Pete Mandich, a former Andrean High School standout, will feature articles of area golf courses
throughout the 2011 golfing season. Below is a brief bio.
l First started hitting balls at age 3 and playing at Calumet GC
l Grew up playing mostly at Gleason Park and Gary CC (now Innsbrook)
l Mentored by PGA Golf Professional Herb Meinert
l Won several junior golf tournaments, including Lake-Porter Junior Champion 1973
l Played and captained Andrean’s golf team 4 years
l Played collegiate golf at Tulane University and Western Michigan University
l Participated in Indiana Jr., Indiana Amateur, Western Amateur, CDGA events (several)
l Played in countless professional events throughout the Midwest & Florida
l Head golf professional at Balmoral Woods G&CC
l Asst. golf pro at Butterfield CC (Oakbrook, IL)
l Head golf pro at Crystal Lake CC (Crystal Lake, IL)
l Worked with or advised a multitude of golf related businesses & manufacturing companies
l Founded & owned 3 separated golf companies
l Built and owned golf driving range & miniature golf course
l Golf instructor for 35 years
l Guest speaker for various PGA sections throughout Midwest as well as National Golf Foundation
l Personal: Currently resides in Hammond, IN, married to the talented local singer Mary “Mystica”, 3 children
Sandy Pines Golf Course - Myrtle Beach, SC in Demotte, IN!
- by Pete Mandich
Sandy Pines Golf Club In Demotte, Indiana is one golf course that we all must play. The course (which opened in the mid-1970's) always showed great potential - well, now that potential has come to fruition. Since 2005 when the Hamstra Group took over, all the elements have fallen into place: 1. Golf course improvements - that seem to occur daily 2. Great staff hirings, including: superintendent Cary Jeffries (2005) & golf professional Brad Burvan (2006) 3. Clubhouse and grounds coordination that can only be described with one word - Quality - and, 4. Most importantly the "Desire to be the best" attitude that is evident throughout the entire facility. But, before I get into more about Sandy Pines Golf Club, give me a minute to talk about “Sandy” “Pines”!
AROUND 10,000 YEARS AGO
When we think of Northern Indiana Golf Courses, one of the last things that come to mind are tall beautiful Pine Trees emiting from sandy soil - our courses tend to be more structured around Mighty Oaks - or - Maples gripping on to rich Midwestern black dirt. So, how did this fine Southeastern Style Golf Course spring up in our backyard? Well, I dug around a little and I think I found out.
During the end of the last Ice Age, around 8-10,000 B.C., the retreating Glaciers scoured out large lakes (that eventually also were lost in time) but left large deposits of sandy soil in their "outwash". Soil that was perfect for growth of the many tail stands of pines you see in the rather unique area of Jasper County where the current Sandy Pines Golf Club exists, another feature of this Glacial movement defined the topography in such a way that all mounds, hills, or low areas of the course run only East and West. Test me on this when you go down to play the course!
This information may seem a little (or a lot!) out of place in an article on this fine course - but the reason I point it out is that Sandy Pines G.C. is really "one of a kind" for our area. In fact Demotte itself is a rather "young" town of only about 130 years because of its inaccessibility by frontiersman, and at one time was a “swamp” area covering approx. 150 miles in width and 50 miles north-to-south; second in size to only the Okefenokee Swamp in the southeastern part of the U.S. Without these wonderful acts of nature this course would not be "Sandy" and the "Pines" would not exist in this area.
Well, Sandy Pines Golf Club does exist! And, as golfers we are all better off for it. The course is a wonderful grouping of eighteen beautiful, challenging golf holes - many with the option of "Gambling" off the tee, or laying up for a more conservative manner of attack. There are 73 - count them - 73 well placed sand traps on the course (some longer than 100 yards) ready to catch any wayward shot, 5-6 ponds, wetlands, and of course "Towering" Pines defining most holes.
The greens are an excellent strand of true bent - perfectly manicured - receptive to good shots - slick at times - but not unfairly so. The fairways are ample in the right areas, but close in on you if you "Gamble" off the tee. With four sets of tees and yardage ranging from 5,000 to 6,800 total yards, all handicaps are welcome. Drainage is remarkable (again "Sandy" soil), and the course can be playable soon after all but the worst heavy rains.
With assistance of the well-known golf course Architect Tim Nugent, many of the holes have been lengthened, altered and reworked to form a wonderful natural progression. The new watering system is top-notch. The golf carts are equipped with state-of-the-art G.P.S. and containers of a sand/seed fill mixture to aid in divot "recovery" are mounted on each cart as well.
The golf shop is stocked with the finest quality products - the shop staff, including Lauren and Chris are both helpful and knowledgeable. Golf professional Brad Burvan, a native of nearby Rensselaer, Indiana and a four-year stand out golfer at the Univ. of Southern Indiana, keeps things running like a finely oiled machine. He also offers an outstanding Junior Program, as well as a great deal on individual lessons.
Cary Jeffries, with over thirty years as a superintendent in our state, coordinates the fine staff that maintains this expansive facility. The overall quality of the course, the handling of the new adjustments, (including drainage and the like) are, I am sure, appreciated by all who play here - not to mention the Beautiful landscaping which greets you upon arriving that is handled by his wife Betty with her able assistant and grandaughter Elizabeth.
Inside the clubhouse you’ll also find the "Sandy Pines Sports Grill." With a capacity of about 150 people, this is a great place to hang out after golf - great menu, good pricing, 20 T.V.'s, friendly staff to serve you, (like Kathy), and well-run by Theresa, the manager. Outside you will find "The Pavilion". Probably the nicest outside patio in the midwest! Holds maybe 200 people for receptions, parties of all types and of course golf outings. Sandy Pines has a very active league schedule, including a Friday night couples league, Senior leagues, and a full slate of golf outings.
