#WMPO The Bucket List

This weekend was the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona. Due to the travel restrictions, we are watching with minus 38 degrees and our fireplace is on in northern Saskatchewan. It has been labelled the “Greatest Show on Grass” and rightly so. Usually this tournament will attract more than one million fans and of course the rowdy par 3 hole #16 is daunting to any player as the fans show disapproval loudly and often.

125 Men enter, 1 Man leaves

I remember when times were very different and we had been invited to experience a day at this iconic golf course in Scottsdale Arizona during the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Lyle and I picked up our tournament package and found purple wrists bands that gave us access to the VIP hospitality at The Bay Club on the 17th fairway. We had parking passes and a luxury coach access to take us directly to our express entrance. There was a first class premium experience from the moment we arrived on site with hot lattes for breakfast. We arranged ourselves on plush furniture , the music was playing softly in the background and we sat in the front row, watching players arrive to play this drivable par 4 with water close to the green. All the celebrities and stars of the game were playing . The challenge on this hole was the choice to drive the ball the distance and earn an opportunity to card an eagle or risk your ball flying into the water hazard. Risk or reward.

We were able to witness one of golfs great lessons on that day. Gary Woodland , the defending champion was walking the course with a young AZ State High School golfer when he asked her if she would like to play the 16th hole with him. Amy was ready to play and grabbed her club. She was fearless. She hit her tee shot into a bunker and as she walked up the fairway, she planned the next shot. Happy and excited she was heard to be saying to herself, “I ve got this” with conviction and quickly hit the shot up to the green where she then parred the hole . Gary Woodland was impressed with her shot but more impressed with her attitude, Amy was the inspiration for Woodland to go on and win the tournament.

Amy has Down’s syndrome which may have caused some physical or mental developmental delays, yet she has qualified to play two high school championships and Special Olympics events. She has been an inspiration to a lot of golfers since that day in February 2018. Amy believes in what she has been taught, the mechanics of the game, but also the philosophy of staying in the moment. It has been said that we only have one shot, our next shot and yes, we have got this one if we can just believe. Amy believes in Amy and its not complicated. She loves the game.

This year, the drivable par four 17th hole held lots of drama as the eagle chance was a chip in that set up Brooks Koepka for the win on Sunday. Recently, Brooks has been recovering from injury and working hard to make the cut at tournaments but he believes in himself. With this win, he showed us all it is focus and faith, just one glorious shot at a time.

Golf can be a lonely difficult game but it can also be a joyful, dramatic, perfect moment if you play one shot at a time. I remember the message posted over the entrance as we arrived at the tournament in Scottsdale, 125 will enter and only one man leaves the winner, yet, when I remember this tournament it will always be Amy who played one hole – who also won that day and reminded us all why we love this game . Gary Woodland ended up the champion on that Sunday with a minus 18 score. He won with inspiration and a lesson in joy and belief and friendship that he may never forget and every fan who loves the game will never forget the determined, confident joyful girl who lead him to his destiny.

always in friendship,

Wendy

The Monkey Match at Bermuda Dunes

I love Palm Springs for many reasons but especially for the quality of the golf courses. Almost as soon as we started to travel and play a lot of golf, we found the legendary course at Bermuda Dunes Golf Course and became members.

There is a lot of history that trails these beautiful twenty seven holes of traditional golf in the desert. The Bob Hope Classic was played here almost fifty times. Many celebrities and professionals enjoyed a golf game at Bermuda Dunes. Becoming a member allows you to play unlimited golf and enjoy the time spent with other members.

We met Alan and Jickey just by chance, as all of the morning members circled in their carts, ready to start the day. Lyle shouted hello as the beautiful pearl white custom golf cart cruised slowly by and came to a stop. Alan tossed us a grin and invited us to play. Game on.

That season we played a lot of golf together and as the snow crept over the mountain tops around us and the season changed to winter, we made plans to celebrate Christmas together. Of course we wanted to play some golf and Lyle had just the solution. Even though the clubhouse would be closed for Christmas day, we were given permission to play. Since we did not own a golf cart, we would have to walk the course. Lyle suggested we plan a short game, a monkey match, where each player chooses only one club from their bag to play every shot from driving to putting. Four couples were invited to the match and the game was on.

Everyone decided to walk, carrying only the one club they had chosen for the day. I chose a club that would give me some reasonable distance from the tee box of the par 4 holes but would also be forgiving enough to chip and putt. I chose my four hybrid. Lyle carried his six iron – still long on the drive, he played that club like a wedge around the greens.

It was a special day, colder than most in the desert. The sun shone very brightly and the grass was perfect. There was not another person playing anywhere on the course on this Christmas Day. The best part of the game was the walk between each shot with our friends. We spoke about long ago holiday traditions and golf game memories, including our most treasured club and why we chose the one club for this match up. We watched every shot from every player across skill level, ability and attitude. Our lesson on this magical day was accepting the results from the only club you were able to use. It was a glorious day, a humbling game.

