The Late Hours of Spring

Some of the prettiest daylight of the golfing year is found during the last gasp of Spring. As the hours begin to stretch long into the evening and the hands on the clock seem to halt, the Sun hangs on longer than it should and brilliant colors fill the sky. If you are permitted in this season to stay on the course past supper time you’ll find pictures that seem like they are painted by god. These radiant scenes are presented on the horizon as your reward for pressing on past dusk. Whatever price you must pay to witness the magic of these golden hours is worth it. These last and fleeting moments of the day are when golf is most worth playing.


Each day I post a short golf story like this on my Instagram page @JayRevellWrites – now I’m bringing those musings to my website. Be sure to check in each day for my latest expressions on the game!

-J

Difficult Lies and Desperate Stances

We are not defined by our bad lies, but they do shape us. Despite the misses that lead us to unfortunate positions, the real story is how we recover. Even in the most desperate of scenarios, it is our ability to look onward toward the goal that matters most. We should view the detours made necessary by certain predicaments as simply just part of the journey. The difficult lies and desperate stances are what make our stories interesting. Without the occasional rise in tension, this wouldn’t be much of a game. It’s the drama of failure and subsequent hope for redemption that makes golf great. What a lesson for life as well.


Each day I post a short golf story like this on my Instagram page @JayRevellWrites – now I’m bringing those musings to my website. Be sure to check in each day for my latest expressions on the game!

-J

Can I Always Play Like This, Please?

The greatest thing about playing good golf is how quickly we forget about our bad golf. Sometimes when my swing gets in sync and the putter gets hot, I can start to believe that I’m the best player in town. I know that isn’t true because on other occasions I get the vicious shanks, chili dip pitch shots, and three-putt from ten feet. The best days are when all those demons fade into the rearview and the only thing I can see are birdies. Golf like that makes me feel alive. It lifts my hopes and inspires me to play on forever. I’d like to have more of those rounds.


Each day I post a short golf story like this on my Instagram page @JayRevellWrites – now I’m bringing those musings to my website. Be sure to check in each day for my latest expressions on the game!

-J

Golf in the Age of Coronavirus

I’ll always remember the week of March 15-21, 2020 as the time when normal went out the window. With the world on edge, my family out of town, and the parameters of my professional work changing by the minute, I had a whole week to myself and lots of time to reflect on what all this rapid change means for my life. Naturally, I turned to golf as a means for sorting through my thoughts and emotions. During the dawn of what feels like a new age, I spent seven straight days exploring what affects the covid19 pandemic is having on my life. The most meaningful of those many hours were the ones I spent on the golf course.

Golf has always been a calming source in my life. Even when I’m playing poorly, the game takes me away from my most weighty stress points. During this week of troubling news cycles, falling stock prices, and intense professional challenges, I was able to retreat to the golf course each afternoon for some of the most cathartic outings of my life. In total, I played 90 holes of golf and by the time I finished the last of them I felt both exhausted and ready to do my job as a father, husband, professional, and writer in the coming months.

This wild week began with me leaving my wife and daughter a few hours away in Pensacola to stay with my in-laws for a few extra days after we all attended a wedding there. What originally was supposed to be a couple of days away turned into an entire week after both my wife’s job and mine slammed the brakes on our normal work schedules. With my family a few hours away, I was left at home to get things in order for what will assuredly be a new normal in the coming weeks. Besides picking up some supplies, working from home, and getting other affairs in order, I spent the remaining hours in search of my center out on the golf course. Thanks to social media, I already had a great system in place for documenting my thoughts through it all.

At the start of this year, I decided to use my Instagram page to share a brief golf story each day. That exercise has been both fun and therapeutic. I have come to treasure the short daily notes as they reflect my experiences in golf in a raw and honest way. I’ve found that those golf stories also have a tendency to connect with my readers and friends in a convenient and rewarding fashion. Some of those stories have come from observations made on the course during the day of the post, but many are the result of memories, theories, and believes I have formed about golf over the years. My posts from this week were a great way to share my takeaways about what golf means in this moment and how it has helped me and surely many others during this strange crisis.

