Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open

 

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.”

Family Affair

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 –

Tired of Being “Social”

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…

Zo’s Summer Groove Golf Tournament

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!

Seasons Change

For me the season changing from Spring to Summer means transitioning from spectator to player. This Spring I had the pleasure of attending the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Going into the week the weather was looking beautiful so I took vacation and attended Wednesday – Sunday.

 

Wednesday, I attended  the Pro-Am tournament.  I have loved attending the Pro-Am over the years.  The players are very social, stopping for pictures, autographs and take the time to answer questions. Wednesday morning I followed Tiger with a minimal gallery (by Tiger standards), and later in the afternoon Graeme McDowell. I even got up enough nerve to ask Graeme for an autograph to which he happily obliged. He seemed genuinely surprised when I told him I follow him on Twitter.  Thursday – Sunday I followed Graeme, Tiger, Aaron Badderly and Rickie Fowler (I liked his pink outfit best). I literally was on the course from sun up to sun down.

 

Of course this type of schedule can only be completed with the help of friends. First, my friends the Campbell’s, who live on the course, kept me hydrated, fed and provided a great restroom. Mr. Bell,  provided me with a weekly badge when I realized my two one day badges weren’t going to be enough. And then the golfers themselves who played outstanding golf that kept me glued to their every drive and putt.

 

The only thing that topped this in- person experience was watching the Masters. Wow and wow. I found myself watching via computer and on television. The online coverage was amazing. I loved being able to watch multiple holes. It was so thrilling!

 

But as we transition into Summer it’s time to get off the couch and onto the course.  I recently took a lesson at Orange County National Golf Course with Coach Ted. We narrowed my stance, soften my grip and got me to do a full shoulder back and forward rotation. I was so completely jazzed leaving that lesson.

 

And now it’s time to take what I’ve learned and put it to the test. This week I’ll be playing in the 9 hole after- hours league.  Follow my progress here or on Twitter @playforwardtees.  I have a feeling this is going to be an exciting season!

When I Golf Grow Up

Wow, did November fly by for anyone else or just me? Luckily for me I was able to get in a lot of Golf! As if getting in lots of golf was enough, it was made better by playing with some really good golfers.  I’m the type of person that if John Daly were to call and ask to play with me, I would say yes without thinking. Then of course, the day of, I’d freak out.

 

I was very excited when a friend said he was travelling home and would stop in Orlando. He is a great golfer and very passionate about the game. I knew a weekend hanging out with him would provide opportunities to improve my game.  During his visit we played two rounds. During these two rounds I learned the following things: I break my “V” on contact with the ball, I need to tee up more when using my driver, I need to record the distances I get with each club, get the range an hour before tee time  and lastly, a bag full of irons and hybrids won’t cut it. I need to buy some fairway woods.  The biggest thing I learned is I need to stop getting frustrated and start each hole with a new attitude. Ok, so I’ve learned a lot but where do I start?

 

Getting to the range an hour before tee time is going to take some work. It was easy to do during my friend’s visit because I cleared my schedule but usually I’m lucky if I get to the clubhouse 15 minutes before the tee time.  The goal going forward is to get to the clubhouse no later than 45 minutes prior to tee time.

 

Ok, what to tackle next? The following weekend I had a golf date with Lisa and Sheri. Both Lisa and Sheri are lifelong golfers so I figured I better at least get a 3 wood.  With gift card in hand (Thank you Davis Family) I headed to Golf Galaxy. In my mind I would get a 3 wood that matched my set. I thought I would be in and out of Golf Galaxy in about 15 minutes flat. Because I haven’t used my 4 hybrid and I can only have 14 clubs in my bag, I brought it along to trade in. I also wanted to get a decent sand wedge. No problem. When I told the Sales Associate what I was shopping for he pulled three clubs and started taping them up as he walked me to the demo area. He must of read the look on my face because he said, “ You’re not planning to buy a club without trying it right”?

 

So the great thing about trying out the club is the Sales Associate actually watched me while I hit balls and they have this cool machine that shows accuracy and speed.  He too noticed I was breaking my “V” at contact. So he gave me a drill to work on.  An hour later I had settled on an Adams Golf 3 Wood which I promptly named after the golfer Aaron Badderly. Next he took me to look at balls based on my swing speed. What? Ok, confession. Previously I bought balls based on price and our cuteness. Yes, they make cute balls!

 

So I left Golf Galaxy feeling really ready to play with Lisa and Sheri. So how did I do? Stay tuned to the next blog post to find out!

A Month of Great Golf

October has been full of great golf experiences! First I played the Chris Kirkpatrick Foundation Golf Tourney.  It was a great way to kick off the month and my birthday week.  My foursome consisted of Ginny, Sue and Tony. Ginny and Sue and I have been playing together for quite a while. Poor Tony had no idea what he got himself into but in the end he had fun.

