Sunday, October 29, 2017

2017 Sanderson Farms Jr Pro Am......The Power of Goals

Team Davis.....
At the beginning of the year, my son Spence and I sat down to talk about what his goals were for the season. Chief among them were the following:

  • 2017 Player of the Year for 14-15 Division 
  • 2017 Jr River Cup team representing the state of MS versus the team from LA
  • 2017 PGA Sanderson Farms Championship JR Pro Am
While he didn't make Player of the Year, a solid season left him 5th for the POY race. He finished in the top 4 in 4 of 5 events this year on the MJGA circuit. He also won the Reunion Golf & Country Club Jr Championship as well as the MS Qualifier for the Drive, Chip and Putt competition held at Reunion. All of his hard work paid off in the form of invitations to represent MS in the Jr River Cup at Squire Creek as well as his 2nd invite into the 2017 BankPlus Friends of Children's Golf Jr Pro Am here there at the Country Club of Jackson. While I am certainly proud of how well he's played, I am equally proud of how he played the game.  #Character #Integrity #Passion

Dialing in the speed....

Last Minute Words of Wisdom from Coach Cowger
As excited as he was to play, I was equally excited to caddy for him again this year. While he was warming up, he was able to catch up with some of the guys he's gotten to know over the years. He got the chance to catch up with Jason Bohn as well as his partner from last year, Aaron Wise. It's always nice to see folks take a little time to give back. It only takes a few minutes to make a big impact. Thanks guys.

Old friends....Spence and Jason Bohn 

Nice visit with last year's partner Aaron Wise and coach Jeff Smith....

We were excited to be paired this year with Dru Love. He and his caddy Barry couldn't have been better with the kids. We had a great time and made a lot of memories. The team played well overall and finished strong with Spence driving the green on the Par 4 9th hole. A team score of 60 for 9 holes ended up one shot off the lead. Not too shabby!

Dru Love and his crew....

Small talk makes some of the best memories....

Great day with Dru Love and caddy Barry.....

As I look back on the day, I am reminded of how powerful goals can be. Those driven to achieve their goals and succeed at the highest levels make a lot of sacrifices along the way. As the sun set on this day, I can tell you, it's been worth it!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Crail Harbour......

We were so happy to be in St. Andrews for another Sunday as it allowed us to go back to church at All Saints Episcopal Chapel before heading to Edinburgh. On our way to breakfast at Mitchell's along Market Street, we had the most unexpected encounter. While walking along, we heard someone yelling. It wasn't a Fresher as there were none of them to be found following last night's Rave. We thought nothing of it and kept walking. Funny thing was, Kristen said "They are yelling your name!" Much to our surprise we turn to see John Harlin, a member of our Vanderbilt Legends Golf Club, running towards us with a big grin on his face. We had no idea John and a small group from our club were coming over. They were on their bus on the way to Carnoustie when they saw us walking and he told the driver to stop the bus. What are the odds? St Andrews never disappoints!

Another beautiful service at All Saints. The flowers were incredible and ironically, given to the church by one of our R & A Foursomes partners, David Leslie. His mom had recently passed and they had held a celebration service for her earlier the week. Following the service we made our way back to the car and headed out for Crail Harbour.

Really quaint spot here in Crail. We loved walking down by the Harbour. Took some time to ponder the trip and all the memories made. We love this place and while we are coming towards the end of our trip we are already working on plans for our return. After lunch over at Crail Golf Club, we made our way to the Dalmahoy Hotel just outside of Edinburgh. The hotel has been really good to us over the years. Had it not been for the Dalmahoy and the relationships forged there, there would be no St Andrews Golf Club etc. for me. Again, blessed!

We made it safely back to Edinburgh and The Dalmahoy Hotel. We got settled in and Kristen made her way to the gym for a bit before our traditional final night meal at Gordon's Trattoria on High Street. We fell in love with the place on our first trip so many years ago. Fantastic as always! Many thanks to those who have kept up with our escapades along the way. Speaking of, I must give a special shout out to Willie White from London. While walking through the Edinburgh airport, he stopped me to tell me he knew who I was and that he follows my blog. As an R & A member, he was on his way to St Andrews to play a medal on The Old. Surreal! Such experiences and the chance meetings as I have had these past couple of days continue to remind me what a special game golf is. My Dad told me years ago when I started playing golf, "This game will give you back far more than you can ever imagine, if you let it!" Reflecting on our trip this year, Dad's words continue to ring true. That is all!

The Town Match.......