As I was plumbing the depths of the game as part of my week-long walkabout, I spent time connecting with friends(although at a distance), appreciating both good shots and bad, and discovering that my favorite game may just be the perfect prescription for these tumultuous times. Those thoughts and feelings come out in my Instagram posts from the week. With my family now home, I’m taking a break from the course for a few days, but I wanted to put those posts together and provide some additional insights into what I feel was one of the most unique weeks of my adult life.

What follows are the daily accounts of that week and the posts that resulted from the golf I played.

Sunday, March 15

The week began on Sunday afternoon, where I played 18 holes with friends after coming off the road. We played until dark and it was a perfect appetizer for what was to come in the days ahead. My first round of the week was a good reminder that golf can indeed be a great way to combat anxiety by focussing only on what I can control. With the Sun going down and my swing falling into rhythm,  I felt like I was at the start of an important journey inwards.

Monday, March 16

By the time my Monday came to a close, our office had decided to move to a remote working arrangement for the foreseeable future. With many of the events and meetings that we plan as part of my professional life canceled or postponed, the way in which I work was being disrupted, to say the least. As for golf, the debate over whether courses should stay open was quickly heating up. My nine-hole round that night inspired a short acrostic poem on the subject.

 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

After a full day of working from home, I slid out to the golf course for our Tuesday night skins game. It felt strange that we were still able to host this weekly outing considering the state of affairs sweeping over our world. To be honest, I felt conflicted. As bad as I wanted to be on the golf course with my friends I also felt a societal obligation to comply with the behavioral changes needed to keep the covid19 virus at bay. Despite those conflicting feelings, we played on. The time on the course that evening inspired a post I was proud of. It also sparked the idea for a video essay that has been very well received.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

My favorite playing partner is my dog, Leon. I’ve expounded on our golfing relationship many times, but this week it felt important to include him in my outings. With my family out of town, Leon was my closest companion for most of the week. I always encourage my followers and friends to take the dog on the course if they can. That night, Leon and I were joined by another friend and his dog for a walk which was a highly enjoyable experience.

 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

When I arrived at the course late Thursday afternoon, I saw that our maintenance staff had pulled the cups up so that they stood a few inches out of the hole. The bunker rakes had also been removed from the course. This trend was sweeping across the golfing world as a way to reduce touches on shared surfaces – a recommendation by some golf organizations for safe play during the pandemic. Seeing this change to the game left me with a strange feeling that things will be different for quite some time.

Friday, March 20, 2020

For the first five days of the week, I played at my home course – Capital City Country Club. By the time Friday rolled around I was ready for some fresh scenery. Fortunately, a good friend of mine is a member of the new Seminole Legacy Golf Club a few miles down the road. The course is quite a challenge and I’m glad I caught it on a good day. I had one of the best ball-striking rounds in months and walked off the course with a sense that maybe I had found a sharp version of my game again. It was the kind of round I only find a few times per year.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Our club was supposed to have a tournament that day, but we wisely canceled with so much disruption occurring across our community. With time on our hands, twenty or so of us decided to have a small event ourselves – a two-man best-ball competition. Feeling good about my game I liked my odds to win a few bucks, but perhaps the long week finally caught up to me. I played terribly, but the day was not lost as a good friend and fellow competitor had the best round of his life. I saw him have an out of body experience, going birdie-eagle-eagle-birdie on the back nine en route to a score of 67. Like many, he’s got a lot on his mind right now, but as I watched him slip into a state of deep relaxation on the course I was reminded again of the power golf has to improve our mindsets and overall well being. After the round he had, I don’t think he’ll ever see golf the same. The week as a whole had a similar effect on me.

 

I hope you enjoyed this recounting of my golf experiences during the strange and unstable times of the covid19 pandemic. This week was one of the weirdest and most enlightening of my life. I wanted to pull all the content I made together into one article so that folks can digest it as they please. Adding some insights to that work in retrospect was also a good way to relive the experience. I’ve got a feeling I’ll want to come back and read all this again myself someday too.