 

There were many cool elements to this tournament. Many restaurants came out and did sampling at various holes. There was a hair salon that had you hula hoop for vodka shots. And then there was “Nerves of Steel.” This was a group of entertainers that tried to rattle you as you teed off. They tried to be distracting but they had never met Sue and I. I think in the end we rattled them! Also Medicus Golf was out there letting you try their new Overspin Putter. If you’re in the market for a new putter I suggest you check it out. And if you’re in the market to buy, you can save 10% by using coupon code CKF10210. Check them out at www.medicusoverspin.com.

 

My second tourney was EWGA Women Playing for T.I.M.E at Reunion Golf. This tourney was a “PINK” event in support of Breast Cancer awareness. My foursome consisted of Merrily, Debbie and Ginny.  We had a great time even though we came in last place! Clearly we didn’t buy enough mulligans! Who knew there was a strategy to playing tournament golf.

 

In between my golf tournaments I played with my cousin Kiilu at Orange County National. I made the misfortune of talking lots of trash before our game which seemingly motivated Kiilu to bring his “A” game. I didn’t mind eating crow. It was a beautiful day and he gave great tips.

 

I also had a chance to catch up with my dear friend Billy. We played at Hunters Creek. A great course for long hitters. We really had fun and Billy was impressed on how far my skills have come in such a short time. I had an awesome day!

 

Lastly, I closed out the month playing the 2nd Annual Leads and Links tournament sponsored by the Central Florida National Black MBA Association. This tournament was at Celebration Golf. I played with Roberto, Mike and Mark. It was the first time we met even though we all work at the same company. This tournament was also a best ball scramble. I quickly found my role in this tournament. I was the long hitter from the forward tees. Whoo hoo!

 

Yes, October was full of great golf, fellowship and fun! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!

Ryder Cup Lite

October means tournament time! I figure while Team USA is in Wales taking the Ryder Cup, I too will enter in some tournaments stateside. Ok, so maybe not so much competitive in nature but in spirit.

 

The first tournament is the Inaugural Chris Kirkpatrick Foundation Golf Tournament. Chris Kirkpatrick is a member of the internationally known, award winning boy band *NSYNC. The Chris Kirkpatrick Foundation (CFK)has been established to enhance the lives of underprivileged children throughout the United States. Their focus is creating life changing opportunities geared toward enhancing the lives of children thru health care, educational and developmental programs.

 

The second tournament is the Executive Women’s Golf Association – Orlando 2010 Charity Golf Event. All proceeds will directly benefit Women Playing For T.I.M.E. (Technology, Immediate diagnosis, Mammography and Education), whose mission is to partner with M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Orlando to defeat cancer as it affects women and their families and friends.

 

Both are very worthy organizations and great opportunities to have fun while playing golf. Emphasis on fun because I’m not sure about the game I’ll be bringing. Last post I was ready, so I thought, to get golf fit. I’m going to have to take a mulligan on that one. The truth is, although my head was ready, my body and spirit didn’t co-sign.

 

I’m slowly getting my body and spirit in agreement with my head. I’ve started working out but nowhere to the level I need. I am confident I’ll get there. ..eventually!

 

Wonder how much of my game I’ll be bringing? I’ll be tweeting my progress on the course so follow me @playforwardtees.

Getting Golf Fit

Originally Posted August 2010

Recently I was having some medical issues and I sought out two professionals. My masseuse, Oscar, and my Doctor. Interestingly enough they both gave me the same word of caution, I need to take better care of myself. Whoa… wait a minute, granted, I realize I have regained my appetite for life and the summer of fun has caused me to pack on some pounds but hey….

 

Oops, turns out my extra weight wasn’t what they were talking about. I have been an athlete the majority of my life and while my inner age is 25, my physical age, is well, uummm, not! Both Oscar and my doctor both lectured me on stretching, eating well, and taking my vitamins. Both warned that gone are the days of just getting up and exercising. Whatttt???? Ugh!

 

So I’ve embarked on what I’m calling “Getting Golf Fit.” Getting Golf Fit is not about losing weight. It’s about getting fit enough to continue playing this game I love. Fit includes: increasing flexibility, arm, core, leg and mental strength.

 

So how am I going about Getting Golf Fit? Well, for right now I’m trying to make sure I am doing cardio consistently to get off the summer of fun inner tube that is circling my body! LOL! Ok, it’s not that bad but I do have a little extra pack to my 6 pack. Andia Winslow, professional golfer, is sharing some of her fitness routines online. So if you want to join me in getting fit check out Andia at www.youtube.com/user/ADUB365 .

