Monday, August 22, 2011
We're starting with the Woodlands course, followed by the Links. It's chilly enough that we're all wearing sweaters or vests -- and contemplating rain pants! After a day of playing robins and trash for the first time, Tony's still in -- he just is getting fewer strokes than the first day.
The Woodlands starts off pretty straight forward with a par 5 and then meanders us around the woods. The second hole has a quarry and doglegs left severely. I told Tony about the quarry, but not much else because it's a tough layup. Ignorance is bliss and he makes it over and almost pin high. There's this enormous tree next to the green that is impressive. The third hole is a fun little par 3 next to the lake (I made my first birdie on the trip on this hole -- and only birdie). Downhill, narrow, surrounded by bunkers and trees. And, this cool house on the right. The Woodlands has a lot of trees. Quite a bit of sand. And a lot of dog legs. But pretty playable. The guys have taken a liking to Kristen (sp) the cart girl (who we find out at lunch from the waiter that her sister used to be a cart girl and is dating a football player who was drafted by the Seahawks or Falcons (or?). Tom's not playing well at all and downs a couple of beers and then makes a birdie putt and feels much better about himself. Dave's complaining about his game. I just play. Tony's in it for the practice, the vacation and the scenery and isn't getting too down on himself -- and, the amazing thing is that he's finally bought into the Leinenkugal Summer Shandy and Honey Weiss we are drinking -- and partakes himself in a few beers on the course.
Lunch at the turn on the patio (we think it's enjoyable but a woman comes out to sit on the patio and then goes inside because "it's too hot.") where we have a waiter who is undergoing his "first day." We take it easy on him, enjoy our lunch and then off to the Links. Giving Dave three more shots to stop his "whining." We're not out to destroy anyone's wallet -- just some competitive fun. The Links starts out in howling wind -- Dave makes three pars in a row so he's on a roll. There's this awesome barn on the first couple of holes. Kristen stops by and we get our picture taken with it in the background and tells us that in the Civil War they kept German prisoners there... well, wrong war, but good story. The Links has all kinds of heathery/gorse stuff that you should avoid. And all kinds of bunkers that you should avoid. And plenty of wind that plays with your shots. I'm not hitting well enough for the wind to affect much -- that's what happens when you go on a golf trip like this. But the weather is PERFECT. The scenery is EXCELLENT. The company is AWESOME. So, no complaining! Tom finishes off this course with a birdie on 18 (par 5) to end the trip. We contemplate playing a few more holes until dark and then change our minds and head to the Heidel House for drinks and dinner on the patio with a few of Green Lake (the deepest lake in Wisconsin -- not sure if they counted the Great Lakes or not). According to a plaque Tony read, Green Lake was the first resort town west of Niagara Falls.
Off to the farmhouse for last night before packing up and heading back to Dallas on Monday and getting back to the heat and 100 degree weather (ugh.) It's been a great trip and we've all enjoyed the courses, the hospitality and the Leinenkugal!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
It never sucks to wake up to cool sweater weather in August to head out for a couple of rounds of golf. Royal St. Patrick and Eagle Creek. Head out to Royal St. Patrick. We always wonder if Monica will get us there, since we seem to be amongst the corn fields in Wisconsin (and chicken and cow farms -- you can smell those!). She hasn't let us down since Erin Hills (and even then, she wasn't "far" off).
Pull in, get our stuff and go to the range to hit a few before teeing off on this links style track. Royal St. Patrick does not disappoint. The greens are slick, but true. The rough -- well, try not to be there -- was solid. The gunk -- well, definitely try not to be there.
Tony's in the game, so that makes a "real trip" -- robins and trash. Tom's few tips to Tony are paying off and we've been generous with the strokes, since Tony doesn't have an official handicap right now. Only fair. No blood on the first robin (Liz/Tony, Tom/Dave). Second robin, Dave and I go down three in a row (ouch), but then win the next two (because we have to) before succumbing to Tom and Tony. No blood on the last robin. Trash is healthy, but not crazy. Tony's the "big winner in the clubhouse" on the first round. Dave and Tom on 18 realize that they don't have enough golf balls if they're going to lose this many. I have lost only one ball since we arrived (shocker). Would definitely head back to Royal St. Patrick's for another round or two.
But, we're running late so off to Eagle Creek we go (crossing our fingers that Monica won't let us down direction-wise) swinging by Subway on our way. Again, we meander through the cornfields and little farmhouse roads until she drops us right at a golf course in the middle of no-where. Before stopping at Subway, we called up to Eagle Creek and asked if they searched food. Based on their odd response, that's why we decided to stop on our way.
Well, Eagle Creek, let's say, um, has some staffing issues. But not all bad ones. We get there and the "kid" at the front desk (who also serves as bartender, and sweeper and cart boy, probably) apologized and said that whoever booked our tee time "couldn't read" since there was a tournament. And, we'd be getting off around 3 pm instead of 2 pm. BUT... the green fees were on the course... and range balls! So, for $15 per person, we're in. Besides, it's nice outside and we've pretty much screeched into the course. So, patio time, practice time for everyone but me. There's some interesting people watching in Wisconsin. I am sure they say the same about our crew when we show up.
