Friday, January 13, 2012

Attitude... The New Trend In Golf

This past summer, while taking some time off from creating new golf belt designs, I noticed a trend at a few golf courses in the Phoenix valley, a real attitude that their fertilizer don’t stink.

We have a men’s league that gets together every other Thursday. We usually have anywhere from 16-28 guys coming out on any given Thursday. Our normal course was shut down this summer for renovation after it was purchased by PGA touring professional. The powers that be decided that we would play at a course down the road for the summer. I’m going to call this course “Brown Eagle” as I don’t want to blow them up.

Brown Eagle is a nice course and it has nice facilities, but the attitude is unbelievably out of whack. You have to understand something about summer golf in Phoenix. It’s HOT! There are a lot of courses to pick from and these courses do not get the amount of play that they do in the winter. Because of this, I would think that any course would love to have a guaranteed lock of 4 foursomes every other week during the summer. Obviously not from the attitude we received each time we were out at Brown Eagle.

Ever since I was young, I’ve noticed that there is a certain “air” with guys in the pro shops. I get it. Their day is filled with refolding shirts and answering stupid questions like “do you think the rain is going to hold off?” Working in a pro shop is a step above of being paid to watch paint dry. Where Brown Eagle separates itself is the attitude from the bag guys and beer cart girls. Here’s something to remember, you guys/girls work on tips. Drop the attitude. Here’s another thing, you’re a public course, Get over yourself.

I can understand that there might be an attitude at private courses, but public, come on. The Phoenix valley has an awesome private course that I’ll call Shouting Pebble. I was fortunate enough to play it last winter and I was blown away with how guests were treated. There was no air of “better than” or “you’re just a guest.” It was more laid back and “you’re a member for today” feeling.

The great thing about being a consumer is that there are choices. I choose to no longer play Brown Eagle. I choose to let the three readers of this blog know what to expect if they play Brown Eagle, although I’m not giving you the real name of the course. Sorry. Maybe you can figure it out. It shouldn’t be hard. The other thing about consumers is that they talk. If they like something, they talk about it. If they don’t like something, they talk about it.

I don’t know, maybe I’m nuts. My business provides a service, just like a golf course. There are other companies out there that provide the same or similar products. I know that my customers have a choice and I want to stand out from competitors by not only the quality my customers get, but with the how they are treated. I want them to know that I appreciate that they have chosen to allow me to work with them at Patrick Gibbons Handmade.

Hey Brown Eagle, customer service is big! You’re a nice course, but you’re not all that you think you are. Get over yourself.

If you’re out in Scottsdale or the Phoenix valley and want to play golf, play these courses. The playability, layout, value, uniqueness, and customer service are great.

1) We-ko-pa, original course
2) Legend Trail
3) Las Sendas
4) Gold Canyon, Dinosaur course
5) The Raven
6) Longbow

Friday, September 2, 2011

Trekkies On The Course...

I am so upset with myself today because I did not bring my cell phone with me while I played golf today. Not that I wanted to talk on the phone, but rather that I did not have a way to capture what took place on the course today. I normally have it and get pictures of bobcats or coyotes. Big deal. This would have been like capturing video of big foot or winning the lottery.

I got all nostalgic after writing a previous post about my favorite dumpy courses that I decided to go play one of them today. I decided to give Silverado golf course another chance. I normally will not play Silverado because they don't have a range and I can't stand going to the first tee box "cold." A couple weeks ago I was playing golf with some friends across the street at McCormick Ranch and noticed that Silverado had put up some hitting nets. I figured that would work to grease the wheels before the round.

I got to the course earlier, as always, so that I could warm up. I asked the guy in the pro shop if what I saw from the other side of the road was correct. He said they did get hitting bays but the wind blew them down so they weren't available. Ok, so the wind blew them down. Ok, put them back up. Whatever.

I went and spoke with the starter and he told me that I could go out whenever I wanted. I asked if they were pairing me up with some other players. He said I can play with these two guys here, or head up to the tee box and join up with the three players there. I looked at the tee box and noticed a woman in the group. No thanks, sorry ladies. I looked at the two guys near me. They looked like they just got out of a Star Trek convention. I picked the Trekkies. Best golfing choice I ever made.

