I’m halfway through John Sabino’s How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs. If you haven’t heard of John Sabino, you may know his blog http://top100golf.blogspot.com/. I’ll review the book when I’m finished with it.
Basically, John is one of a group of people (mostly men) who have played, in some fashion, the world’s top 100 golf courses. There are various lists from golf publications people will use as their baseline. Some pick a year (in John’s case, 2003) and go with it. Some adjust their play based on courses being added or removed from the lists.
How do these guys relate to me? Well, I too have a desire to play some of the best golf courses. Except, my expectations and desires are much more grounded than theirs. While these guys are going for best of U.S. or world lists, I’ve kept my focus and desires grounded in my geographic area of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Hence, the O-IN-K in my blog, OINK Golf.
I’m lucky enough to live in Cincinnati, OH. While Cincinnati itself may only be home to one world-class golf course, it is relatively centrally located to a whole slew of them. Within a 4-5 hour drive, I can be at the gates of some pretty darn good courses.
Within this blog, I’ve always listed out what I’ve played and what I’d like to play. The way I’ve organized the like to play was always a bit scattered and unorganized. After getting into Sabino’s book, I’ve decided to put some organization around what I wish to play.
With that being said, I bring to you The Quest.
The Quest will hereafter be my focused list of must plays. My personal top 100 want-to-play. Personal being the key word. For example, I would never argue Western Hills CC and Clovernook CC, both in Cincinnati, are actually in the top 20 courses in the Tri-State area. However, they both have a significance to me being close to where I grew up. Therefore, they were both high on my to-play list when I started playing golf, and I was lucky enough to put their proverbial pegs in early in my playing career.
I’m also starting this knowing that I’ve already knocked off 20 courses in this list. I think it’s totally fair to do this. If I had played a course in the top 100 of Golf Magazine’s list, I wouldn’t discount it just because I played it. Sure, Miami View Golf Club probably doesn’t sniff anyone’s Tri-State top 100 list. But again, this list is personal. I’m sure by including these personal choices I may have left out a handful of deserving courses. So be it; they’ll remain in a “Best of the Rest” type list.
Do I think I can actually accomplish this in my lifetime? Perhaps. A number of these are public courses, and I can do standard booking practices to play. I’ve found that being a member of a private club will significantly increase your odds by having your professional organize rounds, as long as you don’t want to play during peak hours.
I recognize some of these are going to be tough to get on. To make the point, I have a direct connection to a member at Muirfield Village. However, I’ve never been invited to play the course. I have been lucky enough to receive Memorial clubhouse passes from them in the past, and have swiftly written thank you notes for the privilege I received. But the peg is not in the board yet.
I also have to face reality. While I make a comfortable living, I’m not a Wall Street tycoon. My current job does not have me travel anywhere. My private club membership, which I’m very lucky to have, is relatively modest of most clubs in my area. However, it’s certainly not cheap, and it accounts for most of my golf budget a year. I’m also married with two little ones; all of whom I adore. Hubby/Daddy spending too much time on the golf course is not a good recipe me.
What’s on deck for 2016? I think I’m for sure going to knock 5 off this list that I haven’t already played. I may try to work on a couple connections on another two for off-season play. Best case scenario, I get the list down from 80 currently to 73 at the end of the year.
Wish me luck!