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Visit to the Neighborhood Golf Course Left Me and the Guitar Player Breathless

Written by: Tony Korologos | Tuesday, June 9th, 2015
Categories: GolfGolf CoursesHOG World TourLifeMiscellaneous
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Yesterday (a Monday) I had a couple of hours to spend with my little guy, a 2.5 year old full of energy who loves putting with his plastic Little Tikes putter.  I usually go to my more upscale course, but this time I decided we would visit the “neighborhood” course.   This course is a lower end executive type course, a par-68 with short holes, a super modest pro shop, and a crowd more unique and authentic than I could have imagined.

The vibe of this place is super casual.  No collared shirts required.  Cargo shorts okay.  In fact, I don’t think they’d care if you didn’t even wear a shirt as long as you were there.

Junior Golf Lessons

My boy and I were putting for a while.  A group of kids started converging for what obviously was a group junior golf lesson.   As it turned out I actually knew, and had had some previous lessons from one of the instructors.  It was great to watch these kids on the range and on the putting green learning the golf swing and the game.

Junior Golf

The very working class parents sat in chairs under the shade of a big tree watching their kids hit balls.  There was a UPS guy, moms and dads of all types…  All this while a guy on a golf cart was playing guitar, harmonica, and singing.  More on the live entertainment later (really, keep reading).   What a cool scene.

Guitarist in cart on left while mom walks son to junior golf lessons…

Triage

My boy and I started to get quite hot and I remembered I left some bottled water in the car.  So we went back to the car for a drink.  While we were standing by the car I noticed a man carrying a woman in his arms from the driving range, while escorted by two other people.  The man set the lady down in the shade and they were very concerned about her.  I thought maybe it was a heart attack or heat stroke until I saw them icing and attending to the left side of her jaw.  She’d obviously been hit by a club.  What a bummer and that’s certainly a big point about golf injuries.  Most golf injuries are not from players being hit by golf balls.  Rather, the majority of golf injuries are the result of someone getting hit by a club during someone’s practice swing.

Takes Strokes Off!

Takes Strokes Off Golf Lessons!

Breathless Live Entertainment

My boy and I went back to the practice green and hit a bunch more putts, then he took his plastic putter to the range stalls and started taking his first full swings.  He had been watching those kids and was mimicking them.  It was cool to see and he was knocking real golf balls a good 20 yards with a plastic putter.  While he was hitting I thought I’d say hello to the guitar player.

As a former professional musician who made a living for 25 years playing music, I’m always interested and want to say hello to other musicians.  I thought it was pretty cool a guitar player would bring his guitar and perform for the people at the course.  How cool to sit on a golf cart and play guitar!  He was very quiet and I could hardly make out what he was playing or singing from more than 5-10 feet away though.

Me: “Can you play Flight of the Bumble Bee?”

When I got close enough to talk to the guitarist and ask his permission to take a photo, I realized he was on oxygen.  That explained the quiet vocals.

I grabbed my boy and brought him over to listen to the music when I realized something odd.  He was capoed up about 5-6 frets, using no pick, and not really doing anything with his left hand other than muting some of the strings randomly.  It only took me a few seconds to realize that this guitarist was not playing any chords at all and was making up lyrics which he talk-sang as he chicken-plucked.

Bless this guy.  He didn’t know how to play guitar or sing, but it was still cool.  Nobody noticed because he was so quiet.

Conclusion

It will not soon forget my odd Monday evening at the “neighborhood” course.  It was authentic, tragic, entertaining, heartwarming, and breathtaking all at the same time.


HOG World Tour Visits Mountain Dell Canyon Course

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, June 8th, 2015
Categories: GolfGolf CoursesGolf For WomenHOG World TourTravel
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I had quite an enjoyable round yesterday at the Mountain Dell Canyon Course, between Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah in Emigration Canyon.  The Canyon course is one of two courses on the property, and the one I prefer.

I had some spectacular shots yesterday.  One was a punch 8-iron from under a tree in the right rough on the par-4 9th.  The ball ended up 12 inches.  Birdie.  The next one was a punch 9-iron from 145 (lots of wind), from a severe side-hill lie.  That 3rd shot on the par-5 14th astonishingly didn’t go in.  It must have lipped out for eagle.  The ball was TWO inches behind the hole.  Birdie.

I had some other fantastic shots after the round, via my golf aerial photo/video hexacopter drone.

Mountain Dell Canyon Course

Mountain Dell Canyon Course – click to see more

They should get rid of the cart paths…

More aerial golf photos: Mountain Dell Canyon Course and Mountain Dell Lake Course.


Salt Lake City Golf Division is Giving the Shaft to Bonneville Golf Course Patrons

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
Categories: BoneheadsGolfGolf CoursesMiscellaneous
Bonneville Golf Course Aerial Photo by Tony Korologos

Bonneville Golf Course

I’ve never written a “letter to the editor” of a local paper.  Tonight will be the first, a submission to the Salt Lake Tribune.  Below is my take, and below that the text which will be a shorter version for the letter.

