From Bad to Far Worse

7/14/2011 3 comments
Let me just start off by saying this: losing the Ballynizzle Cup sucks. I probably wanted to win it back a little too much, to the detriment of my golf game and my team's chances. That said, there is absolutely no way I'd want to trade places with Jefe right now. In fact, I'm not sure anybody would.

The day after the Nizzle started innocently enough. The plan was to play two rounds of golf in the Denver area before taking a late-night flight home. Everything was going along swimmingly until the second round ended four holes early due to thunderstorms. A minor setback in an otherwise great golf trip.

Suddenly, we were faced with almost six hours to kill before our scheduled 9:44 PM flight. Luckily, we spotted our ol' friend Chili's (a golf-trip staple) on the way back to the Interstate and figured a bowl or three of bottomless chips and salsa would be a good way to kill time. Even if none of us were all that hungry. That morning, we met the "Milkshake Lady" at Castle Pines and had to try one of her world-famous milkshakes . It was one of those rare cases in today's world where something actually lives up to the hype. In fact, I ended up having two milkshakes (one chocolate after the round and one strawberry for the road). I felt like a lead balloon during the second round and really paid the price later that night (two milkshakes and Chili's...not a winning combination), but I will go on record that the second milkshake was worth it. It was that good.

We pulled up to the airport around 6:30 PM, over three hours ahead of time. At least that's what we thought. As we reached the kiosk to check our clubs, I received the first of seven text messages telling us that the departure time had been pushed back. From 9:44 to 10:15. then 10:30. 10:47. 11:15. 11:30. 11:50. Then ultimately 12:10 AM. Our flight didn't leave until 12:30 in the morning. We didn't land at O'Hare until 3:45 AM, sort of an unplanned red-eye flight.

I consider myself to be an extremely patient air traveler. Years of flying in and out of LaGuardia for work have conditioned me to hope for the best and expect the worst. But six hours at Denver International late at night has to be something similar to the survival training that our buddy Ben told us about from his days at the Air Force Academy. In the war for airport supremacy, the man with the most power outlets and gummy worms wins. I managed the battery-life remaining percentage on my iPhone like it was a ticking timebomb. If it had gone down to zero, I would've certainly gone insane. Poor Jimbo was losing that battle - he spent his time trying to be the first person to discover how to comfortably sit in those blue vinyl and metal airport chairs. He gave that up and switched to the rock-hard floor. I knew his brain was turning to mush when he said, "If I ever build my own airport, the floors will be made entirely out of mattresses." It was getting ugly.

Everything you need to know about Ballynizzle 2011

7/11/2011 0 comments
The next two years will be one, long continuous Climb.

Congrats to Team Jefenator and especially captain Jefe, who was so focused on keeping it under 1,000 total strokes on this golf trip, he left the Ballynizzle Cup at the club.

"Colorado Man" in Golf World

7/08/2011 1 comments
Check out the latest edition of Golf World. My ugly mug in print! More on this later, but I do enjoy how they are foreshadowing my eventual move to Colorado. And thanks again to Brian Carruthers for the unintentional sand-bag. 7-capper.

Golf World is personally significant for me as it reminds me of my late grandparents, who are the reason that I play this great game. They had gotten a free subscription to Golf World from a Florida car dealership back when they bought a Buick probably in 1988. They kept getting the magazine long after that car was long gone, past when my grandpa died in 1996 and right up until my Nana died 18 months ago. When I would visit my Nana after college, I would pour through old GolfWorld's about 8-10 at a time.

I spoke during my Nana's funeral service and talked about these visits, where I would come down with my friends and play nearby World Woods for 3-4 days straight. These trips were really the genesis for every far-flung golf buddy trip since. My Nana lovingly whipped up a meal that undoubtedly included a huge bowl of mashed potatoes and her awesome homemade apple sauce. We'd golf all day, eat at 8 and we konked out by 9:30. What great guests! The price for all of this hospitality was occasionally getting on the roof to clean out the gutters, where one false move might leave you impaled by a lightning rod.

I also spoke about how trying to make my grandparents proud of me was a motivating factor growing up. It kept me on the straight and narrow in school and kept my grades up in college. The mantra "Make Nana Proud" has kept me striving to be a generally decent guy ever since, even now after they are gone (maybe even more so). I can't help but think they'd be proud seeing this "Colorado man" in their free subscription of Golf World this week, once the "our grandson is crazy...but I guess we already knew that" eventually wore off.

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What's the Story, Rory? Glory! Ben Cox 108/155 hits 100k!

7/05/2011 0 comments

One quick post to announce that the Ben Cox golf marathon has reached the $100,000 mark in pledges today. What can I say...simply unbelievable. When I hatched this crazy idea to walk 108 holes in a day, my hopes were to literally raise $2,500 for the Cox family by e-mailing a group of my golf buddies. Three months later, here we are at FORTY times that amount and still going (still time to get in the golf raffle if you hurry.)

Of course, none of this would've been possible if it weren't for the support of hundreds of friends and fellow golf addicts who read about Ben, were inspired by his story and wanted to help him and his family. It was truly a grassroots effort that climbed to $100,000 by $50 or $100 at a time. Many donated money. Others donated raffle items. Others helped spread the word by e-mailing their friends or by harassing PGA Tour pros on Twitter... buddy Tim Bert deserves a special shout-out for cyberstalking Rory McIlroy on Twitter the last couple of weeks, trying desperately to get a "RT" of one of the many links and stories that has come out about this event. I believe Tim has made it his life's mission to get a nod from the reigning U.S. Open champ by any means necessary. I joked that by time Rory actually does respond, Tim won't be able to get within 500 feet to personally thank him.

So if you're on Twitter, hit the tweet button at the end up this post and send @McIlroyRory a note asking for a RT on the #bencox155 raffle. Feel free to use this post's URL or any of the links below. Tell him @FiveClubWind sent you. Whomever gets Rory to finally respond gets a Ballyneal golf shirt (Tim will get one also).

[p.s. special thanks for Brian Carruthers for telling Golf World that I'm a 7 handicap. Now that the story has made the most recent print version of the magazine, tens of thousands of people think that I'm a 7 capper. At first I was upset about this, but now I've come to realize that this unintentional sand-bagging should improve my chances of winning the Ballynizzle Cup back from Jefe this weekend. Either way, Brian is not going to hear the end of it.]

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