TPC Sawgrass – the ‘approachable’ championship track

One of the best golfing experiences I have ever had didn’t involve hitting a single ball – it was a short trip to TPC Sawgrass to take a look at the storied course.

If you are ever in Point Vedra Beach, Fla., Sawgrass is a must, and with the PGA TOUR’s best playing there this week, I thought I would share a few details of my pilgrimage.

A foursome waits to tee off on TPC No. 17 while another putts out. It's only about 145 yards from the tips.
A foursome waits to tee off on TPC No. 17 while another putts out. It’s only about 145 yards from the tips.

I have seen a multitude of American courses, and the attitudes of the individuals range. The Texas goat ranches I grew up playing always had the friendliest starters and staff. Now, it seems like the higher the green fee, the snootier the employees become. Not so at TPC. I was a little apprehensive as I approached the guardhouse for the gated community that surrounds the course. As I drove to the gate, the guard came out.

“May I go in to take a look at the course?” I asked.

“Sure,” he smiled. “Just go up the road and take a left by the PGA Tour Headquarters. Enjoy yourself.” Then, he opened the gate. (It costs $5 just to get into the neighborhood where Harbour Town is located, in Hilton Head.)

As my wife and I approached the $64 million clubhouse, we were amazed at its sheer size and beauty. Four or five cars were parked in the reserved spots designated for Tour players. I saw a couple of card holders walking around as we nervously walked up to the double doors.

Another year and no tour card.
Another year and no TOUR card.

“Are we even supposed to be here?” she whispered as the smell of fragrant flowers filled the Florida air.

I pulled open the massive doors…

Volunteers waved hello and welcomed us like we were members. We were invited to wander the facilities as we pleased. I wanted to peruse the pro shop since you can never have too much golf stuff. I bought a couple of items, and when staff saw my name on my credit card, I was referred to as “Mr. Arrington” from that point forward. This is much nicer than what they call me at my local club, which coincidentally also begins with an “A” but is much more anatomical.

As we exited the shop and headed back to the lobby where the Tara-esque staircases led to the upper floor and original paintings of TPC winners don the walls, a friendly older man approached and asked if we would like a complementary tour of the course. He then led us to a golf cart and began to tell us the history of the course, clubhouse, green fees ($495-ish) etc., and then said, “Let’s go see the track.”

TPC Clubhouse
My wife and I with the $64 million TPC Sawgrass clubhouse. According to our tourguide, construction on the “new” clubhouse took place between tournaments and was built in one year with crews working 24/7 — even on Christmas.

He drove us around, took pictures of us, told us about iconic TPC moments and then chauffeured us to No. 17, where we watched a foursome put three in the water. The fourth guy had a kick-in birdie. Everyone applauded. The history of that hole is pretty cool, and to see it in person is something surreal. I will say this though… not that intimidating. But then again, I haven’t ever played with seven figures on the line and thousands standing around me saying, “C’mon dude. It’s only 140 yards.”

As the THE PLAYERS Championship kicks off Thursday, and Rickie tries to repeat, I’ll be watching with a little more perspective and appreciation of the course now that I have a little more familiarity. And as the tournament closes on Sunday, while sitting on the couch, I will say to my wife, “Hey, there is that tee box we stood on. There’s the big clock. Remember, how pretty you said it was? Remember how much you enjoyed the tour? Remember, you said I could play the next time we were in the Jacksonville area?” I won’t remind her of the green fee, though.

Golf Ball R&D

GolfClubBuyer.com was selected by Titleist to participate in a little Golf Ball R&D with a couple of golf balls they are working on.   In the mail box was a small box with  2 sleeves of fresh golf balls.  Six balls in all. The first sleeve was identified only as a ball with a black triangle and the second sleeve was identified with a black square. So, our marvelous staff had no idea as to what they actually were.  Could they be a new sooped up Pro V1 or Pro V1X or maybe something better?

