuesday we went back to Work Woods and played the Pine Barron’s course. This is at this time the 2nd greatest course I have ever played. All wasted bunkers, many of them went the entire length of the hole. Greens that required a shot to the right place or you were 3 putting for sure. Highlight for me that day was driving hole number 15, 322 yd’s to the center, elevated tee shot, and I left a crater at about the 310yd mark. Before you ask, yes, I made the par putt. If you are traveling to Orlando or anywhere in the central florida region, you must play these courses, they have villa’s to rent out for 120 a night, for the entire villa……..

Wednesday was going to be an off day, one of the guys backs was out at this point, but our cruise director found a 1925 Donald Ross designed course, Palatika Country Club, so we went and played it. Short course, but it is a stop on the amateur tour and they had just hosted their stop. The greens were small, turtle backed, and fast. Did I mention the greens were fast? We all agreed it was probably the best 30 bucks for golf we had ever spent. Membership at this course was under 800 bucks a year and the history there was unbelievable. Charlie, a 92 year old member we met after our round, used to caddie out there when he was a kid and there is a picture in the clubhouse of Charlie the caddie and Babe Ruth, who was a member of the club. History fella’s HISTORY!

Thursday was our first round at Sawgrass. We called to confirm our 2 bag caddies from the Palatika CC, and the girl on the other end of the phone was blowing us off saying it was too late and there was nothing we could do. That is when our cruise director decided to name drop, once he did that, in a matter of 30 seconds, we had our 2 bag caddies set for the next two days.

Sawgrass, where do I start, first of all, the clubhouse is unreal, HUGE, with pictures of PGA history and trophies all over the place. Our caddies were waiting for us as we headed to the range. Now here is where I could on and on about each hole and how the caddies clubbed us for each hole, but that would take for ever. I was given my driver two times on Thursday, the rest of the tee shots were my 4 hybrid because I was knocking it 240 straight all day. Putting was incredibly tough, reading the grain was tough, thank god the caddie (Roberto) helped me out, at least to get it close enough to have a 2 foot finish. It was sunny, we were all in great spirits and we all knocked it on the green on 17 from 138 yards. Ken had challenged us, $20 bucks a guy to whoever knocked it on the green from back tee’s where he has to hit it from. The caddies said all 4 guys hitting it on the green is extremely rare.

Friday was a different Sawgrass, it was raining and drizzly through the front nine, my hybrids kept me straight, but lots of swing flaws need to be ironed out in the next couple weeks. I missed 17, not once but twice, and then went to the drop zone and went up and down for a 6. The tee’s the pro’s hit from on some of the holes are 100+ yards back of where we had to hit from, sometimes they were less but most of the time we were landing our balls where they do on tv. (we Played white tee’s both days, except 17)

Right now, Sawgrass is the best course I have ever played, hands down, nothing can even come close to it, Makaena North in Maui is #2 because of the views of the ocean, #3 is Pine Barrons and then #4 is Pumpkin Ridge out in Oregon. If you ever get a chance to play Sawgrass Stadium course, spend the extra $100 for the double bag caddie, add a tip too, it is the only way to play that course, walking…..there were guys out there with a forecaddie (walks ahead of the group and tells everyone their yardage and helps read putts, but you ride in a cart) but after walking for 2 days, it is the only way to play it. In fact, I am ready to knock the dust off my push cart and use that more than anything else this year. Golf was meant to be walked, not ridden……..

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Great vacation report PBW! Sounds like you guys had a great time. I'm green with envy. Sorry.

BTW...love the signature line...."How do you know he's a king?" "Cause he doesn't have ____ all over him!"

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Rolling Oaks, great course, we used to play the Pine Barrens about 6 times a year and Rolling Oaks once a year. Very nice courses that consistantly get rated in the top 100 every year and ABSOLUTELY 2 differnt tracks right next to each other. What did you thing of the 360 degree driving range and the practice holes??? Awesome place! In the summer 10 years ago, we could play those courses for $26 with a cart The Dunes is another good course that's like Pine Barrens but not as nice.

Pine Barrens is one of my all time favorites but I like Fortune Bay and The Quarry better. I'm going to have to really think of my top 10 and then I'll post it. PB is probably in my top 5. Fortune Bay is my #1, Quarry is in my top 3, Deacons is top 5. Hawktree in Bismark is on there. I also like TPC of Tampa Bay and The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook but I like MN courses better. Keystone and Brekenridge course in Colorado would be on there.

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