2018 Winter Giveaway – Week 9

First, my congratulations to Serge Palin who was the winner of a dozen Snell Golf Canada balls for Week 8.  Serge entered three times last week – Instagram, Facebook and on the blog.  Well done and thanks for following!

This is the final week.  Week 9.  We’re only 5+ weeks until The Masters so we did it.  We got through the worst of the winter.  I’ll share a recap next week so I’ll hold off from an extended thanks at this time.  So how do you enter?  You already have.  Every single entry over the first 8 weeks has you eligible for the week 9 prize.  We’re trading in the toque for a Snell Canada black hat.  Of course, I’ll throw two sleeves of balls too.  Even the Get Sum balls will be white…it’s time to think spring friends!

I hope as the weather improves and we soon move the clubs from the basement or garage onto the course, I hope you’ll continue to visit my blog regularly.  I’ll be adding more course reviews and continue my quest to play courses on my bucket list.  I’ll have more interviews, opinion pieces and even a book review or two.  I hope you’ll see some better photographs and am always happy to engage around issues of public golf in Canada so reach out anytime.  As you all know, I’m on Twitter (@36aday), Instagram (@mj_36aday) and on Facebook (36aday Blog).

 

Week 9

The final week of the 2018 Winter Giveaway is up for grabs.  If you entered anytime over the previous 8 weeks you’re eligible to win!  Thanks for your support this winter.

 

 

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Revolutionary Golf – Part 2 – Golf ball delivery, fit just for you

@36aday is pleased to introduce interviews with leaders in the game of golf. Nine questions are presented to probe important issues of the game, personal experiences, stories and insight. Just like 9 holes of golf, I hope you find this enjoyable and that it leaves you wanting more.

A Quick 9 With Michael Flori, Owner and Founder of Revolutionary Golf, a US company with an innovative plan to have you playing the right golf ball.  They’ll even ship your golf balls right to your door each month.

Part Two of our conversation focuses on integration into the Canadian market, a vision for success and Michael’s bucket list of courses (and his dream foursome).

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 5. How would you characterize the feedback you have received so far with your business concept?

MF – One or two people have told me that they weren’t crazy about the subscription model but said they’d still try it for the fitting. I do have to say that virtually everyone I’ve spoken to has told me they love the custom fitting feature. I am still very confident in my subscription model because I have also heard from many people that it is an awesome idea and “totally something they’d use”. Somebody I recently spoke with was actually going on about how much this was needed in golf and how he loved the movement I was trying to start. He said too many people are using these overpriced overhyped golf balls when they really shouldn’t be. I’ve also received support from various people that I hadn’t known previous to starting this. They all thought it was a great idea and they wanted to help in any way they could. I’d also like to mention that more people than I thought actually realize the importance of being fit but a lot of them haven’t gotten around to doing it because it’s so hard to access a fitting center. They recognize that with Revolutionary Golf it will be effortless to be fit and I think that’s why they love it so much.

 

6. Will you ship to Canada or are your plans to focus on the United States?

MF – If there are people living in Canada that want my box then absolutely! The only issue for them will be the shipping. Shipping will cost roughly $20.00 which really stinks but if a Canadian customer wants to order a box or a glove or something, they absolutely can. It will just cost more for shipping than it would in the US. I plan on eventually expanding and possibly opening up an office in Canada one day to reduce shipping costs but that most likely won’t be for a while.

36aday – I understand from my relationship with Snell Golf Canada how challenging shipping issues are in Canada.  Still, I am glad it’s an option for Canadian golfers.

 

7. What does success look like for you?  What is your vision for Revolutionary Golf?

MF – I’m glad you asked. For me I will truly succeed when every golfer is using the correct golf ball consistently and has the knowledge to know why it’s the right ball. I understand the golf ball subscription box model is not for everyone and that’s okay. However, I do believe that a golf ball subscription box can benefit a lot of people. I believe it can benefit most people because it is more convenient, you’ll play better by always using the same golf ball, and you can save a lot of money. Shipping will cost $8 but if you order a glove with your box for $10 then shipping is free. This means you’ll be saving money on your glove and your golf balls. Just think if you could get a high quality glove for only $10 and not pay for shipping. It just makes sense. There will also be other things included in the box like tees, ball markers, and I am also hoping to partner with other companies and be able to deliver coupons and other cool golf gadgets to my subscribers. There are eight phases that I have laid out for Revolutionary Golf. My goal is to move up the ladder I have created all the way to phase eight and become the #1 golf subscription box in the world. When I’ve done that I will feel I have succeeded.

