Monday, December 17, 2012

Makaii

Sunday, we play Makaii Golf Club (http://www.makaiigolf.com), down the street from the hotel. Like the Prince course, we had no idea that the Westin butts up to both courses. We could have asked for a golf course view with an ocean view. Oh well. While we're getting ready, it seems so odd that football has already started and it's only 7:00 am. Guess if you're in Hawaii and like football, you either watch early, or DVR and watch it delayed.

Like Prince, we're going to have Makaii to ourselves this morning and can go when we want to. Nice. The marshall says that we're early for the holidays. And, the weather has been pretty bad lately and that has caused people to decide against golf.  The weather is humid, cloudy, but sunny. We get sprinkled on periodically, but it seems like it's just a "random cloud." The views are again, beautiful -- more mountains on the first holes. Easier than the Prince, but still strategic. Eventually wind around to the ocean for beautiful views. And then back. Unlike Pebble Beach, there seems to be more picturesque, water holes (also means that there is even more wind).











Finish our round and were thinking about what we were going to do in the afternoon. Choices:  play the Woods, replay the golf club, go to the beach, go for a drive, hang out at the Westin. When Gary says that we can play the Woods for free. Decision made and we play the Woods. It's more of a muni, but still gorgeous views of the mountains. And the price is right.

After we play, we decide to check out the St. Regis and have a cocktail there. But, their "nice bar" doesn't open until 3:30 pm. And their beach/pool bar is surrounded by kids. Note: the beach at the St. Regis isn't that great. Not what we thought it would be. Glad we decided not to spend the day there because Tony and I would have lasted about 5 minutes. We leave to sit on our balcony at the Westin and watch the chickens and the ocean and hope for a whale sighting. Dinner is Prime Rib Sunday and because of our "eco" signing not to have maid service in our room, we get $20 off of dinner.

Last night here before packing up in the morning and heading to the airport for our long flight home. Been a nice little vacation. Hawaii wasn't quite what I expected, but still pretty special.


Day 2: The Prince

12:35 am and I'm up, but convince myself to go back to bed. The magic number is 4:00 am. Doesn't work and at 3:30 am I get up and make coffee. At 4:00 am Tony gets up and we take our coffee to the plunge pool and hot tub next to our building -- in a bit of drizzle -- and loosen up the travel aches with the hot water and jets. Make breakfast and watch the chickens running around.




Get dressed to go for a drive heading "north" -- but guess really west --  to see what may be there. Construction. Lots of one lane bridges. Stop at a little beach and walk in the Pacific.

Then head to the lighthouse that the guide (sorry, Anthony) says you need to visit. It's a lot smaller than we thought, but pretty. We didn't pay the $5 to go on the property. Drive around a little more and then head early to The Prince. Very few cars in the parking lot. Hard to believe for a Top 100 Golf Course in America (#16). They're going to let us go off early at the twilight rate. Lunch at the Tavern where it's confirmed that this course is probably going to eat us up -- lots of OB, lots of danger. Note: even if you're not a golfer, lunch at the Tavern is a good move. Lunch was great (their pomme frites have parmesan on them). Gary, the marshall, takes us to the driving range to warm up. Nice view of the ocean from the driving range.

They tell us it doesn't matter when our tee time is and we can go when we're ready. Nice and relaxing.

Gary lets a single and his wife tee off before us and tells us what not to do. And tells us it's OK to take out a few chickens. Never played golf with chickens before!






The Prince is pretty awesome. Great views. Challenging. Strategic. I shoot 90. Tony 96. Not bad for a course we haven't played -- and the wind is different from Texas wind. But at least we understand wind. I did get pretty eaten up by some sort of plant while looking for a ball in a hazard. But, I came out with mine -- and nine others. Guess that I was one of the few who would venture down that ravine...

Ended up having dinner at the Tavern as well that evening. Making it an "all Prince" kind of day. Nice. Sunday is Makaii Golf Course.

Note: this is on "time delay."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hawaii, Day 1, Post Flight

Off Tony and I head in our little Ford Fusion to the Harley Davidson dealer in Lihue -- btw, we will be unable to pronounce anything on this trip in terms of road signs, cities, etc.

While the driving directions are OK, getting out of the airport isn't particularly well marked, but once we get out of there, we don't have many problems. We need a couple of shirts to mark this trip and both of us have "shopping lists" while dreading the $60 HD shirt. That is not the case at Kauai Harley -- not a particularly big dealership, but we manage to find the sale rack to make up our lists and the woman who rang us up recommended the Safeway in some city with a K on the way to Princeville to stop for groceries/beer
http://www.kauaiharley.com/

Sorry, Anthony Bourdain. Know your disdain for guidebooks, but I bought one (for the maps...) and they said the same thing. That Princeville is expensive so stop on the way -- and get a Safeway savings card if you don't have one to save even more! We know why it's going to take an hour to get there -- two lane road, with quite a bit of traffic. Get to Safeway (on  the left) and pull in.


First adventure: chickens in the parking lot. Chickens almost in the store. Tony gets a pic. I get a Safeway value card and we save $30 on our breakfast staples and booze for the stay. Happy that you can buy liquor at a grocery store so we don't have to make multiple stops on this trip. Note to first time visitors to Kauai if you go to the Safeway -- go to the desk and get the value savings card. It take little to no time, and you can save $$$ that would better be spent on a tshirt, or a golf hat.

Back on the road. Reminds me of Puerto Rico, but the water is closer to the road and the mountains are closer to the water. Surprised that it seems much more modest than I thought it would be. But, maybe Princeville will be different -- the guidebook (sorry Anthony Bourdain) said gawking would be involved.

Before we get to the hotel, we decide to check out a beach and turn right. Another car turns right before us (you see where this may be heading...). Car stops in road. We stop in road. Car starts slowly backing up. I start honking. Car continues slowly backing up. I keep honking. Before I can put car into reverse, car hits our car (not hard). Clearly the driver should have seen us? "Kid" gets out of the car. Didn't see us. Didn't hear us. Was backing up to get a machete out of the road (yes, there was a machete -- and this would be better documented in pictures, but at this time, was not thinking about my blog). Kept thinking to myself -- if you're going to stop and then back up IN THE ROAD wouldn't you look behind you for traffic??? Obviously not. We pull over. He tries to unbend the license plate on our car, and wipe off the scuff on his bumper. And tell us that we should just turn in the car -- without telling anyone. You know how that goes with me. We call roadside assistance. Make a claim. Exchange information. He still is trying to convince us not to tell. Yep, first adventure in Hawaii. At least not much damage and not trying to see what it's like to get a tow or a new rental on this short trip.

