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Golf @ Bali Hai GC Las Vegas Nevada

May 4, 2017 3 comments

OK, So I’ve been wanting to do some course reviews for ages and seem to have the writing bug again so why not. Lets also get one thing straight, I’m not a pro by any stretch. Anything below 110 makes me happy, although with practice I need to be sub 100 80% of the time and as football is starting to take a back seat I need to push on with the sticks and balls.

My latest round was at Bali Hai in Vegas, just off the back of the Mandalay Bay near the Fabulous Las Vegas sign (visible through the trees on the back 9) . Not a usual venue for me but I had an invite from @Onechiquita and @VegasDWP while I was on vacation so time to step up my game. Unfortunately DWP couldn’t make it in the end due to back issues, so myself and Alysia soldiered on.  

Prior to the game, we hit the driving range and although very short and netted , there was a pyramid of Callaway balls freely available in each bay to smash down the track, which is a nice touch.

At 7000 yrds its a long one, and I imagine in the heat a killer as it is all open with no shade. Stuffed in between Las Vegas Boulevard and the I15, you would think it’s pretty noisy but I found it very relaxing even with the planes from McCarran passing over regularly. Buggies are essential.

The 1st hole has a long gravel trap to the left for about 200 yrds and I found it easily with my tee shot. Not a great start.

Being in the desert, sand was plentiful, and I found many bunkers, but with a South Pacific theme to the course, I suppose more sand than usual is standard. But with the sand came water and there was plenty of that as well, as I discovered on the back 9 with 2 visits to the pond in front of the green.

The course itself despite being man made has a good undulation and sometime you are firing off into the unknown. It has the feel of a wider links course in places, but without the killer rough.

The clubs supplied were Callaway XR’s which didn’t feel too different to my Callaway Big Berthas. But the hybrids were fantastic and may be a future purchase.

Overall worth the $160 including club hire and buggy. We did try to scam local rates for me but that didn’t quite pan out due to their very on the ball identification policies !

16pts Stableford and 117 says i didn’t play well. With the exception of a few holes I thought I played OK. The course is huge. 3 of the 5  par 3’s are near 200 or over. The others are over water and round other hazards. There are a few +450 yrd par 4’s as well. So all in all I got what my golf deserved.

I’ll give the course 5/5 for location, and 3/5 for the actual course. Its a bit long in places and suits the better player.

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A weekend in the Highlands – Easter 2016

April 3, 2016 Leave a comment

To most who know me, I am an Londoner / Southerner, with an definitive accent to match. To those that really know me, I have a big ole family in the North of Scotland and that is where we ventured to over the Easter weekend, to see places old and new, and visit family and friends. To truly appreciate this area could take about a million photos, but heres some from that fantastic weekend. Also, who thought not having a mobile signal for 4 days could be so great. Click on the photos for a better view. All taken with an iphone 6

Barcelona November 2015

December 6, 2015 Leave a comment

So part 2 of the Autumn travelogue series is Barcelona. What a place. I had been here several times but always work related not as a tourist. So this time we put this right in style.

Another first was our flight. We used Southend Airport. If they have your destination on the their flights, and you are in the South East, I would use it. So easy.

We stayed at Hotel Sixty Two which was a smallish boutique place on Passeig de Gracia. This means basically you are in the middle of everything. The main attraction in town is the Segrada Familia, a cathedral that has been over 120 years in the building and still has 30 to go. It was designed by Antoni Gaudi and is still being built to his initial designs, with successive architects taking on the challenge and adding a small amount of their own ideas as well.  Hence most of my photos are from there. We also went to Casa Batllo on our last day but I seem to have no photos but it is another Gaudi masterpiece.

On with the photos.

 

 

Vegas October 2015

November 18, 2015 5 comments

Things have been pretty busy, so this is late, and forms part one of a 3 part travelogue, covering Vegas, Barcelona, and Versailles. Here we go.
On Saturday we travelled via Seattle, and enjoyed 2 on time flights and actually got to Vegas 30 mins early, which was nice as we were meeting my Brother In Law, who had come down from Canada for the week, for his first trip.

Quick dash to the rental lot to pick up my Dodge Charger (nice win) and we checked in, at what is now becoming our second home. Excalibur.

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The Ride and Driver

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Vegas June 2015 – pt 1

June 14, 2015 5 comments

I have decided to split this TR up as there was some actual poker playing taking place, so i’ll come to that in pt 2. This is more the regular trip report with some photos and tips thrown in.

Day 1: We arrive via a direct VIrgin flight kindly covered by my Virgin Miles, which is always good. We also scored some v.cheap Premium upgrades, so quite relaxed on landing. The easiest immigration run ever, gets us in the terminal in record time, and then 30 mins to wait for our bags.

We then headed off to pick up our car. I had ordered a focus, but for $96 got an upgrade to a Grand Cherokee. Seemed churlish not to take it , especially as the Focus became a Yaris on further discussion !

Quick checkin at the Excal, and we retire to the room ,and then head out for a gamble. Pretty average, but the Dos Equis are flowing, and life is good. We retire for an early night, and hopefully try and avoid the jet lag.

Day2: Awake at 5am ! what’s a man to do prior to going out shopping. Craps at 6am can be a lonely experience, so sacked it off in favour of some sorting of the Sat Nav for our various destinations for the week. Breakfast was taken at Mr Mamas (last seen here) . We had a bit of an experience which was a little unfortunate, but resulted in a free meal. I wont go into details, as they don’t deserve it. Hit the outlets for what was for us quite a quick shop, and we are back at the hotel for lunch  MrsMrBen had some friends coming into town, so I managed to get across to the MGM to play some pokers with @lightning36 and @robvegaspoker . +$17 later I headed back for some more gambols back at the Excal.

