This past Friday the Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour made a stop at Rhodes Ranch Golf Club, a short drive southwest of the Las Vegas strip. I’d been to the property before, but had not had a chance to play it until this visit. While there I visited my friend Jeff Bricker, assistant pro and former Utah local.
Rhodes Ranch – Par-3 3rd Hole
Naturally I shot a ton of photos and I will be posting a course review soon. First impressions are that the course conditions are so good I’d compare them with Augusta National. Seriously! The fairway grass was so perfect and precisely cut, I actually took a photo of it:
Augusta National? Nope. Rhodes Ranch!
enjoyed my round playing on such a finely cared for golf course and the layout was very fun. If not for two doubles on the card, I would have been close to even par on the day. I need redemption!
Following the round I powered up my UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and did some photos and video of the course from above. I prefer to use the term UAV because “drone” has gotten a bad name. It isn’t an invasion of privacy and it isn’t going to blow you up. It is just taking pictures of the golf course!
Rhodes Ranch Golf Club – Aerial view of clubhouse and holes – click for more
Rhodes Ranch Photo Gallery
I’m very happy to have gotten some new pictures of Rhodes Ranch. I had some very poor quality, dark images in the Hooked On Golf Blog Rhodes Ranch Gallery, presumably back in the (literal) dark ages when I didn’t know how to take a photo.
I’ve now deleted all the old crappy photos, and put a few new ones up. I’m still processing some of the images, so check back for more later.
Most people think of Utah as a ski destination and for good reason. The snow here is regarded by many as the “greatest snow on earth.” Golf has a huge impact on the state as well. The size of that impact was not really known until a 2012 study done by independent research company SRI, commissioned by Golf 20/20. I was stunned at the impact and the numbers found in this study. Golf isn’t just a game here in Utah, it is an industry. It is an efficient industry which produces more dollars per acre than other big local industries yet has a fraction of the ecological impact. All of this while providing a fantastic outdoor activity, green space, scenic beauty, and providing jobs.
The 2012 golf industry in Utah generated $806.6 million in economic impact.
The number of golf patrons exceeds the number of ski patrons.
The golf industry in Utah accounts for over 9,600 JOBS.
Those jobs the golf industry creates in Utah produce $250.1 million dollars in wages.
Golf in Utah produces $16,035 per irrigated acre. The nearest competing industry is alfalfa farming at $774 per acre.
Golf brings in $5,529 per acre-ft of water. The nearest competing industry is once again alfalfa farming at $365 per acre-ft of water.
For all of you who think golf courses take up too much space or use too much water, golf in Utah represents only 3.8% of the state’s turfgrass and only consumes 0.65% of the diverted water.
Golf in Utah produced over $11 million in charitable giving.
Governor’s Golf Month Proclamation
In light of these amazing findings, which I merely highlighted a few big ones, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a proclamation yesterday at the state capitol declaring May in Utah as the month of golf. I was happy to be in attendance along with many of the biggest players in Utah’s golf industry.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert Signs Utah Golf Proclamation
I had a chance to speak with the Governor for a few minutes and he is very excited about these findings, and helping the game to flourish and grow in the future. “The continued health and growth of the golf industry has a direct bearing on future jobs, commerce, economic development, and tax revenues for a large number of Utah’s communities and industries.”
I let the Governor know of my independent work as a golf blogger and builder of golf websites, including the Utah Golf Guru site. I joked that the study numbers and the $805.6 million are a little low since they didn’t account for any revenue created by Utah golf bloggers. Make that $805,600,001.
When I started one of the very first golf blogs back in 2004, I could not imagine I’d still be at it 10 years later. I could also not imagine that I’d be doing a luxury vehicle review. Well, quite a bit can happen in 10 years in the world of golf blogging. And why do it? The primary reason I own a car is to have a means to get me to the golf course. Said vehicle must also be able to carry my golf clubs to the course as well. Might as well do it in style.
I was invited by Hyundai Motors to join about 20 other bloggers of all types in Scottsdale, Arizona to test out their new Genesis vehicle. As an incentive (okay, bribery) they offered to hook me up with a round of golf at the Troon North Pinnacle Course, rated by many as the #1 course in the state of Arizona. No-brainer. Where do I sign up?
During my time in Scottsdale I was mingling with some very interesting bloggers, from foodies to mommy bloggers to the real pros in the subject matter, car bloggers. When I heard one car blogger critiquing the seat stitching of some new model car, I knew I was amongst friends. I’m sure if I’d discussed the compression level and cover of a specific golf ball model it would have sounded just as outrageous as the stitching comments.
