Golf Blog

2016 Recap: 12 months, 12 winning rounds.

Contrary to what you may find elsewhere on the internet, 2016 was an awesome year.  I was able to play over 100 rounds of golf at some of America's finest destinations with some of America's greatest people.  I even got a couple of Canadian rounds on the books.  Check out 2016's winners for round of the month below.

January 2016:  Streamsong with Mayo and Ogle.

The year started out  strongly with a journey to Florida for the PGA Show and some golf with Ashley Mayo of Golf Digest and Sean Ogle of Breaking Eighty (The second  best golf blog on the internet)  36 at Streamsong was hard to beat.  Ashley and Sean are even tougher to beat.  

Fantastic use of the sandy terrain at Streamsong Red.

Fantastic use of the sandy terrain at Streamsong Red.

A lot of pictures happen with this threesome.

A lot of pictures happen with this threesome.

February 2016: Wolf Creek with Ashmaeb.

Wolf Creek is just about as memorable of a golf course as one can find the U.S.  In a winter month vacation, Maebs and I brought the Instagram heat to Wolf Creek.  Be sure to click on any of the course links for more photos and stories.

AshMaeb goes deep in Mesquite

AshMaeb goes deep in Mesquite

The difficult par 3 8th at Wolf Creek.

The difficult par 3 8th at Wolf Creek.

March 2016:  Spanish Oaks.  Can't keep a good Texas caddie down.

On a trip to Texas, I was paired up with an all world caddie at Spanish Oaks, his yardages were spot on and his knowledge of the course shaved countless strokes.  I even canned a few long putts that I would have otherwise misread.  

The 17th at Spanish Oaks.

The 17th at Spanish Oaks.

The caddie made the difference in March.

The caddie made the difference in March.

April 2016: Consolation Round: 2016 Golf Digest TYPHI.

After Cody Ross and I suffered a tough loss in a playoff at the Think Young Play Hard Invitational, it was time for T-Rex to take on the Links at Bali Hai in the consolation bowl.  Sarah Moodie, Jeremy Lusk, and I hit the links hard indeed.

The 3 putt penalty hat lacks style and functionality

The 3 putt penalty hat lacks style and functionality

May 2016: Pinehurst No. 2 with Payne Stewart

I was never fortunate enough to have met the man in person, but the spirit of Payne Stewart lives on.  There is no place where this is more true than at Pinehurst No. 2.  The site of Payne's first US Open Victory and iconic victory pose.

To the left:  Payne and I discuss pre-round strategy.   Above : I fail to properly execute pre-round strategy discussed.

To the left: Payne and I discuss pre-round strategy.  Above: I fail to properly execute pre-round strategy discussed.

June 2016: The Massacre at Merion

This one was an easy victory for Merion as it is without a doubt one of the most special places that I have ever visited in the world of golf.  In an epic Merion showdown, it was the women vs the men.  Although the women were fantastic hosts, they took no mercy on Sean Ogle and I, scoring a lopsided victory in what would later be called "The Massacre at Merion."  Even though we suffered a crushing defeat, Sean and I would consider the loss a victory.

Our group at  Merion

Our group at Merion

Bobby Jones completed the Grand Slam of Golf on this very hole.

Bobby Jones completed the Grand Slam of Golf on this very hole.

July 2016: Friar's Head with Captain Joe, Ashley Mayo, and Jeff Blind

As I look back on 2016, it would be tough to remember a round more enjoyable than this one at Friars Head.  As Ashley Mayo reminds us, it's not where you play, but who you play with that makes the difference.  This round had both areas covered in style.

The 9th tee box at Friars Head is special.

The 9th tee box at Friars Head is special.

So many birdie push-ups.

So many birdie push-ups.

August:  Water Balloons at Manzanita Golf Course.

My good friend Joey the Cat was turning 30 and it was time to celebrate.  What better way to beat the heat, but with water balloons.  I kicked things off with a splash here in Oregon.

Behind the scenes action shots taken by  Andrew Herrold .  Even though I was soaked on the 1st tee, my pants dried quickly and the rest of the round was a blast.

Behind the scenes action shots taken by Andrew Herrold.  Even though I was soaked on the 1st tee, my pants dried quickly and the rest of the round was a blast.

September: Robert Trent Jones and the RTJ golf trail

With a full line up of golf bros and endless golf, the RTJ trail in Alabama really felt like one endless round.  Perhaps the best value in all of public golf, the trail is a fantastic destination for any group of die hard golf buddies.