Off we go to the Westin only a few miles down the road. Check and and upgrade to a one bedroom apartment -- gets us a hot tub and King size bed and better view. Decline maid service to save $10 per day on food at the resort (oh, and save the environment). Get our free gift from the Concierge (a beach bag). Walk to our room in building 7 next to the "bluffs" with an ocean view.

http://www.starwoodvacationownership.com/westin_princeville_ocean_resort_villas/welcome.html

They bring our stuff up (clever that they have Rubbermaid cartons to put groceries in -- not their first rodeo). Unpack, unwind a bit from the long trip, have a beer. We're not hungry, but we head to see if there is something "bar foody" -- end up with salad and sandwich that we bring back to the room. It's been a long day traveling and we're in bed by 730. Hoping not to wake up at midnight, ready to get up because of the time change.


Day 2 is The Prince. Don't know what else. We'll base it on when we get up.

Note to newbies to my blog: I am not a photographer. I hire photographers in my business. Many of these photos are from Tony's iPhone (also not a photographer). These photos are more for documentation than for composition, color, lighting. Occasionally you might see one that is "photo worthy." Get over the amateur nature of the photos. We're on vacation.

Hawaii-bound

I'm sitting in our apartment at the Westin Princeville in Hawaii (Kauai), happy to be here, enjoying the time with Tony, enjoying the golf and the sounds of the ocean and wind. And, selfishly happy to be five hours ahead in time -- and too busy for TV -- so that I don't have to watch more on the tragedy in Newtown. When we were driving to the hotel on Friday afternoon, a DJ said something about his thoughts being with the state of Connecticut. Thought he was talking about Sandy. And then we turned on the news and Newtown, Connecticut, flashed about the killings at Sandy Hook. Too, too close to Brookfield, where I went to high school -- played soccer against Newtown. Right next door. And, Darby's mom is the Superintendent of Newtown (and did a great job on "Today"

http://video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/50208350

I'm going to enjoy being selfish for the rest of the trip, and enjoy Hawaii. Here's the airport/flying part of the trip, day 1.

Day 1: Flying
Early morning (especially after just getting back last night from Phoenix). Leave the house at 5 am for a 7 am flight to LAX and then jump on flight to Kauai Island, Hawaii. Love the American Airlines upgrades both legs of this trip. Love to go to the Admirals Club before waiting to board the flight. So nice just walking onto the plane this morning without waiting in the concourse. Breakfast on the plane (they have pretty good oatmeal; don‘t know how the “egg strata“ tasted). Along with a Bloody Mary. We’re on vacation. Think Tony was a little “odded out” by the gentleman sitting next to me (attorney) who wouldn’t switch seats with me to sit next to each other. He apologized, but “hates window seats.” But, I can hear Tony chatting it up across from me with his seat mate (and a Bloody Mary). Long day of travel to get to Hawaii, but everyone says it’s going to be awesome and well worth it.
Get our bags, get our car, and then off to the Harley Davidson dealer. Then grocery store for snacks and cocktails (thanks, Missy, for telling me about Big Wave -- a beer that you can only get in Hawaii!). Then Princeville to the Westin to check in, unpack, and hopefully watch a beautiful sunset. What’s nice about the resort is that they are apartment villas, so we have a full kitchen. I get tired of eating out. And tired of the $20+ per person breakfasts that would be $4 at Denny’s. And I don’t mind a $10 cocktail here and there, but it’s nice to pour one and sit on your private patio before going to dinner. Must be my Midwestern upbringing.
Only two real official things on our itinerary: Tomorrow play golf at The Prince Course. Sunday, play golf at Makaii Golf Course. Rest we will play it by ear. Hope to see some whales. Maybe a sea turtle.
Tempted to try American’s gogo online and do some more web surfing and work on some concept presentations we’re working on. Seems reasonable in price. But, the flight from LAX to Hawaii is longer, so may sign up then. Nice to not really work, but I have this brainstorm and am itching to get on the Internet to look for some quotes for a meeting on Tuesday.

Only about 30 minutes at LAX after we land. Walk into the Admirals Club and walk out -- no smoking in all of their airport. But, gave us something to do and then we walked on the plane. This is one of those "big planes" (sorry, I am not up on types of aircraft -- this one had a small first class and then business class with three sets of two seats, and then regular). Tony and I again are split up. He's in 8A and I'm in 9A. We'll try to switch with someone so we can sit together. We'll especially try to switch with someone when a family, including infant, sit down RIGHT BEHIND ME. Right behind me on a FIVE HOUR flight. Switching doesn't look as promising with an infant behind us. But, the plane starts boarding coach and there are a number of empty seats. We ask the flight attendant if it's full and she doesn't know because they switched planes on them. We'd like to move and sit together. We tell another flight attendant the same. They are checking. And then a couple sitting across from the family starts moving to the seats over on the other side that we were trying to claim. Tony intervened. We won, and moved over away from the infant (and more importantly, the talkative child who clearly wasn't as impressed being in business class as we were).

Plane takes off and five hours away it will be. Bloody Marys, again, and "Brunch" this time -- French toast and sausage. Nice blanket, pillow (thank you American Airlines), movies (tried to watch The Words without success and instead finished Season 2 of "Lost" -- yes, I know that watching a series about a plane crash that takes place in Hawaii probably isn't the best inflight viewing) and we try and get some sleep. Neither of us were successful, but we tried to rest. I don't see how Tony can do it with only his iPhone -- no books to read, crossword puzzles or Soduku. Five hours is a long flight when there isn't anything to see out the window except water and clouds. And, I learned quickly that WiFi doesn't work over ocean, so my idea to do some work on the web didn't work out as planned.

Finally land. Deboard. The airport is small. Humid. Wayfinding/signage could be improved upon. But, bags come out relatively quickly and are all accounted for, so we head to Hertz -- again, poor wayfinding, not the most organized.

But, heading out of the airport and on our way to really start our vacation.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Adventure in November

Most of the time, my weekend routine is pretty much the same: golf, errands, golf, clean house. Yeah, nothing too adventurous. This weekend was "chock full" of stuff, beginning on Friday night with a trip to Bass Hall to see Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert. Tony and I had never been to Bass Hall. And we both like Anthony Bourdain -- even though we're not sure exactly what the format of the show would be. And this was the first one with Eric Ripert joining him.

