Mossy Oak will give Mississippi one of top golf destinations in the U.S.

[caption id="attachment_1171" align="alignnone" width="584"]Mossy Oak is a work in progress now, but when it’s finished it’ll be something special. Mossy Oak is a work in progress now, but when it’s finished it’ll be something special.[/caption] Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm WEST POINT, Mississippi – Right now all that’s in operation is the practice facility – albeit a very nice one – used by the men’s and women’s teams at Mississippi State University. Within a year, though, that will change as this town of about 12,000 residents can boast of having one of the premier golf destinations in the United States. Old Waverly Country Club, which opened in 1988, already has a fine course — one jointly designed by Jerry Pate and Bob Cupp that was good enough to host the 1999 U.S. Women’s Open, the 2014 LPGA Legends’ Handa Cup matches and the 2015 Southern Amateur among other big events. (more…)

Is there anything that Bandon Dunes DOESN’T have?

[caption id="attachment_1156" align="alignnone" width="584"]You never get tired of ocean-front views, like this one on Bandon’s Pacific Dunes course. You never get tired of ocean-front views, like this one on Bandon’s Pacific Dunes course.[/caption] Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm BANDON, Oregon - There’s definitely a lot to say about Bandon Dunes, the very unique multi-course facility on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. In short, though, it has most everything. There’s four quality walking-only 18-holers, a 55-acre practice range, the 100,000-square foot Punchbowl putting course, a 13-hole par-3 layout called Bandon Preserve that was chosen as Best U.S. Short Course by Golf Digest magazine, one of the biggest caddie programs in the United States, dining at six restaurants and lounges, a variety of comfortable lodging and - one of the many factors that separates Bandon Dunes from other American resorts - everything is so close together. You could easily drive your car from one place to another (as we did), but if you don’t want to do that there’s a shuttle system that works just fine. (more…)

Nebraska’s Prairie Club offers a unique brand of golfing fun

[caption id="attachment_1147" align="alignnone" width="584"]If you’re passionate about your golf, Nebraska’s Prairie Club is a perfect place for a get-away. If you’re passionate about your golf, Nebraska’s Prairie Club is a perfect place for a get-away.[/caption] Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm VALENTINE, Neb. – The first thing you notice as you approach the Prairie Club in the sandhills of Nebraska is what’s not there. You cruise through the “big" town of Valentine (population 2,830) and 17 miles later you see the first indication that a big-time golf resort is nearby. It’s just a small sign saying the entrance is a half-mile away. Then you hit the entrance – just a small sign as well – and face a two-mile drive down a winding dirt road to the clubhouse that, most notably, takes you by some mean-looking cattle. Then the fun begins. (more…)

Speedgolf, FootGolf find their way to Chicago area courses

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm With the exception of the Presidents Cup team event, coming up in Korea in two weeks, the PGA Tour’s 2014-15 season is over. Jordan Spieth’s win in the FedEx Cup playoffs on Sunday brought it to a dramatic conclusion. In the Chicago area, though, there’s still a few events on the October calendar including two that carry fancy titles. The U.S. FootGolf National Championship will be held on Saturday (OCT 3) at the Chicago Park District’s Sydney Marovitz course and the Speedgolf World Championship is Oct. 19-20 at The Glen Club in Glenview. (more…)

Here and There: Harbour Town’s course has re-opened

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm With the golf season in the Midwest winding down, it’s a good time to check out what’s been happening at golf’s best travel destinations – and there’s been plenty. Our first golf/travel notebook of the fall begins at one of America’s most famous courses. The famed Harbour Town course at Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head, S.C., re-opened this week after undergoing major renovation work that included the installation of a new irrigation system. Harbour Town, a joint design effort by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus, closed in May after last year’s PGA Tour stop, the RBC Heritage Classic. All the greens were also resurfaced while the course was closed. (more…)

This golfer is not only good — he’s fast, too!