I would card one of my better rounds of 2016 at  Grand National's Lake Course  with a 72.

I would card one of my better rounds of 2016 at Grand National's Lake Course with a 72.

October: Golfing next to the President at Olympia Fields. Chicago Cubs win the World Series

Few people in the world get the chance to play golf with an active President.  I am currently not one of those people.  However, I did have the privilege of playing golf on the same course at the same time with Barack Obama at Olympia Fields.  Later on, the Cubs would win the world series.  It was a good trip to Chicago. 

POTUS Obama tees off as I play the other way at Olympia Fields.

POTUS Obama tees off as I play the other way at Olympia Fields.

November: $9 solo mission on Thanksgiving at Tuscan Ridge

While playing golf with friends is fantastic, heading out to the course as a single can be just as satisfying.  After paying a modest $9 greens fee, it was just me, the grass, and my golf ball as I worked up a Thanksgiving appetite.

A look back on the 3rd hole at Tuscan Ridge.

A look back on the 3rd hole at Tuscan Ridge.

December: The Club at Estancia

When my plane landed in Phoenix my wife informed me that it was snowing in Seattle.  Although, I missed my wife, I didn't miss the weather.  The next day I would be teeing it up at Estancia in 70 degree desert conditions.    Between our fantastic hosts and Tom Fazio's visual assault on my golfing senses, The Club at Estancia delivered one of the year's most enjoyable experiences.  

Like any good New Year's post, I will close with a vague and immeasurable New Year's resolution.  "Play more golf in 2017."

The short 11th at Estancia

The short 11th at Estancia

Looking back on the 12th hole

Looking back on the 12th hole

The 2016 Golf Digest Think Young Play Hard Invitational

After waiting 365 days since the 2015 Golf Digest Think Young Play Hard (TYPHI) Invitational, the time was finally here to return to Las Vegas for more lessons in golf, life, and gambling.  We packed our golf costumes, boarded the plane, and arrived just in time for a warmup round at Southern Highlands.  Our time at Southern Highlands was spectacular and involved hooking a drive into Floyd Mayweather's backyard.  We then hustled off to the Think Young Play Hard kickoff party.  After chipping balls onto floating greens and eating approximately 15-30 chicken tenders, I became aware that an ill advised bet had been established between several of the revelers. The bet was that it was not possible to jump onto one of these floating greens.  This party had officially been kicked off.

The par 5 9th at Southern Highlands.

The par 5 9th at Southern Highlands.

With the opening ceremonies in our rear view mirror, it was time to focus on serious golfing business.  I was fortunate enough to be paired up with World Series Champion, Cody Ross.  We decided it would be proper to plan our parade route and place all of our prize winnings on black in advance of actually winning the tournament.  Sound strategy.

Power foursome makes the turn at Royal Links on Day 1.

Power foursome makes the turn at Royal Links on Day 1.

One of the best parts of the tournament is that there are activities on many of the holes.  There was a $50k hole in one opportunity on the 3rd hole.  Unfortunately, Matt Lemman of Jones Golf Bags would slam dunk an ace on the 14th hole.  There are also plenty of long drive and closest to the pin competitions and a chance to win a GoPro by hitting an actual GoPro out of the bunker to within a circle.  That's an inch from GoPro glory.  I blame the wind.

Next up was the winner take all no limit poker tournament with a $12,000 watch up for grabs,  Naturally, our entire crew busted out early and decided to distract Instagram sensation, Paige Spiranac from her Puttskee session.  I would then attempt to show Paige how to properly model for Golf Digest cover shoots.  

Ross Photo Bomb #1

Ross Photo Bomb #1

Ross Photo Bomb #2

Ross Photo Bomb #2

Unfortunately, our team would come in second place in a sudden death playoff and the winners would be the ones that would be jumping into the pond on the par 3 9th hole.  Congratulations to the champs! 

I never learned anything from a match I won.
— Bobby Jones

With the 2016 Think Young Play Hard tournament behind us, it was time to focus on the post tournament bonus round.  Here are your 2016 participants, folks.

Penalty hat for 3 putts.

Penalty hat for 3 putts.

T Rex hates bogies so much.

T Rex hates bogies so much.

LittleBallBigBall  of Instagram joined us and paid the price.

LittleBallBigBall of Instagram joined us and paid the price.

Although Golf Digest's Carley Strauss had never heard of Blue Steel, she appears to be a natural in the modeling game.

Although Golf Digest's Carley Strauss had never heard of Blue Steel, she appears to be a natural in the modeling game.

