Amigos of St. Andrews
What started out years ago as a weekend with friends has turned into an annual pilgrimage to play golf and enjoy the best experiences. Since 2000 we have played in Palm Springs, the Monterey Peninsula, Pinehurst, Puerto Vallarta, St. Andrews, Hawaii, Bandon Dunes and Mayakoba on Mexico's Riviera Maya. For 2008, Mission Hills in China is scheduled. Best resort: a coin flip between Bandon Dunes and Pinehurst. Best golf: Pebble Beach. Best-kept secret: El Tamarindo in Mexico. Best overall experience: St. Andrews.
Mario Fajardo Tijuana, Mexico
On the Tee at Tralee
When a good friend invited me to a wedding in Ireland this summer, I told a few members at my club (Bayonne Golf Club in New Jersey) that I was headed across the pond, and they persuaded me to take a few extra days to travel the southwest and play some of the courses that I've read so much about. After I planned my trip, one Bayonne member, Mike Kirsh, decided to join me for my first few rounds. We played Old Head, Ballybunion and Tralee; I also played Adare, Lahinch and Dromoland. Despite all that golf, I left wanting more. Ireland is a beautiful country and a must-play for every golfer who claims to love the game.
Corey B. Davis New York, New York
In October, your Editor's Letter celebrated the social role alcohol plays in golf, but for many, the game plays a large role in helping to stay sober. For people with addiction issues, golf can replace dangerous substances. One of the founders of AA, Bill Wilson, was a somewhat compulsive golfer in his early sobriety. A group of us in AA play together regularly—we get to enjoy this great sport as well as refocus on our sobriety by spending a few hours talking about our programs. I'm not saying alcohol is detrimental to golf, merely that for many of us, its absence allows us to more fully enjoy the game.
Anonymous via e-mail
On to Arcadia
All of us play out of Big Spring in Louisville, Kentucky, and take an annual summer trip to northern Michigan. This year we started in East Lansing (Eagle Eye) and made stops in the Traverse City area (King's Challenge and Bahle Farms, then south to Arcadia Bluffs) before returning to East Lansing (Hawk Hollow) and driving back to Louisville. None of us had previously played Arcadia Bluffs, where this picture was taken. The day was absolutely beautiful, the golf course was challenging, and it seemed that every hole had spectacular views of Lake Michigan. We will return next year.
William Green Louisville, Kentucky
Victims of Chambers Bay
When my brother Jamie and I played at Chambers Bay in Washington, I took a nine on the brutal fourth hole! Beautiful location, fantastic layout. I can't imagine how Bandon could be better.
Chris Sido Dallas, Texas
From Baton Rouge to Whistling Straits
My group and I thoroughly enjoyed three days of golf at Whistling Straits in August. The caddies were helpful and the golf was spectacular at all of the courses: Straits, Irish and the two at Blackwolf Run. The weather was also pleasant, in the seventies compared to the nineties in Louisiana! We have also been to Kiawah Island and Barton Creek, and next year we'll go to Pebble Beach.
Todd Cooley Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Eagle and Seagull Scored in Scotland
During our September golf trip to Scotland, our group from the Kansas City area experienced two rare occurrences. First, at Royal Troon, B. J. Sullivan fatally struck a seagull on the third hole (he used a five-metal and a Titleist NXT as weapons, and was not allowed to clean his ball until he reached the green). Second, on the last of our six glorious rounds, Keith Howard aced the 150-yard ninth at Gullane No. 1 with a six-iron. We're still not certain which shot was more remarkable, but B. J. and Keith were partners in both rounds and still managed to lose a few shillings to Dan Froelich and me. In spite of that, Keith bought rounds for the members in Gullane's wonderful clubhouse. By the way, our friends at Morton Golf Holidays, who planned our trip, also arranged a personal tour of Archie Baird's private collection of historic golf memorabilia, which you featured in your publication last year [March/April 2007]. What a wonderful gentleman and custodian of the game.
Skip Talley Leawood, Kansas
My wife, Lydia, and I took a Friends of Burma trip in 2006 to visit the pastors, orphanages and students that our church had been supporting. We both love golf and wanted to experience the game in the country that is now called Myanmar. The Yangon Golf Club wasn't in resort condition, but it was a challenge to play and a joy to experience. Our two female caddies were very helpful, especially in finding our errant shots—a single ball costs a month's pay to the average Burmese. We made many friends, and our prayers are with them as they deal with an oppressive military government.
Jim Tompkins Peculiar, Missouri