From the Tee Box of The ForeMan...
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Heads Up!!! The "ForeMan" scatters errant shots around the World of Golf. Nothing is O.B., but not paying attention could be considered a literal hazard. Fore!!!



Call it "AllBall"...
Thursday, 10 March 2011 10:48

You have to wonder... what was the idiot thinking who first came up with the name "flogton"? The concept makes him look smart... the name though... dumb. Why didn't he just go with "sdrawkcabdellepsflog" (golf spelled backwards) or "samegamedifferentversion"... or... "ishouldhavethoughtthisthroughbeforeisentitouttoeveryone"... something... anything other than flogton. Flogton is such a stupid name.

I may hate the chosen name, but I'll get behind the concept... In 2007 I did a "thesis" paper (for my Golf Management Degree) on "changing the game of golf"... In that paper I presented the idea of using the 15" holes on Sundays at area courses... My concept was that, instead of taking amateurs and trying to teach them a game that emphasizes putting a quarter sized object into a dime sized hole... why not make it fun for beginners, for families, for women, for children... whomever...

So many courses are closing, (many simply due to closed minds) and could have taken the opportunity to take "one last shot" by using the template they already had... and just making it more golfer friendly.

Why not? Why the heck not?

Let people practice on a real course. Let them feel good about their "non certified / not PGA handicap compliant scores"... Providing one day a week of "fun for everyone golf" HAS TO BE good for the overall game...

Those of you who object out there... just shut up... you all use your foot wedge, you take the quick glances to see if anyone's looking... you miss your 12 foot gimme putts and count them as makes... How are you preserving the "sanctity of the game?" You're not.

Make golf fun America. Get people to come out and play it for fun and they'll become addicted to it. They'll want to get better and want to play it more. "They'll start big and then go small." Kids will come from all over to play it. Courses will fill back up and so will their pocketbooks... Golf will be for everyone again... and not just the wealthy.

And you want to talk about "Pace of Play"... about making golf "faster" so more people will do it... How long do you think you need to sit over a putt on a 15" hole?

I'm not saying every course needs to do this... but every city of over 50,000 people should have such a course with the brains and balls enough to make a difference.

Just don't call it "flogton"... It's every bit as much golf as the game played by all the "circumstantial cheaters"... it's just not as abusive... not as confusing... not as hard.

Maybe it should just be called... "AllBall"... A game "of golf" for everyone. What does anyone have to lose by trying it?

You'll still either be good or suck at it. The name alone can't change your athletic disposition. You just might make that 12 foot gimme putt with the 15" hole in "AllBall."

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The Cost of Being a Fan...
Friday, 04 March 2011 07:04

It's hard out here for a fan. And not just a Minnesota Vikings fan... a sports fan in general. If you're someone who loves attending sporting events, who can blame you... it's a thrill ride for sure... but at what point is too much too much?

I look at this NFL Owners vs. Players fiasco and just shake my head. I don't care what sport it is... or what business it is... a contract should be a contract... a salary should be a salary...

Is an NFL player worth more than a teacher? Do they make more of a difference? Sure, they provide entertainment value that most "teachers" never grasp... but at what point did a $1 million a year salary for 9 months of work become "NOT GOOD ENOUGH"?

PLEASE Player...

Tracy McGrady... $18 Million a Year. JaMarcus Russell... $12 Million a Year... Andru Jones... 16 Million a Year.

For WHAT???

But that's really beside the point... I love attending sporting events... but when I have to pay $240 for 4 nosebleed seats to a regular season game that won't really benefit my life in any way, but pays these insane salaries for so many LOSER players... if I have any common sense at all, I'll say... think I'll just stick to TV.

Some NEW standards (which never will be set) need to be set. Someone needs to step in and say... Minnesota and Wisconsin lost a combined 6,000 teachers last year. To keep those 6000 teachers it would have taken 240,000,000. That's less than the contract for Alex Rodriguez alone. One damn baseball player.

Seriously???

The games need to return to being about the FANS... not the players who get paid by the FANS... not the owners with 8 houses purchased by the FANS...

No more NEW STADIUMS for single sports... No more taxes on the public to pay for owner and player salaries.

Tickets need to max out at $100 BY LAW!!! Come on Obama, do something that's REALLY GOOD for THE PEOPLE.

I could go on and on... but I'm probably no different than that tree in the forest... Even if someone does hear me when I fall, I probably land on the person who heard me fall.

Great victory eh?

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PGA Should Go Random...
Monday, 28 February 2011 05:40

Okay, so professional golfers can play good at courses they play ALL THE TIME... but are they really good golfers, or is it the familiarity that makes them better? Is there a chance that Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson are 10 handicappers like the rest of us at a random course?