I’m not sure what will happen in the coming months, but I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to come back to golf as a way to find my center during these trying times. Life may be a bit different and things will certainly be tough, but I believe this wonderful game is well suited to help us all get through it.

Golf is Everywhere – Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge

Like many golf fans, I’m infatuated with the life of Arnold Palmer. There is so much about his story that I find interesting, inspiring, and thought-provoking. I never had an opportunity to meet the King, but it is hard not to feel like I have a relationship with his brand – a feeling shared by millions no doubt. Palmer’s larger than life persona, outgoing disposition, and insistence on treating people with a high level of respect are all qualities I strive to emulate. As someone who has spent a career studying brands and placemaking, I’m also highly interested in how Palmer extended his personality into the businesses and experiences which bore his name. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to see that side of his legacy up close and personal when I was invited to spend a day at Bay Hill Club & Lodge.

My invitation to Bay Hill was largely by accident. While visiting the Orlando area for the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show I had scheduled a variety of meetings and hangouts with some of my favorite golf personalities. One of which was a nine-hole walk with Tom Coyne at the fabled Winter Park Golf Course. Unfortunately, Tom never made it out to the course because he came down with the flu and had to make a quick return trip home to Philadelphia. As much as I hated to hear that Tom was under the weather, he was kind enough to suggest I take his place at another golf outing scheduled for later that day.

At Tom’s suggestion, I was invited to fill in for him at Bay Hill for a round of golf with Roy Saunders. Saunders is Vice President at the club, father to PGA Tour player Sam Saunders, and also Arnold Palmer’s son-in-law through his marriage to Palmer’s daughter Amy. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to see Bay Hill and get to know Saunders over a round of golf.

One of the most noticeable qualities of the Bay Hill Club & Lodge is the hospitality extended to guests. It is obvious that the Arnold Palmer mentality is not just a talking point but a true compass for the staff at the club. From the minute I walked on the property I was treated like a lifelong member and that is undoubtedly a reason why people still visit Bay Hill even after Palmer’s passing. Many clubs could learn from the example set at Bay Hill.

Staring down the final green at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge

During my visit, the championship golf course at Bay Hill was in spectacular condition. Being only a month and a half out from the PGA Tour’s annual Arnold Palmer Invitational, the preparations for the event were well underway. With grandstands up, scoreboards being installed, and other infrastructure being brought in there was a real sense of pride permeating over the grounds. Throughout the round, Roy Saunders provided me with an insider’s perspective on how the club hosts its most important event. It was a cold and windy day for golf, but the good company and first-hand knowledge of the course from my host made for an exceptional outing.

Beyond the wonderful hospitality and energy of an upcoming PGA Tour event, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the golf course itself. Originally designed by Dick Wilson, the Bay Hill course has some exceptional holes that provide for both drama and charm. The holes routed among the natural lakes on the property are among some of the most interesting in the Sunshine State. The Dick Wilson routing remains largely intact but there have been many renovations overseen by the Arnold Palmer Design Company over the years. The course is both challenging and scenic with plenty of opportunities to create memorable shots by playing boldly – just like the Kind prescribed.

Sitting at Arnold Palmer’s desk in his office at Bay Hill

After our round, my host was kind enough to invite me up to Arnold Palmer’s office and sign the King’s guest book. I must admit, the fan in me was overjoyed as I had the chance to sit at Palmer’s desk and affix my signature next to many other admiring members of Arnie’s Army. Looking around the room from behind Palmer’s desk served as a reminder for just how big his global reach was and still is. It was a special way to cap off my visit to Bay Hill.

With a new appreciation for Bay Hill and the legacy of its former owner, I’m excited to watch the worlds best compete in the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year. There is no doubt that Roy Saunders, the Palmer family, and everyone involved at the club will be putting on a first-class event and the story of the King will once again be on full display. I’ve been fortunate to have some great golf experiences in my life and getting to see Bay Hill and the world of Arnold Palmer as a guest of his family was among the more memorable days I’ve had in the game. If you get the opportunity to enjoy some time at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge I highly suggest you do so.

Cheers and long live the King!

-J

P.S.

