Sweet Deal

Trip Start Jan 01, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Friday, January 16, 2009

Accompanying me on the plane to Orlando was the George Mason Cheer-leading Squad.  I assume there must be a cheer-leading competition this weekend.  Unfortunately, I did not get a seat next to any of the cheerleaders, but it was a delightful diversion watching them as they moved about the cabin getting all excited about the upcoming trip.  This is the first time I flew Airtran and have a couple of observations.  The fleet is older...today I was flying in a Boeing 717.  Since I was in such a rush this morning getting to the airport, I forgot to pack some earphones.  I was happy that I got free headset to listen to the XM radio.  It is nice to see that the "discount" airline was not nickle and diming everything...some of the major airlines can learn from this.

I checked into the Westgate Lakes Resort around noon.  Since I was traveling by myself, I only booked one of their studio rooms;  however on check-in they offered a free upgrade to one of their two bedroom villas.  At first I refused the upgrade.  Next, one of their guest services employee drove me in a golf cart to my room...nice touch.  After unpacking it occurred to me that I might be able to use the upgrade.  My plans was to meet an old friend from college, Greg, and his family for the weekend.  Greg and family live at Ponte Verde, but they have annual passes to Disney; so they were more than happy to join me for the weekend in the Disney park.  I called Greg to see if he already booked a hotel room for his family.  Since he has not, I offered to let them stay with me in the upgraded two bedroom villa.  I went back to the reception desk and asked for that upgrade, which they were more than happy to provide.  Again a guest service employee drove me to the old room, waited for me to pack and drove me to the new room.  Now, that is customer service.

At the activity desk, I got a recommendation for a nearby golf course, Kissimmee Oaks, along with a coupon for a discounted green fee.  It was easy finding the course because the Hertz rental car came equipped with a Garmin...I must get me one of those.  I do not know who designed the course, but Kissimmee Oaks is a nice track especially considering that the total for green fee and cart was $41.  I enjoyed playing the course even though I was having a bad golfing day...what can I expect considering I have not played in about a month.  I shot a 60 for my first nine holes.  This included the eleven I carded on the 351 yard, par 4, 4th hole.  There was water all along the right side of the faraway and water cutting across the front of the green.  I survived the tee shot and placed the ball on the faraway about 135 yards from the green.  Unfortunately, I hit the ball into the water three times (there went my sleeve of balls) on my approach shot before making it on the green and two putting.  I did have one shining moment when I parred the #6, 190 yard par 3.

I got back to my usual self on the back nine and shot a 49.  I managed to play bogey golf for holes 10-14 before I ran into a little trouble.  For holes 15 and 16, I triple-bogeyed both holes due mainly to my short game.  That is to be expected because you need several rounds under your belt before the "touch" comes back for short chip and pitch shots.  I did finish the round on the high note when I parred the last hole.  #18 is a 375 yard, par 4 with a dogleg right guarded by water at the turn and water on both sides of the green.  I placed my drive on the left side of the fairway with a perfect angle to the green.  I was nervous about the approach shot with water on both sides, so I decided to lay it up in front of the water.  I finished the hole with a quarter swing sand wedge and a 1 putt.  After the round I grabbed some Chinese food on my way back to the resort.  I had enough time to eat and shower before Greg showed up with a six pack of beer and some chips.
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