Finn Turns Nine

Star baseball player, up-and-coming golfer, great brother, even greater son.

We got lucky again.


Doin’ the Puyallup

Yesterday the Jenkins fam and our friend Sammie ventured south.  Our destination — the Puyallup Fair, which I think is now known as the Washington State Fair.

It was Reese’s first venture there, my first in thirty-plus years, Finn’s second this week.

A fun day out, but it sure wasn’t cheap.

One thing that you can’t say about Reese: she has a tough life.

Last week I took her, Finn and a bunch of her pals to Wild Waves in Federal Way.

For the last 24 hours she’s been with a mostly different group of gals at Great Wolf Lodge.

I know little about how it went but the mom in charge did send a few cute photos our way:

I’ve long thought our May outing to a Husky softball game was the best outing of the year.

Yesterday was a close second.

Finn and Reese and three of Reese’s pals — Emerson, Sammie and Gracie — and I all joined some other friends for a day out at Wild Waves in Federal Way.

We made a full day out of it.

Left the ‘hood at 9 am; there when the gates opened at 10 am; there until the gates closed at 7 pm; home (after a quick dinner at Taco Time) by 8:30.

Not quite a twelve-hour day, but close.

In 2011 I first published my list of my top twenty-five favorite golf courses.  I’ve updated it a few times since then, the last time in 2014.  Now that I’m back from a week of playing golf on east- and north coasts of Ireland, I thought it appropriate to update it again.

Northern Ireland’s visually stunning Ardglass debuted no. 2 on my list.

Of the nine courses I played on this trip, seven made the list:

  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. NEW Ardglass (Downpatrick, Northern Ireland).  As visually stunning as any course I’ve ever seen.
  3. North Berwick (West)(North Berwick, Scotland). Back nine is the most enjoyable nine holes I’ve ever played.
  4. NEW Royal County Down (Newcastle, Northern Ireland.  As of this writing, Golf Digest has it ranked no. 1 in the world.
  5. Prestwick (Prestwick, Scotland.) Very eccentric and about as historic as it gets.
  6. Royal Dornoch (Dornoch, Scotland.). Other-worldly.
  7. NEW The Island (Donabate, Ireland).   A hidden gem located just outside Dublin.
  8. Muirfield (East Lothian, Scotland) Probably the strongest course I’ve played (Portstewart a close second).
  9. Turnberry (Ayshire, Scotland.) Has the beauty and course quality, but lacks Cruden Bay and North Berwick’s fun factor.
  10. Bandon Dunes (Bandon, OR). Probably not as great as its Pacific Dunes sibling, but considerably more enjoyable.
  11. 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.
  12. Tobacco Road (Sanford, NC).  As visually stimulating as any course I can remember, I consider it the Prestwick of the South.
  13. Chambers Bay (Tacoma, WA). Too bad I can only afford to play it once a year max.
  14. 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.
  15. Pacific Dunes (Bandon, OR). The best course I’d ever played until I went to Scotland.
  16. NEW Royal Portrush (Portrush, Northern Ireland).  No. 16 is the toughest par 3 I’ve ever seen.
  17. NEW Castlerock (Mussenden)(Coleraine, Northern Ireland).  Not objectively “great,” but an excellent everyday course.
  18. NEW County Louth (Baltray, Ireland).  Ditto what I said about Castlerock.
  19. Gamble Sands (Brewster, WA).  Voted Best New Course of 2014 by Golf Digest.
  20. Pinehurst No. 2 (Pinehurst, NC).   Only course I’ve ever played that didn’t have rough.
  21. Royal Aberdeen (Aberdeen, Scotland.) Not as memorable as many of the other Scottish courses, but I remember it enough to know it was outstanding.
  22. NEW Portmarnock (Dublin, Ireland).  First “official” course on our 2017 Ireland trip.
  23. Pine Needles (Southern Pines, NC).  Site of three U.S. Women’s Opens and the perfect and prototypical Southern pine-filled course.
  24. The Valley Club at Montecito. (Montecito, CA.)  Course is very good, but the upper-crust vibe is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. (More.)
  25. The Dormie Club (West End, NC).  Right up there with Muirfield and Portstewart in the “big boy” golf course category.

Knocked off the list: Royal Oaks CC (Vancouver, WA); Musashigaoka (near Tokyo, Japan); Bel Air (Los Angeles, CA); Victoria CC (Victoria, BC); Bandon Trails (Bandon, OR); Old MacDonald (Bandon, OR) and Predator Ridge (Kelowna, BC).

When the likes of Bel Air and Old MacDonald fall out of my top 25, and Portstewart and Royal Dublin never made it, you know I’ve lived a pretty charmed life.

Not sure why — it’s the middle of summer — but it was pretty cool and, from my standpoint, a bit surprising:

This morning the family and I ventured south to Seward Park for the kids’ third Seafair Kids Triathlon.

It was a memorable morning, but not necessarily for the best reasons.

Things got off on the wrong foot.  No sooner had we parked at Seward Park than I realized I had forgotten the kids’ bike helmets.  I raced back to Laurelhurst, found the helmets and raced back.  I got there just in the knick of time and I didn’t have the presence of mind to inspect the kids’ transition areas.

Big problem.

The kids left the water just fine.  Finn was in roughly 7th place and Reese was a few spots behind him.  But things went downhill from there — for Reese.  While Finn had a fairly slow transition, he recovered to finish 10th overall out of 99 and no. 1 among eight- and under competitors.

For Reese it was quite another story.  First she couldn’t get her shoes on properly — my mistake for not opening them wide enough to slip in.  Worse, though, was her bike.  It turns out when they laid it down they twisted the front wheel, and no one — including me — noticed.  That caused the brakes to lock, which made the bike barely rideable.   So unrideable was it that Reese went from middle of the pack after the transition (slow because of the shoes) to dead last in the entire field — by about fifteen minutes.  I was very proud of her for doing the 1/2 run in tears — quite a showing of resolve.

Lesson learned: failing to prepare is preparing to fail.  I should have packed the kids’ gear yesterday.  Had I have done so, I would likely not have forgotten the helmets, and had I not forgotten the helmets, I would have had time to properly set up their transition areas.  Instead I played golf.

Reese’s resulting disaster is on my hands.  I put golf over the kids’ preparation.

It will not happen again.