If you make it to Bay Hill, don’t miss the Bay window chili at the turn! It’s the best golf course chili I’ve ever sampled!

The Arnold Palmer statue behind the first tee at Bay Hill Club & Lodge

 

 

 

 

Golf is Everywhere – Pinehurst #3

One of the most enjoyable rounds of golf I played in 2019 was at the often overlooked Pinehurst #3 course. While visiting the North Carolina Sandhills on assignment for The Golfer’s Journal, I had the opportunity to venture out and see some of the great courses that make the area so special. Because Pinehurst and the Sand Hills region is such a hub for golf activity, I was able to play with a wonderful assortment of good friends who had gathered there for various reasons. We took on Pinehurst #3 late one afternoon and played as a seven-some. It was a highly enjoyable experience that provided further evidence as to why the Pinehurst Resort is among the best places for golf in the United States.

Over the past decade, the Pinehurst Resort has undergone some incredible upgrades to its long storied collection of golf experiences. Among the most notable enhancements are the restoration of Pinehurst #2, the renovation of Pinehurst #4, the newly added Thistle Dhu putting course, and the creation of the Cradle Short Course. With all of those efforts gaining so much attention it is easy to see how an impressive overhaul of the #3 course could get lost in the coverage.

Pinehurst #3 is an original Donald Ross design that has been altered in a variety of ways throughout its existence. Said to be among his favorite works in the area, the #3 course still maintains much of the original Ross routing. Despite many changes over time, some holes were carved off to create the #5 course while others were lost to resort expansion, the course still has a ton of golden age charm. Now, after an extensive renovation led by architect Kye Goalby the Sand Hills aesthetic has been brought back and the course once again has a strong and attractive identity within the resort.

Finishing up at Pinehurst #3

As the shortest of the resort’s 18 hole courses, Pinehurst #3 is perfectly tailored for a fast-paced round of golf with friends. At just over 5,000 yards long and with a par of 68, the #3 course is reminiscent of some Brittish courses that don’t adhere to the more standardized scales of modern golf. Don’t be fooled by the small ballpark appearance though. With difficult greens, tight lies, native sand areas, and many dogleg holes, #3 still can pack a punch.

Built over an attractive hilly terrain and offering many delightful Donald Ross features, Pinehurst #3 makes for a great add-on round during a visit to the resort. With six par 3 holes on the course, a good day of ball striking is required to score well there and the course serves as a great introduction to play the more famous tracks on site.  In my estimation, a visit to the resort would be incomplete without spending a few hours tackling the #3 course.

To get a more full picture of the Pinehurst #3 experience, take a few minutes to enjoy the latest installment from my Golf is Everywhere Youtube series. With seven friends playing such a fun course, my afternoon there made for a few good memories and a real desire to come back soon. I think you’ll enjoy the scenes I captured from the round while gaining some insight into why the course is a must-play at the resort.

Shoutout to my friends Dave Baysden, Joe Zwickl, and Robbie Wooten along with others for recommending the course and making the walk so enjoyable.

Cheers,

-J

Golf is Everywhere – Palatka Golf Club

 

Some of my favorite golf course discoveries have been in small towns and obscure places. The Palatka Golf Club certainly fits that bill. Located about an hour south of Jacksonville, the small town of Palatka is home to a community golf course that has a curious story and a big personality.

Founded in 1925, the Palatka Golf Club has a wonderful golden age routing that falls over a delightfully hilly piece of property. The club proudly celebrates Donald Ross as its designer, but many historians and golf architecture aficionados have called that into question. Palatka is one of many golf courses around the country and a handful in Florida whose claim to be an original Ross design is a bit questionable. There is significant evidence that the architect may have actually been fellow Scotsman W.D. Clark, but the locals in Palatka are quick to dismiss that idea.

I have long heard about how enjoyable the golf was in Palatka and have also followed the story of its unproven design lineage. Earlier this year, I finally got the chance to make it over to Palatka to see the course for myself. What I found is a fabulous golf experience that packs a large amount of interest into a small package.

