Recently Read Books

  • A Delicate Truth- John Le Carre (fiction)
  • Perfect - Rachel Joyce (Fiction)
  • The Expats - Chris Pavone (Fiction)
  • An Event in Autumn - Henning Mankel (Fiction)
  • Winter in Madrid - C.J.Sansom (Fiction)
  • The Brothers - John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles - non-fiction
  • LIfe Among Giants - Bill Roorbach (Novel)
  • Empty Mansions - Bill Dedman (non-fiction)
  • Woodrow Wilson (non fiction)
  • Lawrence in Arabia (Non-Fiction)
  • In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helpren (Fiction)
  • Lesson in French - Hilary Reyl (fiction)
  • Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand (Non-Fiction)
  • Venice, A New History- Thomas Madden - (Non- Fiction)
  • Life is a Gift - Tony Bennett Autobiography
  • The First Counsell - Brad Meltzer (Fiction)
  • Destiny of the Republic - President James Garfield non-fiction by Candice Millard
  • The Last Lion (volume III)- William Manchester and Paul Reid (non-fiction, Winston Churchill)
  • Yellowstone Autumn -W.D. Wetherell (non-fiction about turning 55 and fishing in Yellowstone)
  • Everybody was Young- (non-fiction Paris in the 1920's)
  • Scorpion - (non fiction US Supreme Court)
  • Supreme Power - Jeff Shesol (non-fiction)
  • Zero day by David Baldacci ( I read all of Baldacci's Books)
  • Northwest Angle - William Kent Krueger (fiction - I have read 5 or 6 books by this author)
  • Camelot's Court-Insider the Kennedy Whitehouse- Robert Dallek
  • Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Additional Favorite Courses

After my posting of favorivite courses on June 21st, I received a few more more responses from friends.  Here they are:

Martha S  m(ulti times club champion): (i) Pebble Beach, Camel, California; (ii) St. Andrews Old Course; St. Andrews, Scottland; (iii) Prestwick; Prestwick, Scotland: (iv) Bandon Dunes; Bandon Dunes, Oregon and: (iv) Desert Falls; Palm Desert, California.


Linda G: (i)The Medalist Golf Club, Hobie Sound Florida; (ii) Atlanta Country Club, Atlanta, Georgia; (iii)  Indian Creek; (iv) The Palms Golf Club; La Quinta, California; and (v) Mayacama; Santa Rosa, California


Artie M (former PGA Touring Pro, well known golf instructor): (i) Los Angeles Country Club (North Course) Los Angeles, California; (ii) Pine Valley, Pine Valley New Jersey; (iii)  Royal Dornoch, Dornoch Scotland; (iv) Pebble Beach, Carmel, California; and (v) Augusta National, Augusta, Georgia

Bob Z: (i) Cypress Point Club, Carmel, California; (ii) Augusta National, Augusta, Georgia; (iii) Kieli Course at Ocean Lagoons in Kaui;  (iv) Coronado Golf Course, San Diego, California; and  (v) Hobble Creek Golf Coure, Springville, Utah

John S:  (i) Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio; (ii)  Radrick Farms, Ann Arbor, Michigan; (iii) Royal Dornock, Scotland; (iv) Royal County Downs, Ireland; and (v)  one souwthwest of Chicago that I can't think of the name of! Western Open is played there

 --- (From Bud)  I assume its Butler National or Cog Hill

Terry M (Monsignor):  (i) Ironwood Country Club, Palm Desert, California; (ii)Hidden Valley Country Clun, Sandy, Utah, (iii)Mountain Dell Lakes Course, Parley's Canyon, Utah; (iv) Old MIll Golf Course, Salt Lake City, Utah; and (v) Mountrath Golf Club, Mountrath, Ireland

Thanks again for all of those who participated in this project.  It was great fun to read all of friends favorite courses.  Courses that were included in multiple personal favorite lists include:

Cypress Point, Pebble Beach, Spyglass, Royal Dornoch, Couer d' Alene, Augusta, Pacific dunes, Bandon Dunes, Torrey Pines South, St. Andrews (the Old Course) and Muirfield in Ohio.

