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"Serving the Golf Communities of NW Indiana and Chicago's South Suburbs"
                                       I’ve often pointed out that the best and strongest part of our golf offerings, here in northwestern Indiana, 
                                  is the “diversity” of the facilities. From some fine starter level properties for beginners run by municipalities 
                                  and other private owners -to- some of the finest private clubs in the Midwest.
                                       I’ve also been aware of the strengths of each city, bedroom community, and rural area that our region 
offers. Each of these golf facilities & each community is a part of us – a part of who we are here in our region. Well, if you haven’t been watching closely lately, the beautiful Sand Creek Country Club (and) the town of Chesterton, Indiana have been “growing up” together – right in front of our eyes – and growing up…well…wonderfully!
First – Sand Creek C.C.
   Sand Creek C.C. opened in 1976 as an (18) hole championship golf course – it was always highly respected as one of the/our areas most beautiful and challenging courses -and- after a few shifts in direction/ownership over the next (2) decades, S.C.C.C. “settled in” – moved forward with a strong commitment – and (in 1995) added a “perfectly matched” additional (9) holes…making it, now, one of the finest (27) hole private club’s in the entire Midwest. The course contains marvelous wetlands, marshlands, mature trees, rolling fairways, and some breathtaking scenic views. (And) just when you get lulled to sleep a little by all this beauty, it jumps up and grabs your scorecard by all (4) corners!
   I have a great deal to say about Sand Creek – So, in order to talk about (most) of it, I better start just laying down some facts. The three disparate, but well-blended nines remind me of having a family with (3) lovely children – each one is completely different, but if you line them up for a family picture, you can tell they belong together! Depending which nines you combine on a particular day to make up your (18) hole round, the course can play from approx. 5,100 to well over 7,000 yards – from its (5) sets of tees; allowing the opportunity for all skill levels to enjoy their day at the course. The well-placed fairway & greenside bunkering, the ponds, winding creek, and marshy areas come into play enough to – let’s say – keep you interested – and the conditioning of the entire course is just top-notch! *Thanks to the efforts of veteran superintendent Brian Racette and his staff – who take their work (and) their own golf games very seriously I understand!
   The other features at the course: the double-sided grass driving range, the (1) acre sized chipping and pitching short game area with sand practice area, and the putting green are all excellent in their scope – and beautifully maintained as well. The golf shop is always well-stocked (and) staffed by a wonderful staff – including PGA Head Professional Cory Blanehard – who is originally from Boston, but is slowly picking up our NWI region accent – very slowly! PGA Member & Director of Instruction Jill McCoy – and some fine assistants, including Portage High School’s own Jack Lewis. (And) as in all areas of this extremely well designed clubhouse, the attention to detail is second to none.
   The clubhouse, as I said, is everything you would expect from such a beautiful facility – with excellent locker rooms, lounge areas, and casual/fine dining options – overseen by Executive Chef Nathan Wronko – Food & Beverage Director Amy Cushway (and) of course all under the professional direction of the General Manager Mr. Kyle Lundy. As at all clubs, the facility is always the showpiece – but without excellent staffing, it never truly shines, and here at Sand Creek C.C. – believe me – there exists an outstanding shine!
   (And) as if that’s not enough, the pool complex, the tennis courts, the health club & child care services options are…well, just the best. The active and thriving membership is doing just fine, thank you – But it is always open to growth -so- if you have the desire to belong to this wonderful club, go check it out. There are multiple membership options available, and for the quality of the facility throughout, it is truly a fine value.
Chesterton, Indiana
   The town of Chesterton, Indiana (originally known as the town of Calumet, until 1899) is located in the northwestern most area of Porter County, Indiana. It is located very near to major highways and interstate 80/94 – Chesterton is less than an hour’s drive from downtown Chicago – and also – only a short drive from the south shore commuter line that will also take you into the city of Chicago (or) points east – like South Bend, Indiana. It’s a town that is currently home to approx. 13,000 residents in a location that must have a lot of real estate brokers in the greater Chicagoland area’s overwhelming attention!
   Location? – These real estate “eyeballs” must be saying it (3) times! And that’s only half of the story! This wonderful community is growing up in all directions, while keeping that small town feel so many people desire. The proximity to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore – with it’s 15,000 acres of beaches, dunes, trails, camping, and other outdoor activities; the truly marvelous downtown square, with its diverse shops and variety of restaurants, as well as its “old-timey” European market, etc. are just what has worked in so many areas across the state line in Illinois.
   For the purposes of brevity in this short writing – I must, just as I did with the description of Sand Creek C.C. – toss aside many pages of notes – but I must say, Chesterton – look out – if anybody is paying attention to growth, it is inevitable to your small community in the near future. Plan for it & embrace it because it is coming. And growth well planned for, is great. After all, who wouldn’t want to live in your little slice of (well-placed) heaven?!