Coming in at just under 6,000 yards, the course looks far more getable than it really is. Small greens with great contours make for a real challenge and the land movement throughout the routing is highly unique for Florida. What I walked away with from Palatka was a big smile and a strong desire to come back soon. If you are anyone you know is traveling through Northeast Florida, the Palatka Golf Club is worth going to see and play. I believe that there is something special about the place regardless of who gets the credit for the course design.

If you want to see more from my day at Palatka Golf Club, then check out the latest episode of my Golf is Everywhere show on Youtube. If you enjoy what you find there then please be sure to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode! 

Cheers,

-J

Golf is Everywhere – Tobacco Road

I fell in love with quite a few places in 2019, but nowhere has left as deep an impression on my golfing soul as Tobacco Road Golf Club. I spent the better part of six months working on a special project for The Golfer’s Journal in which we documented the history of this remarkable place. That story appeared in issue #10 of The Golfer’s Journal and included a companion podcast(see  below) featuring recordings of Tobacco Road’s designer, the late great Mike Strantz. While I was visiting the course for my story, I took a lot of video, but didn’t want to share it until after the piece had published in the magazine. Now that the story has been out in the world for a few weeks, I thought it would be great to share the video as part of my Golf is Everywhere series on Youtube.

I can’t think of a better way to close out 2019, then to share my video essay from Tobacco Road. The course, its designer, and certainly its owners and staff have had a huge impact on me and my writing career this year. That being said, I’m happy to share this latest video. Give it a watch when you can and if you haven’t had a chance to subscribe to my Youtube channel, I hope you will!

Cheers,

-J

Golf is Everywhere – Tobacco Road

The Golfer’s Journal Podcast – The Lost Strantz Tapes

 

 

Golf is Everywhere

Golf in the Yard by Dave Baysden

Sometimes when I daydream
I lose myself in thoughts
About how everyday places
Could easily become golf holes.

The park out my office window
with the naturally sloping terrain
Is the perfect place for pitch shots
beneath the skyline of the city.

There’s a field of golden farmland
I pass while driving at dusk
To my parents house for dinner
That should be a short par four.

When I walk down the beach
With my daughter in the sand
I ponder putting by the sea as
She climbs dunes on the shore.

When I stroll through the woods
During the cold months of winter
The tree-lined paths I hike on
Look like fairways in my mind.

The hillside by the highway
Where the old fence line stands
Has windblown bunkers guarding
A ridge that could be a green.

There is the quiet cove at the lake
Near the house I frequently visit
With a crested knoll on an isthmus
That is a par three shaped by God.

Beyond the asphalt runway
Of the airport I often fly from
There are gentle hills that roll
Over land clearly made for golf.

The steeples of the churches
In my old and quaint hometown
Would make a perfect aim point
For a par five down Main Street.

Then there’s the winding stream
Which flows where I used to fish
While wondering what kind of shot
It would take to clear the bend.

On my way home from work
In a well lit square downtown
sits a perfect patch of grass
Where I could probably play at night.

I even make holes at my house
When I mow the lawn on Mondays
following around the flower beds
which my wife keeps finely pruned.

The places I imagine playing
Are merely figments in my mind
Which I conjure up for pleasure
Because for golf, I have no time.

Life won’t lend me the freedom
To spend my days out on the course
So I see holes all around me
Which may very well be worse.

Perhaps I’m just plain crazy
And the game has made me so
But I find some comfort knowing
That golf is everywhere I go.

How to Travel for Golf – thoughts on where to go, how to be there, and what to remember.

The Swilcan Bridge by Dave Baysden

To be a golfer is to be a wanderer and that is my identity. The game is, at its very essence, a walkabout through the fields, forests, towns, and dunes of the world. For that reason, a golfer’s soul yearns to journey. As a golfer, my thirst for adventure is unquenchable.

For those like me who are inflicted with such a love for the game, one foot will always be compelled to follow the other. Each round of golf creates a longing for the next. In my mind there lies an uncontrollable urge to stray and a sense that each new course needs to be further from home than the last.

The golfer is a traveler and an explorer. No destination will ever satisfy the desire to see another. I am a golfer and I am increasingly compelled to roam.

