Dave Stassen Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Buddies at Ballybunion
My old friend Steve Speake and I decided it was time to “trod the Auld Sod.” While the wives experienced Ireland’s history and shopping, we teed it up five times over nine days. We walked every hole, including thirty-six in one day at Killarney. The wind gusted up to thirty miles per hour, but it didn’t matter—it’s Ireland. A local gent in his eighties walked three holes with us. He didn’t play; he just shared stories of his fifty-year membership at Ballybunion. That alone was worth the trip.
Ken LeClair Franklin, Tennessee
Four on Seven at Sea Island
This was the second year that sixteen friends from all over the U.S. headed to Sea Island, Georgia, for the annual Ponce de Leon Invitational Golf Tournament. The four-day event is a great opportunity for friends to play some competitive golf and share a few laughs.
Scott M. Winn San Francisco, California
Summertime in Sweden
Sweden is not usually considered a golf destination, but under the guidance of Ulf Akerblom, the newest member of our golf group and a native Swede, eight of us from Radnor Valley Country Club in Villanova, Pennsylvania, traveled to Stockholm last June for what we called the Solstice Cup. We stayed at the elegant Foresta hotel and played several courses, concluding with a Ryder Cup–style match. The Swedish team won the first day’s better-ball competition but lost in the singles to give the RVCC team the victory. This May, there’s a return match here in the U.S. There are some terrific courses in Sweden, including Ullna (which once hosted the Scandinavian Masters). Our most memorable moment was when we flew to Östersund and, since the sun never set, played thirty-six holes overnight. The golf in Sweden is terrific—and so are the people!
Warren Maurer Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
Up In treetops
Ever since I saw the professional shoot-out at Treetops Resort, one of my fantasies has been to play its world-famous par-three course. My wife’s cousin, Drew Beaver, and I stayed at the beautiful nearby resort, Garland. We played its four championship courses, but the highlight of our trip was the nine holes at Treetops. It was awesome. I was so excited to have a dream come true. With free passes for next year, we will be back. You should go, also!
Ken Miller Macon, Georgia
This past Thanksgiving holiday I went with my wife, Ellen, to visit her relatives in Springfield, Missouri, for an entire week. After lamenting how approaching snowstorms would mean that I would miss a chance to play golf, I was pleasantly surprised to arrive to good weather. I was also surprised to find many good courses in town. After playing the Bill & Payne Stewart Golf Course in the north end of the county, we were able to play the challenging and gorgeous Rivercut golf course in the south end the next day. I’m glad that I had my wife take lessons—now wherever we go I have a playing partner.
Verden Oxales Aliso Viejo, California
Out for Blood in Alabama
Two groups from Texas, one from the south and one from the north, recently played four days of golf on the Robert Trent Jones Trail. We started in Mobile and ended in Birmingham. The competition between the two sides was fierce. Accusations of cheating, balls miraculously reappearing after being lost, biting and other unruly behavior was common. After four days of heated battle, the north prevailed—better erasers, no doubt. Ending the trail at the Renaissance Ross Bridge was the highlight. The course, the hotel and the restaurants all helped to heal some bruised bodies and wounded egos.
Mark Gannon Colleyville, Texas