Sunday, May 26, 2013

What’s New and Hot from the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show?


By KATHARINE DYSON
   Amazing how clever golf-crazed minds keep coming up with new gadgets and ideas. Many debuted at this year’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, with some new twists on old saws.

Color Explosion
   The whiz-bang of G/Fore golf gloves grabs your attention for their more than 20 eye-popping colors and superb tailoring out of premium soft AA Coretta leather. Men are wearing them, women are wearing them. Whatever your attire, there is a G/Fore glove to match. We say it’s about time.  www.g-fore.com
   Explosive color along with bold, brash designs from Loudmouth  continues to make waves as more and more golfers want to put some kick and fun into their game. They are wearing paintball-splashed pants and jackets, pink flamingo-patterned capris, South Beach orange and turquoise art deco skorts. And one thing we really love: Loudmouth apparel is very well constructed. With all the attention it’s getting, it’s no wonder Loudmouth has expanded to swimwear, hoodies, sunglasses, hats, belts, gloves, shoes, and even watches and golf bags. www.us.loudmouthgolf.com 

Club D├ęcor
   When it’s time to re-grip your clubs  (if you play much at all, you need to do this) why not live it up. Several companies are making really sharp colorful grips. We especially like SuperStroke Club Grips that come in lime green, orange, raspberry and other upbeat colors.  They also come in a variety of sizes from Fatso to ultra slim. www.Superstrokeusa.com 
   
Skin Game
   May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. What better time than to buckle down on how you protect yourself when you hit the sun. There are a lot of good lotions out there, but here’s an idea: Sun care you can wear by SanSoleil. Long-sleeved shirts filter out all the bad rays and come in 10 snazzy colors and eight prints like White Tiger and Tan Plaid. Some have Swarovski zipper pulls and all have cooling mesh on the underside of the sleeves. Choose soft, lightweight cotton or SolTek, a poly tech fabric that is whisper light with a tad of Spandex. The shirts’ UPFness lasts through a few seasons of washes too. www.sansoleil.com 

Swing Clips
   We saw a couple of products out there that tell you all you ever wanted to know about your swing, must-haves for techies who love their cool stuff. Take SwingTip. A small gizmo attaches to your club, then the app you’ve launched on your smart phone or tablet, analyzes your swing and even tracks and charts your swing history. You know instantly what your swing path and face angle look like, your club speed, swing tempo and whether you’ve hit the sweet spot. Armed with all this knowledge, you can not understand what you need to do to improve your game. Sweet. www.Swingtip.com

Watch it
   Golf Buddy has done it again.  First the “Voice” where a Garmin-like lady tells you the distance to the green when you push a button; now the Golf Buddy VT3, a talking GPS  golf watch preloaded with 36,000 courses. Strap it on your wrist or snap it out and clip it to your hat. Golfbuddyglobal.com

Cap It
   Tired of the same old, same old hats? Visors that are way too big? Take a walk on the wild side with Madcapz hats for women created by designer Carrie Bell. They come in saucy, spirited colors and patterns including CheeriOh and Tiger Top. Best of all, these hats fit really well and are lighter in weight than most. www.Madcapz.net

Sock it to You
   Zensah’s compression socks may sound therapeutic — and they should because they are — but the colors and argyle patterns go the extra mile with combos like turquoise, black and lime and even tie dye designs reminding us that something that works well and makes your legs feel good can also look great. www.Zensah.com
   We also love Kent Wool socks. They fit your feet really well and stay up when they should. No baggy cuffs with these beauties. And if you do a lot of walking on the course, the cushioned comfort of Kent Wool is amazing. www.Kentwool.com

Foot Fetish
   Vibram Five Fingers’ Speed XC Lite golf shoes look just plain nuts.  But slip your tootsies into these flexible shoes-that-look-like-feet and you’ll become a believer — kind of like going barefoot.  The women’s shoe comes in pink and white and turquoise and white.  Gotta try a pair if only to get the smiles going when you arrive at the first tee. Also great off the course for fun and comfort.  wwwvibramfivefingers.com

Keeping Score
   This is perfect for those among us who (ahem) can be forgetful when keeping score.  ScoreBand is both a slick-looking watch and a score-keeping tool. No more need for beads, ladies. This gismo keeps your hole and round score with a touch of a finger Brilliant. Scoreband.net
Katharine Dyson is an award-winning member of the Golf Writers Assn. of America and the Golf Travel Writers of America.



