For the last (5) seasons, I have had the great pleasure of writing feature articles profiling our wonderful golf
courses (and) off-course golf shops, as well as, some of the fine “Region Golf Stand-out” individuals in our
region.During this time, I have re-acquainted myself with many old friends, made new friends, seen 1st hand
the hard work and great service put forward by the excellent golf course staffs (and) superintendents of the
area, and watched as many facilities fought (for mostly economic reasons) for survival, while others were
forced to close.
Given this five years of close observation – (and very much appreciated readership feedback) – I have developed a sense of pure optimism for the golfing future of northwest Indiana (fore!) the following reasons…
Our area golf courses are among the most diverse “grouping” of courses you may find anywhere in the country! You want tough – play from the tips on some courses – we have tough, you want more “beginner friendly” – we have that, and if you like to belong to a private club – we are lucky to have several fine private clubs nearby.
The pubic courses that are privately held, the privates courses with their active leadership & members, and the municipalities that operate their facilities – (all) – are operated with a positive energy and spirit that many may take for granted, but that you do not always find in other areas of our nation. It would be for many of these “groups” to have just tossed in the towel – as golf has struggled recently – but they have persevered – (sometimes at great sacrifice) - and why? – because of their love of the game and their understanding of the benefit this game brings to the citizens of the communities.
The amount of money raised through various functions (and outings) at our golf courses is often overlooked – but should not be – literally millions of dollars are given annually to programs in great need in the region – through the efforts of our local chambers of commerce, private businesses, and local civic organizations…(and)…the golf facilities who host the events give their time/efforts/and sometimes even “comp” the course for the entire day – all in the name of charity.
Leagues – Men’s, Women’s, Seniors (etc.) – is there anything better than belonging to a golf league? – Don’t laugh! – Fresh air, fun, socializing with friends afterwards – (and) – telling exaggerations of the events of the day (lying!) – around the 19th hole! And don’t forget the overwhelming health and success of our local junior programs – from the wonderful job our PGA professionals do on a daily basis, to the outstanding work which continues with our “1st Tee” programs – and this fostered a return to success of many of our fine local (boys & girls) high school & college teams. Additionally – I cannot stress enough how much I have been impressed by the continuing success of the Pepsi/Illiana Challenge series of events, which brings so many together all summer long.
But Above All…The Players
Our region has an incredible history of fine golfers – I’ll repeat that - Our region has an incredible history of fine players! Many of the names are legendary – (and I promise to cover this subject more in the future) – and what is more –is that the growth of golf excellence in our area continues! (And) for the novice, the high handicapper, or for those who just come out for fun – thank you – our game needs new blood, new ideas, and more fresh spirit…(see…Foot Golf). We all welcome you!
These are just a few of the reasons why we should feel good (and be optimistic) for the future of golf in our region. (And) – if I can slip “back to the future” – (sorry Cubs fans)! – for just a second…next season I look forward to more facility and individual profiles. – I will guarantee some better coverage of our local high school & college programs, and I want you to know that I am always open to suggestions…so if you would like to see something different covered in this column – let me know! (And) of course I will continue to bring the news from the major tour(s) – all of whom are doing well (and) assisting in driving interest in our game. Contests – did someone say contests? – Yes, we will continue to bring you contests with prizes/free rounds of golf, etc…and speaking of contests (see below!)
Congratulations this month to: Ky, Charles, Andrea, Lew, Lee, Chuck, Jim, and Brian who all called in and successfully answered last month’s contest question – (answering Jordan Spieth) – and who all won (2) free rounds of golf, including cart to one of our fine area courses…thanks for participating & enjoy your day at the course!
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)947-4314, and to read past golf course reviews – or to just visit Golf Plus newspaper online – visit our website at GolfPlusOnline.net.
Special thanks this month: To Mike Modrzejewski for his incredible help– I could not have done it without you! To my lovely wife Mary for always being there to support me – thank you honey! And to Jon & Steve Chontos who gave me the honor (and) the privilege to write this column for all you region golfers who “drive the bus” & keep our advertisers, our facilities, and our charities flourishing…and please note: many courses stay open all winter! Stop by and have a cup of coffee, a few cold ones, lunch/dinner or whatever – every dollar spent at our local courses helps keep rates down! And with Christmas just around the dogleg – rounds of golf or golf clothing and supplies make great gifts!
Here’s hoping for some more good weather! Enjoy your Turkey Day (and) just in case you get that bad bounce – remember better shots & better days are always just around the corner. – In golf, when the going gets rough, we should stay steady and keep our head down – but in life we should always look forward – and keep our chin up! – See you in December! - Pete