These guys gave me the funniest nine holes I've ever played. First thing I noticed about Corey, while he was teeing up his second ball on the first tee box, was that the sole of his right golf shoe wasn't attached in the front and it would flap open exposing his foot each time he took a step. Priceless. The first hole is a fairly short par 5. So, we finally get to the green and I believe Corey is laying 21 and Rich is laying 13, which is funny enough by itself, but the best thing happens on the green. Corey has about a 25' putt for 22. He gets behind the ball and kneels. Then he gets flat on his belly. I'm not talking Camilo Villegas; athletic and technically off the ground. I'm talking laying flat on his belly with his chin against the grass. Studying his 25' put for 22. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I'd never seen anything like it before. Wait, here's the best part. He takes his first putt and hits it about 9', so he still has another 14' putt. What does he do? He gets back down on his belly again. I nearly pissed myself. Well, he goes on and misses that putt and finally gets it in the hole 2 putts later for a 26 on the first hole par 5.

I thought maybe he was kidding around. Nope. He's back on his belly with his chin to the ground on the very next hole, and every hole on the front 9. This was the funniest damn thing I have ever seen on a golf course.

The thing that topped the nine holes I got to play with these two gentlemen was their scoring system. The entire way home I kept thinking how do you get "par" when you hit two off the tee and three putted? I love it. Almost every other hole, we'd be leaving the green and I'd hear Rich ask Corey, "What did you have." "Par," Corey replied. WHAT???
Whatever. It means nothing to me except laughter. This was truly the funniest golf experience I ever had. Laying on the green with his chin touching the grass, as if it really had a chance. The best $13 dollars I ever spent for a round of golf. It sucked they only played nine holes because I would have wet myself by the end of 18 holes.

Why didn't I bring my phone though? It was you tube gold at my fingertips.

Till then, I'm back at Patrick Gibbons Handmade creating cool golf belts and putter grips... 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Hidden Southern Gem For Ya'll

The last time I wrote I talked about "dumps." Today it is about the really special course.
I had the best experience of golf a few years ago in September when I went to visit my father in South Carolina. Since the launch of I don't get to visit very often, so I was looking forward to this trip with dear old Dad.

We usually play the "muni" courses in Beaufort, the Marine base course on Paris Island, and occasionally Secession golf club. This trip he told me that he was taking me to a new course and he hoped I had been putting well. He said they had the hardest, as in difficult, greens he'd ever played on, and I know from his stories that in his younger days he played Oakmont on a few occasions.

He said he was taking me up to the low country, which doesn't make sense because how can you go up to the low country. Southerners! He explained to me that the owners of the course were golf course developers, and that they were/are frequently used to help redo the greens at Augusta. I am just saying what he told me. He said the course was rather unique.

So I'll cut to the chase. Did you ever see the movie Field of Dreams? That's what this place is. There are no signs to find the place. You're in the middle of pine country, thick pine country. You turn a corner and there is a small driveway that goes for about 1500 yards, and all of a sudden there's a small farm house that was turned into a club house. This was a Saturday morning about 10 am and there are only 4 cars in the parking lot. When you are on any hole, you don't see any other hole. They are all hidden by the pine trees.

I couldn't put the experience into words until after the round. I told my dad that I thought this was someone's personal course, which they allowed us to play. I was in the clubhouse and saw an article on the wall entitled "the field of dreams for golf." That's it, exactly!

I know there are a lot of great courses in the world, most I will probably never play, but I can't imagine a more unique experience. It felt like holy ground. I really hope to be fortunate enough to play it again someday soon.

By the way, I hit the first 7 holes in regulation that day... I ended the day with 9 three putts.

Hard greens? Thanks dad! I will never forget that round. It was one of the top five golf experiences I have had. 

Stay tuned for my next installment... Till then, I'll be back at work making cool golf belts and exotic leather putter grips.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Courses I Never Play... And Other Such Lies

Last week I decided to play a course I hadn't played in years, Stone Creek. I used to play it fairly often when I moved to Scottsdale ten years ago, mostly because it was priced right for me at the time. Over the years, I started to play more of the "brand name" courses. Last week I was ticked at my golf game and thought about not playing for a while. That lasted for two days; however I didn't want to shell out a bunch of money and risk having a crappy score like I just had. STONE CREEK!! Perfect. It's a cheap round and an easy way to figure out if I give up this game or continue with it.

After the fifth hole I realized something, I missed playing this dump. It also dawned on me that some of my favorite courses I've played in my golfing "career" have been "dumps."

