RGV Tour Blog

Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri

As the Tour rolled out of Texas, we headed into some potential danger zones with weather.  When I was planning the route I knew it wouldn't be all sunshine and 70 degrees and this was one of the areas of the country that I was concerned about.  I was playing some of the country's best courses in less than ideal conditions.  Any way that I sliced it, I wasn't going to be able to play them all in prime season.

For my first round of golf in Oklahoma, I was greeted with some serious breezes and some serious temperature drops.  Let's call it 40 degrees with 40 mph winds, give or take a degree or an mph.  The good news is that I was playing Oak Tree National, one of Oklahoma's finest layouts and one of Pete Dye's most difficult designs.  This would be the toughest test of golf that the RGV Tour has encountered to date.

Oak Tree National1-32.jpg
Oak Tree National1-91.jpg
Oak Tree National1-55.jpg

It was cold, it was windy and I fought hard.  I couldn't feel my hands but I did manage to find a grand total of 5 pars and I was able to break 100.  With water on 13 of the 18 holes, the course doesn't allow much room for error and you gotta drop those birdie putts when you get the chance.  The highlight of my round would come when I would lip out a 5 foot birdie putt on the 13th hole.

Oak Tree National opened up in 1976 and was redesigned by Pete Dye in 2002.  The course has hosted a number of high profile tournaments, most recently the 2014 US Senior Open.  It was an excellent place for the RGV Tour to kick off Oklahoma.

Southern Hills1-29.jpg

The 2nd tour stop in Oklahoma was Southern Hills.  Southern Hills is a Perry Maxwell design/gem and one of America's most storied golfing destinations.  The course has hosted 7 major championships for men (3 US Opens and 4 PGA Championships.)  Southern Hills welcomed the RGV Tour with open arms and this was easily one of the tour's most memorable stops.  Thanks to the team at Southern Hills for bringing out Channel 6 to raise awareness for The First Tee and The RGV Tour.  Takeaway: You haven't really lived until you have hit driver from atop a motorized vehicle on the evening news.

The last tour stop in Oklahoma was Karsten Creek.  Home to the OSU golf teams, Karsten creek is set to host the NCAA's in 2018.  While the tour was a little early to fully witness the green grass, the brown stuff plays pretty nicely.

Karsten Creek1-99.jpg
Karsten Creek1-21.jpg
Karsten Creek1-64.jpg

I decided to press my luck with the weather and head further north into Kansas.  The lure of Prairie Dunes and Flint Hills National was too much to resist.  They sucked me right in like a tractor beam.  First up on the agenda, was Flint Hills National.  It must be noted, that as good as these courses played, they are no where near their full potential due to the off season.

Flint Hills National1-53.jpg
Flint Hills National1-62.jpg
Flint Hills National1-85.jpg

Flint Hills is a Tom Fazio design and the site of a serious push up fest for the RGV Tour.  In a serious display of upper body strength, RGV Tour Player, Dave Pivinski, did about 200 pushups during the round.  The next day, he said he could still feel his arms, but we could tell he was hurting.  What a champion!

Prairie Dunes1-51.jpg
Prairie Dunes1-121.jpg
Prairie Dunes1-155.jpg

Prairie Dunes CC would become an instant RGV Tour favorite.  After playing the 1st 3 holes, I was already considering membership.  Probably due to it's remote nature, the club is very affordable, and for the right golfer it is one of the best deals in the Top 100.

Against my better weather judgement, I would push further north towards Kansas City and an Easter date with a group of irresistable nieces.  Amidst the Easter egg hunts, I would find some satisfying rounds at Milburn Country club and The National at Kansas City.

The National Golf Club of Kansas City1-84.jpg
 Milburn Golf & CC

Milburn Golf & CC

 Local KC golf stud, Frank Espinosa joins the golf party.

Local KC golf stud, Frank Espinosa joins the golf party.