 8. So how about yourself?  Are you a golfer and what golf balls do you prefer to use?

MF – Yes, I’ve been playing for about 8 years and I freaking love this game. If I could do one thing it would probably be to play golf all day every single day, it’s that addicting to me. The golf ball that I use is the Callaway Chrome Soft. I’ve been using it for the last 2 years and I love it! It’s so soft around the greens and provides very good spin on all of my iron shots. I also hit it well with the driver.

 9. Last question and it’s a standard one.  What course(s) are top on your bucket list to play?  And who would be in your dream foursome?

MF – I think this was the hardest question. I’d have to say these courses are on the top of my list:

  • Augusta
  • Andrews
  • Chambers Bay
  • Pebble Beach
  • TPC Sawgrass
  • Whistling Straits
  • Wolf Creek

My dream foursome would probably include: Myself, Tiger Woods, Jason Day, and Jordan Spieth. Jason and Jordan were two of my favorite golfers when I started to really become obsessed with the game so I’d definitely want to play with them. And I’d love to play with Tiger because I’m just so fascinated by his athletic abilities both physically and mentally.

36aday – I am going to give you my number, you call me if one of those three can’t make it and I’ll gladly tag along as a fourth!  That’s a great foursome.  Michael, thank you so much for your time and I wish you much success as you continue the development and launch of Revolutionary Golf.

 

Click here for Part 1 of my interview with Revolutionary Golf.

Revolutionary Golf – Part 1 – Golf ball delivery, fit just for you

@36aday is pleased to introduce interviews with leaders in the game of golf. Nine questions are presented to probe important issues of the game, personal experiences, stories and insight. Just like 9 holes of golf, I hope you find this enjoyable and that it leaves you wanting more.

A Quick 9 With Michael Flori, Owner and Founder of Revolutionary Golf, a US company with an innovative plan to have you playing the right golf ball.  They’ll even ship your golf balls right to your door each month.

Part One of our conversation focuses on this unique business model and plans for roll out later in 2018.

RevolutionaryGolf

  1. Welcome to a Quick 9, Michael.  So what is Revolutionary Golf?

MF – Thank you very much. In short, Revolutionary Golf is a golf ball subscription box for golfers. The question I get most often after I say that is, “What makes it so revolutionary?” There are already two golf ball subscription boxes on the market. They are called High Side Golf and Tee Box Club. What separates my box from them is my custom fitting feature. I have done tons of research and developed a formula that I can use to fit golfers for golf balls. So when my box launches I will be able to custom fit golfers for golf balls and then send them a box each month with their balls as well as some other accessories. I’m not just marketing a box here; I’m starting a movement, a revolution if you will. Too many golfers are falling for the age old trick that more expensive golf balls are always better for you, or if the pros use them you should too. This is just not correct, and it’s time for somebody to put a stop to it. That’s the mission of Revolutionary Golf.

  1. There are a few unique aspects to your business I’d like to explore with you.  First, the subscription component.  What was your rationale for a golf ball subscription model?  And while you mention two others I don’t know if I have ever heard of that before.