While I lived back in Chicago, my favorite course was Fort Sheridan. Fort Sheridan was a Lake County municipal course on the old Fort Sheridan army base between Lake Forest, Highwood, and Highland Park. I loved that course. They charged $18 for a round of golf, cart, hot dog, and a coke. I used to get my butt kicked there by my little brother (10 years younger). My brother would always complain about his awesome tee shot ending up on a dirt patch in the fairway. "This is crap! If I were on tour the fairways wouldn't be like this." It was the first place I ever saw a hole in one when a guy in the foursome in front of us hit one on the 16th hole. It was also the place where I hit a ball into the back of a pickup truck as it was traveling south bound on Sheridan that runs parallel to the 18th hole. There was an old runway that ran parallel to the par 5 15th hole. I used to take a six iron and pitch is down the runway; letting it bounce to the end of the runway where the green was. Brilliant! I loved that dump. It is still one of my all time favorites.

Years later, I made the mistake of picking up my Chicago stakes and chased some tail to Las Vegas. That's a whole other story for another day. But I found a replacement for Fort Sheridan just a few minutes away from my home in North Las Vegas, Craig Road Ranch. If Fort Sheridan was a dump, Craig Road Ranch was the film of an arm pit, but I loved this place. They charged $15 for a round of golf with a cart, 75 cents for hot dogs, and $3 for a six pack of beer. There were many days where I played golf, filled my belly, and stumbled home for less than $30. It was awesome! The best part about this place was that it got me out of the house and away from the train wreck I moved to Las Vegas for. The other great thing about this course was that they didn't have many sand traps officially. They also didn't have much grass in the fairways either. I went back to Las Vegas a few years ago and took a drove around the old neighborhood and I was really sad when I discovered the "course" is now a casino.

There is something about these "dumps" that I really love. Scottsdale has a few that I like. Silverado is one and I don't know if "dump" really fits. They actually keep it in pretty good shape. It comes to mind because they don't have a range and that kills me for the first three holes or so. Playing "cold" sucks, but it was always a good "fix" and close to my original home in Scottsdale. Continental golf course is another and I would call this a dump. It's a par 3 course with maybe one or two par 4's on the course. This course was fun because it was located a pitching wedge for my old employer's office. I used to tell the guys in the office, "bring your clubs to work tomorrow, we're getting off early for an employee golf outing."

One of the things I've realized about golf courses is that the level of fun I have has nothing to do with the condition of the course or the price they charge. There are a lot of courses out here in Arizona that think quite highly of themselves and charge a few bucks to play, that I wouldn't play if they paid me. Being that I would like to have my products (See or my golf belts or my exotic leather putter grips) in some of their pro shops, I will not mention them on here, however send me an email and I will fill you in. 

Till Then,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm In Love With A New Set

I think I have mentioned earlier that I have a little golf addiction. As I mentioned in my last post, I sent in a set of clubs to BOS Golf to get refinished. Because I was a little nervous about sending my gamers in, I sent in an old set that had been resting in the garage. I know that they are going to come back special and I will want to send my gamers in. (This is where the addictive part comes in) I ended up buying a set of Mizuno MP 57's off of ebay. My reasoning was that I would probably need a set when I sent the gamers in. I know, you're probably saying that I would have the newly returned spa clubs to use. True. However, what if they're too pretty to use was my thinking. Therefore, with that logic, I had to pull the trigger on the Mizunos.

This is where my dilemma begins. I pulled my gamers out of my bag to test out the Mizunos when they arrived. They haven't made it back into the bag and I've probably played seven rounds since then.

I have no idea what it's like to cheat on a significant other with a mistress. There was one time in high school when I was drunk and I messed around with a girl while I was dating someone (Sorry again Amy), but I don't even remember what I was thinking. I feel like I'm having an affair on my gamers. These clubs are so nice. They fly straight. They look so shinny and pretty. It doesn't take much to get them to do what I want. They treat me well. My ego is stroked every time I take them out. Bottom line, I think I'm falling for a new set.

I keep thinking that maybe my "gamers" will come back from the spa and everything will be alright. Maybe, right?

I feel so bad. And at the same time when I'm with the new set, I feel sooooo good.

Patrick Gibbons

Patrick Gibbons Handmade

Monday, July 18, 2011

Treat Your "Lady" Well!

