Golf and Guitars and Great Big Checks

November 10, 2021

by: Megan Conner

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This was my fifth year being asked to come play the Golf and Guitars event for 101.5 KNCI and Haggin Oaks in Sacramento.  Each year my fingers and toes are twisted and crossed until I get a text or email from Ken Morton asking me to come back. 

Because of the thing that will remain unnamed, G&G in 2020 (along with pretty much everything) was canceled.  When I found out that it was on this year I was elated.  It was a long day of travel there and one day back only to be there for two full days, but if I could rewind, replay and relive those two days, I WOULD.  As I’m typing this, I can’t help but have a huge smile on my face (even under my mask on the plane.)

Sacramento is a charming little city.  I am usually a bit too busy with the event to do too much exploring, but I made a point to this time to do a little bit to share with you. I only had a few hours on Monday before having to shower, figure out what I was going to wear and go over the songs one time that I was going to play.  This was the first time I had played a show in almost two years.  I felt a strange mix of nervous and omg I have to play in front of people what even is that…  The only reason why I even say the latter is because having been out of the business for a couple of years, I just feel a bit disconnected.  It almost feels like it was another life.  So, I planned to meet one of my favorite people in the world in Sac for lunch and a bop around to a few places that are must-sees if you’re only in SacTown for a short time.  

I got up the morning of the show and went for a jog.  The temperature was not quite 50 degrees and perfect for a fall run.  I haven’t run in fresh, chilly air in a long time, so it felt really, really good.  Along the way I stopped to snap some pics and a petite, badass of a woman passed me.  I eventually caught back up to her and started talking to her.  She runs 10 miles most mornings and I had caught her on her last mile.  We cruised at an 8:45 pace and chatted.  Her name is Ashly (with no e) and she is 63!!!!  We spoke about how running was our therapy and what we both do.  She is crew for an airline and lives in San Diego and Hawaii. She flies to Sacramento on layovers often.  We crammed in a bunch in a mile and then stood in the parking lot of my hotel and chatted a bit longer.  She was inspiring.  

After meeting Ashly I grabbed an Uber over to the golf course – Haggin Oaks – where the golf tournament was being held on Tuesday.  I figured I should pick up a club since I hadn’t in two years and practice a few swings before the big tourney.  The course and the people are THE BEST.  If you’re a golfer – do yourself a favor and go play this course.  It’s not only a beautiful course, but it has a state of the art driving range, pro shop and more.  Trust me, it’s great, and the people are even better.  

After I whacked some balls, Gabrielle came to pick me up.  Let’s talk a minute about this amazing human…. Gabrielle is the reason why I get to come to G&G every year.  I met her in Nashville a long, long time ago and got to co-write with her.  She is one of those people that you meet that you never forget.  Her big smile, small stature and sweet soul will stay with you just like her friendship. As the song says “there are angels among us…” and she makes me believe that to be true.  

She took me downtown to the capitol of California.  How did I have no idea that the actual capitol of the state was in Sacramento? Obviously I didn’t learn all of my capitols in school.  It was lovely.

Just a walk down the street she showed me the beautiful rose garden, which is where I chose to do my workout, because how could you not do a workout surrounded by roses?  Here’s the workout…

4 for 4.  Do each exercise 45 seconds/rest 15 for 4 minutes.  Rest minute 5 if you need it then repeat 3 more times for a total of 4 times through the circuit.

-2 jacks 2 jump squats

-plank jack to pushup

-burpee with jump lunge

-superman plank (arms and legs out wide)

Check out my IG here for a reel to show you each exercise!

Here’s the workout – 

Right beside the rose garden is an incredible Vietnam memorial.  My stepdad fought in Vietnam so this was pretty cool to see this memorial. 

After that we meandered down a couple more blocks and found the Johnny Cash mural and some other cool artsy spots and then stopped into the restaurant Cafeteria where we had the best truffled tater tots ever.  We shared a few other yummy eats – including a salmon salad and a watermelon salad, but I have to say, the tots won. 

Gabrielle dropped me back off at the hotel to get ready for the big night!  I showered, rehearsed with my guitar player and we hit the stage.  Golf and Guitars is such an amazing event raising thousands for children’s charities across the globe.  It is an honor and privilege every year to be a part of this event.  This show also does something for my heart in more ways than one.  It reconnects me with some of the people that I love in this business and reminds me of why I ever started the music biz in the first place.  To say that this is a special show is an understatement.

The songwriter’s showcase is Monday night then we play golf Tuesday.  Each of us “celebrities” is paired with a team of 4 actual golfers to play against each other for the grand prize….annnnnnnnd drumroll please – GUESS WHO WON THIS YEAR?!   You guessed it!!!!!!!!!!  My team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I played with team Adidas, and we won $8,000 for the Down syndrome Association of Central Texas.  I played in honor of my best friend’s son Andrew who has Down syndrome (you can see more about him and her in the Austin blog).  UMMM WE WON THE GOLF TOURNAMENT.  I couldn’t believe it.  Well, let’s be honest – I could.  The team that I was on was unreal.  They brought home the grand prize for this amazing charity!!!!!  Yesterday I got to call the DSACT and tell them to expect a check for $8K.  They were so surprised and grateful.  It was the best moment of my day by a long shot.  

Tuesday the headliners perform on the MainStage.  This year the stage was stacked with recent #1 songs and performers including Walker Hays, Priscilla Block and Jameson Rodgers – Ken always puts together the cream of the crop show!

It was a whirlwind of a couple of days playing music and golf and quickly bopping downtown to see a few things.  The next time I am in town I plan to stay a bit longer and really check out what Sac has to offer, but if you’re only there a day or even a few hours it is definitely worth going downtown to take in the capitol, rose garden, oh and those truffled tater tots.  

I had a long flight back to Nashville, but every second from the moment I stepped foot back in Sacramento to the sunset on the plane welcoming me back to Nashville – was totally worth it.  SacTown – can’t wait to see you again!  

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