|Culture with Camoluscious Gally||
My husband and I looked for comfortable golf shoes that were waterproof and wide enough to wear during the hot summer months in Florida. Summer can bring heavy rains and the golf courses can have puddles that are either muddy or spongy, so waterproof shoes keep your feet dry. Our favorite choice was Ecco golf shoes, mine are gray, while Bob's are brown. They come in a variety of colors. They don't use soft or hard spikes, instead the bottom is covered with a heavy tread of rubber boxes. They are enough to provide traction on most surfaces and clean with ease using a tee, broom, or other method of cleaning.
For those heading to Orlando for holidays like this past Christmas or the upcoming spring break, the four courses at Orange Lake Resort offer a chance to play a variety while staying local. To book a tee time, click on their book golf tab or click on my link then select one of the four golf courses. Prices vary per course and by day.
The golf course is located in Kissimee, Florida, right near Disney World at:
8505 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy.
Kissimmee, FL 34747
My husband and I played the Reserve at Orange Lake Resort for the first time along with the Central Florida Golf Club and had a great time. Stopping at the entrance and asking for a resort map and directions to the golf course really helped us find where we were going. Even for those staying at the resort (we live local) will find a map very helpful.
The Reserve at Orange Lake Golf Course has a very low key, friendly pro shop and check in went smoothly. The course, show below, winds through resort property with residences well out of play. I love it when it feels like you have the golf course all to your foursome.
I wish I could say that all of the sand traps lining the golf course didn't come into play, but for me they did.
I've been suffering from tendinitis so I was off my game. The sand traps are full of good fluffy sand and are well maintained.
Other hazards on the course include native grass clumps in waste bunkers, water hazards, like on this shot over the water onto the green, with a wooden wall, and sharp angles and trees.
Afterwards, we ate in the snack bar and had good sandwiches and good service.
We started on the tenth hole at Avalon Golf Club by Landmark since we had a late tee time, 1:30 pm since we were traveling. As seen above, the course immediately offered challenges from side hill play. The main effect on my game meant extra strokes due to mishit balls that lost their power and distance. I still played around my average, 103 with thirty-eight putts, Bob did similar.
We ate lunch first in the Avalon clubhouse snack bar which was quiet and cool. Wait staff showed up with more beer for the freezer and a trainee, but we had good service.
We both tried their hamburger and found it tasty, Bob thought it a bit overdone.
Then I ordered a soda to go, and by the second hole, the cup holder in the cart had punched a hole in the cup and it leaked everywhere.
Luckily, the restroom stops had soda and water machines. The day was pretty warm, cooler than Orlando or Atlanta because of less humidity; I still needed the liquid.
I loved their fancy sandstone stairways up to the most tilted areas. Many of the holes were like the photo shown above, undulating, sometimes with huge drops, sometimes uphill or downhill. The course is very beautiful, very well maintained and is in an area that is quite beautiful, too. I will like
returning to Tennessee.
Despite the 4+* rating and beautiful homes around the course, most people were friendly and casual. This course was a fun outing for both of us, next time, maybe we will do better
From the first hole and even the second as shown above, golfers will feel the heat at Southern Hills Country Club in Hawkesville, Georgia. The climate was true southern, warm and humid but pleasantly so when we started. The course plays in similar mode due to the challenges encountered.
The first hole offers a deep ravine, the second, a narrow opening. The sixth hole is especially treacherous if the hole layout isn't checked because there is a hidden creek midway.
The golf course is laid out links style through a very nice golfing community with lovely homes. Most of the homes are brick and sit back from the golf course and never come into play. They are just developing the residential properties.
Most of the time, we managed to stay out of the hazards. Ponds were there for the long distance player who hooks or slices but not if you played high on the hillside and avoided rolls into them. Most of the greens were well protected by sand traps with loose sand.
The best part was the sense of being out on your own. The course was somewhat crowded on a Saturday morning but moved at a 4 hour pace.
The hardest part was the very fast greens where the ball picked up speed until off the green; a light touch on the putter was required.
All in all, the course plays fun until it gets warmer, noseeums, gnats, biting flies, mosquitos grew more numerous as the morning progressed.
When my husband and I visited Ireland, we chose to play at four fairly reasonable golf courses that were close to our other places of interest. We chose Athlone Golf Club because of it was between Dublin and Galway, close to the famous peat bogs near Shannonbridge, and also close to Clanmacnoise, a site established by St. Ciaran in the mid 6th century which has quite notable High Crosses.
