Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Day 2: Eye of the Tiger (Survivor): Alpine and Monument

Since this is the first day of two-a-days, this song may do the trick: Survivor's Eye of the Tiger.

We’ve decided this trip to keep breaking up the foursomes so that everyone gets to play together. Day 2 we start off with breakfast at the Lodge -- big buffet with omelet station. Pete’s lamenting being able to order off the menu and have Eggs Benedict.  Ron likes mustard with his eggs. Cory has a bacon addiction (as does everyone I know, including some vegetarians). Grab a to-go coffee and off we head to the Mountain to check in for our second round on the Alpine.









This morning it’s going to be me, Frank, Ron and Cory in one foursome -- and we’re letting Tom, Pete, Paul and Jeff lead us off. They won’t let all four carts head up the mountain together -- say they’ll get in real big trouble because it’s confusing when more than one foursome is up there -- odd, but we let them head off and wait (no golf ball adventures for us as a result). Off we head up the mountain for the 15 minute ride, seeing golf balls scattered along side of the road on the way. I’m driving because -- well, I drive.
















Game for our foursome is going to be robins -- no trash. Damn. But, at least there is a game. But, we’re playing off of my handicap -- REALLY? That doesn’t happen much. Cory hits a tree monkey on his first tee shot and manages to keep it in the fairway. Frank and Ron start off in the fairway, but their second shots end up hitting some trees. I, like Saturday afternoon, don’t do anything stupid.

The morning round isn’t too good for any of us. You hear a lot of trees. And a lot of “Dammit, [insert name here]. It doesn’t really get much better for any of us, until Ron. But, the great thing about Alpine is that there isn’t anyone pushing us. At first we’re not even waiting on shots (later, this changes and we are waiting on the others -- who seem to be having some trouble of their own since they are spending a lot of time in the heather stuff.) The weather is perfect. It’s peaceful and quiet. And the beer cart woman shows up.  We’re on vacation so it can be beer or beverage at any time.

On the last par 3 on the front I have a mulligan left and use it -- not necessarily to my advantage, but to my advantage. My first shot ended up in the bunker front. My second shot ended up on the left edge of the green, about 30 feet + away. I drain it (thanks to the flag and the cup) for birdie. Win the hole. Cory has a mulligan left on the next, a par 5. And he elects (smartly) to use it. But, we lose the hole after troubles in the bunker.

 Ron has his radio on, playing what I guess you could call soft rock. But Cory decides to put on what I could only call an 80s mix -- he calls it his Milli Vanilli mix. It’s quite fun after you get the rhythm of 80s music in your golf swing. And remembering back to Air Band days at Davidson is funny.

Get to the 17th hole and on the tee box, Cory is standing over the ball reciting (not singing, Blame it on the rain). Hits. Then stands over by Frank, continuing to recite the song. Frank asks him if he’s seen some stars (clearly Frank does not know Milli Vanilli, so we think this is pretty funny -- during the trip, we’ll find lots of things funny). Ron then almost gets a hole in one. We document his birdie with a photo op. And head to 18.

One thing about having eight people is that everyone seems to interpret the rules differently. We give a mulligan off of the tee each nine. We play all OB, lost balls as laterals. If you’re in a divot, or a footprint, or mud, or… move it out. We’re on vacation. But, find out that Cory thought that you could take a mulligan anywhere. Set him straight. Later on in the day, we find out that Pete told Ron that if you take a mulligan, you have to use that mulligan. And later on, on Monday, we find out that Ron didn’t know about the provisional mulligan rule.

Lunch at the shack in the meadow before our round up the mountain at the Monument. I like some of the holes on the Monument, but not so much on other holes. Afternoon is me, Tom, Frank and Ron -- with Pete, Paul, Jeff and Cory following. One pair of golf shoes I brought that aren’t going to make it back to Dallas because the bottom of one is coming lose -- well, it came lose again. So, barefoot golf it is. Only in Michigan can barefoot golf feel so nice on your feet. Even in the bunkers it’s not bad because the sand is good. Enjoyed round 3 (but didn’t play well).




Finish up and Ron has won all of the robins and we make him buy us a beer (much to his whining) while we wait on the second group to finish up 18 (18 is a tough hole if you don’t hit a good teeshot -- Frank, Ron and I elect to lay up on a narrow fairway and then cross over to the peninsula green with a shorter club -- Tom doesn’t and ends up in the hazard). Head back to get the cars and load up.

