After perhaps the worst combination of cold/snow – (including up to (100!) inches of snow) in our region’s
history - and – a spring that proved equally as unrelenting …our (2014) golf season finally got underway!
With the “super-human” efforts of our fine golf course superintendents, we were able to squeeze in over
(400,000) rounds of golf locally, hold our numerous golf outings, participate in our various leagues, raise some
serious $ for many charitable causes, and just have some “golfing” fun!
On The World Stage
All of the tours worldwide had banner seasons – with new stars emerging, more events held – (in more places) – then ever …with higher TV ratings, and more money raised for charity than the “founders” of these tours could have ever imagined.
* The LPGA watched as S. Korean Inbee Park (the current #1 player in the world) – fought a season-long battle with American Stacey Lewis for that title. (And) while Stacey brought home the “Player of the Year” title, 17-year old Lydia Ko of New Zealand won (3!) times in her “Rookie of the Year” season, (including) a victory at the CME Group Tour Championship – “Extra” 1 million dollars!
* The Champions Tour also continued their “solid” success story of recent years – with Bernhard Langer leading in almost all statistical categories; Colin Montgomerie winning (2) majors, and “new blood” fueling the tour on a regular basis. (And) on a really cool note – longtime member of the PGA Tour/Champions Tour – Mr. Charlie Sifford – one of the 1st ever “gentlemen of color” to challenge on golf’s great stage – was duly awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – for his many accomplishments (&) for a lifetime devoted to furthering the understanding among the races. Congratulations Mr. Sifford!
* The European Tour saw the emergence of new stars “a plenty” – including Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, Finland’s Mikko Ilonen, and others providing solid competition for the great players overseas. Rory McIlroy continued to dominate the world of golf with its victory in the year-long “Race to Dubai” title, while German Martin Kaymer won our Players Championship (&) US Open titles. (And) oh yea… they once again captured the Ryder Cup! (2016) in Minnesota cannot come soon enough! Go USA!
Our US Men’s PGA Tour continued to grow & show great strength even without its #1 star sidelined for the season – (Tiger Woods of course!) – with Rory McIlroy leading the way with (2) major victories at the PGA Championship and the British Open (and) another PGA “Player of the Year” title. Bubba Watson won his 2nd Masters, and young talent like Jordan Speith, Billy Horschell, (who won the Tour Championship & the year-long Fed-Ex Cup title – with a smooth $10 million bonus attached) and others – showing they belong. (2015?) – A healthy Tiger could really prove to “enhance” the already great major tournament races – with one race in particular that still bears watching – Tiger (38) yrs old with (64) major starts (14) titles vs. Jack Nicklaus at (38) yrs old with (64) major starts with (14) titles – Jack finished with (18). Will Tiger be healthy enough to catch him?! We’ll see!
It is truly impossible to express the success that all these “major” tours – along with the Australian, Latin American, PGA Japan, PGA Canada, and “satellite” tours throughout the world have had this year in such a short writing. (And) while participation in the game on a “local” level in the US is a little “stagnant” today – I still see our great game having a bright future - if – we can keep the “economics” of the game in line (and) – if – we can continue to grow programs like the 1st Tee for our juniors!
Local – Local
That tough spring weather that was difficult on all of us was equally as difficult for our local boys high school team golfers – but many individuals and teams gave it their all & one fine player stood out this season capturing an “all-state” designation, a 19th place finish in the state finals, as well as, a victory in the historic Gary Amateur – young Matt Meneghetti of Lake Central H.S. – Congrats Matt & good luck going forward.
More titles were won by: Taylor Noel (for the 2nd year in a row) at the coveted Lake-Porter Championship; Tom Newton at the Porter county Amateur; and Todd Mitchell at the nearby Will County AM in Illinois. Congratulations to all who participated & to all the other victors in their categories. (And) a real “tip of the hat” to the year-long Pepsi-Illiana series (and) the dozen courses who hosted this fine series. The turn out for the year once again proves golf is alive & well here in the region! Good luck to all next year!
(2014) saw the start of something new?! Foot-golf! With over a dozen participating courses in Illinois, (and) a great start at our own Scherwood GC – this “interesting” new (and athletic) version of our grand old game – with “fun” for all ages – really took me by surprise! Try it – bring the kids/grandkids!; over (100!) holes-in one were sent in to Golf Plus for publication – some had more than one – jealous?... Yeah! Congrats to all; our local girls HS golf teams, all had solid showings with a bright future in store for many (cold-ish fall season too – nice job ladies!); the Calumet College of St. Joseph – (Cal College) – coached by George Topoll (and) the Purdue-Calumet College team – coached by Matt Meneghetti (now to be referred to as Matt’s Dad!) – both had fine seasons. *We will be highlighting more on this in our March edition.
