MW Mobile Blog

For friends, family and the random search engine visitor. This blog started as an experiment in mobile blogging from my Palm TREO 600 700 Prē HTC Evo,Samsung 5. Now it serves as a simple repository of favorite activities. Expect bad golf, good fishing, great sailing, eating, drinking, adventure travel, occasional politics and anything else I find interesting along the way including, but not limited to, any of the labels listed here...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Golf at Bandon Dunes

 Par 3 12th hole at Bandon Dunes 
I was offered a unique opportunity to join friends on a two day pilgrimage to the golf mecca of Bandon Dunes. It was kind of a celebration tour after our recent victories in the SF Golf War. In anticipatory panic, I've been hitting the EssEff municipal circuit hard, playing some wet and shaggy winter golf. The big day arrived on the first day of spring. We played Pacific Dunes on the equinox and played the original 1999 Bandon Dunes course the next day.

Me, Joel, Bo and Rich at Pacific Dunes
For my non-golfing readers - the courses at Bandon Dunes have emerged as a bucket list destination for golf enthusiasts that rivals storied locations like Pebble Beach and the old courses of Scotland.

13th fairway at Pacific Dunes
Bo escapes a fairway bunker at Pacific Dunes
Located on a remote stretch of the Oregon coast, it seems an unlikely site to build a premium golf destination. There are no major population centers nearby, is difficult to get to by plane, train or automobile and being Oregon, wind and rain is the rule, not the exception. Yet even with the record rains this year, the courses, lodge and practice center continue at capacity most of the time.


Rich off the tee at Bandon Dunes
The resort reflects the singular vision of the pre-eminent golf course developer in the country world today - Mike Keiser. The story of Bandon Dunes, it's impact on the local community, stunning natural setting, respect for the environment, and architectural roots steeped in golf history represent the very best in golf.

Playing and staying at the Bandon Dunes resort is not cheap, but it is a premium experience accessible to the average golfer, an open friendly ambiance without the private club pretension and elitism that is often associated with the game.

It only confirms Keiser's status as the most important and respected golf course developer in the world when the pretender to the throne feels compelled to tweet insults at Keiser's courses.


Not sure whatever happened to that loser. I assume he's still developing overpriced courses and trying to outdo Keiser. Perhaps he moved on and aspires to be the greatest golf developer in Russia. He should do well there as his taste closely aligns with Russian oligarch "Dictator Chic" anyway. But I digress.

In the meantime, there is tremendous buzz in the golf world about Keiser's most recent development in central Wisconsin - Sand Valley.  I may have to detour my semi-annual trek through Wisconsin from Chicago to the U.P. after the course grand opening this May.

Enough about golf course development... How about some pics from a couple of great days playing golf in a slice of golf heaven?


Rain and showers were in the forecast both days, but no matter. These are Scottish golf style courses, and as the Scots say: "Nae rain, nae wind, nae golf."

In the rain on the 2+ acre practice green -The Punch Bowl
That's right. I said over 2 acre practice green. 
We got some rain for our first round at Pacific Dunes on Monday, but not that much. Tuesday was sparkling with sunshine, blue skies and wind. Lots and lots of wind. In no particular order...

Monday Pacific Dunes:

Joel teeing off on Pacific Dunes ...
... and draining a long birdie putt in the rain.
Bo on the tee.
Rich on the tee.
My Pacific Dunes highlight - a birdie on the par 4 1st hole. 
Bo wanted an assist for my birdie. I don't know why. 

Oregon steelhead, pinot, and a wee dram of Lagavulin for dinner at the Lodge.
Tuesday Bandon Dunes:

Sunshine and Shoe "Director of Outside Happiness" - a Bandon Dunes institution.
 Comparing Bo on Monday Pacific Dune and Tuesday Bandon Dune par 3 swings.