For a whole Saturday I partnered up with the Golf Blogger himself, John Retzer. John and I go way back, 10 years to be exact. He’s one of the originals as well. John and I took turns driving through the Arizona desertscape, trying out features of the Genesis, and having a great time sightseeing as well. I’m no car review pro, but here are my observations.
First some perspective. At nearly half a century old, I’ve owned many vehicles, a couple on the higher end of the spectrum, and several not so much. After driving the HOG Tour Van for a decade and 175K miles, it was finally time to upgrade. The choice was made after several months of testing just about every luxury and performance small to midsize sedan, small to medium SUV, and crossover on the market. The choice was luxury/performance this time around, in the form of a Mercedes-Benz GLK350. I’ve had the vehicle for about five months. A great bar is set for the Genesis review.
Hyundai Genesis Overview
The Hyundai Genesis is a five passenger sedan (see images) meant to compete with offerings like the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E-Class, Cadillac XTS, Lexus GS, and the likes. The advantage Hyundai has is price point, as the vehicle can come in at $10-20K less than other vehicles with comparable feature sets. The disadvantage Hyundai has is in their brand, known as more of a budget vehicle not built in Germany, but in South Korea. Can the Genesis stack up? Would someone in the market for $50,000 car pick a Hyundai rather than a BMW or Mercedes?
110 – As fast as I cared to go at the time…
The Genesis model has two different engine configurations, a 3.8 liter 24-valve six cylinder which produces 333 horsepower and a 5.0 liter 32-valve model which clocks in at 429 horsepower. I tested both vehicles, each for half a day.
The six banger has plenty of bang. Off the line it was impressive and freeway driving was smooth and quiet. Passing on the freeway was easy, as the six had plenty of power.
Starting price for the six is $35,200. The model tested was more in the $44,000 range.
The 5.0 liter V8 is downright scary powerful. At 80 miles per hour I punched the gas on the 5.0 liter and felt pushed into my seat. Within a couple of seconds I’d hit 110 and there was plenty more where that came from. 110 was good enough for me. I’ve heard stories about the Arizona Highway Patrol.
Starting price for the V8 is $51,500. The model I tested was more in the $57,000 range.
Hyundai Genesis – Sharp – click to zoom
The drive configuration is rear wheel drive, with all-wheel drive available for the six cylinder model only.
Mileages for the 3.8 liter six are 18 city / 27 highway / 21 combined and the 5.0 liter 15 city / 23 highway / 18 combined.
There is no way I cover every feature these vehicles offer, so I’m going to mention the ones I find most interesting, useful, and/or unique. Some features may be standard, some may be part of extra packages which increase the cost. Rather than quoting all these numbers for you, I recommend you just go to the Hyundai website and do their “build and price” process.
First and foremost the heads up display is really great. If you’re not familiar with what that is, see the photo below:
Hyundai Genesis – Heads Up Display
Information such as current speed, local speed limit, GPS directions, are displayed on the windshield in a hologram-like way. This keeps the driver’s eyes forward, instead on the dash or in the cabin. A tiny glance down a few inches quickly gives the driver needed information, even showing if there are vehicles in the driver’s blind spot.
The center console is home to the navigation and its 7-inch or 9.2-inch HD touch display. The display is beautiful, and quite a bit larger than the one on my current vehicle. The display shows everything from GPS directions, music selection, to cabin temperature controls and more.
HD LCD Touch Screen – click to zoom
The cabin or “cockpit” as Hyundai calls it is spacious and very comfortable. Most controls, and there are a lot of them, are easily seen and reachable from the driver’s position. The only controls I had issues with was the small panel left of the steering wheel which was hard to see.
Hyundai Genesis Cabin – click to zoom
Extremely important to me, a former rock & roll musician and audio engineer, is the stereo. The Genesis stereo is made by Lexicon, a subsidiary of Harman International. Harman is one of the world’s leading audio companies, actually based in my home town. You may have heard of some of their other brands, like Harman Kardon, found in many German luxury cars. Needless to say, the Lexicon stereo with its 14 speaker surround sound is fantastic.
