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…)

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…)

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…)

Michigan’s Homestead could be ‘Most Beautiful’ for visiting golfers

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm GLEN ARBOR, Mich. – The Homestead is located in the heart of Michigan’s best golf areas, but it’s difficult to consider it a golf destination. There’s so many more attractions there, most notably Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In 2011 ABC’s Good Morning America labeled that area "the Most Beautiful Place in America." It’d be pretty hard for a golf destination to compete with "America’s Most Beautiful Place," wouldn’t you agree? The Homestead welcome sign doesn’t even focus on golf. Instead, it proclaims itself as "America’s Freshwater Resort." Still, there’s good reasons to link The Homestead with golf. The facility has a 19-year history with the sport, dating to the creation of a nine-hole 1,200-yard par-3 course called Mountain Flowers. Bob Kuras, The Homestead’s owners, was one of its designers. (more…)

Next Tom Doak course is unique; it’ll play in two directions

Len Ziehm on GolfBy Len Ziehm ROSCOMMON, Mich. – The idea is at least intriguing. Tom Doak has designed a golf course that will have 18 greens and fairways but will play in two directions. The No. 18 green will always be the No. 18 green, but one day you play around to that green from a clock-wise direction, and the next day you do it in a counter-clockwise direction. Michigan’s respected Forest Dunes will get two new courses while building only one. Think about that — and a lot of people have. (more…)