The passages of golf books become the places that yield sunburns on my skin. Reading about distant lands isn’t enough to cure my curiosity though. I have to see it with my own eyes and play the course with clubs in tow.

There is a brilliant sun shining on the fairways in my mind and if I can muster up a willingness to set forth I can find that warmth in living color.  When presented with the opportunity to travel for golf, I exhaust every means to make it happen.

That being said, to reach an awareness of the available adventures in the sport is to suffer madness. This comes from the knowledge that I’ll never be able to experience them all.

Which brings me to the following passages.

No golf traveler is alike, yet there is a kinsmanship found among those of us who spend hours searching out the next stop on the journey. Opinions on courses, clubs, and destinations for golf will vary, making it important to remember that the objective of traveling is to form your own. Every course in the world has something to offer the golfer on the move, but how can one best discern what to seek out next?

For that question, I offer you these thoughts.

Where to go…

Go in search of great walks.

Not every golf course can be walked, but those most worthy of your time will be of the variety you explore on foot. The game was meant for walking and the best golf in the world will always be that which is tailored to such methods of play. When traveling, the walks should actually be the reason for the trip. Golf is just an excuse to go for the hike. Take these considerations to mind when evaluating where you’d like to walk next.

Seek out an understanding of architecture.

Architecture is the field in which art and science meet. The designing of golf courses is consistent with that truth. Golf course architects are both artist and engineer. No two sites for golf are the same and every architect has a different lens on the world, therefore each individual course is a separate and unique expression of those who built it. The seasoned golf traveler is keen to this and through earned knowledge of the subject one can find a greater appreciation for all aspects of the game. The study of a course’s design should be a leading factor in choosing where to play.

Account for the history of a place.

History provides the context for how a place came to be. Strive to be a traveler who wonders why things are a certain way and you’ll find history has the answers. When traveling to a new golf course, a review of its history should always be the appetizer before the main course of playing there. Golf has long been a game with a reverence for its roots and an appreciation of its past. Many clubs and courses offer visitors the chance to learn their story and others can be found through simple research. To not seek such details is to willingly avoid the full experience. Not every great course has a long history, but those that do often offer a more interesting destination.

Consider the available accommodations.

The place in which you lay your head should never be an afterthought. Some locations offer luxurious quarters while others are more spartan, but I would suggest proximity to places of interest as a more pressing need. Look for lodging that serves as a window into the community or perhaps a room located on-site that may yield additional time spent at the course. The hotel by the highway may suffice for bedding and such, but a better experience can be found at the course cabin, bed & breakfast, or charming hotel downtown. Where you stay will dictate where you eat, where you drink, and where you roam while visiting a place for golf. With that in mind, be sure to choose wisely and aim for places that increase the odds of serendipitous discoveries and a better understanding of the destination.

The Aiken Golf Club by Dave Baysden

Making a decision on where to go is only the first step. There is also the matter of being in a place.  How does one compose themselves when traveling for golf and what should you be looking for?

These are my recommendations.

How to be there…

Observe the presentation of the golf course.

Golf courses are works of art constructed on a medium of grass. With a live and growing canvass, the state of a golf course is always in flux. Knowing this the golf traveler should make sure to appreciate the state of the course. The superintendent whose role it is to oversee the presentation of the playing surface is often times the unsung hero of the golf world. The agronomists that maintain the turf are essential to every pleasant golf experience and the traveler should take note of the conditions that were carefully arranged for them. Be sure to thank the agronomy staff should your paths cross while playing.

Speak with those who work there.

To best understand a place, one must speak with those who tend to it. The staff members of any golf facility are the keepers of valuable information and important details. Some professionals will offer delightful details about a golf course unsolicited, but others may require the spark of conversation. Engaging with staff is a wonderful way to make a new acquaintance while also seeking out the best ways to enhance your visit. Present yourself and your questions with a genuine curiosity and often times you will be rewarded with local tips, unique stories, or perhaps even a tour. These are the interactions that often lead to repeat visits and intimate discoveries during your stay. Travelers need not be shy, the staff is there to answer your questions and ensure you have a great day at the course.