Friday the Lovely Sharon and I played Victory Ranch Club near Kamas, Utah  Its a Reese JOnes designed course that may now be my favorite course in Utah.

Par 3 at Victory Ranch



A different Par 3





Thursday, June 21, 2012

Five Favorite Courses

One of the best things about golf is the golf course. The game itself is fun (sometimes), challenging, can help develop admirable personal traits (as well as bring out not such admirable traits), and is a wonderful builder of camaraderie with golf companions. Vacations and outings are often structured around golf rounds. In my opinion, it is even fun to practice golf. With that said, I think golf courses are the best part of golf. The variations in holes, terrain and even grass make every course unique and special in its own right. Even the worse courses I have played have something good about them. To walk down the fairways with birds singing, green grass beneath your shoes, trees swaying to a gentle breeze is heaven on earth. Stand on the 15th, 16th or 17th tees of Cypress Point and your senses are overwhelmed; a feast for the eyes, the symphony of the ocean in your ears and the brisk ocean breeze tickling your skin.

There are desert courses, mountain courses, ocean courses, parkland courses, river courses, city courses, course of all types and kinds. There are resort course, private courses, muni’s and other daily fee courses.

I like knowing who the golf course architect was of the courses I play. There are great past architects and current architects that may attract you to a course or may repel you from a course. I like Tom Fazio courses, Alister Mackenzie courses, Robert Trent Jones (Senior and Junior) courses, Reese Jones courses, George C. Thomas courses, Billy Bell (William F. Bell and William P. Bell) courses, Arnold Palmer courses, David Kidd courses, Tom Doak courses, and Ted Robinson courses.. I have liked some of the courses by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Moorshish but not all. I have not been a huge fan of the Jack Nicklaus courses I have played but I have not played Muirfield in Ohio or other highly ranked Nicklaus courses. I am not a huge fan of the 7 or 8 Pete Dye Courses I have played; however, I have not played the Stadium Course at Sawgrass.

I have played Bandon Trails designed by Crenshaw and Coore. I liked it but it was not my favorite of the Bandon Dunes Resort Courses. I would love to play their highly ranked Sand Hills Course in Nebraska. One year after Sand Hills closed for the season I took a detour to the course on my way to David City Nebraska and once there, I stood on a sand dune overlooking the course meandering through the prairie dunes; truly a beautiful site. Nothing was in view but the dunes, the prairie and the course. A feeling of total serenity passed over me as I stood alone on a cold, but sunny day in the middle of nowhere.

I believe I have only played one Donald Ross golf course, Pinehurst No. 2 and I loved it. I would love to play many more Donald Ross courses. I don’t believe I have played any courses by A. W. Tillinghast or Perry Maxell

Each of us who love golf love golf courses. We each have favorites that we might play often or just once. Our favorite courses may be famous or not so famous. They may be highly ranked courses or not ranked at all. Maybe they are our favorite courses because of their history or their beauty or because we associate them with family or friends. May we won a tournament on the course or made a hole in one. Maybe they are our favorite courses because we played well on them or they were part of a special event. The reasons we each have favorite courses are as varied as the courses that are our favorites.

I asked a large number of friends and associates to email me a list of their five favorite courses. I asked them not to include any course on their list of which they are a member. I also asked them to only include courses they have played at least once. The courses on their list could be in the US or anywhere in the world. I asked men and women to give me their list. I asked good golfers and bad golfers. I asked country club members and public course players to give me their lists. I received some favorite course input from a relative of a PGA Tour professional who has won a number of PGA Tour events. It was wonderful to receive these lists from so many people. Here are my friend’s favorite courses:

Phil S:   (i) Cypress Point, Carmel, California;  (ii) El Tamarindo Puerto, Vallarta, Mexico; (iii) The Country Club Brookline, Massachusetts; (iv) Pebble Beach, Carmel, California; and (v)  Ousten Golf Club, Oslo, Norway