Well, for a sport so concerned with its imminent death... why not make things interesting? Let's find out!

Schedule an event at a course they never play and don't let them practice. Make them go out like the rest of us and play an unfamiliar new (to them) course.

Hold a tournament at The Bull @ Pinehurst Farms, or the Harvester, or The Jewel or Bully Pulpit. See if unfamiliarity makes professional golfers a little more amateur.

Maybe PGA golfers aren't as great as their advertisements say they are... or maybe they are... but playing the EXACT same tournament locales year after year after year after year after year after year after year gets as bland and repetitive as this sentence. Give the game some life and variety... let the local pros face off with the pro pros...

Try something new.

Or don't. And just complain about the stale status of the game. Some of these TV folks do that quite well.

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American Top 50
Wednesday, 25 August 2010 00:00

These are the 50 Best Golf Courses in the United States...

Subjective only in that it covers exclusively the courses I have personally golfed... but then, if you're rating/ranking courses you haven't golfed you're a moron. (Or kissing up to courses you hope will invite you to play for free.)

If you've played any of these and care to comment on the ones you liked/disliked... the ones you think I have all wrong... and the bones you'd like to pick with me for my ranking order... it's a verbal free for all. Take your shots.

1. Wolf Creek (Mesquite, NV) - Holy Dalznutten!!! Staff @ a rival course insisted we'd only have to play it once and that would be enough. Can't wait to play it again!!!

2. The Chase @ Coyote Springs (Coyote Springs, NV) - Jack Nicklaus gem in the dessert.

3. Fallen Oak (Saucier, MS) - Expensive, but what you get in return in terms of personal service and playing experience is incredible!

4. The Preserve (Vancleave, MS) - This course will be ranked nationally soon. It is simply too amazing not to be. In the middle of a game preserve. Super staff!

5. The Bull @ Pinehurst Farms (Sheboygan Falls, WI) - These guys are finally getting some well-deserved love! They should be ranked in the Top 50 in the country, in my opinion, but at least they've broken into the Top 100. Some of the best people out there... Love playing here!

6. Cascata (Henderson, NV) - Costs an arm and a leg to play here... a very unique experience. Caddies are mandatory, but you'd be lost without them on those greens. If you have the choice of caddies, request Alan. He's awesome!

7. Sand Hollow (St. George, UT) - The front nine tells you nothing of what is coming on the back... but they're both great and it's one of the better golf values in the area easily!

8. The Jewel (Lake City, MN) - Close fight between this one and Troy Burne for the best golf experience in the Twin Cities area. The staff here gives the nod to the Jewel... but the courses are both phenomenal.

9. Troy Burne (Hudson, WI) - Haven't played the Kohler courses yet, but Troy Burne is convincingly (otherwise) the 2nd best golf course in WI behind The Bull.

10. Washington County (Hartford, WI) - If there's a better municipal course in the country I'd be surprised. It's a little pricey, but well worth it if you have it. I'd drive four hours once a month to play here easily.

11. Wild Horse (Gothenburg, NE) - A different kind of golf from anything you've probably ever played. No water, no trees, but fairways and greens like you wouldn't believe... Impossible to adequately describe this experience.

12. The Castle Course @ Northern Bay (Arkdale, WI) - A replica course, this one is so awesome you absolutely have to play it soon if you live in MN or WI... It's worth the drive, and better than the other Wisconsin Dells area options. Trapper's Turn is close... but this one is just too much fun!

13. SouthShore Golf Club @ Lake Las Vegas (Henderson, NV) - This semi-private Jack Nicklaus Signature course is impressive... the front nine is beautiful, but the back 9 may very well be the most fun nine-hole-lineup in Nevada. You have to stay @ Loews to play here (or Ravella) but when I'm in Nevada I go straight to Loews anyway.

14. Lawsonia - Links (Green Lake, WI) - One of the two gems here on property... a true golf test with absolutely perfect conditions... love this course!

15. Trapper's Turn (Wisconsin Dells, WI) - 27 awesome golf holes. Not always in the best condition, but otherwise, this is about as fun as golf gets. Only place I'll pay to play every year in the Dells.

16. Geneva National - Player Course (Lake Geneva, WI) - Best of the 3 courses on site... easily. The first hole is beautiful and the twists and turns never stop. The Palmer course (also on site) is also super fun in stretches... but the Player is from 1 to 18 with only one terrible hole.

