As I spend time in new parts of the country I try to get to as many sporting events and venues as I can. This year I decided to add a couple of college football stadiums to my list. I went to a Texas Longhorns game in Austin earlier in the year and last weekend my buddy Jason and I went up to see an Oklahoma Sooners game in Norman, OK.
While the trip was planned out in advance, it seemed like something we jut threw together last second, as quite a few details didn’t line up until late in the process. Those that know me know that added to my stress level much more than I’d like.
That being said, it was an absolutely amazing trip. We drove up from Houston on Friday, stopping in Dallas to grab a burger at Maple & Motor, a small joint north of Dallas with amazing burgers. As expected, the food did not disappoint. I’d promised Jason he was going to eat some great food on this trip, and Maple & Motor seemed like the perfect place to start.
As we woke Saturday morning we got ready for the game. West Virginia was in town to take on the Sooners, and it was an early 11am start. This meant no real tailgating for us, so we took our time getting to the stadium, fighting through the completely unorganized security check, and making our way to our seats in the corner of the end zone.
The game itself went as expected, with Jalen Hurts and Oklahoma steamrolling West Virginia. At times it even seemed unfair. The only thing that went wrong for Oklahoma was the Schooner rolling over. Luckily nobody was hurt, animal or human.
After the game we made our way to Nic’s Place in downtown Oklahoma City. The second location for Justin Nicholas and team. With the original featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, it was an easy decision – marking our second DDD stop on the trip.
The place was quiet, as we got there well ahead of the dinner crowd. Our server, Brandy, was awesome. Known for world class burgers, we dove head first into our second great burger in as many days. Second burger, second success. We finished it off with peach cobbler for dessert, and couldn’t have been happier with our decision.
We settled in to the hotel room for the night as we had a big day ahead of us. We watched my Wolverines lose a heart breaker against Penn State and the Astros beat the Yankees to advance to the World Series.
We awoke to a beautiful Sunday, and hit the road to Tulsa to play The Patriot Golf Club in Owasso. The Patriot Golf Club is the home of The Folds of Honor – a wonderful group of people helping the families of our fallen soldiers. Although it is a private course, I was able to secure a tee time for us, and I couldn’t be any more thankful for the accommodation – what a place!
Built on top of a hill within a beautiful neighborhood, the course begins with a wonderful par 5 with a huge drop from tee to fairway. One of the signature holes, the first is an excellent way to begin a round of golf. With a huge American Flag waving over the property, you can’t help but feel like a Patriot.
I started great, with a tap in birdie on the first, my first of 6 for the day. It was a very peaceful round of golf. The greens rolled beautifully and the fairways were generous and beautiful. Every day at 1300 hours, golfers are asked to stop and reflect as a speaker plays Taps followed by 13 bell chimes. While it was odd to stop and stand on the green, it was very poignant and a special touch from a special place.
With five Par 3’s and five Par 5’s it offered a wonderful variety and a great challenge. The greens varied in size but all had wonderful contours. Our caddie Josh was great, easy to talk to, and guided us around the course impeccably. The staff could not have been friendlier or more accommodating to us on our visit.
As we drove back to OKC we reflected on a great day and (for me) a great round of golf. I shot a 76, with the 6 birdies, and feel like I left a couple more birds out on the course. We had dinner at Charleston’s in Oklahoma City. A very nice sit down restaurant in Bricktown, we unwound and enjoyed great food and great service.
Jason ordered the filet with side salad and loaded baked potato, which all looked amazing, and made me wish I’d ordered the same. I went with the ribs, lightly sauced and fall off the bone tender. The only thing missing from my meal was the salad, which I regret not ordering. The beer was very cold, and everything was served with speed and a smile.
Monday we had a tee time at the Jimmy Austin Oklahoma University course. As college courses go, I thought this was one of the best I’ve played. Golf Digest ranks it #20 on the list of America’s College Courses. I’d like to play the 19 ahead of this one, as I thought it was a great course.
Originally designed by the great Perry Maxwell, the course winds around Bishop Creek with undulation and contour. The par threes offered incredible beauty and challenge, as the greens were small and sloped. The 9th hole was easily my hardest hole of the day as I bounced from bunker to bunker and took a triple. I followed that up with a second triple 3 holes later and I shot a sloppy 82.
With Tuesday up in the air, we took care of a couple of errands and settled in for dinner at Cultivar, an incredible little Mexican farm to table restaurant north of downtown. Think Chipotle combined with craft tacos. We stayed and ate for a while, and enjoyed every bite we took. Once again we had wonderful service from the entire team, and we celebrated our decision to eat there.
We woke up Tuesday not knowing what the plan was. We were awaiting an e-mail from Southern Hills CC, holding out hope that we could squeeze on and play that afternoon. Alas, those plans fell through so we decided to just head home. Before heading out, however, we made one more stop – at Hurts Donuts.
I love Krispy Kreme donuts, and don’t think I was ever going to find a better place to eat a donut. Folks, let me tell you that I was wrong. Talk about great! The variety, craftsmanship, and creativity of their donuts blew us away. The specialty is the Maple Frosted bacon donut, a longjohn frosted with maple glaze then dipped in bacon. O. M. G!
The final food stop on the trip actually happened about 10 minutes from my home – Joy Love Burgers in Katy, TX. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives hasn’t been there yet, but Guy Fieri might want to schedule a visit. Their Crazy Burger is “Out of Bounds” as Guy would say. I am not sure I’ve ever had a better burger. Luckily I get to go here whenever I want.
All told, it was a GREAT trip – one we’ve already discussed as a repeat option. My brother joked with me that nobody goes to Oklahoma on purpose. I assure you, the next time I go it will be completely on purpose. Amazing food, great golf courses, and incredible people!
I was completely impressed with everything Oklahoma City had to offer, and would not hesitate to go back for more.