Tonight is “Paul’s Famous Burger” night -- first time we’ve cooked on any of these trips. But we need to go to the grocery store. The thoughts of 8 people at the grocery store making food decisions sounds, well, painful (especially given that some are a little beer buzzed), so Tom and I suggest we take Paul and then Frank drops everyone else off. Perfect plan. Especially perfect because Kilwins ice cream is in town and we stop for ice cream (being good hosts since Paul is on his first trip…). Then to the grocery store -- used to be Glen’s and now it’s the Family something or other.

Tony is texting me about the PGA Championship -- Phil and Ricky are neck in neck. A few others close by. But, he has to head to PhD to watch the rest because power is out at the house and the juice on his phone is dying.

Drop Paul off and back to our cabin to shower up and get Cory and Jeff -- who are now into the Crown and having left the kitchen since they were dropped off. And they have LPGA golf on -- not the PGA Championship. We change the channel -- but then, Jeff, who I guess likes to wager on things, won’t believe that at 730 pm that the tournament is still on -- let alone them being on the 15th green. Has to be tape delay. Has to be over. Healthy debate between Jeff and Cory that’s pretty hilarious.  So we head over with the PGA Championship still pretty tight and go over to Frank’s (we’ll call it Frank’s since he has seniority and the other vehicle). And watch Rory win his third straight and second straight major (dammit, Phil).



Great burgers by Paul. And it was entertaining and fun with this group hanging out. It’s a good makeup. With healthy debate on over/under with Pete throwing and breaking clubs. And whether throwing and breaking are the same thing. And, Ron and Tom spend what seems like a couple of hours calculating the stable ford and the standings. Tom knows how, but Ron needs to know. And Pete wants to know. I don’t care.

"Eye of the Tiger" - Survivor
Rising up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance now I'm back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

So many times it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rivals
And as the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger

Face to face, out in the heat
Hangin' tough, stayin' hungry
They stack the odds, still we take to the street
For the kill with the skill to survive

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rivals
And as the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger

Risin' up, straight to the top
Had the guts, got the glory
Went the distance now I'm not gonna stop
Just a man and his will to survive

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rivals
And as the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger

The eye of the tiger
The eye of the tiger
The eye of the tiger
The eye of the tiger
The eye of the tiger

Day One: Wake Me Up (Wham)/Forest Dunes

(tape delay on posting: Wifi at the cabin is slow, slow, slow and I can only do one thing at a time on the computer. After Day 2's morning music selection, I have decided to title each day based on an 80s tune. We'll see how that goes. After reading the lyrics to this song, I've realized I didn't listen much to the lyrics...).

Even a 5:45 am flight is early for me, so when Tony thinks on Friday that maybe he’ll stay up all night to take me and Tom to the airport -- I say fine (even though I guess I looked horrified enough that he stayed in).

Off we head to DFW at 3:30 am. This time with no luggage because Frank has our clubs and our bags in his truck (which we found made it to Holland safely -- and he didn’t even have to use one of Pete’s irons for self defense on the ride). Tony drops me and Tom off -- or as Tony calls him, my “Golf Husband.” I don’t know how many of these trips we’ve been on, but it’s been over 10 years. This trip will be interesting: Me and Tom are definitely "regulars." This is Pete and Frank's third trip. Ron's second. And Paul, Jeff and Cory are newbies (Cory has been up here and played a few courses, but don't know if I'd count it as "this trip").

We get to security before security and have to wait. One camper -- newbie Cory -- arrives. He’s pretty chatty this early considering Tom says he’s not a morning person (and quite a beer drinker -- can go beer for beer with Ron). Then we have a Pete and Paul sighting at check in. Get through security with only one incident -- Cory loses his sunscreen.

Get to the gate. Finally a Jeff sighting (he and his wife stayed at the Marriott near the airport to optimize sleep time). They all go and find McDonalds (doesn’t open until 5:00 am). Board and take off to ORD. Uneventful flight. Crossword. Soduku. Solitaire on the Kindle. Jeff sleeping. Pete and Paul sleeping. Cory upgraded to first class. Head to our gate for Traverse City, losing Paul on the way for his first vacation cocktail. Take off from ORD and land in an hour in Traverse City, grabbing a Big Bopper (ice cream cookie sandwich) and my first Vernors at the airport.





