Quintero Golf Club

Quintero Golf Club in Peoria, AZ

quintero golf club hole 3

The dangerous par-4 3rd

The Stats

Tee Time: May 24, 2015, 10:46, 84 F, breezy

Designer: Rees Jones, 2000

Playing Partners: Bob, Bud and Jim

Tees: Gold/Silver Combo, Par 72 (72.0 rating/140 slope/6,655 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (8.1 index)

Stats: 89 (43-46); 30 putts; 8/13 fairways; 3/18 greens; 3 penalty strokes

The Course

Long weekend and the need to get away from the house led me an hour northwest to the highly-recommended Quintero Golf Club. It’s a long trek from Scottsdale, especially considering there are about 300 golf courses closer than this joint in Peoria. So instead of going through the tedious process of getting someone to drive with me to check it out, I just booked it on a 3-day weekend before the heat comes in. It all worked out, and I had the pleasure of playing with Bob, Bud and John Flanagan of New Jersey. They were as Jersey as they come. Not Jersey Shore, thankfully, but more Sopranos. Fun guys, though. They had no idea the battle they were about to put themselves through.

quintero golf club hole 4

Looking past a jumping cholla at the 4th tee

Quintero really is a spectacular golf course; it’s designed by the renowned Rees Jones, whose name is all over the country at some of the most revered courses in golf. The man clearly knows how to keep you on your toes. I’m pretty sure this is my first course of his. It’s well worth the drive. Once you get off the I-17 (if you’re coming from Phoenix or anywhere east of there), the scenery gets prettier by the mile as you pass by Lake Pleasant and head into the craggy hills. However, it’s remote. Quintero is as much a part of the Greater Phoenix area as Pluto is part of the solar system. Even the drive from the clubhouse to the first tee is 5-10 minutes in the golf cart, depending on how many volts you’ve got. On the first tee, my tips from the starter were “the fairways are wider than you think” and “the greens are stimping at 11.” That’s pretty damn fast; even the USGA only recommends 10.5 for the US Open.

It would've been a lot more fun if this guy gave me that Stimp reading

It would’ve been a lot more fun if this guy gave me that Stimp reading

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Cowboys Golf Club

Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, TX

cowboys golf club

Me and Greg (and a cutout of the Golf Channel’s Charlie Rymer photobombing us)

The Stats

Tee Time: April 12, 2015, 8:30, 78 F, Cloudy

Designer: Jeffery Brauer, 2001

Playing Partners: Greg Ryan

Tees: Silver, Par 72 (72.6 rating/135 slope/6,563 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (8.1 index)

Stats: 83 (39-44); 38 putts; 10/14 fairways; 11/18 greens; 2 penalty strokes

The Course

cowboys golf club hole 13

The gorgeous approach to the 13th

There’s a lot of expected extravagance at the Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, Texas. Four replica Super Bowl trophies prominently displayed just inside the pro shop. A six-foot wide Cowboy star in the middle one of the fairways. A Cowboys magnetic pin given to all golfers to wear that lets the cart girls know you can eat and drink for free. Markers at every hole detailing various moments in the Cowboys’ rich football history (just ignore those past twenty years or so since their last Super Bowl…) Golf carts without numbers but labeled with names of Dallas Cowboys of the past instead (we got Randy White). There are constant reminders that this is the world’s only NFL themed golf club. Though being the world’s only NFL themed golf club is a lot like being world’s only golf-themed football stadium. What? Exactly. Especially to a non-Cowboys fan like myself, all of this can detract from what is a very good golf course that more than holds up to the Jerry Jones-driven hype. Even that great carnival barker who just happens to own an NFL team can’t oversell this well-constructed track. You probably won’t even hear him, what with the 747’s coming in for landing at the nearby DFW airport all day. Maybe that’s why I played well here, I couldn’t even hear myself think.

So I guess that means we were cart #54?

So I guess that means we were cart #54?

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Old American Golf Club

Old American Golf Club in The Colony, TX

old american graig mantle

Me and Greg

The Stats

Tee Time: April 10, 2015, 11:00, 70 F, Windy

Designer: Tripp Davis/Justin Leonard, 2010

Playing Partners: Greg Ryan

Tees: White, Par 71 (71.6 rating/130 slope/6,366 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (8.1 index)

Stats: 96 (48-48); 37 putts; 5/13 fairways; 2/18 greens; 4 penalty strokes

The Course

Old American Bunker Club, sorry, I mean Old American Golf Club in The Colony, Texas, is a newer, semi-private golf course along the shores of Lake Lewisville. If I said there are 500 bunkers on this course, I’d be low. And they’re all so easy to hit into. They’re not there just for show, to look good on the front of the scorecard. Technically, they’re waste areas and are played as such. The description says the bunkers here are meant to be true hazards, punishing missed shots instead of rewarding them with fluffy lies to make sand saves from. I personally didn’t find the actual bunkers that intimidating; there are just so many that it becomes a nuisance, like mosquitoes on a muggy summer day. Try as hard to avoid them as you want to avoid them, they’ll still get you. The sand isn’t that much different from the typical sand trap. I expected the “waste area” to be a dump of thin lies, scattered twigs and other muni lies. Instead the only difference is you’re allowed to ground your club in the sand. At least they didn’t rule some areas waste and some bunkers, or I could’ve pulled a Dustin Johnson. Now that I’ve described the bunkers, the other half of the course that isn’t sand is actually very nice. I didn’t mind the sand until about the twelfth time in them. The least they could do is not make me rake the waste area.

