Weekend Recap: Arnold Palmer Invitational (…with vodka, please)

We live right outside of the Bay Hill golf community in Orlando.  Once a year, the entire community is flooded with tour buses and “Arnie’s Army” as they celebrate the PGA’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.  For the past four or five years, Chris and I have taken the Friday of the tournament off work so that we can go while the kids are in school.

We go with our friends, Danielle and Quinn, to the “Wine and Dine on Nine” event, which has restaurants from all over Orlando in a gated area.  You get a pass to the tournament for the day and a pass into the Wine and Dine event, which means you can eat and drink for free.  It’s basically the only way to enjoy golf.

This year, Chris had to work that morning actually at the tournament.  He was in a chalet rubbing elbows and making dad jokes with nonprofit foundations and donors.  Which sucked for him because I went early with Danielle and Quinn to the tournament.  We got there around 9:30 that morning and I had a drink in my hand by 9:45am.   I was not messing around.

We wandered from hole to hole, golfer to golfer, and bar stand to bar stand all morning.  I saw all the big ones (Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Ricky Fowler, etc.), I drank all the big ones (bloody marys, mimosas, Arnold Palmers with vodka, etc.), and I was as inappropriate as one can be at an outdoor sporting event (I talked too loud close to putting greens, I took pictures when you weren’t supposed to take pictures, I stood awkwardly close to the golfers, etc.).  I mean, I was L-I-V-I-N-G.

And then somehow we ended up in a chalet where they had another bar (don’t mind if I do…) and (wait for it… wait for it…) virtual reality golfing, which you know had my name written all over it!  You put the head piece on and then you selected a golf course from somewhere in the world and you played mini golf.  Guy, I was horrible.  Like, really, really bad.  And they projected my virtual screen up onto a huge TV screen in the chalet for all to see.  As all really good friends do, Danielle documented my entire virtual saga, including this picture, where you can see my real sunglasses have fallen off my head and I didn’t even know, so the poor little VR girl had to step around me and try to grab them before I crushed her with my invisible golf club.

By the time Chris caught up to us later in the afternoon, I was feeling pretty good.  I vaguely remember him getting on to Danielle and Quinn, saying something along the lines of, “Come on, guys!  You gotta watch your third wheel!  She can’t be left unattended at an outdoor bar!”

All of this is true.  Umbrella drinks are my weakness.

Anyway, it was a really fun day.  We didn’t get home until after six that night and I was shocked to walk into my house and remember that I had children!  Who knew?!  (And, wow, what a downer…)

If you get the chance to come to Orlando in March, put the Arnold Palmer Invitational on your calendar.  And then look for me in the Wine and Dine tent.  I’ll be the one stuffing her face with mini bundt cakes and lemonades with vodkas.  I may also be heckling golfers or taking illegal selfies with my phone.  My husband will be following a few steps behind me so that he doesn’t appear to be with me, but can still count my drinks and yell out at me when I get stumbly.  You can’t miss me.

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