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm Eri Crum arrived at Stanford University in 1994, the same year that Tiger Woods did. They were teammates on the school’s golf team for two years, before Woods started his legendary career as a touring pro. Crum stayed at Stanford, earning his letter in golf his final two seasons, and now he’s still involved in his sport as a professional. His role is a bit different than Woods’, however. Crum has discovered Speedgolf, and he’ll defend his title in the Speedgolf World Championship at The Glen Club in Glenview on Oct. 19-20. In Speedgolf you’re judged on both your score and pace around the course. (more…)

No “Gimme’s” Here…Windy City Amateur Tours Offer Competitive Golf for All Skill Levels

By Jim Zuccarelli GWAT, WCGT, NIMAGA, GCAM, and NAGT is an alphabet soup of acronyms that may not be recognizable to the average Windy City golfer, unless they are a member of one of the amateur golf tours that operate in the metro Chicago area. Some are affiliated with nationwide organizations that feed into national championships, while others are locally independent, but all exist to provide an outlet for local golfers to compete in tournaments guided by the USGA rule book. “I played competitive 12-inch softball into my early 50’s, and when I couldn’t play anymore due to injuries, the amateur golf tournaments provided an outlet for me to fill the competitive void,” shared Bill Stuhr of Carpentersville at the Golf Week Amateur Tour event at Harborside in May. Round Lake Beach resident Rob Davis drove 70 miles to the south side of Chicago and offered a different spin. “My friends like to stay close to home and don’t like to play the more expensive courses, so this is a chance for me to play the better courses in the area.” GolfWeek Amateur Tour Chicago (more…)

Erin Hills update: 2017 U.S. Open site keeps getting better

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Zeihm ERIN, Wis. - Erin Hills has gotten nothing but better since its opening in 2006. That was clearly evident when the facility on the outskirts of Milwaukee conducted what has become an annual outing leading into its ultimate showing - as the site of the 2017 U.S. Open. Jim Reinhart, general chairman for the big event, was presented with a good opportunity to compare Erin Hills with a similar facility. Chambers Bay, in Washington, hosted a U.S. Open that wasn’t without controversy a week before Erin opened its doors to about 50 media members from around the Midwest. Reinhart tried hard to steer clearly of controversy in making comparisons. "Both courses are in new areas that had never hosted a U.S. Open," said Reinhart. "Both have incredible community support. Both areas are naturally beautiful, but Chambers Bay was manufactured on a gravel pit while Erin Hills’ architects took advantage of a more natural area. Both have fescue fairways, and both play long. Erin Hills is not a true links-style course. Chambers Bay is much more a links style. We have eight times as many trees – we have eight!" (more…)

Let’s Play Two! 36 Holes of Great, Budget Friendly Windy City Golf

By Jim Zuccarelli One of my favorite golfing pastimes is taking a day off from work in the height of the summer and playing 36 holes at two of the fine courses that populate the Windy City Golf landscape. Following are some of the best combinations of courses that won't break your budget (under $90 total green fees, including cart) and within a 30 minute drive of one another (as per Google Maps calculation). You may have to do a little advanced planning to secure the right tee times to get all the holes in before dark, but the courses listed start their discounted pm rates no later than 3 o'clock, which should allow you to finish during the majority of the summer. All the rates are as published or as online tee times on the course websites, so additional savings may be scored with coupons, internet hot deals, senior/junior discounts, etc. So leave your cares and the weekend crowds behind and tee it up at one of the following combo’s that include some of the best layouts the Windy City has to offer: (more…)

America’s Golf Capital in Michigan? Why not?

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. - Crystal Mountain Resort started as a community ski area in 1956. Golf didn’t come until 1977 when one of the owners, Bob Meyer, designed the first nine holes of what is now the Benzie Valley course. That course became an 18-holer a year later, and Bill Newcomb, a well-established Midwest course designer from Indiana, started work on the Mountain Ridge course 15 years later . It was also built nine holes at a time, and the 18-hole layout opened in 1994. It’s understandable that skiing would come first at such Michigan locations. Even now, golf staffers at Crystal Mountain point out that the resort can get 4,000 skiers through in one day compared to only 400 golfers. The numbers speak for themselves. [caption id="attachment_1043" align="alignnone" width="584"]There’s no snow on the ski slopes, but Crystal Mountain’s golf operation is in full swing. There’s no snow on the ski slopes, but Crystal Mountain’s golf operation is in full swing.[/caption] (more…)