Today was a busy day for us. Not only was I playing in The Town Match, but we were also moving from the house over to the Old Course Hotel for the night. Room 100 afforded us a beautiful view of the 17th and 18th holes on The Old Course as well as The Jigger! First things first, I had a match to play. Kristen dropped me off at The Jubilee where I met my playing partner, John. We were paired against R & A members, Nigel Cristie and David Leslie, for our foursomes match. I played pretty well after a nervy start to the round. My most memorable shot of the day was a hybrid from 200 yards into the 8th green. The "special" part of the shot was the it was played from the center of the 11th fairway. John was a bit wayward off the tee. All's well the ends well as we won the hole with a birdie. We pulled ahead to a 4 up lead through the front. Unfortunately, Nigel and David caught fire on the back and were too much to handle. We lost the match 2 & 1. John and I were invited to join Nigel and David at the R & A for some drinks and lunch. After a quick change at our club we were on our way. 

Spending the afternoon at the R & A was such a treat. Every room was filled with so much history and incredible artifacts from the greats of the game. I could have spent all afternoon soaking up the treasures in each trophy case. After several drinks of the #2 we headed upstairs for a delightful lunch overlooking the 1st and 18th of the Old. Lunch was followed by coffee and more conversation downstairs in the Great Room. Before leaving I secured a bottle of the R & A private label #1 and #2. While we may have lost the match, my experiences and the memories I am carrying with me tell me that I won the day! 

View from Room 100!

R & A #1 AND #2

Kristen and I met up at the hotel and readied ourselves for dinner upstairs at "The Road Hole" restaurant. The views, food and service were delightful. The only thing better was the company. Blessed! 

After dinner, we made our way into town for one final walkabout before heading back to Edinburgh tomorrow. We couldn't leave St Andrews without seeing our friends at Jannetta's  just one more time. It was a beautiful night and the town was hopping. Apparently the "Freshers" were having a rave and we were invited. That is all!

The Wait Is Over....I'm In!

Today was an anxious day for me. I was very much hoping to get some good news regarding my entry into The Town Match tomorrow. In an effort to conserve my energy and back should I get good news, I took it easy today. While Kristen spent her morning at Yoga and her afternoon at the Old Course Hotel Spa, I headed for the mountains.

I have walked back and forth and all around "The Himalayas" for years without taking on the challenge. Today was the day. I was ushered in by the old boy at the top of the page. He's the boss! Before taking part, I spent some time watching some elder St. Andrews Ladies Putting Club members  make their way around the course. Admittedly, I caught myself on several occasions thinking their lines were way off only to see their ball slowly but surely make its way to the hole. I quickly learned that there was a lot of wisdom in those putters. I would soon do well to follow suit. I played the course twice and had the best time. My first crack at it yielded a 43. I took a second loop around in 41 strokes. Not too bad for my first visit. Good fun!

Back to the club after lunch to sit and wait on the call. While sitting with "the elders" I got an email from the club secretary that I was indeed in for The Town Match and set to play The Jubilee at 9:08 am tomorrow. I couldn't have been more thrilled! In all my excitement it dawned on me that I hadn't brought a coat and tie for lunch and drinks at the R & A following play. After calling Kristen to give her the good news, I had some shopping to do. I secured a dress shirt from a little shop on Market St, a tie from the Club and a beautiful tweed jacket from Johnstons of Elgin. I was all set! Now on to another wonderful dinner date with Kristen at our favorite, Little Italy. Tomorrow and The Town Match can't come soon enough. That is all!

Friday, September 22, 2017

A New Course With New Friends.....

Today was a first for me. My first round on a parkland course in Scotland and my first round with my new friends, Hampton and Dylan Pitts. We had spoken of teeing it up together earlier in the week and today was the day. The weather was beautiful, albeit a bit chilly and windy. I had long heard of Scotscraig but had never made it over here. It is only 15 - 20 minutes from St Andrews, out past the Leuchars Air Base. The course is highly touted and has previously served as the final qualifying site for the Open Championship when held in St Andrews.

The course and the company were most enjoyable As I said before, this is the first parkland course I have played over here so it was a pleasant change from the constant grind of the links courses I had been playing. That being said, while there may not have been any seaside or dunes, there was plenty of wind. As such, Scotscraig gave us all we wanted. Below are a few of the pics from the day. On a side note, I will say that there must be some prolific bird hunting in the local area as there were shot gun blasts every couple minutes throughout the front nine. I can't imagine there are many birds left after all that lead flew.

Par 4 1st tee

Killing Fields 

Par 3 6th....Almost jarred this one!

After the round, I dropped the Pitts off at their hotel and headed over to the club for a bit while Kristen finished up her daily ritual. Unfortunately, still no word on my entry into The Town Match,. Time is escaping me here so I am not too optimistic of my chances to get in. We shall see.