Off we go to Forest Dunes. Frank and Ron are less than an hour away from the course. We have about an hour and 20 minutes. Pull up to the sign for our obligatory photo (this group isn’t as up for posing for photos as Daigle and Robert were last year -- or Mark, Mr. “Take My Picture.”)

Pull into the parking lot and Frank and Ron are unloading Frank’s truck. No damage. All clubs accounted for. None broken. Go to check in. Unfortunately, no Twitter greeting like last time. But, they did give us this great deal. Hoping that they would have had an area explaining the new Tim Doak reversible course that they are building (or would it be courses?). They’ve broken ground on it. Can’t wait to hear more about it than, but here’s a link to the announcement this week: http://www.linksmagazine.com/the-buzz-article/double-the-fun  (and this week GOLF Magazine ranked the Top 100 Courses You Can Play and Forest Dunes moved into No. 21 (with Erin Hills in Wisconsin at 22), moving up 12 spots.
Entrance to Forest Dunes (Pete, Paul, Jeff, Cory)

Tony's Pork Butt and Ribs in Dallas
Go to grab lunch while watching the club championship tournament (pretty slim pickings with only about 20 participants total for men, seniors and women). We still haven’t determined the food situation yet, but we think that, like usual, I’ll keep the breakfast, lunch, tip and dinner kitty and then because there was “discussion” -- drinks and stuff on the course you’re on your own. I’m also keeping the stable ford tournament kitty -- $100 per person. All places pay out. Tom will keep track of the adjusted quota during the week.

Good thing that we haven’t figured out the food situation because we sit down and then players start wandering off -- Cory, then Jeff, then Ron, then Paul… think we’ll be herding cats -- don’t know about how drunk cat herding goes -- this week.

3:00 pm tee times and Jim the starter leads us off -- giving us that special bug spray for the gnats that sometimes appear on the course. Was hoping Brodie, the Australian Shepherd on the Golf Channel (I think the superintendent’s dog) would greet us. No luck. Get the obligatory group photo (but Tom’s camera was not set right so I’m hoping on Paul’s camera) at the tee box and then off we head. This round we’re playing cabins in each group (me, Tom, Cory, Jeff and then Frank, Ron, Peter and Paul). Games within groups this time are optional -- we’ve elected to play skins and trash. The greens are supposed to be running faster than usual this time because of the club championship.

Cory has a wee bit of trouble off the first tee. Ditto for Jeff. Tom goes deep. I didn’t do anything stupid but it wasn‘t exactly the way to start off 12 rounds of golf. Tom, of course, hits it down the middle. But, we’re off on a beautiful, but warmer than usual day at Forest Dunes.





The gnats seem out more than most years. Actually, in full force and we keep spraying the stuff and it seems to attract them even more. The marshal tells us that if we take our hats off and then put it on the top of our putter and hold our putter over our head like an umbrella -- it gets them away from our face. Don’t have the photo documentation of this, but everyone looked pretty silly doing so. Surprised there aren’t more pictures on Facebook or Twitter on this occurrence (potentially a wives tale to make golfers look like goofs).





Forest Dunes has a bunch of tee boxes -- including ones that Tom hasn’t played -- combos. And he pretty much cleans up -- he had four birdies and an eagle to shoot a 78. And he’ll be adjusted for the next round based on this amount of points accumulated.

I shoot and 86 -- I’m happy with this. I’m happy with ANY round in the 80s (even low 90s) in Michigan. Jeff’s in the 80s as well. Cory -- well, not so much. But the beer is flowing (Labat’s Blue Light for me and Tom). And Cory is really excited about this amazing divot he took -- and didn’t document. I mean, really excited about the divot. Jeff has a little anger management off of #14, a par 4 on the back side after the bathroom with the pond (drivable from the combos with all of the sand dunes on the right that I usually head into) that I don’t really like (but actually finished this year) -- the one before the par 5. He duffs it into the gunk between the tee boxes and then hits his driver on the tee markers (these nice solid pine cones -- I have one in my backyard). Find out later that it has a nice little dent in it.

