If you follow Golf Plus Newspaper, I know you enjoy Region Golf – and why not?! There is a lot to like –
from the history & events (to) the high quality of our public, private, and off-course golf facilities – our area (
with over (50) courses within an hour’s drive) offers a diverse challenge at every turn…which leads me to this
month’s article featuring Mink Lake Golf Course in Liberty Township Indiana – a golf course unlike any other
– and a course that will definitely take you back to a much simpler time & place in golf.
Built in the mid 1920’s by Mr. Henry Williamson – (who is also credited with the design/build-out of nearby Valparaiso CC & Forest Park GC) *And originally named Wauhob GC* Mink Lake GC sits on land once owned by the famous Pottawatomie Chief Weesaw; and is part of the “Chain of Lakes” area in this section of Porter County, IN.
Located approximately (1) mile north of the city of Valparaiso Indiana (and) partially on the Valparaiso moraine – (a ridge left when Lake Michigan receded to its current status) – Mink Lake GC changed hands a few times during the depression & war years – but truly hit its stride in (1950) when the Sella family – (Viola & Tony) – purchased the course – (including the miniature golf course & driving range, which was part of the facility at the time) – and made it their home.
The timing of this purchase – made in the middle of the century (1950) – in the middle of the year (June 15th) – in the middle of the day (noon) – may or may not have any significance – but, when you visit the course, you may feel that time might have stood still on that day?! Read on!
The point I am trying to make is that Mink Lake GC is a “throw-back” golf course – with no pretense, abundant antique golf furnishings, simple and friendly laid back service, and a very noticeable “nostalgic” feel – a feel that – (if you have played golf long enough) – you may remember from your youth.
I know that got your attention! Yes, the only carts you will find at MLGC are pull carts (rentals are available) *For this (9) hole, par 32-35 golf course, (measuring between 1,450 and 2,300 yard course), was (and has always) been – intended to be a source for “healthful exercise & recreation” – a practice that until the 1960’s existed at all golf facilities.
(And) not an easy walk at that! The hilly nature of the course, and its challenging holes – (the course record of (28) has been held by Mr. Tony Sella for over (35) years) – will give you a little work-out; but, the natural beauty of the surroundings will more than make up for the extra effort.
The course is in great condition on a regular basis, drains very well, has a fantastic fee structure – (including special senior rates & season passes) – is home to the Viola & Tony Sella Memorial Open – (a scramble being held this year on Saturday Aug 30th) – has a golf shop that includes rental clubs, snacks & beverages, a comfortable table w/chairs inside, (and) a patio outside with a seating area that includes a large table with the words “The Table of Knowledge” emblazoned on its top!
Known as the “Sportiest course in Northwest Indiana” – many people from all over the United States come back every season to re-visit MLGC, (and) it has been said that most all of the golfers in this area got their start in golf here at “The Lake.”
Mink Lake Golf Course takes me back to a time when golf was a simple (very athletic) sport – involving a golfer, their clubs, and the beauty of nature. Go on out and meet owners Don & Tammy Sella – (2nd generation Sella’s) – sit at the “Table of Knowledge” – (and) try to remember how golf started – I bet you’ll go around twice!
Mink Lake GC is located (1) mile north of Valparaiso, Indiana on Calumet Avenue. The address is 636 N. Calumet Ave. & the phone # is (219)462-2585. See you there!
July tour highlights: Women’s golf worldwide continues to dazzle in 2014 – with American Mo Martin winning the Women’s British Open (her 1st victory ever on the big stage) – that makes (3) straight American ladies to win in this years majors; (17) year old Lydia Ko wins the Marathon Classic for her (4th) LPGA title! (And) Spain wins the inaugural “International Crown” – a new bi-annual event featuring (8) qualifying teams from throughout the world, with a unique match play – best ball format – and, which will be held in (2016) at the beautiful Rich Harvest Farms GC in nearby Sugar Grove, IL.
The Champions Tour saw Colin Montgomerie win his 2nd major of the year at the US Senior Open – (and) Bernhard Langer is victorious at the Senior British Open – by an astounding (13) shots! – The largest margin of victory in Champions Tour history. The success of this tour has prompted the governing bodies of golf to begin work on a senior Ryder Cup & it will be coming soon. (And) speaking of the Ryder Cup (coming up in September at the Gleneagles Golf Club in Glasgow, Scotland) – (2) senior players (Miguel Angel Jimenez & Bernhard Langer) are both being considered as captain’s picks for the European team – golf is the game of a lifetime!
The men’s tours (worldwide) saw Angel Cabrera win the Greenbrier Classic – Graham McDowell win back to back French Opens & Brian Harman take home the John Deere Classic title (his 1st ever victory); Justin Rose continues his great year by winning the Scottish Open; Tim Clark won the (105th) running of the Canadian Open, and Englishman David Horsey won the Russian Open.