On my way out of Kansas City, the tour would encounter it's first and hopefully last snow day.  Snow days, when you are a kid, are awesome.  They are not so awesome as a tour pro on the RGV Tour.  The pros at Old Hawthorne and I were ready to golf in the snow, but the Superintendent wisely vetoed the play request.

The Club at Old Hawthorne1-20.jpg

As the tour rolled into St Louis, Jack Frost followed.  The good news is that when you tee it up in 30 degree weather, you will most likely have the entire golf course to yourself.  That was indeed the case for rounds at St Albans Country Club and Westborough Country Club.

 2 holes before I took this picture, I was hiding in my golf cart protecting myself from the rain with my umbrella.

2 holes before I took this picture, I was hiding in my golf cart protecting myself from the rain with my umbrella.

With the weather being cold and just gearing up for spring, it is tough to play such excellent golf courses, knowing how much different they will be in a month or so.  Even though the dormant zoysia plays very nicely, it is hard not to imagine what these courses would look like in full green, leaves on the trees, mode.  

The most accurate description I heard was "You are photographing models without their make up on."  I mean they still look good and you are going to get some good photographs, but you know there is another level.  In the end, Kate Upton is still Kate Upton and that spring... she is coming soon.

I also managed to take in a St Louis Blues hockey game, naturally, I got confused.

 A 30 degree tee off set the record for coldest weather encountered on The RGV Tour

A 30 degree tee off set the record for coldest weather encountered on The RGV Tour

Boone Valley1-139.jpg

While I didn't have the time to take in all of the top courses in Missouri, one of the contenders for best in state is easily Boone Valley.  The course was designed by PB Dye, son of Pete Dye.  Some holes do remind you of Pete, but you certainly don't walk off of 18 and feel like you played a Pete Dye course.  PB has a style all his own. The course is located only 3 miles from the Daniel Boone home, hence the name.

Boone Valley1-29.jpg
Boone Valley1-18.jpg

With one last day in Missouri, I decided to head to Branson and figure out what all the fuss was up there.  As it turns out, they are fussing about for good reason.   The design team of Coore & Crenshaw currently has a project under construction and you also have another 18 holes in the works from Mr Tiger Woods.  With some good stuff already in place, Branson will be a serious place to put on your calendar as a future golf destination.  Just give it a year or two.

Right now, you have Buffalo Ridge Golf Club and two par 3 layouts.  The Gary Player par 3 was closed for the upcoming Legends of Golf tournament, but the Top of The Rock was ready to rock the golf party.

Top of The Rock1-25.jpg

While the nine hole par 3 course will certainly impress, what grabs your attention immediately is the giant sink hole next to the driving range.  In May of 2015, the foreground of the picture above used to be a Tom Watson designed putting green.  After heavy rainfalls, a sinkhole 40 feet deep and 70 feet wide opened up below the putting green.  Property owner and Bass Pro Shops founder, Johnny Morris decided to explore.  Today, crews have removed 70,215 truckloads of dirt and rock and exposed a "Cathedral of Nature" 350 feet wide and 200 feet deep.  It is certainly a site to behold.

 The driving range at The Top of The Rock is one of the most fun driving ranges that I have ever visited.

The driving range at The Top of The Rock is one of the most fun driving ranges that I have ever visited.

 Super sweet  sinkhole action.

Super sweet  sinkhole action.

Top of The Rock1-71.jpg

With The Top of The Rock preparing for the Legends of Golf tournament, we were treated to some excellent course conditions.  Each one of the 9 holes is visually impressive and has is it's own style.  A lot of money and attention to detail was put into the course and it pays off.  The Top of The Rock is just as much fun to play as it is to look at..  

I will leave you with some shots from the RGV Tour's round on The Rock.  I gotta head south and find some spring weather in Arkansas.