It’s hard to blog on this trip anymore about the courses, because I’ve played them. And love them all. If you want more course descriptions, read earlier. Forest Dunes is a gem (except for the gnats). The front is in the forest, the back is links (well, some, but there’s still a lot of trees). The fairways are in perfect, barefoot condition. The greens are fast (we not only had our first eagle and first birdies (from Jeff and Tom) but our first four putt (from Jeff). I managed to play the entire first round with one ball -- until the 18th -- hit a cart path and who knows where it went. And then my first bunker the entire round. We finish off on the 19th Buy Hole with Jeff taking the greenie away from me, but missing his birdie putt.

Texting Tony about the pork butt he was smoking at home -- he sends a picture of it. Looks great and he says tastes great (even though needs more sauce). Then sends an update on the PGA Championship -- at that time 5 are tied at the lead at 10 under, with Phil and Furyk one back.

Pack up the cars and off we head to Boyne, stopping at Burger King (culinary mecca in Gaylord), package store on the way. Checking in is fun with 8, but Boyne is ready for us (no Logan). Drop Frank and his crew off at his house (I guess Frank is afraid of the dark). Then we head to Creekside. Time to unpack and turn in.

Well, shower as well -- I get the room on the first floor with the bathroom across the hall. Men must have designed it because the showerhead is too wide for the shower and in order to take a shower without getting my hair wet, I have to take my shower outside the shower. Puddles. Oh well. But I needed to shave my legs and didn’t want to get my hair wet. I know, my problem. But a design flaw in the Creek side (and other) cabins at Boyne.

Sitting at the dining room table with Tom blogging while Cory is trying to get Jeff moving (he’s not the biggest morning person -- he was the last one at the airport and I hear he’s the last one to get to the tee box at Bent Tree).

This morning is the Mountain courses -- Alpine, then Monument. It looks like I may be post uploading blog stories on this trip as it’s 6:15 am. No sighting of Jeff yet. And nothing from Cory. Don’t know if this is how the week will go getting out of the house. We’ll see.

"Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" was track #3 on the album Make It Big. It was written by Michael, George. Lyrics courtesy of MetroLyrics.com

Jitterbug
Jitterbug
Jitterbug
Jitterbug
You put the boom boom into my heart
You send my soul sky high when your lovin' starts
Jitterbug into my brain
Goes a bang bang bang 'til my feet do the same
But something's bugging you, something ain't right
My best friend told me what you did last night
Left me sleepin' in my bed, I was dreaming
But I should have been with you instead
Wake me up before you go go
Don't leave me hanging on like a yo yo
Wake me up before you go go
I don't want to miss it when you hit that high
Wake me up before you go go'
Cause I'm not plannin' on going solo
Wake me up before you go go
Take me dancing tonight
I wanna hit that high, yeah, yeah
You take the gray skies out of my way
You make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day
Turned a bright spark into a flame
My beats per minute never been the same
'Cause you're my lady, I'm your fool
It makes me crazy when you act so cruel
Come on baby, let's not fight
We'll go dancing, everything will be all right
Wake me up before you go go
Don't leave me hanging on like a yo yo
Wake me up before you go go
I don't want to miss it when you hit that high
Wake me up before you go go'
Cause I'm not plannin' on going solo
Wake me up before you go go
Take me dancing tonight
I wanna hit that high, yeah, yeah yeah, baby
Jitterbug
Jitterbug
Cuddle up, baby, move in tight
We'll go dancing tomorrow night
It's cold out there but it's warm in bed
They can dance, we'll stay home instead
Jitterbug
Wake me up before you go go
Don't leave me hanging on like a yo yo
Wake me up before you go go
I don't want to miss it when you hit that high
Wake me up before you go go'
Cause I'm not plannin' on going solo
Wake me up before you go go
Take me dancing tonight
Wake me up before you go go
Don't you dare to leave me hanging
Wake me up before you go go
I don't want to miss it when you hit that high
Wake me up before you go go'
Cause I'm not plannin' on going solo
Wake me up before you go go
Take me dancing tonight
Yeah yeah

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Michigan 2014: Game On!


OK, the Michigan golf trip, August 9 – 16 is locked and loaded, with eight of us going this year. And we haven’t left and the trash talk is already going. Tom starts it off and then it gets running.

