Sunday, 26 December 2010

Firestone…with Mike

I had a terrific day today.

It began with me watching Mike warm up from the stands. I’ve always admired how good the players are and how hard they work at their games. At 9:00am Mike set out to play the back nine at Firestone. I was invited to walk inside the ropes with Mike, Bennan, Mike Wilson and Rich. I generally tried to stay out of the way, but you know me, I chatted with everyone when given the opportunity. I really enjoy Mike’s team. I must admit that getting inside the ropes to walk a course with Mike never grows old.

Firestone is solid. There was nothing I could really criticize, but there was also very little I liked. It’s solid, dull and one dimensional. The conditioning was outstanding and the tree management has been very well handled. The highlight was all of us trying to figure out how Tiger’s ball went over the roof. We went back to the range where I watched Mike work on his game and then sat and watched players work on their short games. The whole experience gave me insight on designing a better practice facility.

After the round Mike and I went up to the player’s lounge to meet with Steve Wenzloff from the PGA Tour. We went over our plans for our golf course and talked about what the PGA Tour would require if we were to hold a Canadian Open on the site. The feedback was excellent and we have some details to look at down the road regarding flow, access, staging, spectators etc. but the course itself was well received. We finished up with a long conversation about the ideal practice facility. This was timely since I’m working on the one at Laval-sur-le-lac.

I was able to bring Mike up to speed on a few projects including a really interesting new enquiry about a golf course out west. Since he was finished practicing and playing we had a few extra minutes to talk about the business, prospects and the future of the golf design industry. We had needed those extra minutes and talked through some ideas.

Mike need a few minutes before we left so I was left to sit back and take in all the players sequestered in the player’s lounge due to lightening. The atmosphere was very friendly since conversations seemed to involve multiple tables at a time. Some were watching TV and others playing cards, but mostly they were sitting around chatting over a (non alcoholic) drink. I had to smile watching KJ Choi massaging the shoulders of Tiger Woods as he came up to say hello. It was a very informal and friendly place.

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