Disneybound (Literally)

Every February, I head to Walt Disney World for several days with some great gals! We run a 10K and Half Marathon over the weekend and celebrate friendships and accomplishments. Sometimes we got to the parks, sometimes we don’t. We always enjoy the food, beverage and comeradie.

This year I knew I would have Monday to myself as everyone else was flying out early morning and I wasn’t heading to the airport until the late afternoon. It seemed like a perfect time to enjoin two favorites of mine: Disney and golf.

For the unindoctrinated, there is a fun fashion movement among Disney fans. It is called Disneybounding and is where you take your own wardrobe to emulate a Disney character.

Since it was “Princess Weekend” I decided to hit the links with a nod to Aurora, better known to some as Sleeping Beauty.

Lingering at Lori’s

I knew it was going to be a beautiful day in North Carolina and I wanted to take a drive. Who doesn’t enjoy a leisurely car ride through gorgeous scenery? I certainly do! Plus, I wanted to finally drive down to Lori’s Golf Shoppe in Calabash and see it all up close and personal. I have gone online numerous times looking at Lori’s extensive inventory, but never had I actually been in the store. I decided to go the “long” way (by a whopping 12 miles) so I could stop and, basically, just breath the air that is Pinehurst, NC.

Also, I was leaving early enough that I would be able to enjoy the legendary breakfast buffet at Carolina Hotel. Some say it is the best in the golf!  There’s piano music, made to order omelets. fresh fruit, pure Southern offerings, and more. Definitely a great way to start my day.

Note to self: need to return to Carolina Hotel for a Spa Day.

After I was completely satiated, I got back in my car and made my way down to Lori’s.

I’m not a huge shopper and I really dislike trying things on. I expected to go in, look around, buy a piece or two and get on my way. Wow, was I wrong!! I lingered…and lingered…and lingered. There was so much at Lori’s. Clothes, accessories, bags, shoes, and on and on. Lori’s is in one word: amazing!

My Lori’s haul!

Back on the road, I thought it was appropriate to finish out the day at Pinehurst. I had spent so long at Lori’s that it was actually time for another meal!! That’s a full day indeed.

I didn’t go as far as the hotel this time, but stopped up front at the Clubhouse to grab a bite there instead. The “Deuce” has a fun menu and a full bar. It’s a great 19th hole (even if I had not personally been on the previous 18.) There are cocktail choices made with North Carolinian spirits with names like Divot, Slice, and Bump and Run. Who doesn’t like a cutely-named cocktail? Unfortunately for me, I still had a bit of a drive ahead so my drink of choice, at least for this day, was an Arnold Palmer. Sitting there enjoying my fish tacos and watching the groups come up to the 18th green at No. 2 was pure bliss!

Even though I was solo, I was brought into a number of standard post-round conversations: the day’s lucky shots, amazing shots, and bad breaks. Golfers are always social and fun. What a way to finish up a very, very satisfying day. Even if I didn’t swing a club!

How full is my bucket?

I went out to a nearby practice facility and, to be honest, I was a little intimidated. Not that I thought anyone would care how or where I was hitting the ball – as long as it wasn’t at them! It was because I wasn’t sure which size bucket of balls was appropriate. Should I get a small bucket and see how I do? Should I get a jumbo bucket and just keep whacking? Is it better to get two buckets so I don’t abandon all my stuff to trek back to the counter?

Since I took the time to come up with a plan, I knew it best to actually work that plan. In the end, I did some practice math in my head and settled on a large bucket of balls.

The practice schedule I have set up takes 255 shots and I knew I was going to use my own (not range) balls for putting. A large bucket of 100 balls would actually be plenty for my full session. I started out on the practice green creating my three foot circle.

Then it was on to six and nine feet out. Finally, the long putts: 25 feet and 50 feet.

After finishing up putting practice, I took the bucket a little further out to the practice area for my chipping and bunker shots.

Then I gathered up what I had used and headed to the range for pitch shots and full swing practice.

I was recording everything along the way. I can be a bit of a spreadsheet nerd so knowing I’m going to be continually adding data that can be interpreted and helpful was pretty exciting. I’ll update my progress – good, bad, or indifferent – right here on a monthly basis. Perhaps others will “check in” too.