 

Mentally, I’ve identified two spiritual, motivational guides, Joel Osteen and Bishop Vashti McKenzie. I subscribe to Bishop McKenzie’s daily audio email “Wake Up Call” and I’m currently listening to Pastor Osteen’s audio devotional “Take 10” Getting Your Life Back On Track. After listening to the morning inspiration, I then take time to journal.

 

Right now, I’ve given myself a preliminary date of Oct. 1 to complete phase 1 of Getting Golf Fit. If you have any tips please share them in the comments section. I’ll be sharing my progress on Twitter @playforwardtees, feel free to follow me and see how I’m doing. Also, I wouldn’t mind some words of encouragement 😉

I’m not getting older, I’m getting better!

 

 

Slaying Monsters…Real and Imaginary

Originally posted August 2010

My Fairy Golf Father sponsored me in The Summer Groove Golf Tournament at the Doral Resort and Spa, hosted by Alonzo Mourning and Dwyane Wade.  The tournament was 3 days after the announcement that King James (LeBron) would be joining the Miami Heat. So my tournament debut at an already popular event has now turned into a media feeding frenzy.  Ughh…

 

Admittedly, I was so wrapped up in my workload that I didn’t really get a chance to think about the tournament, that is, until that morning.  As I was stuck in traffic on my way to Doral, it hit me that not only was I making my debut after months of trash talking, but I would be playing on a PGA course.  And knowing my Fairy Golf Father, the way I do, I suspected I would be on the famed Blue Monster.

 

The Blue Monster features long fairways, undulating green, a deep Bermuda rough and a unique assortment of water hazards. The famous 18th hole, with its signature fountain, was ranked by GOLF Magazine as one of the Top 100 Holes in the World. 5,392 yards total from the Forward Tees.

 

Suddenly, the apple I was eating was making me sick. What was I doing? Who do I think I am? Really, The Blue Monster so early in my golf career? I could still turn around and save face. I just need to let my Fairy Golf Father know…I’m not coming.  He’ll understand.  Ok, so he didn’t understand the not coming part, but he did understand that I needed just a little encouragement.

 

From the moment I arrived at Doral, peace falls over me. Both the Doral staff and the Summer Groove staff were so welcoming. Ok, as many times as I have volunteered at event, I’ve never been in the “check- in” room. Also known as golf stuff heaven! It is in this room that I go from table to table choosing my hat, NIKE glove, polo shirt, golf balls, etc. I’m dizzy with excitement and then I see it. The wall of NIKE golf shoes! Oh my…I had to sit, catch my breath and say THANK YOU to my FGF for making me get at least this far! Alas, those shoes would not be worn today, as I brought my shoes styled by celebrity stylist Un Cutt!

 

Ok, so I knew my shoes were hot…but wow!  I start to put on my shoes and I’m getting feedback from all corners of the room. Uh oh…ok, so I’ve officially brought attention to myself. Men are lining up to check out the shoes. I had no idea…eek…great, now they think I’m a golfer.

 

So I head out of the land of free golf stuff and head to find my foursome.  Our foursome turns out more like six-some. I joined Rahime, Victor, Henry and Craig. Rahime and I are good friends who have known each other since his days at Georgetown with Alonzo. Our 6-some is rounded out with Trey, Alonzo’s teenage son.  It’s a scramble, best ball format, so it’s all good and the pressure is not so bad.

 

We teed off at 18. Just for the novelty of it, I’m playing with a pink ball. I tee it up, take a breath and let it rip. Right down the middle of the fairway. We don’t play my first ball-that honor goes to Craig. But we played my second shot and ended up making par.

 

Despite several rain delays, (why did I get my hair done?) we had the best time. At various holes, there are the top restaurants in Miami along with adult beverage and ice cream carts. All free…so needless to say, a I got more and more loose as we the day got longer.

 

On the 9th hole, you can donate $25 to beat Alonzo closest to the pin for an autographed basketball. Unfortunately for me, the restaurant Prime 112 is at this hole cooking up their world famous fried Oreos. I donate $25 and go to order my fried Oreos. All of sudden, people are screaming my name. It’s my time, but my Oreos aren’t done.  Crap, needless to say, my ball went in the water, and the oreos were mouth watering! However, I did beat Alonzo in our private best customized shoe contest! He had no idea I was coming that hard core!

 

I was pleasantly surprised how many times we played my ball! I was playing very well, extremely well.  It helped that Henry and Victor are excellent players and even better teachers. Watching and playing with Trey was such a joy. He is growing into such a fine young gentleman. What an AMAZING day.

 

As I pulled away from Doral, I can’t believe I almost turned around. I almost missed out on an AMAZING day of golf, friendship, good food and drinks, all for a great cause.

 

Even though the imaginary monsters don’t live under my bed anymore, I’m glad I have friends who slay them for me wherever they turn up!

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