Who says you can’t find anything to do if you decide to take a vacation and stay at home? I played so much golf over my time off during Christmas and New Year’s that my forearms and back were sore.

OK, so maybe I’m not in the best of shape, but that didn’t stop me from getting out and playing a lot of golf over my stay-at-home vacation. I can tell you this, it was one of the most relaxing weeks that I have ever had — and I attribute that largely to getting out on the course so often.

For starters, we couldn’t have had better weather: Not one day of rain and most days in the mid 70s. I played so much — seven of my 11 days off — that the people in my department back at the office thought I had been out fishing during my time. Lest they forget, I have no boat at the moment. All that does is afford me more time to play the game that relieves my stress better than anything.

I did get the chance to go play a course that I haven’t played in quite some time. Saddlebrook is a course near Wesley Chapel, very close to I-75. If you’re ever looking for a great golf getaway, this place has it all.

They have two beautiful courses that are always kept in immaculate shape. Each has its own degree of difficulty, although the Palmer course offers an extra challenge with narrower fairways that are not very level. The Saddlebrook course is the easier of the two, although it has its own degree of difficulty with angles on almost every shot. Both are truly a joy to play.

If you get tired of — or frustrated with — golf, their tennis courts are unreal. They have whatever surface you like to play on: Grass, clay or hard surface. Lessons for both golf and tennis are available, with on-course or on-court instruction.

I also had the chance to play our local course, Wedgewood. This place holds a special spot in my heart because it’s where Missy and I had our wedding reception.

Just having the option to go take on these courses with my wife and friends was a lot of fun. Taking 11 days off in a row (something I have never done since I started working) offered me the greatest opportunity to get out and enjoy that nice weather we had. Score was irrelevant to me. I did manage to put up a few scores in the 70s but also struggled a time or two as well. It simply didn’t matter. Getting outdoors, using golf as a way to get some exercise, was good enough for me.

Hopefully you had the chance to spend some time outdoors through the holidays. Whether it was playing golf, biking, hiking, being on the water, whatever the case may be, I hope everyone got to enjoy the awesome weather we had during that stretch. For me, that was a glimpse into what retirement might look like once I get there. I have to say, not bad — I look forward to that time.

Some of you may not be familiar with the courses that I mentioned, but that’s OK. Everyone has their favorite course to go play. The important thing is to get out and play the game. Enjoy the good weather and the company you get to have on the golf course, every chance you get.

Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes and golfs with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.


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