17. Entrada @ Snow Canyon (St. George, UT) - This is a Stay & Play option only, but it is Troon managed and the Stay portion is one of the more phenomenal experiences in all of Utah, and the Play portion is equally rewarding... in particular the stretch through the lava grounds... but the water features here are hard to believe!

18. Dancing Rabbit - Azaleas (Choctaw, MS) - They deem this the "Augusta National you can play" and I haven't played Augusta National, but what you find here is every bit what you see on TV every April... Amazing course... best in April/May... but a very stern test as well.

19. Spirit Hollow (Burlington, IA) - Yes, I rate Spirit Hollow above the Harvester... not necessarily because it is a better course, but because it is considerably more fun.

20. Hawktree (Bismarck, ND) - Was a close call between this one and Bully Pulpit... Bully Pulpit has the better 9 (the back), but from 1 to 18... it's not as close as it would seem... Hawktree is amazing and probably the best thing other than the city of Medora itself that North Dakota has going for it.

21. Bully Pulpit (Medora, ND) - If you're in Medora to experience Bully Pulpit, you better stay and see the Medora Musical and try the Pitchfork Fondue, and stay at the Rough Rider Hotel... each of those pieces make the Bully Pulpit experience that much more unforgettable... This city is magical, and hard to believe it's in North Dakota.

22. The Prairie Club - Dunes (Valentine, NE) - I really love this course. The staff out here is exceptional as well. It wasn't as memorable as I'd anticipated it being, but the course itself is always in great condition and a lot of fun. They keep replacing staff members I really liked and knew... but I'd still recommend a visit to Valentine anyday.

23. Somerby (Byron, MN) - Private Course - It's private, but you can play it if you try hard enough. Their management is awesome and they really go all out for their guests. It's an amazing design, typically in superior condition... and only seems to be improving each year. Hazeltine may be a better course overall, but not by much. This one is Top 5 in MN hand's down.

24. Grand Geneva - Brute (Lake Geneva, WI) - Best service at any resort anywhere in the country... period. It's "WOW" service to the last letter. The courses are both great, and vastly different, but it's the service here that will make you so very eager to return.

25. The Harvester (Rhodes, IA) - It was really a close call between this and Farmlinks in AL. Farmlinks is definitely the better experience, but The Harvester has the better course. If I were going to pick the better experience, it would be Farmlinks easily. But for course... the Harvester gets the nod.

And the others...

26. FarmLinks (Sylacauga, AL)

27. Dacotah Ridge (Morton, MN)

28. Paiute - Snow Mt. (Las Vegas, NV)

29. Golden Eagle (50 Lakes, MN)

30. University Ridge (Verona, WI)

31. Geneva National - Palmer Course (Lake Geneva, WI)

32. Paiute - Wolf (Las Vegas, NV)

33. Wild Ridge Championship (Eau Claire, WI)

34. Grand Geneva - Highlands (Lake Geneva, WI)

35. Dancing Rabbit - Oaks (Choctaw, MS)

36. The Prairie Club - Pines (Valentine, NE)

37. The Legend @ Bergamont (Oregon, WI)

38. Lawsonia - Woodlands (Green Lake, WI)

39. Wild Rock @ The Wilderness (Wisconsin Dells, WI)

40. HorseShoe Bay - Private - (Egg Harbor, WI)

41. Paiute - Sun Mt. (Las Vegas, NV)

42. The Golf Club @ Castle Hills (Lewisville, TX)

43. Marianna Butte (Loveland, CO)

44. Erin Hills (Hartford, WI)

45. Kiva Dunes (Gulf Shores, AL) - Eat @ Lambert's in Foley.

46. Tour 18 - Flower Mound (Flower Mound, TX)

47. Ballantrae Golf Club (Pelham, AL)

48. Hawk's View - Como Crossing (Lake Geneva, WI)

49. SentryWorld (Steven's Point, WI)

50. The Links of North Dakota (Ray, ND)

**********

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Dakota Dreaming... A Golf Writer's Life on the Road. (Part 1/4)
Wednesday, 11 August 2010 13:30

For those of you who don't know, I'm a writer golf... with the emphasis on writing before golf. You'd understand why if you played with me. Neither hacker nor scratcher, I mostly ride the OB fence while playing, but I can drive a pen like nobody's business... so I stick to that. That said, similar to our Alabama-Mississippi trip in April, another such adventure presented itself in theDakotas (and Nebraska) and we jumped on it. We got to bring our 7 year old - Dylan - this time as well. So we headed off to write and golf.

Being the Senior/Travel Writer for the Hacker's Guide, I wanted to present a week "in the life"... with photographic accompaniment... Some of these photos mandated the arduous task of getting up early (5:45) and removing myself from some of the world's most comfortable king-size beds... but for you, the reader, I endured...

