The Schmid Golfing Family of Uruguay!

With Carla & Gregor Schmid and their daughter Priscilla.

With Carla & Gregor Schmid and their daughter Priscilla.

One of the most delightful days of the “Journey to Olympic Golf” was New Year’s Eve Day, December 31st. It was a day right out of Steve Martin’s 1987 comedy movie “Planes, Trains & Automobiles.” My version was more spiritual and would be called “Ferry, Buses & a Taxi.” It started in Buenos Aires, Argentina and ended at the incredible New Year’s Eve celebration in Punta del Estes, Uruguay. The highlight of the highlights of that day (there were many) was meeting the Scmid Golfing Family (most of the family) at the Golf Club of Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay. The video interviews speak for themselves and the message is clear that the spirit of family and golf is alive and flourishing in Uruguay!

CLICK here for Video Interview with Carla & Gregor Schmid.

CLICK here for Video Interview with daughter Priscilla, a junior golfer.

The 12th green, note the two approach shots! The picture does not do the view of the water justice. It is spectacular!

The 12th green, note the two approach shots! The picture does not do the view of the water justice. It is spectacular!

A life-changing moment occurred for me during the round of golf that afternoon with a mystic former diplomat. Her name was  Rasha and we were walking to the 12th green. The Golf Club of Uruguay sits on a perched corner of land surrounded by water. One end vista overlooks the steepled 1700s city of Montevideo while the other end is coastline forever with nothing but water in between. Seeing the vast water it occurred to me that this was the first time in nearly three months that I had seen the Atlantic Ocean and felt a twinge of homesickness for Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida far to the north but on the same ocean.

Satellite view of Rio de la Plata, courtesy of Wikipedia. To the lower right of the brown river is Buenos Ares, Argentina.Tthe white star upper right is Montevideo, Uruguay.

Satellite view of Rio de la Plata, courtesy of Wikipedia. To the lower right of the brown river is Buenos Ares, Argentina.Tthe white star upper right is Montevideo, Uruguay.

The wise and articulate Rasha corrected me stating that what laid before us was the Rio de la Plata (River of Silver). It is the widest river in the world at 140 miles wide at its mouth with the Atlantic Ocean and separates Uruguay from Argentina. Punta del Estes (Point of the East) was another 83 miles to the north along the forever coastline and that is where one finds the Atlantic Ocean.

She was right, I was wrong. She was a humble Swede, me a male American so of course I had to counter with something of intelligence. I looked for the late afternoon sun in the southwest sky  and pointed with authority over the vast waterness confidently towards where I knew Buenos Aires to be. After all I had woke up there and it was simple geography and geometry. Then she said something that I will forever remember and let it impact me for the rest of my life.

“No,” my sincere host said, “the sun is in the north.”

The Monserrate Sanctuary high above Bogota, Colombia.

The Monserrate Sanctuary high above Bogota, Colombia.

Then  she pointed ninety degrees to the left of where I had pointed and though I could not see it I knew that was the correct direction of Buenos Aires. I realized at that moment for the first time in my life that things I take for granted and to be fundamental to my way of life could be askew, even possibly the exact opposite of what I know to be true. At the same moment I was driving up the mountain at night to Reunion in Guatemala and experiencing the fiery red lava flow of a volcano. I was at the Monserrate Sanctuary high above Bogota, Colombia. The location of the sun, so simple a thing, so prominent a thing in my life wasn’t were I thought it could be.

What else may I have miscalculated in my life? Assumptions of childhood, relationships and pursuits of my life? Why did this brief interchange, something so easy to discount, laugh about and forget  stay so central to my thoughts ever since that final afternoon of the old year? I guess we don’t really need to factor in the exact location of the sun as we go about our daily proceedings but maybe the sun is a good place to start when we look within to our attitudes, perspectives and view of life. For one it is always shining down somewhere in the world. Secondly even if it is a dark and raining day it is still shining above the clouds. There is always hope for later today and tomorrow and I hope I never forget that sunny afternoon revelation so graciously given to me by Rasha of Uruguay.

 

 

JTOG Media Guide Available Here!

_1 Media Guide Journey to Olympic Golf Andy Reistetter FINAL

Extensive Media Guide to the “Journey to Olympic Golf” including places visited, people met and interviewed and golf courses played.

 

Gallery

Cordoba Golf Club, Home of El Gato & El Plato

Argentina, without a doubt is the “home” of golf in South America! No different than St. Andrews, Scotland is the “home” of golf for the world. After all the Golf Channel Latin America has their studios in Buenos Aires. The only World Golf Hall of Fame member south of the US border is the great Argentine golfer Roberto De Vicenzo who lives near Ranelagh Golf Club south of country’s capital. If Argentina is the “home” golf in South America then it follows that in the modern era, Cordoba Golf Club is the “home” of golf in Argentina. When you arrive at Cordoba Golf Club you quickly realize it is the “home” of El Gato, Eduardo Romero and El Plato, Angel Cabrera.

