Ah, the college years, spent in the Central portion of the country. Attending school in the late 60’s and early 70’s, if I played golf then, I don’t recall the details. Everything is kind of fuzzy. I’m starting fresh here. Let’s explore this great area of the country together. The Central include: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Mississippi, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Ohio.
Missouri and Kansas: The Golf Squad: One Good, One Bad, One Blonde.
This should more accurately read One Bad, One “Badderer”, One Blonde. If you are a Baby Boomer, you know where I stole this phrase. If not, google The Mod Squad. We were traveling across country from Colorado to Illinois (and back). We were frugal travelers on this trip, so the two men and one woman (without their spouses) will be sharing a room. My question is, “who sleeps with Sally?” Since we are siblings, I hope the answer is NOBODY!
Three of the Springfield “kids”, Scott, Sally, and Steve are headed to a College Homecoming. Back in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s we somehow all ended up at Aurora College in Aurora, IL.
The last time we traveled this far and this close together was in 1960 in our 1956 Ford station wagon, which also included Mom, Dad, and our older sister Sue. Mom and Dad would have been proud as we completed this 2,000 mile journey still talking to one another.
The two states between Colorado and Illinois along I-70 are Missouri and Kansas. So now we had to find the perfect spots for me to stop and pee; Sally to get something to eat; and Steve to embarrass us with the locals. And yes, find a couple of 9-hole golf courses.
In Ballwin, MO we found a fun course and played with a couple of super guys. In Monroe City, MO, they must have heard we were coming because nobody was home…we played anyway. In Russell, KS, we just stopped because we were so close to the geographical center of the United States (and I had to pee, Sally had to eat, & Steve had to be a jokester).
P.S. I want to make it perfectly clear, the answer is NOBODY!
Michigan: Michigan, Motown, Motor City…Memories
Four men, who have know each other since the late ‘50’s gathered in Michigan to share a longtime bond in a time of sorrow, as one of these men had just lost a loved one.
One day was filled with eating, drinking, and watching classic cars parade during the Woodward Dream Cruise. It was also a day of remembrance and sharing tales of our youth.
Another day continued to take us back to the ‘60’s as we visited Detroit and the songs of our teenage years – Motown.
We ended our trip by visiting two local 9-hole courses and a venture across the border to play a 9-holer in Canada.
GA, TN, MO, KS, CO: 75 to 24 to 64 to 70 to 25 or 6 to 4
This could have easily been named the Crappy Rental Club Tour; the Airport Golf Course Tour; or just the Bad Golfers, Old Men Working/Golfing Tour.
Let’s break this down. One of my Always Time for 9 golf staffers, DC Dave, was selling his products at a gift show in Atlanta and I was helping him with my “professional” sales skills. We decided to drive from Colorado to Georgia and play some golf along the way. The distance from Denver to Atlanta is about 1400 miles and 20 hours drive time. Multiply that by two (2800 miles/40 hours – I can do this math because I was an elementary school teacher) plus five days standing on our feet for nine hours, that is our excuse for being tired, old, bad golfers. Our senior bodies were just worn out.
Excuse number two for our bad rounds…crappy rental clubs. Because DC Dave had to selfishly make room for all his product, there was no room for golf clubs. I thinks he needs to get his priorities in order! Was this a golf or work trip? Most of the clubs we rented were pretty bad but that was to be expected from our experiences at smaller golf courses. You know the usual bag…no matched clubs, missing a few irons, two 5-woods, no putter, one left-handed iron, etc. To our astonishment, McCabe GC in Nashville did have a decent set!
Lastly, two of the courses were right next to major airports in Atlanta and St. Louis. We felt as if a few of the fairways were alternate runways used for emergency landings.
The above title of this golf adventure references the Interstate Highways we traveled between our destinations. The last part of the title is well known to people of my age group…yes we are now senior citizens.
The following are courses we played on this trip along with a few others along this route that I played on prior trips.
