It’s Wednesday! Around here, we call it “bump day.” Each and every Wednesday we’ll post a tip, trick, gadget, or something fun and random to get you through the rest of the week.
We’re back with the second half of our golf academy recap at the fabulous Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina! If you haven’t read Part I, you can check it out here. Go ahead…we’ll wait for you…okay, back to our story:
Our first official day of the academy and our nerves definitely kicked in. We made our way to Pinehurst No. 8 and met up with the fellow students. There were 24 in all, and we were so excited to see that over half were women! Girl power! We were split into three separate groups, and given our itinerary. The one session we definitely did not want to do first off was full swing. And guess which session our group was given first? Yup…full swing. Yikes! Nothing like starting off the academy with a bang!
The main reason we didn’t want to do the full swing clinic first is the dreaded video taping of the swing. In hindsight, we’re so glad we got to do that first. Any bad habits in your full swing are actually carried throughout your entire game. Yup, even in your putting. So it was great to get started on fixing our game immediately.
We completed all three clinics and broke for lunch. After lunch we were grouped with two other students, and an instructor, and went onto Course No. 8 for seven holes of on-course training. Thanks to some major changes in our swing, we were a mess. Ree played like she never picked up a golf club before! So frustrating. But that’s golf!
After seven holes, we were encouraged to stay and complete a full round on our own, but we were exhausted. Our hands hurt, our feet hurt, and our egos were bruised. We ventured back to the hotel, did some work (a blogger’s work is never done), and headed back up to the clubhouse for a cocktail party. Now that was fun! It was great to chat with all of the players and compare war stories from our first day. After that, we changed for dinner and had a fabulous meal at The Carolina Dining Room. It was all we could do to stay awake through dinner, and we were both fast asleep by 10:00. Golfing is hard work!
Our second full day of the academy and now we had a good groove going on. We polished off another great breakfast and went back to No. 8. After three hours of clinics and lunch, we went to play a different course, this time No. 3, with more on-course instruction. It was redemption day! Changes to our swings started to click and our games were noticeably improving. After only one day! We will say that we noticed a pattern in our play. When Bre was doing well, Ree was not. And vice versa. Funny how that happens. At least one of us was always in a good mood, and able to give the other a much needed pep talk.
This time we played a full round. We were paired up with two wonderful guys, whose wives were also in the academy. These guys were good. Clearly they had been golfing a long time! Even with such different games, however, we all had a really great time. We were able to compare notes, and what we were taught in the clinics. In order to save time, we played a scramble and it was so much fun! Ree did get a bit of a surprise when she took off her glove after the round. Her left hand was so swollen! It would seem that the change in her grip, as suggested by the instructors, was having a bit of an affect on her hand. It was so swollen, it looked like it belonged to the dough boy! You can bet that the “Doughy” jokes started after that, lol! (Okay, if you haven’t read Part I of our recap, that would totally be lost on you).
After our round, we enjoyed some drinks at the clubhouse, chatted about our game, and what brought us to Pinehurst. We even managed to snag some souvenir cups!
Then it was dinner at the amazing 1895 Grille. We ordered much needed drinks, enjoyed filets and lobster, and even saved room for dessert. Did we mention the food was amazing?
We went back to our hotel with full bellies, a slight buzz from the wine, and a bit of sadness that it would all end the next day.
Our last day at the academy. We were sad, but also super excited because we had a tee time to play Course No. 2 that afternoon!
Our day started off with a review of what we learned, clinics to reinforce our teachings, and another video taping of our swing. The pressure was on. We were so nervous that we wouldn’t see any change, but we were so wrong! Our swings changed dramatically over two days. It was incredible. After lunch, we said our sad goodbyes to everyone, and made our way to Course No. 2.
Course No. 2 at Pinehurst is legendary. Several US Opens have already been played there, and this June, it’s hosting both the men and women’s US Open back-to-back. We’re talking professionals here people. So that means this course is tough! Our excitement was replaced with nerves, and arriving slightly late (thanks to missing the shuttle), we were rushed to the first tee and had to start immediately. Gah! Bre held up alright, but Ree crumbled under the pressure, lol! She hit one bad shot after another, and the fact that we were paired up with two total strangers for a foursome was even more pressure. And did we mention we had a caddy? Yup. That was a totally new experience! Our caddy, Josh, was awesome! He was patient, knowledgeable, and down right fun to be with.
Once the nerves settled, it was an incredible afternoon. The fairways were narrow, and the greens were ridiculous, but we did alright. The 18th hole ends at the clubhouse and by the time we arrived, there was quite a gallery. I don’t know how the pros do it. The pressure! After Ree missed a 2-foot putt, one of the spectators noted she lost him $20. Sorry buddy! I’m sure he made it up on the next group, lol!
We ended the day with a few of our favorite things – wings and beer. Oh baby, they were good!
Time to go home. Nooooooo! Neither of us wanted to leave. We had fallen in love with Pinehurst, and all of the amazing things North Carolina had to offer that we miss so much. Cooler weather, pine trees, tulips, birds, and all of the other sights, sounds, and smells of Spring. We grabbed a few real estate books to bring home with us, to convince the husbands that we need to invest in some real estate there=)
Our flight from Raleigh to Miami was quiet enough. However, our flight from Miami to Barbados almost didn’t happen! After getting some food, buying our duty free goods, and settling in to work (we work too much), Ree casually glanced at her watch. Um….boarding happened 15 minutes ago! OMG! We were 15 gates away and made the maddest dash for a plane you’ve ever seen. Bre’s a great runner, but the flip flops seriously slowed her down! We just made it to the gate in time. Leave it to us to end our trip with some drama and of course, lots of laughter!
After a movie, catching up on some reality TV, and a browse through the Sky Mall catalogue (which has the most ridiculous things – Ree’s first time reading this infamous catalogue!), we were home. It was hot, humid, and certainly not North Carolina. We were super sad to have left Pinehurst, but super excited to hit the golf course and show off our new skills. LPGA here we come!
In the end, we had an absolutely fantastic time. It not only lived up to our expectations, it far surpassed them. We had so much fun, and we learned so much, that we’re already planning our return.
Since it’s bump day, we couldn’t finish this post without offering a few tips and tricks. Here’s what we learned at golf school:
- On-course training is more important than you think. Spending hours at the driving range won’t help your game, unless you’re taking those skills and applying them to real-life golf;
- When you’re in a green side bunker, and your ball is sitting near the lip of the bunker, CLOSE your club face and swing through the side the bunker. Most people would open up their club face, but closing it actually does the trick;
- It’s not about taking your back swing all the way behind you. The key is to stop just before your arm bends. For some, like Ree, this may mean a shorter backswing;
- Change your focus from getting the ball into the hole, to just getting your ball onto the green. Mentally, it’s a lot less pressure;
- If you’re close enough to putt, do it. It’s easier to mess up a chip shot, than a putt. Again, the aim at that point is to get the ball on the green, not necessarily in the hole.