Happy that there was FREE parking in the garage to begin our evening. Grab a drink and then head to our seats. Pretty good view and seats (even though they weren't the most comfortable). The show was pretty good -- insights about both. Insights about the industry. But, have to say that I enjoy reading Anthony Bourdain's books over seeing him live. And, that Eric Ripert may not be as "clean cut" as we all think of his TV image. Nice evening. Rest up because on Saturday we're going riding to Muenster, Texas, a little German town.

Saturday is windy again, but we decide we're going to go riding anyway. Rest of the people who were thinking about it bail on us because of the wind. Head on our way, stopping at North Texas Harley on the way -- my glasses are "rotting." No luck in replacing the insert there, so off we go again, having plotted out a route to see some water, and cows. The wind is pretty fierce and I'm sure Tony and I are both thinking "what are we doing?" Keep riding along. Plenty of cows. And horses. Getting close to Muenster, we think. And then Tony looks down at the gas gauge -- and the light is on. In a little town of Era. Don't see a gas station -- just a sign that one (and a Subway) is "coming soon." So, we pull up to a little building and get out of the wind. A car pulls up and we ask the ladies about a gas station. Valley View (where we just came from) is the nearest, 7 miles.

And then, there is an "oh s**t" moment from Tony. Not only are we almost out of gas. The key to his gas tank is at home. Yep. Make a few calls. Guess that the key is kind of "universal" and if we can find someone with a Harley (with their key) we might be able to get gas. Back to Valley View we go -- hoping to make it there. The wind is really using up the gas.

Halfway, and sputter sputter. Then gas. Then sputter, sputter. Then gas. Then hill -- uphill. Yes, you can see where this is going. Side of the road. No gas. Tony tracks down his friend Tom (who was supposed to go riding with us). He's going to jump in his truck and bring us gas. I remind Tony to tell him to bring his Harley key. Yes, you can see where this is going.

Tom brings the gas, but not the Harley key. And, a toolbox key will not open it. So, we have gas, but no way of putting it into the tank. Out comes screwdriver and hammer. One way of opening a gas cap...

We have gas. We have movement. No Muenster for us. Head towards home, stopping in Tioga at Clark's for lunch (BBQ). And then, wind. Lots of wind. The thing about heading home is that you know how far you are. And how windy it will be. Are we there yet? is all I think. And all Tony thinks -- no cruise control with this kind of wind.


Get home around darkness. There's an adventure. Fun? Yes. Stressful? Yes. Something to blog about!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pinehurst Golf Academy "One of Three" Golf Experience Reflections

Still don't have many photos to post (Brad and Kris are sending me theirs since I was negligent on the photo op front). But, sitting in the Admirals Club with time to kill, figure I'd start putting down some afterthoughts on this experience. They aren't in any particular order. And they may ramble and you'll get bored, but I really have nothing better to do.

Few (or many) things:
* If you see a post from Pinehurst asking you to send an email about why you should be on camera for three days of Golf Academy -- for FREE -- jump on it (sorry, but I didn't share this post with my friends because I didn't want to get the word out). Amazing experience.

Dan, Brad, Kris meeting up for drinks and dinner on Thursday night. Tim got in late.
* Even if you have to stay up late, spend as much time as you can with the people that you're going through this experience with. Dan and Tim were great as producers of this show. Brad and Kris were great to experience this with. The more time you spend with them, the easier it is.
* Hope that you have a Brad in your mix. What I mean by that is -- a on camera sports person. He'll take over when you're having issues. And you will have issues (see below).
* Being broken down in the academy AND being on mike and on camera all of the time -- and interrupted while you're thinking 30 others things and can't even remember your name -- IT'S HARD. With all of my in person, in front of people experience, theatre experience, I didn't think I'd have a problem with the camera at all. Oh, I was so wrong.
* When they drag all participants into the bay to video ONE swing, you will be nervous (it's a small room and you barely know anyone). You may miss it (but nobody did in our group). They don't really care if you hit a ball or air. They just want to take a green highlighter to show you all of the things that are wrong with your swing (while I haven't had this, it's kinda like going to a plastic surgeon where they take a pen to all of the areas you want nipped and tucked).
Stephanie, bartender at Dugans
* Dugans can be an evil place, especially if you go before Day 1. But, don't turn it down.  You're here for the full experience of Pinehurst, the Academy, and being "a superstar." You're supposed to have a hangover opening day.
* For dinner, definitely order all three courses (appetizer, entree, dessert). In my case, everyone else ate what I didn't. In Dan's case, we had an extra appetizer since he was going to skip his (he wasn't thinking about the team, but we quickly recovered for him).
* If you're a morning person like me, you're going to suffer if you wake up before 530 am (even 545 am). No in room coffee makers (hotels could burn down, or so they say). Going for a walk each morning didn't quite cut it while waiting for the coffee to show up in the lobby. Doing yoga in my room didn't quite cut it either.
Who couldn't order a Slammin Sam to drink on a golf course. Yes, I'll have two please. Probably should have ordered three.
* On Day 1, they will "break you mentally and physically" with the instructor analysis, video analysis, on course practice. You have 51 swing thoughts going on in your head and you can't figure out which one you want to think about. And while on course, you're also dealing with "other stuff" and the instructors pushing you, tugging you, this way and that to get you where you're supposed to be. And then you might completely miss the ball. It's OK. After they leave after about 8 holes, get a couple of beers (one won't do). Everyone is feeling the same.
* On Day 1, definitely play all 18 holes, but don't expect to "score." Don't expect to really even care the last nine. Enjoy the beer and the company you're with. And the fact that the mikes are off and the cameras too, and you can say bad, mean things about the producers (not that we did, but we could).
* Definitely eat all three meals. They are on the package. And, the food is really good. DEFINITELY DON'T SKIP DESSERT AT PINEHURST!
* On Day 2, you'll feel "human" again. They'll work with you on all of the swing thoughts they gave you and encourage you. And you'll actually hit some pretty good shots (of course, these beauties will always be off camera and the producers will only capture the misses -- hopefully they were hiding and secretly filming when I was hitting these shots).
* Ask questions. Listen to your instructors. Ignore the producers and pretend they aren't there (easier to do Day 2). Maybe if you get them drunk the night before, they may be ignoring you and you can focus on golf.
* If they ask you if you want to go back to the Academy after they are finishing up the on course practice and leaving you on your own -- definitely accept (in my case, I needed to hit 300+ balls so that it felt natural and not so much like a technique).
* From the above, probably not the best idea to hit another 300+ balls after you've already hit that many in the morning...
* Worry briefly if they ask if you ever played golf "the other way" (in my case, right handed). But then just think that they think you have such skills that you'd be awesome both right and left handed.
* Stretch. Stretch. Stretch. (good time to do when you're waiting for the coffee to be out in the lobby).