Golf at Athlone Golf Club was quite friendly; we were paired with a local lady golfer and had a great time. The golf course is quite pleasant, some areas winding through forest, some looking like meadowland, other greens getting close to the water.
The dress code allowed for my golf tee with a collar and slacks. We were able to walk the course with rental pull carts. Here I am on one of the more challenging greens with a very narrow profile and if you want to reach it without going over the water, it costs you another stroke.
Golf in Ireland in May is very pleasant since May is the month with the least rain. We found only two days of rain during our month long visit. To get your self in the mood for golf, check out these I, or listen to Robin Williams doing his Irish Drinking Golf routine.
One Christmas, my husband and I decided to explore the island of Puerto Rico and so did a mini-tour picking up some of our favorite sites to see, enjoying Christmas away despite a few days of rain, and golfing. Of course, golfing is a must when you visit Puerto Rico because there are many fine golf courses.
During our stay at the Embassy Suites Dorado Del Mar, we played the Dorado Del Mar Golf Course which sits right beside it several times because they had a special deal that allowed us to play a couple times at reduced cost.
The Embassy Suites Dorado Del Mar was one of the nicer places for us to stay with a wonderfully large swimming pool, free happy hour, many restaurants, and comfortable chairs in the rooms, with a decent rate despite the holiday.
The Dorado Del Mar Golf Course is fairly wide and flat so is welcoming for newer golfers. The course has plenty of challenge from hazards, water being one of the major sources of humility causing events.
Anyone may play golf alone, as a twosome or foursome depending on the crowd, but no one will ever be alone on the Dorado Del Mar golf course because visitors are certain to find a green iguana or two to keep them company. The green iguanas often dart into the water if approached too close since they are considered food, especially since they tend to be overpopulated.
Near the end of the round, golfers are challenged to cross the water and land on a small green surrounded by sand traps, see golf photograph above.
There's a small snack shop at the Pro Shop but food is also available at the Embassy Suites Dorado Del Mar. In all, families and couples will have a grand time on this course.
After our outing with Central Florida Golf, we met at a member's for our Christmas Party and I managed to obtain a pair of tickets to the Father Son Tournament at the Ritz Carleton, Orlando, Florida. This was my first time attending a tournament and I had no idea what it would be like. Most golf courses don't have any room for spectators, but the Ritz Carleton Great Lakes course was perfectly created for one, with wide walkways for viewers and plenty of seating at the final.
We stayed until seeing Bernard Langar and his 14 year old son, Jason make his birdie putt to win the championship.
As the tournament ended, the tournament signs disappeared and the cameras went away, except for a few in the towers, and we got to see firsthand the massive effort by the Golf Channel and other media went to in order to report on the event.
The golf course was in immaculate condition--the sand hazards looked like they'd been polished smooth with a decorative edge added in contrast.
We learned that the official held his hands up to quiet and still the crowd while the athletes played. The sons were fun to watch--they knew how to play but weren't quite sure when to pick up their ball, when to mark it, how to drop a ball when it kept rolling into the lake and often consulted with dad. Dad's meanwhile, often relied on their sons to get a long drive off the tee, then did the finishing touches. The father son team played "best ball", selecting the ball that was closest to the hole in the best position, then both hitting from their next ball from that location.
When we arrived, volunteers offered us a golf cart ride to the 17th tee, which we declined based on our need for exercise and other volunteers gave us the scoop about where to go when we arrived.
The parking lot on the 17th green had many cars but we still found parking without any trouble.
While we waited for the final ceremony, the Special Operations Command guys parachuted from a plane above, spreading out three flags, one the American flag, one the DOD MIA flag and one an event flag. The came in for a touch down right before us, while the announcers said, if you like us, check out www.socom.mil for more about the guys who put on this show--they were performing as volunteers.
This summer my husband treated me to a stay at the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia. The hotel dates back to 1766, how amazing is that? I was awed by the atmosphere, all that red brick and all those columns; a true Southern US sort of place.
During our stay, we had the opportunity to play the Old Course at the Omni Resort. This was well worth it, not the least due to the fact that every few holes we'd come to a historical marker explaining who had played on the course, including Presidents Taft, Nixon and Ford, with Eisenhower and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor visiting the former casino.
