It had been a while since I had been to a Major League ball game in the good old USA. Do they ever do it up right! On my way to Branson, Missouri I could not help but stop for a couple of days and see my favorite team play – that would be the St. Louis Cardinals. They did not disappoint, probably playing their best two back to back games of the season.
Pre-game and post-game the fun does not stop. Ball Park Village is a laneway from curbside past the Left Field area almost to center Field. Filled with activities, Cardinals Museum and of course a couple of bars, not surprisingly one is the Budweiser Brew House and the other Cards Nation. Pints galore and good food too!
Get this … Anyone with a ticket to the game can head up to the Budweiser Terrace high in the Right Field bleachers where more activities are on tap (LOL), past Cardinal players hang out there and pre game pints are only $5.00.
Wonders of Wildlife
Who would have thought that Springfield, Missouri would ever have one of the top ranked attractions in North America? Founder of Bass Pro Shop, Johnny Morris, who is in the process of putting Branson, Missouri on the map as a world class golf destination has created not one but two of America’s best attractions. Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium has been voted by USA Today as the Best New Attraction in the USA while the Aquarium has been voted Best Aquarium in America. When it was first suggested I go visit I thought it might be a venture that would last a couple of hours. Wrong! I could spend pretty much an entire day there! Congratulations Mr. Morris…can’t wait to visit the next two courses…I’m a big Payne fan!
Branson, Missouri – You Need to Visit for the Golf and MORE…
You have not played all the spectacular golf in the world until you visit Branson. I am saying that with only having played the Tom Fazio designed, Buffalo Ridge Springs and visiting the Gary Player designed, Mountain Top Course that are part of Big Cedar Lodge. The 9-hole, Jack Nicklaus design, Top of the Rock course I did not see, but I have been told it is right up there with the other two. It, along with Mountain Top, currently hosts the Champions Tour.
While having lunch at the Mountain Top Grill, I will let you imagine the view, Vice President of Golf, Steve Friedlander introduced me to Ozark National a Ben Crenshaw design that will open this September and is sure to rank in the Best New Courses in America and slated for 2019 the first ever public golf course designed by Tiger Woods – Payne’s Valley, honoring the legacy of my only golfing hero Payne Stewart. Can’t wait for that one!
Golf is not the only thing Branson has to offer, countless attractions and shows, there is a reason it is labeled the “Live Entertainment Capital of America.” You will not run out of things to do in Branson.
Whistling Straits – Wisconsin
Everything that it is cracked up to be. Wonderful experience, a beautiful day and exceptional company! Walking only took its toll on my left knee and thus the wake up to all walking only courses. I will be doing a full profile on the day in an upcoming issue of Traveling Golfer.
Hooters Toronto Annual Golf Day
It was another beautiful day – 15 years without a drop of rain – let’s hope I did not jinx it for next year! We did not defend our tittle at Royal Woodbine this year but had a wonderful day and evening. The company was exceptional as you can see.
Niagara Parks Invitational
On the horizon, next week in fact and will be held at the historic Whirlpool Golf Course designed by the legendary architect Stanley Thompson. This classic parkland course sits at the precipice of the Niagara River Gorge and borders the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. Opening to fanfare in 1951, Whirlpool has consistently ranked among the top public courses in Canada, a hallmark of Thompson’s very best work.
Escorting Tacoma FAM and 10th Annual NAC
Just prior to our North America Golf Tourism Convention in Bend, Oregon I will be escorting 20 International Golf Tour Operators to Tacoma, Washington where we will have the opportunity to play the former US Open venue Chambers Bay plus spend a couple of days in a city that I have not been too – Seattle!
Moving on to Bend for NAC, June 24th to 27th follow by a couple of days of R&R and a few more rounds of golf before venturing back home for a couple of months of staying home! But that too might change – after all, I am a Traveling Golfer!
So we’re into June and I’ve already played more than 20 rounds of golf – just two of them in Ottawa.
The two Ottawa rounds were at nice courses – Kanata Golf and Country Club (I played in a foursome with Philadelphia Flyers star Claude Giroux) and Rideau View, my favourite course in this area.
Outside of the area, I played four rounds in Florida, including Streamsong Black … I played five rounds at the awesome Playa Paraiso Golf Club in Mexico’s Mayan Riviera, I played six rounds in Louisiana (including TPC Louisiana), I played three rounds at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic (including a bucket-list Teeth of the Dog) and I played three rounds at Binghamton’s Conklin Players Club.
The good news: My golf game has gotten better. I did have a two-hour lesson, thankfully, while in the Dominican Republic. Many of my rounds have been in the mid- to high-80s, with some in the 90s. So there’s that to build off. A new set of irons is next on my agenda. Then, at least, I won’t be able to blame my shortcomings on the golf clubs.
Next up for me is the Ottawa Citizen Championship, a three-round stroke play tournament from June 22-24. Then, late in August, it’s the Ottawa Sun Scramble.