2015 Golf Season in Review

For the first couple of years I wrote my blog, I did a write-up at the end of each year to put the season in to words, and to commend the courses I felt were the best that year in multiple categories.

As my site has continued to grow, this has become less academic, especially since I joined a private club a few years back and am obviously playing a much smaller sample of different courses each season.

It doesn’t hurt to write a little review, though, especially for my own pleasure to look back at in the future at what was the golf season of 2015.

The winter of 2015 extended a little longer than normal, with most golf courses opening in early April. This was a couple weeks earlier than in 2014, but months behind some years. I am already praying that 2016 will see course openings back in the February timeline again… Fingers crossed.

With last night’s first snow of the Winter, I figure this is as good a time as any to wrap things up… Not that I won’t be out there if/when the weather warms up and the grounds are healthy enough to play!

Most of my rounds this year were played at my home course of North Hills Country Club, which under the tutelage of Randy DuPont was in exceptional shape again all year round. My season was a roller coaster of sorts, starting out with an index of 12.1 and getting down to 9.0, shooting consistently for a while in the low 80’s.

Then I became a bad nine, right around September first, shooting 87-89 and losing money in my Saturday games. In games where the total monetary payout ranges from $3-5, I actually lost $45 one day. Ouch.

That is enough about my game, though – what about the courses from 2015?

2015: Best Public Golf Course Played

1. Pacific Dunes (OR)

Rated the number two public course by Golf Digest, number two modern course by GolfWeek, and number one public course in the country by Golf.com, Pacific Dunes is coastal golf at its very best. Designed by Tom Doak and opened in 2001, Pacific Dunes blends perfectly rugged Bandon landscape with ingenious hole layouts and execution.

Pacific Dunes hole 4

Pacific Dunes hole 4

Pacific Dunes Website

2. Streamsong, Red Course (FL)

Just a few years old, the Red course at Streamsong has already amassed an incredible number of accolades, including the number 18 public course in the United States.

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Golf Destination: Gulf Shores (AL)

Our buddies’ golf trip to the Gulf Shores of Alabama started out as most do: A few of my married friends were somehow able to come up with a weekend that would work for everyone, and needed one more buddy to round out their foursome.

I have been working on branching out more from the Midwest golf scene, and a trip to a new state sounded ideal! I have been through Alabama for work before, but never spent much time there. I have always heard great things, though, and especially about their quality of golf.

Some calls were made and a significant amount of research was done, and voila a great buddies’ golf trip was borne!

The hard part, as is the case with all golf trips, is the waiting. For our group, it was only a couple of months since with everyone’s buy-in we were able to put it together pretty quickly during the recent Wisconsin winter.

As the ten-day forecast approached on weather.com, each day in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL seemed to be better than the last: 80 degrees and sunny or partly cloudy. Then came the first ten-day forecast including April 9-12: 79 and sunny on Thursday, April 9 (travel day), followed by 80 and thunderstorms with 80-90% chance of rain on Friday, Saturday and Sunday – all three of our golfing days!

On the eve of our trip, the forecast improved slightly: 90% chance of rain dropped to 50% chance of rain, and 80% fell to 40%. Fortunately for us, if the weather was awful then at least we’d be staying in an unbelievable 4-bedroom condo on the beach at the Turquoise Place! Three days with four guys sitting on two beds in a Red Roof Inn would obviously have been more of a letdown.

Staying at the Turquoise Place in Orange Beach, Alabama, we were not exactly going to be slumming it. What would be plenty unfortunate, though, if the weather failed to cooperate is that we would not have been able to enjoy the beach and the Gulf of Mexico… And of course the golf!

The Turquoise Place (Spectrum Resorts) in Orange Beach / Gulf Shores, Alabama

The Turquoise Place (Spectrum Resorts) in Orange Beach / Gulf Shores, Alabama

For months leading up to this trip, I would have to take breaks at work to check out the websites and additional Google Image searches for the courses we would be playing. Kiva Dunes’ website, especially received a ton of additional hits courtesy of my iPhone and laptop.

Fingers were crossed that our golf trip would go well, and that we would somehow luck out and have playable golf weather.

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