NOTE: Dan and Tim at Go TV Entertainment were awesome. They dealt with not knowing us but having to deal with us. Not knowing if they would have ANY usable footage of any of us (except Brad). Of not knowing if on Sunday the before and afters would be impressive (or worse than before). Leaving them to go on istock video footage to find golf shots to superimpose onto Pinehurst hallowed grounds (without letting us, Pinehurst, or the general public know that that perfect ball flight was not me, Brad, or Kris, but some long hitter looking to make $300 bucks by selling istock a "perfect tee shot video." -- Have to see if there are any of these. I can't wait to see the final segments, but I know they'll be great.

* Have fun. * Yes, you will wonder who Paul, one of the instructors reminds you of. Yes, you will finally figure it out on Day 2 that he reminds you of Damon Wayans. And, you will never be able to look at him without also seeing the little hat he wore in "In Living Color."


Paul (aka Damon Wayans) giving on course practice tip. We think this may have been the 50 yard hybrid/putt to the green that we all royally sucked at. It was to show that we have "options" around the course. This one was not a good one for any of us. Note camera. Note the mike on Kris.
* Yes, if you're "one of the three" (surely they'll come up with a different format than this or Take 10 if they do it again, but it will involve the Golf Academy and they won't be changing up the format of the Golf Academy as far as I know), you will spend time together. You will not spend much time with the rest of the group away from the academy.
* If your child accidentally has a poop fall out on the floor in a friend's kitchen, fess up to it instead of hiding it, causing her to step in it. It's not your child's fault he couldn't hold it. Technically it's your fault because you can't poop in public and hold it until you get home.
* The camera does make you heavier. Black isn't a bad choice. Crazy patterns, I don't think Dan and Tim would have been too happy. And, you'd look fat.
* Per Laura, if you're a woman, wear mascara -- and lip gloss (and, yes, Laura, I did, even though I didn't reapply).
* You will hate some (or all) of the instructors -- but only briefly. I wanted to kill Jeff out on the course when we had on-course practice. But, the next morning, Jeff did wonders in getting me and my swing back together (sorry, Jeff, for the "I'd like to kill you" thoughts).
* You will revert back to your "school days" when you're talking in class, not paying attention to the instructor. But, you're an adult. And, there's the internet and you can probably google what you didn't hear later.
* If you've had enough of Dugan's, there are other establishments in the village. They don't have kareoke (sp), but they may have live music. All of them will be frequently by (1) men wearing golf clothing in herds because they are on a "guys trip" and out on the town  (2) overly dressed women and their husbands because their husbands are golfing while they are at the spa (3) others -- like us. Don't think we cared too much about what we wore to dinner.
* Even if it's cold, you haven't warmed up on the range, it's cold, and you haven't warmed up on the range, if you get to film a segment playing #18 on Pinehurst #2, do it. And, per the shuttle driver, they put the pin on 18 in the same place that Payne Stewart won the US Open -- each and every Sunday.
* Listen to the shuttle drivers. He told me something about triangular greens and oil and water. I wasn't paying enough attention (see above) so I'll have to google it.
* It's pretty awesome. You'll have an ah ha moment, even if the camera isn't rolling.

Enough of my Pinehurst reflections. Photos to come. Another drink at the bar before heading to USAirways.

Student Video Player - Pinehurst Golf Academy (before and after)

Well, the 3 Day Golf Academy at Pinehurst is over. Headed back to Raleigh Durham Airport, unfortunately unable to play Sunday because there was no 2 pm shuttle and I have to catch a flight. Unfortunately flying US Airways (nothing against them), but there is an Admirals Club. Just watched my before and after video of my swing and there is a Share feature that I'm trying out. If you're not a golfer, you probably don't need to watch. If you are a golfer and know that I've managed to put a game together. But apparently without a swing that should work -- but I got away with. This is what Pinehurst Golf Academy, thanks to Eric, Jeff, Paul and Brian, managed to do with me (yes, stubborn me) in what I would really say is 2 days. And most of the fixing took place on day 2 (first they break you down, then they build you back up). I am amazed and how good the swing feels (and looks). I'm even hitting my woods again. Still have a lot of work and practice to get it right, but I am really happy to participate in the Pinehurst Golf Academy. And happy that I was one of the lucky three selected to be filmed for three days by Pinehurst and Go TV Entertainment.

Student Video Player

There will be more follow up blogs on this adventure, but figured I'd see how a video posts on my blog (first time to try this feature).

Day 2 at Pinehurst Golf Academy: Humiliation or Revelation?

I began Day 2 of the Pinehurst Golf Academy feeling pretty anxious about my game and the fixes I needed to make. But, went into the day with an open mind. This is what I'm hear for. It's not their fault that I have a homemade swing that could look like Charles Barkley's on any given day (please note that he was never referenced when they compared my swing. but then, they didn't reference much of anyone).

Aside: Note to Pinehurst. There are early risers here. And coffee drinkers. But no in room coffee makers. 5 am is a better time to begin serving coffee.

After breakfast and heading back over to the academy, we started our day with routines and practice "class." Nothing really shocking, but reinforced. And they gave us a deck of cards to play "short games." Might be fun in Michigan when we're looking for more reasons to stay out on the course. I know that I'm going to have to figure out a way to work in more practice if I'm going to be able to keep improving. Saturday and Sunday mornings before playing just won't cut it.

After Eric finishes up class, we head to the range for some more full swing work. Jeff starts off with me, again, reinforcing especially my backswing and standing tall, exaggerating my backswing. Feels less foreign than Day 1, but it is a big change and often feels like I'm trying to dislocate my right shoulder. But, it's working. Practice swing. Hit ball. Practice swing. Hit ball. Step and repeat. Over and over. Takes me to a mirror to see the back swing. Asks me if I'm really left handed. Yes. Asks me if I ever played golf right handed. Uh oh. Is the reality that I am so "broken" that I need to start over and play right handed? But, then back to hitting balls and practicing. It's clicking. Then Brian comes over. Asks if I've ever had my clubs fitted. No -- how easy is it for a left handed woman, who is also short, be able to have all of the shafts and clubs to be fitted properly? Well, probably not that hard, but I'm an immediate kind of person and can walk out of the PGA Superstore with a set of clubs. He comes back with a seven iron that is slightly shorter than my clubs. Feels pretty good, but not entirely sure right now if that's making a difference. Everything is different.