Some photos require no words. Others speak for themselves... Wait... isn't that... never mind.

In all likelihood you'll care more about the photos than the writing... but I'll try to make both of interest...

August 16th: We left the psychos (my twin girls) at their Aunt Kelly's around 9PM and began our long 8 hour trek towards Bismarck, ND at 9:30PM. My wife, Stacy, and I slept while Dylan drove and we arrived in Bismarck around 5AM.

I slept for an hour and a half and we had breakfast at the Cottage Cafe. (We all hadFrench toast. Not just toast... French toast.) We then headed out to our 1st Golf Course in Bismarck... aptly named HawkTree. (Aptly used to describe the presence of an actual hawk tree on the course. Not shaped like a hawk. It had a hawk in it. Again... never mind.)

Photo 1: A panoramic view of Hawktree from the Clubhouse.

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Photo 2: Hawktree had this amazing black sand in their bunkers... they call it slag. Not the old English/Australian use of the word. (Prostitutes/Hookers) Slag - as in the byproduct of metal smelting. A coal-ish product. Hitting out of it is like hitting out of the fairway... okay, maybe more like rough... You don't want to hit behind it. You want to hit the ball first. Incredible course. Best one I've ever played in North Dakota! Ever! Can't wait to play my 2nd ND course. Ever.

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Photo 3: We left Hawktree, had lunch at the Cracker Barrel (My son, Dylan's favorite restaurant) and headed towards Williston, ND . We had dinner at the worst Applebees in the world... (You're off the hook Birmingham, AL. Bet you're "like totally relieved" and all .) and then headed towards Ray, ND and the Lewis and Clark National Park/Campground . What a beautiful place! (Photo) It got really cold (42), but it was Dylan's first night of camping in a tent/igloo ever... and he LOVED it.

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Photo 4: August 17th (Wednesday)... We got up early and headed towards the "Links of North Dakota." It was a chilly morning, but not too windy... played right along the lake like an actual links course... it was pretty impressive. (Stacy hitting towards the water. There was a green between Stacy and the water though. A reverse psychology trick that played well for her on this hole.) - I was asked to explain this so I will. You know how when you're golfing and you have to hit over water you pretend it isn't there until you've hit three balls into it... Well, when you're hitting towards water and there's a green between you and the water, it's just easier to get it to the green than the water. For most people...

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Photo 5: The Links had several impressive holes... The setting for this little Par 3 was awesome. It was tucked into a little valley, out of the wind, and yet surrounded by the picturesque lake and this stuff they call "fescue"... which I refer to as "youscrewed."

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Photo 6: And there was quite the colorful display off the hilltops as you took in the majestic panorama that is North Dakota . (Stop laughing and look at the photos. I'm serious.)

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Photo 7: Sadly we had to leave our 2nd ND course. It really was pretty there. Except for the wildlife. (Yes, that is what you think it is.) We were eager to get away from that. I wish I could say this was nowhere near the golf course. Yes, I wish I could say that.

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Photo 8: We drove down along the Montana border from Ray, opting to go with a churro stand over the Applebees in Williston for lunch. We were greatly anticipating our time in Medora ... On the way to Medora (on Highway 16) there is this hysterical stretch of road, that really should be more photographed worldwide. You come over a hilltop and can see for about 5 miles straight in front of you. Whoever built this road built it dead straight, north to south... and it's remarkable how straight it is, except for one little "3 city block stretch" that breaks so sharply to the right that you have to slow down dramatically... You can somewhat make it out in this photo, but I really wish I'd driven back to the top of the hill in the background, climbed out of the car and taken an actual photograph of it... although my son's iPhone pic is good too.

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Photo 9: We arrived at our hotel (The Rough Rider ) in Medora.

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Photo 10: There we met up with our phenomenal guide, Annette (marketing director for Medora)... She took us on an hour loop through Theodore Roosevelt National Park . We were looking for buffalo, but sadly didn't find any. Wait... there's one. Sweet!!! He doesn't look like he wants to talk to us.

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Photo 11: We did however find quite the talkative little fellow sitting next to the road.

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Photo 12: We were so blessed to have Annette with us... and she was gracious enough to take us everywhere in her Jeep... which Dylan absolutely loved!!! It was beautiful weather, and the ND Badlands were inspiring. The hospitality and charm of Medora is hard to describe. Everyone was so gracious and friendly and the fudge was really good too. (I had to fit that in. That sentence, not the fudge, although I had to fit the fudge in too. Forget it.)

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END OF PART 1 of 4.


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