OK, it has been a while but it has been an unusual holiday season this year. But hey, it's 2005 now! Happy New Year!
I went to Florida to visit my parents for Christmas and played three rounds there. The first at Waterlefe (yeah -- they spelled leaf funny) the second at the Links at Greenfield Plantation and the third round at the TPC Prestancia Stadium Course.
Now winter in Florida should be nice and warm, right? Not this year. The day I arrived, so did the rain and cold. The highs were lower 50s and there was a relatively steady rain for the first 4 days or so. Even worse, one night the winds really started kicking up to about 65 MPH. It was really howling out there and it blew a bunch of sailboats up on to the beach in Sarasota bay. By the time we got to Prestancia, though, it started to feel like Florida again. The sun came out and we had a nice round on a very nice course.
So at this point, I'm sure you are all on the edge of your seats to find out how I did. Thanks to my new Nike Ignite 10.5° stiff driver (thanks Leslie!!) I did pretty well. The driver was doing great with relatively consistent 250 yard drives that most of the time were down the middle of the fairway. Now on these courses, hitting 250 yards off the tee leaves me some sort of short iron or wedge into the green which is something I was not used to -- but if felt really nice :) At Waterlefe, I missted the greens pretty regularly but was chipping really well giving me 6 holes with only one putt -- which is good because the greens at Waterlefe were like ice.
TPC Prestancia was the nicest course of the week though. Lots of challenging holes with expansive waste bunkers and a fair amount of water on many of the holes. In fact, it was the long drives that got me in trouble a few times when I bombed shots into bunkers or water that I didn't think I would ordinarily get to reach. It's hard to feel too bad about that though :) On the front 9, I was playing really well parring 5 of the holes and finishing the front 9 at a TPC course with a 40. Wow! I should have stopped there :) The back 9 was a little less friendly, particularly starting double, bogey, double but I finished the day with an 87. In fact, I finished all three rounds (and for that matter, my last 10 rounds of the year) in the 80s. Overall, it was a fun set of rounds with my parents to close out a remarkable year of golf.
Let's go over some of the most memorable moments of the year.
First, of course, the January rounds at Pebble Beach and Spyglass, but even earlier was my first sub 80 round at Bellevue. Then the frigid, windy round at Paiute for the PMA tournament. Then a couple of fun rounds at the Disney courses, the highlight being Eagle Pines. There was the first 36 hole day at Newcastle for Rick's birthday. Then my 18+ rounds during my sabbatical, including 6 rounds at some beautiful courses in Hawaii. Then the Member/Guest tournament with Kevin, a number of fun rounds with Dave, Clint and Kevin at Bear Creek and the amazing trip to Sahalee in October. All in all, I had 60 non-tournament rounds logged for the year and my handicap, which started the year at about 18 dropped to an unofficial 12.7 (that includes some of our winter rounds which don't get officially posted).
All in all - a good year of golf.