Congratulations Bill Felcyn
Hooked On Golf's - Golf Correspondent Contest Winner
The Divine Nine will get you "Hooked on Golf"
by Bill Felcyn
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. While this was monumental in itself, He then combined heaven on earth with the Divine Nine. These are the golf courses that dot the landscape in Carson City/Carson Valley, Nevada, halfway between Reno and Lake Tahoe.
The Divine Nine golf courses feature a total of 171 holes and 70,000 yards of year-round, affordable, scenic play for all skill levels. The destination offers a memorable combination of golf, historic tours, Nevada-style gaming, attractions and fine dining.
For the past 15 years the area has hosted a golf writers' tour to sample the riches and to tell the world. Only this one is a bit different. Instead of playing various courses, they play two holes at all nine in about 12 hours. A well-stocked shuttle bus, compliments of Genoa Lakes Golf Club & Resort, keeps the attendees hydrated during the day which is a necessity after the welcome reception, this year at Carson Valley Inn, the night before.
Writing a story about snakes on a golf course won me an invitation to participate in this golf marathon – it certainly wasn't my golf prowess. Yes, there was a contest hosted by "Hooked on Golf," a popular program on KNBR radio in San Francisco.
I have always been a fan of the Iron Man endurance competition in Hawaii. These athletes are not sidetracked by the beauty of the area but remain focused on their goal. But put 20 golf writers together and compare. This raises the obvious, eternal question: is golf a sport or recreation?
What can be said about the Divine Nine golf experience? Out of the gate, the yips got me. I put my first two balls in the water at Genoa Lakes, Lakes Course. By the time we got to Genoa Lakes Resort Course I concluded our group was not exactly on the same level of performance as the Iron Men, so named our golf adventure the "Tin Men" endurance test. We are the "weaker metal" brothers.
After many laughs and questionable holes at Sunridge and Empire Ranch, refueling was provided by Dayton Valley with sandwiches on the go and there was a much needed margarita pit stop at Eagle Valley East to help get us through it and sister course, Eagle Valley West.
We were up before the sun, golfed two holes at each of the nine different courses making up the Divine Nine and hoping to git 'er done in time. We barely managed even with five people teeing up simultaneously at Silver Oak… try to find your ball in that slew of little white spheres. What an experience!
Between water holes, scenic rugged terrain and undulating greens, each of the nine courses presented a unique challenge. Arriving at the last course, Carson Valley, it also became a sprint to beat the sun. We played a 6,956 yards, par 76 course, inviting some very "creative" scoring. The group managed to lose 97 balls, consume 147 adult beverages, 74 waters and 23 Gatorades and no one was able to break 80. To further rev up the excitement, toss in a fire on a golf cart, herds of deer and more fun than a guy has a right to, all added to the day's ribald ambience.
So what entices anyone to partake in such an endurance contest? Perhaps the beer?
Great golf, wonderful scenery, people piqued by the pure challenge, stellar tournament organization, including smoothly coordinated transportation, all combined to form the perfect golf storm. At the end, you've met some nice folks who are as nuts as you and experienced exceptional hospitality from Carson Valley Inn, Holiday Inn Express in Minden, Carson City Plaza, Carson Valley Visitors Authority, Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau and the nine great golf courses making up the Divine Nine.
It wasn't all about the golf, however. Carson Valley Inn hosted a memorable welcome reception to kick things off. And the tournament day was finished with a sumptuous feast at JT Basque Restaurant in Gardnerville where everyone would or try to recall their most memorable experiences. While none of us took home any awards, what we came away with was even better… wonderful memories, spectacular scenery, NO snakes and we remained totally, irrationally "hooked on golf."
If you're looking for a good golf trip, get some friends and find a deal with the Divine Nine courses and the area's lodging partners. It's a devilishly good time.
Fall 2012 Contest Information:
Contest has ended. Congratulations Bill Felcyn, Golf Correspondent Contest Winner.
Win a trip and paid assignment to cover the Divine 9 Golf Tour
in Carson City/Carson Valley, Nevada.
It's 2 holes at 9 courses in 11 hours – it's been referred to by media as "a golf destination primer on steroids," and "The Bataan Golf March." Join other media on the shuttle bus for a first-person story about golf survival. It's sun-up to sun-down, on the bus and off the bus, on the courses and off the courses. (Well, it's not that tough, what with a rolling lunch, various hydration opportunities – read: ice chest, and awards dinner.)
It's an opportunity to sample the variety, quality, value and fun of the Divine 9 courses: Carson Valley, Dayton Valley, Genoa Lakes – Lakes and Resort, Eagle Valley East and Eagle Valley West, Empire Ranch, Silver Oak, and Sunridge.
Winner receives a $250 writing fee for a 500-word story, four nights lodging, media tour, two traditional rounds of golf at Divine 9 member courses, meals, helpful reporting tips from the pros, travel allowance and memories for a lifetime. You'll be interviewed and on the radio post-event by John Abendroth and Mitch Juricich, hosts of "Hooked On Golf." Plus, your written story and Facebook posts will live in infamy on "Hooked On Golf" and the Divine 9 websites. We're taking photos and video as well, so who knows, it could turn into a writing or acting career!
Here's how to enter:
Your choice: either write a 200-400 word story or email a smart phone video of 90 seconds or less, telling us about your favorite golf trip. Fun, funny, poignant, true or imagined, it's up to you. Risqué is ok, but the only "F"s allowed should be limited to fairly family friendly. The deadline is noon, Friday, September 28 with the winner announced on "Hooked On Golf," Saturday, September 29.
The Divine 9 Media Tour includes a welcome reception, Monday, October 1 and the Media Tour, Tuesday, October 2, along with awards dinner. The winner will receive two nights lodging at Carson Valley Inn and two additional post-Tour nights at the Hampton Inn Carson City to recuperate as well as select meals, two rounds of golf at select Divine 9 member courses and a $150 gas allowance.
No purchase necessary. For complete rules, click here
Contest has ended. Next contest Fall 2013.