FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Playing a Memorable Turkey Bowl at Cream Ridge Golf Course

by Francis X. Gallagher

Feb 28, 2021

PHOTO: © FRANCIS X. GALLAGHER

January/February 2021

Cream Ridge Golf Course has been a perfect spot to meet clients and friends from New York and Philadelphia. Just off Route 195, it is close to home and fairly easy to get to.

Over the years we played many Turkey Bowl tournaments on Black Friday, awarding a corresponding trophy. This get-together has taken place since 1994, when Antero Palo, formerly of Finnair, took the first trophy. This year, a ringer took the prize: Steve Montgomery of Yardley, Pennsylvania.

We had a nice turnout, as it was a beautiful fall day, with some father-and-son combos from the Advisory Board playing. Chris and John Ottaunick, Carlos and Chris Cappuccio, Wayne Tallman and guest, and Jim and Kieran Bolger were among the players, and Steve Montgomery brought his two sons for an intro to the day’s festivities.

Cream Ridge has been accommodating with tee times, as the day after Thanksgiving can be busy or desolate, depending on weather. We secured four foursomes for morning tee times and later gathered in the parking lot for a socially distanced celebration with beer and high-end cheeses and snacks. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed, but throughout the pandemic we have found tailgating a great alternative. We played from the white tees — not exceptionally long, but Cream Ridge has some tricky holes, for sure. My group included three players — myself, John Ecklund and John Kelley — and we teed off first, as we were designated to set up the tailgate.

HOLE 1
520 yards, par 5
The starting hole at Cream Ridge can be brutal, and depending on the weather — we have played in frigid temperatures with frozen ponds — it can make one say, “What am I doing out here today?” But with fine temperatures there were no excuses this time around on the hole that plays straight and long. I made an error (which I frequently have done over the years) and slammed into the line of pine trees on the left, making the second-longest hole on the course even longer. Smart play is to drive right center and continue with another perfect 3-wood shot to land you within green-striking distance. This is what the two Johns did, and they walked away with bogeys. I, on the other hand, limped to the green, avoiding the pond on the left side for a double bogey … and a slow start to the Turkey Bowl.

HOLE 2
138 yards, par 3
I felt things could not get any worse, so I toyed with which club to use on this short par 3: Should I full swing a pitching wedge, or would I easily feather a 9-iron? I chose the 9; and as the two Johns were still mounting the tee box, I swung and hit, which felt like and looked like a good shot. The ball hit the front right fringe of the green and raced toward the flag. “That’s a good shot,” said John Kelley — and then John Ecklund exclaimed, “Did that go in?”

It had, and making Turkey Bowl history, I scored the first hole in one! We were all thrilled and excited, and I was shocked. As it turns out, 60 percent of holes in one are made with a 7-, 8- or 9-iron, and most are with a Titleist ball (I was using a ProV1).

HOLE 5
343 yards, par 4
From an elevated tee box you can clearly see this dogleg right. Just below lies another pond, but it should not come into play. Ecklund hit his drive long and slightly left, landing under some tree branches. That did not seem to make a difference, but his shot to the green clipped the right trap. Both Kelley and I positioned our drives a little too right, leaving us a shot to get back in play in front of the green and each securing a bogey. Ecklund made a nice sand shot, landing near the cup and securing a “sandy” par.

HOLE 14
362 yards, par 4
Trimming of the trees to the left opened up this hole, where drivers face two tenden- cies. Often, a magnetic attraction seems to lure a ball as close as possible to the left side and clip a branch, sending the shot out of bounds. In the other scenario, players overcompensate and send the ball too far right, where the hole drops down to the 15th fairway. I did the latter and struggled to come back, limping along for a double bogey. This hole should not be as difficult as we made it; a nice shot left center would leave you with a mid-iron to the green.