Eloise C:   (i) Pine Needles Pinehurst, North Carolina; (ii) Black Butte Black,Butte Oregon; (iii) Sun River Sun River, Oregon; (iv)  Harbor Town South Carolina;  and (v) San Juan Oaks, San Juan Baptista, CA

Rick C:   Muirfield , Dublin, Ohio

Steve R:  The Experience at Koele Lanai, Hawaii

PGA Touring Pro:  (i) Olympic Club, San Francisco, California; (ii) Muirfield, Dublin, Ohio (iii) Colonial Country Club; Fort Worth, Texas; (v) Aronimink Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

Tim B:  (i) Spyglass; Carmel, California; (ii) Birchwood CC; Harbor Springs, Michigan; (iii) Paradise Valley CC; Paradise Valley, Arizona; (iv) Victory Ranch Club' Kamas, Utah; and (v) Valley View Golf Course Layton Utah

Jim M:   (i) Coeur d’ Alene Resort. Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho; (ii)  We Ko Pa, Scottsdale, Arizona; (iii) Pebble Beach, Carmel, California; (iv)  Spy Glass Carmel, California; and (v) Pacific Dunes; Bandon Dunes, Oregon

Scott S:  (i) Wasatch State Park –Lake Course, Midway, Utah (ii) Jackson Hole Golf Club; Jackson Hole Wyoming; (iii) Torrey Pines South, La Jolla, California; (iv)  Cypress Point; Carmel, California; and (v) Valdarrama, AndalucĂ­a, Spain

Vince B:   (i) Spyglass Carmel, California; (ii) Olympic Club Lake Course; San Francisco, California; (iii) Stanwich Club;  Greenwich, Connecticut; (iv) Winged Foot;  Mamaroneck, New York; (v) Quaker Ridge Scarsdale, New York

Doug B: (i) Oasis (Palmer Course), Mesquite, Nevada; (ii)  Crandon Golf Club, Key Biscayne, Florida; (iii) Los Caballeros Wickenburg, Arizona; (iv) Waikola Beach Big Island, Hawaii;  and (v) Mauna Lona -South Big Island, Hawaii

Bruce H.  (i) The Boulders- North Course, Carefree, Arizona; (ii) Glenwild Park City, Utah; (iii) Sun Valley (original 18) Sun Valley, Idaho; (iv) Great Waters at Reynolds Plantation Greensboro, Georgia; and (v) Logan Golf & Country Club Logan, Utah

Paul M:   (i) Portland Golf Club; Portland, Oregon; (ii) Eugene Country Club, Eugene, Oregon; (iii)
Gearhart, Gearhart, Oregon; (iv) Indian Wells Country Club. Indian Wells, CA; and (v) Marriott Desert Springs, Palm Desert, California

Keith M:  (i)  Royal Dornoch; Dornoch, Scotland; (ii) Deacon’s Lodge Pequot, Minnesota; (iii) Old Course, St. Andrews; St. Andrews Scotland; (iv) Pacific Dunes, Bandon Dunes, Oregon; (v) Turnberry, Ailsa Course Turnberry Ayrshire, Scotland

David D: (i)  Royal Dornoch; Dornoch, Scotland; (ii)  Muirfield, Muirfield, Scotland; (iii) Lahinch; Lahinch, Ireland; (iv) Pebble Beach, Carmel, California; and (v) Harbor Town Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Ken B:  (i) Cape Kidnappers New Zealand; (ii) Old Head County Cork, Ireland; (iii) Oakmont; Oakmont, Pennsylvania; (iv) Kingsbarns; St. Andrews, Scotland; (v) Carnoustie (Championship Course) Carnoustie, Scotland

Jim V:  (i) Pelican Hill; Newport Beach, California; (ii) Pasatiempo; Santa Cruz, California; (iii) The Preserve Carmel, California; (iv) Poppy Hills Carmel, California; (v) Sun Valley Resort (Trail Creek Course) Sun Valley, Idaho

