04/23/14

Get Golf Ready at Golfer’s Grail Week 1

Disclosure: I was provided with 5 weeks of golf lessons at Golfer’s Grail through the Get Golf Ready Beginner Clinic in exchange for blogging about the experience. All whiff-avoiding opinions are my own. 

A few days ago I wrote about a new adventure I’d be taking on: learning how to play golf! 
Lesson 1 was a few days ago and I must say, it was a blast!

Brian (who came for moral support!) and I arrived at Golfer’s Grail a little early so that we could check out the place, get to know the staff, and enjoy a beer while waiting for the others to arrive. When you first walk in, you’re greeted with huge floor to ceiling screens that project the many golf courses you can virtually play on. In front of each screen there is a “green” turf area to tee off on, high top tables and comfy chairs to relax in between rounds (or to spectate from), a pro shop, and a bar area offering draft beers, an awesome wine selection, and happy hour specials throughout the week. 

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As we waited, we were able to chat with our group instructor, PGA pro Jim Wright and Golfer’s Grail owner Jeff Sproat. Jeff showed us around, and introduced us to the perks of indoor golf. I must say the thought of climate controlled golfing in Florida IS a plus, as far as I’m concerned! The idea of being able to virtually play golf around the world is also a neat concept! 

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As the other members of the group arrived, we started by introducing ourselves and talking about why we were interested in learning golf. Jim then introduced himself and his assistant, Jeff’s son, Jason Sproat, who is currently a PGA apprentice. We then began going over some of the history and overall goal of the game. Like I said previously, I’ve never played golf, aside from a few rounds of putt putt here and there, so I really don’t know much about the game. I did, however, know a bit about the scoring, as the idea is to shoot for low numbers, instead of high. One of my favorite comments of the lesson is when Jim said that there weren’t any comment sections on a scoring card, and how it’s all about the number of swings it takes you to get the ball in the hole- whatever method that may be! For such a complicated game, that seemed to make things much simpler in my head! 

He went on to introduce us to some basics: golf terminology, general rules, etiquette (no Instagram selfies on the course!) and the purpose and use of each club. 

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I must admit, I was a bit overwhelmed after the golf club spiel. I didn’t realize there were so many different types of clubs! And that they had special places in the golf bag! By the end of the clinic, I’m sure that knowledge will be second nature!  ;)

At this point, we were all excited to get our hands on the clubs and start some swinging! Jim walked us over to two of the screens and we began with the first portion of the lesson: GRIP. Before leaving for the clinic, Brian had given me a little 101 on how to hold a golf club properly (and not hold it like a softball bat!), so when Jim started showing us, I had somewhat of an idea of where we were headed. Once we had the grip properly positioned, we went on to do some practice swings to get a feel for how the club should feel when properly gripped. He showed us how our arms should be positioned while gripping the club, and how our fingers do much of the controlling of the club. Although I tried to not have a white-knuckled grip, it was hard to do! It felt awkward to me, and definitely something I need to continue getting used to. 

The next portion of the lesson focused on ALIGNMENT.  He showed us ways to help us set up our stance by placing perpendicular clubs on the floor beneath us until we got the hang of the alignment process.  He showed us how to position our feet, hips and shoulders and how to line up forming the “triangle” when we’re preparing to swing. Once again we practiced a few swings knowing this new information about alignment. 

We then moved on to POSTURE. Jim showed us correct posture, and easy ways to ensure we’re standing correctly while holding and swinging the club. He talked to us about making sure we were “loose” (I was SO tense), and the importance of keeping our knees flexed. I definitely need to practice that “natural” set up feeling. I think I was overthinking it the first time around, making my muscles just a bit too tense! 

Before our lesson ended, we were able to put our new skills to the test with some putting practice. The clinic focuses on taking us from the hole to the tee; so even though putting would be something we would do towards the end of a hole, we’re starting there as it’s a good maneuver for beginners to learn first. Jim stressed the importance of staying still during putting, keeping our eye on the ball, and making sure we’re remembering PGA (Posture, Grip and Alignment!). ;) Get it? Clever.

photo 1 (2)And in the end, I definitely felt as though I had learned a thing or two in that 90 minute lesson! 

photo 2 (2)Jim was an excellent (and patient) instructor. He gave us great feedback when we were looking good or needed to fix something, and really helped to explain things carefully and specifically; the perfect instructor for this beginner! I’m excited to see how I improve over the next 5 weeks, and cannot wait to return for lesson 2! 

If you would like more information on the Get Golf Ready Clinic or anything else that Golfer’s Grail has to offer, please check out their website! :) 

-Steph

04/21/14

Get Golf Ready at Golfer’s Grail

Disclosure: I was provided with 5 weeks of golf lessons at Golfer’s Grail through the Get Golf Ready Beginner Clinic in exchange for blogging about the experience. All whiff-avoiding opinions are my own. 