Our first bit of fun came on the practice green inside our world headquarters.  The result – the black triangle felt soft. Similar to the Pro V1. Firm but soft.  The black square had a little more “click” to it similar to a Pro V1X.  Just a smidge firmer off the face. But, still felt really good.

 

Titleist Golf Balls

 

Next we ventured out to the club and hit a few chip shots. The feel was similar to the putting test.  However, when chipping we noticed both balls stopped equally. Could the triangle and the square be the same ball? Not sure.

Then it was on to the tee box.  We stuck a tee in the ground and loaded up the big stick. Whack! The triangle ball flew of the club face and settled down in the fairway at a distance that was equal to what our crack staff would normally hit a drive.  The ball flight on the triangle seemed to be somewhat high but not over the top. Next up the square ball took off with a slightly lower trajectory and landed with in a few yards of the triangle ball. Could this be the same ball? Not sure.

Down in the fairway we dropped two of each and begin to hit a few middle distance irons. Both balls jumped off the club face and seemed to be equal in distance. Again, the ball flight was slightly different between to the two. Are they the same ball? No sure.

After several rounds and hundreds of shots with each our test was complete.  And, to be honest with you we could only see a bit of difference between the two. But, we really LOVED both balls.

We completed our survey with Titleist and are waiting to see if they clue us in on the new product.  If so, we will let you know.

Until then, hit them straight.

“The Boss”

GolfClubBuyer.com

 

 

 

 

 

Trophy Courses

Trophy courses or bucket list golf courses, do you have any?

Like Pebble, or maybe Pinehurst #2 and of course The Old Course at St. Andrews. It’s fun to dream of hitting the links and playing courses you grew up seeing on television.

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The Lodge At Pebble Beach

Planning and patience is the key. Write out your plan on paper, dream a little and put the plan into place.  You may need to coordinate some travel with business if family vacations are limited. And, be sure to be patient.  It may take a few years to hit all the spots on your list. But, in the end it is well worth the effort.

Places like Pebble, Pinehurst, Torrey Pines and all the other great courses we dream of playing just have that atmosphere.  You just want to hang around and soak it all in. KZCal 031

Or, walk out on the course and just stare out at sites such as the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. All the while thinking about all the greats that walked the same fairways in years gone by.

 Save some pennies too.  The cream of the crop usually like to push those green fees up to the top of the bunch.  And, is some cases require a one night stay to get a tee time. Don’t let that detour you.  Memories are usually not free. Take the plunge.  Pick out a few trophy courses and go for it in 2016 or 2017.

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I love this game.

 

“The Boss”

GolfClubBuyer.com

Craft Farms Golf Resort

Are you headed to the Alabama Gulf Coast anytime soon for a little relaxation and some golf? If so, be sure to book a tee time at Craft Farms Golf ResortCraft Farms Resort Just north of Orange Beach, Alabama on highway 59 the Craft Farms Resort offers two Arnold Palmer signature courses. “Cotton Creek” plays to 7127 yards from the gold tees and a leisurely 6617 from the blue tees. The course offers an impressive lay out featuring plenty of water, sand, wildlife and undulating greens that roll true.  Cotton Creek can be a little long and tight if the wind comes up off the Gulf of Mexico. Be sure to bring your “A” game to this challenging course. Cotton CreekOn day two you will want to slip over to the “Cypress Bend” for 18 more. Cypress Bend plays to 6848 from the gold tees and 6432 from the blue tees. Cypress is a smidge wider and little more forgiving off the tees.

Both course are usually well maintained and well worth the green fees. Check out GolfNow for a bargain or two on these two wonderful courses.

The facilities at Craft Farms are top notch from the range to the grill you will be impressed.  And I guarantee some good ole “southern hospitality” from the staff. Craft Farms

If your significant other is not a golfer the Tanger Outlet mall is a mile or two north and has hundreds of shops in one location.

Hit em straight and enjoy the game this year!

