This trip began with two readings. The first, an excerpt from the late Anthony Bourdain. The second, a meditation from Sadhguru. Two seemingly completely different human beings saying the exact same thing. Live life. Explore. Set fear to the side.
Having said that, my first order of business was to outrun the treacherous Winter Storm Uri. So I put the readings down and left an hour early.
Back in November, I received an email from Team Titleist that caught my attention. Amidst my 2,154 unread emails, this one stood out. For $699 plus tax and fees, I would get WHAT? I read the email about ten times, then saved it. I’d be back.
For $699, I could go to Pinehurst in January or February and do/get the following: a round on US Open course # 2, a round on its newly redesigned and rebranded sister course # 4, a round on The Cradle (the most fun little course in the world), two nights in the historic Carolina Hotel, the legendary breakfast buffet each morning (shout out chicken and apple sausage), dinner every evening, a Titleist club fitting session, and a $200 Titleist gift card. I quickly started doing some math.
I like value. I always have. It can be stocks, it can be real estate, it can be clearance sales, it can be golf packages. Per my quick math, this package was worth about $1750. For $699. It was happening. 100%.
With Covid-19, new house building, and all sorts of other riff raff going down, I purposely waited until the 11th hour to book the trip. As such, the weekends were sold out, but the weekdays were wide open. It would be tricky to get some friends to basically take a week off from whatever, but I threw out a few East Coast invites. I got plenty of No’s, plenty of Maybe’s, and two Yes’s. That was good enough for me.
My childhood friend, Kevin aka Caveman, is always up for it. My newish friend, Ben aka Birmingham Ben aka The Lord Benjamin, is too. Ask this, move this, bob here, weave there. And it was done. February 16-18. Pinehurst, NC. Old friends meet new friends.
I still thought the package was too good to be true. Where was the upcharge? Where were the extras?
We played the crazy 18 hole putting green, Thistle Du, first on Tuesday. We then walked # 4 in crazy windy conditions. The highlight was Caveman’s much improved ballstriking, which was super fun to watch. We then looped The Cradle twice, drinks in hand, singing alongside the music blaring. Pinehurst Brewing Co. provided our dinner, the whole experience an A+. Soon thereafter, three thirty something year olds crashed. Hard.
We started Wednesday off with the Titleist fitting. It was early. It was cold. It was so fun. Ben and Caves hit drivers. I worked on my wedges. Caveman’s company provides the metal for the new Titleist driver, so he and the fitters geeked out over that. Next, we tackled # 2, one of my favorite places in the world. There is no respite on this beast, each punch in the mouth immediately followed by another punch in the gut. It’s like torture, but somehow super fun.
A little gift card shopping followed, then some transfusions and appetizers, and then it was time for dinner. I wore a jacket for the first time (minus a funeral) in the better part of two years. I brought dress shoes too, but they never made it to my aching feet.
Somehow, the Maine lobster was not an upcharge, so I indulged. Nor was the lemon and raspberry sorbet, which the boys are still making fun of me about. Afterwards, we sat on the porch in the brisk air and chatted about real life, always the best part of any trip. We giggled about Fran Tarkenton. Or was it Frank Tarlton. Or was it Frank Tarkleton. #insidejoke
Somehow, in a North Carolina winter rife with constant rain and gloom, we got two beautiful Carolina blue sky days. It was windy Tuesday. It was a little chilly Wednesday. But it was otherwise perfect. Somehow, there was no upcharge for that.
On the front end of the trip, I got to see my sister and nieces. On both ends, I got to see my parents.
As we departed on Thursday morning, it was 32 degrees, sleeting, and time to outmaneuver Winter Storm Viola. So we said our goodbyes, and I asked The Lord and The Caveman if we should go ahead and book our Team Titleist adventure for next year.
Jokingly, but dead serious.
Have a great week.-Benj
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