Aerial Photo: Soldier Hollow Golf Courses – click for more
SALT LAKE CITY – May 20, 2016 – Hooked on Golf Blog will bring it’s famous “HOG World Tour” to Heber, Utah May 23-25, 2016 for the annual International Network of Golf (ING) Spring Conference. ING is a non-profit organization with the objective to “bring golf industry executives together with members of the golf media to improve communication, introduce new products, services and destinations, and to develop and nurture relationships.”
“I’m looking forward to attending my first ING conference and especially to meeting new and old friends and associates in the golf industry. I’m also looking forward to experiencing the great golf Heber Valley and the state of Utah have to offer, and showing some of my new and old friends around this great area.” ~Tony Korologos, Hooked on Golf Blog
At the ING Spring Conference the blog will be meeting with industry professionals media regarding equipment, travel, tourism, education, media, and social networking. Of course, many rounds of great Utah mountain golf will be experienced.
I had a wild hair up my shag bag to take in the experience of a course I haven’t played in probably several decades, Nibley Park. We often refer to it as “The Gib,” which is short for The Gibley. That comes from “Nibley Gibley.” So I affectionately said that I was “flogging the Gib.” I’m glad to clear up the confusion on that now.
This course is a 9-hole par-34 which measures a lengthy 2,895 yards from the blue tees; the tips. The only par-5 is 453 yards and I hit an 8-iron into that one on my 2nd shot. Yes I made birdie.
Play is slow. So people do cartwheels in the fairway to keep themselves entertained…
The Gib is a bit of a beginner’s course, and one which is on the low budget end. It clocks in at a whopping $11.00 to walk 9-holes. That’s a price I can live with. The crowd is, shall we say, more working class than higher end courses in town. That’s part of the experience I was looking for. Plus I’m trying to get used to new Miura irons, and new shoes.
I played with two guys who were playing their 2nd round of the year. I doubt they even have established handicaps. I had fun playing with them, and watching their match which was 25 cents per hole. I think 75 cents exchanged hands at the end. One of the guys was pitching it better than me with what appeared to be a pitching wedge hybrid. See below.
That P-Hybrid has “internal sole weighting.” I can’t imagine what external sole weighting would be.
The other guy was a lefty and bragged that he got his TaylorMade driver for $10.00 on eBay. I said, “if you only knew.” He got his entire set of clubs on eBay in fact, and said the most expensive club in the bag was his driver. Most of his clubs were $5.00 or less. As I wielded my brand new shiny Miuras I couldn’t help mumble “if you only knew (my rants about golf product release cycles).” Later in the round he told me he had seen a set of irons like mine before, when some guy was pawning them. He said he knew the guy had no business with irons like that. English translation, they were stolen. That’s my guess.
I enjoyed playing a more casual round on an easier course, especially one where my rusty spring game didn’t cost me more than my green fees. Low pressure. I tested some new shoes, a new ball, and got another round in with the new irons.
Post-round I practiced low running chips and short game. I practiced so long my back was tweaked the next morning. It took half a day to get myself straightened out.
Game Still MIA
I’m hoping my missing golf game will reappear soon. I’m thinking the more spring rounds I get in, the closer I’ll get to my game’s return. Until then my handicap is blowing up and my confidence is like a house of cards.
This year’s goal is to enjoy the walk. Regardless of the score, that’s what I’m trying to do. Most of the time I’ve gotten it done.
1.5 weeks ago I had an unexpected quick trip to Singapore and back. Family emergency. It was a good thing I went and things are all good now. Mission accomplished. Thanks to all who sent best wishes.
I was only in the country for about 20 hours and only had the opportunity to spend about three of those hours checking out the sights. boy are there some amazing sights to see, like the cityscape at night. Wowsies.
Singapore at Night – Tremendous
I spent some time at the incredible Marina Bay Sands Resort. The main hotel has three 50-story buildings with a boat-like top connecting them all (photo below). Incredible. There’s a mall there that’s so high-end there were TWO Giorio Armani stores. You know, for those who didn’t want to walk all the way to the other end of the mall.
I think this resort and supporting retail and casino were built for billionaires to give them a chance to rid themselves of the low-life riff raff millionaires.
Marina Bay Sands Resort – Singapore
While walking around the bay at 9:10PM I happened across a bunch of people sitting on the boardwalk. There were whole families and many tourists with cameras and tripods setup. I found the cutest female tourists I could find (turned out to be German), and asked what was going on. There’s a water and light show every night there called Wonder Full. This show makes the one at the Bellagio in Vegas look like my 3-year-old playing in the bathtub. I sat down and captured some video with my smartphone. It’s not the best, and I was too close so you only see 1/3 of the viewable program. Here’s a portion of the show:
I’d love to get back to this incredible country, and spend more than 20 hours there. It’s a very clean and vibrant city. Cleaner than any big city I’ve been to. I swear you could eat off the ground in the subway stations.
Today is the par-3 tournament day at the Masters Tournament. This tournament has been going since 1960. The par-3 is a fun tournament where players interact closely with fans. Some players who are not in the Masters Tournament are allowed to play the par-3 tournament. Prior to the par-3 tournament there used to be a driving contest.
Augusta National Golf Club – Par-3 Course – Click for more images
The par-3 tournament takes place at Augusta National’s par-3 course, possibly the most beautiful par-3 course in the world, though the folks at Three Tops located at Treetops Resort might argue that point. As you will likely hear, no player who has won the par-3 contest has gone on to win the Masters Tournament.
Tiny greens… Augusta National Par-3 Course
I walked every hole of Augusta National’s par-3 course a couple of years ago and shot a ton of photos. For one shot I even snuck onto a little boat I found in the lake. The skies were a little gray the day I shot them but they still look great. I put together a gallery of 77 images of the course, the largest and most complete online photo gallery of the course that I’m aware of. All for you HOG “patrons.” Click the photos or the link below to view the gallery.
Recently the Hooked On Golf Blog World Tour spent some time at Pechanga Resort & Casino, located in Temecula, California. My stay was fabulous and I enjoyed as much of the amenities, food, and golf as I could squeeze in. I didn’t get to it all, so I hope to return and finish the job soon! Let’s take a look at Pechanga Resort & Casino.
Pechanga Hotel Left – Golf Clubhouse Right
Pechanga is a resort/casino which features 517 luxurious rooms of varying levels. The casino area is enormous, as big as any mega-resort in Vegas. As one walks in the main entrance, indoor waterfalls and interesting interior design please the eye.
Within the casino areas just about any form of gaming one would like to experience is there, from blackjack, craps, slots, to a massive bingo parlor. It’s all there.
It would take a week of three-meals per day to scratch the surface on Pechanga’s dining offerings, from fine dining to a food court which rivals large malls.
After a long day of recreating, work, or winning megabucks at the casino, Pechanga offers a full spa with various treatments and services.
Last but not least, “The Journey” at Pechanga is the on-site golf course which features fantastic views, elevation changes, and prime golf conditions. Check out the Hooked On Golf Blog Journey at Pechanga review here.
Location Location Location
What would a perfect golf/casino/resort location be? I’d say somewhere warm with access to major international airports, perhaps close to major metropolitan areas. And to put it over the top I’d say it would be located in a great area for vineyards wine. Pechanga fits the bill on all accounts. The resort is located almost exactly halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego in Temecula, California. When I was flying in I was able to choose flights by comparing cost to LA or San Diego airports. This time around, it was the best deal to fly into San Diego and take the 45-60 minute drive north to Temecula.