College Park Golf Course – College Park, GA
Heart of America Golf Course – Kansas City, MO
Berry Hill Golf Course – Bridgeton, MO
Russell Municipal Golf Course – Russell, KS
McCabe Golf Course – Nashville, TN
Prairie Pines Golf Club – Burlington, CO
Mountain Vista Golf Course – Fort Collins, CO
WI, MI, IL: The Great Lakes Circle Golf Tour
We start this tour in Illinois with something that is inconceivable to me. I am in town for my 50th college reunion at Aurora University in Aurora, IL. This also the place where I started my golf journey. During my final semester at Aurora, I took Golf 101: An Introduction to Golf. I know, final semester – Golf 101? Being a 5th year senior, I had graduated during the winter, so instead of going to work, I decided to use my last year of baseball eligibility to play. My teacher was my baseball and soccer coach and one of the people who started me on this golf adventure. Thanks coach Bornkamp and Rest in Peace.
As usual I am joined by Mr. 5-Wood (alias DC Dave); Woody; and the one and only Armchair Piper. We are just a bunch of old men trying to fill Lake Michigan with our wayward tee shots.
The journey began minus the late arriving Armchair Piper, but his substitute was my old AU soccer and baseball teammate Ray Phillips.
Belmont Golf Course – Downers Grove, IL
The meat of the trip starts with our first Wisconsin course and the 2022 Course of the Year. None of us could find the green at the signature Hole #2 Volcano Hole.
Eagle Springs Golf Resort – Eagle, WI
Welcome to the official golf course of the Green Bay Packers. It was a green and gold kind of day. Golf in the morning and a visit to Lambeau Field in the afternoon.
Thornberry Creek at Oneida (Iroquois Course) – Oneida, WI
We have made our way up the west coast of Lake Michigan and are now at the farthest north point. Not expecting much at this point, but found one of our hidden gems.
Stony Point Golf Course – Manistique, MI
A history lesson, ferry ride, horse-drawn taxi, chocolate drops, and circus ring were just a few of the unique features of the course on Mackinac Island.
Wawashkamo Golf Club – Mackinac Island, MI
We continue on the Circle Golf Tour as we make our way down the eastern shore of Grand Traverse Bay and then up the western shore until we find the northern point of the peninsula at Grand Traverse Lighthouse and…
Northport Creek Golf Course – Northport, MI
After a quick stop at Holland Brewing Company in Holland, MI, our journey has come full circle and we are back in the Chicagoland area.
Silver Lake Country Club (Rolling Hills Course) – Orland Park, IL
Route 66 – Part 1: Grabbing my Sticks and Golfing Route 66
We begin Part 1 of the journey west on the “Mother Road” from Chicago, IL. This is a good starting point for me because it takes me back to my college years in the Chicagoland area. The eastern section of Route 66 took me through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. The old TV show (Route 66) followed the travels of two restless young men (Tod and Buz) as they traversed the United States in their Chevy Corvette seeking the meaning of life in the early 1960’s.
The Always Time for 9 YouTube Channel and website follows the travels of one nomadic old man (Scott) seeking the meaning of golf on those same Route 66 roads in his, well…not Chevy Corvette. Buz and Tod experienced adventure, crime, and drama in their travels. I experienced adventure (many “fairways less traveled” 9-hole courses); crime (Oldham County CC?); and drama (trying to break 40 on each course) while I golfed in the small towns along Route 66 as I entered my twilight years in the early 2020’s.
With the help of a few outstanding people, I had found the meaning of life many years ago!
South Shore Golf Course – Chicago, IL
Boughton Ridge Golf Course – Bolingbrook, IL
Bergen Golf Course – Springfield, IL
Tower Tee Golf & Recreation – St. Louis, MO
Betty Allison Junior Golf Course at Oscar Blom – Springfield, MO
Baxter Springs Golf Course – Baxter Springs, KS
The Greens Golf Course in Burns Flat – Foss, OK
Oldham County Country Club – Vega, TX
12 Shores at Ute Lake – Tucumcari, NM
Trea Lagunas Golf Course – Santa Rosa, NM
Puerto Del Sol Golf Course – Albuquerque, NM