Ross Inspired Ravisloe a Windy City Treasure

By Jim Zucarelli Windy City Public Golfer’s Guide Ravisloe - 1st HoleAnyone who watched the Men’s or Women’s 2014 U.S. Opens at Pinehurst #2 were treated to the golf course architectural genius of Donald Ross, arguably the most revered and accomplished designer to have worked on American soil. According to the Donald Ross Society, 13 courses in the Chicago area from 1913 to 1921 were either new creations or redesigns by Ross. All were private clubs until 2008, when Ravisloe Country Club in south suburban Homewood was sold to veterinary surgeon Dr. Claude Gendreau and became a public fee facility. (more…)

Redefining afternoon tee with the Ladies

EWGA Chicago MetroBy Shirley Brown, President EWGA Chicago Metro Chapter The Organization for Women to Learn, Play and Enjoy the Game of Golf Attention all ladies (and gentlemen) who are interested in learning the game of golf or who already play. Are you looking to play more golf? Maybe expand your network of golfing buddies? Check out the links listed below to learn more about the EWGA and the Chicago Metro Chapter. The EWGA is THE Golf Community for Women. As the largest women-focused national amateur golf association in the United States with chapters in nearly every U.S. major market and corporate center, the EWGA has connected more than 100,000 women who share a passion for cultivating relationships and enjoying the game. The Chicago Metro Chapter of the EWGA has been in existence since 1994, and is growing strong! We have over 300 members; offer 25+ leagues in Chicagoland and NW Indiana, a full complement of weekend golf events, fun and competitive golf and more! Our player development program includes clinics, lessons, and events geared specifically to the new golfer. We even organize both social and golf activities during the winter months for all levels. (more…)

Tips from the Pro – Coming Over The Top

Dave Fazio - EaglewoodBy Dave Fazio, Golf Sales Manager   Eaglewood Resort & Spa If you are a golfer you've probably heard the expression Coming Over the Top many times. So what does this mean and importantly what can I do to stop it?  Well, Coming over the top is when your upper body starts your downswing first or ahead of your lower body. Another way to look at this is the right shoulder (for a right handed golfer) is moving in an outward fashion instead of a downward direction. This results in the golf club coming over the top of the desired swing plane.  In doing so the player has an outward to inward swing pattern resulting in a slice if the club face is open or a straight pull if the club face is closed. See picture below for details. (more…)

It Ziehms to Me: Florida Historic Golf Trail is something special

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm Golf trails are nothing new. Courses and clubs have formed marketing partnerships for years with varying degrees of impact. In the United States alone there are at least 50 trails. Texas has five separate of them. Colorado Golf Trails is one marketing entity, but it promotes 10 different trails within that state, and some of those trails have as many of 12 courses. Go to to check out the various trails out there. [caption id="attachment_891" align="alignright" width="300"]Golfers of all abilities have enjoyed Riviera for 62 years. Golfers of all abilities have enjoyed Riviera for 62 years.[/caption] Most famous is probably the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which unites 11 Alabama golf facilities. It’s been a rousing commercial success, but some of the “trails’’ amount to nothing more than websites. I’ve played all the courses on Indiana’s Pete Dye Golf Trail and some courses on a few of the others, including the Robert Trent Jones. This winter, though, I’ve been introduced to one that is different – and in some ways better – than all the others. (more…)

It Ziehms to Me: Senior Women’s Open is finally a reality

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm The U.S. Golf Assn. has finally committed to holding a national championship for senior women players. Though long overdue, that’s good news. On the other hand, the first such tournament won’t be held until 2018 and there will be differences between the first U.S. Senior Women’s Open and the only other major event for senior women, which is put on by the LPGA Legends Tour. [caption id="attachment_878" align="alignright" width="300"]French Lick’s Pete Dye Course hosts the only major championship for senior women now, but that will change in 2018. French Lick’s Pete Dye Course hosts the only major championship for senior women now, but that will change in 2018.[/caption] The Legends Championship has been played the last two years at the Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Ind., which is also the site of the Legends Hall of Fame. The Legends event is over 54 holes; the first U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be over 72 holes. Players can ride in the Legends event, won the first two years by Lorie Kane and Laurie Rinker. As per USGA tradition in open championships, the Senior Women’s Open will be walking-only. And, of course, the Legends is for former LPGA players while both amateurs and professionals can compete in the Senior Women’s Open. (more…)

Spring Training by Bill Abrams

By Bill Abrams PGA, Golf Solutions Academy, Balmoral Woods It’s that time of year again. The Masters is less than two months away and we will be outdoors playing this awesome game very soon. This is a great time to get some “spring training” in prior to those first swings outside. There are a few things we all can do to help prepare for the season. Below are a few you can do at home, but as always practicing at a dome or heated tee is great. Bill Abrams - grip side viewBill Abrams - grip front viewGrip is an area we need to monitor to keep shots from being inconsistent. Be sure your top hand (left hand for a right handed player) thumb is on top of the shaft and the club is more to the fingers than the palm. The only real pressure should be in the thumb and index finger of the top hand. This will allow the club to rotate properly and help prevent the dreaded chicken wing. The bottom hand should have the club rest in the fingertips as well. The top hand thumb will fit into the bottom hand lifeline naturally in a proper grip. Be sure to monitor the pressure and see how lightly you can grip the club – tension and excitement can increase pressure and go largely unnoticed. This can be practiced virtually anywhere you have a club handy. Watch a video to help with your grip. (more…)