HOLE 18
488 yards, par 5
A great finishing hole … and tricky to match. The tee box is set back and positions you over a pond, which makes most players aim too far right. It’s easy to lose a ball on the right side, and the marshy water pokes back into play. Ecklund hit a perfect drive up the center left; my drive was precariously close to the marsh but safe, and Kelley was only slightly behind Ecklund. I shot first, figuring I had nothing to lose, and nailed a 3-wood to the left side of the fairway, crossing another body of water and carrying the ball to within 8-iron-distance of the green. Ecklund did not have the same challenge, lacking the water to carry, but hit well and also in position “A.” Kelley said, “I did not come to Cream Ridge to lay-up,” and then dumped his ball into the water. Both Ecklund and I landed in regulation on the green and two-putted for par for the 26th annual Turkey Bowl — this one to be forever remembered by a hole in one!

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

#globility

Insta Feed
Daily
Jun 28, 2022

Samaná, A Hidden Gem, Nestled in Stunning Caribbean Destination

Tucked away between the verdant hills of the Dominican Republic and beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea, Samaná is the perfect year-round destination. No matter what time of year you choose to visit this hidden gem, you can check things off your travel bucket list. In the summer, escape the busy tourism hot spots and explore off-the-beaten path areas and activities; in the winter, embark on an eco-excursion like whale watching in Samaná Bay.

8 Reasons to Press the Green Button and Visit Ireland

Start planning that long-awaited trip to the island of Ireland. With all travel restrictions now lifted, there has never been a better time to visit.

Daily
Jun 28, 2022

All-Inclusive Luxury in Antalya on the Turkish Riviera

The coastal town of Belek in Antalya serves as the setting for the brand new, 5-star Cullinan Belek, named for the largest rough diamond ever discovered. Set along the sparkling azure waters of the Turkish Riviera, the new property boasts its own private white-sand beach, with 600 plush guestrooms (including 10 luxurious villas), all providing sea views. The hotel also has 13 swimming pools, 10 dining venues and five bars.

Leisure Lifestyle 2022
Jun 28, 2022

Look for Unique Museums Filled with Fascinating Artifacts Wherever you Travel

Museums beckon wherever we go. They amuse and enlighten travelers and bring to public attention historical, artistic, scientific and natural wonders. Most are thought-provoking and educational, stretching our minds and our knowledge of the world. Some, however, stand out as just plain quirky: personal and sometimes whimsical collections, museums dedicated to a unique skill or long- forgotten industry, arcane collections originally designed for scientific study. Others devote their space to sharing a subject that represents one person’s consuming passion.

Celebrity is celebrating Spring with 25% off Cruise Fares!

There’s no better time to plan the vacation you’ve been missing. Step aboard with your better half, your friends or the whole family and reconnect, reunite and rejoice with 25 percent off cruise fares for all guests. We’ll also help everyone get there with 25 percent off airfare from 20 major gateways across the country or $100 savings per person on flights from all other gateways when you book your air travel using Flights by Celebrity.*

Daily
Jun 27, 2022

Seoul Tourism Organization Joined IMEX, Shares Cultural Highlights

The Seoul Tourism Organization participated in IMEX, the world’s largest MICE exhibition, in Frankfurt, Germany, May 29–June 2. IMEX celebrated its 200th anniversary this year.

Daily
Jun 23, 2022

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection Completes Sea Trials

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection celebrated an exciting moment recently when Evrima, its inaugural yacht, completed a series of successful sea trials. On June 9, in Santander, Spain, Evrima reached what is considered one of the final shipbuilding milestones prior to launch with the sea trials, a series of tests carried out when the yacht is sailing on open waters. Captain Steven MacBeath led the trials, alongside a team of senior officers, engineers, contractors and shipyard staff.

8 Reasons to Visit Ireland this Fall

Considering an autumnal adventure or Thanksgiving trip this year? Well, with walkable cities, cozy pubs and lots of seasonal festivals, the island of Ireland is calling. And if you need more reasons to Press the Green Button and go, take a look and see what awaits you on the Emerald Isle …

Daily
Jun 23, 2022

What’s New in California for Summer 2022

California entices travelers to visit the Golden State this summer with new programming, events and offerings.