Photo Girl Travels

Taking the Road Less Traveled

After 20 Years, I Finally Have NEW Sticks!

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Me and my new shoes ;)

Me and my new shoes 😉

It always starts with a new pair of shoes. A good friend of mine got me back into golf which was not only fun…but yes, required a new pair of shoes. When I first got the invitation to play a round of 18, I promptly made my way into my storage area. I knew I had a set of clubs and a pair of golf shoes. After moving my 50 Christmas decoration boxes (I do love the holidays) – I finally found my clubs. I dusted them off (they could have used a good run under a professional leaf blower). Then, I carefully peaked down into the bag to see if there were any mice peaking back out. I’ve always wondered if you left a bag long enough, would a mouse find it and make it their home? Sure the bag was animal-free; I brought it up to my driveway. Not too bad I thought. 20 years old and still looking pretty good. The shoes were harder to find. After an afternoon of racking my brain…where could I possibly put them! I found them tucked into one of my Halloween decoration boxes. I have no idea why they would be there…but there they were.

I decided a quick run to the driving range was in order before I stepped foot on the course. Donning my east-coast, two-toned shoes and lugging an incredibly heavy bag of clubs behind me, I fed a $10.00 bill into the machine and got a large bucket of balls (this is going to prove to be an expensive sport). At the time, I had no idea the world of golf had changed. I do remember I got a few “looks” as I was whacking away at my large bucket. Was it the cute shoes? My swing? Noooo…I’m sure it was my clubs and antiquated bag that was the cause of all those stares. I was way behind the times. Here is a photo of my shoes that first day back on the range, and my club…

Ahhhh, yes, my classic two tones retro shoes

Ahhhh, yes, my classic two-toned, retro shoes

The morning of my first game, I discovered an entirely new world. That day I borrowed a set of clubs and wore my 20 year old shoes. The irons seemed similar but the driver blew my mind. I could not believe how large it was! The photo below shows my old driver next to a new one. It almost doesn’t seem fair….!

My ancient drive next to a NEW one!

My ancient drive next to a NEW one!

Playing with the new driver and a few tweaks as to where I needed to place the ball in my stance, I could see a difference. So what happened? I found myself out looking for a new pair of shoes…and it was all downhill from there. I was hooked! If you follow my blog you know I’ve golfed before. Over the years, I drifted away from the sport but like a boomerang, but I guess I’m now back.

My shadow in the simulator trying new clubs

My shadow in the simulator trying new clubs

After playing a few times I decided I also needed a new set of clubs. The last time I purchased a set was about 20 years ago. As I mentioned, the drivers used to be the size of a lemon and now they look like a bowling ball. So when I decided to purchase clubs, the guys down at the coffee shop told me about a few places to get my clubs fitted (Thanks Bradley and Steve). And then, I learned about the PGA Superstore from my good friend Susan. Imagine Bloomingdales but all they have are golf items. I’m sure you men out there are rolling your eyes, but it is a golf-lover’s heaven (And the only store I can think to compare it to is either Bloomingdales or Nordstrom’s)

The PGA Superstore...the golf bag section

The PGA Superstore…the golf bag section

So back to the acquisition of my new clubs. The first time I went into the PGA Superstore I was actually a bit shy. I’m not a really good player and was a little worried they would look at me crossed eyed when I mentioned I’d like to try some clubs. I walked over to the area where they have a long row of simulation booths – where you can hit and a computer will tell you your club and ball speed, trajectory, length of drive, etc. One of the Pros who works there walked up to me and asked me how he could help – his name was Marty Fossum and he seemed very interested in helping me out. From that point forward, I felt right at home.

Marty helped start the club fitting process and not once did I feel rushed. If you get your clubs fitted they will measure, check to see if they need to adjust your lie angle, confirm shaft length, type and brand. The way they check to see which brand you like is by interchanging the different heads – Titleist, Ping, Taylor Made, Cobra, etc. There are a ton of brands, so get ready to hit a bunch of shots. When I got finished, I had a good idea which one I liked but wanted to come back and try it again. “No problem” said Marty. He told me they don’t work off commission so the most important thing they want to do is fit you with the clubs that work best for you…not them. And I liked that.