Day 3,  We start the day at IHop and a lazy morning. From there, I played in the TI 2pm poker tournament with lightning and although I lasted longer and made the final table, i ended up with zip payout. Shame. On the way back I went to our room, but no one was about. We were on the 27th floor, so i called the lift. The lift doors opened and I was greeted by a bemused couple and a slightly rotund, drunk ,tattooed Aussie girl, sitting on the floor, shouting out me, “You must be a VIP, the lift didn’t stop at our f***king floor” Well, thank you maam. Anyway the couple get out, and its me and Jabba. She is still shouting at me, and then gets up to leave when we do reach her floor. Her last words are “Are you Australian ?”. Now i am used to, although confused to being asked this by Americans, but you are an Aussie love. Really ? That night was pretty quiet, with a few quid changing hands between some table games.

Day 4 Today was take a drive day via Jamms for Breakfast, home of the pot o bread apparently, of which I had the banana and nutella version, which was very nice thanks. And we then headed out to the Red Rock Casino. Which if it was closer to the strip would be a firm favourite. The pool alone is worth it. We have a free night available there and will take it up on our next visit. Post a quick stop at Trader Joes (for peanut butter !) we head back via dropping off some fine English corn snacks and real Kit Kats to the lovely @LVA_Tweet  That afternoon I found a slot machine that liked me. Approximately 40 minutes on max credits did my comps with MGM no harm and netted me about $170. The evening was a grown up affair. We went to a show (for free). Namely LOVE at the Mirage, a Beatles homage delivered by Cirque Du Soleil. Fantastic is all I can say. If you like your Beatles post 68 and colourful, this is for you. Not a bad seat in the house either. Post the show, MrsMrben was v.tired so hit the hay. I stayed up and played Drunken Black Jack with p3 which was funny, for me at least !!

Day 5 was Saturday and saw breakfast at Claim Jumper at Town Square. Good but not worthy of a Steak and Eggs challenge. No macbooks in the Apple store, so no good for me. I played in the 11am poker tournament at the MGM, and made it just past the break. boooo.Had a very good gamboool in the afternoon (about bloody time). The evening was back at base post dinner at Rice and Co, and late on while I was winning hard on the craps table, a less wobbly P3 appeared and another night of BlackJacks commenced, while MrsMrBen was out on a ladies night out, with another profit for yours truly. We are back on track.

Day 6 Breakfast at the buffet at the Aria. Always nice. But as it was comped I had to produce ID. No driving licence. What!!!. Anyone who has been to the states knows you need this all the time, if not more. Its always ID this, and ID that. Panic sets it as i munch through my brekkie. Where did I last use it. Town Square. So we head off back to mall and draw a blank. Bugger. We then try Rice and Co. They are closed but tell us that all lost stuff is handed onto Casino Security. We go down to the floor, and eventually I strike gold and am reunited with my new best friend from the DVLA. That afternoon we head off to Primm for a nose around. Don’t bother is the best review you will ever get for this place. Dead, dead, dead. But we did go on the rollercoaster at Buffalo Bills. On the way home we went to the SLS and sampled the fayre at the Northside Cafe . Great grub and a great price. PRO TIP. Every Sunday, one of the restaurants in the SLS is half price for players card holders (free). We were lucky, but will phone ahead next time !.

Day 7 Lost most of winnings in the morning, so rested up for the afternoon. Early even we took in some fine Filipino fast food at Chow King in Seafood City. From there we went our for a strip cocktail wander. First stop Double Barrel in the Monte Carlo, then onto the Aria. Things started to get a little messy, as the old fashioneds kept coming and fun was had. We then met up with a group of bods from BMW Canada, who plied us with more beer. Also met one of the senior guys from this set up who is a scouser. Odd !.

Day 8 was a comped breakfast at the Bellagio buffet, which was quality as usual, but customer service was a little lacking. Not in numbers, we had a guy in our area, but he thought chatting up the two girls on their own was way more preferable than doing his job. For the whole time we were there. Back to the MGM and the poker tables with P3 for what will become the famous Aces folded session (more next time). We had more friends come in that evening so we had another adult night with more cocktails in the Aria and dinner at Julien Serranos. After dinner, I hit the Vegas wall. Hard. More than Hard. I went straight home and bed, pre 10pm. Hard.

Our last day was quite relaxed, with some more poker (solo) in the Excalibur and a decent profit, and then back into the comfy premium seats for the 10 hr flight home. Only one slight issue , was the call over the plane intercom of “Is there a doctor on board?” Luckily there was , and even luckier it wasn’t for the pilot. One of the Flight Attendants had taken a turn and was out cold in the galley. As we didn’t land in the States and ploughed on to Gatwick I’ll assume alls well, that ends well.

Enjoy the photos…

Berlin March 2015

April 20, 2015 2 comments

This ones a bit late, but I have some time on my hands and blogging about West Ham is getting a bit samey and monotonous. The Man City game was one of the worst performances of the season, but hey Sam’s nearly gone now, so onwards and upwards.

On the Friday of Easter weekend my wife suggested that a weekend away would be just the ticket and 20 minutes later via British Airways website we had a nice well priced trip to Berlin booked.

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Vegas NYE 2015 Trip

January 11, 2015 13 comments

Work commitments mean this one is a little late, but is a 3 parter. This part will cover the main trip, the other two will cover my day at the Aria tournament and the final part will be a small write up of the SLS vs the Sahara.

Flights over on Xmas day were very agreeable as BA gave us a free upgrade to business, which is always a good start to any trip. Changing at Chicago was not quite as painful as we expected and AA delivered us to Vegas early evening. We went to pick up our car and I then understood why car hire prices had gone through the roof. The car park was practically empty. Vegas was going to be busy this year. But it was cold, and for Vegas I mean cold…..

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