You’ve been added to the waiting list! Not the news you want to hear, on a Friday afternoon, when you’re a golf nut who’d give anything to play an exclusive course and who loves driving high-end cars very fast, in and out of turns. Fast forward to Sunday evening at 9:30 when you get the call to “check you emai”l…you’re in, grab your clubs and be there by 8am, of course you will. You craft a well thought out email of a stomach virus, bag out of work for Monday and layout your cloths for the early morning departure. You’re on your way to the Road to the BMW Championship event.
If the driving event is stock 750,which is fantastic on it’s own, The Road to the BMW Championship event is the Alpina B7. Yes, I drove the shit out of the Alpina B7, the streets of Charlestown, RI will never be the same.
So what is the event all about. In two words, it’s bad ass. They had me at golf, not just any golf though. I’m talking about lessons given by Jon Tattersall @jontattersall11, a Titleist Performance Institute @myTPI instructor from Atlanta by way of the UK, with fitness and flexibility instruction given by Billy Mitchell @billymitchellgp from Billy Mitchell Training, a 9 hole tournament to win a trip to the BMW Championship, at one of the most exclusive golf courses in the country, Shelter Harbor Golf Club in the seaside tourist town of Charlestown, RI. Ranked # 2 course in RI and #98 in the country, it lives up to all the accolades and more.
Just the golf alone would be enough for me, but I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to spend time working on my game with Jon and Billy were it not for my host, BMW @BMWUSA. I’ve attended some of their driving experience before and absolutely would recommend anyone reading this to take the opportunity if you have the chance. Who wouldn’t like to drive the newest X5 on a coned off track the way it was meant to be driven?
First lets take inventory, we’ve got 10 different top end BMWs to choose from, “here are the keys sir, bring it back in 20 minutes.” Wait there’s no track to stay on, no rules to follow, just take it out for a spin, and “if you get a piece of paper from a well dressed individual carrying a gun and driving a car with blue flashing lights…it’s yours to keep.”…we came close to getting one of those pieces of paper.
In the test drive portion of the day I had time to drive two extraordinary machines in the Alpina B7 and the M760i V12.
I’ve wanted to drive the Alpina B7 for some time now so jumped on that car first with a couple others soles who attended. I pulled away nice and smooth down the winding drive way of the golf club, hit the turn on to route 1, a four lane divided highway of sorts, and we were off, up to 100 mph plus in no time, to say this car has balls is an understatement, it is luxury with immense power, superior handling, great suspension, and a perfect interior complete with almost stadium like seating in the back. How much to take it home you ask? It had a sticker price of $156,000. I was blown away by this car, and as Ferris Bueller says if you have the means I highly suggest picking one up.
After a quick driver switch along the way and a few winding back roads to really test how the B7 handled we were back at the course, and two our surprise sitting there without a driver was the M760i V12. We all hopped in and off we went for another test drive. This time I sat in the back and just went along for the ride. Again this was one of the most powerful cars I’ve had the pleasure of riding in, a bit faster off the line so to speak than the Alpina B7. Very good suspension and handling, but not as smooth as the B7. The interior and amenities were over the top, including the panoramic roof, power rear sun shades, unobtrusive heads up display and gesture control to communicate with the X Drive system rather than using the dial in the center. You can take this beauty home for a mere $171,000. Thanks to a timely driver switch we avoided one of those pieces of paper I spoke about earlier.
Shifting to the real reason I banged out of work, the golf, all I can say is wow what a facility. Impeccable is the only word I know which can do it justice. Let’s start with practice facilities, the putting green was our first stop for a group lesson from the Shelter Harbor Head Pro, David Tiedemann. The speed and undulation of the practice green we’re spot on to how the ball rolled on the course and the practice drills will absolutely improve your game while making practice fun.
Our second stop was fitness, flexibility and full swing on the double ended driving range with Jon Tattersall and Billy Mitchell. Billy put us through the motions of a proper pre-round stretch from the ground up, while Jon emphasized the need to build power from the ground up as well. We we’re a large group, 20 or so people, so individual attention was tough but all in all the stretching regiment and simple swing though reminders were awesome.
Last stop before a great spread for lunch was the pitching and chipping clinic put on be multiple Shelter Harbor Assistant Pros. I chose to focus on the 50 yard shot as it had been lacking in my game. I hate to keep gushing but the experience, knowledge and ability to connect with golfer by the team at Shelter Harbor is excellent.
After lunch we were grouped into foursomes for 9 hole stableford match with a winner from the front and back nine getting a trip for two to the 2018 BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club and a chance to play a round at Aronimink on the Monday after the tournament. Arriving back at my cart for the match I found Jeff, the best caddie, I’ve ever had the pleasure of having on my bag. If the shot needed was 110 at the tree behind the green and you hit…you were happy when you got to the green. On the green just hit where Jeff pointed and if it wasn’t in the cup, it was a tap in (mostly pars and bogeys for me). Awesome personality, super professional if you walking the fairways of Augusta and all around great guy to grab a pint with post round.
The course, I only got to play the front nine, was as I said earlier, impeccable. Every tee box perfect, every fairway sculpted, every green fast and rolling true, bunkers, yes I found a couple and again perfect consistency of sand. Two of the holes stand out in my mind, the par 3 fourth hole, played about 195 down hill to the most diabolical green I’ve ever stepped on. The pin on four was in an easily accessible position, you just needed to hit the shot. While the par 5 ninth hole, a dogleg right to an uphill green, looking up at the clubhouse was truely awesome and unless you’re a long hitter, a 3 shot play into the green. Don’t miss short here, or have any spin near the front of the green or your 60 yards below the hole in seconds. I’ve had the opportunity to play many courses, but Shelter Harbor, at least the front 9 exceed all my expectations. While I didn’t win the trip to the BMW Championship in September, I went home with a feeling of euphoria about how utterly awesome the day was.
Thank you to BMW for putting on such an awesome customer event. I thought the experience of buying my first BMW was really well done, comparing it to other car buy experiences, but to say they knocked it stiff on the customer event is an understatement.