For the last 1.5 years I’ve been recovering and doing rehab for major shoulder surgery. I had a torn rotator cuff, torn labrum, torn bicep tendon repaired on the right shoulder on Valentine’s Day 2019. The last time I hit a golf ball was November of 2018 at TPC Danzante Bay. Following the surgery I suffered from frozen shoulder, an extremely annoying and painful condition where scar tissue and inflammation makes recovering from the surgery difficult. The shoulder was very tight, sore, and highly reactive in a negative way to rehab or general use. Thanks to my latest passion, mountain biking, I broke up most of the scar tissue and have enjoyed about a month of pain-free shoulder. So I finally got some confidence to start swinging the clubs again.
Thinks to some lucky timing, I managed to have my first round back on the course at one of my favorite courses, Sand Hollow. Golf blog buddy John Duval of Into The Grain was working the ALD long drive event in Mesquite, Nevada so I thought it would be great to drive down and meet up with him. He already had Sand Hollow on his agenda, which helped make my decision very easy.
Sand Hollow Golf Course Aerial Photo by Tony Korologos – © Copyright 2020
The round went as expected in terms of rust and bad shots. I had low expectations. I did hit a lot of fairways, but alas, my driving distance has been greatly reduced. My irons also are now 1-2 clubs shorter. I don’t have the club head speed I used to. I did manage to record my first birdie of the decade, on the par-4 15th hole after knocking a gap wedge approach to about 10 inches. I also managed many other shots I wish not to discuss, or remember.
Unfortunately my back tweaked on the 3rd tee and from that point on the rest of the trip, finishing a golf swing produced a stabbing muscle pain. Real lame. Golf is hard on the body, and most golfers know we use muscles and combinations of muscles that are not used elsewhere.
On the way south the day before the round, I used my drone to catch some new images of the golf course. I was one of the first ever to fly a drone over Sand Hollow way back around 2013 or 14. It was nice to get some cleaner shots (first photo).
On the 2nd day we played Falcon Ridge. The back was pretty unhappy and that made it so I couldn’t stay down. It was a defensive move to keep from having that stabbing pain. The result unfortunately was a lot of thin shots and dribblers. Really horrible stuff. Throw in a couple of shanks too. Well, three actually. Yikes. I’m bummed the back couldn’t take it.
Falcon Ridge Golf Course Aerial Photo by Tony Korologos – © Copyright 2020
Falcon was fun despite the back pain, with Duval and my buddy Guy Lester from my River Oaks days. I reached a par-5 in two with two three-woods and made a nice 2-putt birdie. That’s the highlight of the day.
I managed some drone flights around numerous golf courses in Utah and Nevada while on the trip. Some of the photos are pretty amazing. Some photos prove that a lame golf course doesn’t necessarily look cool with drone photos.
Oasis Palmer Course – @ Copyright 2020 by Tony Korologos
I’ll post a few more aerials in future posts.
Golf is hard. Hard on the body. By the end of the two days I had some major back pain and a nasty blister on my right heel. But thankfully the right shoulder held up fine. There was a tiny bit of soreness but that’s just about gone.
I need to evaluate what golf means to me at this point. In order for me to get back to the level of playing I was once at, it will take a lot of time, practice, effort, money. Do I want to do that? Or do I simply want to become a casual golfer that plays a few times a year? Can I stand to play bogey golf? That’s what it would be. It’s hard to play at a high level (for amateurs that is), then find satisfaction from playing at a lower level. It’s like playing $100 per had blackjack in Vegas. When you go back to $5 per hand it is just plain boring.
It’s going to be interesting to see where this ends up.
I’ve been flying my big hexacopter some more this fall. About two weeks ago I caught some great afternoon lighting which produced some great images.
Below is the 11th hole. It’s a short par-4 which bombers can drive, but as you can see, if they’re not accurate the ball will be lost in a river, or in the dense forest.
Below is a shot of the 11th green from a different angle. It’s the green on the right. On the left side of the image is the 1st green. The green in the upper left/center is the par-3 12th green.
I’ve had a lot of fun this summer capturing photos of River Oaks. I have a pretty massive library of shots. I have some very fun flyover videos too and plan to capture more. Stay tuned for those.
Yesterday I took the HOG World Tour to play one of the few Utah golf courses I have not played, Canyons Golf Club in Park City, Utah. Canyons Golf is part of the Canyons Ski resort.
Many of the holes are on ski runs, which reminded me of some of the golf in northern Michigan where in the winter it is skiing and the summer it’s golf. The reverse is true of Michigan ski/golf. The skiing in northern Michigan sucks, but the golf is fantastic. Here at the Canyons it is the skiing which is far better than the golf.
There were a couple of decent holes, but overall I’d rate this course poorly. There is a lot of Mickey Mouse design and crowbarring them in to fit in awkward spaces, like the 2nd hole below.
I did have a few fun shots, like the tee shot on the 4th hole, where the drop is so huge I carried my driver 355 yards. Then there’s a par-5 on the back which is drive-able because the drop is so severe. I’m not kidding.
I may post a full review in the winter, when it is ski season. Otherwise if you are considering golf in Utah, Canyons would be one of the last places I’d recommend, especially for their asking price of about $100/round.
Canyons Golf Course photo gallery
Yesterday was a tremendous day. I had the pleasure of taking the HOG World Tour to Utah’s Red Ledges golf club, a Jack Nicklaus signature design. Red Ledges is located in Heber, Utah.
Heber is a quiet town near to dozens of summer and winter activities. Heber is very close to Deer Valley and Park City ski resorts, national forest land, and Jordanelle Reservoir which is a haven for boating and water sports.
My round was very fun and challenging. I was aided by caddie John, who was very good. Whenever I executed the shot, hitting the landing area he suggested, good things happened!
It will take me a while to process all the photos and write my review. Plus I plan to return to review their par-3 course. So stay tuned for my full Red Ledges Golf Course review soon.
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.