Connecticut Golf Notebook By Bruce Berlet


 Aulenti, Lane and Hermanson Elected to CT Golf Hall of Fame
   The three newest members of the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame earned entry via bags full of achievements on AND off the course.
   Bill Hermanson of the Black Hall Club in Old Lyme has won eight Connecticut State Golf Association individual titles and 35 four-ball events with fellow Hall of Famer and close friend Dave Szewczul in between a seemingly non-stop business life in his “silver bullet,” the customized golf shop/van that he has driven from Connecticut to the Canadian border as a manufacturer’s rep selling apparel, headwear and accessories.
   Between moderate success as an amateur and LPGA Tour and club professional in the late 1970s and ’80s and a senior player the last six years, Angela Aulenti has made her major mark as an instructor and innovative club pro, most notably since she became the first female head pro in Connecticut at Sterling Farms Golf Club in Stamford in 1994.
   Tom Lane was a caddie and competitive amateur growing up across the street from the third green at Race Brook Country Club in Orange and next door to fellow Hall of Famer Robert D. Pryde but has garnered most of his recognition and notoriety as an enthusiastic, behind-the-scenes ambassador of the game.
   Hermanson won the 1973 state schoolboy championship while at Old Saybrook High, the Connecticut Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 1983, the CSGA Mid-Amateur five straight years (1990-94) and again in 2001, the CSGA Amateur in 1991 and ’99 and the State Tournament of Champions in 2006, as well as the dozens of four-balls with Szewczul and the 1997 CSGA Mixed Team title with Nicole Faniola, a former state women’s amateur champion. 
   A 23-time club champion at Black Hall in the last 35 years, Hermanson was CSGA Player of the Year in 1991 and runner-up in 1981-82 and has played on 25 Julius Boros Challenge Cup, including on May 2, 21 Tri-State and three USGA State Team Match teams, competed in the 2006 and ’08 U.S. Mid-Amateur and served as CSGA team captain in 2003-04. In 2009, the trophy awarded to the winners of the CSGA 
   Though neither of her parents played the game, Aulenti could have qualified for the Hall of Fame in the “distinguished golf achievement” or “distinguished service to golf” category after spending much of her youth around Longshore GC in Westport. While her mother ran the food concessions, Angela designed her own three-hole course around the pro shop at 8 years old and often was escorted off the main course by her father, a policeman, after sneaking on. The gendarmes finally gave up reporting her and let her play when she reached 10.
    After winning the Connecticut and Metropolitan (N.Y.) Junior Championships and Southern New England Women’s Golf Association Championship twice in the late 1970s, Aulenti spent several years as a Monday qualifier on the LPGA Tour and played in the U.S. Women’s Open in 1977-79 and LPGA Championship in 1979. Then after 11 years as an assistant to Gene Boerk at Metropolis CC in White Plains, N.Y., she became the head pro at Sterling Farms, running the golf operations there and at cross-town E. Gaynor Brennan GC. She transformed the Sterling Farms shop into a player-friendly place for golf and merchandise while building active programs for men, women and juniors, including a 10-week summer program that attracts about 600 inner-city kids from Stamford. Such endeavors led to her being named LPGA Northeast Section Merchandiser of the Year in 1998, 2003 and ’11, Met Section Merchandiser of the Year (public course) in 1998, LPGA national Professional of the Year in 2003 and 2011 and LPGA national Merchandiser of the Year in 2004 and ’06. 
   Aulenti won the LPGA Club Pro Senior Championship in 2007 and national Mixed Team Championship with Kammy Maxfeldt in 2009, was runner-up in the LPGA Club Pro Championship in 1988, finished second twice and fifth twice in the Met Women’s Open in the 1990s, won the Met PGA Assistants Championship in 1990 and was named Northeast Section LPGA Senior Player of the Year in 2007-08. She has been LPGA Teaching and Club Pro national chairperson, is serving a two-year term as LPGA Northeast Section president and opened the Aulenti Club Fitting Studio, featuring Trackman technology, in 2010. In 2002, Golf For Women magazine ranked her among the top 50 teachers in the country, and as a breast cancer survivor since 2005, Aulenti has been an honorary chairperson for the Susan G. Komen Rally for a Cure.
   The 81-year-old Lane, a member at Race Brook for an astonishing 56 years, won the club championship in 1963 and many best-ball events but has spent most of his time in the game as an administrator. He got involved with the CSGA in 1974 as a member of its executive committee and the New England Golf Association 20 years later. He has been president of his club (1980-81), the CSGA (1993-94) and NEGA (2004), served as the CSGA representative to the NEGA (1997-98) before being elected to the executive committee in 1999 and then moving through the ranks to president in 2004. He has remained active at Race Brook and as a CSGA and NEGA official to this day. 
   Meanwhile, John Marion (Norwich GC) was named CSGA president, Peter Kaufmann (Woodway CC-Darien) vice president, Stan MacFarland (Manchester CC) vice president competitions, Jim Healey Jr. (Madison CC) vice president club relations, Ben Briggs (Silvermine GC-New Canaan) secretary, Shelly Guyer (Oak Hills Park GC-Norwalk) treasurer, Jack Bracken (Hartford GC-West Hartford), special advisor and legal counsel and Judy Smith (Orange Hills CC) special advisor. Herb Lyon (Suffield CC) was named Volunteer of the Year, and Wampanoag CC in West Hartford received the Distinguished Club Award.

NOWOBILSKI, NICHOLS ENTER CT SECTION PGA HALL OF FAME
   John Nowobilski and famed one-armed golfer Jimmy Nichols were longtime friends until Nichols’ death in 1987, so it was only appropriate that they entered the Connecticut Section PGA Hall of Fame together.
   A 34-year member of the PGA of America, Nowobilski has been the head pro at Tallwood CC in Hebron for more than three decades after previously working at Wee Burn CC-Darien, Farmington Woods CC and Pautipaug CC-Baltic. He was a two-time All-American at Central Connecticut State University in his native New Britain, qualified for the 1985 national Club Pro Championship and is the only player in the 61-year history of the PGA Tour’s annual stop in Connecticut to qualify as an amateur, a pro and then a section pro (twice).
   Off the course, Nowobilski has won numerous section awards, starting with assistant of the year in 1976 and also including Horton Smith (1982, ’87), Professional of the Year (1986), Public Merchandiser of the Year (1997), Teacher of the Year (1998) and Bill Strausbaugh (2007). It helped lead to John being a three-time recipient of the President’s Award and asked to serve as chairman of the committee celebrating the section’s 75th anniversary in 2008. And since 2002, he has run the Harry Nowobilski Memorial Golf Tournament in memory of his late father that has raised about $170,000 for the Connecticut Section PGA Golf Foundation to support junior golf, his father’s passion.
   Nichols was a native of Texas who lost his right arm in a train accident in 1929 at 24. He played with the likes of World Golf Hall of Famers Babe Zaharias, Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones and Gene Sarazen and also conducted countless clinics and instructed many people who were similarly disabled and looked to golf for its therapeutic qualities. The gregarious Nichols was the first pro at Westover GC, the teaching pro at Jabish Brook GC (Mill Valley Golf Links) in Belchertown and Heritage CC in Charlton, all clubs in Massachusetts. He was a Spalding advisory staff member for 41 years, the first one-armed golfer to play in the Masters and PGA Championship, received the Golf Writers Association of America’s Ben Hogan Award (1962) and was named Connecticut Section Professional of the Year (1976).

