The Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour spent most of the week last week at the fabulous Sandals Resorts Emerald Bay property on the island of Exuma in the Bahamas. I’ve now added a large batch of photos of the resort and its many offerings, even some photos from my drone (see picture below).
Sandals Emerald Bay From Above – click for more
There is no way I could capture photographically everything Sandals Emerald Bay offers, but the gallery should give you a good idea if you are planning a caribbean trip, or a Bahamas trip. There are even photos of the awesome caribbean drinks!
Sandals Emerald Bay Mail Pool at Night – click for more
Enjoy the Sandals Emerald Bay photos for now, and stay tuned for my full review soon.
Greetings from the beautiful Sandals Emerald Bay on the island of Exuma in the Bahamas. I’m here to review the resort, the on-site Greg Norman designed golf course, and to play in a two day tournament. Internet connectivity here is as consistent as my short game, meaning it works only about 25% of the time and even then it is sketchy.
Cue the cue the Pink Floyd
Yesterday marked an activity I’ve never done before and will never forget, swimming with the pigs. There’s an island here where pigs roam, and when traveling boats come by the pigs jump into the water hoping to get fed. Very fun, and entertaining experience. I’m uploading a video to YouTube now, but with the bad internet here, it could take 247 years to finish. So enjoy the photo above and tune back into this post for the video later.
These days it is hard to tell where golf shoes end and street shoes begin. There are many “hybrid” models which work well in both places, some even better off the course. Case in point is the new FootJoy “City” shoe. This is a hybrid golf/street shoe which may find more time in the office than on the course. I’m not referring to the tread/bottom of the shoe when using the term hybrid, or speaking to the tread’s versatility on and off the course. I’m talking about its style.
FootJoy City – Black/Mocha
The FJ City is a full grained leather shoe, guaranteed to be waterproof for two years. The leather is very soft, sharp looking, breathable, and comfortable.
The footbed of the shoe provides great comfort and features vibration and shock absorption, making walking around the cubicles or the cart paths enjoyable.
There are spiked and spikeless models available. The City pictured in this article obviously is the spikeless version, and gets more wearing time from me off the course than on.
FootJoy City, on top of FJ City shoe bag
There are two styles available currently, regular and wingtip. Photos in this article are the black mocha wingtip model. Each style has three colors available. The wingtip colors are black mocha, tobacco, and off-white. The non-wingtip model colors are gray, tan, and white.
Sizing for men ranges from 7-15, while women’s models range from 7.5-13.
Love the wingtip style!
On The Course / At The Office
I’ve been quite surprised at the traction and performance I get with the spikeless version of the FJ City on the golf course. On appearance alone, the spikes don’t look like they would be close to as effective as they are. From a comfort standpoint I’ve really loved the City model, and it gets more comfortable the more I wear it.
Stylewise I feel a little silly in the summertime wearing wingtip shoes and shorts, but that’s how I roll.
I really dig wearing the FJ City shoes, well, in the city. Even after long days at the office or post-long walks around town, my feet, lower joints, and back are fresh.
I do have a small critique/beef. My City model is black/mocha in color. I’ve been finding that these don’t match many “black” items in my massive golf apparel collection. When comparing the City’s black to other blacks, they appear like a very dark blue.
The versatility and style of the city shoe is matched by its great performance and comfort, whether on the course or out on the town. Great shoes.
My new best friends at Cigars City asked if I’d be willing to do a product review of the Gurkha Centurian cigar. Um yeah, and when do I get the job working as a photographer for Playboy? Is that next week? “Would five be enough for your review?” they asked… Tremendous.
So welcome to my first official cigar review. Hopefully the first of many, assuming the photography gig above doesn’t pan out. Turn to the left honey. Perfect…
The Centurian is made in the Dominican Republic, considered by many as the second best place in the world to Cuba. Centurian is a mid-sized “perfecto” shaped cigar at six inches and a 60 gauge width. Perfecto shape means it is tapered at both ends. A nice feature is that the cigar is pre-cut. In newb fashion, I wasn’t quite sure which end to smoke and which one to light. Don’t tell anyone that.
