I’ve played some competitive golf here in Utah and even won two club championships. That number should have been three, but unfortunately I had a strange situation where in one club championship I shot the lowest solo score of the day but still lost. By winning a club championship players are allowed to compete in the Utah Golf Association Tournament of Champions, which was extremely fun and challenging. That event is full of Utah golf tournament winners and club champions from courses all over the state. Playing with other competitors of such a high skill level was thrilling and I hope to do it again. All I have to do is win another club championship. Mark it down.
Meadowbrook Golf Course Aerial – click for more
My larger state tournament resume is pretty small, partly because I’ve been in somewhat of a handicap “no man’s land” zone at a two-handicap for most of the past few years. Being a two handicap puts one into the “championship flight,” playing gross against players whose handicaps range from my range to the plus threes and fours. In other words, players who typically shoot three or four under par. Some are even scholarship players at BYU, the University of Utah or other smaller schools. That four-under score might be typical for one of those college players, a.k.a. flat-bellies, but that’s the best score I’ve ever shot (68), and I only did that once. A two isn’t going to beat a plus-player very often, especially in the pressure of a tournament situation and tournament setup.
The other aspect to consider is net tournaments. I’ll beat a 10-15 handicap player gross every day of the week, but when we are talking about net tournaments I almost don’t have a chance. Plus, as sad as it is to say, many of those 10’s are really 3’s. So net competitions are seldom an option for me, a low single digit.
Salt Lake City Amateur
I have played in the Salt Lake City Amateur many times, and some other bigger state tournaments. Best finish in the Salt Lake Amateur was 2nd, and I’m very proud of that. The last couple of years I have not done terribly well because of lack of playing and the handicap creeping up.
This past year’s amateur was a bit frustrating. I was actually hitting the ball very well, but had some control problems with my irons. The irons were very inconsistent distance-wise, and in some cases I was hitting shots 30-40 yards long. It turned out the new irons I was playing were very strong in the lofts, so clubs like 7-iron were playing more like a 5-iron. It’s nice to work these things out in a tournament.
One tournament I’m thinking of competing in this coming year is the Siegfried and Jensen Utah Open. The tournament is held at Riverside Country Club in Provo, Utah, a course I have yet to play. The format is a four day gross with a cut after the 2nd day. Last year’s cut was three-over-par.
Being an “Open” means pros compete in it. Amateurs compete in it as well, though if they take cash prize money they would have to turn pro to claim it. The first prize for professionals is typically $20,000 and usually the winning score is typically well into double-digits-under-par. Last year’s event was won by amateur Patrick Fishburn who carded TWO 63’s en route to a final score of 26 under par. Unreal. That was nine shots better than the next competitor, the winner of the pro division! Low pro was Zahkai Brown who was also the 2016 Champion. Zahkai came in at 17-under-par, one shot ahead of PGA Tour pro Zach Blair.
Tough competition. Why play in it? I know I would likely miss the cut. The benefit to playing would simply be the experience of the event, but with a $200 entry fee that experience comes with a price tag. That’s why I haven’t pulled the trigger on playing in the event, yet.
Local Men’s Associations
I’ve been in four different men’s associations on and off over the years, Meadowbrook (photo), Bonneville, River Oaks, and Mountain View. I’ve enjoyed those very much. This coming year I plan to compete in two leagues, River Oaks and Bonneville. My two club championships are at River Oaks. Perhaps 2018 will be my third.
I must make a shout out to Utah’s Impact Golf Center and my buddy Jordan there. They’ve helped me quite a bit with club testing, club fixing, club maintenance, re-grips, and golf simulator/launch monitor time. I often get clubs in for review which aren’t setup right for me, or need different grips because of my tennis elbow etc. They’re great with helping me get setup to do my reviews.
In my last trip I did some sim time with Jordan who was helping to determine a shaft for the new Cobra driver which recently came in for review. Often times stock shafts are not, shall we say, consistent. I found a good shaft for my dual chicken with granny over the top swing and will be attempting to get a demo for my review. Once I had that Cobra setup right my accuracy and spin rates really dialed in.
Above are some swings with a bunch of different shafts as seen on the simulator. Strangely, I never went left. Always right or straight. That’s not the way it is on the course for me. I’d love to be that consistent and be able to ignore one side knowing it isn’t in play. Unfortunately I also learned that my swing speed is not what it used to be. Average 96mph and maxed at 99 once. I’ve lost 5mph in the last year or so.