Then Eric comes over -- Eric is in charge of the Academy -- works with me some more. Then break time and time for sand play. Paul (who we figured out finally sounds like Damon Wayans and we're giggling thinking of him with that hat he wore in In Living Color) does the demonstration. Clearly has done this demo before because he's hitting four balls out of the sand at the same time, backwards balls, four irons with a lip, etc. I'm so "obsessed" with my other game that it's hard to commit to the bunker play.

Then putting analysis (big surprise that they determined that I have a longer back stroke and decelarate on my return). Then putting practice. Finally lunch and then we're going to go back onto the course for some on course training. We get Eric.

On course is interesting because we hit off the tee -- them forcing me to hit my driver, which is going more forward, but still pretty awful. After our tee shots, head to different places. 150 yards out. 125 yards out. Shot over a bunker onto the green. Side hill down hill lie to the pin. Long putt off the green. Short putt off the green. I'm taken away in the middle of it for some video. And come back for one more hole with Eric. When he's getting ready to head back to the Academy, suggests that I go with him back for more range instruction. Wants to synch my "new backswing" with follow through. Sounds good. How often does one get the chance to have instruction like this?

Back on the range, Eric sets up a station for me and works on my follow through. More out. Feels like I'm hitting a baseball compared to where I was. Foreign, but when a couple go where they are supposed to, it feels so "simple." Alternates me between my 7 iron and 3 wood (yes, the 3 wood). 7 iron grooves in pretty easily. 3 wood -- harder. But having not hit this club in almost a year, can't expect it to "work" as easily (Kris, one of the other selections had the opposite. Wouldn't hit his irons). Practice swing. Hit ball. Practice swing. Hit ball. Step and repeat. A lot of golf balls. Eventually my body didn't really want to hit the ball. But Paul came and gave me a couple of final "checks/fixes" and I hit a couple of great 3 woods before ending for the day.

Shower. Dinner with Brad, Kris and Dan and Tim who are producing this segment. While we've interacted with the rest of the people in the academy, we do spend more time together in our group, going through the same experience. Couple of drinks and then bed. We're all dragging a bit. This is a lot of golf.

Day 3. Swing analysis: then and now. Wrap up. Then back to Dallas.

I go to bed feeling pretty good -- actually better than pretty good -- about my swing.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day 1 at Pinehurst Golf Academy (the horror)

Day 1 at the Pinehurst Golf Academy. Not only do the three of us being filmed have to deal with finding out about our golf swing. We also have mikes (sp) and are going to have cameras in our face the entire day. Little did I know how difficult it would be. We all meet up for a great breakfast buffet in the Carolina Room and then head over to the pro shop. They stage us in our carts and we head over to the other side of the driving range to the academy. Fill out a form asking about what we think the state of our game is. I put in average to weak in most categories -- I know I am an 11 handicap, but I also know that "I'm not that good." That's why I'm hear. They get Brad, Kris and I miked up and then off to the driving range to hit a few shots. The instructors go down the line -- I hear "that was pretty good though" as they have a check list to go down. I hear "shoulder" and "head." Don't really know. I thought I'd be wiffing balls on the range but they looked like my normal shots.

Then they steer all 12 of us into a bay to have one shot videotaped to analyze. This is tough because you're in a small room with everyone in the back, watching each of us take shots. I get to go last, with Barry, because as lefties, they have to move the cameras. All I can say was that I was happy that it went airborne and I didn't shank it. Then, back to the driving range where they rotated instructors showing us what we need to do. Find out that my head bobs down a whole lot. And my shoulder dips. And I over rotate (I definitely know that) and my backswing goes in, not out (I know that). But, I've managed to make it work for me. And then they bring us into an office to see our swings. Have to admit that I've seen my swing on video, but never had it taken apart quite like that. But, it's good to visualize and see what's going on. Something I can work on (and hope that come Sunday that there is a difference when they retape us).

The video and interviews is tough. You already have all of these new swing thoughts going on in your head -- and then Dan and Tim take you aside and want you to talk about it. Barely can say my name I have so much going through my head. Pretty much sucked at being on camera because I was thinking too much about golf that dialogue just didn't want to come out.

Then chipping. The cameras were off for this segment -- could have used them because we looked pretty good in this part. Then pitching. Trying to commit to new swing thoughts and carrying over the bunker -- sometimes it worked. Sometimes not.

After lunch, we get to have on-course instruction. Really looking forward to this portion. Or so I thought. Paul took us out for the first four holes. Basically taking us to different places on the course to try different shots. Of course, this is the first time I've used a wood since December, so not only am I dealing with new swing thoughts, I'm dealing with clubs that haven't been my friends for a while. Definitely not so good, but Paul was encouraging and I actually hit a few. I don't want to revert back to the 4 iron off the tee and want these clubs back. But, it is so frustrating. And with cameras on, it's all being recorded. Damn it sucked. But, that's why I'm here and it's easier to break this apart here than at home. My mind registers what they are telling me, but my body is saying "no, no, no." I wish there was a machine you could plug into that would step and repeat it until the body says "yes, yes, yes." Paul had us also try some other kinds of shots like using a hybrid from 40 yards, bunker shots (we looked pretty good in this segment). But, off the tee, I just didn't hit one good shot. After Paul, Jeff joins us for more on course instruction, trying to give me some drills to help get the body in line with what it's "supposed" to be doing -- but still doesn't. They then leave us to finish out the round. The weather, at least, is beautiful. And the company of Brad and Kris good too. Brad's from Scottsdale and Kris lives in Ashville. Nice to be off camera for a little while. We've also decided that it's been a long day and we've hit a whole lot of golf balls.

A couple of beers after our round, the academy cocktail party, then shower, change and dinner on the patio at the Tavern (we're staying in the Holly). While my game is pretty shaky and my mental state as well, the food and company is good. A beer at Dugans and then bed. Day 1 is over. Success? Well, it doesn't feel like it. Haven't had that "ah ha moment" and don't know when I will. I will, but this isn't going to be an overnight success story. I've been using this homemade swing for so long that it's pretty grooved in physically and mentally.

Ready for Day 2. More of the same, but hopefully better. And hopefully will be more comfortable with the camera on top of the instruction.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pinehurst, here I come.