MF – So it’s funny actually. My grandfather is the one who taught me how to golf and got me into the game. For the last few years he has been getting golf balls that he doesn’t use from his friends so he will bring them to me when he visits. It was early October 2017 and he had brought me a box of used Pro V1’s and a brand new box of Velocity golf balls. I was walking to my car to put the balls in my bag and I thought to myself, “What if I could turn this into a business? What if I could share the feeling of receiving golf balls right at your house once a month with other golfers?” That’s when Revolutionary Golf was initially born. I first wanted to ship out refurbished golf balls in an egg carton and for about 3 weeks that was the business model. I quickly decided this wouldn’t be an ideal model as unique as it was so I decided to use a box like most subscription boxes do. It was also at this time that I was doing my own research on golf ball dynamics and custom fitting. One day in October while doing my research the idea to integrate a custom fitting feature in with the box occurred to me. And it’s a good thing that it did because not too long after this I realized my original idea wasn’t so unique. There were already two golf ball subscription boxes on the market. Tee Box Club specialized in refurbished balls and High Side let you pick and choose your own box. Out of these two models I do believe mine is the best and I hope that with the help of my crowdfunding campaign I can bring it to the market soon.

36aday – You have certainly done considerable thinking about this!

  1. Next, the fitting component.  This intrigues me the most.  Please share an overview of the processes for determining what ball is right for a subscriber?

MF – Sure, I have developed a math based formula that I can use to custom fit any golfer for golf balls. In phase 1 of my business I am going to be personally fitting each golfer with my formula and I will get back to them with their fitting results and which box I believe they should order from my site. There will be seven boxes each with balls from the major brands and other accessories that you can add as well. I will take a look at their results and fit them based on my knowledge of the system that I’ve developed. Some of the questions they’ll be answering are:

  • Handicap
  • Swing Speed, if they know it
  • Driving Distance
  • If they have trouble hitting it straight
  • If they prefer to stop the ball on a dime or let it pitch and roll.
  • And a few other questions.

I will take these questions and fit them into one of seven categories by adding their numbers up and averaging them out. Each box has a number and I match the average number with the number of the box and voila, I get my result. I have tested this multiple times and found that each time I am able to correctly fit the person for the right box. I make sure when I fit someone that I send them a detailed explanation as to why they were fit for that box as well as a list of every ball they can use. The way it works is that each question has multiple predetermined answers. The job of the subscriber is to choose each answer that best fits them. I have written very informative articles on the specifics of the golf ball on my website. You can check them out on the blog page at RevolutionaryGolfBalls.com. I believe that these articles do a very good job at explaining the anatomy of the golf ball and how the fitting process is determined.

  1. I understand your business is still in development.  How are things progressing and when do expect to throw the switch and go live?

Things are progressing nicely. I only need $18,000 to launch and so I’ve decided to put together a crowdfunding campaign with the popular site, Indiegogo. I’ve decided to accept early bird discounted pre-orders. For only $35 contributors can get their first month for free. I did the math and that means an early contributor can receive golf balls and accessories valued at $60 for only $35. There will be some other really awesome perks as well. For example, if a contributor isn’t ready to commit to a box they can contribute $15 and receive the Revolutionary Golf glove to try for themselves. I am going to be launching the crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo on Tuesday March 20th. It will run for 35 days, which means you have about one month to capitalize on the awesome savings. Once we reach the $18,000 goal I will be able to pay the developers the $1000 down payment so they can begin working on the website as well as order the inventory. It may take between two and three months until I am ready to flip the switch. So as of right now you can expect Revolutionary Golf to launch in July. So my message to a reader interested would be to sign up for my email list now. Everyone signed up before July 1st will receive a 10% coupon. You will also be kept up to date on the progress of the campaign and website development. I will also occasionally send very helpful information in the form of blog posts.

36aday – that will make for a busy and exciting month for you!

Check tomorrow for Part Two of my conversation with Michael Flori, where we explore integration into the Canadian market, a vision for success and Michael’s bucket list of courses (and his dream foursome)

2018 Winter Giveaway – Week 8

Week 7 saw the final toque given away and congratulations to winner, Kevin Stone.  The 36 Golf Co. products are awesome and I’m sure you’ll love the hat coming your way.