Night golf was once again a hit at White Hawk CC & Wicker Park GC; the 1st Tee programs in our area including a “boost” from the local Hammond Optimist Club who sponsored an event at the Lost Marsh of Hammond location – were again a successful way for kids to learn/enjoy our game! And last – but definitely not least – the (3) gentlemen who were inducted into the “new” Golf Plus Newspaper Hall of Fame – Chuck Hegan, Nick Schaefer and Rusty Lashenik could not have been more deserving -and- I look forward to watching this hall grow year after year!
Christmas is here! (Remember) that golfer you know would love to receive a little warm weather reminder! How about a gift certificate from one of your favorite courses? Maybe a round or two of golf? Or – if you can “swing” it (sorry) – a family membership for (2015)?! The price is always right this time of year. (And) if you do choose a gift from a golf course/golf store – please buy local! Our “fine friends in golf” here in the region really do a great job of providing us with excellent service all year – and this can be our way of saying thanks!
(And) many courses/golf facilities/golf stores are open all year! Stop by – say hi – enjoy some time to talk golf, enjoy some good food (or) beverages (not on a beverage cart!) – and ask questions that everyone might be too busy to answer (at length) during the busy season.
A few “cold season” suggestions: * Creekside GC & DR & Learning Center in Valparaiso, Indiana – open all winter – heated outdoor driving range & indoor simulators (219)531-7888.
*Glenwoodie GC in Glenwood, Illinois (708)758-1212 – Golf simulator & just a great place to watch golf.
*The “Dome” in Crown Point, Indiana – Indoor (approx.) 60-yard golf dome with new mats, good balls, etc. (219)663-3663.
*(Or) go see our friend Joshua Huff at Solid Fitness in Demotte, Indiana – golf muscles are different – let him show you how & why!
*(And) for a chance to see what is now in golf, visit the Tinley Park Golf Expo Feb. 6-8 -or- the Golf Show in Rosemont Feb. 27-
March 1st – (Look online for info on both).
*Shopping?! – Your “home” course (of course) -or- go see the great folks at J&M Golf (Griffith (219)922-1787) & St. John, Indiana
(219)365-5611) – and visit Wally and the gang at “Ringo’s” on Rte. 30 – (219)942-8929.
*Non-golf?! Look everywhere! Festivals, ice skating at Deep River, holiday plays, & try indoor fun at Zig-E’s in St. John, city lights are everywhere -and- for you card players – my friends at the Ameristar Casino & Hotel will be hosting the “Heartland Poker Tour” – (open to all) and lots of fun (especially if you make the televised finals & some real cash!) – event runs Dec. 4th-Dec. 14th. Register online at www.hptpoker.com.
Special thanks this year: To Youche CC, Briar Ridge CC, Summertree GC, Whittaker Woods GC, Ravisloe CC, Mink Lake GC, The Brassie GC, Longwood GC, Forest Park GC and the Gerlach family for allowing me the pleasure of writing “feature” articles on you/your facilities – I really enjoyed spending time with you all! – And to all who voted for the “new” Hall of Fame candidates -or- participated in our Golf Plus contests, to 1230AM WJOB radio, Big George & Larry the “K” for having me on the air; to Getty, Brett, and all the gang at Wicker Park for having patience with a new “tractor jockey!”; to Mike Modrzejewski who (without his help) I would be helpless!; to my lovely wife Mary for allowing me – to be me!; to my new friends at Ameristar; to Jon & Steve Chontos for allowing me to visit with you all every month; and a special thanks to you, the readers, advertisers, and supporters of Golf Plus Newspaper & GolfPlusOnline.net – Thank you, thank you!
As Always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions, questions, stories, etc. Please contact me at our e-mail address: email@example.com or leave me a voicemail at (219)947-4314, and to read past golf course reviews – or to just visit Golf Plus newspaper online – visit our website at GolfPlusOnline.net.
(2014) had a lot of truly great golf stories/events etc. – (but) the (3) that come to mind most often for me were – the (3) part golf-umentary on the life of Mr. Arnold Palmer during Masters week – (11)! Year old Lucy Li playing in the Women’s US Open – and former Major League pitching great Jim Kaat breaking (75) on a fine course (both) left & right handed! What will (2015) bring? Who knows – but we at Golf Plus look forward to bringing it to you (and) we want to wish you & yours a very Merry Christmas, a joyous holiday season, and a blessed new year.
See you in March 2015. - Pete