 

Competing Priorities

I am training for the Chicago Marathon. Training for such an endeavor takes a lot of time and focus. It also takes a group of muscles that are a bit different than those for golf. Between the two I feel like I’m always in some type of muscle recovery.

I have set up my marathon training for early early mornings (compared to just early mornings to get in golf practice!) My days now start at 4am instead of 5am. For those that thought I was crazy before, I’d hate to know what they think now. Even with a color coded schedule, my life does seem a little crazy even to me.

Hours of running, hours of golf, hours of work – oh yes, work, can’t forget about those 50 hours per week, making food, eating food, buying food, cleaning, laundry…there just doesn’t seem to be enough time! It is a real challenge to get through each day with these competing priorities, but once I get through one day, then one week, then one month, I just keep at it.

The race is in October. I am really looking forward to visiting such a great city and running such a fantastic race. I’m not fast, but I am determined.

I think determination is what allows me to keep at golf as well.

 

GHIN and Tonic

It’s official. I have a handicap. Not one that ANYONE would be throwing it out there to start a conversation at a cocktail party, but I am no longer NH…and that’s not New Hampshire, it’s No Handicap.

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For me, having a handicap is big! It means I have kept forward with my practice and have now had over 90 holes of peer-reviewed play. I wasn’t riding along in a cart. I was out there pulling the clubs and taking the swings. I was learning. I was playing. I have already experienced exhilaration and frustration, and am starting to realize how to be kind to myself while still picking things apart.

 

USGA’s handicap system is what lets golfers of different abilities get out there together and be competitive amongst the group. The first thing you need is a home club, and it doesn’t have to be a country club. See, golf is for the masses! There are plenty of social clubs and even e-clubs. You just want to be sure it is an USGA-certified club. Then you need a minimum five rounds of play that have been witnessed by other golfers. USGA puts those numbers into their system along with the slope rating of the course(s) you’ve played and bing, bang, boom, you have a handicap.  After you’ve played many rounds, USGA takes the best ten of your last 20 rounds to work into their formula and update your handicap on a monthly basis. Your handicap sets your potential when you step out for your next round.


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Cheers to GHIN!

Ten Things: Golf Travel for a Beginner

There are many golfers that have bucket lists of courses they want to play. They include gems like Pebble Beach, Bandon Dunes and Pinehurst No. 2.  These are absolutely amazing tracks, especially if you have the game to play them. My question is, what if you don’t have the “game” yet to really enjoy these places? Where does a golf traveling beginner go? I set out to find destination golf that is amazing, beautiful, and basically newbie-friendly. Here’s my bucket list:

  1. First, it’s back to the Broadmoor. I spent many years living in Colorado Springs and was there last year to enjoy the US Senior Open. I adore the Broadmoor and all it has to offer. That East Course looked beyond intimidating though. Not so, said some local golfers. If you are teeing it up from the reds, it is much more manageable… and fun! Doesn’t make reading the greens any easier, but there’s local knowledge to be passed along there, too: putts break away from the mountains. Okay, I’m sold. Broadmoor makes the cut.
  2. Now, for purposes of this list, I’m going to head west and continue to work my way across the country back home (which, in case you weren’t aware, is North Carolina.) Aloha, Hawaii! My uncle lives in Waikiki and I love to visit him. The Hawaiian course I’d love to visit is on a different island though. Kapalua on the island of Maui is next up.
  3. Back to the mainland and La Costa. What a great place with wonderful, fun, non-soul-crushing “express” tees. Plus, who doesn’t love San Diego?
  4. But who says golf travel has to be all fairways and greens? Top Golf Las Vegas is on my bucket list, too!

 

Bonus: Scotland! Even though a beginner doesn’t have the game for Royal Dornoch’s championship course, there is the much more manageable Scurie course! I include this because I will actually get to play it while on an almost purely non-golf vacation later this summer. It’s not just Scurie though. There are a number of “little brother” courses in Scotland for us non-PGA ready, mere mortals.