FOUNDATION HANDS OUT MORE THAN 20 GRANTS
   The section foundation handed out nearly $30,000 in financial grants to more than 20 programs, events and organizations. They included The First Tee of Connecticut; the Stan Trojanowski Junior Tournament; SARAH Inc. (Special Olympics Golf Team); Physically Challenged and Special Olympics Golf Clinics at Lyman Orchards GC in Middlefield; Gaylord Hospital Sports Association; Don Miklus LPGA Girls Golf & Disabled Golf; Mount Sinai Golfers in Motion Rehabilitation Program; Special Olympics of Connecticut; Special Olympics of Massachusetts; the Charlie Ormsby Golf Clinic; and several other junior golf tournaments.
   The foundation also elected new officers and directors to one-year terms. They included board members Rich Crowe (Rockledge GC-West Hartford), Gary Reynolds (PGA Life Member) and Frank Selva (Orange Hills GC), who have served on the foundation since its inception in 1995. Selva also continued as president, a position that he assumed from Reynolds in 1999. Joe Connerton (Hartford GC) was elected vice president and Jeremy Vitkauskas (CC of Farmington) was named secretary. Crowe, Reynolds, Jim Bedus (PGA Life Member), Jeff Beyer (Willow Brook GC-South Windsor), Tim Gavronski (Shuttle Meadow CC-Kensington) and Timmie Stathers of Tolland were re-elected to the board of directors, while newcomers were Kevin Mahaffy (Pequabuck GC-Bristol), Shaun Maher (Stanley GC-New Britain) and Jim McDonald (Western Massachusetts Family Golf Center-Hadley, Mass.).
   New section officers include president Mike Grady (Lake Waramaug CC-New Preston), vice president Bill Flood (Rock Ridge CC-Newtown) and secretary Ian Marshall (Watertown). New board members are Jason Waters (Hop Meadow CC-Simsbury) and Andrew Campbell (Black Hall Club). … PGA Life Members Bob Rogers and Walter Lowell, the national Professional of the Year in 1978, have reached 50 years of membership in the PGA of America, while section executive director Tom Hantke, Rob Barbeau (Old Lyme CC), Mike Carney (Watertown GC), Bob Geambazi (Ridgewood CC-Danbury), John Klug (Mill River CC-Stratford), Joe McLaughlin (Dick’s Sporting Goods), Dan Malarney (PGA Retired Member) and Jim McMahon (Wethersfield CC) reached 25 years.

TRAVELERS EARNS THREE PGA TOUR AWARDS
   The Travelers Championship received three of the PGA Tour’s “Best of” Awards for “Most Fan Friendly Event,” “Best Use of Players” and “Best Title Sponsor Integration” for the 2012 tournament, which Marc Leishman won at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell. Tour officials and tournament directors from around the country presented the awards at the tour’s tournament meetings after a selection process.
   “We are so fortunate to have Travelers as our title sponsor since 2007,” tournament director Nathan Grube said. “Their commitment to making the tournament better each year has made the difference in the popularity of our event. We are thrilled to receive recognition in these categories because it represents how much this tournament means to our title sponsor and the community that supports the Travelers Championship every year.”
   In the area of “Most Fan Friendly Event,” the tournament has continually improved its Subway Fan Zone between the first and 18th holes that includes a kid’s area, concert stage and Travelers Chipping Challenge as well as Military Appreciation presented by Saint Francis Care, Women’s Day presented by Travelers, the Golf Digest Junior Pro-Am and numerous other activities. For “Best Use of Players,” the tournament created eight events with 14 players that involved charity, fans, sponsors and volunteers. For the “Best Title Sponsor Integration” Award, there were a number of activities throughout the year that included the title sponsor providing cultural training for employee volunteers and tournament staff, an integrated marketing plan with Travelers tagging national ads with broadcast tune-in information and supplementing tournament buys with additional media spends in outlying markets and a Travelers Championship Employee Day in dozens of field offices across the U.S. and internationally that included a number of golf-related activities.
   “On behalf of the PGA Tour, I am pleased to acknowledge and congratulate the outstanding job and special recognition the Travelers Championship has received for its efforts,” PGA Tour executive vice president and chief of operations Andy Pazdar said. “The tournament should be extremely proud for being recognized as the best among their peers on the tour.” It also raised $1,154,000 in 2012, a record since Travelers became the title sponsor. This year’s $6 million event is June 20-23. … LPGA teaching pro Suzy Whaley will host a day of golf activities for girls 5-18 on May 11 at her home course, TPC River Highlands. Whaley made history in 2002 when she became the first woman to win a section championship and qualified for the Travelers Championship. A list of the day’s events and registration are available at www.suzywhaleygolf.com.

Key dates on the 2013 Connecticut golf calendar:
May 2: Julius Boros Challenge Cup Matches (Connecticut Section PGA vs. Connecticut State Golf Association), New Haven CC, Hamden
May 20-21: CSGA Russell C. Palmer Cup, CC of Waterbury
May 28-29: Connecticut Women’s Open, Tumble Brook CC, Bloomfield
June 11-14: Conn. Women’s Golf Association Championship, Hartford GC, West Hartford
June 17-21: CSGA Amateur Championship, New Haven CC
June 20-23: Travelers Championship, TPC River Highlands, Cromwell
July 8-11: CSGA Junior Championship, Watertown GC
July 9-11: New England Women’s Golf Association Championship, Renaissance GC, Haverhill, Mass.
July 15-16: Connecticut Senior Open, Shennecossett GC, Groton
July 23-24: Southern New England Women’s Golf Association Individual Championships, Indian Hill CC, Newington
July 29-31: Connecticut Open, Torrington CC
Aug. 12-13: Connecticut PGA Professional Championship, Crestview CC, Agawam, Mass.
Aug. 12-14: Connecticut State Women’s Amateur Championship, Rockledge GC, West Hartford
Aug. 20-21: CSGA Mid-Amateur Championship, Fairview Farm GC, Harwinton
Sept. 3: Connecticut PGA Assistant Championship, Black Hall Club, Old Lyme
Sept. 30-Oct. 1: CSGA Public Links Championship, Manchester CC
Sept. 30-Oct 2: Endicott Cup/Tri-State Matches (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island amateur women), Ellington Ridge CC
Oct. 10-11: Tri-State Matches (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island amateur men), Warwick (R.I.) CC
Oct. 15-17: Conn. Section PGA Match Play Championship, Indian Hill CC
Bruce Berlet is a long-time member of the Golf Writers Assn. of America and the retired golf writer for the Hartford Courant and writes a Connecticut Notebook column in each issue of Southern New England Golfer. He can be reached at golfwrtr@aol.com.

