Grouchy Golf Blog

Friday, May 30, 2008 at 8:16 PM

Amy Winehouse Ugly? That Must Be Really Bad!

I watched the CBS broadcast of the Colonial last weekend. There was plenty of poor play, but one player hit such an awful shot that it would've embarrassed a hack like myself. The quick-witted Gary McCord deadpanned, “That shot was ugly, very ugly. That was Amy Winehouse ugly.” I hit the floor laughing.

If you think about it, that must have been one helluva ugly shot. Because not only is Amy Winehouse fugly appearance-wise, she has an ugly drug addiction problem, an ugly attitude, and a downright ugly voice, IMHO. When I first heard her music, it sounded to me like a woman high off her rocker on crack. And that was before she was caught smoking the rock on video! I've heard her albums multiple times out of sheer peer pressure to be cool, but I just don't get it. I find her music old-fashioned and nothing special. It is perplexing to me why she is so popular and receives so much universal praise for her music. I'm tempted to hold American Idol-like auditions at drug rehab centers around the country to find the next "musical genius" and really milk this craze!

I applaud Gary McCord for continuing to interject his hilarious but dead-on accurate comments during golf broadcasts. While uptight old farts like the might find his comments offensive, I find them entertaining, especially during boring golf tournaments. Gary McCord is good, very good. He is Tiger Woods good. Well maybe not that good!


Sunday, May 25, 2008 at 4:08 PM

Bandon Dunes Vacation Trip Tips: Part I, Off the Course

Two weeks ago, I took my dream golf trip to Bandon Dunes with 7 of my golf buddies. Here are my quick thoughts on my off-the-course experience and hopefully they will help you plan a Bandon Dunes golf trip:

Air Travel

The fastest way to get to Bandon is to fly into North Bend airport (OTH). Unfortunately, there's not a lot of flights into it. Your best bet is to fly to Portland and then take a puddle-jumper to North Bend. If you're nervous about flying like I am, be warned that the plane from Portland to North Bend is small. There are only 9 rows of seats with 4 seats per row! Thankfully, the airline (Horizon Air) offered complimentary wine and beer to take the edge off.

Ground Transportation

The resort is about a 20 min. drive from the airport. I called about 5 local ground transportation services for quotes. I decided to go with Aviation Transportation (877-315-7963). Not only were they the best deal at $50 round trip per person, but they offer complimentary beer. Service was top-notch and reliable. Just tell them your flight information and the driver will meet you at the gate and load your luggage into a luxurious van. For your return flight, they will pick you up from your hotel about 2 hours before your flight. I will definitely use them again.


I stayed at the The Lodge at Bandon Dunes in the Lodge Suite which is basically a 2-story, 4-bedroom, 4-bath, condo sans kitchen. It sits right next to the 18th green of the Bandon Dunes golf course and offers distant ocean views. Every room was spacious and features a flat-panel HDTV. I would characterize the architecture as modern rustic. The accommodations were excellent, but you'd expect that for a $1,7000/night suite ($425 per person)! My only complaint was that there was no HD signal going into the HDTVs. That's like driving a Ferrari with a Kia engine!


The Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is a little isolated from the main town so the dining options are limited. However, the food at the resort is so good that there's really no reason to dine anywhere else. Here's my thoughts on some of the food that I consumed:

Oregon Blueberry Pancakes and Pure Maple Syrup ($6.50): Two fluffy plate-sized flapjacks stuffed with plump blueberries. They're so big that it's plenty for two healthy appetites but so tasty that one will want to finish it by himself!

Flash Fried Calamari Appetizer ($8.00): Very good of the light-batter variety.

Duck and Ginger Potstickers Appetizer ($9.00): Very tasty with a pleasant sweet-soy dipping sauce.

Pan Seared Elk Striploin ($36.00): When it comes to food, I just have to try everything at least once. Since I've never eaten elk, I figured that this was a must order. I found the meat to be very similar to beef in both taste and texture. It was good, but not quite as exotic as I expected. While I'm glad I tried it, it's probably not something I'd order again.

Grilled Ribeye Steak ($38.00): I ordered it rare just like all steaks should be ordered. While it was a mammoth-sized steak, it was a bit tough in spots. However, the flavor was excellent.

Grilled New York Strip ($39.00): Again, rare! This steak was much better than the ribeye I had a few nights earlier. Much more tender with a slightly better flavor. If you have only one steak on your visit, this is the one to order.

Pan Seared Sea Scallops ($32.00): Nice big scallops each resting on its own mound of shrimp risotto. Easily one of the best scallop dishes I've ever eaten.

Grandma’s Meat Loaf ($17.00): Probably as good as meatloaf can get but that's not saying much. However, I love meatloaf so I really enjoyed it. I would recommend having it for lunch as opposed to dinner because there's just so many better options for dinner.

Beer: The resort features Deschutes Brewery's Mirror Pond on tap at every dining facility. Is there really any other choice? It's probably the best American style pale ale ever brewed. For the lighter beer palates, there's also Widmer Hefeweizen on tap. I admit I downed a couple of those too!

Wine: I love wine, but I know very little about them. Luckily several members of my crew were well-versed in fine wines. According to them, the wine list at the resort is excellent. My favorites were the Opus One "Proprietary Red Wine" (Thanks John!), Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Evenstad and the Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon. As you can tell, I'm well on my way toward wine snobbery!

Overall Dining: I was pleasantly surprised by the gourmet quality, generous portions and reasonable prices of the food at the resort. Usually isolated resorts operate like ruthless monopolists and really stick it to you for food. Not so in this case.

Stay tuned for !


Saturday, May 03, 2008 at 8:23 PM

Titleist Pro V1 and V1x Differences?

Introduced in the Fall of 2000, the Titleist Pro V1/V1x was one of the most revolutionary golf balls of all time by incorporating a multi-layer construction with a soft urethane-covering to virtually eliminate the traditional . Since then the Pro V1/V1x has been the dominant ball in golf. Dominant among pros and amateurs alike.

Not wanting to be left behind, I adopted the Pro V1 as my primary ball from the get-go. I'm always open to trying the competitor's new offerings, but I just haven't found anything that's materially better yet. Part of the reason is that Titleist isn't content to rest on its laurels. There has been at least 2 major revisions to the original Pro V1/V1x. The newest adds the A.I.M. (Alignment Integrated Marking) sidestamp so that you don't even have to manually anymore!

I've always used the Pro V1 rather than its X-rated sibling because I've always thought that the former was softer, spun more and produced a higher ball flight; all qualities that I prefer. According to the Titleist website, here are the differences between the Pro V1 and the Pro V1x:
However, results from the cover story, "The Best Ball For You" of the February 2008 issue of Golf Magazine seem to contradict some of these claims. According to this exhaustive robot golf ball test, the Pro V1x is indeed slightly longer than the Pro V1 by about 1.4 yds in total distance (carry plus roll) off a driver (90 mph swing speed, 137 mph ball speed, 13.75-degree launch angle, 2,900 rpm). However, additional tests indicate that the Pro V1x also spins more (the printed article lists the spin rate of the Pro V1x at 12,299 rpm vs. the Pro V1 at 11,914 rpm with a sand wedge) and is softer! Based on these new test results, here's a revised summary of the differences between the Pro V1 and the Pro V1x:
As a longtime Pro V1 user, I found the new evidence that the Pro V1x is actually softer and spinier than the Pro V1 to be downright shocking. Maybe even more shocking is that it took almost 8 years to come to light. Durability and ball flight be damned, any ball that flies farther and spins more is a better ball in my book. I'll be switching to the Pro V1x right after I go through my current stash of 3 dozen Pro V1s! How about you?