   In conclusion: Sand Creek Country Club and Chesterton, Indiana is a perfect match. A high quality facility in a marvelous town…both destined for great things. (And) both… “ready for prime time.” For information about Sand Creek C.C., call (219)395-5200 or visit www.sandcreek.com - S.C.C.C. is located at 1001 Sand Creek Drive South in Chesterton, IN 46304 – for information on the town of Chesterton, IN, email the local Chamber of Commerce at info@dunelandchamber.org.
Golf Shots
Around the tours in July
   On the LPGA Tour: July opened with the 3rd (of 5) majors on the LPGA Tour being contested at the beautiful Kemper Lakes G.C. in nearby Kilder, Illinois, where the extremely talented Sung Hyun Park of South Korea won the 64th Women’s PGA Championship; the following week, another (25) year old South Korean LPGA “veteran!” – Sei Young Kim – set the all-time LPGA scoring record of (31!) under par at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Oneida, Wisconsin; the next week – yes, another (25) year old – this one from Thailand, Thidapa Suwannapura, captured the Marathon Classic title for her 1st ever victory on tour; (and) during that same week, there was the (long overdue) playing of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open – played at the historic (yes, very historic!) Chicago Golf Club – which was established in 1892 – making it the oldest (18) hole golf course in the U.S.! (And) it was won by world golf hall of famer, Laura Davies of England – who won by (10) shots! – for her 85th career professional title! What a great week for women’s golf! Rounding out this great month in women’s golf with (22) year old Ariya Jutanugarn – a true superstar in the women’s game, from Thailand – won the Women’s Scottish Open for her third victory of the year – her 10th career title – and her return to the number one position in women’s golf – a seriously outstanding month for the worldwide game of golf on the ladies tour(s).
   On the PGA Tour Champions – The best of the best in the over (50) contingent – completed a July, filled with the last 3 (of 5) majors – starting with the 39th playing of the U.S. Senior Open in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where David Toms won his first ever event on the senior circuit; a couple weeks later, the Senior Player’s Championship title went to the wonderfully talented Vijay Singh, in a playoff at the equally wonderful Exmoor C.C. in nearby Highland Park, Illinois; and the 5th and final major of the year, which was played at the “home of golf” (the old course in St. Andrews, Scotland) – went to the great Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain & earning him his 2nd major title of 2018.
   The Men’s European Tour held (4) events in July – beginning with the (102nd!) playing of the French Open in Paris, France, where Sweden’s Alex Noren held on for his 10th career European tour victory; (*This event was a nice preview for late September, when the 42nd Ryder Cup will be contested on this same LeGolf National Golf Course); Scottish veteran, Russell Knows, won his 2nd Euro title the following week at the 63rd edition of the Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Ireland; the Scottish Open was held the following week at the Gullane G.C. – (first opened in 1884!) – in the town of the same name in Scotland, where South Africa’s (25) year old Brandon Stone shot a course record (60) on the way to his 3rd victory on tour; and closing out July across the pond, England’s Richard McEvoy captured his first ever European Tour title (after 285 tries!) at the European Open – this year contested in Hamburg, Germany.
   July is always a busy month on the Men’s PGA Tour, and this year was no different. Coming off his hit start to 2018, including his recent victory at the European PGA Championship – and also – as a sign of other great things to come?...Mr. Francesco Molinari of Italy won the PGA Tour’s first event in July in Potomac, Maryland at the Quicken Loans National Championship for his 1st career PGA Tour title (by eight shots!) over a star-studded field – where Tiger Woods continued his fine play and finishing in a tied for fourth…with his victory, Mr. Molinari became the first Italian-born golfer to win on the PGA Tour since Toney Penna in 1947 – molto bene Francesco! The next week – at the newly named “Military Tribute at the Greenbrier” – honoring all of our great men + women in the service of our country – (and) held at the beautiful Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia – the always entertaining Kevin Na won for the 2nd time in his career on the PGA Tour; in Silvis, Illinois, at the John Deer Classic, (25) year old Michael Kim shot a tournament record (27) under par to win his first tour title the following week.
   (And then)…the 147th British Open was held right after that, at the usually “nastie” Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland…seriously, this course, where golf has been played since the fifteen hundreds!!! – yes, the 1500’s! – and whose impact on the game – with its many golf architects, pros, and the like, who emigrated to our shores – can never be overstated…is often nicknamed “Carnastie” when the weather rears its head. This year was rather kind to all that competed, and the tournament was an exciting mix of worldwide stars – including the man who has been very hot recently? – Mr. Francesco Molinari, who became the 1st Italian to win the British Open. He held off the best – including Tiger Woods, who held the lead on the last day on the 11th hole & eventually finished tied for 6th. It was great viewing, and once again, congratulations Francesco – (3) victories (big victories) in about a month and a half – wow!
