Although many golf courses in our region are open year round – and golf is fun in (most) all conditions -or-
seasons; for most players, the month of June is the true stand-out month for our game. Mother Nature has
provided enough rain, (or more than enough), the superintendents have had time to wake-up the courses, the
sun does not set until past 8PM, the golf shops are stocked, and the golf staff is ready to handle us all.
“Now,” is the time to enjoy!
*Here are a few suggestions to help you get the most out of the Summer season.*
I. Take Lessons: Golf lessons are important to every golfer! Even if you have played golf for many years – we all have strengths (and) weaknesses in our game that require some assistance. Golf is a truly multi-faceted game with a unique series of diverse challenges; up-hill & side-hill shots, sand play, putting-chipping & pitching, driving the ball -and- “managing” your way around a golf course all become “easier” with the guidance/knowledge of your golf professional.
We are very fortunate to have some of the finest teaching professionals in the country! Right here in our backyard. Take Advantage! Now, I know that many golfers are determined to “Go it alone,” and avoid instruction; but with good health and the wind at your back, you will most probably play golf to an extremely advanced age – so why not play your best?!
STEP ONE: Seek out an instructor in your area with a good reputation – this instructor should not only help you “correct” any flaws you may have in your game -but- also explain the “How” and the “Why” – enabling you to retain what you have learned. And further explain the best way for you to learn How to practice.
STEP TWO: Practice – I know time is a valuable commodity, but golf is a game that requires practice to assist with improvement. Even a short stint on the putting green, or a half hour here & there can really make a difference. (And) it helps you provide feedback (and form more questions) for the next time you see your instructor. There is absolutely no reason why any golfer cannot become a good short game player! (And) since more than 50% of the game is played from (50) yards in – this is the best way to improve your score. Importantly – an indirect benefit of an improved short game is to lessen the “tension” in your overall swing – and as this part of your game also improves, you begin to become a more “complete” player. Is it that simple? Of course not! (But) many accomplished players have found this to have been the path to their success.
STEP THREE: Treat your golf instructor as you would your physician. This is no slight directed to any golf instructor, (but) you may find that you are better able to communicate your swing -or- unique sets of “problems” to one individual golf professional over another. And a second opinion is almost always a “good” idea. Continue this process until you feel comfortable that you are developing an understanding of your game. Remember – your goal with instruction – to know (How) -and- to know (Why)!
*And for juniors: How young is too young? It does vary, but kids as young as (3 or 4)! have been known to enjoy – and even excel – at the game. The game should be introduced to youngsters at an early age (and there are many great programs/junior instruction avenues that you can pursue) - * More on that later. Early instruction should help create good swing habits, etc. – But far more importantly, golf can teach kids important “life skills” such as honesty, the ability to handle adversity + overcome obstacles, and the enjoyment of the outdoors (a little sunshine is always good!).
II. Equipment: After you have developed a better understanding of your game and -also- developed a more “repeating” action to your “full” swing – it is time to look at your equipment. Improper equipment -or- poorly “fitted” clubs can be holding you back. And, the opposite is equally true – the “proper” clubs – that best suit your game – can make all the difference. (And) with the great strides that have been made recently in “game improvement” clubs – may even be able to “correct” minor flaws – without a total “tear-down” & “re-working” of your game.
Finding out what is best for your game does not have to be a confusing task – Again, seek out a trusted (experienced) golf shop (on or off course) in our area – (once again, we are blessed with some of the finest professional club-fitting specialists right here in our region) – and ask questions! Most facilities have “demo” clubs to try, and are more than happy to help you find what you need.
If your equipment already meets your needs – look only to keep your grips up to date. Depending on your usage/storage, grips generally last (1-2) seasons – and poorly conditioned grips can negatively affect your game (poor hand placement, overly “tight” gripping, etc.).
III. Join-In: Golf is a great way to meet & enjoy the company of others in our region. Most courses offer leagues (mixed, women’s & men’s, juniors, seniors, etc.). *By June, many leagues may have been formed (or even full) – but many leagues are still forming, need “subs,” -or- if enough people inquire, your course may add additional leagues – so, check it out. Most courses also hold events (such as scrambles) wherein (4) players of varying abilities team-up to play a “best-shot” format from tee to green. These can be great fun for new players -or- high handicapers – because even the novice golfer can be a valuable part of the team with (1) timely placed shot -or- by making a difficult putt. Also, posting of upcoming golf outings are usually made on golf course bulletin boards well in advance – and are always looking for additional players. These events allow you to form your own group – or in some cases the staff will pair you up with others; and most all of these events support a good cause/charity in the community.
