That’s right; he was so good as a guest in Episode 81 when we recorded “live” from the Tobacco Road Stewart Cabin in North Carolina, we’ve decided to welcome Joe “Iron Man” Sas back for Episode 112 of the “Talking GolfGetaways” podcast (sponsored by 2UNDR Apparel, use code GNN20 to save 20 percent on your order) as our resident “big-group buddy trip expert” to offer advice he’s learned over more than 20 years of planning his annual golf outing (for between 24-40 golfers) to the Scottsdale-Phoenix area.
An air-traffic controller from Dallas, Joe runs the annual Mike Blaisuis Memorial Golf Outing (Mike was a co-worker of Joe’s who passed suddenly five years ago, and the event honors Mike’s life and spirit) and has tons of experience in planning group trips. He shares how the event got started and goes into detail on the various planning stages he’s mastered over the past couple decades. He talks about why he settled on the Arizona desert as the location (“perfect weather, easy to get to”) and how he’s nailed down a winning formula that includes three different price-point courses (to help keep costs reasonable for all players) — a formula that keeps friends coming back every year and new group members joining in on the fun (like “Talking GolfGetaways” co-host Darin Bunch, who has attended two of the past three years).
Joe and Darin next discuss the elements of Joe’s event that keeps it fun, describing the various games played during the event to keep every level of player engaged. They talk about the host hotel for the week — the Embassy Suites in Scottsdale near Old Town — and why it’s been the favorite place to stay for most of the event’s run. A central location, two big pool areas, the ability to handle large groups and a breakfast/happy hour package that’s included with your room all contribute to what is a well-researched decision.
Co-host Mitch Laurance and Darin then sprint into a quick “Emergency 9” golf-travel quiz with Joe, whose gamut of answers includes his favorite Phoenix-area tracks (The Boulders and the Troon-managed courses of Monument and Southern Dunes), his Bucket List (Scotland and Ireland), and the Stewart Cabin at Tobacco Road and the Golf Suite above the Tufted Puffin at Bandon Dunes as favorite lodging.
Joe and Darin also share culinary tales from their recent visit to the Hilton Pointe at Tapatio Cliffs and its mountaintop Different Pointe of View restaurant — you won’t want to miss the recap of this meal, which both consider to be one of the best (if not “the best”) dinner they’ve ever eaten, highlighted by the incredible patio view, unforgettable dishes and friendly, helpful staff.
We also find out why Joe is called “The Iron Man” when he answers the question about his Most Important Piece of Equipment, and he finishes up the Emergency 9 with two interesting stories — the first includes playing golf with NHL star Mike Modano and the second a round with a perfectly-dressed, new equipment-wielding guy turned who turned out to be his “Funniest Golf Story Ever.”
Another all-around fun episode with Joe Sas, an all-around great guy (he paid us to write that). And we hope it helps readers and listeners who might be looking to start their own annual big-group golf buddy trips. Enjoy the connection.