Bogeys across America: an interview with the Golf Nomad

We all know America is home to some fantastic golf courses – from the idyllic seaside greens of California to the scorching fairways of the desert and the finely manicured courses in New York.  It’s such a rich and varied country, the states so vast, that even golf courses within the same area can differ hugely, offering unique challenges every time you play. But it’s one thing seeing them on TV, and it’s quite another experiencing them for yourself.

I’d like to introduce you to a man very well qualified in writing about them. Keith from the Bogeys Across America blog, aka the Golf Nomad, has made it his mission to adventure all around America, playing in each of the fifty states.

You can find out more about him here, and I urge you to check out his blog, because it’s fantastic. I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to reach out to him, because it’s such a unique slant – interesting, engaging, full of wonderful pictures, and of course such an exciting idea to begin with.

One of my favourite things about Keith’s blog is that he ranks the regions he plays in, not just the courses, so if you’re looking to find the best golf courses in America, his blog is a great place to start. It’s easy to navigate, loaded with information, and you can get a well-written and detailed overview of the golf courses before trying them out yourself.

golf courses in America

It's pretty hard to beat the courses in California.

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I got in touch with Keith recently and was lucky enough to ask him a few questions about golf, his blog, and of course the wealth of golf courses in America. So without any further waffle, let’s dive into the interview.
How long have you played golf? What originally got you into it?
I started playing golf when I was around 11-12 years old. My older brother started playing, so my friends and I signed up for summer lessons at the little par-3 course down the street in the small town I grew up in. I got hooked from there. 
Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to start blogging about golf?
I grew up in Northern California and now live in Southern California, so I’m used to driving up and down the state. At some point, I started breaking up the drive by stopping to play golf and trying out new courses. Eventually, I started taking pictures of the more interesting courses I would play while on the road and any time I played a new course locally. I liked trying new courses, so I always looked for opportunities to play different courses throughout Southern California. Then, I later made the personal goal of playing all 50 states. I kept all those photos and stories mostly to myself, so blogging ultimately became a nice way to share them with others. My blog started in the fall of 2011 when I was preparing for a big trip to play TPC Sawgrass, Sea Island and Harbour Town, and thus check Florida, Georgia and South Carolina off my list. That was a big trip and I wanted a way to share the experience, so I put together a basic little blog and it’s grown ever since.

The famous floating island green in Idaho offers a tough challenge.

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The idea for your blog is a fantastic one. What’s been the best course you’ve played on?
This is always the toughest question. I’ve played over 670 courses now, so picking just one favorite is nearly impossible. One of my favorites has always been the Coeur d’Alene Resort course in Idaho. Most people know it as home to the famous floating island green hole, which is definitely a unique gimmick, but I really enjoyed the rest of the course a lot. A sentimental favorite of mine will always be the Mt. Shasta Resort in Northern California. It was one of the first courses I ever stopped at while on a road trip, so it helped start my obsession. Plus, it’s a really fun mountain course! Beyond that, I could list out dozens of amazing courses I’ve had the pleasure to play over the years, and there are still many on my bucket list that I can’t wait to check out.
What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve found or had happen to you on the road trips you’ve been on?
I’m generally very well planned out when I take a big road trip or head across the country, but the weather is one thing I can never control. Probably the craziest thing that happened was on my trip to the South last year (2014). I started in Arkansas, and then played rounds in Alabama (along the famed RTJ Trail), Mississippi and Louisiana. The day after I flew into town, a major storm rolled through the area. Fortunately, I was able to squeeze my round in Arkansas the afternoon I flew in (at Mountain Ranch GC) and then I headed out of town early in the morning to get ahead of the storm. I saw on the news that night a massive tornado had rolled through and decimated one of the towns I drove through just a few hours earlier. I drove through the most intense rain and lightning storm I have ever seen, and it was scary. Unfortunately, all the storms were heading east, as well. So the bad stuff was following me into Alabama. A couple nights later, I was staying in Montgomery and my phone woke me up at 3:00 in the morning with a major tornado warning. I had to hunker down and hope nothing touched down near my hotel. I survived the night without incident and then the weather was great for the rest of the trip, but it sure was scary for those first few days. Being from California, I’m not used to tornadoes and severe thunderstorms!

You can usually count on the weather being gorgeous in California. On the road? Not so much!

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Want to find out more about Keith and his blog? (And I think you should!) You can find it here.

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