The best sights of 2019

By |  January 9, 2020 0 Comments
Photo: Seth Jones

Photo: Seth Jones

It only took one month into 2020, and I went ahead and used the “2020 vision” pun on the cover. If I’m not going to be original, at least I’ll be first out of the gate, I suppose.

I’m happy that I have better than 20/20 vision, thanks to LASIK surgery about seven years ago. How good is my vision? I tell my kids that it’s so good I can see them from my office while they’re in school. I’d recommend LASIK to anyone who struggles with nearsighted vision. It’s great being able to follow the golf ball after its been smashed off Dustin Johnson’s driver while your friends lose it off the club face.

My LASIK-enhanced eyes took in a lot of amazing sights in 2019. Here are the top six things I saw:

6. John Deere’s autonomous fairway mower in action

My friends at John Deere usually invite me to the John Deere Classic each year, but I could tell the 2019 invitation was different. They really wanted me to come out to TPC Deere Run last year. Turns out, it was for a good reason, as this was the event that they unveiled their robotic fairway mower to a small group of superintendents. It’s exciting to see these new innovations up close.

5. The Rocky Mountains in Banff, Alberta

It was my first Canadian Golf Superintendents Association’s Golf Course Management Conference, and it was a winner — the views of Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade were a sight to behold. I’m happy to see we made some friends in Canada while we were there, too. My sense of sight was pleased, but so was my sense of taste — at Banff Ave Brewing Co., a brewery to which I hope someday to return.

4. Evey leading her team in scoring

Warning, dad brag ahead. It was fun watching my 13-year-old daughter lead her seventh grade junior varsity basketball team in scoring on several occasions. Oh, her point totals in those games? 4, 2, 1, 4, 2 and 2. I should mention that in the game in which she scored 1 point, she actually tied for leading scorer with another girl. Yes, two free throws were the only points put on the board. Yes, it was a long season. But there’s something exciting about breaking a shutout in the last minute of a basketball game.

3. The greens at East Lake GC

August in Atlanta is hot, but it’s a good time for those bermudagrass greens. I was able to get in early for the TOUR Championship and get a close-up look at the greens before the fans were allowed on the course. Rory McIlroy wasn’t the only winner at East Lake … Ralph Kepple, Charles Aubry and the crew also scored a big win with the 2019 TOUR Championship.

2. Cypress Point and Pebble Beach

Talk about a good day … I went out early to visit the crew at Pebble Beach for our cover story on the 2019 U.S. Open. I got to watch the sun rise at Pebble Beach, and after taking in those views, I made the short drive to Cypress Point and watched the sun set on that course. That, my friends, is a very good day.

1. Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

I was in D.C. for an event hosted by the National Association of Landscape Professionals called Renewal and Remembrance. It’s similar to National Golf Day but different in that this group volunteers at Arlington National Cemetery to spruce up the grounds there. While there, I saw the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was hot out, and I was about to move when my publisher, Bill Roddy, advised me to stay for the changing of the guard. Seeing this ceremony in person — the precision, the dedication, the gravitas — made me proud to be an American. I hope someday to take my kids there to see it in person themselves.

I’m excited to see what visions 2020 brings to my 20/15 eyes. Happy New Year to you all.

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