old american golf club hole 13

The bunker-laden approach at the par-4 13th

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SunRidge Canyon

SunRidge Canyon in Fountain Hills, AZ

sunridge canyon graig cj

CJ, Jim, Al and me

The Stats

Tee Time: March 22, 2015, 9:58, 84 F, calm

Designer: Keith Foster, 1995

Playing Partners: CJ Phelan, Al, Jim

Tees: Gold, Par 71 (70.1 rating/134 slope/6,403 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (7.4 index)

Stats: 82 (37-45); 31 putts; 9/13 fairways; 7/18 greens; 3 penalty strokes

The Course

CJ came down for his first desert golf experience. Also, my first taste of golf since October, almost six months! (No, the 9-hole, 7-iron round doesn’t count). So after two planned days at Wildfire, to check out the LPGA, and Southern Dunes, a favorite of mine, CJ wanted more. My wallet and wrist were hurting, but who says no to more golf? Thankfully, we got a prime spot at SunRidge Canyon. If you’d been out with us, you might even notice we were golfing. We were paired up with another twosome, Jim and Al who made the day much more fun. Jim and CJ became best friends by the third hole, carrying conversations from tee to green while Al and I watched in amusement. They’d still be telling stories mid-backswing and be just fine. I was thankful for the company, because toward the end of the round, SunRidge Canyon features the “Wicked 6.” It is the selling point of this course, a tough 6-hole slog back up the canyon to finish your round. I laughed it off. I was wrong.

sunridge canyon hole 6

A view of Four Peaks from the 6th tee

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Golf is a Hazardous Game

Giant ‘dinosaur-looking’ gator found on Florida golf course shocks natives 

When I went to Florida last spring, I came back somewhat disappointed. Despite three rounds of golf in three different cities of the Sunshine State, I only saw one alligator, a baby one at Bay Hill. Now that I know some courses (this one being Myakka Pines Golf Club) out there have actual monstrous dinosaurs prowling the grounds, maybe I should consider myself lucky I didn’t see anything else. Though who knows what might’ve been lurking in all those ponds…

COURTESY MYAKKA PINES GOLF CLUB

COURTESY MYAKKA PINES GOLF CLUB

Golfing in the Middle of the Colorado Winter

Indian Tree Golf Club in Arvada, CO

indian wells arvada colorado

That pond looks one cold night away from being ready for some hockey

The Stats

Tee Time: January 25, 2015, 2:15, 61 F, calm

Designer: Richard M. Phelps (1970)

Playing Partners: Lisa Modglin, Nicole, Kristen

Tees: ?, Par 27 (1,038 yards)

Course Handicap: 3.5 (7.4 index)

Stats: 37; 1 hit goose

The Course

People ask, why do you want to move to Denver? Well here’s my answer. Contrary to popular belief, the weather is pretty awesome. You can even golf in the middle of January! How cool is it that you can take in a round of golf on a course in pretty good shape that still has that week’s snow piled in the shadows? It felt good to land in Denver this Saturday with the sky as overcast as a Seattle summer and the next day the sun and the sixties were out for a fun day swinging a club before the sun would set again. And the best part is you can never truly lose your ball. You just have to sit at the shore of the pond and stare it sitting on top of a sheet of ice. Despite there being about 100 Canadian geese loitering on that fresh surface, I discovered it wasn’t thick enough for a person of my weight. Luckily I only dunked one foot in the icy waters and did not succumb to frostbite.

I think I made par on this hole

I think I made par on this hole

I can’t really review the golf course I played, Indian Tree Golf Club. It’s just a fun place to get some quick swings in. Our foursome could have been done in under an hour if we didn’t get stuck behind Demaryius Thomas and family. Okay, it was actually just an obnoxious little boy in a Broncos #88 jersey.

If you look closely you can see #88 goofing off in the distance

If you look closely you can see #88 goofing off in the distance

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2015

I don’t know where I’m going to golf this year. I don’t even know where I’m going to be living come New Year’s Eve 2015. Or even 1/31/15. Who knows, really? I could be in Europe. Preferably.

homer simpson murderhorn

It’s gonna be an exhausting trip

Where to golf this year? I took care of all the awesome states already. There are 50 states in the union. And “I have 21 down. There aren’t more than 25 worth visiting, really. I’ve done it before. Do you know why they call them flyover sates?

I was doing thinking the other day. NASA sent a probe into space, on course to Pluto. The former planet, now dwarf planet. Guess it got demoted from a PGA Tour course to a 9-hole muni. That’s rough. Anyway, it’s the New Horizons probe. This year it’s finally reaching Plutonian orbit. It left earth in 2006. Over the course of its ten year journey it will have covered over 3 BILLION miles. I’ve traveled across this country a dozen times and haven’t gotten close to a hundred thousand. It got me thinking. This spacecraft went from here to the edge of the Solar System, at an unthinkable distance, in a decade. I’m four years into a journey to see every state on one country on our tiny planet and I’m not even halfway though. Continue reading