Feeds:
Posts
Comments

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.

Advertisements

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.

Another year, another Glendale Invitational.

We didn’t do much this year.  Our Friday round of 38 points had us dead last in our flight.  Our Saturday 72 was good enough to get us back to the middle of the pack — and save us a good deal of money we looked certain to lose after about the fourth hole.

We did manage to finish third in the horse race — good for about $60/each.  And, of course, we were able to kill it in the matching shirts department:

After our disasterous 38-point performance on Friday (I shot a cool 82 sporting a 5 handicap)

 

Saturday’s 72-point total saved us a lot of money (I shot 76).

Greenspan Cup XX

Another year. another Greenspan Cup in the books.  This was the 20th annual edition of the tournament I founded in 1998.  I went 5-0 this year.  Good, but not good enough for my Seattle Team.  We lost a close one — 15 1/2 — 14 1/2.

A few photos:

While I was in Kent for Finn’s playoff flag football game against a bunch of very good teams (we lost early), Reese and Rhonda were in downtown Seattle for the final ballet performance of the year.  I didn’t hear much about it, but Rhonda did manage to capture this mantle-worthy photo:

A follow-up to Saturday’s entry in re: Finn’s Zeeks Pizza Panthers team winning Northeast Seattle Little League’s Farm Division championship.  The theme of my victory speech yesterday was simple: we won the championship — and never lost a game in two years — because of the players’ willingness to work just that much harder than the next guy.  I did not realize how true that was until today.

To wit:  All year long our achilles heal was base running.  Too many instances of running off the base on fly balls resulted in double plays.  By no means were base running problems unique to us, but it troubled me a great deal.

The extra work Finn and his buddy Carter Ellis did the night before the championship game contributed mightily toward the Panthers’ championship.

On the evening before the game, during Laurelhurst Elementary’s ice cream social, I called a special practice.  Finn and his teammates Mats Bashey and Carter Ellis were the only ones who showed up.  We hit a little — I had to throw ’em a bone — but 90% of our focus was on fly ball base running (run off the base just far enough to get back if it’s caught, etc.)   That practice built on our pre-game practice before our previous playoff win.  We later supplemented it with another ten minutes before the championship game.

In the 5th inning of Saturday’s championship game, Carter was on 2nd base.  Wyatt hit a fly ball and third base coach Rick Frederking mistakenly told him to get flyin’.  Carter led off generously, but didn’t do what his coach said and, consequently, got back to second base as soon as the ball was caught.  As Carter was not doubled up, the inning continued with two outs.  Jack Frederking followed that up with a single that turned into a home run thanks to three errors.  Elias Lara followed that up with the same thing.  A 12-6 lead and thanks to the five-run limit rule, we were champions

Had Carter been doubled up, the Bombers would have batted in the sixth inning down 9-6.  I have no idea what would have happened, but I do know the Bombers really wanted to win.

None of this donned on me until Monday night, when Rick Frederking opined that Carter “bailed (him) out” on the aforementioned play.  I pieced it all together and asked Carter’s dad to ask Carter what gave him the presence of mind to run the bases as he did.  His answer: “I remembered what we had worked on the night before.”

Wow.

By no means was Carter the only one who went the extra yard during the season.  Many guys did it throughout this season and last.  In Saturday’s game, however, it is literally the case that his willingness to go the extra yard — during the ice cream social, no less — played a huge part in our victory.  It may not have won us the game, but it certainly prevented the Bombers from getting another chance to win, and knowing how good that team is, that was almost as good.