Amateur golf tournament season is winding down here in northern Utah. I’m playing one of the last tournaments of this year a little later this morning. It’s the club championship at Bonneville, one of my home courses. I didn’t realize it was club championship weekend and I didn’t plan on playing in the 36-hole, two-day championship because, well, I’m not going to shoot two rounds of 66. So I’d just be donating.
But my buddies signed me up for the “Saturday” portion of the event. I came to find out the club also has a “Senior Championship.” I qualify now, at 50. So “what the hell?” I’m thinking. I’m not going to beat the 22 year old flat-belly college scholarship guys on the University of Utah golf team, but maybe I have a chance against the old farts.
Bonneville Golf Course Aerial Photo by Tony Korologos
For a golf blogger some days are great and some days are awesome. The awesome ones are when unexpected packages show up for review, and they’re not another bent piece of metal known as a “golf club stand.” Oh no. The awesome days are when those unexpected boxes of joy contain really useful, tasty, enjoyable, relaxing, score-improving…. Davidoff limited edition golf cigars.
The Davidoff Golf Scorecard Edition 2016 cigar is a Gran Toro format. This is about a six inch cigar which is fairly thick with a ring gage of 55. “Enjoyment time” (love that) is about an hour. During that our I offer my golf opponents the opportunity to surrender, because I’m deadly with the cigar as my 15th club. Today they declined the offer and paid the price. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This Dominican based cigar is wrapped in a veinless leaf. I didn’t know how much I would like that until I had one. The strength is medium to strong by my experience, but Davidoff’s rating is medium.
A box of five hours of enjoyment time will run about $120 but don’t fret. That’s the same cost as a couple of boxes of Titleist ProV1’s, but you won’t find any great cigars in the bushes.
Wow it has been six days since the last post here. I think that’s a world record, even for when I’ve been traveling. That’s like John Daly going 10 minutes without a Diet Coke. On the personal end of things there have been a lot of changes in my world, which have had an effect on HOG’s world operations. I got a new position at a local company as a Sr Web Developer. Yes, I’m sure this comes to a surprise to those of you who thought golf bloggers made millions, but that’s the deal.
So I’m getting used to a new schedule. The new schedule has hurt the golf game a bit, and having just started this new gig my brain is a bit fried. So I haven’t had the cranial energy reserves to put out a quality post. In my (small) mind, no post is better than a crap post. Not to worry. HOG isn’t going anywhere but up, or to the golf course. I’ve been at this gig for over 11 years and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.
It has taken a few weeks to process my experience at French Lick Resort’s Pete Dye Course. I was also slightly sidetracked by a little trip to Scotland in that timeframe. The dust in my golf cranium has settled. I’m ready to try and tackle this big review of a big golf course.
French Lick Location
First off, let’s get the location figured out. French Lick Resort is in Larry Bird country, the towns of French Lick and West Baden Springs in southern Indiana. The closest major city and airport is Louisville, Kentucky. Next would be Cincinnati and Indianapolis. The resort sits on a large and historic estate which dates back to 1845.
The Dye Course is a 5-10 minute drive from the West Baden Springs Hotel and the French Lick Hotel and Casino. The course lies on one of the highest points of elevation in Indiana, producing a 40 mile panoramic view.
Pete Dye Course Key Facts
First off, one must know who Pete Dye is. Pete Dye is a Hall of Fame golf course architect who has built some of the most famous courses in the world. Some of Pete Dye’s most notable courses include Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Harbour Town Golf Links, TPC Sawgrass Stadium (home of THE PLAYERS), Whistling Straits, and PGA West.
Pete Dye and me
The Pete Dye Course at French Lick is certainly one of the most difficult courses in the USA, if not the world. The course rating from the tips is an unheard of 80.0. The slope is a massive 148. It’s hard to translate those numbers for those who don’t understand rating and slope. A skilled professional on average would shoot an 80 on this course, on a good day.
The course plays to a par value of 72. The total yardage is 8,102. Amongst that hefty yardage is par-3 16th hole which measures 305 yards. If the length isn’t tough enough, there’s water down the entire right side.
The views presented to the golfer from the tees are tremendous, challenging, and worthy of not only a solid tee shot, but a solid shutter release of a nice DSLR camera.
1st Tee – The sliver of fairway in line with the cart path is the target
Where to aim from the tee on the Pete Dye course is a tough call on nearly every hole. Visually the landing areas look extremely narrow and seem like they’re miles away. Wait a sec… that’s because they are extremely narrow and miles away. One must know how far they hit their drives or layup shots, exactly. Then execute a near perfect shot to hit that precise spot to keep a ball in the fairway. And I’m talking about the par-3’s! I kid. I kid. Sort of.
Day five of the HOG World Tour trip to Scotland had two courses on the menu. We called to find a slot on the Jubilee Course and the only available one was in 15 minutes. What to do when you’re a 20 minute walk to the course? Book the time and walk fast! We made it.
The Jubilee Course (first photo below) is right next to the Old Course and New Course. It was designed by Old Tom Morris in 1897. Many say it is the toughest course of the three. We had a fabulous time on this great links course. I had some serious pressure to overcome as I had forgotten to reload my bag with golf balls. After losing a coupe of balls to the gorse monster, I found myself with one remaining ball on the 9th tee. I’m proud to say I managed to finish the round despite a 3-club wind.
The afternoon round was at the newest course in town, the Castle Course (photo below). Not a local favorite probably due to cost and it not being a “natural” design, we have never found the Castle to be overly crowded. The incredible dunes, elevation changes, and views of the north sea make it one of the funnest rounds of golf one could have in St Andrews.
At the end of the day, the 5th day mind you, we had walked over 18.4 miles, the equivalent of 89 flights of stairs in elevation change, and 43,319 steps!
In the evening our group stayed in our rented flat (more later on that) and cooked up a carb-rich spaghetti dinner and enjoyed some wee glasses of red while conteplating the day’s golf.