My four week break is officially at the half way point and I am starting to get the itch to get back out and compete. While I try and spend a good amount of time in Clark and away from the course, I’ve had a couple of good experiences the past couple of weeks.
First, I was asked early in the summer by a locally run tournament in Sioux Falls called the Boys of Summer Cup if I would be interested in donating my time to play a round of golf with the highest bidder. The money raised goes to The First Tee program so I was glad to help out. I was equally glad that somebody actually placed a bid. Steve Eggebraaten and his kids, Hank and Ashley, joined me at Willow Run Golf Course last week for a fun 18 holes. Although it was hopefully a good experience for them, it was a good opportunity for me, too. Playing in pro-ams, charity events, etc. is a big part of being a professional golfer so it is great for me to get a little practice. A golfer’s reputation can be earned or lost on how they treat the fans, sponsors, and patrons that come out to play with them. A good thing I was told once and try to always remember is that it is “their day.” If i can make somebody’s day by being enjoyable to play with I will always try to do my best. Once again, thanks to the Eggebraatens for coming out to play with me and best of luck to both Ashley and Hank in their golf careers! 🙂
I also had the opportunity last week to spend a couple days up at Sutton Bay. Wow, what an experience. We had two completely windless days that couldn’t have been better. I know everyone has their own opinions about the course, but I have two thoughts about the overall experience that I will share.
First, the course was very playable. I know we had perfect conditions which helped a lot, but it was so enjoyable to go there for the first time and be able to shoot a good score. I really didn’t know what to expect; I had a dozen balls with me! With it being the type of place where members may only come a handful of times a year and guests only once every blue moon, it shouldn’t be the type of place where you need four practice rounds to know where to place the ball. They aren’t looking to host the U.S. Open, so there is little reason to have it set up like that.
I’ve also heard a lot of comparison between the old nine and the new. I never played the old nine so I don’t have an opinion on whether one is better than the other. Regardless, parts of the old nine were shifting and sliding towards the river, so there probably isn’t any reason to debate it. However, if such shifting would have continued it may have given a new meaning to the idea of an “island green.”
Second, it didn’t take me long to discover that going to Sutton Bay isn’t only about playing the best golf course in South Dakota. I can be extremely OCD about organization, time, scheduling, etc; Sutton Bay is the complete opposite. It’s about coming to a place where you can so easily forget about your day-to-day structured lifestyle. You may think you have done that before by taking a weekend trip to Minneapolis or to your lake house, but nothing compares to Sutton Bay. When you sit on the deck at night and see no streetlights, no headlights, and hear no noise at all, you only then realize how secluded and disconnected from the rest of the world you are. It’s a wonderful feeling. There is nothing that you have to do, but plenty of things you can do. Quite honesty, it is hard to describe, but I would say it probably comparable to camping… with a five star restaurant and the most comfortable pillow you’ve ever slept on. Sutton Bay is an incredible place and I couldn’t be more thankful to John Clausen for inviting me to play.
After coming home to Clark and back to reality I’ve been busy with practice, working out, and catching up with a few friends and family. I am preparing to leave for Colorado in the morning. I will play the Colorado Open this Wednesday-Friday at Green Valley Ranch in Denver. The whole tournament is played as a pro-am which means I will play the main event against only the professionals, but will also be paired with an amateur and we will be a team competing for a separate purse.
When I return from Colorado I will be making a short trip down to the Prairie Club in Nebraska. I’m super excited to have the opportunity to play this course and see how it compares to Sutton Bay.
I hope everyone has a safe and fun Labor Day weekend!
Steve, Ashley, Hank and I at Willow Run Golf Course in Sioux Falls.
Our Foursome – Rick Chapin, myself, John Clausen, Dave Moritz
Some fun golf at home with THE Briana Paulson.
Family golf time 🙂