College Golf By Tom Drennan


Morell Caps Great Career at Old Dominion

   Samantha Morell from No. Kingstown, RI has capped off a great career at Old Dominion University in Virginia by being selected for the Tom Scott Award as ODU’s top senior athlete. She was named Conference USA’s female golfer of the week twice this spring, winning the Bison Invitational and finishing third at Pinehurst. Her stroke average for this spring was 74.3.
   Another Rhode Island native at ODU is former R.I. state high school champion and player of the year, Jamison Randall, a sophomore from Cumberland. He recently finished as co-champion of the Raines Intercollegiate and was sixth at the Old Dominion Outerbanks Tournament and eighth at Mission Inn.

New England Division One Results:
   The University of Connecticut with a dazzling round of 291 won the 2013 New England Championship. The Huskies were led by freshman Zack Zaback who shot 66-73-139. Zaback was presented the Joe Prisco Award as individual medallist. Uconn shot 588, 12 ahead of runner-up URI and 14 ahead of the University of Hartford.

Coach’s Comments:
   Recently Peter Kostis, a worldwide teacher and television commentator, highlighted what he identified as two major problems with college golf. He stated that the NCAA restricts how much golf a student-athlete can play and with few exceptions, college coaching is just not as good as the instruction that these players would get as touring pros.
   While I tend to agree that the NCAA can be restrictive at times, they are responsible for setting policy and procedures for over 1,500 players and 300 golf teams in Men’s Division One alone. Compare this with 20-25 elite junior golfers, and I would say that the NCAA is doing a good job.
   In reference to instruction received by college golfers, I would argue that Mr. Kostis is unduly harsh in his assessment of the coaches’ skills. Hands on coaching and assessment of the player is where the coaches interact with student athletes in dedicated professionalism and care. In the long run, if all we have taught the college golfer is how to play, then we have not done our job!
   We the coaches are responsible for the academics, social skills and progress to maturity. The college experience may not be for everyone, but rest assured that our young men and women athletes are in great hands with today’s college coaches.
Tom Drennan is the retired head coach of the University of Rhode Island golf team. He led the team for 23 years and was named New England Coach of the Year 10 times. He was inducted into the Golf Coaches Assn. Hall of Fame in 2000 and served as the president of the GCAA from 2004-2006.

Chip Shots By Dave Adamonis, Jr


Golf Club of Cape Cod to Host Inaugural Foon Cup
   The inaugural Foon Cup will be contested on August 19th at the highly acclaimed Golf Club of Cape Cod. The competition, named in honor of the “Godfather of Junior Golf”, Steve Feinstein, will pit 20 of the Challenge Cup's top players (captained by Feinstein) against 20 Challenge Cup alums (captained by yours truly). 
   Feinstein’s contributions to the game of golf are extensive, as he has served as a past President and Golf Chairman at Ledgemont Country Club, he is a current member of the board of directors for two of the most prestigious national junior tournaments in the country; the Optimist International and the Orange Bowl International championships, he is the current President of the United States Challenge Cup and a tournament director for the Future Collegians World Tour. In 2012, Steve served as the president of the RIGA. His commitment extends beyond the golf course as well, as he is a soundboard to countless parents and players. 
   The tournament, which will be one of the major highlights on the Challenge Cup calendar, is a fitting tribute to annually recognize Steve’s contributions to the game, most notably “Challenge Cup Nation”.
Gately Still Making an Impact 
   In recognition of Barry Gately’s tireless contributions to junior golf, in 2011 the Challenge Cup deemed the month of April, “Barry Gately Month”. It had been an annual tribute in the month of April to recognize the late Challenge Cup president’s birthday on April 28th (a ribbing he thoroughly enjoyed).
   After a successful career in the printing business, Barry dedicated the final 30 years of his life to the betterment of our youth. Despite suffering a stroke in 2005, Barry still was a fixture at virtually all of the Challenge Cup’s competitions (unless of course it was football season at GDA).
   In addition to this recognition, the Challenge Cup established a tournament in Barry’s name (the Gately Cup) in 2003. The 36-hole stroke play competition brings together junior golfers and collegiate players. Two scholarships in Barry’s name are distributed annually. This year’s event will be contested at Connecticut National GC on August 21-22.
Curran & Uihlein Sizzle
   Former Challenge Cup standouts Jon Curran and Peter Uihlein are off to good starts in 2013. 
   Curran, a two-time Challenge Cup Player of the Year, has earned two wins on the NGA Tour this season. His first victory was a special one, as it came on the one year anniversary of his father Peter’s passing. The following week, Curran Monday Qualified for the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open by posting an 8-under par 63. In the tournament proper Curran was in the hunt through two rounds and finished tied for 24th. Most recently, the Massachusetts native fired a final round 8-under par 63 to earn his second NGA title. Curran currently leads the NGA Tour’s “Race to Tahoe”, a series of events which awards a sponsor’s exemption into the PGA Tour’s Reno Tahoe Open in August.
   Uihlein, who is primarily playing overseas, has had a few chances to win tournaments on both the European and PGA Tours this season. The 2010 US Amateur Champion held the lead through 36-holes at the Puerto Rico Open (where he settled for a tie for 6th) and the Open de Espana (where he tied for 8th).  Uihlein currently ranks 69th on the European Tour Money List. Victory…….Barrett Leads Team Bradley to Ryder Cup Title
   2011 Challenge Cup Player of the Year Chelso Barrett fired a 2-under par 69 to lead Team Bradley to the team title at the 23rd annual Northeast Junior Ryder Cup at Ledgemont CC. Barrett, who finished regulation tied with Team Fowler’s John VanDerlaan, birdied the first hole of a sudden-death play-off to earn medalist honors. 
   VanDerlaan had staked himself to a 3-stroke lead over the outward nine by posting a tournament record 5-under par 31. The Florida Southern commit couldn’t maintain that brilliance over the closing nine. Meanwhile, Barrett, who is TCU bound this fall, played consistent golf carding nines of 34-35 to force a play-off.
   The team competition was one of the most exciting in the event’s history as a mere 7 shots separated the four teams. West Barnstable’s Matt Hills (37 over the closing nine) and Barrett helped Team Bradley close the deal.
   “I missed this event last year because it conflicted with Sage Valley. This is one of my favorite Challenge Cup competitions. I was happy I could play this year and help the team to victory,” stated Barrett. 
    “This is an awesome event for the kids,” chimed in former captain Chris Simmons. “From the course to the amenities, it is first rate. The annual assemblage of talent at this competition is impressive. Wake Forest commit Ben Balter made the trip here from Naples, Florida. I think that says it a lot about Ben and this event.”
     For the 23rd consecutive year, participants were outfitted with team golf shirts and Pro V1 golf balls courtesy of Footjoy and Titleist. Once again, the traditional team lunch was provided by Challenge Cup Tour sponsor Spinal Technology Inc. The scoreboard created by Ledgemont head professional Todd Campbell is like no other. It is no wonder with the aforementioned amenities and the chance to play one of New England’s finest courses that the New England Junior Ryder Cup is the best one day junior competition in all of golf.

