August 15 at the Solheim Cup

The weather has been great here this week! No rain, or even the threat of rain. It’s been hot and sunny. Hope all the flatlanders that have joined us here in Parker have used their sunscreen! I saw some pretty red faces yesterday morning at the course.

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The ladies set off on their practice rounds about 9:30 yesterday. The galleries followed like a brightly colored waterfall. I hung out on the ropes between the 3rd and 4th holes, getting autographs and taking some photos of the players. Michelle Wie and Brittney Lang were wearing red, white, and blue leggings. Not a bad look, but definitely one that looked odd from far away.

Hole #3 at the Colorado Golf Club has an interesting approach – like most of the holes on this course. The green is guarded by an arroyo across the front and around to the right. The green slopes into the arroyo, so if the ball doesn’t get to the middle of the green, it definitely will roll back into the weeds. Each lady took a couple of shots to get this one right!

The crowds were respectful. The players were generous with signing anything put in front of them. Since it’s not likely you’ll get much of a chance to get anything signed in the next few days, folks were really trying to get all the players signatures on the tee flags, visors, and hats.

I left around 11:30 and returned for the opening ceremonies in the evening. We got there an hour before the ceremony was set to start and the venue looked full already. What a great crowd! Patti Sheehan was dancing around and signing at the back of the seating area. It was quite a party through the event, with raucous cheers when the players were introduced. Meg Mallon and Liselotte Neumann gave great speeches that revved up the crowds.

We slipped out before the other thousands and managed to get back to the parking lot before the throngs arrived. We even talked about going to Germany for the next Solheim Cup. We’ll have to see about that.

I have tickets for tomorrow. Watching the teams today, Europe is up so far. Yikes! Go USA!

Practice day at the Solheim Cup

The practice rounds started at the Solheim Cup in Parker, Colorado. We headed down to the course this afternoon hoping to catch some of the players practicing on the course. The crowds seemed light when we got there about 1:30 p.m. We started at the driving range where Brittney Lincicome, Angela Stamford, and Gerina Piller were hitting balls. We didn’t see any of the European team at the driving range or chipping green.

Driving Range, Colorado Golf Club
Driving Range, Solheim Cup, August 14

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We walked down along hole #15 and #16. The course looks like it’s in excellent shape. As we walked over to putting green, a couple of the European players were practicing their putting.  Working our way around to the 1st tee, we headed up into the deserted grandstand to look at the course from above. Looking over the #9 hole, we noticed a player heading up the fairway and decided to go check it out.

Hole 15 Green
Hole 15 green, Colorado Golf Club, Parker, CO

Standing by the green, we watched as Morgan Pressel worked her way up the fairway. She stopped about 120 yards out and hit a couple shots to the green. The first one landed about 5 feet from the hole. Her other shots hit the green, but the second and third weren’t nearly as close. She came up to the green and hit a few chip shots, then a few pitches. The caddy through out a couple of marks and Morgan hit a few puts. While putting she hit a long put across the green that directly hit the mark. The small crowd applauded and Morgan said, “Ahh, you guys can do that!” You could hear the laughter.

Morgan Pressel
Morgan Pressel, hole #9. Colorado Golf Club, Solheim Cup

As she finished, she thanked the gallery that had followed her and headed in to the clubhouse. It’s fun watching her play.

I’ll be heading back to the course tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll see a few more players and get some autographs. I’d also like to see the opening ceremonies. Until tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

Applewood Golf Course – in the shadow of the foothills

From the east side of the city, we drove through two separate rain showers before we pulled up to the Applewood Golf Course with the sun shining and the clouds moving off. To the west of Denver and nestled in a Golden neighborhood, Applewood Golf Course is providing golfers with a great budget alternative.

The pro shop is down the hill and round the corner. The staff is pleasant and helpful as they made our tee time, took our money and returned our receipt. We took the code and the advice to wait for the ball machine at the driving range as it pauses between drops. Hitting a few balls on the driving range got us limbered up and ready for the first tee.

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The course is a fairly short, 6188 yards from the back tees and 5386 from the fronts. The longest hole is 529 from those back tees, which means lower handicappers may be able to reach the green in two.