View from the Elders' Table
We didn't really have much for dinner plans since we we knew we were headed back to Little Italy tomorrow. As such, we thought we would try Mammacita Mexican Cantina. While the atmosphere was good, this was our least favorite of our week's dining. We left there and went to the only place that could make things right......Jannetta's. That is all!

And Then The Rain Came.......

Today the weather man was right on the money. It was raining when we got up and didn't quit for the majority of the day. While it wasn't torrential, I will admit I wasn't overly aggressive in getting myself to the course. I opted instead for a day of rest and milling about the town. Kristen was well into her daily routine of morning yoga, a run and then the spa for an afternoon of relaxation. I spent the morning working on the blog while she went off to yoga. When she got back, we made our way to town for some lunch at The Jigger Inn. It's a must for anyone who has never been to St Andrews as well as those of us fortunate to be repeat customers. We had the place to ourselves, a pleasant surprise as it is normally quite busy. The food is good enough but it's the atmosphere and the setting the does it for me.

These flower baskets are exactly like ours, but different! 

Kristen went right to the spa after lunch and I headed on my road trip to the workshop of the St Andrews Golf Company. It is the oldest club making company in the world and a truly special place for golf addicts like me. I was in need of some work on my clubs as well as a hickory shafted putter for Spence. He had two requests when we left. He wanted a Leprechaun from Ireland and a wooden putter. The Leprechaun eluded me but the putter I could do. It was really cool to have the guys at the shop (Sandy, Angus and John) walk me through the process of making a putter as well as some of the other clubs by hand. The craftsmanship is incredible and I was surprised by the level of customization available. I putted with putter they made for Stuart Angus. If he doesn't get by there to pick it up before we leave, it may have to go home with me. It is amazing how such dated technology and materials can be so well balanced. Watch out Scotty Cameron! Maybe Santa will make it happen for him. We shall see.....

After leaving the shop, I headed up to the club for my afternoon vigil with the "Elders". I got there just in time for a heated debate over the proposed rules changes from the R&A and USGA. They met with mixed emotions from this crew. One thing is for sure though, this bunch loves the game. There is no denying that! The picture at the beginning of the blog was shared by my friend Sam B. I loved the commentary on the importance of attitude in everything we face. Once the debate died down I left to catch up with Kristen for dinner. We headed back to The Adamson. I got another filet and was again, very pleased. It just so happens that a little place called Jannetta"s was on our way home. I had a key learning tonight. Frozen Skittles, while a lovely garnish, are not always that friendly on the teeth when it's time to chow down. Blue Sky (forefront) was also a one and done. All in all, a rainy day in St. Andrews is better than no day in St Andrews.....That is all!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Here's To The Jubilee, New Friends and The Rocket......

Today I played The Jubilee Course here in St. Andrews. The weather and the pace of play didn't warrant much time for photos other than the two below. As you can see from the picture we had a mixture of sun and clouds out there today. I played with two chaps from Manchester, John and Tony. They were in a heated Best of 5 match series and I got a front row seat. We had the best time, despite some of the dodgy golf. It is always funny to see and hear people work through some rough patches out on the golf course. While the commentary may sound a lot different,  it's all the same!

I went back up to The St Andrews Golf Club for a while to wait on Kristen. She was at the spa this afternoon so I had some time to kill. More time for me to soak up wisdom from "The Elders" in the window. While there, I met another member Hampton and his son Dylan, over from North Carolina. We hit it off quickly and appreciated the fact that we spoke the same brogue. We made plans to play a new course for all of us, Scotscraig Golf Club on Thursday. Looking forward to it. Hampton is over to play The Town Match this coming Saturday. The Town Match is the biggest event of the year for the club as a team from our club as well as the others in the area take on a team from the R&A. With our troublesome Hurricane season back home, quite a few team members from all sides are not going to be here. As such, I am hoping to get the chance to compete for the club. We shall see. 

Kristen came back all smiles from the spa and was ready for some dinner. We decided to try an Italian place called Zizzi. The food and service were excellent. We also made a new friend this night and his name was Chocolate Waffle. 

Do yourself a favor......

Yes, it was that good!!!!
Another beautiful evening and walk home here in this Auld Grey Toon. I should note that our walk home was most eventful. We found ourselves on the presence of greatness, as the world's fastest pizza delivery guy, flew past us in a blaze of glory down the hill just off the town centre. Many speak of him but few have seen what we've seen. We shall call him, "The Rocket." Legend has it he is the fastest thing in Scotland on two wheels. He's so fast, you get your pizza before you ever thought to order it! How could we be so lucky? We just tried to stay in the moment.......Tomorrow we are slated for rain all day so who know's what we'll get into. That is all!