My golf game always reveals a lesson and this Monkey Match Christmas game was no different. No matter our age or ability, we all have something to share. When you are open to friendship and connect with others, there is so much joy!

The true gift of the season was right there – walking the course, making memories, one club at a time.

always in friendship,

Wendy & Lyle

A Golf game to remember.

Receive And Accept.

 Yesterday, I played a round of golf I will always remember.

I am a true amateur,  joining this game late in life. My passion is obvious while I learn to be a better player, watching the best in the game I become a mimic.    I have always been an athlete of sorts, playing organized sports and training for physical strength but never playing golf. My grandparents loved this sport and I remember joining them on Sundays in front of the television as the tournament kept them both locked in for the afternoon, discussing players ability and the outcome. This was my introduction to golf.

Celebrating the year I turned fifty, I bought a set of golf clubs and went searching for my passion. It was a desire to play, spend time outside in nature and honor my grandparents. Since then, I have traveled and played golf in some of the most beautiful courses in North America and Mexico. #100daysofgolftrip

What makes a round of golf so special? There is a peace in that moment  when you take in your surroundings, smile and breathe deeply and and truly see your shot in your minds eye. Everything slows down, harmony and balance can create birdie chances.

On this special day, I was driving long and straight into the rising sun. My three wood was kind to me. My wedge shots were accurate and landed very close to the flag. I had many birdie chances. I accept that I am good enough, to use a very good golf ball that matches up with my Taylormade clubs and really improves my game. My spouse is my coach  and although it is not always easy to listen, I accept his advice to square up my club face with a strong grip and get turned through the swing. The lessons sometimes sound like criticism to me – I need to accept it and let it make me a better player. Sometimes I resist being told all the secrets,I just want to play my own way but as my game creeps closer to the forest edge and out of bounds, I need to pause and remember by accepting the lessons I can play the best game of my life.

Kevin Na is a PGA  golf professional who had a fierce, very public debate with his caddie at the 2018 Fort Worth Invitational tournament. After observing the results of players ahead of Na on the course, his caddie strongly advised against a particular shot going into the green on #9( Na’s final hole of the day). They argued loudly, Na played the shot he wanted anyway and holed out. He eventually went on to win the tournament with one of the best rounds of his career. Success.

Golf can be tough and frustrating and also peaceful and so smooth. Listen to the lessons and  celebrate one great shot. By doing my very best in each moment of the game, it is leading to my next best moment and a game to remember.

What we do today matters most. Enjoy it.

always in friendship,

Wendy

Golf Hawks Landing at The Orlando World Center Marriott

          Trust the Journey

We had been travelling for more than 160 days when we arrived in  Orlando, Florida early in April.  Although we play a lot of golf, this was our first time in the sunshine state. In the black beauty, we turned from International drive onto World Gateway Drive and soon pulled past the grand entrance to The Orlando World Center Marriott Hotel. Here we found Hawks Landing Golf Club.

It was a busy friendly start from the well stocked pro shop. Hot coffee and big smiles  greeted us at check in. There was a promise of a great day of golf as we passed grand trees bursting with magnolia flowers and hawks flying over our heads. There are 220 acres with a stunning convention center and hotel and Hawks Landing borders this resort on three sides. Looking into the distance a towering white outline reminds us just how close we are to the rest of Orlando,but all is forgotten inside the entrance to this beautiful golf course. Here, the course is lined with hundreds of palm trees and defended by water and sandy white bunkers. There are wooden bridges that link many of the fairways to beautiful lush greens. Cranes are pacing many of the water hazards just fishing and the sky is brilliant and blue20180406_142203

Hawks Landing Golf Club was designed by Robert Cupp Jr and built in 1986. This 18 hole championship course undertook a redesign in 1998  and the result is a very tough slope rating. There is more than 6600 yards on this par 72 challenge and you will find water hazards on 15 of the 18 holes so pack some extra golf balls.  This layout is first class and the course has been rated 4 star by Golf Digest.

If you are interested in a virtual tour of the course , download the Hawks Landing app (hawkslandinggolf) where you can book tee times, see the local weather and find special offers. You may find golf getaway pkgs at http://www.mariott.com. We can suggest if you are planning to stay a few days, choose a golf package to attend clinics or classes at the Jack Nicklaus Academy of golf right on the property.

