Any round of golf – just like any person’s lifetime – is full of “ups & downs.” Well, this also applies during
the lifespan (and survival) of many golf courses. Longwood Golf Course in nearby Crete, Illinois for (90!)
years now – has seen some great days, some hard times, some moments where it looked like maybe it
was time to give up –(but)- through the hard work, and the love of the game, of a few fine folks – Longwood
GC has persevered - and, is now ready to face the future with great promise.
In the early 1920’s, a group of members from the legendary South Shore CC of Chicago, Illinois decided to build a course of their own in the beautiful countryside in the far southern suburbs. After acquiring a large tract of land – (straddling the state line between Illinois and Indiana – in the small towns of Crete, IL & Dyer, IN). The work began with the assistance of local golf architect Mr. Ben Hagge, (who) went about the task of building a (36!) hole golf course on this property.
In 1925, the “Castle Del Mar Country Club” opened with (18) holes of championship style golf, opening on the Illinois side (+) (18) adjoining holes – (what we used to refer to as the “ladies course”) – opening entirely in the state of Indiana.
The Depression years soon followed = with survival in question = these members held on the best they could, but by (1940) with the demands of World War II, the gas rationing, and the lack of patrons, the “Castle” had to close its doors.
After the war ended, a gentleman golf professional from Scotland = (and then serving as the golf pro at the Woodmar CC in nearby Hammond, IN) – by the name of Johnny Simpson – (along with some much needed financing from his wife Peggy!) – purchased the property, selling off the land on the Indiana side, and began carving out (18) holes from this terribly overgrown former golf course. They completed their work by (1949) and opened the “new” (18) holes to the public – renaming it the “Longwood Golf Course.”
Longwood GC was quite successful during their ownership – but the couple soon decided to sell = moving to Florida – (and) a few years later (on August 1st, 1957), the course was acquired by a local restaurateur – from Calumet City, IL – (who owned the famous Whitey’s Finest Foods Restaurant) – for those who remember?! – And thus began what are now referred to as the “Tintari years.”
You see – Bob Tintari – the son-in-law of this restaurateur – (and) - a fine PGA Golf Professional… along with his family, including, his daughters Bobette, Tammy, and son Joey – were to own and operate Longwood GC for the next (55+) years! Surviving several downturns in the economy (and) many difficult years of low golf participation & increasing competition. (But) survive they did – giving us all who have enjoyed this beautiful course, many fond memories.
This past year, with families retiring (etc.), Longwood GC was turned over to the fine “GolfVisions” management group – who operate (16) courses, mostly in the Chicago area. The course is currently undergoing a re-birth of sorts – and - is now looking forward to a strong future of service to us all here in the region.
The Current (& Future) Longwood GC
(2014) was definitely a “transition year” at Longwood, with much needed work being done to the course – however – as of this writing, Longwood GC is ready to welcome us back!
This fine (18) hole course features rolling/contoured greens, elevation changes on most all of its holes, beautiful vistas, an abundance of mature trees lining the fairways -and- serving as backdrops to many of your approach shots; there are (3) sets of tees – measuring from 5,600 to 6,400 yds on this par (70) layout; there are several ponds/wetlands & well-placed bunkering to challenge you; (and) a full driving range, putting green, and (almost completed) chipping area for your convenience twilight, senior, junior, and an excellent reasonable everyday rate structure is/are already in place – (see ad in this edition of Golf Plus) – with leagues, membership options, and season passes to become available for the (2015) season – (*see golf shop now for information); the carts are in great shape, and the drainage (often considered an issue in the past) is greatly improved & ready to handle Mother Nature on all but the worst of occasions!
The perfectly situated clubhouse, containing a (120+) banquet facility & full kitchen (perfect for outings or any “special” occasion); a full service bar & large inside seating area serving brats, snacks & “cold ones” is a great place to hang out before/after golf – or just anytime! With an additional plus being the large wrap-around deck overlooking the course. The golf shop can supply whatever you need, “high quality” golf lessons are available (more later) – and the staff, including: Kim, Kelly, Wendy, & Kyle – are friendly & very helpful.
Additionally: GolfVisions – thanks to the professional touches of Tim Miles, and old friend Johnny O’Connor – has brought in an experienced/qualified superintendent in, Mr. Emilio Bettencourt…- who along with his staff – deserve a real round of applause for the current condition of the course. (And) last but certainly not least – one of the finest and most experienced PGA members the Midwest has to offer – with the addition of Chris Renenberg – a Madison, WI native (and current Dyer, IN resident) who brings her fine talents to Longwood GC (from) most recently – the fantastic Cantigny Golf Facility in suburban Chicago – as well as – the beautiful La Quinta CC in the Palm Desert area of southern California – (and) who adds a real “touch of class” to the entire operation!
As we all know – we’ve lost quite a few fine golf course/facility options locally (and nationwide) in the recent past – Longwood GC deserves our support – not only for continuing its long history of quality golf – but for the many individuals & groups who have kept the course alive for us all to enjoy! Come on out to Longwood GC… our true “Comeback Kid”… & beautiful course, that is always fun to play!! Its easy to find (approx. (3) miles east of #394 – take Steger Road directly to the course) -or- from the Indiana side, take 81st St. about a mile west of Hart Rd. – the address is 3503 E. Steger Rd., Crete, IL 60417 & the phone # is (708) 758-1811 – see you there!
• The European Tour saw (26) yr old Northwestern University grad, David Lipsky, win the European Masters – Paul Casey win at the LKM Open – (an event that also saw Andy Sullivan make a hole-in-one, winning a $100,000 trip to space(!) which travels approximately (39) miles up & into orbit! – (and) Joost Luiten win the coveted Wales Open title.