Being invited to play Cordoba Golf Club through El Plato, Angel Cabrera’s charity foundation and having the opportunity to meet and interview El Gato, Eduardo Romero was quite an honor and privilege. On top of that I staying at the quaint five-guest room La Casa Grande literally across the street from the tenth green. For now this amazing experience is captured in the following pictures, broken up into three albums- the golf course, El Gato & El Plato and the great amateurs to play out of Cordoba Golf Club like Roberto Monguzzi. More words and videos (interviews and beauty shots) to come! Enjoy!

The golf course of Cordoba Golf Club:

El Gato & El Plato:

Great amateurs of Cordoba Golf Club:

 

 

 

Capturing the Spirit of Golf in Guatemala

CLICK here for Andy’s Video Recap of six-night Guatemala visit.

CLICK here to visit La Reunion in Antigua, Guatemala.

 

 

More videos, pictures, & posts coming… what would you like me to write about?

 

 

El Encanto in San Salvador, El Salvador

I was “charmed” when I went to the hidden site of El Encanto which means “The Charm.” So they got the name right! And the six holes I played before a soft opening in December 2014. From what I can tell they got the whole enchilada right- the location, the golf course, the villas and residential community. Most importantly the timing. Tourism and golf is coming to El Salvador and now is the perfect time to consider membership and ownership at El Encanto. Nearby is San Salvador, a world class city with a solid link to golf history at Club Campestre Cuscatlan. If your private resort, nestled and secluded in the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean, then take a drive down to the beach or into the city!

CLICK here for a Video Interview (3 parts) with El Encanto’s Golf Course Architect Perry Dye.

CLICK here for a Video Interview with Rick Moreno, Construction Manager for El Encanto.

CLICK here for a Video Interview with Alejandro Lahrssen, my host when I visited & played El Encanto.

CLICK here for a Video Interview with Jimmy Mikkelson, GC Superintendent & Shaper for Dye Designs.

 

 

 

 

Click here for the El Encanto website.

Susan Brandenburg’s article “Ponte Vedra Beach: $100,000 Goal for The First Tee

CLICK here for Susan Brandenburg’s article “Ponte Vedra Beach: $100,000 Goal for The First Tee.

I first met Susan Brandenburg at the Library in Ponte Vedra Beach. She was giving a seminar at one of Victor DiGenti’s Florida Writers Association Saturday morning monthly meetings. FWA is a great organization and the NE Florida chapter is especially active under Victor’s leadership. I have learned so much at these meetings, their slogan “Writers Helping Writers” rings true to me.

Susan is a prolific autobiographer and our love of life and curiosity about people draw us to each other! She brought three friends to the JTOG Farewell at TPC Sawgrass on October 10th (wow, been on the road over one month now) which means everyone there met three new friends too!

 

With Paula Basile, Susan Bradenburg, Iva Larson & Bess Turk. 10-11-13

 

 

 

 

Glen Echo CC & the Union Station Hotel in St. Louis

More videos, pictures, & posts coming… what would you like me to write about?

Who is Andy Reistetter?

Who is Andy Reistetter and why is he embarking on a Journey to Olympic Golf?

Andy Reistetter, corporate exec-turned-golf-writer, has a mission to raise $100,000 for charity while celebrating golf’s return to the Olympics through a “Journey to Olympic Golf”. The youthful Reistetter will be taking a “Journey to Olympic Golf” road trip, in his vintage 1992 Infiniti M30 convertible, from where it was last played in St. Louis in 1904 to where it will be next played in Rio de Janiero, Brazil in 2016. Starting out from Glenn Echo CC in late October, taking three months and returning by jet for the January PGA Show in Orlando this journey can be your Olympic moment too.

Inspired by Ben Hogan’s and his “Follow the Sun” perspective, the lifelong golfer will be following the sun south on an unchartered course through the Southwest United States, Mexico, Central and South America. Part personal journey to find his own Olympic Spirit, part golf promotion, you can join Andy on the road via daily updates and videos while making your own charitable donation.

At age 12, Andy’s older brother LP gave him Ben Hogan’s epic golf instruction book with the following inscription: “Golf is a lot like life, the more you learn and understand about it, the easier it is to meet its challenge.” Join Reistetter on this “Journey to Olympic Golf” and capture your own golfing and Olympic spirit!  AndyReistetter@gmail.com

Donate to First Tee, Win a Set of Hickories!

These beauties can be yours! Donate and enter raffle by Thursday, October 10th.

These beauties can be yours! Donate and enter raffle by Thursday, October 10th.

This beautiful set of hickory-shafted clubs can be yours! One week left to enter the raffle. Make a gift to The First Tee and you are IN! Winner randomly picked and clubs shipped next Friday, Oct 11th morning before I leave for Atlanta & St, Louis to begin JTOG! C’mon now is the time! Plus I want 100 people with me when I tee-off at Glen Echo CC on the 15th! Is that asking too much? So far the First Tee has gifts from $20 to $1,000, any amount is awesome. Please make yours today! Good luck & good golfing with these beauties! (They are authentic, professionally restored and playable!

Select Journey to Olympic Golf from the drop-down menu to the question “What inspired you to make a gift today?”
Send me the ‘Thank You’ email and you will be entered into the raffle.

All the money, 100% goes to The First Tee!

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