How was your weekend? Mine was SO busy! It was week 3 of Co-op For A Cure, plus Easter festivities with the family to round out Sunday. All in all it was a fun (but tiring!) Spring weekend. 

And the adventures don’t stop there. This week is even MORE jam-packed!
I have events for #TeamJudy, get-togethers with my chicas, the last week of Co-op, trainings to give at school, book studies, AND golf lessons start this evening!

Whew! Thankfully most of what’s on that list is FUN. 
I’m very, very excited to be starting golf lessons later on today. I was given an opportunity to blog about my experience with the Get Golf Ready Beginner Clinic at Golfer’s Grail in Tampa over the next month, so you’ll be seeing a weekly recap on how each lesson went as the clinic goes along!

I am absolutely brand new to the world of golf. I have never so much as even stepped foot on a golf course (I don’t think putt putt counts here!). Brian plays, and I’ve always had an interest in learning the game, so I knew I’d be up for this new adventure! Lessons are from 6:30-8pm each Monday evening for 5 weeks. In between sessions, Brian has offered to take me out to the driving range to practice what I learn after each lesson. I told him that there *might* be a chance that with these lessons, and the extra practice, I may become a better golfer than he is!  He politely shook his head and muttered “no way that’s happening”.

Challenge Accepted. 

In fact, I’ve already purchased super cute golf shoes in preparation for my golf domination. These are True Linkswear PHX golf shoes. They are SO comfortable and mimic barefoot/minimal running shoes. Brian also has an extra set of clubs that he pulled out from storage for me to use to practice with!

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About the lessons: Golfer’s Grail is an indoor practice range with state-of-the-art golf simulators that offer golfers a chance to practice at more than 60 courses from all over the world!  From the website: 

State-of-the-art golf simulation
High tech simulators gather information from the golf ball and club head
Capable of accurately detecting every possible kind of shot played – Hooks, slices, fades, draws, lobs, pitches and putts are all reproduced with fantastic realism
Use your clubs and golf balls, or borrow ours - no lost balls here!
Play over 60 courses from around the world

Golf club atmosphere
Indoor – What’s better than golfing in air conditioning?
Warm, comfortable, decorated with tasteful golf décor – You’ll feel like you’re in a golf clubhouse!
High definition televisions to watch your favorite sporting events
Tap – Craft beers and your wine selections
Food from nearby eateries delivered to you

Perfect for…
Serious and casual golfers
Junior golfers
Golf instructors
Beginners – Take a lesson from one of our PGA Pros
Non-Golfers – Demolition golf, Putt-putt and plenty of fun games for non-golfers
Leagues, lessons, clinics and yoga for golf
Groups – Company or department team-building outings and private events
Families – Introduce your kids to this great game; maybe even train your kids to be future champion golfers!

The 5-week Get Golf Ready beginner golf clinic is $99/person. This particular clinic is taught by certified PGA member Jim Wright and is designed to teach everything you’ll need to play golf in just a few lessons. The pros will show you that there are lots of ways to play by combining fun, friends and fitness. Each session will focus on the various golf skills you will use while playing. In addition to learning the basics, you will be guided onto the golf course to put your skills into action in a casual, friendly setting.  For more information or to register for the next clinic which starts on Saturday, May 3, click here!

Stay tuned for a run-down of my first lesson later on this week! Wish me luck!
Do you play golf? What is a sport that you’d like to try?
Steph :)

04/19/14

Grainfree Dark chocolate covered pecan brownie bites

That title is a mouthful! 
And so are these. ;)

And best of all… they’re made with absolutely no grains and are super low sugar (just a bit of added honey, which you can omit to keep it strict no sugar). They’re great for gifting, to take to a party, or to place inside the Easter basket of someone special! In fact, I wouldn’t even tell anyone they’re “grainfree”. They’re THAT good. Nobody will ever know. ;)

Here’s the recipe. 

For the brownie bites (yields 24 bites)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 almond meal
1/4 cup solid coconut oil
1/4 cup natural nut butter (I used salted almond butter)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbsp. raw organic honey (this is optional for but you can add it in if you’d like a little sweetness)
1/4 cup chopped pecans

For the glaze
8oz Baker’s brand unsweetened 100% cocao chocolate bricks
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. raw organic honey (you can add more or less depending on your preference)

Toppings: unsweetened coconut flakes, chopped pecans, sea salt, or coconut sugar!