This week will shine a light on a golf company that makes golf balls which made me switch over after one round.  Dean Snell’s story has been widely shared and I had the pleasure last year of interviewing him (Part One, Part Two, Part Three) and learning about his passion for creating a golf ball for the everyday player but with all the science, technology and modern innovation afforded to tour players.  This week’s winner will get 6 ‘My Tour Balls’ and 6 Optic Yellow ‘Get Sum’.  I also had a chance to speak with the team at Snell Golf Canada President, Ron Stenzl (see here).  Yes, we do have our own access to Snell balls here at home.

After all, after a long winter it is time to start to think about preparing for the long golf season ahead.  And getting a dozen golf balls to try out on course can only help with that preparation.

To win, it’s simply, reply either here on the blog or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (@mj_36aday) and share what is your golf goal for 2018.  You want to enter on all four platforms?  Be my guest.  And yes, that means you’ll have four chances to win.  One random winner will be drawn next Wednesday so get your entry in before the end of the day on Tuesday, February 27.  Here’s to our best season ever!

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Bear Mountain – Valley Course – Bear Mountains Best Course?

https://bearmountain.ca/recreation/golf/valley-course/

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Feeling comfortable and confident on the first tee.  Beautifully framed golf hole.

Living in Ontario where winter dictates a clear off-season, I was so excited to have an opportunity to travel back to Victoria this winter and play the newer course which is part of the 36-hole resort at Bear Mountain.   The course opened up in 2009 and with “elevated tee boxes, more generous fairway widths, fewer bunkers and larger greens…the Valley course will likely be considered a ‘friendlier’ version of the original”. (see course website)  I played on a mild day in early February, enjoying 9 holes of play and touring the remaining 9.

Jack Nicklaus was wise in creating a course to complement the unique challenge of his original work, the Mountain course.  And the website is apt in its description, it is a friendlier version and for all the reasons cited.  Friendly, yes.  Easy?  Not by any stretch.

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The bunkering reflects the rugged and natural look which Nicklaus incorporates throughout the Valley course.

The Mountain course has undergone several upgrades, which I wrote about, and which made it more compelling for me, having experienced it several years back.  The Valley course is very reminiscent of the early years of its sister course; structurally sound but with opportunity to mature more over time.  Taking advantage of excellent practice and warm up facilities – after all, Golf Canada uses the site for its National Team Training Centre – there are no reasons to hit the first tee feeling less than ready.

Contrasted to the manicured and polished nature of the Mountain course is a more natural, rugged Valley course.  A contrasting component I really appreciated was the sense of tranquility, as while housing developments are underway they seem set further back from play than on the Mountain course.  There are no holes which are adjacent to each other and this creates a very peaceful golf experience.

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Aim just left of that large rock.  A stunning natural feature on the par 4 5th hole.

With five sets of tee boxes ranging from 4674 to 6807 yards, I chose a relaxed tee box, the Grizzly tees.  My nine consisted of Holes 1-4 and 14-18. I immediately wished I could have had access to play the balance of the back nine, as the fifth hole was a fabulous uphill par 4.  With prominent rock croppings behind the green, it would be a fabulous target from which to base your approach shot.  Par 3’s are exceptionally guarded throughout the course with natural and rugged bunkers.  The par 4 8th hole is gorgeous.  Again, rocks frame the landing area and while not in play, a slight gorge cuts the fairway from the green.

The routing of the course is not a traditional loop.  The 10th hole is a par 3 set away from the resort.  Underrated holes, the 11th and 12th, give way to the stunning 13th.  A long par 4 brings players to their first real view of a small lake which is more prominently in play on the stout par 5 15th.  A challenging driving hole, it opens up a closing stretch of 5-3-4-5 which like the Mountain course opens up some scoring opportunity.

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This view of the 8th hole, my favourite, set off to the right, shows the prominence of the land to help frame a generous landing area

My initial impressions of the Valley course are positive and there is very little to critique on this layout.  The course provides an excellent complement to the Mountain course and if I was given a chance to play 54 at Bear Mountain, I’d play two rounds at Valley, I liked it that much.  Mountain is a course players simply need to experience but like myself, I won’t be surprised if many people find themselves longing for another chance to tee it up on the Valley course.

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Stunning!  The 8th green is framed so well by this hazard area. 