The strength of this cigar is rated at medium, not overly strong which works someone like me who doesn’t smoke often. The flavor stays consistent too, right down to the end. Somc cigars can get downright nasty at about 1/3 to 1/4 remaining.
Smoke time is about 45-60 minutes for this cigar, which will run around $13.00.
On The Course
When reviewing golf equipment I always do an “on the course” section, documenting real-world performance on a real golf course.
I found the Centurian performed well off the tee, in the fairway, and on the green. The 19th hole performance is obvious.
Having a cigar on the course can truly be a stroke saver for me. I’m not kidding on this. If there was some way to track my lifetime score with and without cigar, my with cigar rounds would be lower. I find that I relax more and play a little more loose and less stressed, which leads to better scores.
The Gurkha Centurian is a nice smoke, well worth the few bucks more than one might pay for a “cheap” cigar. Great for on or off the golf course and lasts a satisfactory time.
I was just entering the 2014 college football schedule into my calendar for my Utah Utes. Tough go for us being fairly new in the Pac-12, but I digress. The 3rd game on the schedule this season is at the “Big House,” also known as the University of Michigan’s football stadium. The place holds something like 12.2 million fans. A few weeks ago I was across the street from the big house playing golf at the University of Michigan Golf Course. What a fantastic place. The course is not quite publicly accessible, but there are several ways one can get a round in on this wonderful layout. If you get the chance, do it.
The course is the home of the Michigan golf teams and is closed for play during competitions. The course is also closed on football days, where it doubles as a parking lot.
Ever heard of Alister MacKenzie? He designed the University of Michigan Golf Course, which opened in 1931. He’s the same golf course architect who designed Augusta National Golf Club (home of the Masters Tournament) with the help of Bobby Jones. One other highly ranked architectural masterpiece he created was Cypress Point.
Having visited Augusta National many times, I could definitely get the feel of MacKenzie’s style and creativity at the University of Michigan course. The way he utilized the rolling hills, angles, and elevation changes on the property is magnificent.
Arthur Hills performed a restoration on the course in 1994, which according to the University of Michigan, “restored the grandeur of the University Golf Course to the ranks of MacKenzie’s other classics.”
Total yardage for the golf course from the tips, also known as the Wolverine Tee, is 6687 yards. The course rating is 72.0 and slopes at 135. These numbers translate to a strong challenge, but not over the top in terms of difficulty. There are three other tee sets for players of varying age, gender, and ability level.
I’m not sure which club I prefer the most on the tees at the University of Michigan Golf Course, my driver or my Nikon. The framing of the holes from the tees is fabulous.
Tee – click to zoom
Tee shots are not extremely difficult, but with the movement of the course, trees lining the fairways, and some deep native grass areas, errant tee shots are one-way tickets to bogey land.
Like Augusta National, the fairways at U of M roll with the hilly terrain. Challenging lies await, producing approaches which are a fine test of shotmaking. The fairways are not overly narrow, but due to the movement of the holes, proper placement is a big advantage on approach shots.
Fairway – click to zoom
There are many “course management” scenarios. On some par-4 holes and even one particular par-5 (3rd hole) driver may not be the perfect club to hit off the tee, but is still an option.
The greens are very fun and unique at the U of M course. First, they are not terribly large so hitting them in regulation is a solid accomplishment.
Green – click to zoom
There are very large undulations and tiers in the greens which can break those medium to small sized greens into even smaller areas. If an approach finds the wrong one, two-putting is a challenge but not impossible.
The shaping and framing of the greens on this course is very pleasing to the eye.
Full supporting facilities in the form of practice areas, pro shop, and dining are offered at U of M.
Playing the U of M golf course was a fantastic experience. I loved the layout, the flow, routing, scenery, and especially the conditioning. I strongly recommend playing the course if you get the chance. I cannot wait to get back and take another shot at it.