The first hole is a short, straight par four with the driving range along the right side. The second hole is set up behind the green for the first hole and is a par 3. There’s a lake to the right, but it’s not in play. On the third hole, the back tees are set so that player shoot over a swamp onto the fairway. The view through the scrub was intimidating, but our group managed to get over with no problem. Once out on fairway, be aware of stray shots from the other fairways. This hole played slow for us as we waited for folks to retrieve or hit their shots to other fairways.

Applewood Golf Course Hole #1
Applewood Golf Course Hole #1

 

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #2
Applewood Golf Course Hole #2

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #3
Applewood Golf Course Hole #3

Hole #4 is one of the par fives on this course at 458 from the back tees. It’s pretty straight with long rough on the right and hard pack on the left. The fairway went from patchy to soggy on this hole, but there aren’t any other hazards to avoid. Hole #5 is a sharp dogleg right. There’s a large pond on the right that is fenced off and doesn’t belong to the course. There’s also a large tree that sits in the middle of the fairway. Once around the corner, the green is slightly elevated and tend to move left to right.

Applewood Golf Course Hole #4
Applewood Golf Course Hole #4

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #5
Applewood Golf Course Hole #5

 

Hole number 6 is a short par 4 and dogleg left. There’s a bunker guarding the left side of the green, so stay right on the approach. Number 7 is the short par 5 and with a dogleg right around a pond. There’s a lot of tall rough around the pond, so hit towards the tree on the right to avoid the hazard. Once you get a view of the green, notice the small water hazard guarding the green on the left. You’ll want to keep your approach shot to the right.

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Applewood Golf Course Hole #6
Applewood Golf Course Hole #6

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #7
Applewood Golf Course Hole #7

 

Number eight was a fun hole. It’s a short par 4 with a sharp dogleg left that goes uphill after the turn. Low handicappers may be able to hit over the corner and get close to the large green. For those of us that play the fairway, on the way up the hill be aware of the large bunkers guarding the front of the green. The green is also a challenge, moving distinctly down the hill.

Applewood Golf Course Hole #8
Applewood Golf Course Hole #8

Hole #9 is a par 3 over a pond, 203 yards from the back tees and 99 from the fronts. There’s a bit of room to overshoot, but the green is large. Two of the four of us hit the green and were able to par the hole.

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #9
Applewood Golf Course Hole #9

We only had time to play nine on this course. The back nine looks similar to the front, with number 14 another par 3 over a pond. Overall this is a nice course to play. It’s not too difficult and there aren’t a lot of hazards to worry about. For the high handicapper, this course is a good choice. For the long shooter, there are several chances to drive the green and eagle, though play might be a bit slow. The course looked a bit stressed, though the greens were in reasonable shape. It looked like the grounds team was working on replacing some tee boxes around holes 4, 11, and 12. We enjoyed the round enough that we’ll be back to play again.

Applewood Golf Course, 14001 W. 32nd Avenue, Golden, CO  80401. (303) 279-3003, www.applewoodgc.com

 

Finding a golf instructor

Golf can be a hard game to master. It sounds pretty easy – put a ball on the ground and hit it with the big end of a club. How hard could it be? The ball isn’t even moving!

Those of us who have played for a long time understand the logic and the frustration. Our advice is to find a golf instructor that can help. The golf swing is much more complicated than it looks, though not that difficult to master. A good golf instructor can help.

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There are many places to find someone. One of the best ways to find someone is to ask other golfers. Other players can give you an idea of how the instructor teaches. Are they experienced and patient with a new player, or not? A good instructor asks about the golfer’s goals for the game. If your goal is to win the statewide amateur tournament or make your college team, your instructor might focus on different drills and techniques than if you’re only trying to enjoy weekend play with your friends.

Every golf course has golf professionals on staff. If they don’t have a teaching pro available, they should be able to recommend someone. Local golf shops often know of several teachers in the area. If you prefer a golf school, the Internet is a great place to start the search. The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) has a list of certified instructors on its website.

In many cases, the decision is between group classes and private lessons. If you’re looking for some general direction or just starting out, a series of group lessons may give you the information that you need to get out and play your first round. Once you’ve decided to continue with the game, private lessons help by focusing on your specific abilities.

Once a teacher is found, be clear on what you hope to accomplish in the time together. Explain what the specific problem is so that the instructor can help solve that problem. When the lesson ends, you should have some drills or explanation of how to avoid or solve the problem.