If you are new to the game – and still a little apprehensive about joining others – seek out a course that has a little less traffic -(or)- play during “off-peak” hours; try less difficult courses, (and) always use the proper tees. All golfers began as novices – just observe the etiquette of letting faster groups play through & take your time. (And) Do Not forget to pick-up GOLF PLUS newspaper (a little plug) monthly – to check out the discounts, membership offerings, and other great deals that our advertising partners have to offer.
Lastly: Regardless of your skill level, it is never too late (or too early) to learn the game of golf -or- improve upon the skills you already have. Whether you are new to the game, or a “stick” from way back – golf is meant to be fun – so while you are investing your time & money (equipment, lessons, green fees, etc) try to do your best & most of all, enjoy the glorious month of June!
My desk is full! Here are just a few of the upcoming golf events/outings – all supporting great causes in our area – I am sorry if I missed your event – but if you would like to contact me in the future, I will try to include it in future publications – please send any information to: firstname.lastname@example.org -or- Golf Plus newspaper at: email@example.com.
• The Hunky Hollow Athletic Club’s 2nd Annual Golf Outing – A benefit to aid the Cerebral Palsy Organization of NWI – is being held Monday June 17th at Innsbrook CC in Merrillville, IN – for info, call Cary Brooks at (219) 465-5797.
• The Annual SSSMA Golf Outing is being held at Deer Creek GC in University Park, IL on Thursday June 20th – for info, call Keith at (708)906-5441.
• The Gary Amateur Golf Tournament – One of the areas oldest & finest tournaments – is being held at Gleason Park GC in Gary, IN Sat. & Sun. June 8th & 9th – Still time to get in – (Men’s & Women’s, Senior & Super Senior divisions) – Call (219)980-2803.
• The 8th Annual Make-A-Wish Foundation Golf Outing is being held Wed. Aug 7th at Youche CC in Crown Point, IN – Call Charlotte at (219)663-0989. For info – (Also) a “Ryder Cup” flag will be raffled off: $20/ticket – 500 tickets sold – this flag contains signatures of (15) 2012 Ryder Cup team players including: Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson & captain Davis Love III. The winner will be drawn by last year’s Make-A-Wish recipient – Jacob!
• The 1st Annual “Herbie Johnson Golf Classic” is being held – simultaneously at (4) courses – Balmoral Woods GC – Lincoln Oaks GC – Coyote Run GC & Lincolnshire CC to honor Mr. Johnson – a fallen firefighter – on Friday June 7th – Contact Ted Johnson at 47-440-HERB(4372) for all the details.
• The St. John the Evangelist 7th Annual Education Foundation Golf Outing is being held Fri. June 21st at White hawk CC in Crown Point, IN – Call Steve Backe (219)365-2559 for info.
• The 8th Annual Omega Open Scholarship Golf Tournament is being held Thursday June 20th at Glenwoodie GC in Glenwood, IL – For details, contact Tony Brown at (708)280-1917.
• The Highland Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing is being held Friday July 19th at Wicker Park GC in Highland, IN – The event has been held for over (20) years & the proceeds benefit causes throughout the community – Contact Mary Luptak -or- Shannon Peterson at (219)923-3666 for all the details.
• The Harold W. Holmes Memorial Golf Outing for Autism is being held Friday June 21st at Turkey Creek GC in Merrillville, IN – Call (219)662-1905 for info.
• The Eagles Club of Cedar Lake will be having their annual golf outing Sat. June 22nd at South Shore CC in Cedar Lake, IN – for info, contact Bob Casner at (219)689-8832.
• The 15th Annual “Rally For A Cure” Golf Outing to benefit the Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation will be held Saturday July 13th at Duck Creek GC in Hobart, IN – Call Susie Paris at (219)759-5870 for info.
• The Hammond Optimist Golf Outing will be played Thursday July 18th at White Hawk CC in Crown Point, IN – For info, contact Mike Gozdecki at (219)844-7009 – Always benefiting youth programs throughout the region.
• And a benefit is being held Sunday June 9th at the Hammond FOP to assist Mr. Jerry Rodda, a (20) year member of the Hammond Police Department & Vietnam Vet – who suffers from stage (4) pancreatic cancer – If you can help, please call (219)728-1034.
• And Friday & Saturday June 7th & 8th Donut Day(s) are being held at the East Chicago, IN Salvation Army – to help stock the food pantry & to assist with after school programs - Please call Rose Mary Salazar at (219)398-2939 for details.
Father’s Day is Sunday June 16th – Remember Dad loves golf! A gift certificate to his favorite golf course -or- off course golf store is always a great gift – Note: I wear a large in most shirts, etc. (and) I am not afraid to drop a hint!