Sitting on USAirways, heading to Charlotte. My intention was to read, but the young lady (read: terror) behind me makes it impossible to concentrate. So, we’ll start on the blog for this upcoming adventure.
Backtrack to last week. Was on Facebook and saw a post on Pinehurst page. They were looking for three individuals who were willing to be on camera and attend a three day golf academy. Free academy, free lodging, free meals. Send an email why, they said. As I’ve been chronicling my “driver yips,” unable to hit my driver, or my woods, having to settle for 4 irons and loss of distance, I looked at my calendar, figured I could be free if I could get a flight and shot a quick email to them. Didn’t spend much time. Mentioned being left handed. Mentioned my “driver yips.” And missing playing the white tees since I want’s hitting my woods. Said choose me. Pretty short and simple email. Figured maybe they’d do a social media search and find me and see that I’m a little bit of a golf nut. Sent and then went back to work. Didn’t share the post for selfish reasons -- figured that if I shared to my friends that I could lose my opportunity (sorry guys).
So, come Tuesday, I get a call in the morning on my way to a meeting from Dan at Go TV. He’s calling about my email to Pinehurst. Asks some questions about my game, asks what I would think about spending the time on camera for three days. Asked more questions, but I was driving so probably only paying half attention to what I was responding to. Said that if I could get a flight, I was in. He said he had to make a few calls, but I was the number one women they were considering. Get back to the office, checked airfares -- in particular American, where I have status. $1,600 round trip. Sorry, but no go. Check other airlines and US Air has flights that are only about $650 round trip to Raleigh Durham. Calculate the baggage fees, other fees and it still doesn’t make sense to go American. But we booked it (yes, and the next morning, doublechecked American in case there was a big drop and I could cancel these flights). Oh, how I love the status I have on American. Seat selection, early boarding, no bag check, Admirals Club. But, I’m heading to Pinehurst.
Of course what I’m going to wear on camera was on my mind -- but not really. Black is slimming so we are pretty much wearing black. Thought about taking all of my Pebble Beach attire, hoping that when I show up that they just have to outfit me in new Pinehurst attire. But, changed my mind (some Wisconsin, some Michigan). Made sure I packed makeup that I normally don’t wear on the course. I’m hearing Laura Holt tell me “just a little bit of mascara and lip gloss and don’t forget your tinted moisturizer with SPH.” Can’t let her down. Jason Alexander’s advice is to make sure I wear the same colored shoes. Done.
So, Wednesday night have to attend the Dallas IABC Quill Awards where we are up for an award for the Tyler Technologies 2011 Annual Report and haven’t packed anything but my golf clubs. We win an award of excellence so it’s a great start to this adventure. Get home, pack (yes, Woodbridge is represented with a golf hat and a pullover), and off to sleep.
Up and at the airport pretty early. I’m worried that it’s going to take more time since I have to go through the “normal people” lines. Also hoping that there is an Admirals Club in Terminal E (there’s not). OK, here’s a plug for US Airways. I have to give the person at the gate credit. The plane was running late (took off early and caught head winds). He prepares everyone for a firedrill to get us boarded quickly so we can make up some of the time so we can all hopefully catch our connecting flights. He does it in a professional, yet funny manner that I don’t see from American (will have to check to see if US Airways is on time more). Boarding process is efficient, except for the people who put their rollers in the wrong bin the wrong way and more rearranging commences. And, more humor from the flight attendants who are bossy in a funny way when it’s time to turn off our phones and get seated: “You have connections, we don’t. So get in your seats.” “If you don’t want to turn your phone off now, we need you to get off the phone.” Meanwhile the mother (who, by the way, is just as irritating as the beast and her older sister) behind me with the terror is trying her best to get “it” to stop being a nightmare, even telling the flight attendant that her child can get kicked off the plane. What I do want to plug American for though is “nicer” planes than US Airways. But, I’m heading to Pinehurst.

So, what’s in store. DFW to Charlotte. Then Charlotte to Raleigh Durham. Get my bags which will hopefully make the connection. Catch the Pinehurst shuttle to Pinehurst (about 1 hour and 15 minute drive). Supposedly Brad, one of the other three “stars” will be on my shuttle. We’ll get checked in -- think I’m staying at the Carolina or the Holly -- a different place from last time we stayed when we were at the main hotel. I think these are going to have more character. We’re to meet up with Dan at the bar with the third -- I think he’s from North Carolina and Brad is from Arizona. For a drink and the run down.

The academy. Of course I went online and checked it out. It’s going to be pretty packed from a schedule standpoint. Here’s the agenda (Tony made fun of me for actually printing it out -- I just had to know) -- you can also view it on the Pinehurst Golf Academy section at www.pinehurst.com):

Friday, October 19
7:00 am Breakfast with Sue in the Carolina Room
(along with all 12 participants in this three day academy)
7:50 am Meet at Resort Golf Shop
8:00 - 8:30 am Opening Clinic
8:30 - 9:45 am Full Swing with Video Interview
9:45 - 11:00 am Chipping and Situational Practice
11:00 am - 12:15 pm Pitching and Situational Practice
12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm On-course Practice *
6:00 - 7:00 pm Cocktail Party
* this I’m looking forward to -- play 9 holes on one of the courses, except #2 with the instruction. And then, we can keep playing the rest on our own (of course I’m going to get my 18 holes in).

Saturday, October 20
8:00 - 8:30 am Opening Clinic
8:30 - 9:45 am Putting and Situational Practice
9:45 - 11:00 am Bunker and Situational Practice
11:00 am - 12:15 pm Full Swing
12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm On-course Practice
Sunday, October 21
8:00 - 8:30 am Opening Clinic
8:30 - 9:45 am Full Swing with Video Review
9:45 - 11:00 am Chipping/Putting Review
11:00 am - 12:15 pm Pitching/Bunker Review
12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Play Golf
Head back to Dallas.
Am I nervous? Yes. Don’t know where the camera will be (me and my line of vision) or how my swing will react to being on camera. Don’t know if the camera will add 20 pounds that I don’t want. Don’t know if I’ll cooperate with the instructors (who supposedly are going to work with your swing, not break it apart and start over). But excited to have three days of intense golf instruction at Pinehurst. And hoping to break the curse of the driver yips. And work on my putting. And bunker play (guess they won’t let me use my putter). And short game. I’m sure at times I’ll be on form. And at times I’ll be a basket case. But, at least with my experience in advertising, and being in front of people, I think I’m up to the challenge. Hopefully on camera I will restrain myself from any “colorful language” that I have been know to blurt out. At least I can guarantee that I won’t have a Pete moment and throw a club (sorry, Pete, you knew I had to work that in).
And then hope I bring a new game back to Woodbridge. Hammer!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Maggie and Kat

Everyone knows that Maggie and Kat rule the house. Maggie, is going on 11 years old in November and while she's creaky -- and missing three toes -- manages to get around. And amazing how quickly she gets up when she smells cantaloupe (why, we don't know), or bacon, and a few other things. And, if I'm not out of bed in time, she is right next to the gate waiting for her cookie. Took her to the vet last week and she's down to 150 pounds. That's a good wait for an old girl. Hard to believe she once was 230 pounds.