The golf course is located on Sam Snead highway, named in honor of the local golfer who became one of the great professional golfers of all time with 82 professional championship wins. Sam Snead was the pro golfer at Omni Resort's Cascade golf course.
Playing the Old Course in Hot Springs, Virginia, is like taking a walk through nature. It felt a great deal like we were alone on the golf course with the greenery cut across the side of the mountains. One of the fun parts about this course is getting peek-a-boo views of the resort buildings, including the tower that was built in 1929.
The holes are played both uphill and downhill. There are a few sand hazards but they didn't come into play very often.
The main challenges of the Old Course were the many changing lies and all of the trees found lining the fairway.
One of the helpful but also awkward parts of playing the Old Course involved the drop off and pick up of your golf clubs. When you checked in at the hotel, the porter's sent the golf clubs down to the course for you. This was cool. It meant we didn't have to futz with them at all and didn't have to have them in our room.
After golf, we had lunch in the small cafe at the clubhouse, food was really good. At the pro shop, there was a lot of discussion about whether we sent our golf clubs up to the resort for pick up or came down with the car--eventually they managed to deliver them to where we loaded our luggage which worked out perfectly.
Other than golf, the Omni Homestead Resort offers many activities including their very popular hot springs swimming pools and spas, hikes through the resort property (which features homes as well as the hotel) and followed the ski lifts at times, a tour of the cascades, horseback riding, games in the game rooms, and much more. It's a pricey pleasure and a real treat.
Chipping is a fine art that is much more a case of mental planning especially for beginning golfers. The art of the chip is to bring the club head to the back of the ball, with the proper angle to produce arc, with the proper speed to put the ball where you want it after it stops, with the proper direction to place the ball exactly where you want it, and with the proper follow through so that it reacts properly.
The club head angle demonstrated below is placed at about 45 degrees to the ground. It is used when you want to get extra loft. The best times to use loft are:
The main disadvantages of a "open" club head angle as shown above, is that the ball may tick off the inner or outer edge of the club head, making it go either to the left or the right of where you planned for the ball to go. Another disadvantage is that the on less level surfaces (no matter the angle e.g. if the ball is sitting on a slope) there is a greater chance of having the club head get stuck in the turf.
If you have a short distance to the green where you are considering putting the ball, closing the club so that it sits at a 90 degree angle to the turf will produce a similar strike on the ball as a putter (see photograph below).
The main advantages for a closed club head, 90 degrees to the turf, are:
The major problems with using a closed head are:
Between the two extremes, open at 45 degree angle and closed at 90 degree angle, the golfer can choose a little more angle to get more loft to get over small barriers, or even more loft to get over medium barriers or to get better stopping distance. One of the reasons for using the practice chipping areas at the golf course or for taking a chipping class with a professional golfer is to practice using the golf club angle and to get a better estimate for how the arc varies distance.
My husband Bob and I played with the Central Florida Golf Club at Dubsdread Golf Course and found that despite their reputation as the oldest golf club in Orlando, that they offered plenty of the modern conveniences.
Their golf carts feature a GPS system that was very accurate. Every time Bob measured the distance to the flag, he was within 1 or 2 yards of what the Dubsdread GPS system showed. Often we find that GPS systems aren't accurate to the flag, only to the front and/or back of the green. This system also allowed you to enter golfers and track their score so you didn't need to fumble around with your phone or worry about charges or having it short out on you on the distant holes.
Also, in honor of the upcoming Veteran's Day recognition, they offered the chance to win a package of balls and get a discount at the pro shop with charity proceeds dedicated to Wounded Warriors. Bob thought he'd never hit the green so skipped, while I, with only 90 yards to go took the chance. Unfortunately, I had a great drive but hit the apron which was very wet and stopped. I was sure I'd bounce at least a foot forward, but not even an inch was gained.
Dubsdread is in great condition especially the greens. Many homes front the fairways but were set back enough they never came into play.
There is plenty of challenge on the course, especially slopes along water hazards that dump you in. Luckily, the GPS system shows most hazards.
Dining was especially good and popular at the Taproom at Dubsdread. We both had salads--me, fried chicken, Bob a Cobb salad. At first we were told it would be 20 minutes for food service but we were helped quite soon.
Sheri Fresonke Harper
Sheri loves to golf, travel and to write.
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