I read 421 itineraries for buddies trips taking place in the next 30 days. It's late May and early June and I noticed multiple trips to Alabama and Mesquite, NV. As we approach the summer months, the northern portion of the country is also preparing for a flood of golf trips. The good people in the land of value golf (Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, to name a few) are putting away makeshift ski resorts and their ice fishing rods in exchange for lawn mowers, weed whackers and sand wedges.
I've narrowed down the next Golf Digest Ambush, Ambush No. 15, to these five finalists:
The 80 members of the "Fitton Follies" have been going to Northern Michigan for the past 20 years. Dick Fitton wrote in and told me about the year they honored our troops by wearing all red, white and blue. He told me they memorialize past members of their group on their website (www.fittonfollies.com). The most recent is Donnie Gallimore. Here's a portion of the poem from the group to Gallimore and their annual golf trip:
*Each year the Follies will gather in May for another time to tee it up.
We know you will be there to help guide our ball to the cup.
You will help us remember there is never a bad golf shot.
And be appreciative of everything we have got.
*[#image: /photos/55ad7189b01eefe207f681f0]|||DonnieGallimore.jpg|||*So keep smiling and enjoy the Follies from high in the sky.
That is why your Follies Brothers will never say to you, "Goodbye."*
On a lighter note, Mac Munro wrote in about The Northern Links. It's an annual eight-man "golf bonanza" that started at St. Lawrence University in 1993. They've been to places like Seminole and Ekwanok Country Club because they have some "connections," but they've also been to Bandon Dunes, Whistling Straits and Pinehurst. They travel with the Northern Links Cup in a bulletproof case and at the formal champion's dinner they dress up and each man chugs a beer from the trophy. They're headed back to Castle Pines in Colorado this year.
Here's another group planning a trip to the north. The new alpha-planner of a four-year spring golf trip, David Anderson, has decided to lead his crew to the "iron range" near Tower, Minn. (home of the hockey hall of fame). They'll play 18 at the Quarry, 36 at the Wilderness and they'll stay at the Fortune Bay Casino. They're in for $255 for three rounds of golf and two nights of lodging and they put in $100 for side bets. Anderson writes: "Hands down the BEST golf courses you can play for the money in the upper Midwest."
The Wedgewood Cup is staying in the south. Eight former neighbors from Frisco (north of Dallas) continue to get together every year to play golf. Tim Kennedy didn't clarify how many years they've been doing this trip, but he points out that winners of "The Cup" manage to get the trophy into pictures used for Christmas cards, birth announcements, or the family vacation to Spain. "My personal favorite," writes Kennedy, "was the Cup being used as a chalice during the ride in my Mardi Gras parade." Kennedy says the event concludes with the champions dinner--prepared by the last place finisher (who's driven to the grocery store by the guy who finishes second to last). Kennedy says, "The champions dinner is mandatory. Sneaking an early flight to get home to the wife is not allowed." This year they'll be at Pine Dunes Resort and Golf Club in Frankston, TX.
And finally, Scott Benson of Santee, Calif., said the economy has forced his 15th annual trip to stay close to home. La Quinta has offered them "a great deal--seven rounds in four days."
If any member of the groups above care to try and add more (printable) details, I have not picked a winner yet. Scott Benson may want to expand on the specifics of the "great deal" at La Quinta. David Anderson might want to explain how they keep their trip to three rounds of golf and skip playing on Sunday. Tim Kennedy can tell us how many years they've been playing for the Wedgewood Cup. Mac Munro, who has been to some of the best resorts in the country, can tell us what he considers the perfect venue for a buddies trip. And Dick Fitton can fill in the details of which courses the Fitton Follies will be using in Michigan this year.
Good luck. And if I don't Ambush you this year, there's always next year.
Do you have an interest in getting your trip in the pages of Golf Digest? Here's the link for the entry form.