One pioneering feature which puts us one step closer to cars that drive themselves is the Lane Keep Assist. Lane Keep Assist senses when you are drifting outside your lane, and will correct the vehicle back into its own lane automatically, without the driver doing anything. The sensitivity of Lane Keep Assist is adjustable. See the video below:
How many times have you been on a road trip with the cruise control on, and get irritated when cars in front force you to hit the brake and slow down, then reset the cruise again when resuming speed? Hyundai’s Smart Cruise Control will allow you to set a speed and distance from a vehicle in front of you and if that vehicle slows down, the cruise slows down to keep the same distance. As the vehicle speeds back up, the Smart Cruise Control speeds back up as well. This in conjunction with the Lane Keep Assist can make long road trips much more enjoyable.
In general the cockpit is very roomy, sharp, classy, and arranged in an ergonomic manner. The details in the finishing and design of the interior are par with that of any luxury brand.
Time to drive…
Even at high speeds the ride is smooth and quiet in the cabin.
The styling of the Genesis’s exterior is very attractive, manly, sharp, classy, and unique.
There are so many more features I could cover, but I must try to wrap up this love fest following perhaps the most important feature for a golfer, the trunk.
The Genesis has a large amount of trunk space. I easily fit my monster travel bag and my golf bag, and it looked to have enough room for 2-3 more bags.
If you ski like I do, there is s door in the middle of the back seat which can open to accommodate long objects like skis or fishing poles.
The Hyundai Genesis is a fantastic automobile with plenty of power, safety, luxury, and every bell and whistle one could imagine a car might have. I had a blast testing out the vehicle and found myself, a Mercedes owner, very impressed. Next time I am shopping for a vehicle, a Hyundai will be on the list of vehicles to try before I buy.
Dunning Golf has quickly become one of my top rated golf apparel makers. Since 2001 New York based Dunning has been making apparel “engineered for athletes, designed for players.” Every Dunning garment I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing has been made from the highest quality fabrics, features classy and timeless design, and performs flawlessly on or off the golf course. Today’s feature, the Stretch Jersey Button Down Polo is no exception.
Fantastic Collar – click to zoom
Stretch Jersey Button Down Polo Overview
The $89 Stretch Jersey Button Down Polo from Dunning Golf is a simple, yet very classy and stylish golf polo. The two-piece button-down collar keeps a fine shape and looks sharp on the course, or even when wearing a sport coat.
The luxurious fabric of this polo feels silky smooth to the touch like the finest cotton or silk, but performs like much more durable fabrics while resisting wrinkles.
The Stretch Jersey is made from 93% technical polyester and 7% spandex. These are fantastic fabrics for performance, breathability, and low maintenance.
A wide variety of sizes is available in the Stretch Jersey: extra small, small, medium, large, extra-large, and double extra-large. I prefer a loose fit so the XL is great for me. Dunning suggests that those who like a cleaner fit simply choose one size smaller.
Three great and simple colors are offered in this polo: black, halo (dark blue), and gray (pictured).
Caring for the polo could not be easier. No dry cleaning. Simply machine wash in cold water with similar colors. No bleach or softeners. Softeners are most definitely not needed. Tumble dry low. If ncecessary, the garment can be ironed on low heat.
Dunning Golf Stretch Jersey Button Down Polo – click to zoom
On or Off the Course
I’ve tested the Stretch Jersey Button Down in a very wide variety of conditions, from scorching heat in Arizona to cool temperatures in the northern mountains of Utah. In all conditions the comfort, breathability, and performance are flawless.
During the golf swing the polo performs perfectly, not impeding the swing keeping its form and fit throughout.
This past weekend the polo showed its versatility. It was Easter, and I snuck out for a round of 18 holes before the big family Easter festivities and dinner. I had a 10 minute window between putting out on the 18th hole and arriving nearby at the festivities. I figured the perfect apparel choice was the Stretch Jersey as it was great for golf, and very sharp and classy for a nice family celebration. Perfectly played on my part. I only wish my golf game that day matched my apparel scripting skills.
Five keys to great golf apparel are in order: performance, comfort, style, low maintenance, breathability. In all five of these areas the Dunning Golf Stretch Jersey Button Down Polo is off the charts.
Last night I had my first round of testing the Perfecto Cigar Holder. This is an accessory not just for golf, but for anyone who smokes cigars. The unit not only holds the cigar, but catches any ash which may fall off the cigar.
Perfecto Cigar Holder in Action!
I’ve got quite a few more testing rounds to go before I can finish my evaluation and review. It is tough work, but I’ll do my best. Stay tuned for the full review soon.