I will admit, when Tiger Woods announced he wasn’t going to play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational- I wasn’t sure what to do.
I knew I would probably not go to the pro-am but how else would I set my day. I didn’t really know what to do with the freedom.
Well, I found ways, lots of ways. Here I thought…oh I’ll spend 4 hours on the course each day and follow whomever.
Thursday, Friday and Sunday I was there from sun up to sun down. Saturday was cut short because I had tickets to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Twice I sat on the bleachers on 18. What an amazing view up the fairway. All these years, I’ve never made it to the bleachers! When Tiger plays, bleacher spots are gone hours before his tee time on 1!
I was invited to hang out at the Club 8 tent. Tent access gives you a bird’s eye view of the green on 8 and tee box on 2. The free food and bar is a bonus too. I actually spent a couple of hours in the tent. Who knew?
I walked the course at my leisure. Not having to dodge throngs of people or beat the ropes going up at the next hole. But the best part was actually getting to the tee box on 16! What an amazing view!
While I’m grateful to have had these new experiences, I don’t want to go much longer without wearing red and black on Sunday.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill is one of my favorite golf tournaments to attend. It’s a spectator friendly tournament. I’ve been attending for years and I look forward to it every year. This year Tiger Woods was set to go for his 9th win but had to withdraw due to back spasms.
Going to API and not seeing Tiger is going to be a new experience for me and I’m very excited to see this tournament through new eyes.
After a while my garage began to look like a golf showroom. Which is cool if I don’t have to park the car. So I contacted Mark Hayward Custom Carpentry and together we designed my Golf Armoire. It holds 4 bags, all my shoes (to date), balls, tees, gloves and hats all in one location. Its made of Tiger Maple Wood (clever I know) and is one of the best investments I have ever made. Now I’m ready to hit the course at a moments notice!
I have to take a moment out to discuss the food I consumed at the British Open. It started out the night before. British and Mrs. Dan took me to a UK favorite chain restaurant “Frankie and Bennys.” There I decided to mix a little of UK with US. Before leaving for the UK, my UK born co-worker Stephen told me to try a Carling beer with a splash of lemonade. So I ordered the Carling with my ribs and french fries. BTW, these ribs were straight out of Bedrock. That was one big rack ribs!
The next day we started the day at the Open with a bacon roll. Yup, a bacon roll. I had no idea what it was but it involved bacon so I was in! The bacon roll is as basic as it sounds. Bacon on a buttered roll eaten like a sandwich. Why didn’t I think of that?
After a couple holes of watching Ricky and Phil, we moved on to lunch. It was at lunch that I had a beef pie and mash. For a hospitality tent the portions were huge. No Carlings at the course because Pilsner was the beer sponsor. So I had a Pilsner with a splash of lemonade. It’s like having a Blue Moon with an Orange twist 🙂
After lunch we followed Graeme and Tiger. And that can work up and appetite, so we moved to ice cream cones with a chocolate flake 😉
Chris and Greg then moved to the grandstand to grab their spot on 18 while Dan and I continued to follow Tiger on foot.
After the day ended we all met up at the pro shop where we ended our day with a hot chocolate with whip cream and a flake. We love our flakes 🙂
Here is the loot I scored at Golf Galaxy for a total of $53. 74. The key to the big score is that products ending in .97 on clearance are an additional 50% off the sale price. My lovely LoPro Footjoys were on sale at $49.97 – 50% brought it to $24.99. My top was on sale for 24.97 – 50% brought it down to $12.49. The golf balls were on sale for $12.98. And the small package of balls were free with a coupon! If one of your barriers to playing golf is price, clearly there are ways to get around it!
Honestly, I am still pinching myself. My friend Jen recently moved to the UK and invited me to visit. My friend Dan lives only 30 minutes from the Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s Golf Course . Really, was it going to be that easy? All I have to do is fly to London, jump on a 2 hour train ride north and I would get to attend one of the most prestigious events in golf. No way…but yet Way!
I landed in London the same day as the 2012 Olympiads. From the moment I entered customs the question was the same. “Are you here for the Olympics?” My response, “No, I’m here for the British Open!” My response was met with the same look, utter surprise.
I attended the Open on Friday with Dan and his friends (now mine too) Chris and Greg. I can’t even explain how much the golf gods were smiling on us. We didn’t encounter any traffic on the way to the course. The shuttle bus pulled out the moment we got on, and the first player we see when arriving, Jim Furyk !