Directions
1. Combine all of the brownie ingredients in a mixer or food processor and combine until smooth (start by adding 1/2 cup of the coconut flour, however if the mix looks too liquidy/sticky, you can add a bit more to make the truffles firmer). Place into the refrigerator for 10 minutes to chill. Remove the truffles from the fridge. Using a melon baller, roll walnut-sized balls, and place on a wax-paper lined baking sheet. Place back in the fridge for another 15 minutes. 
2. While the truffles are chilling, place the coconut oil and the unsweetened chocolate bricks into a microwave safe bowl and cook in increments of 25 seconds until the chocolate is smooth and melted (you could also use a double boiler over the stove). 
3. Remove the brownie bites from the fridge. Dip one of the lollipop stick ends into the melted chocolate, then push the coated end into the middle of the truffle. Do this for each one, then place the pops back into the fridge until the chocolate stick centers harden (this will make sure that the truffles do not come off of the stick when you try to dip them into the chocolate). 
4. Remove the truffles from the fridge and dip each ball into the melted chocolate (re-warm if the chocolate begins to harden or thicken a bit). Drip off the excess chocolate and place onto a wire rack or back onto the wax paper to harden. While the chocolate is still melty, add the toppings of your choice. Do this for each pop, then place them back into the fridge to harden. Enjoy!

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04/19/14

BLT+Avocado Deviled Eggs

Happy Easter Weekend!

Spring is in the air, Easter eggs are being dropped in colored water cups all over town, and it’s time to gather with friends to celebrate the arrival of the new season. And with a celebration comes eating. Duh! Glazed honey hams, green bean casserole, sweet potato souffles, and my favorite, deviled eggs! 

Ah, the poor deviled egg. It really does get a bad rap. But I’m here to tell you that no longer is it an outdated appetizer made by grandmothers. It has definitely made a comeback, especially in the Paleo/NSNG community! And there are SO many versions of these little creamy morsels out there in the blogging world! I can’t wait to try them all. 

Here is my take on the lovely, under appreciated deviled egg! 

BLTA (Bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado) Deviled Eggs
Inspired by one of my favorite sandwiches of all time (the BLT + avocado), these creamy, flavorful deviled eggs  are packed with the flavor of that classic diner staple. These are sure to be a hit at your Easter table… or over your kitchen counter, shoveling them 2 at a time in your mouth, hoping the phone doesn’t ring. 

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6 hard boiled eggs
1 small ripe haas avocado, mashed
1 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. mayo
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 roma tomato, diced
2 slices of crisp bacon, diced
1 tsp. romaine lettuce ribbons 

Peel and halve each egg. Scoop out the yolk and place into a seperate bowl. Add mashed avocado, mayo, mustard, salt, and pepper to the egg yolks and stir until smooth and combined. (Add more mayo if you want a creamier consistency. Also- try placing everything into a food processor!) Place the mixture into a zip-lock baggie, squeezing all of the air out of the bag. Snip one corner of the bag with scissors and fill each egg white with the mixture, using the corner of the bagging like a piping bag. Top each egg with crumbled bacon, diced tomato, and a few ribbons of lettuce. Enjoy! 

For more creative spins on the deviled egg, check out these recipes! 

Classic Deviled Eggs from Gluten Free with Lauren Marie

Monica’s whatever you have in the kitchen DEVILED EGGS from SweetBites

Greek Stuffed Deviled Eggs from Edible Perspective 

Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs from PaleOMG 

Tarragon Deviled Eggs with Capers & Crispy Ham from Food For My Family

Easy Deviled Eggs from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Bacon Deviled Eggs from Peace Love and Low Carb

Avocado Deviled Eggs from Cavemen Gourmet

Buffalo Chicken Deviled Eggs from Baked by Rachel

Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs from the Curvy Carrot

 

04/14/14

Jet City Seminole Heights (and a quiche recipe!)

Way back in once upon a time time, I saw my blogger friend Meghann, from Meals and Miles, write a blog post about this amazing coffee shop in South Tampa. It was the first time I’d heard of Jet City, and I must admit, I was just a *tad* jealous of all of the scrumptious looking things she got to try (like the Cafe Borgia!).  Continue reading

04/11/14

#TeamJudy

I can’t recall how many times I’ve thought about my mom over the past 2 years. Quite possibly more times than when she was here on earth. I wake up thinking of her when I feel my #TeamJudy bracelet slide against my wrist. I think about her when I look in the mirror each morning, and see faint resemblances of my mom in my own reflection. Sometimes I think of her when I hear her voice through my own words as I talk throughout the day. Oftentimes a song will come on the radio and ignite a memory. Continue reading

04/7/14

FittPalooza5k Fitness Challenge (and a giveaway!)

On September 13, 2014, an EXCITING event it coming to Kissimee, FL: the FittPalooza5k Fitness Challenge race!
10168410_369227863216790_905041453_nThe event is a 5k sprinkled with FitDeck challenge card fitness challenges along the course. It is beginner friendly (and walker friendly), and geared at those who would like to do a challenge race without going through the mud, climbing walls, or running through fire (although fans of those types of races are welcome to participate too!). Continue reading