Top of The Rock1-49.jpg
Top of The Rock1-16.jpg
Top of The Rock1-120.jpg

Texas Time

At the beginning of this trip, one of the states that I was looking forward to the most was Texas.  Texas is big and I was ready for it.  First up on the agenda was the site of the PGA Tour's Valero Texas Open, TPC San Antonio.  They have two courses at TPC San Antonio and I golfed em both hard.

 The finishing hole on TPC San Antonio's Oaks Course

The finishing hole on TPC San Antonio's Oaks Course

 The rock outcroppings give the Oaks course some character

The rock outcroppings give the Oaks course some character

The JW Marriott has a pretty awesome family resort on the property.  In one of my few regrets on this trip, I managed to NOT go down the waterslide.  RGV Tour life lesson:  If you see  a waterslide, always go down the waterslide.  Think about it, have you ever not had fun on a waterslide?  

I decided to golf my regrets away at nearby Cordillera Ranch.  Cordillera is a Nicklaus design and a mighty fine one.  It boasts the "Most beautiful par 3 in Texas."  It is pretty damn good and I didn't run into anybody disputing this claim.  Although, the 15th hole at Whispering Pines is quietly keeping it's mouth shut.

 Although the view from the tee box is stunning, I found the shot from behind the green on "Texas' most beautiful par 3" to be just as good.

Although the view from the tee box is stunning, I found the shot from behind the green on "Texas' most beautiful par 3" to be just as good.

Next up the Tour headed out of San Antonio and into the Golf Club of Houston.  While the PGA Tour was getting ready for the Shell Houston Open we took advantage of the excellent conditions.  On this RGV Tour stop, we played for $50 birdies, $25 going to the First Tee of Houston and $25 to the First Tee of Greater Seattle.  After vowing that I was going to make 18 birdies and set the course record. I made exactly 0 birdies on the day.  However, our group made 5 birdies in total and a hefty donation was made to the First Tee.

 During the Shell Houston Open, this is where the golf party is at.

During the Shell Houston Open, this is where the golf party is at.

2018-03-131-13.jpg

This was also my first experience with the concept of Hammer.  It is basically your normal betting game but any time you say the word "Hammer" it doubles the bet.  So say you shank one into the woods and your competitor asks you "Who was that rapper in the '90's with those baggy pants?" As soon as you say MC Hammer, BAM!  You just doubled the bet on your shank into the woods.  Fun, right?  A big thanks to Corey, Matt, and Steve for their generosity and putting on a top notch RGV Tour stop.  This is also an excellent place to plug my favorite Driver, The Hammer X Driver.

The original on the left, the remake on the right.

Next up was Whispering Pines and boy is it ever worth the drive out to Trinity, Texas.  The course starts out great and moves along very nicely until about he 12th hole.  When it makes that turn at 12, Whispering Pines hits the golf gas hard.  Here are a couple of shots from that ride home.  Wooowee.  Whispering Pines also features a magnificent short par 3 course called The Needler.  It is not to be missed.

Whispering Pines1-14.jpg
Whispering Pines1-27.jpg
Drone 21-23.jpg
Whispering Pines1-160.jpg

On my visit to the Houston area, I got a chance to visit Tiger Woods' first US design at Bluejack National.  Because what's a golf blog post without some Tiger Woods in it?  The atmosphere is very fun and family oriented.  They have this thing called the Fort. The Fort is what I would describe as kid heaven.  Here is the short list of the things on the property that would make any kid squeal with joy.

  • Waterslides (coming soon)
  • Miniature replica of Fenway Park
  • Free pin ball machines
  • Zip Lines (also coming soon)
  • Playstations with giant big screens
  • Miniature football field
  • Ping pong
  • Air hockey

Bluejack also does an excellent job of taking advantage of it's "Tigerness."  They have the "Frank" tees for the kiddos, Frank is what Tiger calls his driver cover.  There is even a "Tiger Stinger" bullseye on the range.  I fired 2 irons at it for about 15 minutes and only managed to hit the pole once.  Throughout your visit, you are consistently reminded of Mr Woods and it is a pleasure.  It must be noted that Tiger did have some assistance from Beau Welling on the design of Bluejack National.

