Palm Springs 2018

Dec 21 2018 – 9:32 a.m.

I was going to post something on Face Book – to share our adventure and allow those golfing buddies of mine to live vicariously through some selfies and tall tales – but I haven’t opened FB in a long time – and then just as a quick look to see what pics daughter may have posted. So instead I’ll post here. I haven’t been HERE much either mind you, and I’m winging it … blogging isn’t a thing for me…. but I journal regularly. Semantics right?

Dec 22 2018 – 6:49 a.m. (Sunrise is 6:47):

Well. Everything went mostly right. We had to run to make our connection in Calgary. Karen doesn’t run mind you. It was “Sweetie…. run and catch that plane for us would you?”  ….  When we hit Palm Springs my data plan didn’t work so we had to use an actual paper map (!) to find our hotel. Ahem RESORT. I am nestled in an area of the world known for being a golf getaway – more courses per square mile here than anywhere else on the planet….

– aaaand my golf clubs didn’t make the connection…….

My clothes made it (sans golf shoes) mind you so that’s a silver lining. I can rent clubs for one game. Wouldn’t have been able to rent clothes – or even buy them on time. I’ve done my morning stretches and am watching the sun rise over the mountains and Celebrity Golf Course. Life is good.

The Celebrity Course at Indian Wells – 72.3/133, 6642 yds from the Blues. 9:00 am tee off. Mostly sunny, about 17C at tee time and 25C at 1:00. The round took 4 :15 and never felt like we were held up.

IMG_20181225_0825038

View of the Celebrity Course from our 3rd floor balcony.  🙂

Dec 23, 2018

oh. my.      That was the most beautiful golf course I have ever played. And I shot a respectable 88, especially considering this was my first game in 2 months, I was wearing loafers, and had a set of rental clubs – Callaway Rogue. (There I go hexing my game today…). It helped that the course was in immaculate condition and that the weather was perfect.

Played with Ian and Blake. From Canada. Ian is a semi-retired business owner / money manager, and Blake is his soon to be son in law, getting married to his daughter here in Palm Springs on Christmas day if I caught that correctly. Both good people. They were part of a rather large group of family and friends, some of whom were playing behind us.

So, of all things, I’d managed to have come down with a cold a day or so before we headed down here. Not too bad mind you but I have a raspy voice and dry cough. When does Dayquil become Nyquil? When you have 4 pints with your dinner….   😐

Off to play the other course here at the resort – The Players. Instead of adding a bunch of pics here, I’ll link the courses to their respective home pages.

The Players Course at Indian Wells – 73.4/135, 6913 yds from the Blues. Identical day weather wise from my 9:00 am tee time. 4 1/2 hours with a little bit of waiting. A Sunday after all. Notes tomorrow.

Dec 24, 2018

Celebrity vs Players is much how you might guess it to be. Where the Celebrity course is all about the scenery – waterfalls and landscaping eye candy abounds – the Players is a difficult, longer, and more narrow course where you have to hit your targets or the ball will roll away, and generally into hazards. I shot a 48/46 for a 94 which was a little disappointing but given my handicap I probably should have played from the Yellow tees.

I was at the 1st hole waiting* for my other 2 playing partners when a 4th joined us, Steve, a retired electrical something something, who lives in Seattle but “winters” here and is a resident of Indian Wells. As a resident his rate for this course is only $35.00 – crazy! I believe I payed $135.00. He teed up from the Blues (so of course I felt obligated to do so as well then…) and piped a nice baby draw way down the middle. I followed up with a high pull that landed in the fairway at least. Comments like “That won’t hurt you” are a nice way of saying “oooooooo, hope that’s not going to be typical….”

*(The gentleman checking us off at the first tee was a man by the name of Lloyd who enjoyed chatting me up and explaining the course. When I told him I was from Canada and had only the other day been shoveling the driveway, he remarked about how it was fortunate that we had both the laws regarding the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage instituted at the same time. I merely looked at him and I suppose he felt this was his cue to finish the joke: “Two men can now lie together without having to be straight….”)

We proceeded to wait for our other 2 partners (the Kims), and I was actually hoping they would be late and me and Steve could play as a twosome, but at precisely 8:59 and elderly pair of Koreans showed up all bundled up like they were expecting snow. I did an internal eye-roll which turned out to be entirely unjustified as – despite some rather wonky, nonathletic looking swings, both Jay (probably not his real Korean name…) and Young continually splashed the ball down the middle of the fairway the entire game. We immediately caught up to another group of older Asian gentlemen who were obviously playing for high stakes as they eyed up every undulation fairway to green before attempting a shot. They played just fast enough that we never really caught them but had to wait at each tee box for them to clear out in front of us before we could go.

