The Happy Golfer

There’s No Place Like (The Happy Golfer’s) Home
July 16, 2009, 7:46 pm
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The 96/96 is over, ending June 25 in Redding, California, and it was a complete success. My great friend and golfing buddy of 43 years, Jim Root, came from Torrance to play the last rounds with me. After dropping him off at the Sacramento airport, Fran and I drove on to Auburn, California, to catch up with grandchildren Alexandria and Nicholas during the Western States 100 Mile Race, and we camped our way back to San Clemente with them.

Arriving home in the late afternoon, the kids and I packed up beach chairs and met up with our son, Kraig, and grandchildren Nicholas Kraig and David at San Onofre State Beach for Kraig’s Tuesday night volleyball club. I had to disregard all the sand in the Winnebago View; it had been my “house on wheels” for 96 nights, but now it returned to its status as our beach wagon.

The next morning, Fran was going to Jazzercise and the kids wanted to be together, so I headed for the San Clemente Golf Course to, yes, play golf. What else could I do?  Shooting 42/42 (84) felt good. The next evening, I took the two Nicholases onto the course, where we practiced for our match on an executive course, Aliso Creek, the next day. Both Nicks made pars by 1-putting.

I want to thank the folks at Callaway for the clubs, the balls, the bags, the shoes and the encouragement. I was comped so many times by Callaway pros, as well as camping out in some of their parking lots. Thanks to Wal-Marts across the country, too, for allowing The Happy Golfer to tuck in and leave early the next morning for the next course. A huge thanks goes to Byron Kurt for putting me together with Callaway, and Paula Story for keeping my blog going. Lastly, I want to thank my son, Kraig, who encouraged me to take on this adventure and who kept tabs on me morning, noon and night by means of a “Spot.”

My motto is still “Eat, Sleep, Play Golf, Repeat….”, but I think I’ll eat and sleep at home for a while.

Until my next adventure, I remain The Happy Golfer


Sweet Success and the end of a journey
June 26, 2009, 12:57 pm
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Hi golf fans. Question No. 1:  Have you ever tried to play golf while you were crying? I admit, this does not happen to me very often, like ever. However, on Thursday, while playing my last round of 96 rounds in 96 days in all 48 of our beautiful United States, on the last hole, 506 yards, par 5 at the Gold Hills Golf Course in Redding, California, there were a few tears in my eyes. I have been on the road for 96 days, played golf in all of the contiguous United States, two rounds on two different courses. My trip, our trip, has come to an end at 11:34 a.m. California time.

On the golfing adventure I have played 20 days of 36 holes – two rounds – in one day, giving me 20 “days off.” And of those 20 days, I have not played golf only nine times, leaving  11 days … and on those 11 “days off” I have played golf 12 times. (The second day in North Dakota, another 36 holes in one day.)

Thanks Aaron, of the Redding Record Searchlight, for the nice story; it was great playing with you. (Where did you learn to hit a 6-iron 206 yards on that par 3 on the back side?) And what about No. 17, 125 yards off a cliff; I wonder if anyone has ever hit a putter off that tee? Thanks, Kraig, for buying me the Spot, and for all your midnight calls explaining how it works. A new abbreviation is WDIK, “We Did It Kraig.”

Thanks WW (Fran) for your love and hugs all these years, with the promise of years to come. It’s now the evening of June 25, and we’re camping out in Auburn without setting an alarm clock for an early round tomorrow morning. We will be picking up two of our four grandchildren on Saturday and setting off for a camping trip home. The beat goes on, and on and on.

The Happy Golfer (THG) with a smile on my face (WASOMF) with wife (WW) xxx

A nice story from the Record Searchlight in Redding:

So Nice to Be with Friends Again
June 25, 2009, 2:05 am
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Spent the night at Lake Shastina, California, “camping” in Gene and Joyce Fink’s serene side yard. This was after playing with friends from home, Jim and Al, along with Gene at the Lake Shastina Course, and watching Big Al knock in a four-foot putt for a birdie on 18. Same old, same old. Different date, different course, same results! We enjoyed delicious trout and salmon dinners at the Mt. Shasta Resort, then two of our foursome – with wives – drove back to Shastina, while The Happy Golfer( w.w.) and Jim checked into the Mt. Shasta KOA. Jim had a “Kamping Kabin,” while we enjoyed the Winnebago View’s comforts. The smell of pine trees and campfires permeated the air and we all slept soundly.

I had an 8:30 a.m. tee time the next morning, playing with assistant pro Sean at the Resort, which is nestled at the foot of the snow-covered mountain near the pristine lake. Thanks to Sean for the the comp and for playing with us. It was wonderful for Jim and me to see how a golf ball should be hit. The course has a well-designed layout with natural terrain, undulated greens and spectacular scenery. Sean runs a very active junior golfer program for boys and girls, and The Happy Golfer is so proud of these programs throughout the U.S. We were joined, during the last four holes, by Skye, a reporter who’s a young mom of three, for the Mt. Shasta News. She is going to write a story about my travels, meeting wonderful people, playing great courses and enjoying every stroke and every putt of my adventure. It all adds up to fun! That’s 47.5 states completed, 18 holes to go at Redding’s Gold Hills course on Thursday, 8 a.m. tee time.