Bluejack National1-32.jpg
Bluejack National1-52.jpg

So it is certainly not all about the golf course at Blue Jack National.  But it could be as Tiger and Beau have designed an excellent place to play.  The course provides the player with a lot of wide open spaces to play to and even poor shots are given chances to recover.  Importance is placed on angles and the slopes around the green.  On his first attempt at golf course design, Bluejack is a wildly successful effort from Tiger Woods. The course has drawn comparison's to Augusta National and the pictures below should show you why.

Bluejack National1-58.jpg
Bluejack National1-71.jpg

Next up on the Texas agenda was Colonial Country Club, one of the longest running PGA Tour stops.  For 72 years, the pros have been taking on Colonial and the course is filled with history.  Most notably, Ben Hogan won the tournament a record 5 times.  In 2003, Anika Sorenstam became the first woman to compete on the PGA Tour by teeing it up at Colonial.  

On March of 2018, The RGV Tour would look to make some history of it's own.  After talking about aces on the tee box, Matt Burke would take dead aim at the par 3 8th.  For a second, time would stand still as the golf ball took a dead eye tractor beam towards the bottom of the cup.  Unfortunately, the ace was not to be as the group in front of us would report that Matt's golf ball would lip out.  The hole in one hunt marches on.

 The 8th hole at Colonial.  The dormant grasses here will be a bright green by the time the tour rolls through town.

The 8th hole at Colonial.  The dormant grasses here will be a bright green by the time the tour rolls through town.

After the near miss at Colonial, it was time to get our NFL on at the Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, TX.  Joining the Tour was Dallas Cowboy Wide Receiver, Brice Butler.  Although, it's obviously not his sport of choice, Brice has a passion for the game and makes a pretty good move at the golf ball.  He has only been playing for several years and is already looking to break 80.  Local golfing stud, Jeff Brand and I matched Brice's enthusiasm and we would have one hell of a good time.  

RGV Tour highlights: Jeff and I would push 2 holes in a row each making back to back birdies.

Shameless plug:  I would eagle the 1st hole using my Callaway Rogue Driver for the first time.

 Brice Butler looks to save par.

Brice Butler looks to save par.

 Brice Butler realizes that the struggles on the RGV Tour are real.

Brice Butler realizes that the struggles on the RGV Tour are real.

With only one round of golf remaining in Texas, I decided that Dallas National would make a pretty good swan song.  I was right.  Home to Jordan Spieth, Dallas National is one of the state's finest.  The course is unusually hilly for the Dallas area and Tom Fazio took full advantage of the terrain by building an excellent place to play.

It turns out that we would miss Jordan by just one day.  He reportedly had a pretty smooth 66 out there.  Neither member of our twosome would sniff 66, but we did thoroughly enjoy one of the best walks in Texas.

 The 3rd hole at Tom Fazio's Dallas National

The 3rd hole at Tom Fazio's Dallas National

Dallas National1-78.jpg

The Many Phases of Arizona

Arizona can broken down into 3 phases with 3 sub phases and 1 trans phase.

  • Phase 1:  The Chelsea Pezzola Phase

  • Phase 2:  The Golf Bros Phase

  • Phase 3: The Wife Phase

    • Grand Canyon

    • Antelope Canyon

      • Horseshoe Bend

    • White Sands National Monumen

Phase 1:  The Chelsea Pezzola Phase

Desert Mountain Club - Chiracahua1-42.jpg

If you take one look at Chelsea's Instagram page, you might not realize how much fun she is to play golf with.  However I would rate her fun score at 9.5/10.  On this scale, anything above a 6 is hilarious and 10 is Bill Murray.