Karen and I did a recon of the Classic Club which I am playing today – which sported an uber opulent clubhouse and has hosted the Bob Hope Classic for several years in the early 2000’s. It’s 7:14 and she is about to drive me there for today’s round. There was more to yesterday besides golf as well that I want to put down here – this is as much an exercise in remembering the moment for later as anything –  but I’ll have to do it later.

Later

Well I have to say the course matched the clubhouse. Spectacular views, immaculate course – quite playable. The sand traps were maybe the only gripe as they weren’t the fluffy stuff I played at the Celebrity, but still real manicured and prepared traps. A lot more water on this course – with herons, pelicans, cranes and all manner of floaty fowl contributing to the spectacle. I played with an older couple out of New Mexico – Russell, a retired banker (of course) and his lovely wife Lori. This was the most expensive game so far at $165.00 – but I did get a free signature towel and a $15.00 voucher…… Karen came up to the clubhouse and we had a nice dinner on the deck with Russell and Lori.

After golf Karen did a bit of shopping and then we went and took a dip in one of the pools surrounding the hotel. She echoed a sentiment I was feeling about how his was all rather surreal. It’s crazy how clean and GROOMED everything is. Not just the resort but everywhere. I get the feeling the a stray chip bag would immediately find itself embarrassingly out of place and hoist itself into the nearest garbage container.

Anyways, for future reference, this is on the top of the list for courses to return to.

The Classic Club at Palm Desert – 72.9/135 6711 yds from the Blues. 9:00 am tee off again. Basically identical weather as the past two days – perfect. Under 4 hours. Shot much better than my score of 91 would seem to indicate – a couple 7’s in there – but it was an easier more forgiving course than the Players where you had options to play smart. I just maybe went for a few when I shouldn’t have. But when you are on holidays playing a course like this, it’s all about going for it.

IMG_20181224_0936195

The Classic Club

Dec 25, 2018 Christmas 🙂 …. In Palm Springs

It was supposed to possibly rain today with gusts up to 50 mph – and it appeared to be raining off in the different distances on occasion but it never bothered us as it was sunny and warm all day again. Karen and I slept in and went for a lovely breakfast on the balcony about 10:00 and just soaked in as much as we could. Later we went for a drive to scope out the route to the La Quinta Mountain Course that I was playing tomorrow (today actually as I’m writing this Wednesday morning. I’m at the desk with the curtains open watching the sunrise…). After finding it she said she’d like to simply lay by the pool and read a book. I checked to see if I could hit balls on the range but they said the range was closing at noon (Christmas) … oddly I was able to actually get on the Celebrity Course for the last tee time (!), so I ran back to the hotel and changed into the proper attire and worked my way out to the first tee. There we ran into a backlog of tourists golfing just to take pics of the scenery and their kids running about so the starter shuffled me and two other gents (Drew and Craig – A father and son-in-law from Montana) down to the 10th to start on the back. And thus began yet another perfect golf round. Other than it was a little windy and I shot 101, losing 6 balls in the process – but hey: Golfing on Christmas Day in Palm Springs.

After that we went and saw Holmes and Watson in a fancy theater with Lazyboy type recliners where you could enjoy a beer. The movie had it’s moments but was pretty dumb overall. Karen thought so more than I, but I agreed.

Dec 26, 2018

La Quinta Golf Resort, Mountain Course.

Ugh. This was just one of those days. I went to the course early as usual and was killing everything at the driving range. The course was a whole other matter as I lost 6 balls in the first 4 holes and probably a dozen all told. I am pulling my drives like crazy and just couldn’t get it together. I had several good holes but nothing to make up for the over all game. I was so unimpressed I even stopped keeping score and of course didn’t bring the card home. A pity too as it was another beautiful day and the course itself was very nice. Just water and rock waste area hazards everywhere. (After I played the Celebrity Course a few days later, and having figured out that if I pay more attention to my hip rotation and clearing my hips sooner, I really want to come back and play this one again).

IMG_20181226_1254011

The Mountain Course signature hole #16 – 157 yds to a tiny green.

We went to the Souplantation for lunch, which was awesome, and then came back to the room for a snooze. The plan was to go see another movie but when she looked on-line to book seats, they were pretty much sold out for anything we wanted to see together.

