A few recent golf trips warranted me adding four new courses to my top 25, including the great Pine Needles in The Sandhills region of North Carolina.

A few recent golf trips warranted me adding four new courses to my top 25, including the great Pine Needles in The Sandhills region of North Carolina.

In the past month I’ve played some seriously sweet golf courses — first in Eastern Washington at David McClay Kidd’s excellent new Gamble Sands; this past week in The Sandhills region of North Carolina.  A few changes to my Whipping It Out list are warranted:

  1. Cruden Bay (Cruden Bay, Scotland). If there’s a more fun course on the planet I’d love to know what it is.
  2. North Berwick (West)(North Berwick, Scotland). Back nine is the most enjoyable nine holes I’ve ever played.
  3. Prestwick (Prestwick, Scotland.) Very eccentric and about as historic as it gets.
  4. Royal Dornoch (Dornoch, Scotland.). Other-worldly.
  5. Muirfield (East Lothian, Scotland) Probably the strongest course I’ve ever played.
  6. Turnberry (Ayshire, Scotland.) Has the beauty and course quality, but lacks Cruden Bay and North Berwick’s fun factor.
  7. Bandon Dunes (Bandon, OR). Probably not as great as its Pacific Dunes sibling, but considerably more enjoyable.
  8. St. Andrews (Old)(St. Andrews, Scotland.) Makes my top ten because it is the Old Course, but truth be told its true greatness escaped me.
  9. NEW Tobacco Road (Sanford, NC).  As visually stimulating as any course I can remember, I consider it the Prestwick of the South.
  10. Chambers Bay (Tacoma, WA). Too bad I can only afford to play it once a year max.
  11. Los Angeles CC (North) (Los Angeles, CA). Played LACC in November 2013 for the first time since 1993. (More.) Every bit as great as I remembered.
  12. Pacific Dunes (Bandon, OR). The best course I’d ever played until I went to Scotland.
  13. NEW Gamble Sands (Brewster, WA).  Voted Best New Course of 2014 by Golf Digest.
  14. Pinehurst No. 2 (Pinehurst, NC).   Only course I’ve ever played that didn’t have rough.
  15. Royal Aberdeen (Aberdeen, Scotland.) Not as memorable as many of the other Scottish courses, but I remember it enough to know it was outstanding.
  16. NEW Pine Needles (Southern Pines, NC).  Site of three U.S. Women’s Opens and the perfect and prototypical Southern pine-filled course.
  17. The Valley Club at Montecito. (Montecito, CA.)  Course is very good, but the upper-crust vibe is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. (More.)
  18. NEW The Dormie Club (West End, NC).  Right up there with Muirfield in the “big boy” golf course category.
  19. Royal Oaks CC (Vancouver, WA). Put the Oaks near a major East Coast city and it’s a top 100 in the U.S. for sure.
  20. Musashigaoka (near Tokyo, Japan). Click here to see pics of me, Sharkey and Norman there in ’04.
  21. Bel Air (Los Angeles, CA).  Played it for the first time since the 1990′s on our November LA trip.  (More.)  Liked it more than I remembered.
  22. Victoria CC (Victoria, BC). Holes 7-10 are among the best stretch around.
  23. Bandon Trails (Bandon, OR). Would be 4-5 places higher on this list but for the fun factor.
  24. Old MacDonald (Bandon, OR). Top 100 in the world, I’m sure Old Mac will wear on me in the years ahead.
  25. Predator Ridge (Predator)(Kelowna, BC). Oft-times host of the Canadian Skins Game, Predator would have a much greater reputation but for its location.

Knocked off the list: Kingsbarns (Kingsbarns, Scotland); Gold Mountain (Olympic)(Bremerton, WA); Lancaster CC (Lancaster, PA); and Bandon Crossings (Bandon, OR).


Just back from a nine-day vacation — first Washington, DC, ostensibly for my law school reunion; then New York City.  We took a LOT of photos.  Pairing them down to the best has proven difficult, so instead I’ll just share our Shutterfly photo book.

It’s my best one ever — at least until the next one.

Another Sunday before Halloween, another pumpkin carving party at the Becker’s. (2013I2012.)

Was supposed to be a peacock costume, but this looks good, too ...

Was supposed to be a peacock costume, but this looks good, too …




The New Bandon Dunes

Just back from a quick golf trip before heading back east.  My buddy Jeff Benezra and I met my pal Aaron Walley and his pal Steve Ward at a new course in Eastern Washington called Gamble Sands.

Prediction: Gamble Sands will be Washington’s Bandon Dunes.  And if either of you don’t think I know what I’m talking about, just ask Golf Digest.  It recently named Gamble the Best New Course in America.   I likened it to a rugged Castle Stuart.  That’s a good thing: CS is ranked no. 56 in the world.

Place was simply outstanding.  A big boy design from David McLay Kidd but a very playable one thanks to its massive fairways (great for me) and excellent bent/fescue greens.  (Chambers Bay should be so lucky.)  I shot 85 the first day but rebounded with a 73 the next — my best round of the year.   Although I did not hit the ball particularly well, I scored because I was able to avoid most of the massive bunkers that killed my card the day before.   Oh, and Gamble also had what has to be the Northwest’s most beautiful cart girl — a little added incentive for the four-hour drive.

I suspect I’ll be coming back year at least once a year for the next several.  Gamble will also be a new addition the next time I update my Whipping It Out list.  Oh, and a Greenspan Cup or two is almost certainly in Gamble’s future.

Pumpkin Patch 2014

This afternoon the Jenkins fam joined our friends the Swapps for a day out at Swan’s Trail Farms — aka, the Snohomish Pumpkin Patch.

Actually it wasn’t the Jenkins “fam” in toto — Finn stayed home under the weather.  But the three Jenkins’s and four Swapps had a fine day out before retiring to casa de Jenkins to watch the Seahawks game.

A few pics:

Camp Orkila 2014

The kids and I spent the last weekend at Camp Orkila with our respective Y-Guides circles.

I’d like to say great times were had by all but I can’t.

What a difference a cabin makes.

Reese’s Pink Pandas had a cabin right down by the beach.  Perfect.

Finn’s Laurelhurst Lightinghawks, by contrast, got stuck in a cabin in the middle of the woods.  It was roughly 1/2 mile from anything, probably 3/4 of a mile from the beach.   By Saturday night half the circle (myself and Finn included) had bailed for siblings’ cabins.

Oh, and I almost got in a fist fight on the ferry.

A few pics:

Yesterday the family Jenkins ventured north to the Lynnwood Rec Center for Finn’s sixth birthday party.  It was a bit late — I was in San Diego the weekend of his birthday and Rhonda was in Los Angeles last weekend — but it was better late than never.

A few pics of the “Jaws”-themed gathering:


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