California Postcards – Aviara Golf

This year, we re-visited California for our winter golf vacation and spent a few days at the beautiful Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, CA.

The golf itself included lots of great holes-

#3 is a short, pretty par 3 over a pond;

#7 has this amazing drop and is all downhill;

#8 is big downhill risk/reward par 5, green guarded by water;

#10 could be a drive over the water feature for a chance at the green in 2;

#18 is a long par four with water in play off the tee and on the approach.

The golf was a difficult test with lots of elevation changes; dramatic water features; uneven lies everywhere; large undulating greens that welcomes 3 putts.  (2 putts for par feels like victory sometimes!)

Finally- some pictures.  There really are no words to properly describe it but it’s fair to say that the pictures doesn’t truly do it justice!

Looking back from #3

Top of the world at #7

Approach on #8

Looking back at the 10th teebox

Ho Hum, another typical par 3 (#14)

The 16th Green

Coming home on the difficult #18

Here’s a compilation from the 2015 LPGA Kia Classic with real pros showing us bogey golfers how to drive over the water on #10 and hitting the green on #16.

 

 

Stewart Creek Golf Club

For our annual mountain golf trip this year, we decided to stay on the Alberta side of the Rocky Mountains.  While we love the BC side of things, there are a bunch of great courses right in our own back yard according to Score Golf’s top 100 courses in Canada.

Top 100 Canada

Top 100 Canada

So we started off with the #35 ranked course according to Score- The Stewart Creek Golf Club in Canmore, Alberta.

Stewart Creek Golf Club

Of all the mountain golf courses we’ve played, I’d rank this course as one of the most playable of the mounatins courses with great elevation changes.  Each hole is well designed with fair landing areas and interesting/challenging greens.  Oh, and like all other mountain courses, the views are absolutely spectacular!  My wife and I continued to reuse and overuse this word “Spectacular” throughout the week time and time again.

We did run into a little mix up that turned out to be quite funny.  The golf marshal came by to warn us about a bear on the 5th hole while we were teeing off.  However, he accidentally jumped into our cart with our clubs and drove off by the time we got off the tee box.  He finally found his way back to us after we let a group play through and thoroughly apologized for the incident.  It did break up our flow slightly but we definitely understand the need to try to both the bear and players safe from each other.

In the end, it was quite amusing and it made for a memorable round.

Now for some pictures…

Picture perfect opening hole

 

Pretty par 3. I ended up behind the back right bunker in some rough fescue. Was happy to just chip on and 2 putt out.

This might have been our bear warning hole?

Finishing our round on the beautiful downhill 18th.

 

Indian Wells Golf Resort

We played 54 holes over Christmas and Boxing Day at Indian Wells and had an incredible time soaking in everything Golf at both courses.  We managed to finish the first round quickly (3’45”), enjoyed a nice lunch at the Vue restaurant, and then snagged the last time at noon on Christmas Day.  We came back the next day to spend the morning at their grass driving range, and I got a quick lesson from my buddy on sand escapes in their practice bunkers before heading out for another 18.

Indian Wells is a definite “must play” if you visit Palm Springs- it’s definitely on my list to re-visit next time we go back!

My favorite photo from our trip- No 15 at the Palyers Course. We are about 150 yards out- you can just spot the red flag right of center.

My buddy was oh-so-close to an eagle from 130 out on the same hole no. 15 hole (the next day)! It actually hit the pin on the hop and stopped right there.  #NoStressBirdie

Play through a sandstorm at the Players Course for our 2nd afternoon round.  (Keep right!  The fairway tilts towards the water!)

Short (drivable) Par 4 at the Celebrity Course

Back at Players Course the very next day! Par 5 No. 14.

Indian Canyons, Palm Springs, CA

One of our favorite course was Indian Canyons – South Course.  My friend had played this course before last Christmas and insists on coming back and I can understand why.  It’s secluded behind the mountains, quiet, and very scenic as you can see for yourself.  The course is in great shape, including fast rolling greens and a nice practice area that we took advantage of.  Also, finally, I started to get in touch with my driver again and made some progress with my irons to get back into my usual bogey golf range.  That, combined with an afternoon of 27*C really capped off another amazing day of vacationing and golf.

 

Lucky my ball stopped rolling towards the drink! Lucky that I’m a righty in this situation.

 

Every hole is like a postcard!

From the practice green

 

 

 

Another nice shot right down the middle!

 

 

Palm Desert Country Club, Palm Desert, CA

We played Palm Desert Country Club the next day, another well maintained public course that weaves in and out through a community.

http://www.palmdesertcountryclub.com/

Some people dislike playing so close to houses but it never bothers me- afterall, they should never be in play, right?

Well, I discovered why after my opening drive massively push sliced almost into someone’s back yard!  Even the starter gave me a hearty “WOAH There!”  🙂

In the end, despite another very rusty round, we thoroughly enjoyed the course- helpful staff, everything was very open and fair with no blind shots and no unwanted surprises.

Another early morning start

Unbelievably green and lush in the middle of a desert

Greywolf Golf Course, Panorama BC

We are finally starting to thaw out from the winter blues and I’m starting to think about our annual mountain golf trip.  There are a lot of great golf in the interior BC and one of the most memorable was a couple years ago when we played the Greywolf Golf Course in Panorama, BC.

Greywolf Golf Course Website

Check out the spectacular opening hole:

Ho-hum- My wife with another casual drive down the middle of the fairway.

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What I Learned about Flying with Golf Clubs

The worst part of living in the great white north are the Canadian Winters.  It’s the last week of March and I still wakeup to shovelling the drive way on the way to work.  This basically means a golf vacation down south is a must for us golfers living up north.

Wigwam_Blue_Phoenix_Golf_Resorts

This past January, we went to Phoenix for a week of golf and sunshine to break up the monotony and keep our spirits up.  In Phoenix, golf courses are plentiful and tee times are easy to find.

If you’re only comfortable with your gamer set of clubs and rental is out of the question, then here are some things we learned from our trip and what it’s like to be flying with our golf clubs.

1.  Knowing Your Limits

Begin by checking with your airline’s excess baggage policies. We flew WestJet and by default, allows for one checked bag of 22 Kg/50 Lbs.

 WestJet excess bag policy for sporting goods

The two golf travel bags we had were about 8 lbs each and both our regular golf club bags weighs about 30lbs each. WestJet also allows for one standard carry-on and another bag for personal items that can be brought on flight.

The “Panic-Re-Pack” at the airport!

Knowing these details can save you from a lot of pain at the airport- on our way out, we saw a husband attempting to repack 5 extra pounds of clothes from his wife’s luggage.  It was a big struggle and he’s fighting with underwear and stockings all over the airport floor.  While it’s mildly amusing for us, it was sheer panic and embarrassment for the poor man!

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