Ray C:   (i) Kidd Course – Kananaskis Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada; (ii) Killarney Golf & Fishing Club Kerry, Ireland; (iii) Banff Spring Hotel Course; Banff, Canada; (iv) Predator Course, Vernon, BC, Canada  (v) Torrey Pines (South Course) La Jolla, California

Wally W:  (i) Orinda Country Club, Orinda, California: (ii) San Francisco GolF Club, San Francisco, California; (iii) Royal County Down; New Castle, Ireland; (iv) Pronghorn, Fazio Course Bend, Oregon; and (v)  Pacific Dunes Bandon Dunes, Oregon

Boyce L:  (i) Pebble Beach, Carmel, California; (ii) Cypress Point Club, Carmel, California; (iii) Bonnie Brae Golf Club 'Greenville, South Carolina; (iv) Salisbury Country Club, Midlothian, Virginia; and (v) The Dominion Club, Glen Allen, Virginia

Dennis C: (i) Plantation Course at Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii; (ii)Cabo del Sol, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; (iii)
Arizona Biltmore Course Phoenix, Arizona; (iv)  Coeur d’ Alene Resort Course, Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho; and (v) Buffalo Hil,l Kalispell, Montana

Bruce J: (i) Pauite Golf Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada; (ii) St. Augustine Shores, St Augustine, Florida;
(iii) Canterwood Country Club; Gig Harbor, Washington; (iv) Bear’s Best; Las Vegas. Nevada; and
(v) Country Club of Decatur Decatur, Illinois

Jack H: (i) Cypress Point; Carmel, California; (ii) The Quarry; La Quinta, California; (iii) Pacific Dunes;Bandon Dunes, Oregon; (iv) Oakmont; Oakmont, Pennsylvania; and (v) Plantation Course at Kapalua Maui, Hawaii

Rick B: (i) Ventana Canyon Mountain Course Tucson, Arizona; (ii) Pacific Dunes; Bandon Dunes, Oregon; (iii)Torrey Pines South Cours;e La Jolla, California; (iv) Big Sky Whistler Whistler, BC, Canada; and (v)  Jasper Park Lodge Course Jasper Alberta, Canada

My favorite five courses are:

Cypress Point
Turnberry (Scotland)
Pinehurst No.2
Pacific Dunes
White Tail Club (McCall, Idaho)

The Lovely Sharon's favorite five courses are:

Cypress Point
The Ocean Course at Kiawah
Osprey Point Golf Course at Kiawah
Glenwild, Park City, Utah
Bandon Dunes
Bayonett Course and Blackhorse Course at Fort Ord

She cheated and picked 7 courses.

Thanks to all who participated. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Golf Stuff

There were times during the last year when I kind of lost passion for golf.  I played, but I often felt like I was going through the motions as opposed to my previous enthusiasm and love of the game.  I don't know what happened but about the first of June, my passion for the game returned.  I have been watching the Golf Channel alot. I watched most of the televised US Open. I have been reading golf equipment catalogues. I have been to our local golf store (Uinta Golf now owned by the Edwin Watts Company) at least five times in the last three weeks.  A couple of those times the Lovely Sharon was with me as she bought a new bag and got her clubs regripped.  I demo'd several new drivers at Hidden Valley Country Club and ended up buying a new Callaway Razer X driver. 

I played nine holes with the Lovely Sharon and our good pal Terry G Wednesday of last week. I played men's golf Thursday, I hit balls Friday, the Lovely Sharon and I walked 18 holes early Sunday and then watched the US Open,  and I played 9 holes yesterday.  I am playing Thursday at Hidden Valley, Friday at Victory Ranch Club (a Reese Jones designed course), I am playing with buddies in the Hill Field Amateur on Saturday and on Sunday, the Lovely Sharon and I are playing couples golf at Hidden Valley with good friends Jean and John.