Here are the courses on the trip: Forest Dunes (www.forestdunesgolf.com) , Boyne Alpine, Boyne Monument, Bay Harbor (Links/Quarry, Quarry/Preserves), Donald Ross, Arthur Hills, Heather, Elkridge (www.elkridgegolf.com ), Black Lake (www.blacklakegolf.com ), Crooked Tree, Hidden River (www.hiddenriver.com )


Stars of the show: Tom Warren (aka ProV1, Julie), Liz Kline (The Princess), Pete Dickenscheid (The Volcano), Ron Campbell (The Seagull), Frank Catron (Babydoll), Paul Stark (PMS), Jeff Etter and Cory Hargrave (who are newbies and will most likely have nicknames quickly into the trip). They may pull out if they get a little worried about the email commentary that has been flying this week, along with photo backup. I don’t know if Tom has warned them about the blog. Or the pictures. Or Twitter. Or Facebook. (even though I don’t really do much social media on the trip).

 
This is how the email conversation has been going:

TOM: Campers-

Our 8-some is complete with the addition of Cory Hargrave, another of my Bent Tree buddies and a good guy (of course he is, like Jeff, he's an Aggie!!).  I have attached the itinerary for those of you who do not have it.  Current lineup and handicap indexes are as follows:

Tom Warren                                                    4.0

Pete Dickensheid                                            4.8

Paul Stark                                                        8.0

Liz Kline                                                           11.5

Cory Hargrave                                                 11.7

Jeff Etter                                                          11.8

Ron Campbell                                                  13.1

Frank Catron                                                    15.1

It has been several years since I had more than one foursome along so we need to come up with some proposed games, gambling, etc.  I intend to mix up the players in each foursome daily so everyone gets to play with everyone (unless Pete throws too many clubs and ends up by himself).  We could have a daily group-against-group bet or a week-long "tournament" or ??  Each foursome can have its own game as well.  I am open to any suggestions but the idea is NOT for anyone to win or lose a lot of money.  Perhaps we could all throw money into a pot ($100?) and figure out how to play for the pot during the week.  We can talk about it over the next couple weeks.

I am trying to get Cory and Jeff out to Woodbridge to meet everyone but a 6:30 tee time makes them break out in a rash.  Jeff says he will make it but we shall see.  At least Jeff was in the Army so he is somewhat familiar with the "hut, hut, hut" nature of the trip.

LIZ:  80% packed. Just asked the Bob-In Again for their daily custard flavors. Will dig up that golf game book I have somewhere at home. Counting down the days (but haven’t told Tony about the 545 am Saturday flight, Tom …)


PAUL: Well, Liz is packed 24 days before departure day. I think I will pack 24 minutes before departing. The picture is awesome Liz. What course is it? What is the Bob-In?

Tom, looks like you have the planning well underway. Thanks for doing what you do! What is the Boyne? The place(s) where we are staying?

RON: It’s great not being the Rookie! Don’t worry Paul, soon it will all be clear. And the packing…I’m right there with u…I would get too excited and likely spit up if I was packed that far in advance!

TOM: Jeff informed me that he won't be able to make Woodbridge this weekend because of a "wedding" or some other bullshit lame excuse.  The HIGH today in Petoskey will be 71 with clear blue sunshine!!  I can't wait.  Pete told me he is SOOOOOO excited that Paul is coming on the trip so he has someone to share special moments with, since Daigle can't go (see "Boyneback Mountain" photo).  Of course, Frank and Ron have each other.  Jeff/Cory-don't be scared…..you're mine!! Hammer!!!


LIZ: I’m feeling so alone with all of these cozy couples. But, I told Tony that all of you are gay so this works out fine.

TOM: You are supposed to be "bird-dogging" a rich Bay Harbor dude………………..

LIZ: So far all I’ve mustered is a yardage book from the “Ogre” at Bay Harbor. Guess I need to rethink my Bay Harbor Day outfit. Or maybe I need to try and land a rich Forest Dunes dude.


TOM: Either works for me.

PETE: You guys are sick, no broke back golf this year or in the past.

TOM: Ah, the gimp speaks!!

PETE: Only when you try throwing me under the bus

LIZ: I think someone needs a hug. Paul, this is what will be required of you so Pete doesn’t get his panties all up in a wad.

TOM: Well said, Lizard, well said!!

PAUL: Pete - I thought I was the ONLY one – my feelings are hurt! Are you fooling around behind my back?

PETE: You guys just can't keep your mouths shut.  What happens in Michigan, stays in Michigan. 

TOM: Except when we can get a good laugh at someone's expense!!  You should be more thoughtful about Paul's feelings…he's a sensitive guy.

LIZ: Not when we publish the book it doesn’t. The intro is writing itself as we speak.