Virginia was the first leg of the journey where I really started to feel the wear of being out here on my own. As the tour approached the 5 month mark, I really started to miss my wife, my friends, and my family. But the fact of the matter remains... this golf train is in motion and it can't be stopped. On a positive note, the amazing people that I meet along the way dull the loneliness and give inspiration to keep things rocking.
There are some mighty fine people and golf courses in this state and I golfed em hard. They say that Virgina is for lovers, but maybe it's just for people that love golf. The first course on the agenda was The Highlands Course at Primland. It wasn't easy to get to, but it was worth the drive.
After a rousing round at Primland, it was time to head out for a serious golf escape at Ballyhack. Part of the Dormie Network, Ballyhack is one of Virginia's finest places to play. Built on top of an old dairy farm, the undulations are dramatic, the views are stunning, and the course is fun to play. The photos from Ballyhack were some of my favorites over the last several months.
Membership to Ballyhack is just as unique as the course. If you love to travel and golf, I would suggest clicking here.
After watching a little US Open action and popping off the attached PSA, I headed out to Poplar Grove. This would be a round that would nearly go down in the record books.
After starting off poorly, I got hot in an instant on the 14th hole with a nice little birdie. I followed that up with another nice putt for birdie on the 15th and then I made a pretty casual eagle on the par 5 16th. Holy crap, who am I?
With my sights set on 4 in a row, I stuffed one in there tight on the par 3 17th and then rolled that in. Just like that, I was in record territory with a shot at a personal best 5 in a row. The good play continued and I had a 5 footer on 18 to finish the final 5 holes in 6 under par.
It never ever came close. I pushed this thing so far right that you would have thought I shot 108 on the day. Maybe some day I will have another look.
After spending the night in a Wal Mart parking lot and running some early morning RGV errands, I headed over to Spring Creek in Gordonsville for what may have been the hottest day on tour. As I walked up to the golf shop, I could feel my face melting. Thankfully, the rain would come in the late afternoon and cool things off. I also got a haircut to help with too much hair causing me to overheat. Not sure if that is an actual thing or not, but it felt right.
For my round at Spring Creek, I made 3 double bogies, 4 birdies, and 11 pars. Which on the 'interesting scorecard scale' is about 7/10.
Next up was a highly anticipated day... my sobriety day. I had purposely paired it up with a highly anticipated round at Kinloch Golf Club. Today was going to be a good day and the anticipation lived up to the hype. If you ever get the chance to play Kinloch make sure that you get a grilled PB&J at the turn. I had 2 of them.
The more of myself that I put out there, the more people give back and the outpouring I received on Twitter alone was amazing. Thanks to everyone who was part of my 13 year celebration.
For a homeless golf hobo like myself, one of the nicest things about being invited to some of these private clubs is the locker room facilities. With one of the heaviest flow showers I have experienced, Kinloch gave me a serious cleaning. I should be good for another week or so.
The golf course also happens to be one of the best in the world. Designed by Lester George, Kinloch is littered with so many strategic decisions. Most courses provoke strategic thought on only a handful of holes but Kinloch gives you something to mull over on just about every golf hole. I love a golf course that makes you think and engages your brain.
I would return late to Virginia on a special request form Michael McCartin. Mike is a member of Tom Doak's team, Renaissance Golf Design. As often happens with these teams, members break off to start their own independent projects. This was the case for Mike and The Schoolhouse Nine.
Located an hour or so outside of DC in Sperryville, VA, Mike had the chance to build his very first golf course in 2015. With limited land and resources, he created a unique and fun place to play. The green complexes are the centerpiece of the design and feature fantastic undulations allowing for varied play depending on the daily pin position. So many decisions are made when constructing a golf course and I was treated to all of the explanations from the course's creator.
For my visit, the rain was dumping down hard and with flash flooding in the area, we decided to tee off. Since sand capping and irrigated fairways were not really in the budget, we decided to play barefoot through the tide pools and rip currents that had replaced the normally grassy meadows. This was one of the RGV Tour's more memorable stops. What a way to cap off the state.