We entered the venue at the fan experience area. The fan area was really cool. They had a bunker practice area, putting green, longest drive contest, and photo area where you take a pic for the cover of the program. One of my favorite areas was when one of the club members gave me a history lesson of the golf balls and equipment. That was sooo cool. The boys tried out all the areas. Greg, hit his ball out the bunker and hit the flag stick. However it didn’t go in the hole. Little did we know, his shot would be replicated later in the day but to a different end. Me, I was too excited to hold a club and just completely overwhelmed that I was at THE OPEN!
Generally if I only have one day to attend a PGA tournament I attend on Friday. This way I get to see all the players before they get cut and if they’re on the bubble, you can see great golf. For the Congressional Tournament I decided to fly into DC on Friday and go to the tournament on Saturday. A definite change in direction for me. I was excited to be in my home town and to walk Congressional Country Club for the first time.
Friday night a fierce thunderstorm came through the East Coast. My hotel lost power for 2 minutes so I didn’t think anything of it. Living in Florida you’re used to losing power due to Tropical storms and hurricanes. And a 2 minute power loss is no big deal. But what I didn’t know is that the thunderstorm was actually a windstorm, A Derecho.
I woke up the next morning to the news on my PGA app that the course would be closed to spectators due to downed trees. What???? I was heartbroken. I was only in town for the day, having booked the first flight out on Sunday. There would be no golf for me on this trip. But there was a lesson. Go back to Fridays! So that’s what I’m doing. I’m attending the British Open for the first time this year. Tournament tickets are secured. For FRIDAY.
Thanks to a Derecho, I’m back on course.
One of my golf resolutions is to attend new golf tournaments. This year I attended The Players Championship (TPC Sawgrass) at Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. It was an absolute beautiful day. TPC Sawgrass is an amazing course. Great if you want to get a work-out in! I attened on Friday, May 11th. If I only can attend one day of a tourney, I choose Friday. That way I can see everyone before the cut.
Entering TPC Sawgrass was not at all what I expected. You travel down a one lane street lined with houses. You pull into a large gravel parking lot, cars as far as the eye can see. The one thing I can’t see is the golf course. Naturally I think we’re going to have to get on a shuttle to get to the course. I finally get through security to find I’m actually parked at the Jack Nicklaus gate behind the 17th green. (The bag I usually take to all the tournaments is now too big so I had to hike back to my car.)
Instantly I grab a pairing sheet and look at the board to see where Graeme McDowell is. Hole 10. I’m on my way. I decide to stand at the tee box on 12, to make sure I get a good view. Well played. He is right in front me. Let me digress for a second, I had the pleasure of meeting Graeme at the 2011 Arnold Palmer Invitational Pro-Am. There were 5 people following his group. The other 4 belong to the Pro Am members. Graeme came over and introduced himself (really?), signed my program and we discussed how I follow him on twitter. I’m often in Graeme’s gallery and as a 6ft women, I kind of stand out. So he often gives me a nod when he sees me.
Graeme’s tee time was 4 hours ahead of Tiger’s which means I get to watch both! Score! I follow Graeme who isn’t have a good tourney but definitely a good time. Then something magical happened. As we walked down 16 Graeme ducked under the rope and walked a little with me. I nearly died!
By the time Tiger teed off I was floating on air. He played well and the magical moment there was being at the Clubhouse after he signed his score card and watching him sign autographs for the line of kids waiting.
I love this game!
If you’re just starting to play, a way to cut down the expense is to purchase used clubs and a bag. Used equipment can be found at thrift stores, yard sales and golf speciality shops. Not sure what to buy? Go to a golf speciality shop and get fitted. Once you’re armed with that information you’re set.
A way to get free equipment is to attend Demo Days at the golf speciality shop or your local golf course. At most Demo Days they have enter to win opportunities. I scored a free round this way. Be sure to sign up for the loyality program at your local golf store to get notices on Demo Days. Often at Demo Days you get a goodie bag that may contain balls, tees and markers. Also if you live near a golf course, check their websites weekly to see what events they will be hosting.
I attended a PGA Play Golf America event and everyone received a free Calaway 6 iron. Once you decide you want to keep playing and what better set a clubs, you can trade in your old clubs for some dollars off your new set.