Fans of Friar’s Head
In June, five of us who were housemates in college several years ago (thirty, for those who are counting) decided to forgo our traditional “return to campus” reunion and got together at a spectacular setting: Friar’s Head on the North Fork of Long Island. This masterpiece by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw is truly a sight to behold. Although it proved to be a difficult challenge for the four guests, our host was smart enough to select the appropriate tees, and the pro was gracious enough to allow the fivesome. The weather cooperated and provided wonderful views of Long Island Sound and Connecticut. The natural dunes and old sand hills make for one great golf course to be shared over two gorgeous days by five longtime friends. We look forward to doing it again next year!
Colin Whipkey Marlton, New Jersey
Mid Ocean Man
In May my wife and I took our daughters on a cruise to Bermuda. The ladies shopped and took in some spa treatments on board, and I headed for the links. I had the opportunity to play the Mid Ocean Club, home of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf and the Tucker’s Point Club. Both are excellent tracks with some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen from a tee box. Bermuda was a great destination, and I hope to go back some day and try out some of the other courses as well.
Randy Black Preston, Connecticut
The USGA Museum (Time Traveling, July/August) is not the country’s oldest sports museum. The Golf Museum in Newport News, Virginia, opened four years earlier, in 1932.
From Motown to the Cliffs of Moher
It just doesn’t get any better than this: a bunch of recent Ford Motor retirees and golf buddies on a trip to southwest Ireland to play the courses only that country can offer. What an amazing sight! We had just arrived in the morning and were on our way to play Doonbeg. Our trip included rounds at Lahinch, Killarney, Tralee, Ballybunion, Waterville and Adare—all premier courses. Yes, the golf was great, but equally special was the beauty of that wonderful country, with people who are so friendly and pubs that are so much fun. To experience it all with guys you worked with for thirty-plus years was very, very special. What a super retirement gift, with memories we will never forget.
Jack Palumbo Plymouth, Michigan
All Hail Western Gailes
To celebrate our fortieth birthdays, my buddy Doug “Cooney” Jaworski and I took a weeklong trip to play some of the great Scottish layouts, including St. Andrews, Kingsbarns and the Ailsa Course at Turnberry. We played our final round at Western Gailes, a fine links north of Troon that is often used for Open qualifying. As a special treat, Henry, the starter at Western Gailes, joined us as we came to the green at the par-five sixth (which I birdied!) and for a few holes provided some commentary on the course and on our play. The fine weather stayed with us the entire day, helping to make it a very memorable round. With plenty of sand dunes, pot bunkers and a few burns weaved throughout it, I believe Western Gailes is a must-play for anyone looking to enjoy a good round on a quiet links that’s loaded with character.
Bill Crombie Atlanta, Georgia
The Winds of Kapalua
Last July my best pals, Martin and Rich, and I enjoyed three days at Kapalua Resort on Maui, and all the more so with the wind. It was great to play like Tiger and go driver-wedge on some of the holes, even better on the par-five eighteenth, which I hit in two with a seven-iron. It took all three of us to replace the flagstick on that hole; you should have seen the putts! For those who haven’t played there, it’s a must. And bring your camera!
Mike Leonte Rancho Mirage, California
Old and Upside Down
I’ve dreamed of standing on the first tee at the Old Course since I was old enough to understand its history. As we drive to St. Andrews, I think of the generations of players who have come before me over the centuries. With ten minutes to go, we walk toward the starter’s box, and I have butterflies in my stomach. I bend down to tighten the laces on my golf spikes and it hits me: I’m not dreaming. I roll a few putts on the practice green, and a moment later our time has come. When it’s my turn to cross the Swilcan Bridge, I do so upside down (which I recommend trying).
Grant Hendricks Bay Shore, New York