I think this is the par 3 6th hole at Bandon Dunes - my only par of the day.
With my caddy Josh 
Rich on the tee.
The spectacular vistas can make it hard to concentrate.
We all had plenty of opportunities to practice our sand shots.
 Bo and Joel blast their way out of the same trap on 15... eventually.
Note that there are more than two sand divots. Just sayin'

This was quite a good shot by Bo - fading about 140 yards on to the green. 
Joel tees off as his caddy Casey looks on.
The caddy crew - Felipe, I forgot, and Josh. 
Felipe' photo-bombs my panorama. 
The caddies started calling Rich "The Machine"

I have a few more pics posted on facebook. It was a great couple of days, one of the best golf experiences of my life. We only got to two courses in two days, but that was plenty for me.

On the flight back we were asked - "If you could only play one for the rest of your life, which would it be - Doak's Pacific Dunes or Kidd's Bandon Dunes?" 

I was the outlier. Both courses offer spectacular ocean bluff-top views, dramatic terrain, rolling greens, heaving fairways, and strategic bunkering. The case can be made that Pacific Dunes offers more of all of the above. But my choice was Bandon Dunes. It's a course I feel can play at my level today, without some of the punitive aspects of Pacific Dunes. Yet it's a course that would continue to challenge and delight no matter how much I improve. Which isn't likely to happen anyway, so there's that.

Oh yeah - Pacific Dunes 113 / Bandon Dunes 100.

Thanks Richard, Joel, Bo and Mike for the fantastic experience.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Winter Golf at Lincoln Park

Sunrise overlooking 9th green and fairway
I've been desperately trying to get my golf game into some semblance of respectability, as I have a special opportunity to play this week (stay tuned). In addition to work at the driving range and  a round at Sharp and Harding, I spent a couple of mornings playing and practicing on the back 9 at Lincoln. Dawn patrol is not always like the picture at the top of this post. In fact, it's pretty rare to see the sunrise. More typically it was like this morning's fog.

View from 10th tee looking at 7th fairway
Some pictures from the last day of  west coast winter golf.

11th fairway
17th tee & fairway. The GG Bridge is out there somewhere

I'd like to think this practice will make a difference. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Winter Golf at Harding Park


It's still winter and still a San Francisco muni, but a big difference from our round at Sharp yesterday. Harding Park was rebuilt with modern drainage and the course is in great shape, even after a record breaking wet winter.


Played with Larry, Mike O and Brad. Great day, great course, same old game.


I've given up Live Blogging my golf rounds for Lent. But still had to take a few pics on the signature 18th hole for a post game summary.


Apparently limiting the blogging distraction still does not help my game.

BK 92
LS 96
MO 99
MW 111

Yeah... it was like that.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Winter Golf at Sharp Park

The fairway was a little shaggy
I can't say I wasn't warned. After setting up this tee-time I checked in with a Pacifica local to get the course status report after our record winter monsoons... "the canyon is open but virtually unplayable. They have not mowed the canyon in months. The west side may be getting better but unsure how much they mowed this week." 



I was still eager to get out to Sharp for the first time this year, so forewarned my foursome - sort of. Stuart, Bob and Rick decided to risk it.


Yes, they are standing in the fairway cabbage on one of the canyon holes. And yes, I said the fairway. Wet and shaggy does not begin to describe the course. At least the banana slugs liked it.


After losing several balls in the fairway, we started playing found balls off the tee, then walked up to drop at the 150 yard marker to play in from there. Greens were in pretty good shape.


Can't complain about the weather though - as sunny, clear and comfortable a day as I've ever seen at Sharp.  The course just isn't quite ready to play. Still it was good to get out. "A good walk spoiled" was just a little less good this day. Bob got a birdie on the par 3 8th, and that was the highlight of the round. We did have some good photo ops (with a a hat/tip to Stuart for some of these pics):

Changing shoes in the clubhouse
Stuart on 16th tee hitting into the 17th fairway
Traditional 17th tee portrait with frogs.
Bob off the tee
Rick refusing to act his age.
Rick off the tee

 Don't look for scores. We stopped pretending by the 7th hole. Still it was good to get out and get the season underway.