But, I'm an average guy. I make enough money for my family and I to live comfortable within our means. We aren't rich, or even well off, by any means. But we have a good family life. We have indoor plumbing and heat. :-) And I always have beers in the fridge (and I'm a self-appointed beer snob since moving to Seattle).
With that said, I don't have a lot of fancy golf contacts or ins to get onto the best courses in the world. I don't suspect I will ever get to play the ultra-elite courses, though I won't stop trying. Heck, I didn't even hit a golf ball, outside of putt putt, until I was 18. I played on and off and just tinkered with the game until 12 years ago when I was 31.
It was 12 years ago I became a police officer, and then a detective, in an Atlanta suburb. I was assigned to Crimes Against Children and special victims. As you can imagine, I needed a stress relief, in the form of a hobby, to help deal with the scum of society. I found it in the game of golf, especially when I walked a course. It allowed me to forget about the cases for a few hours and just enjoy the surrounding nature, with a few poorly hit golf balls in between walks. Then, I was offered a great job in the Seattle area. The family and I uprooted and moved completely across the country.
In the past two and a half years, I've played on some great courses here in the Pacific Northwest. I've come to appreciate the courses themselves, and not just nature. And the awesome job I have allows for me to travel a good bit, not just in the U.S., but around the world. I am able to fit in a few golf rounds on these trips.
Golf has also allowed me to have some great bonding experiences with my son and daughter, and to a lesser degree my wife. I was a single dad for quite a few years, so my son (who is now 18) and I had some great times on the golf course. My six year old daughter received her first set of clubs this year and is already as addicted and competitive as I have ever been. This game has started to allow for some awesome daddy-daughter days and for that, I am eternally grateful!
Wes hitting on #14 at Chestatee Golf Club near Atlanta.
Wes trying to get out of a bunker at Gold Mountain Golf Course, Olympic Course, near Bremerton, WA.
Sarah showing off her awesome new clubs and Hello Kitty golf balls.
Sarah on her first real golf outing with Dad. Photo taking at the entrance to Echo Falls Golf Course.
Since I started playing golf again on March 29, 2013, I have gotten in 74 rounds of golf this year. That's an average of a little more than 9 rounds a month. Am I addicted to the game? Maybe just a little :-) When I started at the end of March, my handicap was a 24. As of Dec. 1, 2013, it is down to a 16. Slowly but surely I will get to scratch.
On my last trip, I played two courses in the top 100 of the U.S. with one of them ranking in the top 100 golf courses of the world. I took some photos and have some great memories. But, before I forget about my experiences, I thought it might be a good idea to document my own experiences with being lucky enough to experience a round or two on the top 100 courses in the world and the U.S. I don't know much about the famous golf architects out there (though I have slowly started to read about them), or much about different grasses, or any of the other stuff you read about in the other blogs. What I do know is beer, people, fun golf, and nice courses. So, I will do my best to capture my experiences on those top courses.I am basing this list off both top 100 courses lists as published in the September 2013 Golf Magazine list.
On a side note, I love to collect logo golf balls from every course I play. With only two exceptions, I have been able to secure a logo ball from all but two courses. My wife jokingly gives me a hard time about almost filling up my first full case. Admittedly, it holds 110 balls. But they make more cases!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading through my adventures and I hope I can give someone else out there daydreams like I used to have, and still do.
For good measure, I will go ahead and post a photo of me. This photo is not from a top 100. It is from my first trip to Australia in March 2013. It was shot by a friend from Melbourne as I hit a golf ball from the 5th fairway of Flinders Golf Course (on the Mornington Peninsula), into the Bass Strait. It was a significant day because it was my first chance to play golf after being away from the game for more than two years due to some knee and ankle injuries suffered on the police job. And, it is what has led to my all-consuming obsession to play golf for the rest of my life and enjoy every minute of it.