Butler Cabin, Augusta National (c) Burgh Golfer

Friday, February 25, 2011

Grand Cypress Orlando, FL Course Review

Grand Cypress is a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. The course has four nines; North, South, East and New Courses. A few days ago, I played the North-South courses; it was an enjoyable round.

The first thing you notice when driving into the facility is the water. There is water all over the golf course so bring a lot of balls. I took a sleeve of Pro V’s and managed to get through the round without buying more. At $18 per sleeve, I was not too excited about dropping $6 per ball.

There is a very nice practice facility to hit a few balls and warm up before your round. They also have a food and beverage cart floating around with plenty of snacks, drinks and very good sandwiches.

The blue tees on the North and South courses are very playable. There is a set of championship tees behind the blues and will stretch the course to near 7,000 yards. Most holes offer generous landing areas on the opposite side of trouble. In typical Nicklaus fashion there are plenty of left to right holes with forced carries.

A few of the holes have very sharp doglegs to the right with a significant carry across water. Jack’s course design gives you the chance to shave as much as you want off of the hole, but you’ll need to carry the ball anywhere from 240 to 270 yards. If you successfully carry the water, you will have a very short approach shot. If you play safe and away from the water, there will be a very long approach shot into the green. As with most Florida courses there are many bunkers and Bermuda grass greens. The greens are a modest speed, which you would expect from a resort course. Because the greens have a significant amount of grain, you have to pay attention to the direction of the grain or will have a long day on the greens.

The clubhouse has a fully stocked pro shop and golf attire is required. I did not have my clubs and rented Nike woods and irons. Even though the shafts were stiff, the driver shaft was not stiff enough. It took about six holes to get used to the flex; so if you are a low handicap player or a player with a lot of speed you will need to slow it down. Otherwise, be prepared for big hooks like I did on the first few holes. In addition, the golf carts have a very sophisticated GPS system with flyover views of each hole before you get to the tee. This really helps to speed up play and there is no need to walk around trying to determine a yardage.

For after the round the clubhouse has a very nice lounge where you can get some great food and drinks.

Overall, it was a very good experience and I would definitely go back to Grand Cypress again. If you are in Orlando and are looking for a very nice resort course, I do recommend Grand Cypress. I know you will enjoy the round and the facility.

Source; fcwtgolf.com Grand Cypress Golf

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tommy Two Gloves Gainey

I wrote two posts in the fall -- one titled; Where Have All The Characters Gone and the other called Golfer Nicknames. Tommy Two Gloves Gainey seems to capture the essence of both posts. You have to root for a guy that wears two gloves while playing his round and embraces the handle Two Gloves.

Tommy burst onto the golf scene a few years ago as a contestant on the Golf Channel’s reality show Big Break. He wears two gloves while playing because of his days as a baseball player growing up. He certainly is not your typical PGA Tour Player, which is one reason why people follow him and cheer him on. He does not have a polished, traditional golf swing. He does not dress like he just stepped out of the pages of Golf Digest’s fashion section. He does not speak like he has a Harvard education. However, what he does do is play the game with passion, his way, and it is exciting to watch. I believe this is another reason why the average fan pulls for players like Tommy Gainey. They can see themselves in these types of players. Anytime a PGA Tour player is a bit unorthodox and has success, every fan says to the themselves “if that guy can do it so can .I. Players like Boo Weekley, John Daly and Rocco Mediate are of a similar mold. They may not look, sound or act perfect all the time but that is what the fans want to see. Fans can relate to a player that is more like them.

I believe Tommy Gainey will have a good career on the PGA Tour, not due to his talent but due to his drive, motivation and passion for the game. He obviously has talent; no one gets onto the PGA Tour by accident. However, what keeps them on tour is preparation, dedication and motivation. Like any other job or profession, success oftentimes comes down to the intangibles. Are you willing to put in the practice? Are you willing to learn, grow and stretch? I believe Tommy has all of those qualities.

I hope Tommy remains on tour for many years to come because the PGA Tour needs players like Tommy. No offense to the perfect swing, perfect-look players but they are not all that exciting to watch. However, what is exciting to watch is a player with a homemade-looking golf swing coming down the stretch on Sunday with a chance to win a tournament.

What type of players do you like to watch?

Martin/Getty Images

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tierra Del Sol Golf Resort Aruba - Course Review

I had the opportunity to play the Tierra Del Sol Golf Club this past week while in Aruba. Tierra Del Sol was designed by American Golf Course Architect Robert Trent Jones II. It is the only 18-hole Championship Golf Course in Aruba. The resort is on the north side of the island and lies along the coastline. It offers some spectacular views of the Caribbean and several high vantage points to take advantage of the sights. I would recommend bringing the camera along if you play the course as you will have the opportunity for some nice photos. Or, in my case I brought my wife who is my official vacation photographer. The course is a short five to ten minute ride from the main high rise hotels area of Aruba. So, if you are staying in the northern part of the island near Palm Beach it is a quick trip.

The resort offers not only golf but also accommodations on the property should you wish to rent a home or villa during your stay. Tierra Del Sol has a full clubhouse and well stocked pro shop. They have everything you might need including; shorts, shirts, balls, rental clubs, etc. In my case, I forgot my socks so had to pick up a pair. I was even able to rent some stiff shafted Nike woods and irons for my round which was pretty impressive. Most courses only offer regular shafts in rental clubs. There is not much in the way of locker facilities so show up to the course prepared to play in golf attire.

The course does not offer much in the way of practice facilities either. The website indicates a full length driving range but I was reaching the end of it with a 3 wood and it is downhill so it cannot be more that 250 yards in length. The driving range is little more than a pasture with some sparse, rough grass on a sand base. If you show up preparing to beat a bunch of balls to loosen the muscles you will be sadly disappointed. They also have a very limited putting and chipping area. However, it is sufficient to warm up and take a few swings.

The course itself offers four sets of tees and measures 6,811 yards from the Championship. That may not sound terribly long but it is - for one good reason. Wind, wind and more wind. If you ever read anything about the island of Aruba you will quickly learn it is a windy place. In addition, the island itself is a desert landscape. So, that results in a golf course on the coast, with cactus and very few trees completely exposed to the wind. The wind blows at 15-20 mph constantly and can gust up to 30 mph at times. So, that is an element you need to be prepared to face. Most holes offer very generous landing zones off the tee to help compensate for the wind.

The wind even effects putting. Since the greens are Bermuda you have to factor in grain as well as the wind on every putt.

Overall the course is very playable and is challenging enough to play more than once. So, if you are staying on the resort property or in a nearby hotel you will enjoy playing this course and taking in some amazing vistas.