Bite-Sized Golf Trips

I met my buddy The Golf Gadfly for lunch last week and he was waxing eloquent about his latest golf trip… 5 days winding through the Cheesehead State playing top tier courses including Whistling Straits, SentryWorld and The Bull at Pinehurst Farms.

“I’m jealous”, I said.  “I’d love to join you on one of these trips, but I have a hard time getting free for that much time… not to mention the expense.  How often do you go?”

“I take 12 golf trips a year”, declared the Gadfly.

“What?!?”, I exclaimed, almost choking on the big bite of burrito I’d just stuffed in my mouth.  “Twelve trips?  No way, Gadfly.  I usually take your statements to the bank, but I’m not buying this one.”

The Gadfly gave me a steely glare.  I remembered how much he hates being doubted.  He took a sip of his craft brew, sat back and settled in to deliver one of his famous wise man lectures.

“Well”, he started, “let’s first define a ‘golf trip’.  Most of mine are what I call bite-sized golf trips to courses no more than 100 miles away… about an hour and a half drive.  That means you only have to free up one full day and you’ll have plenty of time for a couple of 18 hole rounds or maybe an 18, a 9 and a non-golf activity thrown in.”

“But”, I interrupted… how many different great trips can you do in such a small area?”

“Are you kidding me”, Gadfly erupted.  “There are 361 golf courses within 100 miles of downtown Minneapolis.”

My jaw hit the floor and a few bits of burrito escaped… not a good look.

Gadfly continued with a satisfied glint in his eye, “Next week a group of eight of us are heading on a Bite-Sized Golf Trip to Eau Claire.  We’ll leave at 7am, be on the tee at Wild Ridge by 9am, do a quick Leinenkuegel’s tour in Chippewa Falls for lunch, play a mid-afternoon round at Lake Hallie, grab dinner at The Classic Diner and be home no later than 10pm.  Total cost including golf, lunch, dinner and my share of the transportation will run me about $150 and I’ll sleep like a baby in my own bed both before and after.”

“I’m not familiar with Wild Ridge and Lake Hallie”, I said timidly.  “Are they worth playing?”

Now I got the full-on Gadfly look of disdain.  “Wild Ridge is only the best golf course in Wisconsin that you’ve never heard of”, he grunted, “and Lake Hallie is a great track for skins games… if you’re on your game your group will make a boatload of birdies and have a ton of fun.

“Golfers who play the same course time after time puzzle me”, the Gadfly continued.  “They live within shouting distance of tons of great golf courses but never give them a try.  Pick any location within 100 miles and use the GroupLooper course directory to find out just how many great golf options there are nearby.  For example, there’s no need to go all the way to Brainerd for your ‘up north’ golf trips.  If you’re strapped for time or cash, head north on 169, play Stones Throw in Milaca and Northwood Hills in Garrison, throw in a quick stop at the Grand Casino Mille Lacs and be home before dark.”

“Let me tell you… a bite-sized golf trip is guaranteed to spice up your love affair with golf.  I can literally give you a hundred different itineraries that would give you and some buddies a memorable, fun-filled experience.  My trips come in three flavors… one, where we never leave the Metro Area, two where we drive no more than 100 miles and three where we drive as much as three hours each way.  And, if you have some non-golfing friends or significant others, they can ride along and find some interesting local spots while the hackers hack.”

Once again, the Golf Gadfly had imparted true wisdom and I felt graced by our friendship.

“Gadfly”, I said, “not only will I organize a bite-sized golf trip for next month but I will personally pick you up and be your chauffeur for the trip.”

Then we both continued to munch on our out-sized burritos while musing about the thousands of possible permutations for our next bite-sized golf trip itinerary… one day at a time.

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