Aura – 8.0 out of 10 – Mountain’s 14th is the show stopper in terms of aura, but make no mistake, the Valley course holds its own in terms of natural beauty.  I was quite taken by the resort view off the 18th tee.

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The 12th hole, a par 4, needs a careful approach.

Value (cost / experience) – 7 out of 10.  I was fortunate to play in the off-season, which makes a difference in terms of greens fees but one does roll the dice in terms of weather.  The Bear Mountain courses won’t win value awards but they are legitimate top 100 courses in Canada and are worthy of the cost to experience.

Course Condition (fairways/greens, layout) – The layout is simply brilliant.  And the course was in sensational condition considering the area had experienced significant rain the week prior to my arrival.  Tee boxes were immaculate.  The bunkers were so well designed, with a natural feel.  Fairways are significantly more generous than the Mountain course.  I could play this course over and over again and never tire of it.   – 8.5 out of 10

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The 15th is not the easiest driving hole on the course.  That bunker set on the right is a great aiming point.

Overall Experience (how did the round make me feel; would I return) – Time didn’t allow it or I’d have simply pegged it up and played that nine hole loop again. This was a course I have wanted to play for many years and did not disappoint at all.  – 8.5 out of 10

Highlight (what is great about the course) – Holes 13-15 may get considerable accolade but safe to say there are several great holes on this course.  I did appreciate in my drive around the chance to see some national team members practicing on the 9 which was closed for public play.  Using the shoulder season of this great course to hone their skills simply makes sense and was a pleasure to experience up close.

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The closing hole.  This par 5 is a birdie opportunity!

Recommendation (magic wand…what would I change) – With a layout which does not bring players back to the clubhouse, the lack of washroom facilities throughout the course was surprising.  The lack of a halfway house (which needn’t be exactly halfway) was also surprising to me.

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Another look at 12, and no, this is not where my drive landed!

2018 Winter Giveaway – Week 7

We received a foot of snow last week.

As I was flying to British Columbia it looked like the prairies was locked in the ice age.

Winter has been long, it’s been tough, but us golfers will persevere and perhaps some of us will see a light at the end of the tunnel sooner than later.  It is almost Golf and Travel Show season, another important step to our favourite time of the year (besides from The Masters).

I’ve enjoyed the weekly giveaways and appreciate the new followers and the dedicated followers who have entered each week.  But after six weeks of sharing my swag with you, it is time to move on to share product from friends of 36aday.

This week?  A different toque from the 36 Golf Co.  If you haven’t checked these guys out and the fabulous work they do you’re really missing out.  It’s not your dad’s golf attire, that’s for sure.  A more relaxed look, this Canadian company has burst on the scene with splashy and innovative casual attire that is of outstanding quality.  They also developed my golf hats which you may have seen featured in earlier posts (and which are now out of stock…but plans for a re-order are underway)  Later in the year I’ll feature them on a Quick 9, my interview series.  But for now, after all, it is still winter, I am going to give away one of their branded toques.  Warm, snug, and damn good looking.

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Warm.  Snappy.  And a great Canadian golf company.  What more do you need?

How to enter?  Respond to this blog post and share with me why you love the game of golf?  Considering most of the country is looking like we’ll never ever play again I know we’re all in that dreamy phase where we can’t wait to tee it up again.  All entries before 8:00 pm EST on Tuesday, February 20 are eligible to win.  Past winners?  Sure thing, get in on this.  You can’t have enough golf toques!!

Good luck and thank you for supporting my blog.

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And here’s the fabulous work my friends at 36 Golf Co. did on my original summer hats.

Bear Mountain – Mountain Course – Well Worth a (Second) Look

https://bearmountain.ca/recreation/golf/mountain-course/

Having played this course twice in its earlier days, it became apparent that Jack Nicklaus had been given access to a most beautiful and challenging piece of property from which to build the original or two courses planned for the resort.  I have reviewed this course before (see here) but after a recent follow up visit, and important course routing changes, I am compelled to re-write my review.

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The downhill par 3 16th requires focus and confidence.