Dec 27, 2018

A day off from golf, we had a nice breakfast at one of the local IHOP’s and then thought we might catch the The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens. Unfortunately, by the time we got there around 10:30, the place was packed and there wasn’t a parking spot to be had. So we basically just started driving west towards Palm Springs and ended up going to an area dedicated to Outlet Stores or whatever they’re called – basically a couple outdoor malls with a whole bunch of these fancy little stores; Gucci, Calvin Klein, Porsche, Tommy Hilfiger, etc., etc.. Karen’s idea of heaven I do believe. We spent several hours there and drove back to La Qunita to find the Greg Norman course I’m playing tomorrow. We thought we were going to do the Cheese Cake Factory for supper which is in a large complex with all sorts of other stores and eateries, but again, no place to park. We tried the Outback Steak House but it too was a 35 minutes plus wait and Karen was starting to get tired so we went looking for a burger take out joint and found a Carls. We headed home and she pretty much fell asleep and I watched a movie. A good day.

Dec 28, 2018

PGA West Greg Norman Course 71.5/128 6671 yds from the Blues. 10:30 tee time. Only got up to about 16C and it was quite windy so the greens were very firm. Played some good holes and some bad ones as well and shot a 98. It’s as simple as this: you have to keep the ball on the fairway. The desert eats balls and where there’s not desert there’s water.

I played with Steve and his wife Elizabeth who bought a house on the course and come down on weekends from the home somewhere else to play. They had a fancy little Mercedes golf cart. I asked Steve how much that was worth and he said he didn’t know, it came with the house. I didn’t ask how much the house cost. My playing partner was a young fellow from San Diego, Yoseph. He was playing from the Black tees. He is also playing the with the San Diego State golf team, is planning and turning pro, and at a spindly 5’10” was regularly crushing 275-300 yard baby draws into the middle of the fairway. He drove away in a Porsche.   😐

Karen and I went to the Souplantation again for brunch and then did a bit of shopping at (Cost Plus) World Market and Target before going to see Aqua Man. Which was horribly corny IMHO.

Dec 30, 2018

Another great day out there. Every morning I get up before Karen and do my stretching routine with the curtains part way open, and every morning has been the same beautiful blue skies over the mountains and palm tree studded golf course in front of me. The Weather Channel says it’s only 1C out there and only supposed to get up to +7 for Indian Wells, but if you look at the Palm Springs weather, which is really only around the corner, it’s supposed to get up to 16C. Yesterday it was supposed to be cool as well (all things being totally relevant as it was -28 in Yellowknife), but it still got up to 21 🙂  I see there’s a “Top Story” on the WC about Tropical Storm Rosa maybe going to cause some weather issues for So-Cal. I clicked the link to see what it was about and got an annoyingly loud video that started automatically and wouldn’t pause or mute so I closed the page. WC can be VERY irritating with it’s links.

Anyways, Karen was still not feeling very well so we just went for breakfast at IHOP’s again and then did some shopping and driving around. I’m so amazed at how CLEAN everything is kept; no garbage on the streets anywhere, the grass and flowers are manicured no matter where you look. The whole place is like a big golf course with small armies of people blowing leaves off the sidewalks, trimming trees down the boulevards, and picking up what little litter you might see (little to none). We went back to the hotel and she went for a snooze to try and fight the cold. I went to the driving range then came back and watched the Cotton and Orange bowls.

Today it’s the PGA West Stadium Course. The other day when I played the Greg Norman course I was quite nervous because I wanted to play well and these courses are fairly intimidating for a 12 handi-capper like myself. Playing with Yosef didn’t help much either…. At any rate, I’ll try and have better perspective today: If I went to Scotland, skipping over St Andrews would not be an option either. I’m here to play the good courses and I’d be upset if I didn’t give them a try. I’ll check in later with the report.

Dec 31, 2018

PGA West Stadium Course. 71.2/136 6,383 from the combo tees, a mix of blues and whites. 4 1/2 hours. 21C. This is another Pete Dye design and is host to the PGA Desert Classic Jan 16, 2019. My cell phone camera, an 18mp Black Berry Priv which is usually excellent, has developed an issue where moisture has condensed in the lens. Very frustrating as there were lots of great pics to be had, especially the par 3 17th island green named Alcatraz.

I played with Joe and Connie, an older couple from Germany on a golf get away. When you tell Americans what the temperature is in Yellowknife, you of course have to do the conversion to Fahrenheit. Joe and Connie of course know what Celsius is all about. She mentioned it was chilly back home and they were getting frost. I checked the WC app at about noon and showed them it was -33 felt like -40C in Yellowknife.

I shot some pretty good golf but still managed an even 100. Tough. Course. But it was fun and I enjoyed myself more. I would play this one again.

After golf, Karen and I went to a restaurant called Eureka, a hipster little eatery that was pretty busy. The food was pretty good but the service was … not. We then went back to the mall where Macy’s was so Karen could do a bit of shopping. This morning I’m playing the Celebrity Course again. There’s actually some frost on the ground out there! Supposed to warm up of course.

Jan 1, 2019   Happy New Years!