Team Results Captain    
Team Bradley Dave Adamonis Jr. - Steve DeSantis   215-228-443
Team Fowler Garrett Medeiros   222-223-445
Team Palmer Steve Feinstein   224-222-446
Team McDowell Alex Jestings   228-222-450
       
Individual Results City/State Team
1.Chelso Barrett 2013 Keene, NH Bradley 34-35-69 won play-off 
2.John VanDerlaan 2014 Southbury, CT Fowler 31-38-69
3.Connor Greenleaf 2014 Windham, NH Palmer 34-37-71
4.Billy Walthouse 2013 Longmeadow, MA Palmer 38-35-73
4.Ben Balter 2013 Wellesley, MA Fowler 38-36-74
4.Brett Thomas 2014 Medfield, MA Fowler 38-36-74
4.Michael VanDerlaan 2015 Southbury, CT McDowell 37-37-74
8.Ethan Zexter 2013 Rumford, RI Palmer 40-35-75
8.Patrick Welch 2018 Providence, RI McDowell 37-38-75
8.Kevin Gately 2013 Pembroke, MA Fowler 38-37-75
8.Matthew Naumec 2015 Wilbraham, MA McDowell 40-35-75

Grenus, Higgins, Hickman Tops at Adamonis Players’ Championship
   After nine holes of the opening round at the 25th annual Dave Adamonis Sr. Players’ Championship most prognosticators would have all but handed reigning RIGA Amateur Champion Charlie Blanchard the hardware. After all, Blanchard had fired a 5-under par 30 over the opening nine at Point Judith CC (which was playing 1-stroke lower in relation to par as the 8th hole was shortened to a par-3 due to a drainage project). The fact that Blanchard maintained his solid play over the closing nine, en route to a 4-under par 66 only added to the belief that the tournament was over. But as the adage goes…. “This is why we play the game.”
   After a docile day for Point Judith standards, Blanchard held a 4-stroke advantage over 2010 MGA Player of the Year Brian Higgins. The trio of John Sawka, Brian Carlson and Peter Richards were 5-strokes back. 16-year old Evan Grenus led another group of players 6-strokes in the rear of Blanchard.
   The final round at Warwick CC proved to be extremely challenging as fierce winds and a constant rain pelted players in the final groups over the inward nine. Blanchard maintained his lead at the turn, but Rhode Island’s most celebrated amateur over the past decade came unglued over the final nine. A ten at the par-5 15th hole all but sealed Blanchard’s fate, leaving Evan Grenus and Brian Higgins in a see-saw battle over the final holes.
   “I was fighting it all day,” stated Blanchard. “Even though I was hitting it crooked, I still had a chance to win if I had played the 15th less aggressively.”
   While Blanchard began to struggle on the back nine, Grenus and Higgins continued to play solid golf despite brutal conditions. Grenus was unaware of his status until he reached the 18th hole. 
   “I was just trying to put together a good round,” said Grenus. “I thought I had a good chance to win the Junior Division, but I didn’t know what was going on two groups back.”
   Grenus posted an unbelievable 1-over par round of 70. Higgins countered with a 3-over par 72, setting up the 3rd play-off in the event’s history with both players posting 3-over par 142 totals.
   Grenus ended the play-off quickly by making a routine par on the demanding 451-yard 1st hole. Higgins drove into the trees on the left side and couldn’t recover to make a par.
   “I felt like I played well enough to win. Evan played just a little better. Today’s round (by Grenus) was impressive. All you can do is tip your cap,” reflected Higgins.
   “To beat the likes of Brian, Charlie and Doug (Clapp) is a big deal. They are three of the best players in New England golf, three of the best mid-amateurs in the country,” stated the new champion.
   While Higgins came up short for the overall title he did take home top honors in the Mid-Amateur Division besting Ellington, Connecticut’s John Sawka by 2-strokes.
   For the second consecutive year New Bedford’s Bob Hickman rolled to victory in the Legends Division by carding rounds of 74-78 for a 152 total.
   The Dave Adamonis Sr. Players’ Championship originally recognized as the Tournament Players’ Championship was permanently renamed in Dave’s memory following his passing in 2009. Adamonis Sr.’s commitment to the game of golf, most specifically junior golf is unrivaled. In creating the Challenge Cup program it was his intention to provide junior golfers with the opportunity to use competitive golf as a vehicle to college. Currently, 231 Challenge Cup alumni are playing college golf. Twenty-two are members of an Ivy League team.  Many of these young men and women have received scholarships to attend college.
   Speaking of women 15-year old Megan Khang became the first female participant in the event’s 25-year history… and she proved she belonged finishing tied for 15th (playing from the same tees).
   “My father and Dave Adamonis thought it would be good preparation to play this event in before the upcoming US Women’s Open Qualifier. The yardages in this event are close to the ones I will be playing from for the US Women’s Open and US Women’s Amateur (two tournaments that Khang qualified for last year).  It was a great experience. I plan on doing it again.”