With Bear Mountain hosting a 2016 and 2017 PGA Champions Tour event, it was apparent that investments were made to the course, notably the bunkers, but clearly throughout the course.  Importantly, adding their former 19th hole to the rotation was a brilliant and important decision which makes the course more enjoyable, and depending on the weather, more challenging.  I was critical of the course before but important changes, investments and upgrades have me re-thinking my critique.  Remaining still are some elevated greens and a tighter, target-golf feel on some holes at this course but as the course has matured, the focal areas for landing the ball seem more visible and prominent and have helped to mitigate this.  Add the fact the completion of the Valley course and the challenges of the Mountain course are well complemented with design differences with its sister course.  The Mountain remains the crown jewel of this 36 hole resort.

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The signature hole, and formerly their 19th.  The par 3 14th can provide challenge when windy.

So has my attitude about this course changed?  Yes it has.  The back nine present three of the most visually appealing par 3’s you will find in golf.  The closing stretch – 15-18 – present significant risk-reward options to score well or save a round.  I still love the affinity green look of 13 (originally the 14th), where it seems anything long will fall off the mountain and into the strait well below.

During my recent visit where I toured the back nine, the 14th was playing just under 160 yards from the Golden Tees.  And that was a good thing as you’re essentially at the highest and least protected part of the course and winds can give you significant pause for reflection on club selection.  Stand over your ball and the small green looks ever smaller.  I applaud the course for their decision to incorporate this hole into play; it truly magnifies the excellence of this course.

Since my play there back in 2013 and 2014, the housing developments are also more mature.  Not everyone feels comfortable with houses so close to play, but this is a special course and with the maturity of the course helping showcase specific landing areas on certain holes, players should focus on enjoyment and playing to their own strengths.

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Looking back from the downhill par 4 15th.  To the right is the fairway for the uphill 13th.

It is certainly a course where one should bring their A game and a well charged camera, as there are countless opportunity for photos.  It is a challenging layout but a golf experience which I thoroughly enjoyed and only hope I can experience once again.  Look around and take in the marvelous scenery, even look back, for some holes offer an incredible view behind you as well as ahead!  My pictures paled in comparison to the pictures available on their website.

It is always exciting to tee it up where the pros have played.  I look forward to my next visit where the Mountain course will be a priority for me to play!

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With exception amenities, Westin Bear Mountain is a great place to stay.  It can make playing 36 a little easier too!

Aura – 8.5 out of 10 – This is a special course with views of Victoria and Washington State which are stunning.  The golf course is of a quality that complements the scenery.

Value (cost / experience) – 7 out of 10.  Not the value track that others can boast in Victoria, but there is a quality to Bear Mountain which makes playing here worth the expense; it is a wonderful golf experience.

Course Condition (fairways/greens, layout) – Improvements are clear and evident since my first visit and this is one area where the course shines!   – 8.5 out of 10

Overall Experience (how did the round make me feel; would I return) – Having played there twice, I loved it and would welcome a chance to come back and play it again.  It is a very stout test of golf on a beautiful piece of land.  With a second course alongside it is now a destination for golfers seeking great golf – 8.5 out of 10

Highlight (what is great about the course) – The view off the 14th tee is breathtaking.  But before you even tee it up, step outside of the clubhouse and check out the scenery and breathe.  You would never know you were mere minutes from downtown Victoria.

Recommendation (magic wand…what would I change) – The obvious choice is for me to get an office in Victoria so I can play more regularly at Bear Mountain.

Just So You Know – The addition of the new Valley Course provides a great complement to this course and makes the Stay and Play options for this Westin Hotel resort course even more attractive.

Playing Partner Notes – When you play with a member who is a retired golf professional you get some unique insight.  My first experience playing with Brian D. was special.  It was a damp, foggy December morning and we got off early.  After the round he stated he was pleased with his score considering he was seeking to hit close to the cart path to avoid walking far to get to his ball.  He demanded I keep my bag on the cart as we played another round in the afternoon as the fog burned off.  He was insistent I see this course in all its natural beauty, and wow, what a thrill that was!