As you can probably tell, I’ve been pushing myself extra hard the past couple of months. That trip to the Midwest in August wiped me out pretty good both mentally and physically (not to mention financially), but it also propelled me much closer to my 250-course goal. Originally, that was something I wanted to accomplish by the end of this year, but I reached it much sooner than expected. Once I started getting close, it became an obsession and I was running myself ragged trying to reach it as quickly as possible.
Well, I reached—and surpassed—that milestone last week and am proud to have accomplished it. I’m sure it won’t be long before I reach number 300, but right now I’m long due for a full week off from golf. It’s the perfect time for some rest and reflection.
It was last August when I really got back into golf. For a few years prior to that, I played sparingly. Whether it was financial reasons (being frugal after buying my first home in 2008), physical reasons (minor injuries I was dealing with) or mental reasons (lack of motivation), I just didn’t play more than a handful of times each year. But last August, I took advantage of some free birthday rounds and that sparked my passion once again.
I played Tustin Ranch on my birthday last year. I played horribly, but had fun hitting the little white ball again. A week later, I drove up the coast to play at River Ridge in Oxnard and Soule Park in Ojai (both also free birthday rounds) and that really got me inspired. Getting to experience those two courses I hadn’t played before was the catalyst I needed. I started playing more often and it snowballed dramatically from there.
I renewed my desire to play more and more new courses throughout Southern California and beyond. Since last August, I’ve played over 100 new courses, reaching the 200-course (Fossil Trace) and 250-course (Half Moon Bay Ocean Course) milestones all during that time.
I also renewed my goal to play in all 50 states—an idea that has been somewhat dormant for me since 2007. Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2011, I played in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. I was able to scratch a few incredible courses off my “bucket list,” including TPC Sawgrass, Sea Island and Harbour Town.
I took another long state-by-state road trip in May of this year that took me through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Utah. I was able to add seven new states to my total and play some more Top 100 courses that I’ve always wanted to play (Troon North, Paa-Ko Ridge, Black Mesa, Wild Horse and Lakota Canyon Ranch).
In August, I added six more states to my list including Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Arcadia Bluffs and Cog Hill #4 blew me away and I was also able to play some other great courses like Longaberger, Old Silo, Tullymore/St. Ives and Brickyard Crossing.
Scattered throughout the year, I was able to play some other highly regarded courses on smaller road trips. Spanish Bay, Poppy Hills, Half Moon Bay, Old Macdonald, La Quinta Resort, Classic Club and Industry Hills are some of the most notable that come to mind.
Even though I am on my own for most of the big adventures and a lot of the local play, I have also been able to enjoy a more “social” golf lifestyle this past year due to my increased involvement with Greenskeeper.org. I’ve participated in four GK Events, the GK Cup match play tournament (I got bounced in the first round, though), and a couple of different “GK Plays” casual outings. That also led me to join the LA Golf Group through Meetup.com, which has also been a lot of fun and friendly competition. Through these experiences, I’ve met a lot of other great people who share my passion for golf and made many new friends in the process. In fact, I’ve met guys that make my 250-course mark seem pathetic (500, 750, even 1,000 courses played by some people—truly amazing and inspiring).
And of course, I started this blog. Perhaps more than anything, doing this is what has inspired me to keep playing at a steady pace and keep adding to my list of courses played both locally and across the country. I’ve gotten such great support and feedback from my friends, family and many of the people on GK. It really makes all the work worthwhile knowing that people are actually reading and enjoying this site. It’s crazy when I meet someone at a GK event and they are telling me about courses I played or places I visited. Sometimes, they’ll bring up small details that were in a story and that always catches me off guard because I don’t expect people to read every bit of my long-winded stories.
In other words, I’ve had a ton of fun writing this blog and sharing my adventures with everyone. I really appreciate the support and will keep chugging along as long as my pocketbook allows!