Keep happy – The Happy Golfer

A Trip Within A Trip
June 22, 2009, 2:23 pm
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Well, the news is official; The Happy Golfer and wife went to Chicago to view the Gabby (Greek American Best & Brightest Stars) Awards. Our son Dean won in the category of athletes! More on that later in this post …

First, Nick’s news: “What am I doing?” I ask myself about 10-12 times during each round that I play. (Not counting when I finally reach the green.) As this is written, I am at 32,000 feet, flying from Spokane, Washington to Chicago. Wait just a minute; I have already played my two rounds in Illinois. Actually, three rounds in four days, but who’s counting?

I didn’t need my golf shoes for the next two days. Our son Dean was up for a Gabby award in Chicago, and he wanted us there. We got to see all of our cousins, including bride-to-be Lainie, from Chicago. From my plane, it’s beautiful looking outside at the puffy white clouds. Thanks to George Savakis for letting us use your spiti, (Greek for house.) Thanks, also, to Ted and Loie Davis. Ted is a friend from high school who put us up while in Spokane, and shared the wonderful entertainment when we sat in on a practice session of Ted’s a cappella chorus and his barbershop quartet. 

Now, it’s on to Oregon to play with dear friend Robin, in Bend. Then it’s back to California where friends Jim and Al will meet up with me to play those last two rounds. It’s not over until it’s over. We will head to Auburn to catch up with Dean, who is running the Western States 100 Mile Race June 27-28 to earn another silver buckle and to bring grandchildren Lexy and Nicholas home to San Clemente with us. 

I will never forget all the wonderful people and experiences along my journey. It was truly an adventure, and I intend to recreate it again. Thanks to all the courses that comped me, all the Walmarts that accommodated me, and all the friends who support my endeavor.

Stay tuned, there’s much more to come…

 The Happy Golfer

An abbreviated state of mind means ur n MT
June 17, 2009, 6:36 pm
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Everything today is abbreviated. The states are now identified by only two letters; kids text in a form of shorthand using numbers instead of letters, or one letter instead of the word. An example is the word fore, abbreviated into 4, or UR meaning you are.

The Happy Golfer has come up with his own abbreviations in golf terminology:  pr for par, pt for putt, bo is bogie, while br is birdie. Sb means should be, la is la la land, adj. is adjusted score.

That all brings us to Bil (Billings) MT (Montana ) ap (airport) 1:42 Mountain Time, coming down the stairs was my beautiful wife, Fran. I was standing there with roses and chocolates, a grin on my face. From now on it will be THG (The Happy Golfer) and WW (with wife!)

 On the way to Idaho, stopped at BOZ (Bozeman) HS (hot springs) to soak before the long journey to ID.  A first on this trip: two days with no golf, just traveling the gorgeous northwestern United States. Loving this trip, THG WW.

And the mystery guest is …
June 15, 2009, 2:50 pm
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I played 18 holes at Laurel Golf Club in Billings, Montana on Friday – a great course. Thursday, I played an equally scenic course, Briarwood. In six days I’ played six rounds in all in the Billings area and was written up in the Billings Gazette. Someone should inform me that my program only calls for two rounds per state! I was recently told that the late Ely Callaway liked to under-promise and over-deliver, so people always got more than they expected, and it made them happy. The Happy Golfer likes that philosophy.

 Here’s a link to a nice story from the Billings Gazette; don’t miss the fun photo gallery:

 I was eagerly waiting at the airport Saturday for my “mystery guest.” Like the line from Casablanca goes: “This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.” My visitor arrived at 1:42 p.m., and the Do Not Disturb sign went up on the Winnebago View at 1:47. Yes, the guest was my lovely wife, Fran. The Happy Golfer has a smile on his face.

 Stay tuned; there are more ultrasurprises coming this week …

Mystery Guest To Arrive Saturday
June 12, 2009, 12:11 pm
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Hi golf fans. Guess where I am at? Here’s a clue, the name of the state starts with the letter M. There are eight states that start with the letter M. No it’s not Massachusetts. Not Maryland, not Missouri, not Minnesota, not Maine, or Michigan, or Mississippi. Another clue? It’s called the Big Sky Country. The answer is Montana!

I’ve been here for five days and I’ve played five different courses. Let me tell you, this place is drop-dead beautiful. I am going to be here through Saturday, so I am looking for two more courses. I am playing here five times on my days off.

I had a nice Greek dinner Wednesday night at the Athenian. Thanks, Alexandria! I was on Nate Brown’s 105.1 sports radio show on Wednesday, and in the Billings Gazette on Friday.

I eagerly await the arrival of a plane this Saturday … and I am also looking for a grocery store; I need some provisions for when my mystery guest comes in! After Billings, it’s off to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, then on to Spokane, Washington, and Bend, Oregon. My last two rounds, in Mr. Shasta and Redding, California, will be with Al and Jim from my regular foursome. Signing off, still smiling and still very, very happy, The Happy Golfer.

A special P.S.   Nice going granddaughter, Alexandria, on your 8th grade graduation Thursday! Kisses and hugs to you, Popou.