 

“The Boss”

GolfClubBuyer.com

Country Club of Brewton – Brewton, Alabama

Golfnow.com

Took a stroll up to the sleepy lumber down of Brewton, AL, which is just across the Florida line to play golf at the Country Club of Brewton. Prior to departing I booked an 11.50AM tee time thru GolfNow.com for $22.50 at the Country Club of Brewton (a real bargain considering this course is a 9 on a 10 scale). A wonderful Jerry Pate designed course. I pulled into the parking lot around 10.30 AM and my little #Subaru Outback was the ONLY car in the lot. No kidding! It was a cool 41 degrees out side but the sun was shining bright and a wonderful day for golf.

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I checked in at the clubhouse and was greeted by friendly staff, grabbed a bucket of range balls and loaded my clubs on the cart. Drove over to the range in a peaceful solitude only found out in the country. In between practice shots you could hear the birds singing and large squirrel scampering thru the fall leaves. I knew I was in for a relaxing day.

Golfnow.com

The course plays to about 6500 yards from the white tees and is a fair challenge to “theaveragegolfer”. The course is always in fantastic shape and today was no exception. I teed off on #1 around 11.10 and whistled thru the front nine in about 1 1/2 hours and that included hitting several practice shots on each green/fairway, etc.. After seeing the buffet menu I was tempted to stop at the turn for Lunch. Golfnow.com Fresh fried catfish, hush puppies, cheese grits, bbq beans, gumbo, a fresh salad bar and even some cookies. And, of course, sweet tea as can only be made in the South. I decided I wanted to sit down and enjoy this feast without feeling rushed so I finish the round so I could relax and eat without have to think about the back nine. I finished up the back nine in about 1 1/4 hours (did not hit as many practice putts, etc.) and headed straight for the buffet.

Finishing up on 18 it dawned on me, this is the very first round I could ever remember where I did not see one other golfer all day. Not on the practice areas or on the course. It was such a beautiful day and the course was it such great shape I could not believe more golfers were not out enjoying God’s beautiful country.

Oh well, I sure enjoyed the Country Club of Brewton. If you are ever in the area it is definitely worth playing. And, don’t forget the buffet!

Hit em straight!

“The Boss”
GolfClubBuyer.com

The Walker Course – Clemson, SC

The Walker Course – Clemson University in Clemson, SC is a wonderfully designed course. From the tips (Tiger) the course plays to 6911 yards. For the average golfer the purple/white tees are enough at 6261 yards.  IMG_2124

Located in Clemson, SC and within walking distance to Clemson University the course is a must play for any golfer traveling thru this part of the country. Although Clemson is a few minutes off the interstate the course is worth the drive.

 

Recent course upgrades include beautiful Zoysia Diamond grass on all 18 greens. The putting surface are PERFECT! The course winds around Lake Hartwell and the 17th hole is known as the Tiger Paw.

While you are in Clemson stop by the stadium and see Howard’s Rock. IMG_2147

The folks in the clubhouse are super friendly and the green fees are very reasonable. Check it out!

The Boss,
GolfClubBuyer.com

The Gulf Coast – Golfing Paradise

The Gulf Coast – Golfing Paradise

Living on the lazy gulf coast is a wonderful life! The #golf is fabulous and the white sand beaches with emerald waters that run from Panama City Beach, FL to Orange Beach, AL are just phenomenal.

We were relaxing Monday evening at The Gulf overlooking Alabama Point and the beautiful Gulf Of Mexico and we both agreed that being 15 minutes from the beautiful Perdido Key area is amazing. Watching Wild Hearts sail in from the gulf, seeing tourist on the dolphin cruises and enjoying a great meal together out doors is an awesome way to spend the afternoon.

Top it off with dozens of quality golf courses in the area such as Perdido Bay Golf Club, Lost Key Golf Club, Cotton Creek Golf Club, Kiva Dunes Golf Club and more just makes for tons of fun along the beautiful Gulf Coast. Come join us! And don’t forget to follow @GolfClubBuyer on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We buy and sell clubs. It is what we do!

The Boss

GolfClubBuyer.com

A blog for the Average Golfer.

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