Dave Adamonis Players’ Championship
Final Results  
Round 1 @ Point Judith CC – Par 70
Round 2 @ Warwick CC – Par 69
J - Junior, MA - Mid Amateur, L - Legend
1 Evan Grenus (J) Glastonbury, CT 72 70 142
2 Brian Higgins (MA) Bellingham, MA 70 72 142  
3 Lasse Gerhardsen Aventura, FL 72 72 144  
4 John Sawka (MA) Ellington, CT 74 71 145  
5 Peter Richards (J) Westport, CT 71 75 146  
6 Charlie Blanchard (MA) North Providence, RI 66 81 147  
6 Doug Clapp (MA) Walpole, MA 75 72 147  
6 Matt Morin Barton, VT 72 75 147  
9 Brian Bardier (MA) Putnam, CT 73 75 148  
9 David Jones (MA) Norwich, CT 73 75 148  
9 Billy McDonald (MA) West Hartford, CT 74 74 148  
12 Chris Roloff (MA) Providence, RI 73 76 149  
12 Mark Metcalf (MA) Wrentham, MA 74 75 149  
12 Chris Powkowka Sunderland, MA 77 72 149  
15 Brian Carlson (J) Madison, CT 71 79 150  
15 Jake Bauer (J) Portsmouth, RI 74 76 150  
15 Ryan Riley (MA) Easton, MA 75 75 150  
15 Mark O'Sullivan (MA) Southborough, MA 79 71 150  
15 Megan Khang (J) Rockland, MA 74 76 150  
15 Dale Smith (MA) Thompson, CT 74 76 150

Many Changes in Central Mass.Golf for 2013


By BILL DOYLE
   The 2013 Central Mass. golf season is young, but there have been a lot of changes so far. One golf course is closed after a 90-year run, another has new owners and others have new head pros or superintendents.
   Member-owned Petersham Country Club has closed and the members hope to sell the property to Harvard University for use as open space, according to Tim Bishop, the club’s former general manager and head pro.
   A nine-hole Donald Ross design that opened in Petersham in 1922, PCC was located 
in a sparsely populated area 45 minutes northwest of Worcester and struggled financially in recent years. Budget cuts could not compensate for a dwindling membership.
   “It’s a sad day,” Bishop said, “in the same sense that if you were losing somebody who’s been on life support for years and you finally decide you have to pull the plug. You kind of knew it was inevitable and you did everything you could do, but you just knew that it wasn’t going to be a viable entity any more.”
   Bishop said the downturn in the economy, the drop in the number of golfers and the increase in insurance costs all played a role in the club’s board of directors voting to sell the member-owned club to Harvard University. Harvard owns land that abuts the course and purchased other smaller parcels of land from the club in recent years. The sale to Harvard is not complete, but even if it falls through Bishop said the club would not reopen.
   Bishop became general manager and head pro at Ellinwood CC in Athol in March and roughly 30 PCC members joined him there. Ellinwood is located just 4-1/2 miles from PCC, and is trying to bounce back after filing for bankruptcy in April of 2012. Randy Sawin, who had been splitting his team at Ellinwood and Templewood CC, has joined Ellinwood this season as the fulltime superintendent.

   The former Maplewood Golf Course in Lunenburg has new owners, a new name and a new outlook. William Gustus of Lunenburg and Don Lyons of Danvers bought the course in November for $1.4 million and renamed it Settlers Crossing Golf Course.
   “Our plans are to change the whole atmosphere of the place,” Lyons said. “We want to make it more family and kid friendly.” Lyons was honored as New England PGA Junior Leader in 2012 for his work with younger golfers at Reedy Meadow Golf Course in Lynnfield. Lyons has been a PGA sanctioned pro for 26 years, served as president of the NEPGA from 1997-99 and was honored as NEPGA golf professional of the year in 2002 when he worked for Beverly Golf & Tennis Club. Lyons plans to conduct free junior clinics on Saturdays and reasonably priced junior camps during the summer.

   Settlers Crossing is a 2,685-yard, nine-hole public course with rolling hills, stonewalls, tree-lined fairways and views of Mount Wachusett and the foothills of Mount Monadnock. The owners chose the name Settlers Crossing because in the early 1700s settlers used to cross Northfield Road that runs through the golf course to attend Sunday services and other civic meetings at the meetinghouse in Lunenburg center.

   Hal Jacobs is the new head pro at Mount Pleasant CC in Boylston. Last year, Jacobs was an assistant at Weston Golf Club and the previous three he was an assistant at Worcester CC. Jacobs replaced Matt Walsh, who left Mount Pleasant after four years to become head pro at Warwick (R.I.) CC.

   Heritage CC plans to open a new back tee by this month that will extend the ninth hole nearly 30 yards and turn it into a monstrous 481-yard par-4. “It’s going to be one that makes you earn the beer at the bar,” Heritage owner Bill Plante said. Golfers will need long, accurate tee shots to keep the trees on both sides from blocking downhill approach shots that must carry a pond in front of the green.
   
