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.
One of the barriers for people seeking to play the game of golf is the cost. You can find deals on equipment and gear. Follow me as I search for deals along with birdies.
Several weeks from the start of our after -hours golf league we got an Email with the kick off date. Yvonne suggested our foursome get in a clinic for a refresher lesson. I told her I knew exactly who to contact. I reached out to Coach Ted with Create Golfers.
After explaining to Coach Ted our needs and skill level he put together a multi-week clinic featuring 2 full swing, wedge/ chip and putting classes.
Once I got the core group settled on dates I figured I would share the fun and sent the information out to some of my other golf friends. I’m proud to say the Harris Inaugural Golf Clinic had 9 participants.
We recently started the league and I’m excited to say we are playing better golf. Since we went through the clinic together we can correct each other in “Coach Ted” speak. We’re playing consistent golf and having a great time.
We’re so enthusiastic about playing better golf that we’ve decided that once the league season is over we’re going to reach out to Coach Ted and do a Fall clinic.
As we get ready to enter 2012 I’m reflective of my golf experiences in 2011 and looking for ways to enhance in 2012.
In 2012, I resolve to add a minimum of one PGA tour event to my spectator schedule. Last year I attended the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital Open for Children and the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World. Disney and Bay Hill have always been staples for me and I’m excited to add the JTShriners Open to my list. And next year it’s officially during my birthday. Perhaps, I can get Justin to do a special birthday waggle at the first tee 😉
This year, the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World because my Fairy Golf Father (Alonzo Mourning) played in the Pro-Am. The second day he was paired with Miracle Child Ashtyn Brown. Ashtyn, who is on the golf team at Ball State University, fought acute lymphoblastic leukemia twice. She wasn’t supposed to live, let alone flourish and play golf. In her struggle to get better, Ashtyn received a kidney transplant, just like Alonzo. So on that day, on that course, there were two warriors! I felt so incredibly blessed to be able to witness proof that God hears prayers.
I resolve to play more Golf. Ok, twist my arm on that one. Actually, I resolve to play in at least one tournament that isn’t a scramble. It’s time to tap into my competitive spirit and play in more trash talking based tourneys!
I resolve to take more lessons to improve my game. I recently bought a package that includes 10 golf clinics at the Nick Faldo Golf Institute. I resolve to actually utilize all 10!
And lastly I resolve to do better in updating my blog and sharing my love for this game!
My wish for each of you in 2012 is that you too find a way to enjoy the things you love and kick it up a notch!
This year I attended the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas, NV (TPC Summerlin). I know, I know …right? Let’s break this down. Justin Timberlake. Golf. Charity. Las Vegas! Talk about a full house. Attending this tournament is definitely like hitting the jackpot!
The host course TPC Summerlin is beautiful. You have the green grass of the course contrasting the desert with a backdrop of mountain ranges. And the really cool thing is my brother showed me how to get there from the Vegas strip by bus. It was very easy. And the total time was 37 minutes from strip to course at a cost of $7. As far as admittance to the tourney, you could buy a daily or weekly passes. One of the benefits of the weekly pass (besides 5 days of great golf) is being able to sit on “The Hill” and watch golf. The Hill”; is a luxury 22,000 square foot entertainment pavilion overlooking the 16th, 17th and 18th holes and granting stunning views of the course and Red Rock Mountains.
The week opens with the Championship Pro Am. Now the interesting thing about this Pro-Am is it featured 3 foursomes that consisted of 3 celebrities each. Celebrity Foursome number 1: *NSYNC founding member (and my friend) Chris Kirkpatrick, Football player Seth Joyner and Basketball legend Truck Robinson (who by the way could make a career in golf) and their PGA professional Kevin Streelman. Celebrity Foursome #2 showcased actor Anthony Anderson, former football player Marshall Faulk and former football and baseball player Bo Jackson and their PGA professional Charlie Wi. Celebrity Foursome #3: *NSYNC Founding member Justin Timberlake, actor and comedians Cedric the Entertainer and George Lopez with their PGA professional Trevor Immelman.
While neither of these foursomes won the Pro Am great golf was played and the spectators had a great time. If you’re looking for a tournament to add to your spectator list I suggest you put in your vacation request for October 1 – 7, 2012. Melinda, Kari, Roger, and I will meet you on “The Hill.”
Thank you to the community who follows Playing From The Forward Tees, a blog by my wonderful sister, Lisa. Way to give her brother a chance to write it up.
As you well know, Playing From The Forward Tees is all about Lisa’s journey, her pathway to the pursuit of excellence for her real love of Golf. All of that and more recently was revealed with Lisa’s trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. Please know that I would love to think that Lisa was just visiting me in Vegas but I knew better. So this prose is in ode to her trip with positive reasons to push for support with shameless promotion.
Lisa went to the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital For Children Open recently held at TPC Summerlin , the home of Pro Golf in Vegas.
