Inverted Cups – Yay or Nay?

Life is about making choices and often difficult ones. Look no further than a certain soup company from commercials years ago, in fact, so long ago that it feels like a lifetime ago. You had to make a choice, “fork or spoon”. Heck, back in the day there was a local amusement park that had a roller coaster called “The Comet” and they decided to make some seats facing the front and some facing the back. In their commercial, there were two Buffalo Sabres hockey players arguing “frontwards…backwards”. Choices.

One of the protocols put into place here in Ontario (or in most places for that matter) to allow golfers to get back out onto the course was to modify cups. The reason was simple and pretty obvious. It was to limit the amount of contact golfers would have on each other and implements on the course.

There are many ways to do this. Pool noodles have been placed inside or outside of the hole, and in some cases, rudimentary pieces of 2″ PVC tubing have been employed as well. The latter was awful, not only was it a cost-cutting “nickel and diming” way of doing things but I also still came into contact with the pin. Out of necessity, tinkerers have invented things like PitchFix’s “PickCup” (left) or the “EZ Lyft” (right) have been created. All of these methods allow the golf ball to disappear like your playing… “real” golf. Both of those products are pictured below.

I would be the first to admit that I hated the inverted cup idea. My malcontent was due to a few things. What differentiated a “holed out” putt, chip, or pitch and one that wasn’t? In the following picture, I made putts from the same distance, utilizing the same stroke and both were right in the “gut of the noodle”. You’ll see that both golf balls came to rest in varying lengths away from the hole. What are the guidelines? Is it up to the discretion of the golfer? If you simply hit the inverted cup is said shot, holed? In my opinion, I think that there is a lot in question here and it becomes even more convoluted the further out from the green that you go. I think by using the inverted cup you’d see handicaps lower by 2 to 3 shots, which isn’t and wouldn’t be a fair representation of a golfer’s true handicap.

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But, there might be a hidden “pro” to the inverted cup idea. In a way, it’s almost like a training aid. When we’re putting or performing any other short game shots, it’s our focus that’s paramount. Granted, we should be focused no matter the shot. At any rate, we’re either keyed in on the hole or the pin. The other day was my first time practicing my short game and in doing so, it was also the first time that I’ve experienced inverted cups.

For some inexplicable reason coming out of the gate this year my short game has been “clicking”. It’s odd because usually the short game and consequential feel is the last thing that I find early in the season. The golf that I’ve played has been very limited thus far, seeing that it’s been limited to a total of 18 holes, not consecutively played. I played 4 holes with my former GM and he was inquisitive about my short game asking “Where is that coming from?” and the answer is that generally, it’s always been there. My scrambling stats show that.

So I’m out there the other day practicing my short-game after working on my full-swing (ugh, that’s been surreal and a story for another day) at Brock Golf Course. It’s a fun facility not too far from my front door. It seemed like I couldn’t miss. I was “holing out” chips, pitches, and putts from nearly everywhere. I found that the pool noodles were almost acting like “Tiger Vision” from the old Tiger Woods PGA TOUR video games for the consoles. My focus was honed!

While I’m still no proponent of inverted cups, I feel that in some cases there’s a benefit to them. Other than helping golfers to stay safe and not spread COVID-19 they can help with focus. What say you? Yay or Nay?

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Where Golf and Fly Fishing Meet

I’m fortunate to have two loves that I am completely passionate about. Obviously, the game of golf is one of them. I’m firmly entrenched in the industry as I’m been employed at golf courses for most of the past 10 years. Not to mention that I love to play and write about the game that we love.

Then there’s fly fishing. I was an angler long before I was a golfer, and my sojourn into the world of fly fishing never took place until 2008. That’s a long story in itself how I got immersed in the world of leaky waders, tangled leaders, and beautiful Brook Trout. But the short version is that my dad was my fishing buddy. He passed away in 2004 and I lost all interest in fishing. Then on a trip to Erie, PA  happened for my wife’s birthday. Every stream that we passed on NY’s I-90 West there were guys and gals in waders standing mid-stream. Yadda, yadda, yadda, I became interested in fishing again and a fly rod has been in my hands ever since. I write occasionally about that as well.

The mechanics of both activities closely tie into one another. When fly-casting, you have to be on-plane (something that I failed to mention in the video below is that I happen to cast on two-planes), you have to be connected, and tempo all matter. Say golfer’s, does this sound at all familiar?

Please check out the video below. Here\s to fairway and greens and tight loops. Cheers!

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Review Introduction – Asheville Botanicals Swing and Fairway CBD Oil(s)

Prior to the 2020 PGA Show, I was in contact with Arthur Viente. who is the Executive Vice President of Sales & CMO for Asheville Botanicals. Upon making his introduction to me, I shared a press release about the brand that included his experiences with their CBD Oil formulations. That release can be seen here.

While at the 2020 PGA Show, I stopped by their booth and had a terrific conversation about Asheville Botanicals and what sets them apart from others in the CBD industry. At the time of the meeting, Asheville Botanicals were in the process of a soft launch for two new golf-specific products. Their full-spectrum Fairway and Swing CBD Oils.