   Greg Farland, general manager and head pro the past eight years at Plante’s other course, Quaboag Country Club in Monson, has left to become head pro at Marlboro CC. Farland replaced Mark Klotz, who has taken over as head pro at Cold Springs CC in Belchertown. Farland’s wife, Liz, left her position as a golf instructor at Heritage to teach at Marlboro. Fran Marrello, 58, of Plymouth, Conn., replaced Farland as Quaboag’s head pro. Last year, Marrello won the Vermont Senior Open and his eighth Connecticut Section PGA Match Play championship.

   Bob Keene has returned as head pro at Twin Springs in Bolton after serving the same role at its sister course, the International, for the past two years. Keene plans to revitalize the junior program, which he built up during his previous 18-year stint at Twin Springs.

   Shawn Durocher, a schoolteacher from Princeton, has joined Cyprian Keyes GC in Boylston as an assistant pro. Her husband, Rick, in an assistant pro at Concord CC.

   Bob Varanka, former superintendent at Edgewood Golf Course in Southwick, is the new superintendent at Bedrock GC in Rutland.

   Red Tail has reduced its rates of $89 weekdays and $99 weekends, including cart and range balls, to $69 and $79 until May 9. Women of all ages and golfers aged 62 or older can play Red Tail on Mondays for $59 all season.
Bill Doyle is a sportswriter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and writes a Central Mass. column in each issue of Southern New England Golfer.

Ocean City Golf—The New Golf Mecca


By Bruce Vittner

   Last February we met Nancy Dofflemyer of the Harrison Group at the Rhode Island Golf Show. “You need to visit Ocean City, Maryland, you won’t believe how good the golf is,” she said as she was passing out brochures at her booth.
   We hadn’t been to Ocean City in over a dozen years, and that was with a group of eight buddies who drove the seven hours on a golf getaway. Don’t know why we hadn’t been back, the golf was fine and the ride was bearable.
   After planning the trip I received an email from Bob Brazil of Cranston who is a volunteer coach at Button Hole in Providence. “I was hoping that you’d do a story about Ocean City. For the past six years a group of us have gone there on our annual golf trip. OC is like the golf swing secret you hate to share because then everyone will know. It is a true hidden gem, comparable to Myrtle Beach but on a smaller scale. Five-star golf, a wide variety of food, good selection of lodging and value pricing make this a true golfers vacation,” said Brazil in his email. Sounded almost like an advertiser’s pitch, but I called him and he was truly sincere.
   So last October my wife and I headed back to Ocean City for a four-day vacation and golf trip. Nancy set up our trip where we were able to play four courses and stay at the Holiday Inn & Suites (one of their properties) that overlooked the boardwalk and the Atlantic Ocean. The rooms were excellent, the views spectacular and it was right in the center of town. 
   The ride was not difficult (just over half the distance to Myrtle Beach), and as we arrived there was a Happy Hour with free food and drinks for golfers on the Harrison Group golf packages. “We do this weekly for our golfers,” said Nancy and her husband as they bustled around the large room. There were golfers from Canada, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey, and most of them seemed to have been coming to Ocean City for many years. “This is the best place for golf and great hospitality,” said a couple from upstate New York who were making their fourth trip with the Harrison Group.
   The next day we headed to The Links at Lighthouse Sound, called by one publication “The Pebble Beach of the East”. An Arthur Hills design (he did Newport National), it is located a mile west of Ocean City on the bay with three holes right on the water.
   The layout offers a great variety of holes, some difficult risk/reward shots and many magnificent views. The second and third holes share the same green (never have seen consecutive holes do this before). The second is a long par five with water down the right and a difficult approach to a massive green with a huge hump in the middle. After you finish the hole you take your cart about 150 yards down the path and play back to that same green, only this time to the other side of the hump. Unique, but fun.
   You will traverse along the longest cart bridge in America, nearly 1,500 feet as you go from holes 8 to 9. You leave the bay side and now play along pristine marshland and riverside holes. Number 12 might be the narrowest par 5 you’ll ever play. The course conditioning is outstanding, which was a common tread for all four courses we played.
   The next day we played 36 holes (quite easy to do with the 22 courses in the area all relatively close). Our first stop was Eagles Landing. It was not as stunning as Lighthouse Sound, but was a nice Hurdzan and Fry (Shelter Harbor) design that stretch to 7,000 yards from the Beast tees down to a very manageable 4,900 yards from the Recreational tees. Owned by the Town of Ocean City, the rates are quite low for the quality of golf. In 1996 Golf Digest rated Eagle's Landing Golf Course 45th in the top 75 most affordable public courses in America. Eagle's Landing is also the first certified Audobon cooperative sanctuary in Maryland
   Holes one and two run alongside a small airport runway, so don’t slice (righties) too much. There is quite a bit of water and marshland on the course, so you need to be careful. Number 7 is a dogleg left over marsh off the tee and then across marsh to the green with the bay in the distance. The 17th hole is a very difficult par 3 over water and then the last hole is considered the “Beast of the East”, a narrow par 4 with marshland on both sides and in front of the green.
   Our second 18 that day was at Rum Pointe Seaside Golf Links, a Pete and P.B. Dye course that is located right against Sinepuxent Bay and overlooks Assateague Island. Be sure to drive through Assateague during your stay and see all the wild horses that roam freely around the island.
   Seventeen of the 18 holes at Rum Pointe have a view of the bay and five play right along side the water, so wind becomes a factor. There are 15 links holes and three parkland. A large pond sits between holes 9 and 18, both long par 4’s that are mirror images of each other. Rum Pointe is definitely a Dye design with large greens, undulating fairways and some penal bunkers.
   Harrison Group set up the last round at Baywood Greens, about an hour north of Ocean City in Long Neck, Delaware, a perfect stop on the way to Ocean City or on the way home. It is part of the Ocean City Golf Getaway package and is rated number one in Delaware for good reason.
   “We have been called the Augusta National of the North,” said head professional Tony Hollerback. That’s not too much hyperbole as the course has imported tons of pine needles from Georgia, has thousands of plants along and around the golf course, 1,500 feet of timbered bridges, many lined with flower boxes, 27 acres of man-made lakes and acres of sod to create the primary rough.
   The course has two distinct nines. The front is mostly woodland and the back is mostly water. The tall pines and hardwoods shape the front-side that has some elevation changes. The sixth hole is a wonderful par 3 over a pond. With five sets of tees it can range from 223 yards down to 147. Play the proper tees for your game.
   Number 14 is a unique hole. It’s a par 4 with an island in the middle of the fairway. If you go straight, the hole measures only 330 yards, but the landing area on the island is only 70 yards long and about thirty yards wide. The carry from the tee to the island can range from 140 to 180 yards. Go around the fairway to right and the hole measures about 400 yards. Take the gamble.
   We’d suggest playing this course on your way home, because you’ll be talking about the course the whole way. For sure you’ll be talking about your great golfing trip to Ocean City, Maryland and all the crab cakes you ate.
Bruce Vittner is a member of the Golf Writers of America and the Golf Travel Writers of America and can be reached at bruce@snegolfer.com.
Important numbers and websites:
Harrison Golf Group—800-TEE-1OFF, www.tee1off.com
Ocean City Golf Getaways—800-4OC-GOLF, www.oceancitygolf.com 
   
