I talked a little about my 2018 plans during my 2017 Year in Review, but things are already starting to materialize for this coming year. I have a few road trips tentatively coming together.
1K Within Reach
I am still not sure what course I will play when I reach the 1,000 milestone, which I expect to happen by late summer or early fall. It will partly depend on the timing of it as well as what special courses may be available to me. I’ll either pay to play somewhere really nice or I’ll work every connection I have to gain access to a private club worthy of the accomplishment.
A handful of road trips are coming together because I officially joined the NCGA this year in order to sign up for their member outings. Unfortunately, the SCGA is pretty well tapped out for me and I may only do one or two of those outings in 2018. Otherwise, I’ve already played all the Southern California courses they have on the schedule so far and I’m not planning to sign up for any of their big trips (though any of those would be sweet to attend).
The NCGA, however, opens up a lot of new opportunities. They don’t do as many member outings during the year as the SCGA and their schedule is kind of bunched up from March through July. I’d love to do more than I’ve signed up for, but the timing just doesn’t work out for that many trips up north. A friend and I got together and planned out which ones we wanted to buy and then we’ll plan regional trips around those NCGA outings. The registration for these outings went live at noon yesterday and most of them sold out very quickly as they do every year. I was having Ticketmaster flashbacks trying to log in and purchase the outings I wanted within the first 5 minutes.
Ultimately, I got into all the ones I wanted and I signed up for four of them.
The one I am most excited about is The Preserve. I do not know how the organizers pulled off this outing because this is one of the most exclusive clubs in all of California. Most people don’t even know this incredible Tom Fazio course exists deep in the Carmel Valley within the San Lucia Preserve, but it has been very high on my bucket list from the moment I heard of it. The outing wasn’t cheap, but this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime golf experience that I wasn’t going to pass up.
The second outing I registered for was Montreux Country Club in Reno, NV. This looks like an awesome course, but the bigger story here is that I am finally breaking the seal on the Lake Tahoe region. Every year, I say to myself “this is the year I’m doing a Tahoe trip” and every year I end up not doing it for whatever reasons. To be honest, I’ve always been a little fearful of this area because most everything is pretty expensive and there are so many amazing-looking courses. It’s kind of overwhelming to plan just one short trip here. Where do you even start?
Edgewood and More
The NCGA has an outing the day before Montreux at famed Edgewood Tahoe, which is another high bucket list course for me. We are not planning to do that outing, but we are planning to play this course on the trip because the timing will work out better if we do it on another day. We’ll probably end up playing one more of the high-end courses and then some mid-range courses in the Carson City/Reno area to balance things out. However it shapes up, I am super excited about this trip and finally opening this big, beautiful can of worms!
Next, I signed up for an outing at Berkeley Country Club in the East Bay Area, which was formerly known as Mira Vista G&CC. This is an older course designed by Robert Hunter and Willie Watson. It looks like a nice traditional track that went through some recent renovations, and it’s another good excuse to revisit the Bay Area in July.
The “value” outing is in October at Brookside CC in Stockton. This is the least expensive outing on the NCGA calendar, but it’s a course I haven’t played and also a good excuse to plan a fall trip to the Sacramento/Central Valley region. It is a Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design, so I have a feeling it will be well worth the trip.
More Road Trips?
I’m sure other excuses will come up for additional road trips throughout Northern California, Nevada, Arizona and Oregon. Quantity is obviously important to me this year as I try to reach that big personal milestone, but you can see that plenty of quality will be mixed in. It’s always nice to have at least one top-shelf course to plan a trip around and these outings also give us concrete dates to start with.
The SoCal List
Locally, I am going to keep working any angles I can to get on the remaining private courses on my list. I recently played Virginia CC, which was a big one. I am probably going to sign up for the Golf Channel AM Tour tournament over at Mountain View CC in La Quinta, as that’s another one I can check off the list here in the Coachella Valley. Beyond that, I hope I can arrange some invites at other private clubs throughout the year. It is getting harder and harder as the list gets shorter and shorter, but I’m always looking for opportunities and hoping to depend on the kindness of others.
Even if no more private club opportunities come through, I’m already very excited for what 2018 has in store with several big-time rounds already booked. It also helps I finally have a new site that actually works, so that will keep me even more inspired to play lots of golf and add fresh content.