Oh, another thing about Eagle Creek. You want bottled water or soda at the clubhouse -- you have to get it through the machine outside, not through the bartender. Weird. I'm sure there's a reason, but not exactly the most efficient way to make money.
So, we're off for another round. Robins and trash again. My driving is way, way off (it's been off and needs an adjustment), but my five iron is behaving. Tony's driving the ball much better with Tom's advice -- but any new swing can result in some "off shots." Eagle Creek does not favor "off shots." It only likes accuracy -- in the fairways, on the greens. Some of the holes -- as Dave put it -- are like circus elephants and camel butts. It's an interesting course, in great condition (greens slower than Royal St. Patrick), but you definitely need to play it a few times to figure it out. The scorecard doesn't really tell the true hole-by-hole story and we all scramble to figure things out. Well, we come to the last hole and Dave and Tom are against me and Tony. Tony and I are down one (guess Dave and Tom are all square in their own little game). And... Tom stuffs one a foot from the hole for birdie, net eagle. Figures, but that's Tom.
Off we head back to Combined Locks. Dinner. Well, Tom and I aren't huge on dinner. But Dave and Tony are. Tony's fine with a bolgna sandwich. Dave, not so much. Monica gives us some selections and since Main Street is usually where "the action is" off we go to a play called Marty's. We can always change our mind.
Marty's isn't exactly "fancy on the outside" -- or "fancy on the inside." Probably hasn't been renovated in 40 years. But -- they have a website: http://www.martyssuperclub.com/ so they at least know what technology is (believe me, you wouldn't believe it when you see the place). Has a "moldy smell" according to Tony, on the inside. We're pretty much game for anything -- worst case scenario is it's a bad experience and we'll talk about it forever. Our waitress is definitely from Wisconsin. We definitely aren't. Order dinner (really inexpensive). They have an appetizer buffet that the boys check out and quickly come back because they "couldn't identify" stuff on the table. Dinner doesn't disappoint. And our waitress is hilarious in a Wisconsin way. She thought Tony was from Australia (well, not quite, but at least she knew he wasn't fronm Wisconsin). She ends by telling us about JDs for ice cream (something about a turtle sundae that sounds a bit like the bear claw at The Bob In).
Back to the farmhouse to shower up, have a quick cocktail on the porch, and then off to bed. I think Tony now knows what we mean when we say we pretty much only play golf on these trips. Even he goes to bed early.
Sunday is Lawsonia. Off at 615 to get there early for "real breakfast" instead of cereal.
BTW, pictures to follow because the camera is still in my golf bag. I am taking pictures.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Yesterday we readily escape 100+ degree weather in Dallas to head to Wisconsin. Thankfully Tony, Tom and I are all upgraded to first class. Not sitting next to each other but who cares. Tony gets a guy with a sling around his arm. I get a "larger" man who takes up a lot of room. Tom gets a guy -- and they pretty much talk the entire flight. In fact, we've landed and Tom and this guy are finally introducing themselves and Tony exclaims: you've been talking for three hours and you've just introduced yourselves???
We get the bags. Tom gets the car. We all hold our breath to see if all of our stuff is going to fit in the car (it did in my Explorer -- barely). Yes! And then off we go to Whispering Springs in Fond du Lac (http://www.whisperingspringsgolf.com/). It's about an hour and a half from the airport. Nothing eventful once we get past the traffic. Get out of the car, get all of our stuff out and unpacked -- yes, in the middle of the parking lot, without ceremony (Tony expected one). Grab a brat and a beer (BTW Leinenkugal Summer Shandy is pretty much out come August -- it's not summertime anymore as we're told). Hit the range for a few and then off we go.
Whispering Springs is a pretty course with really tricky greens. You're on the wrong side and you can three putt pretty quick (yes, we all did). This is Tony's first golf trip with the group and he's worried that we're going to be all army like the entire time. We think we're playing pretty leisurely. Love looking at the barns and the corn fields right next to the course (instead of hitting balls into the bay, you can hit them into the corn fields!). I play pretty decent. Dave plays great. Tony is rough on the front and then Tom got him "aligned" and shoots a 48 on the back with at least 3 pars. Considering he's never done one of these trips, sat on a plane and then in a car for half a day -- that's not bad. Tom plays okay on the front but has the rights and his back 9 aren't stellar. I think on Dave and Tom's side bet that Dave won the money. I finish up with a par on the par 5 18 (BTW on your second shot, don't be left -- big tree).
I wouldn't call Whispering Springs links style. Wouldn't call it in the woods. The back nine is reminiscent of Michigan at times. The bunkers have great sand (yes, I was in them). Think it was a great little course to test out.
Then off to the farmhouse for dinner with Darin and Ferko (I finally get to meet the famous Ferko!). Clean up quick and have a nice steak dinner, then some talk and then shut eye. I'm up early this morning and then blogging (pictures to follow since my camera is in my golf bag).
Today is a light day of travel to Royal St. Patricks (http://www.royalstpatricks.com/ ) and then Eagle Creek (http://www.eaglecreekgolfclub.net/) . Just went on their website and like Forest Dunes, Royal St. Patricks has a bonus hole #19. Nice links style course.