And then there's Kat, or Kat Dog. Our poor little girl -- who we thought was going to be a little white princess puppy to find out that white terriers don't like to stay white, and like to roll in places they should so that they can smell extra special. Well, Kat has been suffering with skin issues. Itchy scratchy, flaky skin, infections. Poor baby and the vet hasn't been able to figure out what's wrong.  But, after more and more reading, westies are prone to skin issues.

So, we moved Kat off of Maggie's food and on to a glutten free food and cookies. Help? Who knows. She still likes to try and steal Maggies food and cookies. And, she gets Benadryl 2X a day (and loves it). She's been on Prednisone (but, that's not good for a long time and she also got pretty chunky as it makes you hungry). And antibiotics. And special shampoo. And more trips to the vet. And more time on the internet reading things. But who wants their babies to suffer? Not us.

Yesterday I posted on a Facebook Westie site including asking about a medication called ATopica. No feedback. But, the English Mastiff group I belong to is quite vocal and informative, so I decided to post it there. Whammo -- raw diet, chick pea flour dog cookies, Sojos dog food (raw dehydrated and then you add water), Natural Balance dog food, holistic vet, animal dermatologists. Could be mites, could be thyroid, could be allergies, could be... Very helpful information that now I'm contemplating. Didn't know that the glutten free dog foods still have stuff in them that Kat could be allergic too. Very helpful stuff from the English Mastiff community.

First a Produce Co-op, then a composter. Now, it sounds like going organic may be in Kat's future.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pantry/Fridge Clean Out Week

I said I could post whatever I want to on my blog but that most would be golf related. Here is an unrelated blog post (that was inspired due to the rain delay at the Wyndham tournament on Sunday). If you've never done this, it can actually be fun: clean out your pantry and fridge week.

The goal is to pretty much empty out your cabinets and refrigerator and freezer of stuff that you forgot about (microwave popcorn). Stuff you bought but haven't used (microwave popcorn). Stuff that you've bought too much of (for some reason, I like to have lots of cream of mushroom soup).

Yesterday inspired me to do this. Don't know how much we'll eliminate this week, but we're determined to purge the kitchen. This can be a challenge if you want to create a meal and not a hodgepodge.

Sunday night dinner resulted in us using up the frozen ground beef (adding Lipton's French Onion Soup mix, Panko Crumbs, Worcestershire Sauce, Eggs), hamburger rolls (two in the fridge we discovered) and Canned Baked Beans.

Tonight we're having "Thanksgiving," consisting of roast chicken tenderloin (marinated in something from the pantry), cranberry sauce (had a bag in the freezer, along with a solo orange), mashed potatoes (boxed -- note to self, Tom Thumb's brand is not as good as Hungry Jack if you're opting for the boxed mashed potatoes), and Stuffing Casserole (featuring fresh broccoli, cream of mushroom soup, herbed stuffing, mayo, and egg).

Tuesday we'll have Flank Steak, baked potatoes (plus sour cream and shredded cheese). An freezer made cole slaw (forgot I made that so we'll give it a try).

Wednesday, I think we'll be having chicken thighs with some sort of "rice product" and use up one of the final cans of vegetables left (since signing up for the Urban Acres produce coop, the idea of canned veggies is unappealing.

Thursday or Friday may be spaghetti night with homemade sauce from the freezer and pasta from the pantry. We can't do without garlic bread, which may be the challenge since we're running low on bread. Bisquick may be calling our name in that department -- or, the refrigerated pie crusts or frozen phyllo dough. For a veggie, may be making some sort of salad (which will also use up some of the random salad dressings we have in the fridge).

You're thinking, this doesn't seem pantry cleaning enough. Well, we can add that I took out a loaf of zucchini bread from the freezer for breakfast. Have taken some broccoli soup (homemade from the freezer), chard, sausage and white bean soup (homemade from the freezer) for lunch, along with the Plucots from the fruit drawer, granola from the pantry, and the fruit sorbet freezer things that have lived in the freezer for at least a year.  Some almost finished boxes of crackers (note to self: check to see if they are stale). No buying lunch for me this week.

Are we going to completely empty the pantry and fridge? Not exactly. But, if we can use this as a good time to especially clean out the freezer of all of the soups and such I've been making and freezing and then not using. And a way of eliminating at least a few canned items. And using up a few random bottles of stuff bought (e.g. salad dressing and other condiments). And a few almost used up jars of seasonings in the spice drawer.

During the week, Tony fends for himself breakfast and lunch wise, so I know he'll be able to put a dent into any bacon, sausage, eggs, bisquits, sandwich meat, cheese, along with loose end veggies that might be good in an omelet. Doubt I'll be able to talk him into using up any of the cans of soup that have accumulated. Maybe if I leave them strategically on the counter...

The two boxes of microwave popcorn? Determined that we'll use up some of it. May have to have "movie night" this week. The eight cans of "cream of..." soup? Well, have a plan for one of them. But may be donating the rest at a canned drive if one is going on.

At the end of the week, officially ending on Saturday/Sunday, when I have to go to the grocery store (and we pick up our Urban Acres produce co-op share), I will let you know how the "purge" goes. There may even be an "after photo."

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Last Days (combined)

Sitting in the Admirals Club, uploading and downloading the last of the blog. Will update with additional photos when I have the time. This is the part of the trip where we all kind of go our separate ways. We had a great meal at Pete's mom's house and she was kind to take us to the airport. Checked our bags. Since Tom and I were upgraded to first, we were able to check all bags but one. Left Pete and Bob smoking on the curb. Hard to believe this is what we believe is our eighth trip (including the one to Wisconsin). Another great experience and wonderful adventures.

Admirals Club at OHare with netbook and gin & tonic, uploading photos to Snapfish.com

Tom uploading photos to his Mac at the Admirals Club
***
As we head back to Chicago to head back to Dallas tonight, I’ll be combining the last two days of the trip, typing away as Pete drives, Tom sleeps and, of course, Daigle sleeps. I'm actually typing this blog so that I don't look forward. After Pete's golf cart incident, and our periodic "coming in hot" commentts this week, I'd prefer not to be looking forward. He's an aggressive driver. Not a bad thing, but the van's brakes aren't the best.