Pricing you ask? - Check out the rates at their website: SandyPinesGC.com. You will be pleasantly surprised by the excellent values offered. Speaking of offers: Membership options are available for singles, couples, juniors, families, & seniors. Check them out at the same website or simply call the course at (219) 987-3611 / Toll-Free 1-877-987-3611.
...AND YET MORE
Currently there are beautiful homes and luxury condos on or near the course - but there is also an area known as "The Preserve" which includes some - still available-select homesites. Check them out! And all this is closeby to the wonderful town of Demotte. A town of approximately 4,000 - growing but not spoiled. Drive through and meet some great people, check out Jim's Café - or - maybe the Hometown Grill. A lot to see and do.
Sandy Pines Golf Club was built on a piece of land waiting and wanting to be a golf course - and although it has often been referred to as "N.W. Indiana's Best Kept Secret" the cat is now officially out of the bag. I look forward to all the new and exciting changes I hear are still to come!
For further information concerning Sandy Pines Golf Club call the course at (219) 987-3611 or visit their website at: SandyPinesGC.com. Sandy Pines G.C. is located at 10527 Bunker Drive, Demotte, Indiana 46310 - New entrance on U.S. Hwy 231.
* Golf Digest gives Sandy Pines G.C. 4½ stars! * Drive time: approx. 40 minutes from North Lake County Indiana.
As we promised last month we are having another Contest! This month is our "Golf Quiz". Here is how it works…. On a piece of paper, on the entry form, or via e-mail, send in the answers to these (3) questions:
1. What year did Indian Ridge G.C. in Hobart, Indiana first open?
2. In 1991, Crooked Stick G&CC in Carmel, Indiana hosted the P.G.A. Championship. Who won?
3. What year was Golf Plus newspaper first published?
I will reveal some "clues" on "The Preacher's" radio show on W.J.O.B.1230A.M. on Thursday, Sept. 1st at approximately 5:00pm. I will also be revealing some more Great clues on our website: GolfPlusOnline.net. Just search for "Quiz-Clues" - you'll see it.
Prizes will include: rounds of free golf, certificates for golf merchandise, certificates good for dinner(s) at Freddy’s Steakhouse in Hammond, IN...and more.
To e-mail your entry send to: GolfPlus3@netzero.com
The drawing for prizes will be held at approx. 7:00pm on Thurs., Sept. 29th at Freddy’s Steakhouse at 165th & Kennedy Ave. in Hammond, IN - during the "Preacher's Jukebox". Come and join in the fun. Winners, however need not be present to claim prize(s). We will contact you - no age limit - junior golfers are welcome to enter. And, as we promised - All non-winning entries from our July Quiz are being re-entered….."GOOD LUCK"!!!
Congratulations to Kelly Kraft who captured the U.S. Amateur title at Erin Hills G.C. What a season for Girls High School Golf in the region - a few stand out performers are rippin' it up - Valpo golfer Harley Dubsky, Munster stand-out Sarah Kinser & Chesterton's Kelly Grasser - Good Luck the rest of the way to all. Thumbs up to the recent Carstar Outing held at White Hawk C.C which raised $12,000 for the Make A Wish Foundation. The Hammond Rotary Club & The Hammond Branch of The YMCA will be having their golf outing Sept. 16th at Lost Marsh G.C. For info. or to register call Lynette at (219) 845-1507 ext. 229. Remember to tune in to "The Preacher" at his new hours of 4:00 to 6:00pm M-F on WJOB1230 A.M. I will be on the show Thursday, September 1st at 5:00pm. Give me and the Preacher a call at (219) 845-1100 or you can view the show by logging on to: WJOB1230.com and I will give another quick shot out (with clues to quiz) on Thursday, September15th. Congrats as well to Keegan Bradley on his victory in the P.G.A. Championship. What a year for the Majors - four 1st time winners, including three players still in their 20's!
Indian Ridge G.C. is hosting an outing benefiting Pancreatic Cancer Charities on Sat. Sept 17th - only a few spots left - get on board. Call (219) 942-6850. Ringo's on Route 30 just east of Route 51 is having great fall sales - for info call (219) 942-8929. Scherwood G.C. has an upcoming scramble Sunday, Sept. 18th - 3-man format with 1 player of at least 50 years of any age, 1 player of 60 & 1 wild card player of any age - give it a try - course #(219) 865-2554. River Pointe C.C. in Hobart is celebrating their 1st Anniversary as a public course - Great Rates - call (219) 942-2747. "Swinging For Scholars" golf outing is Friday, Sept. 9th at Wicker Park G.C. in Highland - Great Cause - call (219) 614-5611. Understand the Ironworkers Local #395 had a great time out at South Shore C.C. recently - sorry I missed it. Upcoming Purdue Wrestling Golf Outing will be held at Summertree G.C. in Crown Point on Saturday, September 24th - call course for info (219) 663-0800.
Need to mention the retirement of two long-time friends - Tom Galovic, past President of the Regional Development Co. - best to his wife Denise. And a legend from another walk of life - Mark Hoffman - the long time (35 years) legendary coach of Valparaiso - and best wishes to his wife Sue.
As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions, questions, stories, etc. Please contact me at our e-mail address: GolfPlus3@netzero.com or leave a voice mail: (219) 947-4314.
Special thanks this month to: The players at Sandy Pines who filled me in - Kevin, at the course who helped me out, and indeed everyone (Brad, Cary, Theresa, etc.) who are a part of this fine facility, DIVA - from the Demotte Chamber of Commerce, the ladies at the Demotte Library, and most of all Norm from the Demotte Historical Society who could not have been more helpful. Finally: Thanks to my lovely wife Mary for all her help and support.