Whew, for a man with absolutely no golfing talent thats a lot of golf and I am loving it. When I am passsionate about golf, my life seems to be better than when I am in a spell when the passion has evaporated.  I have actually brought my golf bag into the Bud Cave twice in recent days just to look through it, removing the odd item that didn't need to be there like broken tees and broken pencils and golf balls that had seen better days.  I found a pencil  in my bag from the Cypress Point Club and it caused me to think back with great fondness of the seven rounds that I was lucky enough to play there.  My favorite course on the planet. 

I read a book entitled Four Days in July about Tom Watson's 2009 British Open where he lost the Championship in a playoff to Stewart Cink causing many a grown man (including me) to shed a tear.

I emailed Jim Dodson today.  Jim is one of my favorite authors.  He is friends with Arnold Palmer and many others in the golfing world.  I have never met JIm in person but he and I have emailed each other a number of times over the last several years talking about golf, books, and kids.  I absolutely love the way Jim writes and what he writes about.  He lives in Southern Pines, NC (near Pinehurst).  He writes a Sunday column in the Southern Pines Pilot (http://www.thepilot.com/) and he is the editor of a monthly called Pinesraw (http://www.pinestrawmag.com/).  Jim's most recent book is American Triumvirate.  Here is recent review:

Most of golf history has been dominated by threesomes, from Englishman Harry Vardon, J.H. Taylor, and James Braid at the turn of the last century; through Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen and Bobby Jones in the 1920's; to Sam Snead, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan in the mid-twentieth century; and on to Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus in the 1960's and 1970's.  Dodson, author of  Ben Hogan: An American LIfe (2004), focuses here on those midcentury titans, all born in 1912, and rescued a  Depression and war-ravaged professional golf tour and launched the game's modern age.  Alternating between the accounts of the careers of the three very different men - the quiet, pious Nelson; the out-going, free-and-easy Snead; and the demon haunted, practice-obsessed Hogan, the author effectively recreates an era when professional golfers competed for paultry sums, carpooled across the country, and were forced to play on many courses that bore little in common with the well-manicured clubs of today.  The triumphs of Snead, Hogan and Nelson changed all of that, and the competition among the three gave postwar golf the headline-appeal it needed, setting the table for the game to be launched  into the televsion era on the broad shoulders of Arnold Palmer.  Dodson makes the most of the rich history he recounts with first-rate narrative skill, developing the surprisingly complex characters of his three protagonists  with the care of a fine historical novelist.  Absorbing reading for anyone who follows professional golf. - Bill Ott, Booklist, Feb. 2012

Jim's website is http://www.jamesdodsonauthor.com/

For my golfing friends, have a wonderful summer on the links.  For my non-golfing friends, have fun doing what you love to do.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The US Open

Next week is one of my favorite weeks of golf, US Open week.  Watching the US Open on TV is a nerve wrecking experience.  It is a tournament where you just wait for disasters from the players.   Shots from the trees and the deep rough.  Lighten quick greens and tricky pin positions.  More than the other major golf tournaments, I seem to remember past US Opens with greater detail.  Over the years here are the Opens that stick with me:

 1973-  John Miller shooting 63 at Oakmont on the final day to charge back from 4 down to win,

1982 – Tom Watson’s chip in on number 17 at Pebble Beach to help him beat Jack Nicklaus.

1988, 1989 & 1990- Curtis Strange won 2 in a row.  If you recall in 1990, there was lots of talk of a three peat but the 1990 tournament was won by Hale Irwin who rolled in a 45-foot birdie on the 72nd hole. When Hale’s ball dropped into the cup,  the crowd exploded, and Irwin sprinted around Medinah No. 3's 18th green, slapping hands with spectators.  

1991 – Payne Stewart beating Scott Simpson in a playoff. 

1992- Tom Kite winning his first major at Pebble Beach.  If you recall Gil Morgan had a 7 stroke lead but lost it the final day that was dry and windy.

1995- Corey Pavin’s win at Shinnecock Hills and his dramatic 4 wood to the green on the final hole.