Please see the video below as I discuss their products as an introduction to testing and review. Stay tuned for more information and a final review piece on these products.

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Practice In Isolation – The UTNT Practice Centre For Deprived Golfers

Practice?! We’re talking about practice? Who remembers former NBA-superstar Allen Iverson’s famous rant? Practice, it’s essential for us golfers. But what happens when we cannot get to a golf course or a driving range to work on our game. What if, we were in isolation? Too soon? One way or another, we need to work on our game. So we might set up an area in our backyard… If we have one.

I’m fortunate to currently have a backyard and I have a lavish set-up. It’s a place that I use during the season when I don’t feel up to going out to a range. I use it to just unwind and decompress when I’m feeling “off”. Heck, I’ll use it in the dead of winter too in weather that is -15*C. I did this past winter before leaving for the PGA Show.

So, here’s my set-up. “The UTNT Practice Centre For Deprived Golfers” and the cost.

  • Callaway Golf Practice Net ($25 CAD)
  • Folded up carpet remnant (free)
  • Balls (Free. I’ve found them walking along creek beds while fly fishing)
  • Turf “mat” ($19 CAD. It was an actual practice mat that fell apart after 20 swings)
  • Tiki Torch holder ($4 CAD)

Not seen though is the Big Moss Putting “Augusta” Putting mat. That’s kept indoors. I admit that I received that item for review a long time ago. Maybe 5 years ago or so.

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In total, I am in for $48 CAD. It’s modest, not fancy, and borders on embarrassing. But, it’s what I can have within my means. It’s mine, bought and paid for, and it’s effective.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

More Than Golf and a PGA TOUR Event – Innisbrook Resort

When you think of Florida golf, what do you think of? For me, I think of water hazards with alligators, a lot of wildlife, Bermuda grass, and last but not least pretty flat, mundane golf courses with little to no elevation change. On these golf courses, when you see undulation in the fairways or mounding, the easy assumption is to assume that it’s manmade landmarks or features. But there is one golf course, or shall I say four on Florida’s Gulf Coast that is just a little bit different than the rest or shall I say unique. That golf property is that of Innisbrook Resort.

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It might be January. But the workers are getting the Copperhead Course ready for the Valspar Championship.

Innisbrook Resort, however, is so much more than a golf course or golf resort as I would learn during my recent trip to Florida for the 2020 PGA Show. Simply put, Innisbrook Resort is more than a venue that hosts the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship. It’s a self-contained property that features a bevy of amenities as I would soon learn on a very recent tour of the property. Many thanks go out to Ramona Herald who is the Director of Public Relations for Innisbrook Resort for taking the time to show me everything that Innisbrook has to offer.

 

Location, Location

Finding Innisbrook Resort is quite easy. U.S. Route 19 runs along the gulf coast that reaches to many points in and around the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and passes through Clearwater, Dunedin (Home of the Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training Camp), Palm Harbor, and Tarpon Springs. The highway extends north to Spring Hill, Florida and beyond as it’s 264 miles long (425 km). As far as Innisbrook Resort goes it is located in Palm Harbor where you will find its main entrance right off of the popular U.S. Route 19. The resort entrance is easy to see as it is appointed with well marked-out signage.

 

The Property

The property that Innisbrook sits on is quite remarkable. Sitting on 900 acres, Innisbrook Resort is one of the very few places in Florida, especially close to the coast, that features natural topography. In saying that I refer to hills. As you drive into the main entrance off of #19 or the secondary entrance off of E. Klostermann Road you’ll be greeted by friendly security staff ensuring that you belong on the property whether it’s for a weekend stay or for a day trip. Security is important at Innisbrook because as you’ll soon find out there is more to Innisbrook Resort than being a golf destination. It’s a family destination.

It doesn’t take you long to start to decompress as you drive through the property. This large, stunning resort that sits so close to the urban sprawl of Tampa/St.Pete. You cannot help but feel enamored as you take in the lush greenery that surrounds you, the cries of Osprey filling the air, and the sparkling waters that dot the resort. All pressed against a seemingly cloudless blue sky. Not to mention the gorgeous, ancient oak trees that are draped in Spanish Moss. Innisbrook Resort really feels like a refuge… A sanctuary that just beckons you to feel calm, be slow and be relaxed.

As you enter the resort from the main entrance all of the low-rises that house the accommodations are listed in alphabetical order. All named after famous golf courses. For example, “M” is for Muirfield.

 

Amenities

The amenities on the resort are plentiful, to say the least. It truly is a literal cornucopia of creature comforts. There are trams that will take you throughout the property. So if you wanted to go to Packard’s Steakhouse for an 18oz Ribeye you have that option. There is no shortage of dining options as there are five locations including The Market, Turnberry Pub, The Grill at Loch Ness, and Market Salamander Grille and Bar without leaving your parking space. That’s actually if you have a vehicle with you. If you like live entertainment (music) than the Osprey Club is where you want to be on Friday and Saturday nights. The Osprey Club seemingly flows out the convertible patio doors turning the space into a large open-air bar. A gorgeous patio is adorned with fire pits and overlooks the nearby greens of the golf course.