I came back two more times and on it was on the third time that I ordered my new irons. Below are some photos from the day I purchased my clubs. That day Michael Brown helped me out and he was GREAT! He adjusted a few things including shaft length which I really appreciated, was incredibly patient, and I finally pulled the trigger. Also, Chris Mullane came over and helped me with my swing. Chris is a 37 year PGA teaching PRO and has fitted clubs for over 17 years. Also, the day I got my clubs was his birthday so Happy Birthday Chris! If you’d like lessons I’d ask for Chris. Also, Nathan Brown, who is the Hard Goods Supervisor was very helpful too.

Me in the simuluation booth!

Me in the simuluation booth!

Chris Mullane (left) and Michael Brown (right) - SO MUCH FUN and so helpful!

Chris Mullane (left – Happy Birthday!) and Michael Brown (right) – SO MUCH FUN and so helpful!

Ordering my irons! My new bag is on the right. Mathew Green (left) Michael Brown (next) Me, Steven Fijak (right)

Ordering my irons! My new bag is on the right. Mathew Green (left) Michael Brown (next) Me, Steven Fijak (right)

Ok, flash forward about a 1.5 weeks and it’s now time to pick up my clubs. It turned out that my Dad, aka Papa Stan, was in town and we were able to stop by and get them, with my brother and beautiful niece Ally – here is a photo of us picking them up. Thanks for taking the picture Michael, and allowing my Dad and brother to hit a few. We really think you are the best!

Papa Stan (my Dad), Steve (my brother) and my beautiful niece Ally! Picking up my new irons

Papa Stan (my Dad), Steve (my brother) and my beautiful niece Ally! Picking up my new irons!

And some additional photos I took that day to show you around:

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I really wanted to thank the team of people who helped me. They allowed me to hit a ton of balls and try a number of clubs. For me great service means the world and if I find it I’m happy to let people know. Next I’m going to get my driver!

For more information on one of my new favorite stores: www.pgatoursuperstore.com

©2013 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.


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The Golf Club at Boulder Ridge

Boulder Ridge Golf Course at Sunset

Boulder Ridge Golf Course at Sunset

A couple of nights ago I discovered a hidden, private golf course located in Almaden Valley in Northern California – The Boulder Ridge Golf Club. Because it’s a members-only club I felt fortunate to have this special opportunity to take a peek during a two part adventure: A sunset drive in a golf cart so I could shoot some of the photos you see here…and a fabulous dinner.

Although you’re right in the middle of Almaden Valley, you feel like you’re in another world. Since it’s a private club I thought it would be fun to take you on a photo tour so you can get a “behind the scene” view of this stunning course.

One of the first things you’ll notice are the beautiful hills which give you the most amazing views at sunset.

Photogirltravels.com: Photography by Shelley D SprayThis is driving range where you’ll find stacked balls in the shape of a pyramid. I have no idea who does that but what a job. (You can just barely see them in the photo.)

Photogirltravels.com: Photography by Shelley D Spray

Photogirltravels.com: Photography by Shelley D SprayOn the road driving in…

Photogirltravels.com: Photography by Shelley D Spray

You’ll also find a Pavilion where they hold parties, weddings, events and the view is spectacular. The photo shows the approach to the Pavilion along with my faithful driver, who patiently waited while I snapped a few 😉

Bolder Ridge Pavillion

Boulder Ridge Pavilion

When you arrive at the Pavilion you’ll see this walkway out to where they hold events and weddings. You can see the chairs lined up over on the right. I’m sure there’s not a bad seat in the house.

Photogirltravels.com: Photography by Shelley D SprayThere are also a number of areas where you can sit and have a drink…I don’t believe helmets are required but I would keep an eye out for a random ball – especially if someone like me is playing.