1998 – Lee Jansen’s win over Payne Stewart at the Olympic Club.

1999- Payne Stewarts win over Phil Mickelson at Pinehurst No.2. 

2000- Tiger Wood’s 15 shot victory at Pebble Beach. 

2002- Tiger Wood’s Victory at Bethpage Black. 

2008 – Tiger Wood’s one legged playoff victory over Rocco Mediate. 

The 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach is my most memorable US Open.  Not because of Graeme McDowell’s victory or because of anything that actually happened in the US Open but because this was the first, and probably last, US Open I attended in person.  This 5 day mini-vacation with the Lovely Sharon was a wonderful golf trip.  We arrived in San Jose, CA on Wednesday, rented a car and drove to Monterey.  On Thursday Sharon and I played golf at the Pasadera Country Club.



(Pasadera 18th Hole)

 On Friday we spent the entire day at the US Open.  We bought US Open trinkets and clothes in the on course stores.  We walked the entire length of the Pebble Beach Course.  We saw Tiger, Phil, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell and most of the contestants play at least a couple of shots.  Although the crowds were massive, we actually ran into several friends from our Palm Desert Club.


(Photo by WIlliam Scherer - Skydancele.com)

On Saturday we played the beautiful Monterey Peninsula Club (“MPC”) with good friends Dick and Arlene.  Dick and Arlene are members of the MPC, have a house on the Course and were wonderful hosts.  The MPC has two 18 hole courses with several of the holes next to the famed 17 Mile Drive. The course is located among the Spanish Bay Course the Spyglass Course and the Cypress Point Club.  After we played golf we relaxed at Dick and Arlene’s home having  late lunch, drinking wine and watching the US Open on TV.


(Monterey Pennisula Course- Cypress Point in the far right.  The US OPen Blimp is visible)



On Sunday we flew back to Salt Lake.  What a great five days a wonderful US Open memory for the Lovely Sharon and Me. 

This year I planned to watch the Open within the confines of the Bud Cave.   I can hardly wait.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Recently Read Books

Last week a finished a book that I recommend.  It is Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell.  I found the following description of the book on Amazon.com:

"From the prizewinning "master of atmosphere" (Boston Globe) comes the surprising and affecting story of a man well past middle age who suddenly finds himself on the threshold of renewal. Living on a tiny island entirely surrounded by ice during the long winter months, Fredrik Welin is so lost to the world that he cuts a hole in the ice every morning and lowers himself into the freezing water to remind himself that he is alive. Haunted by memories of the terrible mistake that drove him to this island and away from a successful career as a surgeon, he lives in a stasis so complete an anthill grows undisturbed in his living room.When an unexpected visitor alters his life completely, thus begins an eccentric, elegiac journey--one that shows Mankell at the very height of his powers as a novelist.  A deeply human tale of loss and redemption, Italian Shoes is a testament to the unpredictability of life, which breeds hope even in the face of tragedy."

The book was written in Swedish and translated into English The book is a quiet book.  Much of it presents  the thoughts of the lead character.  If you want a book with action, or suspense, this is not the book for you.  But if you want a book that presents the reflection of a life, this book might very well be one you would enjoy.

If you read the best seller lists you have seen the triology of the Fifty Shades books by E L James.  At one time all three books were in the top ten best sellers.  I finally broke down and bought the trade paperbacks of each of the books: (i) Fifty Shades of Gray; (ii) Fifty Shades Darker; and (iii) Fifty Shades Freed.  After reading the combined almost 1,700 pages, my advice is "DON'T BOTHER".  All three books could have been combined in less than 100 pages and even those 100 pages would not be worth reading.  For me it was a total waste of time.  It was about a relationship of sexually dominant man and a subservient woman. I am not prudish and the concept did not bother me, but the books were not interesting.  There were page after page of emails back and forth that basically were the same. The couple continually had arguments and then made up.  Reading the books was like the movie Groundhog Day, the same thing continue to happen over and over again.