Monday, July 27, 2009

A GOLFER'S DREAM now avail on Kindle


· If you have a kindle, or know someone who does, visit or send them to:
· click on get your kindle today
· look in the kindle store and click kindle books
· then in the search bar type A Golfer’s Dream

It can be purchased and downloaded to the Kindle for $8.95

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 2009 Golf trip to Iowa

Sat 11 July, 2009
I am visiting 2 friends of mine in Fairfield IA. This was a typical IA farm town until 20 some years ago when Parson’s college went out of business and sold the campus to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.. and the Maharishi University was born. Now the community of just under 10,000 is 55% old town folks and approx 45% meditators who are there to support the university community.

We went to play golf yesterday at Ottumwa golf club which is 109 years old and has to be one of the oldest golf courses west of the Mississippi. Bob Moreland, the head pro showed me a picture on the wall. “See this group of men?” This is the first ever Masters field at Augusta” Then he pointed to a man in the back row. “That’s my dad” Now that photo took my breath away.

Today we played Spirit Hollow in Burlington IA, in the southern part of the state and just a few miles from the Mississippi River. My day began by asking the starter how
Spirit Hollow got its name. He did not know so one of us gave him a story that could at least suffice as an answer if he were ever asked again.
It was not widely known that the fictional character of Ichabod Crane ever traveled west of the Mississippi, but after his encounter with the Headless horseman in Sleepy Hollow, he did escape to this land in Burlington IA and following a very spiritual experience here, fell asleep for weeks, right in one of their craggy canyons of this golf course.

Spirit Hollow was honored by Golf Magazines Thrifty fifty a few years ago, a list of top courses you can play for under $50.00. This 7300-yard course, from the tips, meanders its way through hundred-year-old trees, streams, and many 40-80 yard elevation changes. The views from some of the elevated tee boxes are stunning. It is designed by Rick Jacobson, whom I had never heard of, but I learned, used to work for Jack Nicklaus design. He may be unknown now, but if this is any example of his work, you are gonna hear about him in the future. This was one of his first projects, completed in 1999 and he must have had quite a vision to take the terrain he found and turn it into such an interesting and enjoyable golf course.

There is water and streams on 8 of the holes and many of them play down hill, where you can see exactly how the hole lays out in front of you and enjoy some breathtaking views of the rolling hills of IA. The stream babbles across and next to many of the holes on the course adding plenty of challenge, beauty and serenity.
Most recently they played host to a 2007 U.S. Amateur qualifier, quite an accomplishment unto itself.
#9 is a teriffic risk- reward hole playing from 410- 321 yards. You can risk it and try to drive the green over a wetlands and pond, which drops through a waterfall to another pond behind the green, into a blind landing area, in front of or on the green, or take the down hill fairway to the left and come back right to the green. Its not only beautiful but an outstanding challenging design. I was very happy with the 44 I shot on the front 9.
The back 9 is a bit more challenging and I also did not play as well, so my score went up a bit.
#18 is a teriffic downhill finishing par-5 crossing the stream on the tee shot and back over the stream to a slightly elevated green as we brought this wonderful day to a conclusion.

The rates are a bargain at $60.00 including unlimited range balls and carts with very accurate GPS systems. They have a wonderful junior golf program where they let the kids play for $16.00 with a cart. They do have “stay and play packages” at both the PZAZZ! or Catfish Bend Inn and Spa luxury suite hotel. call Spirit Hollow toll-free at 1-866-898-9349 or visit For this money, if I lived here, I would be proud to call this my home course.

Sunday July 12, 2009
We are off to play Amana Colonies golf course just 15 miles from the Cedar Rapids IA airport. I have heard wonderful things about this course for years and it is a terrific layout. Unfortunately, they had 2” of rain two days prior. Yesterday they were cart path only, today you can drive on it but it’s soggy like a sponge, not the greatest conditions. Balls are plugging in the fairways, there is no roll and the greens are running slow. They have not been able to get a mower out for a couple days, so this causes the greens to be even slower and many of the bunkers either have standing water in them or have been washed out. Having said that, this is still a wonderful track.
There are woods and gorse along most of the holes and lots of elevation changes, leaving some pretty wonderful vistas from the tee boxes, probably more than yesterday. This makes it a beautiful course as it meanders through the woods and its slope from the tips is 142, that is pretty difficult. By comparison the highest slope the USGA issues used to be 151, although I have heard that some courses are getting higher slopes these days.

This course is celebrating its 20th anniversary and was designed by Jim Spears, another designer I have never heard of, but this is wonderful. Golf Magazine recognized it as one of the “Top 10 best new public courses in America in 1990 and I can see why.

The Amana Colonies are just outside of Cedar Rapids. Their website tells the following history:
Amana colonies was founded in 1855. Amana means to remain true. Six villages were established, a mile or two apart, across a river valley tract of some 25,000 acres . The Amana Colonies became one of America's longest-lived and largest religious communal society.
In the seven villages, residents received a home, medical care, meals, all household necessities and schooling for their children. Property and resources were shared. Men and women were assigned jobs by their village council . No one received a wage. No one needed one.
Farming and the production of wool and calico supported the community, but village enterprises, everything from clock making to brewing, were vital, and well-crafted products became a hallmark of the Amanas. Craftsmen took special pride in their work as a testament of both their faith and their community spirit. The Amana villages became well known for their high quality goods and strong work ethic.
Over 50 communal kitchens provided three meals daily to Colonists. These kitchens were operated by the women of the Colony and well supplied by the village smokehouse, bakery, ice house and dairy and by huge gardens, orchards and vineyards maintained by the villagers.
Children attended school six days a week year-round until the age of 14. Boys were assigned jobs on the farm or in the craft shops, while girls were assigned to a communal kitchen or garden. A few boys were sent to college for training as teachers, doctors and dentists.
In 1932, amidst America's Great Depression, Amana set aside its communal way of life. A ruinous farm market and changes in the rural economy contributed, but what finally propelled the change was a strong desire on the part of residents to maintain their community. By 1932, the communal way of life was seen as a barrier to achieving individual goals, so rather than leave or watch their children leave, they changed. They established the Amana Society, Inc., a profit-sharing corporation, to manage the farmland, the mills and the larger enterprises. Private enterprise was encouraged. The Amana Church was maintained.
Evocative of another age, the streets of the Amana Colonies with brick, stone and clapboard homes, flower and vegetable gardens, lanterns and walkways, recall Amana yesterday. This community today is vibrant, celebrating both its past and its future.
If you want to visit the Amana colonies and play this wonderful golf course they do have a stay and play package. Visit or call 800-383-3636