If you paid for a six pack of your favorite beverage and only received five cans, would you be a satisfied customer?

If you went to the movies and the movie theater cut out 15 minutes of the movie, would you be a satisfied customer?

If you paid for a 60 minute massage and the masseuse cut it off at 49 minutes, would you be a satisfied customer?

Salt Lake City Golf Division is doing this same thing to patrons of Bonneville Golf Course.  We patrons are paying full retail for 18 full holes of golf, but not getting what we paid for.  The course is in the midst of an install of an automatic sprinkling system which has been decades overdue.  That’s great.  While the course is torn up the players are asked to skip large portions of the course, like the 500 yard par-5 first hole today.  In exchange for skipping those parts of the course a temporary hole is setup somewhere else.  This temporary hole is obviously a pale excuse for Salt Lake City Golf Division to charge full price since the player is playing 18 holes.

In the spirit of the game it would be good customer service to offer a discount, a free bucket of range balls, or some kind of bounceback rate due to the conditions.  Instead, Salt Lake City expects golfers to pay full rack rate, and that’s not sitting well with many.  Trust me on that one.

When I mentioned the lack of a discount to the staff in the pro shop (who will remain unnamed to protect their anonymity) they informed me that the asked the city about it.  No dice.

When discussing this lack of consideration for the players, one player on the course today told me “they’re doing it because they can.”  That is true.  While I could choose to go elsewhere, I’m still patronizing Bonneville.  I’ve been playing there for decades.  But I can’t help these feelings of resentment which have been building over the last several full retail rounds I’ve paid for, getting only 17 holes of golf.

Other courses in this area are very considerate of their players during adverse course conditions. River Oaks posts a discount for roughly one month when they aerate their greens.  That’s a course who cares about their customers.  Apparently that’s not the case with Salt Lake City Golf Division.

The Letter To The Editor (shorter version in hopes they run it)

If you paid for a six pack of your favorite beverage and only received five cans, would you be a satisfied customer?

As a patron of Bonneville Golf Course for decades–who has paid tens of thousands of dollars in green fees in my lifetime–I can’t help feeling like I’m getting the shaft when paying full retail for a course that is torn up and offering essentially 17 holes worth of golf.

Salt Lake City Golf Division should offer a discount, a free bucket of balls, or a bounceback rate to show their customers that they appreciate their business during installation of their new sprinkler system.  Granted the sprinkler system is much needed and decades overdue, but charging full retail for an incomplete product is a shank out of bounds and not in the spirit of the game.

End of rant.

 


Sandy Utah’s Hidden Valley Country Club Mountain Nine Changes

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, May 22nd, 2015
Categories: Golf Course ArchitectureGolf Courses
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At the end of last season my dad and I played the Mountain nine at Hidden Valley Country Club in Sandy, Utah for the last time the 9th hole would be in its old iteration. The club is in the process of putting in a swimming pool and the par-3 hole would have to be moved and altered.  It was cool to play the hole the last time it was open.

Today was the debut of the new hole and we were there for that as well, which is kind of neat.  The new version is much different.  The elevation change is less and the angle different.  The green almost seems to slant away from the tee although the shot is slightly uphill.  I airmailed the green having kept the old elevation change in my mind, but did manage a solid up and down for par.  I’m even on the new version in my career of one time playing it.

New Mountain Nine par-3 9th hole design, May 2015

There were a couple of other changes to the Mountain nine.  The two front-left greenside bunkers on the par-3 4th where changed to one bigger bunker.  Photo below.

Par-3 4th bunker change, Mountain nine May 2015

The bunkers short right of the par-4 5th were changed to one bigger bunker and made visible from the fairway below. Previously the old bunkers were not visible.  Photo below:

New, bigger single bunker on the par-4 5th, Mountain Nine.

I’m not necessarily one who believes the player needs to see everything, but aesthetically that change looks “nice.”  The new bunker is much flatter and less deep, with hardly any lip.  The old ones were very deep and penal.  Very tough.


Lightning Strikes Golf Flag and Scorches Putting Green at Local Course

Written by: Tony Korologos | Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
Categories: GolfGolf CoursesGolf For WomenMiscellaneous
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Yesterday we had some extreme weather conditions with massive rain and hail that was bad enough that I had to pull my car over and park under a tree to keep my car from getting dented.

About a five minute drive from where I’m sitting right now is a 27 hole course designed by Johnny Miller called Stonebridge. The bad weather hit them too. A bolt of lightning hit a flagstick at the course, frying the flag and burning a crazy scorched pattern into the putting green.  See photos below, courtesy of Stonebridge.

Lightning burned putting surface - click for more Stonebridge photos

Lightning burned putting surface – click for more Stonebridge photos

Lightning burned golf flag… click to enlarge

Now think for just a second the next time you consider playing golf when you see lighting. That 5-iron is a lightning rod.


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