The Michigan golf trip is close to an end, just need to make it back to Dallas. Looking forward to seeing Tony, and Maggie and Kat, and sleeping in my own bed tonight. No, we will not be playing Woodbridge in the morning.


Friday, we wake up, pack up and head to the Lodge for our last breakfast and to check out. I guess people don’t really tip well in Michigan because they always seem so appreciative of tips. In fact, while I added tip to our final bill, the waitress didn’t ring it up. And at check out, I had to insist that they rerun my final tab to include it. Oh, forgot to add this to this blog: I am the bank on the trip. Everyone puts into the kitty and from that comes food, tips to cart people, bev cart, etc. We also have any of the additional charges from the resort go to my bill so we only have to take the difference and split by four. While it’s a pain for me, it works out in the long run. In fact, we have only a few pennies left from this kitty. Perfect amount. Pete was worried about all of the beer we drink that he doesn’t. Tom reminded him that he eats a lot more than us so it comes even. All checked out and off to Saugatuck we head. We’re supposed to be playing the Ravines at 130 pm. On the way, I call Roy, the manager of Remington Forest, where we are staying Friday night. It’s a bird hunting lodge in Fennville. It’s already raining there and doesn’t look good. Told him we’d play it by ear and call if we end up showing up early. Call my nieces, Lily and Clara, to wish them a happy 7th birthday (and talk to Anna and Allison as well). Per Al, it doesn’t look good in Chicago either, with 15-25 mph winds.
By the time we get to Grand Rapids, good steady rain. But, we all sound like the USGA (or PGA) commercial with the golf shack in the pouring rain… “Are you a single?” Our plan: drive through downtown Saugatuck, then head to Ravines and “see.” Saugatuck looks more touristy than I even remember. Ravines is a newer development off of Blue Star Highway. Still raining. We go in, have a beer, watch some of the PGA Championship. I know I won’t play in that. Pete doesn’t really want to. Bob? Tom, well, depending, he’ll play in just about anything. But, we all decide to bail. The game plan: go to Crane’s for lunch, then head to Remington Forest. There is at least a pool table. I’m going to Crane’s by feel not address.


We get a bit turned around, but only slightly. Looks like everyone has the same idea because there’s a 30 minute wait. If the guys don’t like it, oh well. I’m having apple cider and a Sloppy Joe! Crane’s hasn’t changed much, but their menu has expanded. Tom, Pete and I all order Sloppy Joe’s. Bob a chef salad (guessing it’s going to be good since it will be fresh veggies and dairy). They approve of lunch and all buy a loaf of apple butter bread to take home with them.

Head to Remington. Roy (and Babydoll, his dog) get us settled in and leave. We get the TV on and start off shooting pool. Play a few games (Tom, I believe, is the big winner in singles, while Bob and I were winners in doubles). The power has gone out and they are working on it. Tom and I decide to explore outside and go to the barn where there are some chuckers and pheasant. Tom disappears. Then, I hear an engine start and Tom’s getting the gator (ATV “thing) started. I jump in and we head to the house and pull it into the garage. Yes, it is pretty steady rain. I mention rain gear and then we see boots. And I see some overalls. We look at each other and scurry around, me putting on my golf shoes, getting my rain jacket, golf hat, and putting on the overalls. What a get up! We’re just giggling as we plan on going on an adventure around the property. Might as well check it out.



Rigged up outfit to go in the gator (golf shoes, golf rain jacket, golf hat... and overalls).

Raining at bit at Remington Forest, but taking the gator out.
Rain gear and rubber boots found in the garage work for Tom.

Think Tom was coming out of the woods after marking his territory.

Decided not to try it a third time.

Getting ready to check out the distillery. Well, ended up being a deerblind.

Ready to wait for some deer (or bears, or some kind of critter).


Bird hunting field.

Off we go, with no definite purpose in mind. Since Tom’s been on these things all of the time and has a handle on the “wilderness” I figure I’m in good hands. First, around the pond, where we startle a resting deer. Dead end. Turn around and then shoot down the road, waving at Pete and Bob outside on the front porch as we drive by into some other woods. We must have ridden around the property about 45 minutes in the pouring rain, having a good time.

Decide to head back so we don't get lost in the dark, even though we probably have a few hours to go before dark. We're also pretty wet despite our cool outfits. The power is back on and Pete and Bob are wondering what's for dinner. We decide to go check out the place across the railroad tracks that has ribs on Friday. We all thought that Roy said it was at the gas station, but it's at the hotel in Fennville. We all order drinks and half orders of ribs. Great meal (and one of our least expensive of the trip). Then, back to the lodge. The lodge has two bedrooms and a loft and two and a half baths. The loft has a twin and a bunkbed.  Bob and Pete say they snore. Tom doesn't mind bunking, but not with a snorer. I say, give Bob and Pete the bedrooms and then Tom and I will take over the loft. Besides, neither of us will sleep in so we can turn on lights, etc., when we get up. Worked for the most part, except the walls were thin and "Paul Bunyan" as Bob nicknamed Pete, kept him up.

Not raining so we head to South Haven to hopefully find something open for breakfast. Big Boy it is. Then check in at the Ravines (note to Mom: no, this isn't South Haven Country Club. It's a course about 11 years old designed by Arthur Hills). Supposed to be Links style in a Michigan kind of way. We're not hitting it far, but I'm actually in play and making pretty solid contact.





popsicle ball tom found
Pete is the big winner our last round. But, Bob shoots an 81 (39 on the back) for his best round of Michigan. We pack up the golfbags and change clothes to make the drive to Pete's Mom's house for a meal and a drop off at the airport. But first, we need to make a stop at Sherman's Dairy for ice cream. Another childhood memory to revisit.

I order a blackberry ice cream (baby, single, double). Single please. Bob orders the same in a cone. Meanwhile, Pete (of course) ordered chocolate. I've lost track of Tom who is trying stuff, including Sherman Tracks. Well, he ordered a double. And what a double. But, we made him go for it.

Tom's double cone (I am holding it while taking a picture of the table we used to sit at when going to Sherman's)

Blue Moo outside of Sherman's

The boys outside of Sherman's Dairy in South Haven, MI
Off we head to Chicago, stopping in Indiana on the way for gas. Have a wonderful meal (spaetzle -- sp -- with chicken in gravy and salad and bread and a nice Leinenkugal Amber). Move the bags from the van (bye bye van) to the Pacifica and head to OHare. You never know about traffic in Chicago. Not bad.

***
OK, time to load this down and publish it and walk to the gate and make sure Pete and Bob are in the building. Countdown to next year. Reminder: more photos may (or may not) be added to these blog posts.