   
   

Back9Network Golf TV Channel Coming Soon


By TOM GORMAN
 HARTFORD, CT – Of the hundreds of decisions Back9Network founder and CEO James L. “Jamie” Bosworth and his executive team will make over the next few months, one of the most critical is to negotiate a deal with a satellite or cable company, and announce where on the cable channel universe viewers will be able to tune in.  
   If golf aficionados haven’t heard, the Back9Network (B9N) is a golf lifestyle TV network and media company that is available online (www.back9network.com) and busting-out-weekly with enticing promotions that B9N is ready to debut a 24-hour round-the-clock golf-related cable show in a matter of months. Move over Golf Channel, there will be another favorite option on the clicker. B9N promises to whet the golf appetites of men, women and children, and whoever else has an interest in subjects ranging from travel, fashion, reality TV, dating, golf courses, health, real estate, automobiles, instruction and more.
   “The Back9Network is a lifestyle network with golf as a backdrop that will offer programming that appeals to a wide audience, as opposed to the Golf Channel whose focus is mostly on live tournament coverage,” said Bosworth, who employees 24 fulltime staff and has raised over $24 million from investors including Clint Eastwood, Ray Allen and Javier Colon. “We are thrilled at the progress made in negotiating a satellite or cable deal and expect to make a major announcement soon and go live January 1, 2014.” 
   Bosworth brings to the table an impressive resume in the golf industry, ranging from executive vice president of Sales, Marketing and Product Development for Callaway Golf to multiple business connections from Pebble Beach Golf Links, where he began his golf career as the youngest assistant professional ever. Many entrepreneurs before him have tried and many have failed at starting a cable channel. Any start-up venture is risky and very, very expensive. In January 1995, it took Arnold Palmer, Joe Gibbs and $80 million to launch the Golf Channel, which now reaches 100 million households and about 120,000 daily viewers. Today, the estimated value of The Golf Channel, owned by Comcast, is over $2 billion. In comparison, Oprah Winfrey launched the OWN cable network in January 2011 for a reported $189 million that reaches an estimated 80 million households, and is mentioned frequently by financial analysts as on the brink of disaster. Oprah is a different audience but with B9N’s mission statement of “inclusion” they will look for crossover appeal.   
   Some golf industry observers consider Bosworth to be a dynamic visionary and up to the business task to compete with many of the same demographics as the Golf Channel, whose primary audience is male ages 40 – 75. According to Bosworth, he has assembled an experienced executive team and stressed, “The better you are at surrounding yourself with people of high potential, the better your chance of success. We have been taking advantage of the benefits of modern technology and building the Back9Network brand digitally. The next step is opening our $1.3 million multimedia studio in downtown Hartford, which is fast-becoming the sports media capital of the world since it’s also home to ESPN, NBC Sports and YES Network. We are passionate, inclusive, fun, entertaining and B9N will deliver to viewers quality content. That’s a promise! ”
   The question for some is not whether cable TV is ready for another 24/7 golf channel but why hasn’t it happened? Who best to analyze the monumental tasks ahead and future success of B9N is Peter Kessler, whose encyclopedic knowledge of the history of golf is unmatched.  Kessler, known as The Voice of Golf, was the driving force and primary personality of The Golf Channel for eight years after it launched in 1995. Kessler has hosted and produced over 1,300 hours of live TV with taped interviews of the all the greatest achievers in the sport. 
   “There are certainly many challenges ahead for the Back9Network but Jamie Bosworth and his team are capable of putting together quality golf programming that will earn market share and good ratings,” said Kessler from his home in Orlando, where he operates a thriving podcast business, a radio show and also keeps a full schedule of profitable not-just-golf-related voice-over opportunities. “I am not sure how a golf reality show will be received and it is difficult to attract viewers in their 20’ and 30s, but the timing is right for a golf lifestyle channel. Since The Golf Channel is almost exclusively about weekly live PGA Tour tournaments, the Back9Network could thrive nicely with creative lifestyle programming.” 
    The Back9Network is coming soon to a cable channel near you. Will it be available on Direct TV? Satellite? Cable? Streaming? Pay-Per-View? Free on the Internet? Stay tuned for an announcement from golf entrepreneur Jamie Bosworth, who charmingly claims the new network will inspire current players, attract non-golfers, and make viewers think, laugh and cry along the way!  Visit the Back9Network website at www.Back9Network.com
Tom Gorman, a Boston-based golf writer has covered the sport for 20-years, is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, International Network of Golf and Golf Travel Writers Association and writes a column in each issue of Southern New England Golfer.