I got to tag along with her when I could on Thursday, September 29, 2011 and yes Lisa wanted me to tell it, tell it about that day together. I will soon. But how could I really do that now? Really, missing out on the day before was crucial . I had to miss the MGM Resorts International Championship Pro-Am on Wednesday, September 28, 2011.
One professional golfer with three amateurs made it all work with each grouping. And the stars were out there too. Not just as celebrities but people of influence who make a difference through their positive work.
For example, Justin Timberlake’s grouping consisted of :
Trevor Immelman – the 2008 Masters Tournament Champion is really known for his swing.
Cedric The Entertainer – Can he tell jokes? Yes ! Thank you for the overall funny career and all the positive work you do, for real. The Cedric The Entertainer Charitable Foundation, Inc. provides scholarships and positively encourages students to achieve.
George Lopez – As Research Fellow for the NLCA, National Latino Cosmetology Association Foundation , I get to visit Beauticians, Barbers, massage therapists, estheticians and many who make cosmetology work where they work. I’ll just state the performances of George Lopez have influential effects for better patronage in the salons and shops.
**For the record, my favorite JT tune is Senorita.
Rarely am I speechless in peaceful respect regarding the work of people in the public eye. Mr. Timberlake’s charitable work really speaks and helps. In that realm, his record of success is beyond platinum.
I’ve enjoyed taking over Lisa’s blog. Thanks for tweeting my picture Lisa and thank you for the retweet – Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital For Children Open –
I haven’t played in a golf tournament since Zo’s Summer Groove. And I’m getting restless.
It isn’t that I haven’t been playing golf. It’s just that I’ve been playing “social” golf. Playing after work on Wednesdays with a league and playing 9 holes on every Sunday with Sue.
Now don’t get me wrong. “Social” golf is fun. It’s an opportunity to hang with people you like playing the game you love, but it doesn’t put the fire in your belly. There’s more chatter than trash talk. There’s more mulligans than penalty strokes and more swing doctor purchases from the bev cart than Gatorade.
Now as luck would have it I just got in invite to be on a foursome playing in a tournament at the end of October! And this is the same tournament that I played last year and won (Ladies) Longest Drive. Which leads me to my new nickname given to me by my Godson, “Cheetah Woods.” Which is by the way is way better than “Cougar Woods!”
But like the other “Woods” I need to find some other tournaments to play before the one in late October if I’m going to bring home another trophy. The challenge is that I’m running out of time. Maybe I can convince the crew to turn one of our “social” golf outings into a little internal tournament. I’m thinking a small entry fee and winner takes all.
That’s the ticket. I’m feeling a flame beginning to form…
Last month I participated in the Zo’s Summer Groove Golf Tournament hosted by, NBA Future Hall of Fame Inductee, Alonzo Mourning (yes, I’m biased). Zo’s Summer Groove, an annual fundraising event, supports Alonzo Mourning Charities (AMC). AMC is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) public fundraising foundation. AMC’s mission is to create platforms for youth to excel. AMC supports programming with proven results that deliver resources to students and families in need.
In the past the tournament had been at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa. This year, the host course was Turnberry Isle in Aventura, FL. According to their website, “World Golf Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd completely redesigned both championship courses from tee to green and the results are nothing short of spectacular. The Soffer and Miller courses offer 36 holes of character and a fair test for all skill levels. Recently Fairmont Turnberry Isle Miami golf resort was proud host of the NBC/ADT Golf Skills Challenge and The Stanford International Pro Am, an official LPGA tour event.”
Of course I had to get a new wardrobe for the tournament. I totally worked the pink since I knew I would be one of a handful of women playing. Pink skort, visor, scarf for my golf bag and grey/pink shoes. Because Nike doesn’t have a pink golf balls, I rocked Lady Precepts.
The tournament, being held on both courses, was a sell-out. As I walked the range area I noticed that the field included Jason Taylor (former Miami Dolphin), NFL Hall of Famer Richard Dent,CNN’s Roland Martin, actors Anthony Anderson (Law and Order), Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) and fitness guru/golf Diva Donna Richardson Joyner. Luckily, I was put in a foursome with my friend Jason and his friend Shawn. Unfortunately our 4th, Trey, couldn’t make it.
Since no one in my group had time to warm up (log jam at the bag drop) we had to work it out on the course. What I loved about playing with Jason and Shawn is that while they are competitive, they also like to have fun. We visited every vendor tent, tasted every Grey Goose popsicle, took Grey Goose shots,hydrated with coconut water, did push-ups with members of the US Army Miami Recruitment Battalion (I did 10)and sampled the food at all the restaurants.
The format for the tournament was best ball and we finished at 1 under. We did not win or come close,but I am proud to say that more times than not we used my ball. But my biggest accomplishment this year was my increased confidence level. Last year I was so intimated about playing the Blue Monster at Doral that I needed a pep talk from Alonzo to get out car. No pep talk needed this year! I couldn’t get on the course fast enough. What a difference a year makes! I Love this game!