• The LPGA Tour held its (5th) – and last – major of the year at the Evian Championship, with South Korean Hyo Joo Kim (19) bringing home her 1st ever victory of any kind on tour (and) countrymate Mi Jung Hur best the field at the (new) Yokohama Tire Classic.
• The Champions Tour held (3) events in September – with West Short capturing the Quebec Championship, Paul Goydos winning his 1st title at the Hawaii Championship (and) John Cook winning the wonderful Nature Valley 1st Tee Open – an even that pairs Champions Tour players with juniors from the 1st Tee programs throughout the country – maybe the finest event held all year on any tour!
• And the Web.com Tour finished the year with Adam Hadwin winning the Chiquita Classic, Justin Thomas hoisting the nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship trophy – (his 1st of many by most accounts) – and Derek Fathauer won the Web.com Tour Championship – the concluding event to the qualifying process which saw (50) players gain a PGA Tour card for (2015) – including one Sam Saunders (Arnold Palmer’s grandson).
• The US Men’s Tour concluded their season with Billy Horschell winning both the BMW Championship (and) the Tour Championship – pocketing some heavy $ - in addition to the (10) million dollar! Bonus for winning the season long Fed-Ex Cup. And speaking of the BMW Championship – Rory McIlroy – the number (1) player in the world & most recently named PGA “Player of the Year”) showed that it happens to everyone – as he (4) putted the 17th hole from short range on both Saturday & Sunday! So next time you want to fling that putter after a mere (3) putt – remember that’s still better than four! -And- I can’t avoid it any longer – the Ryder Cup final score: European team (16 ½), US team (11 ½) – that makes (8) out of the last (10) cup victories for the Euros! Here’s hoping the (2016) cup – being held on US soil – (at the beautiful Hazeltine CC in suburban Minneapolis, MN) – “swings” our way (&) proves we Americans are capable of playing some quality “team” golf!
Congratulations to the crowned Porter Amateur champs – including: Tom Newton – for his 1st ever Masters Division Championship Flight victory – to Michelle Loudermilk for winning the ladies division (for the 2nd time) & to Masters “A” Flight champ Chris Fischer, Open “A” Flight champ Ron Radtke, & Open “B” Flight victor Mr. “Beef” Thompson – cool name, I want to party with that guy!
And further congrats to all who participated in the year-long Pepsi-Illiana Tour – especially the final (jackpot) winning team of Ryan Grelecki – Natalie Achten – Greg Steapleton – Leon Edgington & Jerry Hoon. Great job – great year!
Almost all of our local courses are still hosting events in October – the rates are dropping – the colors are changing – and the courses are less crowded – call your favorite for info – and enjoy fall golf!
(And) for those other days -or- evenings, check out these family-fun events:
- October 11th at Centennial Park in Munster, IN, they will be hosting a pumpkin, witches & hayrides, oh, my! Family Trick-or-Treat & Hayride – call (219)836-7275.
- And on October 18th, this same Centennial Park will have their annual Munster “Ale Fest” – from 1PM – 4PM – as 30+ craft breweries will showcase their wares! Food, music, & beer – can’t beat that! Call (219)836-6930 for details.
- Also on Oct. 11th – Fair Oaks Farms will be holding the ever-popular “Cowtoberfest” – it has to be fun with a name like that! Check out (877)536-1194 for info.
- Backing up to Friday Oct. 10th – our good friend Tom Byelick will be hosting “Tomfoolery” – a night of comedy & music – at Langel's Pizza in downtown Highland, IN – www.tomfooleryfunclub.com will fill you in (starts at 8:00PM).
- (And) the Wicker Park pavilion – also in Highland, IN – is holding their annual “Halloween Spooktactular” from 2-5PM on Oct. 25th (Sat) – for kids (3-12). Trick-or-Treat, games, Hay rides, contest for costumes, etc.
- Finally – how about a walk on the “dark side” – the “Chaos Haunted Tours” – offers ghost tours of NWI – by bus – you visit “real” haunted locations/myths/and urban legends – all over the region – call (219)714-3761 – if you dare!
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.
And special thanks this month to: Johnny O’Connor at GolfVisions, new friend Chris Regenberg and the entire staff at Longwood GC – to Bob Tintari, Herb & Dickie Gerlach; to Marv, Eileen, Carl, Al, & John at Scherwood GC, to all my fellow golfers at Ameristar, to Mike Modrzejewski, for his extraordinary help & to my lovely wife Mary for, well, everything! (And) in case you haven’t (heard of) -or- tried it yet – go out to Scherwood golf & experience “Foot Golf” – unbelievable family fun, good exercise, and very competitive?! You’ll get a kick out of it!
-OK- How about a little October golf contest – to win, all you have to do is call Golf Plus at (219)947-4314 on Sat. Oct. 11th -or- Sun. Oct. 12th and answer the following question – Who won the recent Ryder Cup held in Perthshire, Scotland? Easy enough? You can win FREE rounds of golf to some of your favorite courses & more – the 1st (10) callers with the correct answer are guaranteed to win! Just leave your 1st name & phone # & you will be contacted by Oct. 16th if you have won.
Lastly: Great golf is often found through inspiration – this past month, Mr. Arnold Palmer turned (85) – and to honor this occasion, I thought we might leave you with an excerpt from a poem that has hung on his office wall for years – “If you think you are beaten, you are – If you think you dare not, you don’t – Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man – But sooner or later, the man who wins – Is the man who thinks he can! See you next month - Pete