Cater to the customs of the regulars.

When visiting a club or course it is best to try and enjoy the facilities in the same manner as the regulars do. Whether you are an invited guest or simply paired with strangers, be sure to yield to the resident customs. There may be a particular game you will be asked to join or perhaps the norm is to play from a closer tee box than you are accustomed, either way – go with the flow. Those who play there the most likely know how to play it for max enjoyment and as a traveler that should be your aim as well. You never know, by following the regulars you might just find something worth changing in your own golf routine.

Look for where the locals go.

When traveling for golf, the time spent on the course is only part of the trip. There should be dining, shopping, sightseeing, and other exploratory activities on the itinerary. Some research before your travel is critical, but more importantly, ask the locals where they like to go. More times than not the best places in town will be those which the residents frequent. This also holds true for golf. Be sure to save some time in your travels for the course you didn’t expect to play. A local recommendation can make for a splendid emergency 9 holes or a quick round before heading home. Ask around for advice on all counts of your trip and allow for pleasant surprises.

The Cliffs by Dave Baysden

The trip doesn’t end on the final green or even when you put the clubs back in your garage. Some trips never really end at all. The best travels are the kind which are permanently extended in our memories. The trips that change how we see things become chapters in our ever-evolving story.

Here are my recommendations on how to maximize the impacts of your travel.

What to remember…

Document your days spent away from home.

There has never been an easier time in history to chronicle your observations from traveling. Technology allows us to record the details of our trips via a wide variety of social media, applications, and other means. Of course, there is always the more traditional route of handwritten journal entries or even blogging. No matter your preferred method, be sure to take some time each day of your trip and make a few notes on what you have seen. There is great joy to be found in recounting your travels while reading the details of days gone past.

Take time to reflect on your experiences.

In many ways, golf is a meditation. Arranging your thoughts from a golf trip is a healthy way to find some peaceful appreciation for what you have seen. Beyond the time you spend on the golf course, it is important to set aside some moments for the quiet contemplation of your experience. It is in those minutes, spent reflecting on your trip, in which clarity can emerge in your thinking. Often times, I have found that my most meaningful takeaways from golf travel occur long after the initial experience has happened. Through a deliberate search of my thoughts, I find new ways of seeing the places that I visited months or years before.

Tell your friends about where you went.

Sharing the stories of your golf travels is an important part of being an explorer in our game. Please note, this is not an invitation to display braggadocious behavior. Your aim should be to provide valuable insights into the places you have been. Be a guide to those who may want to set forth on their own discovery someday. Do not instruct them, but instead offer some seeds from which they can grow their own ideas and opinions. Discussing a trip with those you shared it with or others who saw the same place on another occasion is one of the great joys of golf.

Contemplate how the trip has changed your perspective.

The best travels are the ones that change how you see the world. For golfers, that can occur in a wide variety of ways. Perhaps a course has shifted your thoughts on a particular architect or maybe a previously undiscovered golf culture made you swoon for a new city. The possibilities are as endless as your list of courses yet to be seen. The notes you write, the conversations you have, and the memories you make while traveling for golf all add up to shape your unique perspective on the game. When you think you have finally landed on a set of beliefs about golf then it’s time to hit the road again. The next course may just be the one that changes your mind forever. The only way to know is to go and once you’ve been, only you can determine what it all meant.

Kiawah River by Dave Baysden

Traveling for golf is a means for replenishing my soul. The game has always had a hold on me and with each trip I take I find new inspiration for living life as a golfist. Some places speak to me more than others, but with each new stop along the way, I find small traces of the games deeper meaning. For me, traveling for golf is a transcendent pursuit.

So my charge to you, my fellow golf traveler, is this – go forth and seek out the courses that call your name. Find the time to venture for golf and be sure to savor each step. Seek out stories, architects, history, and new scenery. Search for the places that will shape you for the better and never stop discovering what the game can mean in your life. There are many people who share your passion for golf and the best way to find them is to start looking wherever you may roam. Golf is a grand adventure, but it’s up to us to take it.

I hope to see you out there on fairways near and far.