(And) the (143rd) edition of the British Open – held at the royal Liverpool GC in Hoylake England, was won in wire-to-wire fashion by (25) year old Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland. This victory, in addition to his PGA & US Open titles give him (3) legs of the Grand Slam – a feat (by the age of 25) – only accomplished by Jack & Tiger! Rory showed signs of “coming around” lately – shooting a course record (64) in the 1st round of the Scottish Open (and) driving the (downwind) 436 yard 13th hole twice! Once with a three wood! Ricky Fowler finished tied for 2nd at the British & now has (3) top 5’s in this year’s majors – and Tiger made the cut, but still looks like he has not fully recovered from his early season shoulder surgery. A Ryder Cup nod for Tiger? – the next (2) weeks – including the PGA Championship – will probably make up the mind of captain Tom Watson.
A few other short notes: The Long Drive Competition (among PGA tour players) is returning at the PGA Championship – held this month at the wonderful Valhalla CC in Louisville, KY – the agents & dependents of these players must be cringing! Too risky – leave it to the true long drive professionals!
More trouble in Rio – the course being built for the Olympics (2016) – looks like it has run into more delays – (and) an alternate site may be necessary for golf’s return to the Olympics – the first since 1904. And how’s this for forward thinking – Gerry McIlroy (Rory’s father) & a few of his friends made a wager with a “booking-house” in England (10) years ago – (when Rory was 15) – betting that Rory would win the British Open before his 26th birthday… each put down approx. $700 US dollars… and with his victory, each collected $342,000 US dollars – any golf prodigies here in the region I should know about?!
Locally: Congratulations to the champions of this year’s Lake-Porter Golf Classic held at the beautiful & challenging Palmira GC in St. John, IN (July 26th-27th). Roger Cole now holds the Senior title, Doug Schnick was the Super-Senior victor, Ed Mackowiak brought home the Mid-flight trophy, and this year’s Championship Flight winner was once again Taylor Noel – that makes (2) years in a row – but this year was a little more difficult as Damon Jensen tied Taylor in regulation – losing to Taylor in sudden death. Great events as always. (And) a footnote: Long time friend Dan Vidimos (the newlywed) gave everyone a scare with his 1st round (73) – bringing home the low-round (medalist) honors – way to go Dan!
The Pepsi-Illiana series travels in August to: Sandy Pines GC, Lansing GC, White Hawk CC, Summertree GC & Palmira GC – (all) pointing to the “Jackpot” Finale on Sept 12th at Scherwood GC – good luck to all – call (219)865-2554 to play -or- for info.
A terrific outing (for a great cause) will be held Sat Sept 13th at the historic Indian Ridge GC in Hobart, IN – the “Verta Richards Foundation” Golf Outing – raising $ for the study of pancreatic cancer – details – (219)942-6462 – say hi to Greg & Rusty for me!
For the kids – the First Tee of Hammond – located at the outstanding Lost Marsh GC in Hammond, IN – will hold their annual “Optimist Youth Classic” on Sat. August 23rd – this event is open to junior golfers from (4 to 17) – and is Free of charge – (thanks to the sponsorship of the Optimist Club of Hammond) – call Tiffani at (219)228-2528 for the rundown. And while at Lost Marsh, check out the one-day golf schools & free golf clinics offered by golf professional Dean Gabey – always very educational.
Welcome Back – Longwood CC in Crete, IL is now open & ready for play – after a brief period of re-organization – call the course at (708)758-1811 for specials, etc. Great news for region golfers!
Some non-golf fun: The Hunkee Hollow Men’s Stag Picnic & Steak Fry is being held Tuesday August 12th at St. Elijah’s in Crown Point, IN – all proceeds assist the Cerebral Palsy Foundation here in NWI – call Cary at (219)242-4905 – for directions/details – it runs from noon until 4PM.
My friends at the Ameristar Casino & Hotel will be hosting the “Heartland Poker Tour” August 7th thru the 18th – still time to sign up! Check it out – call (219)378-3000 -or- go to www.ameristar.com for info.
And for the beer lovers – Wicker Memorial Park will be holding the “Pints in the Park” event Saturday Aug. 23rd – buffet (optional) starts at 3:00PM – and the “Main Event” – the (100!) beer option tasting begins at 4:00PM -and- runs until 8PM. Prices vary with/without dinner, etc. – call (219)923-3830 for early (and best deals) on tickets. And the entertainment for the evening will be provided by John Fister (and) “A Bit of Timepiece” – featuring the lovely & talented Ms. Mary Mystica!
Special thanks this month: To Tammy & Don Sella at Mink Lake GC, to Mike Modrzejewski for all his great help, to my marvelous wife Mary, and to all those who phoned-in (to win) prizes in our July golf quiz contest. The lucky winners are: Larry B. – (2) rounds w/ cart to Sandy Pines GC, Lou W. (same prize) to Ravisloe CC, Ki H. – passes to his choice of Hegan owned golf courses, and Steve R. – Lincoln Oaks GC. -and- many thanks to these fine facilities for supplying the prizes. *Look for another contest with great prize give-aways in the September edition of Golf Plus.
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.
Lastly – Instruction comes in many forms – here is some sage advice from a sign seen at one of my favorite courses. (maybe a little inappropriate) – but too clever not to print! - Back straight, knees apart, feet shoulder width apart - Form a loose grip - Keep your head down - Avoid a quick backswing - Stay out of the water - Try not to hit anyone - If you are taking too long, please allow others to go ahead of you - Don’t stand directly in front of others - Quite please – while others prepare to go l Don’t take extra strokes - Well done – now flush the urinal & go outside and tee off!