Hawks Landing Golf Club was a very convenient location with

great value for a quality golf course. We really appreciated the friendly service with lots of extra touches, like the basket of apples available at the turn. This gem blends challenging golf with the scenic natural beauty of Florida and it took our breath away as the sun started to set. It was an afternoon game to remember.

http://www.golfhawkslanding.com

always in friendship,

Lyle & Wendy

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Destination Golf – Florida

       The Magnolia Course @ Walt Disney World

Just outside of Orlando, Florida is home to dozens of theme parks. None is more famous or popular  than Walt Disney World. Early one morning we drive under the majestic banner that welcomes all guests into the park. We will not be taking the ride to Space  Mountain or the Tower of Terror, instead we continue past hotels and shuttles and find our way at the gate to a very special early morning golf game.

Minnie Mouse drives a custom SUV. We know because she drove right by us. This polka dot surprise  is adorable and part of the tradition inside the resort.                                                                                                                                          The traffic is well managed as many guests load onto strategic perimeter shuttles that speed them towards the magic kingdom. Our drive up to the clubhouse is beautiful and peaceful. The entrance welcomes guests to linger at ponds and under majestic trees. The friendly line up of marshals, bag boys and pro staff greet us outside.

The dew on the grass is heavy as we fill up our coffee and take the cart to the first tee box. This misty morning makes it feel like a day dream but as the sun rises high, in the heart of the morning we find this Magnolia Course is where we will find magic today.  There are wide fairways and a lush green forest but the hazards are abundant on this championship tour style course.  The designers even playfully drop a Mickey Mouse bunker on a par three signature hole.

At one time, the PGA tour played this course. Memories from epic games played long ago are stamped onto to bronze plates waiting beside the tee boxes. Professional golfers, celebrities and sports figures created history on this graceful challenging beauty. Tiger Woods played this course as a young man of  twenty and became the youngest champion in the history of the Classic tournament in 1996.

We suggest you pick a early morning tee time offer that includes a light bite for breakfast and nine holes if that is all time will allow. Early morning dew sweepers will truly see the magnificent course in all of its morning glory.

Today, The Magnolia Course is a golf surprise…offering a Disney experience to every traveller. What would you expect to find???

The happiest place on turf.

http://www.golfwdw.com

 

 

always in friendship,

Lyle & Wendy

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Top Picks for Golf – San Diego Area

Our Boomer Life Top five favourite Golf Courses in San Diego

 

There are more than 600 public courses to play scattered throughout California. So much golf. This  area is loaded and we have played many. If you are looking to travel to the San Diego area, our top picks suggest challenging unique courses to suit your game and your budget.

 

  1. Aviara – The Park Hyatt Resort, Golf Club and Spa  offers this beautiful 18 hole golf course that runs along the pacific ocean coastline in Carlsbad California. This Arnold Palmer course has been home of the LPGA KIA classic and rated 5 star. ***** Golf digest has rated them one of the best in America. The lush flowers and waterfalls will distract you on this very difficult course but the memories you make will last a lifetime.                                       http://www.golfaviara.com
  2. Maderas – This course makes our list every year.We can play and replay this course and never get tired of it.The clubhouse is bright and welcoming first thing in the morning. This Troon team is professional and deliver a great golf experience. The diverse landscape will take your breath away where each hole is very unique with long rolling fairways. Maderas has been a top rated course in California since 2000. “Every hole will bring its own reward.”        http://www.maderasgolf.com  #withmytrooncard
  3. Steele Canyon – this course was recommended by a stranger.THANK YOU. “It was a wonderful day of golf.”  It is in Jamul, south of the typical inland empire but what a beautiful surprise, it has 5 star views. There are 27 holes designed by Gary Player. First is the Canyon course with some dramatic elevations. The Ranch course winds through a working ranch and the Vineyard course stretches along the valley floor. Gary always adds unique south African trees  to the landscape.                                                                                      http://www.steelecanyon.com
  4. The Journey at Pechanga –Golfweek ranking The Journey #25th Best Public Course in California.                                                             We discovered this 5 star “thrilling”golf experience in the Temecula wine country. The Pechanga Resort and casino is wholly owned by the Pechanga Band and opened in 2002. In 2015 , a $285 million dollar expansion was started which adds to this AAA Four Diamond award winner. There are mountain holes 300 feet above the valley and you will drive more than 7 miles of cart paths and wooden bridges to” play golf on another level”.      http://www.pechanga.com
  5. La Costa Golf Resort & Spa is in the Omni Resort group. There are legendary stories from the beginning of the resort being built as a retreat for the family. Legendary players have all played here. There are two courses, the Champions Course and the Legends Course which must contribute to the great pace of play. The course winds through condo developments and homes but does not detract from your game. Elevated greens and water come into play. Locals love this course, it has so much history and character. There is a stay and play offer which may be very interesting.                                            http://www.lacostaresort.com

All of these courses are playable and they will thrill you and challenge you, just play from the right tees and enjoy.

always in friendship,

Lyle & Wendy