I also had the shop take a look at my old Hogan Apex Edge Pro irons. They checked the lofts. I had to put those back in play because right now I can’t hit the Miura baby blades.
If you’re in northern Utah and need some work done on your golf gear, or need new gear, check out Impact Golf Center. In the winter they have simulators for those of us who need to play any kind of golf we can when we are buried in five feet of snow.
Change of pace for me today. I played the 9-hole Forest Dale golf course, located in Salt Lake City. Forest Dale, known by my group as “Foreskin Dale,” is the oldest course in Utah, serving up bogeys since 1906. Not as old as the New Course in St Andrews (1895), but 111 years isn’t too bad. This is a mini-review.
Forest Dale Clubhouse and practice green
The clubhouse (above) is actually a historical landmark, placed on the Utah Historical Register. Can grease in the cafe be a historical landmark? It might be as old as the course. I kid. I kid.
This 9-holer is interesting. It features a par-36 but three par-5’s, three par-4’s and three par-3’s. Here’s the par-3 8th below, what I could call the “signature hole” of the course.
Forest Dale 8th hole
This course is friendly to the very casual, higher handicap golf crowd. No collars required. In fact, I’d be surprised if shirts are required. It’s inexpensive but the rolling hills make it much more interesting than some of the other flat courses in the city. The old-school greens are pretty small, but since the course is moderately short they’re not overly hard to hit. They were quite slow today. Probably more favorable for the typical client the course serves.
I don’t know who the pro in the shop is. Never met him until today. But for a hot Sunday without a lot of people playing, he was very friendly and obviously enjoying his day’s work.
Forest Dale isn’t exactly golf tourist attraction for serious players, but for locals who don’t take themselves too seriously it’s fun. It’s not too hard to get on the course. I checked in with no tee time and was on the first tee before I had a chance to tie my shoes. It was a no-stress, enjoyable day and some decent exercise for me today. Good times.
Big announcement! I’ve release my first-ever mobile app! To increase my skills in the day job area of web development I tasked myself with learning a complex programming framework which lends itself to creating “device agnostic” applications. Part of that learning, and my winter project, was to make a mobile golf app. So I took my website Utah Golf Guru and created an app based on the same data. Utah Golf Courses is NOW AVAILABLE for free at the Android Play Store. I’ve submitted the IOS version to the Apple App Store also, but it is awaiting approval.
Utah Golf Courses mobile app
About Utah Golf Courses App
Utah Golf Courses works on any Android or IOS device. The app provides a listing of every golf course in Utah. The user can search for courses based on keywords. The user can also filter courses based on the type of course (public, private, resort, military), and geographic location. So the user could filter the list to show public courses in the southwest region of the state.
Each course has a ton of details when the user taps the course to view it, like yardage, slope, rating. One can even find the types of grass on the fairways and greens. I also offer playing tips and commentary on many of the courses, including the range ball quality.
Tablet view of a course
The majority of the course photos were shot by me with many by drone.
There are many reasons behind making the app. The first two listed above were learning new coding skills and learning how to make an app. The other reason behind this one is that I’ve often found myself and my buddies looking for courses to book tee times, and not knowing their numbers. In just two taps of the user’s finger, the user can find the course and dial the course from the app.
Links (pun intended)
Utah Golf Courses for Android
Utah Golf Courses for IOS (coming soon)
Utah Golf Guru Website
From Scotland to French Lick to Spanish Fork, Utah. The HOG World Tour’s latest course visit was the extremely fun Spanish Oaks golf course at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon, about an hour south of Salt Lake City.
Fall is most definitely here, and we had been getting rain for roughly two days straight. Right as my lads and I reached the first tee the rain stopped, the temps rose, and we loved it. The combination of the lush green grasses with the low clouds on the mountains, with the leaves turning colors… wow.
Spanish Oaks is a very fun course. It’s not long, but it gets quite tight as it progresses. There are some short, risk-reward par-4’s which can reward well executed aggressive shots. I wish I wasn’t so far from this course or I would play it much more often. The greens were great, even after being soaked for two days in the rain.
Somehow I managed to shoot an even par round. Three birdies, three bogeys and the rest pars. What a fun day.