The more you understand the game and learn to play it well, the more enjoyable the game becomes. Even the pros hire instructors to help them with their game. Why wouldn’t those of us who are playing for the enjoyment of it hire someone to help? Don’t continue to be frustrated – fix that problem and have a lot more fun on the course.

Should you learn to play golf?

Golf is a game of black and white – you either like it or you don’t. Few folks are lukewarm on the topic. Are you curious as to why people take up golf? If so, read my story. Maybe you’ll decide to give it a try.

I took up golf in my early 40’s. My kids had grown and didn’t need me as much. I was looking for an activity that would get me outside more in the summer, maybe meet new people, and didn’t require a lot of strength or stamina. As a working mom, I had been too busy to cultivate relationships that would result in being on a team. No basketball, volleyball, bowling, or softball for me.

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I’d played tennis in college so I joined a ladies league. I rediscovered how hot it gets on a tennis court in the summer. Turns out, most tennis is played indoors here on the Front Range. After the league was over, I was done. The point was to spend more time outdoors and make some new friends. These ladies were too competitive for my taste.

My husband played golf, and was willing to play with me while I learned. This, I found out, was unusual. I had some minor run-ins with the game in childhood. I had played about 3 holes with my father before losing all the balls, and had swing clinics in my suburban high school gym class. So, ready to play, I borrowed my nephew’s clubs and set out for the course. It was a disaster, of course. But I liked being outside and playing with my husband was fun.

I took lessons, and played as often as I could. I’m not much for practicing, but I practiced in order to get better. Golf gets more fun the better you can play. I joined a non-competitive league and started meeting more ladies who golf. My husband and I kept playing and eventually, I became good enough that I don’t embarrass myself each time I get up on the tee. I embarrass myself about every third time I try to hit the ball.

Eventually, I returned my nephew’s clubs and my husband bought me clubs of my own. After using those for a few years, I bought my own clubs and have been using those for about 5 years. You don’t have to spend a fortune to play golf.

People have asked me why I play. I play because the game is different every time, even when playing the same course each week. I like the intellectual challenge of figuring out how to recover from another so-so shot. I like that I can tell I’m getting better, most of the time. I like being able to go on vacation and have another entertainment option that feels like living local. I like the ladies that I play with each week and like the random partnering that happens when the Pro Shop creates foursomes. I like playing with my husband and even like playing with his siblings, even though his siblings are much better golfers than I. And I like being outside on a beautiful course when the weather is good.

For the player who isn’t sure, I say give it a chance. Take lessons if you can afford it – it will make a difference. Remember that golf is game that is played, not work to be endured. Laugh, and keep walking.

Colorado Courses

Been playing some different courses lately. M and I went down to North Colorado Springs and played Glen Eagle Country Club. Thanks to Golf Now where we found a great deal: $18 per person for 18 holes.

I’ll be doing a formal recap of our round in an Examiner article later this week, but overall it’s a nice course. Most of the holes are pretty straight and there’s very few real hazards on the course. The restaurant was very good and there are wonderful views from the patio.

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I actually thought the best thing about the course was the views of the Air Force Academy. Even though the air was pretty hazy because of the wildfires nearby, the chapel from the Academy was beautiful.

What, in your opinion, makes a fun golf course? I like a course that has interesting holes that take a bit of thought. Glen Eagle had one hole that qualified. As you came around the corner, there was a hazard right in front of the green that couldn’t be seen until you got close. It was quite a surprise!

 

Summer time golf

The weather has been so nice, I haven’t made the time to update this page. I’ve actually started once or twice only to give up after a few minutes.

Since the holiday I’ve played a lot of golf, mostly with my girlfriends but some with my husband. I’ve taken a lesson on getting out of sandtraps – I’m not quite as hopeless and will get better with practice. In the last few weeks I’ve had my best game of the year and my worst. Here it is mid-July and the days are hot and we talk about playing very early or just before sundown.

I know that we’re on the downside of summer now, and the light in the evening is slowly retreating. Soon, we won’t be able to get im a round on 9 after work. But until then, we’ll continue to enjoy each day as it comes.

What is your favorite time to play – early morning, early evening, or somewhere in between?