We went for a full 36 at Desert Mountain's Geronimo and Chiricahua courses.  Chelsea tried to quit after 34 holes, but I gave her a weird look and she quickly came to her senses. (she finished birdie, par)

Desert Mountain Club - Geronimo1-115.jpg

There are 6 Jack Nicklaus designed courses at Desert Mountain and it is an excellent place to get in a round... or 12.

Desert Mountain Club - Geronimo1-15.jpg

Other highlights from the Chelsea phase include the podcast where we talk about her singleness, Taco Bell, and gambling for burritos.  In an encore performance, Chelsea invited me out to play Mountain Shadows, an excellent little par 3 course.  During the round she posed on the green. Afterwards, she posed on top of the RGV.  What a poser, that Chelsea Pezzola.

Mountain Shadows1-6.jpg
  Chelsea is the reigning queen of "Best RGV rooftop pose"  Check out the stats on the  RGV Tour Tracks page.

Chelsea is the reigning queen of "Best RGV rooftop pose"  Check out the stats on the RGV Tour Tracks page.

Phase 2: The Golf Bros Phase

When Chelsea took off for Vegas, the Golf Bros rolled into town...  Rolled into town on Phat Bikes.  That's right, you can strap your golf clubs to the back of these hogs and go play some golf.  We tried to record a podcast with this crew, but it was left on the cutting room floor due to nudity, profanity, and man on man wrestling.

Stonecreek Golf Club1-9.jpg

No horsing around with @phatgolf on the RGV Tour today.

A post shared by Patrick Koenig (@pjkoenig) on

I talk a little about the Phat Bikes on the podcast, but in short, these things are a lot of fun to ride.  They are easy to learn, it's literally like riding a bike.  Plus, it's always cool to pop a wheelie.  Just about everyone who saw us on them said the exact same thing "Woah, those are awesome."  My only gripe is that they limit the speed, so you can't go 55mph down the fairway.

Note to readers: When gambling with "Captain Joe" and he says "We will play for lunch."  He is talking about a $200 lunch.  As you may have guessed, our team did not win.

After some time on the Phat Bikes, we headed over to the always classic, Troon North for some twilight golf.  As the sun set over the desert, the last putt dropped on another day of 36 on the RGV Tour.

Troon North Golf Club1-37.jpg

In one of the all time coolest moves, we had an RGV Tour player that was expecting the birth of his second child at any moment.  In a real Phil Mickelson type move, he joined the tour at Wickenburg Ranch, awaiting the call for labor at any moment.  I am not making this stuff up people, RGV Tour players are the real deal.  Thank you Kyle Barthelson, for showing us all what it means to golf hard.

 Baby or Birdie, not sure.

Baby or Birdie, not sure.

 Mow game = good at Wickenburg Ranch

Mow game = good at Wickenburg Ranch

Shane Bacon would also invite me out to Phoenix Country Club to show me around, I didn't do much that afternoon, but here is a list of the RGV Tour records that Shane set in just one afternoon.  All in 18 holes.

  • RGV ball speed record of 185.6 mph. 
  • Best looking golfer to join the RGV Tour
  • Best divot
  • Best comeback on top of a current ongoing comeback
  • Best hand speed release pattern with rotation transfer through impact
  • Longest drive - somewhere around 2 miles.
  • Best calves
  If Shane Bacon (SB) was a stock on the NYSE, I would buy it. 

If Shane Bacon (SB) was a stock on the NYSE, I would buy it. 

Phase 3: The Wife Phase

Hopefully in this phase, you will get a glimpse of how amazing my wife is.  Since she stood by for a couple days as the golfing commenced in Arizona, I figured it was necessary to give her a break and do some non golfing activities.  She planned and coordinated 3 activities... the 3 sub phases of The Wife Phase, if you will.  The RGV Tour has many layers, folks.  So pay attention, it is gonna get confusing.

  • Sub Phase 1:  The Grand Canyon
  The wife, Jenny, in front of the Grand Canyon.  I would like to argue that Jenny is more amazing than the Grand Canyon.