Photogirltravels.com: Photography by Shelley D SprayThis photo was taken outside of the bar / restuarant where there is a cozy patio where you can watch the sunset and sip a glass of wine.

Photogirltravels.com: Photography by Shelley D SprayAnd finally, our fabulous dinner. Filet mignon with a special sauce, risotto (which was amazing), mashed potatoes and veggies. The spinach salad was great too (sorry, no pic). A special thanks to my most excellent tour guide. What a fabulous adventure! 😉

And finally, the bar/restuarant.

About the Club:

Their website: www.boulderridgegolfclub.com

Also, a special thanks to Sandie Weis, the Director of Food and Beverage and her team for the fabulous service – and of course our bartender Tracie (and Lisa too!)

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Would you like a print? Please click on “Contact”. My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors and saturation are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image ½ inch off the wall.

©2013 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.


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CordeValle Championship Golf Resort

CordeValle Golf Resort

CordeValle Golf Resort

The thing I love about living in California (and there are many) is that you can drive a short distance and find yourself in a different world. As most of you know, I live in Los Gatos. I’m two hours from Napa Valley, an hour from the quaint, seaside town of Carmel, and I most recently discovered, 30 minutes from one of the most beautiful golf courses – The CordeValle Championship Golf Resort. If you joined me when we visited the AT&T Pebble Beach PRO-AM you know I have held a golf club before. Granted, the ones I have look like they are made of bronze (they have titanium shafts which I’m sure have been obsolete for years) My driver head  is about 1/16 the size of the ones they sell today. And Arnold Schwarzenegger could have weight trained with my bag – apparently it’s that heavy. But even so, someone was brave enough to take me with them to play on the CordeValle Championship Golf Resort last Friday, knowing I had not swung a club in almost 15 years. 😉

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I will admit I was a little nervous. I have hit a few scary balls in my time, so the ones who should have been nervous really should have been the other three in this foursome. I mean, how can you hit a ball that shoots out directly in front of you. No, not to your left, out toward the green but directly in front of where you are standing. Or, I’ve even heard of someone who hit a ball and it shot out behind them. Even with these life threatening occurrences, people still grab their clubs and head off to play a round. I’m surprised they don’t make you wear a helmet if you’re playing with someone who has not broken a 100.

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As I smacked away at the ball I kept thinking, thank God I’m not driving because I truly had no idea where we were going. I mean, I knew where the green was, but the cart path seemed to wind around in a multitude of directions once you picked your ball off the green.  A one point, we let other players through – although I picked up my ball many times to keep the game moving, I’m sure I still did slow things down a bit. But when you have lemons, what do you do? You make lemonade. In our case, we drove this little lemon over to the Clos La Chance Winery, got her a bottle of Pinot (I did share), and headed back over to play the rest of the course.

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So you may be wondering, how did I play? Well, with the help of some very good instructions from the “hummer”, I did play 18 holes (sort of) and, I actually parred one!

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So I’ll leave you with my sunset photo – We played later in the afternoon so when we got to the last holes we saw a gorgeous sunset… all in all, it was pretty spectacular day… A special thanks to my very brave hummer for taking me along for the ride. 😉Photogirltravels_cordevalle_8

If you missed my Pebble Beach PRO-AM Golf Tournament post: https://photogirltravels.com/category/golf-2/

CordeValle Golf Championship Resort information:

Website: http://www.cordevallegolf.com/packages?gclid=CNL10aTBlLcCFUQ6QgodLWsABA

Here’s a link to a hole-by-hole tour which is a pretty cool site: http://www.cordevallegolf.com/golf/course/hole-by-hole-course-tour

And a map of the course:

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Would you like a print? Please click on “Contact”. My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors and saturation are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image ½ inch off the wall.

©2013 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.

