It Ziehms to Me: Tweaking is almost done at Erin Hills

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm Erin Hills has undergone more than its share of tweaks in its brief history, but interest in the layout 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee has never wavered. In fact, enthusiasm for the course has grown with each of the changes made since the opening in 2006. It's good news, though, that the alterations are just about done. (more…)

Port Course at Harborside Channels Scottish Links

By Jim Zuccarelli [caption id="attachment_712" align="alignright" width="300"]Harborside International 2nd hole Harborside International 2nd hole[/caption] When the starter at the Port Course at the Harborside International Golf Center heard that this was my initial visit to the former city of Chicago landfill turned upscale golf facility, he proudly stated, "You're as close as you'll get around here to golf in Scotland, but you won't have to pay for the airfare to get there." Since my experience with golf in the British Isles goes no further than the Open Championship on television each year, I'll have to take him at his hyperbolic word, though a sighting of the midwest version of a Loch Ness Monster-like creature inhabiting the murky depths of Lake Calumet may not come as a total surprise. (more…)

This is American Golf’s ‘Other Augusta’

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm When you put Augusta and golf together you think of April, azaleas and the Masters tournament, right? Well, that'd be understandable. Not all the great Augusta golf is played in Georgia, though. Check out Augusta, Michigan. Golf is pretty good there, too. This little town (population of only about 1,000) in southwest Michigan is the home of one of the premier families in the American golf industry as well as a unique resort/convention center complex that features one of that's state's premier courses. [caption id="attachment_1910" align="alignright" width="300"] Vice president Tim Moskalic shows his eye-catching course at Yarrow Golf & Conference Resort.[/caption] Put them together and you have the story of six courses just a few miles apart that create an ideal destination for group outings. We'll start with Yarrow Golf & Conference Resort. Its golf is good - an 18-holer designed by busy Michigan architect Ray Hearn in 2002. Hearn has either designed or worked on 25 courses in his home state (he lives in Holland, MI.) and has done quality work elsewhere. His renovations at two Chicago clubs - private Flossmoor Country Club and upscale public Mistwood - have drawn more attention lately but Yarrow is definitely one of Hearn's best. (more…)

The “Brook” and the “Crook” Offer Great Value to Area Golfers

By Jim Zuccarelli Although they are separated by only 7 miles of far northeast Illinois real estate, Bonnie Brook in Waukegan and Shepherd’s Crook in Zion are golf courses that are a world of difference in style. But both Park District facilities share the common goal of providing a great experience and a premium value to area golfers, and each has announced significant adjustments to their greens fee schedules for 2014. (more…)

Course Review: Scenic Seven Bridges Provides Stern Challenge

By Jim Zuccarelli Seven Bridges 2nd HoleMy relationship with Seven Bridges Golf Club in Woodridge is similar to the one I have with a Snickers bar.  One is bad for my waist line and the other isn't good for my golf score, but I still indulge in both every so often.  Architect Dick Nugent razed the property of the old 36 hole Woodridge Golf Course and created a menacing monster of woods and water that will test the low handicapper and scare the heck out of the average golfer.  The par 72 layout stretches to 7,100 yards from the back set of 5 tees, and the 74.6 rating / 144 slope ranks it in the top 5 metro Chicago public courses in terms of difficulty, a clear indication that this is not a course for the easily intimidated.  On my last visit this past fall, I played the 6,300 yard white (middle) tees, and the 70.7 / 135 was all I could handle as I scrambled to stay in double digits. (more…)

Simple Steps Can Minimize Early Season Golf Injuries

By Jim Zuccarelli Although no one will ever equate the athleticism needed to play golf with, say, football, there is still a certain level of preparedness required to maximize potential and avoid injuries.  Since I’ve qualified for my AARP card a few years ago, my 20 handicap golf swing has degraded further, the aches and pains are a bit more pronounced and several close friends and golf buddies have seen their annual rounds curtailed by chronic back problems.  As we transition into the 2014 golf season, I consulted with a trio of fitness experts to discuss the steps that golfers can take to reduce the risk of injuries at the start of, and throughout the season. (more…)

India’s 61 in U.S. Open qualifying precedes Malm’s bid for a three-peat

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

Deerfield product Vince India has been struggling as a rookie on the PGA's satellite Tour this year, but he didn't struggle on Monday in a local qualifier for the U.S. Open.

The former University of Iowa golfer shot a 10-under-par 61 to earn medalist honors in a local qualifier at Waterlefe, in Sarasota, FL. India played there because it was close to his new residence in Lakewood Ranch, FL. India moved there after obtaining playing privileges at the Concession Club, the site of the annual Big Ten Match Play Championship.

Concession is also the home course for former PGA champion Paul Azinger and Tony Jacklin, the former U.S. and British Open champion. The name of the course was inspired by Jacklin, in honor of a memorable Ryder Cup moment when Jack Nicklaus conceded him a short putt that led to the competition between the U.S. and Europe ending in a tie in 1969. Last month Concession hosted a new team event, the Concession Cup, which pitted amateur teams from the U.S. and Europe against each other. (more…)

Golf Tip – Get Your Putting Touch Back After Winter

Tony Tinetti Bonnie BrookBy Tony Tinetti, PGA Professional, Bonnie Brook Golf Course After a long winter like the one that we just suffered through, it is very difficult to get your golf game back in shape. The hardest thing to get back may be your putting touch. Here is a quick drill to help you with that. Take 3 balls and put them on the putting surface about 20 feet from the fringe. Your goal is to putt the ball so to make it stop right at the edge of the fringe. Make a couple of practice swings and then step up to the ball, put your putter behind it and just before you take your putter back, close your eyes. (more…)

It Ziems To Me: Getting No. 1 Seed Gives U.S. Boost For International Crown

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

There's a drawback to designating one prime superstar in a sport. That policy can work to the detriment of others, and that's what happened this week, when Tiger Woods announced he wouldn't play in this year's Masters. In this case the victim was the LPGA, which had its own big news to unveil at its first major championship of the season. (more…)

It Ziehms To Me: Georgia’s Summer Grove Course Could Be Called Jemsek South

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm

NEWNAN, Ga. - It's no secret that the Jemseks are the first family of golf in Chicago. In fact, it's been that way for a long time.

It all started when Joe Jemsek purchased St. Andrews, in West Chicago in the 1930s. He later bought Cog Hill, in Lemont, and expanded it from 36 to its present 72 holes. [caption id="attachment_1835" align="alignright" width="251"] A cheery welcome greets golfers when they arrive at Summer Grove.[/caption] The Jemseks are now three generations deep in Chicago golf. For years the family operated Glenwoodie, in Glenwood, and - in addition to Cog Hill and St. Andrews -the Jemseks also operate Pine Meadow, in Mundelein. But the family's golf involvement isn't limited to the Chicago area. Though it's not widely known, the Jemseks also have a course in Georgia – and it’s one that in some ways has more family involvement than the Chicago layouts. (more…)