The wife, Jenny, in front of the Grand Canyon.  I would like to argue that Jenny is more amazing than the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon1-52.jpg

That's me out there on the edge of the Grand Canyon, since it's about 300 miles long, it's not highly regulated and you can get to the edge pretty easily.  Just looking at this picture makes we want to go to me knees and crawl back to safety.

  • Sub Phase 2:  Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon1-62.jpg

Our tour guide was wildly enthusiastic and did a great job of moving us through a very busy canyon while showing us the best spots for photos.  For photographers reading this, Antelope Canyon does have a special photographer's tour that allows you to take your time and get specific with your shots.

Antelope Canyon1-44.jpg

Antelope Canyon is an amazing place, it's about 20-30 feet down into the desert floor that has eroded the sandstone over time.  How much time?  Each inch down takes the rainwater about 1,000 years to erode.

Trans phase 1 of Sub phase 2: Horseshoe Bend:

 After spending the night in a WalMart parking lot, we got up early to take a look at Horseshoe Bend.

After spending the night in a WalMart parking lot, we got up early to take a look at Horseshoe Bend.

  • Sub Phase 3:  White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument was easily my favorite phase and probably my favorite thing that I have done so far on this trip.  With sand as far as you can see, the wife and I skipped across the white dunes on our bare feet.  Technically, White Sands is in New Mexico, but it still falls under the 3rd Arizona sub phase according to Tour protocol.

White Sands National Monument1-40.jpg

Naturally, I recognized the sandy tundra as the perfect canvas for a golf course and I pulled out my RGV Tour pin flag and constructed my own little 12 hole course.  Jenny and I made a video of several of the holes.  

After we finished up at White Sands, we made the 9 hour drive across the western part of Texas and into San Antonio.  My wife purposely signed up for this portion so she could help me with the drive.  What an angel.  Unfortunately, I had to drop Jenny off at the airport as I journeyed into the heart of Texas.

Southern California

With the PGA Tour following the RGV Tour around, I was forced to find some alternatives outside of Riviera.  The best option for great public golf in LA is Rustic Canyon.  I met up with a rowdy group of RGV Tour players and we golfed real hard to start of the Southern California leg of the RGV Tour.

Rustic Canyon - RGV Tour1-6.jpg

One of the most difficult parts of running the RGV Tour is scheduling deliveries for pickup.  Fortunately, my college friend, Jason Hees lives in LA and had agreed to be my very first delivery station.  This is where I picked up some SIC cups and some Holderness & Bourne polos for the first leg of my tour.  Those SIC cups keep water cold for what feels like weeks and H&B make one of the world's greatest polos.

As RGV Tour players make donations to the First Tee, I am handing out some of the products from brands that support the RGV Tour.  Let it be known that I only work with companies and people that I like, this way I can fully get behind the products that The RGV Tour supports.  The Tour has a strict "No Jabronis" policy.

At Shady Canyon, the Tour encountered it's first milestone in terms of outstanding play.  That play was by a man named Kevin Baker.  Kevin shot a 61 that included the most nonchalant hole-out eagle that I have ever seen.  Not only is that an RGV Tour record, but it's the best round of golf that I have ever witnessed.

Shady Canyon1-48.jpg

After LA, it was time to visit the "Most Interesting Man in the Desert," Channing Benjamin.  Channing is one of my favorite golf photographers and was an obvious easy choice for a podcast.  On the show, we jump into Channing's former life with N Sync and Britney Spears.  After our chat, he showed me the ropes at The Tradition and even found me a spot to park for a couple days in the desert.

Tradition Golf Club1-12.jpg

Channing is a blast to play with because we think pretty much the same way when it comes to golf and photography.  He also knows how to capture a pretty good high kick.

