Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Arnold Palmer Invitational 2016-17th hole

By KC Cali.

We were the grateful recipients of passes to a skybox on the 17th hole on Sunday afternoon, March 20. I don't understand much about golf except that it's really difficult to play well, can be addictive and if you've ever played, you can really appreciate what the pros are doing. I've played - badly - and one good hole can keep me locked into 17 miserable holes. 

This particular hole begins on a little hill, on the other side of a pond and a sand trap and has another trap behind it (on the left of this sketch.) I watched in amusement and sympathy as one player dropped his ball into the water and then was forced to shed his shoes, roll up his pant legs (to catcalls from the crowd), and wade into the water to chip it out. He got it onto the green to make par. 

That's part of what makes the tournament so interesting to watch-how pros deal with setbacks with hundreds of people watching in silence. It could be a metaphor for life--dealing with setbacks that you've tried to prevent but they happen anyway.

You can see monitors with their hands held high standing around the perimeter of the hole in the sketch. I don't know what the people who hold up their hands for silence are called so I'm using 'golf monitor'. Like 'hall monitor' from elementary school.

The silence is another thing that amuses me about golf-the whole 'silence your cell phones' while you're anywhere around the course and then spectators are admonished to be still and not talk while the players are hitting. Maybe it IS harder than basketball but can you really call yourself a champion when everyone within 50 yards has to freeze and be silent when you're teeing off? What if you had to do it with spectators screaming "Whiff it!" and using noisemakers like at a Magic game? THAT would be interesting.

The people watching is also fun. I love to see people who dress as if they're playing, and others dress like it's a version of the Kentucky Derby and everything in between. There's a lot of walking. Bay Hill is a large course and quite lovely, so if it's not too hot, it's a very pleasant day. 

Newell Lodge Bluegrass Festival

By Jill Hawk. 

The Newell Lodge Bluegrass Festival took place March 9-13, 2016 in Folkston, GA.  The festival is co-sponsored by the Northeast Florida Bluegrass Association and is held at the Lodge grounds every March and October.

Bluegrass enthusiasts from Florida and Georgia enjoyed great music throughout each afternoon and evening.  The bluegrass lineup included Goldwing Express (included in the sketch), Mountain Faith, Larry Gillis Band, and The Claire Short Band.  The musicians on stage were exceptional and treated fans to music and humor each day.  The stage is surrounded by live oaks providing a shaded venue for the guests to place their lawn chairs and enjoy the music.

One of the best aspects of the festival was to be found in the campground where amateur musicians "picked" at all hours of the day and night.  Nothing beats relaxing with a cup of tea in the morning listening to a bass, acoustic guitar and banjo.

The sketch took about three hours to complete and another two hours to paint.

St. Augustine Race Week

  By Jill Hawk.

St. Augustine Race Week 2016 was held March 30 - April 3, 2016 along the Bayfront, Matanzas River, and offshore.  The five day Regatta is St. Augustine's signature spring sailing event and is hosted by the St. Augustine Yacht Club as a member of the First Coast Sailing Association.

What made this year special was the introduction of the Paddleboard Racing Series held on the Bayfront along Avienda Menendez.  This event was coordinated by the Saint Augustine Lifesaving Association (members are among the dedicated members of the St. John's County Fire Rescue - Marine Rescue unit) and First Coast Outdoor Fit.  The race series included 1/4 mile sprints, a technical course and a two mile distance race past the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.

This sketch was completed during the first day of competition for the paddle boards while racers were signing up for the sprint event.