Well I shot an 89 (46/43) yesterday that could easily have been better and played my best “golf” game yet. There was actually frost on the low parts and it was our first cloudy day. The round was delayed about half an hour but it wasn’t really slow.

I have as many “golf aids” and videos as any man I dare say, and really can’t attest that any one of them has helped improve my game all that much. Several months ago I ordered the Super Sonic X-10 and, even as I pressed send, regretted buying into another probable gimmick. Still, I didn’t cancel the order and I have to say now that this one tool has probably helped more more than any other. Though its main selling feature is all about swing speed and timing, it helped me by clarifying that speed comes from a combination of moving parts all working in synchronicity, and whereas I had mostly focused on trying to improve my lag in the wrists and getting them to snap through at the bottom of my swing in a faster pendulum motion, what has really helped is starting my turn at the top of my back-swing with the hips dictating and pulling my shoulder rotation. This has helped clear my hips before the club gets to the ball and mostly cured my biggest problem of coming over the top. It has also added more consistent speed.

I have another helpful tool called a Swing Radar that I’ve used for some time now to try and help with swing speed consistency, and between that and the X-10 I can confirm that I swing my driver at 100-105 and, if I try and crank on it, have had it up past 110 mph. That translates to about a 250 yard carry. Not bad for an old guy.

I hit the most fairways with my driver that I’ve hit since being here by just trusting my swing and doing a practice swing emphasizing the hips first move. I drove several fairways 270+ (total yards), and on the 248 yard #11, drove the par 4 green for an eagle putt – I hit the green over a bunker 🙂  (That I missed for a birdie but what ever). I was also on the par 5 – 507 yard #14 with a driver / 4 hybrid in 2. A tricky fast green had me 3 putt for a par but again, pretty happy with that. This was only one game though so I won’t get too carried away with patting myself on the back … but I do want to remember it!!

Karen and I went to the Broken Yolk for breakfast. The service was very good and the food was fine. I had a “John Wayne” omelette – basically a western with chili and cheese on top, and she something with sour cream on top. We both mentioned that it was fine to try but probably wouldn’t order that particular dish again. We went for a drive through the “world famous” El Paseo Shopping District which “…features over 300 world-class shops, clothing boutiques, art galleries, jewelers, restaurants and much, more…all lined along a beautifully maintained picture-postcard floral and statue-filled mile! Known as the Rodeo Drive of the Desert, El Paseo boasts a wide spectrum of stores from Sak’s 5th Avenue to individually owned boutiques.” Karen wanted to go to the Kate Spade store to find ear rings for mother dear. Being January 1st though, many of the stores were closed and it was fairly chilly if you weren’t walking on the sunny side of the street so we didn’t wander around much. We went for a drive after that and ended up back at the hotel by 2:30 as Karen’s tummy was giving her grief. I went out to the driving range for an hour and a bit and went back to the room to watch a couple college bowl games.

We were thinking of going out to see the Joshua Tree National Park but after reading a few news items online about services not being provided, garbage piling up and even issues with lawlessness – whatever that means – all due to Trumps shutdown of the government, we decided not to go.

Jan 2, 2019

Frost on the ground again. Got up late as I didn’t sleep well; this cold has moved into the sore throat stage. We have to be at the airport by 7:00 am (ish) Friday morning so we may take a trial run out to it today.

Did that and then a bit more shopping. Went by the Shadow Mountain course I’m playing tomorrow then went back to the Hotel where Karen went for a dip and I went to the driving range. Met her at the pool later and had a nice swim, trying to soak up the views.

Jan 3, 2019 … already.

Was going to put a sad face there, and I’m a little bit sad it’s over already but it’s been a wonderful 2 weeks and we are both ready to be home. I’m playing one last game at Shadow Mountain this morning. Will fill in the details later. I’m watching the sunrise now. More frost on the ground and a high of only 10c today it says.

Shadow Mountain Golf Club. 66.1/116 5375 yds from the Blues. 10:00 am tee time. The weather was, yet again, awesome. A short but quite narrow course with a fair number of left and right dog legs that had me choosing shots more carefully. I was skeptical after reading some of the reviews and paying I think it was $70.00 US but I had as much fun playing this course as any of them. There was no GPS on the carts so it definitely helped to be playing with some locals – Paul and John. The driving range only had 6 or 7 spots as well but I was one of only a few people using it. The greens were very good, the bunker sand was flaky if a little wet but still quite good. Will definitely play this one again! Shot a 41/44 with only one bad hole on the back 9. And I was killing some very good drives again but found myself topping a bunch of my approach irons. Something to work on. Sometime.

shadow mountain

Shadow Mountain Golf Club. Jan 3, 2019.

Jan 4, 2019. Heading Home time. Will miss Palm Springs / Indian Wells!!