Golf is more than a score, it's an experience
In 2017, Where To Golf Next was created to showcase the experiential side of golf — more about the fun rather than the frustrating aspects.
The belief was that if you’re going to spend money on clubs, fittings, gadgets, apparel, food and travel — plus spend three to five hours (God forbid any longer) on a golf course — each experience should be fun. Otherwise, why bother, right?
Then the suits at Morning Read, which publishes Where To Golf Next, got to thinking that we can only promote the game’s fun to a certain degree. The true evangelists of golf are you. You are among the people going around talking about how good, even not so good, a piece of equipment or a course rates. You are the true ambassadors of the game.
With that in mind, we recently launched the Fun Ambassadors, “a golf and travel community of adventurers united by their love of golf and passion for fun,” according to the website. Members receive preferential pricing on golf junkets and equipment, along with other perks.
The debut destination trip is March 10-12 to Kiawah Island Golf Resort south of Charleston, S.C. The three-night all-inclusive package, which is $1,350 per person per double room, includes accommodations at The Sanctuary Hotel and golf at Osprey Point, Turtle Point and the famed Ocean Course.
THE SPARK OF JOY
While my wife and I were binging on Netflix over the holidays, she suggested we watch an episode of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” I declined because I figured (correctly) that it was based on Kondo’s best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” that I had gifted to her one Christmas.
The start of each new year seems to bring an urge to purge useless belongings, and Kondo believes if a possession does not spark joy, then it should be jettisoned. So when I recently opened the man-cave closet and found boxes of baseball cards, I asked myself the question: Do these bring me joy?
My answer: I don't know because, quite honestly, I don't know what cards I actually own. I decided it was time to get them in order.
While 59.9 percent of the 14,163 cards cataloged to date are baseball, among the 54 golf cards counted are two gems — Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm, currently ranked Nos. 5 and 6, respectively, in the Official World Golf Ranking. The cards are part of an eight-card set printed by the U.S. Golf Association.
Following the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship's Round of 16, a run of 500 cards was printed for each quarterfinalist and then each day he advanced. The USGA has continued this practice for select championships ever since, handing the cards to gallery members.
A quick online search of Tradingcarddb.com did not list the Rahm or DeChambeau cards — or any other USGA cards — among the 10.8 million cards entered by collectors. That’s not really surprising because slightly more than 15,000 of the cards entered are golf, including duplicates.
Nor are the cards in demand on a site such as eBay, which has someone hawking two Tiger Woods-autographed, limited-edition cards — graded as perfect 10s by the authoritative Beckett Grading Services — for a combined $350,000.
Neither Rahm nor DeChambeau would fetch Woods kind of money, but rather about $1.50 each, at best, right now.
While there may not be a lot of joy in that current price, I have held on the cards since I was a kid, so I doubt they are headed out the door anytime soon. Perhaps I can pass the joy along to my son.
Now, as for the collection of Golf Magazine issues dating back to the early 1970s? Well …
The Air Force Academy's Eisenhower Golf Course will become the first military organization course to host a USGA Championship, the 2020 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship. [Photo: USGA]
AN AIR FORCE SALUTE
Similar to how some golf fans get geeked about major-championship pairings, I get excited when the USGA announces venues for its championships, especially when the venue is a fresh choice.
That was the case on Monday when the Eisenhower Golf Course at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., was tapped to host the 2020 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship.
The announcement marks the first time a USGA championship will be played on a military organization’s golf course. The host Blue Course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and opened in 1959. Travel and Leisure Golf magazine once named the Blue course as the best among those operated by the Department of Defense, while Sports Illustrated named Eisenhower as one of the 10 best golf courses on a college campus. In 2015, the National Golf Foundation reported that the DoD operated 132 throughout the United States.
WORTH THE TIME
> Karen Crouse: A look at golf's new rules in 2019, and how few players know or even understand them. NYTimes
> Doug Ferguson: College golf may benefit from Golf Channel's interest in live programming. WaPo
> Matthew Cooper: VisitScotland going chips in on the emerging women's golf travel market. Forbes
> Jean Mikle: Toms River (N.J.) officials are looking into privatizing Bey Lea Golf Course. Asbury Park Press
> The fourth Team Titleist Invitational is scheduled for Aug. 28-30 in Kohler, Wis. The two-round event will be played on the Blackwolf Run River Course and the Straits Course at Whistling Straits, host of three PGA Championships and the future site of the 2020 Ryder Cup.
Packages start at $1,749 per person and include two-night accommodations at Destination Kohler, tournament entry fee and five meals. For information, call 866.712.8289.
> Casa de Campo Resort & Villas, located in La Romana, Dominican Republic, is offering two stay-and-play packages for its Teeth of the Dog course. Prices start at $349 per person, per night through April 20. An all-inclusive package includes use of the resort’s other sporting facilities, plus meals and drinks, starting at $449 per person, per night.
Stuart Hall is editor of Where To Golf Next. He lives in Cary, N.C.