After a solid round of even par in some tough winds at Royal Links, Cody and I were near the top of the leaderboard and poised to make a serious run for the title.  More importantly the fine folks over at GolfBoard provided us the opportunity to hang ten on the golf course.  

Cody and I demonstrate Tony Hawk type prowess on the  GolfBoard

Cody and I demonstrate Tony Hawk type prowess on the GolfBoard

"I am pretty good at golf, I am really good at skee-ball, but I am absolutely awful at Puttskee" - Four time National Skee-Ball Champion, one time TYPHI Champion,  Joey The Cat .

"I am pretty good at golf, I am really good at skee-ball, but I am absolutely awful at Puttskee" - Four time National Skee-Ball Champion, one time TYPHI Champion, Joey The Cat.

The final round of the tournament was hosted at Bali Hai Golf Course and would feature me ruining all of Cody's photos.  Cody would not be distracted as he led our team's charge to the top of the leaderboard with an eagle on 15.  I added in a couple of birdies and we found ourselves tied for the lead at -3 at the end of regulation.

Golf Digest's  Ashley Mayo  would get into the Sunblock, the SPF 5000 sunblock, for those that live directly on the sun.  

Golf Digest's Ashley Mayo would get into the Sunblock, the SPF 5000 sunblock, for those that live directly on the sun.  

Good times at the Champions Celebration.

Good times at the Champions Celebration.

Even though Sarah Moodie  (Smooderoo)  weighs about 85 pounds, she actually drove this one over the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Even though Sarah Moodie (Smooderoo) weighs about 85 pounds, she actually drove this one over the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

T Rex rolls one in for par.

T Rex rolls one in for par.

Thanks to all of the wonderful people at Golf Digest for putting on a fantastic tournament.  Thanks to the friends that made the trip and thanks to the sponsors who made the 2016 Think Young Play Hard weekend great.  Until next time!

Whether it's for bogie or birdie, 1st or 2nd place, remember to celebrate like hell and #ThinkYoungPlayHard  Photo by Jeremy Lusk.

Whether it's for bogie or birdie, 1st or 2nd place, remember to celebrate like hell and #ThinkYoungPlayHard  Photo by Jeremy Lusk.

Golf Digest Invitational - Think Young Play Hard

I was lucky enough to be a part of the inaugural Golf Digest Invitational this past weekend.  Below is a snapshot of things that happened.  This list is non-inclusive, partially representative, and potentially offensive.  Sensitive golfers, you have been warned.

16 Things that happened at the Golf Digest Invitational

  • I realized that the race carts at Pole Position go 45 mph and that I am moderate to bad at go kart racing.
  • We hung out with the Bryan Bros and realized that hitting a golf ball out of mid air is a damn hard thing to do.
  • We also realized that hitting a wedge closer than the Bryan Bros is not easy.  Joe managed 3 feet to the Bryan Bros' 3.5 feet!  That .5 feet earned us some new wedges!
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  • I shook hands with Boyz to Men and came to the conclusion that they are some chill ass dudes.
  • This awesome photo was taken of our power foursome by AJ Voelpel.
  • To start things off, a cannon exploded, blasting my hair back and preventing me from hearing properly for 2-3 days.
  • I received $50 in poker chips as swag for the tournament, I waited the entire weekend to play them, doubling up twice on the roulette wheel right before I checked out of the Mirage.  Whoop.
  • Captain Joe Garvey's shorts amazed 80% of the participants and blinded the other 20%
  • Fences were jumped mid-round to obtain Jack in the Box.
  • In an attempt to best World Long Drive Champion, Jeff Flagg, I implemented a rare somersault drive.  There is a slow motion video that exists and I will find it.  Update: it has been found.  View it here.
  • I rolled a 35 foot putt through the gaming floor of the Mirage.  It missed wide left.
  • Joey the Cat and Ryan Pearce won the entire freaking tournament!!! Congratulations boys!  Outstanding Victory.
  • We took some party selfies with the champs.
  • I took a picture of Joe Garvey's butt as he mooned our foursome from atop his golf cart on an adjacent hole.  Picture not pictured here.
  • The ever popular Ashmaeb of Instagram tried to go out the wrong way from this bunker. 
  • Golf Digest's Ashley Mayo flew into the golf course on a helicopter. We made her do push-ups.
  • This post was originally titled 23 things that happened in Vegas at the Golf Digest Invitational. It has been truncated for male nudity and extreme profanity.  Until next year Golf Digest Invitational !!!!  Think Young and Play Hard until then.