Also in the desert, you will find the world's greatest caddie, Tony Shuster.  As far as golf nuts go, Tony is probably on the same level as me.  It's not everyday that you run into a golfer that can say with certainty, "Golf Saved My Life."  Tony also runs the Muni Madness skins game at the Lights at Indio.  We talk about it all on the pod... easily one of my favorite golf conversations that I have had in a while.

The Lights at Indio1-6.jpg

After my time in the desert, it was time to head back over to the coast for one last glimpse of the ocean in San Diego.  Naturally, I found my way out onto Torrey Pines.  I would find my first eagle of the trip on #6.  #4 is shown below.

Golden Hour1-5.jpg

One of my favorite moments on tour came the next day when I went to play the often talked about Goat Hill Park.  As I walked off of the 18th green in near total darkness.  I heard a voice "Hey are you the RV Golf Guy?"  "Yes, that's me."  It turns out amateurgolf.com was doing a story on the course and they noticed my RGV from social media in the parking lot.  We did a quick pop up interview and I gave em a tour of the ride.  Afterwards, they even made generous donations to the First Tee!  The full writeup can be seen here.

Goat Hill Park1-10.jpg
RGV Tour - Cabazon Dinosaurs1-5.jpg
RGV Tour - Cabazon Dinosaurs1-11.jpg

It also must be noted that I played the Bridges of Rancho Santa Fe and my high kicks appear to be in good from during the early stages of the RGV Tour.

On my way out of California, I paid a quick visit to The Cabazon Dinosaurs.  I freaking love that place, most people are like "eh" but I go crazy for that big fake T-Rex.  The dinosaurs are from Pee Wee's Big Adventure and for whatever reason, they hold a special place in my heart.

Entering the Golf Mecca of the world

I had been waiting to get my camera over this piece of land for quite some time and when I first got up in the air, it did not disappoint.  The RGV Tour started out strong in Monterey with some great aerial footage and with the PGA Tour in town, it was a hot spot to be.

MPCC - RGV Tour1-44.jpg
Cypress Point - RGV Tour1-101.jpg
MPCC - RGV Tour1-16.jpg

There are many outstanding options to chose from, but, it would be hard to find a better bang for your buck than at Pacific Grove.  With a back nine that rests right on the Pacific Ocean, you will get your greens fees worth in views alone.  The course is sandy, fun, and easily the purest links golf on the Monterey Peninsula.  The Monterey Bay Golf Academy even donated a free lesson to the RGV Tour, which we gave away on Twitter.  It was a great day at Pacific Grove

Pacific Grove Golf Links1-45.jpg

After a great day at the ATT Pro Am, I strolled around Spanish Bay to catch some amazing sunset shots.  We even bumped into a couple of fans as we strolled the sun glazed fairways.

Spanish Bay - RGV Tour1-2.jpg
Poppy Hills1-17.jpg

The recent renovation of Poppy Hills is such a drastic improvement that it earned a coveted Tour stop on the RGV Tour.  

Tehama1-5.jpg

Before the tour bounced out of town, I visited Tehama.  Home to Clint Eastwood, the course is set up in the hills of Carmel and offers stunning views on just about every tee box. We made some birdies and told some golf stories.  It is always tough to leave Monterey, but Southern California was calling.

A big thanks to Scott Rosa and his family for letting me park the RGV in their driveway for several days.  It is people like Scott that breathe life into the Tour!

Bay Area Showdown

With a wide range of excellent golf to play in the San Francisco area, it was going to be tough to narrow down the choices.  The tour ended up with a handful of excellent stops.  Having lived in the bay area for years, it was great to meet some old friends and do some fly overs on some of my old stomping grounds. 

Lincoln Park1-6.jpg

Lincoln Park was right next to my old apartment in San Francisco and I golf it hard and often.  It was great to get back and get above it to see the view.  The most note worthy hole is 17 a 200+ yard par 3 with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It is the best place to hit a golf ball with a view of the iconic bridge.

