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Buddy Trips

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I love golf buddy trips so the announcement of the 2017 Newport Cup has started my golfing juices flowing.  A well-organized golf buddy trip is a great experience.  Considering the people planning the event, I suspect that the 2017 Newport Cup will be singular experience.  I am doing my best to temper my excitement at possibly participating with the knowledge that there are many better players ahead of me in line. Still, it is a welcome distraction while the snow levels ebb & flow this winter.

My first golf buddy trip was in 1994, and our destination was the quintessential buddy trip location, Myrtle Beach.  There were just four of us and we had two hotel rooms, double occupancy.  We flew into Charleston since there were no direct flights from Detroit to Myrtle Beach at the time.  Our line-up was Myrtlewood (Palmetto), the now defunct Bay Tree (Green & White), Possum Trot, Heather Glen, and Indian Wells.  Not exactly a “killer’s row” of the best courses in Myrtle Beach but we were newbies and tried to save money.

I remember my first shot on the afternoon of our arrival.  We had raced up to Myrtle from Charleston, checked in at the hotel, dumped our bags and headed to the course.  It was sunny and 80 degrees – perfect.  Eventually the starter called us to the first tee.  This was going to be great.  In an adrenalin induced frenzy I swung so hard I almost missed the ball, thinning a worm burner about 100 yards.  From there it took another 7 shots to finish the opening par 4.   I recovered from that opening hole disaster and played decently for the balance of the round and trip.  That tee shot still lingers in my memory, however.

It wasn’t until 1998, that I took another buddy trip and again the destination was Myrtle Beach.  I was originally approached by an acquaintance, George, in late 1997, taking a trip to M.B. with a group of guys he knew and worked with.  I said “no thanks” and promptly put the idea out of my mind.  In early March, George again called and said two guys had dropped out.  Would I be interested in taking one of their spots?  His timing was right and this time I said yes.  A few weeks later, as I was driving to the airport, I realized that other than George, I knew none of the other participants.  If George didn’t show, I was going to need to stand up on the plane and ask whether any of the guys had planned a trip with “George”.  Well, George did show and the trip was a success.  I made a bunch of new golf friends and we made the trip annually until 2004, when the organizer passed away and no one took up the reins.

As fate would have it, I joined a family-owned business in 2006.  As part of their marketing efforts, they organized a golf trip for the independent sales representatives from around the country.  One day the owner called me into his office.  The conversation went something like this:

Owner:                 My brother can’t make the golf trip.

Me:                        I am sorry to hear that.

Owner:                 Do you have a current passport?

Me:                        Yes.

Owner:                 Would you like to join us in Ireland next week?

Me:                        I will go home and start packing!!

Twenty of us flew to Ireland the next week, all expenses paid, and we spent the next 6 days playing golf in southwest Ireland, including Ballybunion, Waterville and Doonbeg.  Talk about walking into a great situation.  The family subsequently dragged me along on trips to Greenbrier, Pinehurst, Pebble Beach and St. Andrews.  I guess I picked the right people with which to work.

I have thought about trying to organize another trip to Scotland for 2018.  There are a number of members in our club-without-real-estate who could probably be counted on to tag along.  How about the rest of you guys? 

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This year we organized a trip to Treetops.  I can't say enough good things about the different courses we played.   We vowed to return again.


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