AT&T Pebble Beach PRO-AM Golf Tournament

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I grew up across from the 9th hole. As soon as I could hold a spoon, my Dad placed a tiny golf club in my hands. Now you think I’d play pro with a story like that but my only claim to fame is a fairly graceful swing. Where the ball ends up going is an entirely different story. As Hank Aaron said: “It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.” Or as I say: “If you don’t play often – you swing more often”

I had a wonderful opportunity to attend the 2013 AT&T Pebble Beach PRO-AM Golf Tournament during the practice session yesterday. This was also called the “Crosby Clambake”, established by Bing Crosby out of his love for golf and his personal interest in helping young people. Due to my most excellent “tour-guide” I learned quite a bit about the tournament and golf. The combination of great company, stunning views, good food/drinks and some fun celebrity sightings made for a fabulous time. There is still time to watch the tournament as it runs from February 4-10, 2013. Monday – Wednesday they practiced (and the celebrities, aka amateurs, rubbed clubs with the pros.) Thursday – Sunday is the actual tournament. If you love golf, views, the ocean and good wine – this is for you.

Quick terms you really must know

  • BIRDIE – A tiny flying animal or a score of 1 under par for a hole. (i.e. a score of 3 on a par 4 hole)
  • BOGEY – A score of 1 over par on a hole. (i.e. a score of 5 on a par 4 hole)
  • BITE – What you should do when you see a piece of bacon, and a term used for the action of the backspin on the ball stopping it very quickly on the green
  • BUNKER – Another name for a sand trap or a hill in some battle
  • CADDIE – The guy carrying the really big bag
  • CHIP SHOT – A short approach shot with a low trajectory usually hit from close to the green
  • DRIVER – The person who got you to the PRO-AM and the club known as the 1 wood. It is usually the club that hits the ball the farthest
  • FAT SHOT – An XL shot of alcohol after a bad game of golf, or a bad shot where the club hits the ground behind the ball and results in a poorly struck shot that usually doesn’t go very far
  • MULLIGAN – An extra shot which your opponent may allow you to take if you hit a really bad first shot

Quick facts about Pebble Beach

  • The longest hole at Pebble Beach is 14 (572 yards) That’s over 5 football fields long!
  • The shortest hole at Pebble Beach is 7 which was also my favorite hole (photo below, note all the people practicing their shots out of the bunkers)

PhotoGirlTravels7th hole

Where to eat

  • The Bench: There are a number of places to eat, but I would recommend The Bench. This is a hip and trendy bar/restaurant located by the 18th hole. You can sit by the fire, sip a glass of wine, have lunch and people watch. But that’s not all, if you’re looking for a good cigar; they have a fairly impressive menu (With one priced at almost $100. I think I’d try to find a way to wear it at that price). Quick tip – They’ll give you a bar menu but if you want to eat a great bacon burger, ask for their lunch or dinner menu.
  • Gallery Café: If you eat outside at the Gallery you can watch the Pros practice their putting. You’ll also have a birds-eye view as they hit off the first tee.

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So you can start planning early, here’s a map of Pebble Beach. (#7 is my favorite hole. It’s a tough par 3 as the green is perched out on a ledge, overlooking the water.) No worries if you decide to do this by yourself. Believe me, you won’t be alone!

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As I sign off I’ll leave you with this last quote: “Golf is a game in which you yell ‘fore’, shoot six and write down five.” -Paul Harvey

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Quick note for 2014: If you think you might go next year and you’re trying to decide between the practice tournament or the pro event (you can’t go to the entire event), I really enjoyed the practice tournament. There were no crowds, easy parking, you can take photos and meet celebrities.  Many things are closed Monday – Tuesday so if you’re only going one day next year, try Wednesday)

Would you like a print? Please click on “Contact”. My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors and saturation are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image ½ inch off the wall.

©2013 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.


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Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

raLast year I attended the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance car show and was amazed by the beauty of this event.  The cars look like jewels lining the California coastline.  You can drink champagne and stroll along one of the most famous golf courses in the…

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