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The Osprey Club at the Osprey Clubhouse. (Photo Credit: Innisbrook Resort)

If you wanted to spend a day at the beach there is a complimentary shuttle that will transfer you to and from the resort to Honeymoon Island State Park. If you’ve never been here, you are missing out. An airport shuttle is available for a surcharge.

For tennis and racquet sports lovers Innisbrook Resort features 11 clay courts with 7 of them being available for illumination. Looking for a game and have nobody to play with? Let the concierge at the tennis centre know and they’ll be more than happy to find a game for you. Also, there are three indoor racquetball courts available for aficionados of that game.

On the property, there are 6 pools available for swimming including the enormous Loch Ness Monster Pool which features waterslides. It’s a great place for families as there are activities offered to keep your children/grandchildren occupied while you play golf. If you like to hike or walk through nature, enjoy one of the trails that takes you just a little bit off of the beaten path.

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A look from above. The Loch Ness Monster Pool. (Photo Credit: Innisbrook Resort)

Do you need some extra relaxation in your life? Perhaps, you need to feel a little “Zen”? Then maybe a trip to their Salamander Spa is in order. When I walked into the spa, I felt further relaxation just on account of the soft music that played and the aromatherapy that floated through the air. The spa is full-service and offers a salon, a variety of massage, facials, manicure/pedicures and a whole lot more. How about taking steam in their Eucalyptus Steam Room? Are you wanting to get some quiet time with your loved one? How about a couples massage in a room with a gas fireplace? Afterward, enjoy even more quiet time with your loved one drinking a glass of wine in their beautiful courtyard. The staff here is friendly and is there with one purpose. To make you feel welcome, happy, and relaxed.

Innisbrook Resort is a wedding destination as well. What a stunning place to exchange your nuptials. The “Wedding Tree” quickly comes to mind when I think about weddings at Innisbrook Resort.

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Rooms

There are several room types to choose from during your stay at Innisbrook Resort. Ranging from Deluxe Guest Rooms with 300 square feet, their Executive Suite with 750 square feet (with a kitchenette), their 1 and 2-bedroom suites with 1,000 and 1,200 square feet respectively (feature full kitchen) to their 2,000 square foot 2-storey Penthouse Suite.

All of the rooms here have been renovated and extensively remodeled. The rooms are tastefully decorated in modern decor and in the case where there are kitchens, they come fully-equipped with stainless steel appliances.

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The Executive Suite at Innisbrook. All of the rooms have been remodeled. (Photo Credit: Innisbrook Resort)

Golf

Alright, I know you’ve been waiting to find out about the golf at Innisbrook Resort. There are four championship golf courses at Innisbrook Resort and all of them were designed by architect Lawrence Packard who lived to be almost 102 years of age. All four are unique in their own right and all feature their own stand-alone Clubhouse/Pro Shop. There is a golf academy on the property as well. The Innisbrook Golf Institute was founded 30 years ago by its Founder Dawn Mercer.

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  • Copperhead Course – The golf course that every golfer knows at Innisbrook. This is the course that is home to the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship. It measures over 7,200 yards from the tips and the “Snake Pit” is where good rounds can disappear very quickly.
  • North Course – The Par 70, 6,325-yard course is no slouch. The North Course is also known as “Baby Copperhead”. Eleven holes feature water hazards while the green complexes are well-bunkered. It might be short but your accuracy has to be mighty to navigate your way around the North Course. Trees, challenging Par-3 holes and tight fairways are what awaits to “strike” you down.
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Scintillating vistas. (Photo Credit: Innisbrook Resort)

  • South Course The greens on the South Course were renovated and features the same turf as the popular Copperhead Course. Here you’ll find greens constructed of TifEagle Bermuda grass. The South is more of a links-style golf course complete with waste bunkers and 10 water hazards. The South Course is a Par-71, that measures 6,620 yards from the tips.
  • Island Course – I have two mental images that are lasting about the Island Course. Elegant, magnificent oak trees with the ever-present Spanish Moss draping them and the unbelievable topography change from the 10th tee to the approach up to the green. And I do mean up! While the Copperhead Course has notoriety amongst golfers, the Island Course has had its fair share of events. In the past, the Island Course has been home to U.S. Open Qualifiers, NCAA Championships, and the LPGA Tour chose the Island Course as the venue for the ISPS Handa Legends Tour Open Championship. Tight fairways, a plethora of water hazards and really is like playing three different courses in one round of golf. The Island Course is aesthetically appealing and pretty potent. Carnage awaits on this Par 72 – 7,194 yard gem.

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I’m looking forward to my next visit to Innisbrook Resort as it will be a chance to take in the resort itself from a guest standpoint and maybe afford me the opportunity to play a round or two of golf. Innisbrook Resort is way more than a PGA TOUR venue. It’s a frame of mind and a sanctuary. The resort is fully self-contained with a large conference meeting space, a variety of rooms, a spa, tennis courts, and four championship golf courses, and six pools. What more could you want? There is another “magical kingdom” in Florida and that kingdom is Innisbrook Resort.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee