Golf Blog

The Eighty Club

With all of the pictures I post of fantastic golf courses, I often get asked "How can I also play at these exclusive private clubs?"  People have written books on the topic, but to me, the answer remains simple.

  • Join a private club.
  • Network with other members of your club and others.
  • Play golf frequently with new people at new places.
  • Help out others whenever you can.
  • Be awesome to play golf with.

The best part about putting effort into the ideas above, is that you get to meet some really cool and interesting people.  There are a lot of people out there that love golf as much as I do and every time I meet one of them, we become fast friends.

One of those friends is Sean Ogle, the founder of Breaking Eighty.  Not only does Sean run an excellent golf blog, but he has created a forum to bring these friends together.  It is called The Eighty Club.

As Sean describes it.  The Eighty Club is a private golf society for the game's most passionate followers.  I describe it as a place where a group of golf nuts can talk about golf courses, golf architecture, golf equipment, or even golf ball shaped pizzas.  The rules to join are simple.

  • You must belong to a private club.
  • You have an interest in traveling and playing a variety of different golf courses.
  • You are passionate about the game and want to share this passion with others.

So what goes on in the Eighty Club?  

  • Online forum - Everything golf related gets discussed.
  • Weekly Newsletter - Sean gets on his blog horse and sends out the week's hottest takes from the club and the world of golf.
  • Potential for easier access - Meet people from other clubs around the country.
  • Live events -  The Eighty Club is looking to host 4-6 events annually. 
Portland Golf Club hosted the very first Eighty Club event.

Portland Golf Club hosted the very first Eighty Club event.

As you can see, Sean Ogle is pretty excited about having you join the Eighty Club.  Here he celebrates at Columbia Edgewater in Portland.

As you can see, Sean Ogle is pretty excited about having you join the Eighty Club.  Here he celebrates at Columbia Edgewater in Portland.

I show a couple of Eighty Clubbers the ropes of iPhone golf course photography at Pumpkin Ridge.

I show a couple of Eighty Clubbers the ropes of iPhone golf course photography at Pumpkin Ridge.

Shown here are 5 of The Eighty Club's 122 members, or roughly 4.1%

Shown here are 5 of The Eighty Club's 122 members, or roughly 4.1%

In my personal opinion The Eighty Club is one of the best ways to meet people that love to travel, love to play golf, and love to show off their clubs.  When you're not playing, it's a well run forum where you can discuss all things golf with people that are passionate about the game.  The people that I have met so far have been welcoming, knowledgable, and a lot of fun to play golf with.  As the club grows, it's only going to get better,  

The first event was a ton of fun and took place at some of the best clubs that Portland has to offer.  With Sean scheduling events all over the country The Eighty Club has the potential to dramatically boost your golf network as well as your travel itinerary.  I know I am looking forward to the next event in Philadelphia. 

So how do I get in the club?  There is a $500 annual membership fee to join The Eighty Club.  But the good news is that if you mention you are a friend of pjkoenig, Sean will knock $100 off of the annual price.  Sean covers the details here on his site and if you are ready to submit your application, click here.  As far as memberships to social clubs go, this one receives my highest rating: 10/10.  I look forward to seeing you inside the club.  

2017 Masters

A week before The 2017 Masters, I received a text message with an offer to attend a practice round and the Par 3 contest at Augusta.  It didn't take long for me to reply and pack my bags.  The first thing I put in that bag was my camera.  You are permitted to bring cameras on the course for practice rounds at Augusta!  

Upon our arrival, we decided to check out the scene on Washington Road.  Washington Road is the same road where John Daly hangs out at Hooters and sells T-shirts and fancy pants.  Naturally we stopped by.  I passed on taking a picture with big John, as I felt weird about a two time major winner ringing up hat sales.

With the Z on the end, it sounds pretty official official to me.

With the Z on the end, it sounds pretty official official to me.

After some corn hole and various other shenanigan type things, we found Magnolia Lane on the map and decided to take some photos like a couple of delinquent teenagers.  

Now normally, we would have been stoked out of our minds for The Masters in the morning, but we had been staring at the forecast below for the past 72 hours.  We were still stoked, but just more of an angry at the rain gods type stoked.

Don't worry, the TERS on the other side of the sign worked just fine.

Don't worry, the TERS on the other side of the sign worked just fine.

Lighting not ideal for late night photo operations.

Lighting not ideal for late night photo operations.

With a mild stroke of luck, the rain would hold off and the gates to Augusta National would open.  We gleefully entered and strolled the grounds.  Knowing that we would only have an hour or so before the storms rolled in, we headed out to the hot spots.  

I was able to get some pretty good shots and the sun actually came out for a full 90 seconds while we were on #13.

To view all of my photos and my top 11 Augusta list, click here.

Augusta National1-51.jpg

After a couple of hours, the weather horns would sound and we would be given the boot.  However, after a several hour delay, the course would re open and we would come rushing back. As you can see, people were excited to return.

Just as the Par 3 Contest was getting underway, the horn would sound again and we would be given the heave from Augusta National for the day.  This was the first time in 50 years, the Par 3 contest was cancelled due to weather.

All was not lost though, Snoop Dogg was in town to play some golf and give a little rap show.  Be sure to click the link to get the Golf Digest Recap.

Note:  When I say catch his flight, I mean watch Delta fumble around and cancel flights for 2 days: Summary: Masters good, Snoop cool, Delta bad.

The Snoop Dogg set offers up a range of songs from Journey to Gin and Juice.

The Snoop Dogg set offers up a range of songs from Journey to Gin and Juice.

Before our flight out of town, our group headed up to the fantastic Champions Retreat Golf Club.  Located only about a half hour away from Augusta, Sean of Breaking Eighty even had time to hole out from 170 yards for eagle before catching his flight back to Portland.  

Sean Ogle celebrates the 3rd eagle of his lifetime..

Sean Ogle celebrates the 3rd eagle of his lifetime..

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

PGA Show 2016

As a newcomer to the PGA Merchandise show in 2016, I was excited to meet many of the golf industry folks that I had conversed with over the internet for some time.  Although, my time at the show was brief, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting many of the passionate folks that work in the golf industry.  For the trip, I had teamed up with fellow golf enthusiast and blogger, Sean Ogle of Breaking Eighty.  Like any sensible businessman, I packed my golf clubs and business cards and headed out to Orlando.  First up would be the golf, then the business of golf.

The 18th green at Adios, an excellent par 5 finishing hole.

The 18th green at Adios, an excellent par 5 finishing hole.

The winds blew a good 30-40 mph for us on the Blue Monster

The winds blew a good 30-40 mph for us on the Blue Monster

My first ever round of golf in Florida would be on the challenging Blue Monster Course at Doral.  As you can see in the photo, there was a little bit of wind to contend with.  Fortunately, the wind would die down and I would roll in my first Florida birdie on the 17th hole.  

After hitting the scene in Miami Beach and visiting the 14th best bar in the world, The Broken Shaker, we got up early to play golf at Adios Golf Club.  Adios is a private establishment that is more well known for it's club than it's course.  Although, both are top notch.  Sean and I would agree that Adios was one of our favorite golfing experiences to date.

Our trip was indeed building up some steam as we headed to the airport to pick up Ashley Mayo of Golf Digest.  The next morning our power trio would go for 36 at Streamsong.  Click on the images below for the exclusive "By the Numbers" recap.

Ashley let's me know I've only got 6 inches for birdie!!

Ashley let's me know I've only got 6 inches for birdie!!

The Biarritz swale on 16 swallowed up several of our shots.

The Biarritz swale on 16 swallowed up several of our shots.

With the golf in our rear view mirror, it was time to set our sights on the PGA Merchandise Show's Demo Day.  Demo Day is hosted on a 360 degree driving range at the Orange County National Golf Center.  With just about every golf vendor in attendance, you can hit the latest sticks with the latest gadgets until your arms fall off.  Here is what we found.

Long Drive Champ, Jamie Sadlowski brought his iPhone in his back pocket and hit this 7 iron 320 yards.

Long Drive Champ, Jamie Sadlowski brought his iPhone in his back pocket and hit this 7 iron 320 yards.

These things exist, not sure what they are or how they're gonna help, but they exist.

These things exist, not sure what they are or how they're gonna help, but they exist.

The  Golf Board  comes in orange!  ...and has a cooler for those who are interested in drinking and boarding.

The Golf Board comes in orange!  ...and has a cooler for those who are interested in drinking and boarding.

The  Big Max Trolleys  fold up so nicely that you can almost put them in your back pocket.   The Blade!!

The Big Max Trolleys fold up so nicely that you can almost put them in your back pocket.  The Blade!!

With Demo Day in the books, Sean and I got serious and headed over to Orlando's finest miniature golf facility, Pirate's Cove, to round out a solid day.  Check out the pirate video recap below.  

For day 2, it was time to head over to the convention center and check out the scene.  Orange County convention center is massive and we had some serious talking and walking to do.  Here is the best of what we found.

First time PGA show residents,  Holderness & Bourne  have some of the finest golf polos around.  You'll have to wait until March to get these babies.

First time PGA show residents, Holderness & Bourne have some of the finest golf polos around.  You'll have to wait until March to get these babies.

That's a Dalmation golf bag cover from    MiniZoo Golf Bag Covers.   Your bag with some bark.  

That's a Dalmation golf bag cover from MiniZoo Golf Bag Covers.  Your bag with some bark.  

Who amongst us hasn't wanted to do this.   Jones  just gets it.

Who amongst us hasn't wanted to do this.  Jones just gets it.

For me, the biggest hit of the show was Taylor Made's release of the M2 line.  I smoked this 3 wood like a Cigar on my birthday!!

For me, the biggest hit of the show was Taylor Made's release of the M2 line.  I smoked this 3 wood like a Cigar on my birthday!!

Keegan Bradley has his own beer now.  Finally.

Keegan Bradley has his own beer now.  Finally.

Sean Ogle goes yard with C obra's latest driver  while Red Bull pumps the dope beats.

Sean Ogle goes yard with Cobra's latest driver while Red Bull pumps the dope beats.

Somebody has got to sort all of these balls.  Thanks to the volunteers!

Somebody has got to sort all of these balls.  Thanks to the volunteers!

One of my favorite gadgets at the show was the reasonably priced ($349)  Swing Caddy 2 .  107 club head   speed, not bad for this hacker

One of my favorite gadgets at the show was the reasonably priced ($349) Swing Caddy 2.  107 club head speed, not bad for this hacker

The view of the showroom floor.  Lot's of action down there.

The view of the showroom floor.  Lot's of action down there.

Loudmouth  still loud.

Loudmouth still loud.

The Classic line up of  Jones Golf Bags .  Classic Jones!

The Classic line up of Jones Golf Bags.  Classic Jones!

Co-founder John Bourne of  Holderness and Bourne  tells it how it is.  

Co-founder John Bourne of Holderness and Bourne tells it how it is.  

That's a wrap from Orlando and the 2016 PGA Merchandise show.  A big thanks to my friend Sean Ogle of Breaking Eighty and everyone else who took the time to make this newcomer feel important.  Until next time, Orlando!