I tend to be a trial and error sort of guy. I am fortunate that I learn fairly quickly from the mistakes I have made in my life. For all you followers out there (Hi Mom), you may have recalled that I compared my swing to a woman. Well, I am back again to comparing golf to women in this segment.

I received a package this week from BOS Golf that contained a putter. They put an aftermarket white polymer finish on it for a "ghosted" effect. Up to the time I opened the box, I had not been a fan of the new white clubs. I am now. I was not fortunate enough to have seen the putter before the finish was redone, so I may not have gotten the full experience of seeing the difference from start to finish. However, the final product they produced is amazing.

Time for a makeover!
I have been staring at the putter head for almost a week now. I am currently waiting for a shaft to arrive so that I can put this thing to use and see how it feels. While looking at this through the week, it got me thinking.

I have realized over the last six years that my quality of life increases when I take care of my lady. When I send her to the spa for the day, I tend to get perks for some time after that day. That time frame does vary. I am not sure if it has to do with her experience at the spa or if there are other factors involved, however I do get perks. I also get perks when she gets flowers, cards, gifts, etc. The better she's treated, the better I am treated.

Since I think my golf game is similar to women, I began to think about my clubs. I am wondering how they would treat me if I sent them to the BOS Golf spa. I am taking the plunge. I am going to get my babies taken care of. They are going to get into the hot spa, mud bath, facial, message, and maybe even a salt rub. I am thinking that the way to go with it is a glossy black oxide finish, new black shafts, white ferrules, white grips, blacked out paint fill, and the handmade logo anodized onto the face of the clubs.

If my theory is correct about golf is like women, I should be getting perks for several rounds after they return from the spa.

I am sending in an old girlfriend that has been in the garage for the past few years; a set of Titleist DCI 962s. If it works on this girl, the current girlfriend will be sent in.

Thanks BOS Golf. You dumped gasoline on my golf addiction. I am fully out of remission now with no control of myself.

Check back in a couple weeks and I'll post photos of my girlfriend when she returns from the spa to a future blog.

Visit for the latest PGH products and golf belts!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

No Mulligans In Life... Even For Golfers

What do I know about the truth... I make golf belts and exotic leather putter grips  at my golf company hence I understand that the following topic is definitely not my area of working experience.

However, I gotta say...

So, I made a commitment last night that I was going to finish off a job and send it over to someone by the end of that day, and I failed to make it happen. I didn't keep my word, which unfortunately got me thinking. I wish I could enjoy a Mulligan when it comes keeping my word to others, and then that got me thinking about playing golf. There really are zero do-overs in daily life. There aren't any genuine re-dos.

I have been participating in the sport of golf “full time” for around eighteen years , and I am surprised by things I discover that players do along the golf course in relation to their score cards and how some people do not honor their word. Do not misunderstand me, I am not a saint around the course. I have had my own times that I make stuff up in order to make myself feel better. I have got several score cards with an asterisk near the four or five.

I am inclined to play a lot of my rounds of golf in which I have the course to pair me up together with different players, therefore I get to go through the chasing of the little white ball with many different individuals. I'm a sucker for when these people want me to keep score. It's inevitable when I inquire, “what did you get on the last hole?” “Yea, I made a five.” Seriously?!! How the hell is that even slightly possible after you hit the very first out of bounds and your third in the lake?

Explanations vary, the following is a classic:

The beer cart girl moved the cart during my swing.

If it weren’t for, If I wouldn’t have, If he didn’t... YEAH? Well, they did, it did, you did.
Exactly how do you tee off by using your Pro V and somehow conclude the hole using a Maxfli? Come on! if that’s how you actually play golf, how do you live your life?

I’m not really sure exactly what has taken place with me through the years at the course. I did the same things in the past. Ultimately, I gave up on trying to falsify my score though... I think I recognized that I had been being untruthful mainly to me personally because the others in the party already knew it is difficult for me to get five with three water balls. I imagine I also started contemplating just how could I really get better when I don’t actually find out where my skill level is at this point time.

Then, there’s generally the “It's just a game.” Ouch, the idea hurts me merely to express it, nevertheless it is accurate. Life and playing golf very much the same. I really won't be able to have a Mulligan with my word or my golf swing. I have to recognize my error, admit it, and go forward. Jason, I screwed up this particular opportunity with my word. I apologize. I’m walking forward now.