The US Open is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of an amazing victory by (20) yr. old Francis Quimet – and promises to be a shoot-out - with our best players playing so well – Catch the action June 13th-16th at the fabled Merion CC in Ardmore, PA. My pick to win? Lee Westwood – It’s time. (And) closer to home, go see the senior (Champions Tour) players play at North Shore CC in Glenview, IL June 17th-23rd as they compete in the Encompass Championship. Tickets for adults are only $25 and everyone 18 and under is free! The field promises to be among the best of the year – go to encompasschampionship.com for details.
Just For Juniors: Golf lessons for juniors – including golf leagues, are available at Cedar Creek GC in Cedar Lake, IN (close to the intersection on Rte #41 & Rte #231). And a high school girls golf clinic will take place July 22nd – 26th – Call (219)365-2902 for all the details. Palmira GC in St. John is home to the Lake Central Indians Golf Camp June 17th – 21st (and) the Palmira “Junior Tour,” which runs all summer beginning June 19th -as well as- the Junior “Ryder Cup” June 21st & 22nd – Call Palmira GC for details at (219)365-4331. Glenwoodie GC in Glenwood, IL is home to the Greater Chicagoland’s 1st Tee Program -and- is holding the Illinois Junior Golf Challenge Tuesday June 18th – Call Glenwoodie at (708)758-1212 for info. The First Tee of Hammond – located at Lost Marsh GC in Hammond, IN will be home to a year-end junior tournament Monday July 8th – an event sponsored by the Hammond Optimist Club – and provided Free of Charge to local junior golfers from (4-17) years of age – for info: call Tiffani at (219)228-2528. The 1st Tee of Valparaiso – under the guidance of the highly qualified golf professional Nancy Bender is holding numerous events throughout the summer – Please call (219)531-7888 for info. – And please check with your local course for junior info (I know most facilities are great with kids!).
Congratulations to Jason Rolland & Bob Markovich, who both called in to WJOB during the golf segment of the “Back Room” show (and) correctly answered the quiz question(s). They both won (2) free rounds of golf to the outstanding Wicker Park GC in Highland, IN & thank you to the folks at Wicker Park GC for providing the prize(s).
And speaking of WJOB, this year I will be appearing as a guest on “The Back Room” radio show starring “Larry The K” and “Big George.” I will be on their show the (3rd) Thursday of every month at approx. 7:00PM – to discuss local golf goings on & GIVING AWAY a few rounds of golf to some of our fine local courses. For a CHANCE TO WIN - or just to listen in – tune in to WJOB1230AM –or- log on to www.wjob1230am.com to view the show. The call-in number is (219)845-1100 – Good Luck!
ANOTHER REMINDER: A “Big Deal” is coming to Hammond, IN August 9th-16th – the 2013 Cal Ripken World Series! Teams from throughout the nation will be competing for this coveted title – come on out & see some future major leaguers – as they take the field at the Hammond Optimist Youth Sports Complex. For tickets, info, or sponsorship opportunities, call (219)512-4543.
And please take the family out to one of our fantastic festivals in June. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or City Hall for info – we have the BEST community festivals & events in the Midwest right here in the region!
Corrections: In the May Edition of Golf Plus, I mistakenly referred to Shannon Peterson (of the Highland Chamber of Commerce) as “Colleen,” but honestly, it has been more fun this way! And I made some “glaring” omissions in my article concerning Wicker Park GC – I failed to acknowledge the fine work at the course by (4) of its finest (and) longest-serving workers. John Badovinich (28+ years), Tom Murray (14+ years), Jerry Engyer (8+ years), and Mark Corey – who for over (25) years has been at the course everyday to open up, help us get started, (and) point out the importance of that early morning donut! My apologies to all & keep up the good work!
Special thanks this month: To all of our advertising partners here at Golf Plus newspaper & GolfPlusOnline.net who make it possible for us to bring you the golfing news here in the region. A special shout out to the many golf professionals and golf shop staff members who work hard to make our time at their golf facilities so enjoyable. And most of all – to all of our friends and loyal readers who keep us informed (and) provide us with such valuable feedback.
As Always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions, questions, stories, etc. Please contact me at our e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a voicemail at (219)947-4313, and to read past golf course reviews – or to just visit Golf Plus newspaper online – visit our website: GolfPlusOnline.net.
Lastly: Rumor has it good friend Pete Damjamovich has been tearing-up the local courses this spring! (This just in…) I hear that can be taken more than one way?! – Great sign seen at entrance to more than one local golf course: “A bad day on the golf course beats ANY day at work.” See you next month!