LPGA’s 66th season is off to a good start at Golden Ocala

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm OCALA, FL. – The first event of the LPGA’s 66th season isn’t being held very far from the site of the circuit’s very first tournament, in 1950. That one was at Palma Cella Country Club in Tampa. It’s not far from the organization’s headquarters, either. The 2015 opener is being played at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, a beautiful facility nestled in the horse country of northwestern Florida. It’s about 100 miles from Palma Cella and it’s not much further to LPGA headquarters in Daytona Beach. [caption id="attachment_865" align="alignnone" width="584"]Golden Ocala offered everything the LPGA needed for its season opener. Golden Ocala offered everything the LPGA needed for its season opener.[/caption] This season opener, though, is an indication of how far the LPGA has come, and the inaugural Coates Championship could trigger the biggest year yet for the premier women’s circuit. This LPGA opener represents a departure from recent years, when the circuit usually played its first tournament outside of the U.S. (Four of this year’s first five events, though, will still be beyond U.S. borders – in the Bahamas, Australia, Thailand and Singapore). The Coates Championship at Golden Ocala doesn’t have the traditional Thursday-Sunday run. This one started on Wednesday and will conclude on Saturday to avoid a conflict with the Super Bowl. (more…)

Bay Hill is a reflection of Arnold Palmer’s style

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm ORLANDO, FL. -Roy Schindele, director of sales and marketing for Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge, stresses one thing before taking you on a tour of the facilities. "This is not a resort. It's a country club," said Schindele, and that's an important distinction to make from the outset if you’re lucky enough to visit this place. There's a different, very nice feeling about Bay Hill - and why wouldn't there be? After all, it's been at least a winter home for perhaps the most charismatic athlete of all time for nearly 50 years. Bay Hill umbrellaBased on our visit, Bay Hill has become more than just a winter retreat for Palmer, who spends considerable time in the summer months in Latrobe, Pa., the town where he grew up. He's 85 now, and health issues have basically relegated him to hitting practice balls on the Bay Hill range these days. I'm told he rarely gets on the course. Yet, Palmer has an apartment behind the tennis courts and is a frequent visitor to all the club's facilities. Guests see him playing cards, dining with a group of friends or riding around in his golf cart. While he remains one of the most accommodating of all public figures, Palmer doesn't spend much of his time posing for pictures or signing autographs for guests. Bay Hill is just where he enjoys life. (more…)

IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Mystic Hills was a fun ending to Pete Dye Trail tour

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm CULVER, Ind. – Mission accomplished. It took four years, but my attempt to play all seven courses on Indiana’s Pete Dye Golf Trail ended with a bang on a cold but sunny November afternoon – a most pleasant way to finish a most pleasant golf odyssey. While Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is the most famous of the few such golf ventures, the Dye Trail is special, too. There may be fewer courses, but those included offer plenty of variety and an historical touch as well. [caption id="attachment_854" align="alignright" width="192"]Mystic Hills flags Mystic Hills golfers had a high-flying time at the Big Cup Chili Open.[/caption] Dye – arguably the premier golf course architect of this generation — picked the seven for the Trail from the 25 courses he designed in his home state. They included his first-ever 18-holer, now known as Maple Creek, and – until just a month ago – his last course, the Pete Dye Course at French Lick. Maple Creek was known as Heather Hills when it opened in 1961. Design-wise it was a joint effort between Dye and wife Alice. Dye’s latest creation is at Keswick Hall, near Charlottesville, Va. I’m scheduled to play there in two weeks. (more…)

Finding America’s first golf course wasn’t easy

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Setting foot on the grounds of America’s first golf course took awhile – four years to be exact. Finally, though, it happened. That’s the good news. The unfortunate part is that Oakhurst Links, saved by a purchase by Jim Justice, owner of the Greenbrier Resort, was closed for the season a week into November. Playing this unique layout was not an option. [caption id="attachment_849" align="alignright" width="300"]Oakhurst’s welcome sign is somewhat hidden in the woods and not really close to the road leading to the clubhouse. Oakhurst’s welcome sign is somewhat hidden in the woods and not really close to the road leading to the clubhouse.[/caption] Some history: Oakhurst Links was a golf course from 1884 until at least 1912. Then Russell Montague, owner of the property, converted it into a horse farm. Just a few of Montague’s neighbors played the course way back when, and a book — “Oakhurst: The Birth of America’s First Golf Course’’ by Paula DiPerna and Vikki Keller (Walker & Co., 2002) – detailed the early history of the place. (more…)