   That same week, back here in the states, the Barbasol Championship was held in Lexington, Kentucky, where the weather “jumped” the Atlantic causing a Monday finish to put a final cap on tour in July – number one in the world, Dustin Johnson (who missed the cut at the British Open) – took home the title at the 109th! – (these tournaments are old folks!) – Canadian Open in Oakville, Ontario. That gives DJ (3) wins this year, and (19) career wins – all in the last ten years – which is the most by anyone in golf – on any tour – worldwide – over the last decade…and Mr. Johnson, who is now (35) years old, incredibly talented, and in probably as good a shape as anyone on tour, may just be entering his prime! He has not failed to win on tour (any) season of his career -and- if they “do” allow legalized gambling to kick in next year – it would be a safe bet to continue this streak!
Quick Shots
   Who needs to stock up on some golf balls or needs a little extra help in your golf bag for the rest of the season? Well, we have just the right place! Ringo’s Golf Center – located (4) miles east of I-65 on Rte. 30 is holding their 34th annual tent sale August 1st through the 4th – check out their huge inventory – call (219)942-8929 for further info.
   (And) it’s not too early to join the fall leagues that are forming all over our region – join in the fun – if you haven’t been in a league, you’re really missing out – lots of great local people having a wonderful time…and I always try to remind everybody – our local courses also are a good place to enjoy some good food – (and a beverage or two!) – check them out – great fish fry’s & much more.
   (Also), we here in the region, love golf + love good causes – so with that in mind, check out (2) of our upcoming events – both will promise to be a lot of fun – and will help others: 1) The Alex Matalin Scholarship Memorial Golf Outing – assisting students in furthering their education upon graduation from Crown Point High School – this event will be held Saturday Sept.22nd at the beautiful Summertree G.C. in Crown Point, Indiana – and is being played in the memory of a young man who we lost much too soon – for info, call (219)663-0800. 2) Always a great time for a great cause, is the (8th) annual Verta Richards Golf Outing at the historic Indian Ridge G.C. in Hobart, Indiana. The date is Saturday Sept. 8th this year – and the proceeds benefit the Verta Richards Foundation – call (219)678-2348 to sign up – I guarantee you’ll have a terrific time at both events!
   If you feel like watching some of the best LPGA player that I write about every month – right here (almost) in out backyard – go on out/down to Indianapolis on August 16th through the 19th for the “Indy Women in Tech Championship” – it’s being played at the wonderful – (and unique) – Brickyard Crossing Golf Club; if you’ve never see this place, it’s worth the drive to see it -and- you get to see some great players as well! Look online for further details, tickets, etc.
   (OK!) The men’s 4th (and last) major of the PGA Tour is coming – (August 9th through the 12th) – at the (I know I keep saying historic & beautiful – but it’s true!) – Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri. This 100th edition of the PGA Championship not only means more great golf, but it also means I need to pick a winner (*I do this for all the majors just to humiliate myself I guess)! Anyway, this year I picked: The Masters – Paul Casey – who finished tied for 15th; the U.S. Open – Dustin Johnson – who finished 3rd; and the British Open – Rory McIlroy – who finished tied for 2nd. So, if that trend continues, there’s only one spot left! My pick for the PGA is Matt Kuchar – not only is he playing well, etc. – but our nation’s 2016 Olympic bronze medalist is my sentimental choice…he currently stands (12th) on the points list for this year’s Ryder Cup – (the 1st (8) players on this list are automatic picks for the team) – with the final four members being captain’s picks -and- with tiger Woods – (who is currently 20th on this list, but a sure fire captain’s pick) – I would love to see the talented, deserving, charitable, etc. Mr. Kuchar on this year’s squad…having played well & been a strong leader on the last (4) Ryder Cup teams – either way – good man – and at (40) years old, I would like to see him win his first major!
   Special thanks this month: To Mike & Kathy Modrzejewski – again – for all their continuing support & great friendship! And to all the hard working folks out at all our fine golf courses – who either work outside taking great care to get the courses ready to play – or inside listening to our (sometimes exaggerated) golf stories (or worse!) – wonderful job!
   (And) if you have a suggestion for a feature article you would like to see covered -or- if you just want to chime in – please contact me at our e-mail address: golfplus3@netzero.com or leave me a voicemail at (219)617-3276, and to read past golf course reviews – or to just visit Golf Plus newspaper online – visit our website at GolfPlusOnline.net.
   Lastly: Many have tried to describe it, but maybe none so eloquently as Mr. Grantland Rice, who stated – (paraphrasing) – “If you want to know about a man, eighteen holes of golf with a man will teach you more about his character than decades in any other interaction.” – So true, so true…
   See you next month - Pete

Sand Creek C.C. (and) Chesterton, IN - “Ready For Prime Time”
by Pete Mandich
GPO Correspondent