Cal Club1-4.jpg

Things got serious on the RGV Tour with a visit to Cal Club.  If there were a showdown between the best clubs and courses in San Francisco, I am confident that the Cal Club would emerge victorious.

Olympic Club - Ocean1-14.jpg

After taking a shower in the parking lot of the Olympic Club, (seriously) I decided to step out of the RGV and play some golf.  We had some fantastic tour players join for an all world twilight session.  Afterwards, Joey The Cat made an appearance on the podcast.

Sharp Park Golf Club1-3.jpg

The RGV Tour paid a quick visit to local Alister Mackenzie course Sharp Park.  Although almost nothing of the original routing and design remain, it still has the Mackenzie credit.  There were rumors of Tom Doak stepping in to revive the golf course, but the course has been entrenched in legal battles regarding the preservation of the local wildlife.

Half Moon Bay Golf Links1-20.jpg
Half Moon Bay Golf Links1-4.jpg

As the RGV Tour rolled out of town on its way to Monterey, I had to make a quick stop at Half Moon Bay Golf Links.  Not only is it a stunner from the sky but it is also the site of my very last round of golf as a California resident.  You can feel the spirit of Arnold Palmer on the 18th green and they even filmed one of those American Pie movies here.

Bandon Dunes

Every visit to Bandon Dunes is a special one, this visit was extra special as it was one of the very first stops on The RGV Tour.  Although the tour moves fast and my time was brief, I did remember to bring my camera, my flying camera.  Please enjoy this special Air RGV edition of Bandon Dunes.

Bandon Dunes1-15.jpg
Bandon Dunes1-31.jpg
Bandon Dunes1-53.jpg
Bandon Dunes1-4.jpg
Bandon Dunes1-57.jpg

RGV Tour Kickoff

As I sit here in Bandon, Oregon, I finally have some time to write down my thoughts on the beginning of the RGV Tour.  With only just one minor issue with the driver's side rear view mirror, this party is off and rocking.  Right now it feels a little like some sort of weird golf trip.  But I am definitely not turning this thing around and heading home.  The podcast is up and running, the profiles are proliferating, and the donations are coming in.  

After dreaming of January 28th for about a decade, the day was finally here and I kicked it off with Motley Crue.  As an 8 year old, I attended my first Motley Crue concert, it was fitting that I would kick off my first golf tour to Motley Crue as well.  

The Kickoff event took place at one of my favorite golf courses, Chambers Bay in Tacoma, WA.  We had 6 groups of golfers and they golfed their hearts out.  Each golfer at the kickoff is a charter member of the RGV Tour.  Pretty much like getting your PGA Tour card, but with way less golfing skill involved.

The group was also very generous and they started the tour off with over $1,000 towards the $10,000 goal.  We are gonna murder that goal.  I fully intend on raising more money for The First Tee than I actually earn.  Just click here if you want to be a part of the effort.

RGV Tour Kickoff1-7.jpg

The most anticipated hole of the Kickoff was the stunning 15th.  Chambers Bay had donated a Taylor Made M2 for a closest to the pin competition.  With a handful of golf studs in the lineup, the competition was fierce.  In the end it was Liam Kendregan who stuffed one in there to 3 feet.  The best part about the whole thing was that Liam donated the driver right back to the First Tee, what a charity stud!!

 I have never golfed this hole and not taken a picture

I have never golfed this hole and not taken a picture

After the kickoff event concluded, It was time to head on over to Fox's Q it up Sports with Aaron Levine in Seattle.  This would be my television debut and I was looking forward to not making a fool of myself.  My copilot for the first leg of the trip was Ashlee Bradshaw and she captured some pretty intense behind the scenes shots.  In the end, I managed to hold it together with no outbursts.

 On the Q13 Fox Set

On the Q13 Fox Set

 And we are live in 3,2,1.

And we are live in 3,2,1.

The entire experience was a blast and you can view the full piece here.  Up next on the journey is Oregon, and the ever exciting Bandon Dunes.