Golf Plus newspaper & GolfPlusOnline.net
Phone: 219.617.3276    Email: golfplus3@netzero.com    Mobile: GolfPlusOnline.net
"Serving the Golf Communities of NW Indiana and Chicago's South Suburbs"
                                       When you begin to think about opening a business (any business) – risk/reward is one of the 1st 
                                    evaluators. When the decision involves opening/building a golf course – experience tells you the hard work, 
                                    dedication, & perseverance that is involved (and) when you build – (then) – you must survive, (& hopefully), 
                                    thrive; Summertree GC in Crown Point IN has: survived through years of some serious weather, horrific 
                                    economic downturns, ups & downs with the popularity of the sport of golf, (and) it has thrived in the way that 
                                    it has established itself as a focal point for the community, a strong source of employment for many, and a fun place for groups of region golfers/non-golfers - to meet friends, celebrate milestones, and enjoy some great golf!
A Little Background
   In the early 1970’s, Mr. Chuck Hegan – (with young sons Paul and Dave Hegan pitching in where they could) – began work on (200+) acres he acquired in Crown Point, Indiana – resulting in the build-out of what is now (and has been for (40) golf seasons) the beautiful Summertree GC.
   Already owner/partner/operator of such fine golf facilities as Oak Knoll & Pheasant Valley GC’s (later) in Crown Point, IN (and) Indian Ridge & Cressmoor GC’s in Hobart, IN – it might seem to many that another undertaking of this magnitude (with its inherent risk) was not worth the effort – but not so for Mr. Chuck Hegan, who “plowed” forward – and for those of us who have enjoyed his efforts (with the course and the clubhouse) over the years, we are glad he did!
Summertree GC Today
   Today’s Summertree Golf Course is a peaceful, natural, (&) scenic golf facility. * (The 14th tee is the highest point in Lake County Indiana!) – with rolling, tree-lined fairways, elevation changes, & well-designed greens with “back-drops”, (and just enough speed to test your nerves), and well-placed & beautifully maintained greenside and fairway bunkering.
   There are several ponds on the course, a creek that runs throughout the property, continuous cart paths & new (excellent) irrigation & drainage, (4) sets of tees allowing for all levels of players to enjoy (&) ranging from 4,400 to 6,600+ yards. Pace of play is closely guarded (with rangers on busy days); yardages are well marked, the (all-electric) carts are in good shape, there is a fine putting green, pull carts are available, and that (all-important!) beverage cart is always on the move!
More
   Women’s & Men’s leagues are available, all manner of membership packages are very reasonably priced – including “multi-course” & junior memberships. The course, clubhouse and grounds are perfect for outings/special events – including an outdoor pavilion/grilling area (and) the clubhouse is also home to a “perfect” “19th hole” with “good” golf course burgers/sandwiches & “cold beverages!” The golf shop is very well stocked (and) the staff, including: “Mr. Everything” Randy Jones, Geoff, Star, and the “ever-present” (30+ years) region stand-out – Bobby Babula is ready to help you have a great time on & off the course. * Special Note: Bobby is recovering from a few health concerns – we all wish him well & look forward to seeing him back out at the course soon!
   The course is home to the Merrillville and Wheeler High School (boys & girls) golf programs – numerous charitable functions – including the annual Firefighters & St. Jude outings, and has a very active & friendly group of local golfers/members, including: my new best friends – Jeff Cannon, (3) time club champ & member for (20+) years – Bill Morrison, who has played at Summertree for well over (30) years & Charles Smith, who has been playing for over (20) years at Summertree and promised to “buy a round” if I put his name in the paper?! (I’m lying – but buy a round anyway!).
A Little More
   When you go out to the (2014) edition of Summertree GC, you will find Mr. Paul Hegan, his wonderful wife Vikki, and Chuck Hegan himself, closely guarding the high standards they have established at all of their properties (&) which we all hope will continue for another (40) years! Happy B-day Summertree – you don’t look a day over (39)!
   *Summertree GC is easy to find – located just east of I-65 (between Mississippi & Colorado Streets -on- 101st Ave.) in Crown Point, Indiana – the address is 2323 E. 101st Ave., Crown Point, IN – and the phone # is (219)663-0800 – Summertree is a fun course & a place that makes you feel right at home – if you haven’t played there yet – give it a try – you’ll be glad you did!
Golf Shots
   Some April Tour Notes: Ladies first – Lexi Thompson (19) becomes the 2nd youngest to win a major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Michele Wie wins for the first time on “American soil,” with her win at the Lotte Championship in her home state of Hawaii – Lydia Ko (16) wins for the first time as a professional (and) Paula Creamer ties Tiger’s consecutive cuts made record at (37).
   The men’s tour(s) saw Matt Kuchar back in the winner’s circle at the RBC Heritage – Lee Westwood captured his 40th title with his victory on the European Tour in Malaysia – Seung-Yul Noh (22) of South Korea wins the Zurich Open in New Orleans, adding to his titles won (at 17) on the Asian Tour & (at 18) on the European Tour – his “star” I definitely rising! (And) the most “famous golfer in the world,” Miguel Angel Jimenez becomes the 18th player to win his debut event on the Champions Tour.
   Tiger Woods has had successful surgery and expects/hopes to be back for the British Open this summer – and how close are they?! Tiger (now 38 yrs old) has (64) “major” starts with (14) titles to show for his career – Jack Nicklaus at (38)? (64) major starts & (14) titles – the race is on!
   And April never lets us down at Augusta National – Bubba (no last name necessary) becomes the 17th player with multiple wins (2) at the Masters – he closed the deal on Sunday by hitting driver & wedge on the 13th! And having (11)! One-putt greens! Bubba has proved he can do it all – (11) one-putt greens at Augusta, on Sunday, under pressure, wow!
   Another great event was held on the Sunday before the start of the Masters – hope you had a chance to watch the first ever Drive, Chip, & Putt Championship. An event that featured (88) finalists – (from approx. 15,000 entrants) – aged (7-15) – who had a great time, pulled off some fantastic shots, and were able to see Augusta National (&) with (2013) Masters Champ Adam Scott handing out some of the awards, Bubba, & others shaking their hands, they have memories for a lifetime. If you are interested in entering your junior golfer this year – Hurry – the deadline is fast approaching – go to www.drivechipandputt.com for info.
   (And) class = equals = “The King” …the (3) part series on the life of Mr. Arnold Palmer was outstanding! Missed it?! I’m sure it will be available for sale at some point – add it to your DVD Library. A few highlights: Arnie captured (7) major titles, (62) total tour victories, and was the 1st ever to win the US Amateur, the US Open, and the US Senior Open. He helped establish the Senior Tour, Golf Channel, the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, and the Bay Hill (Florida) Tour event that bears his name. His impact on the PGA Tour was unparalleled – (and impossible to express in this brief writing) – he was a very accomplished pilot, course designer, worldwide businessman, a cancer survivor, a man of the people (who) has kept all letters written to him by his fans! (and) responds to all! This great golfer & human being never forgot where he came from & who (his fans) & what (the game of golf) helped make his career and his life so full. Arnold Palmer is – (simply put) – the most important golfer of all time!
Quick Shots
   The historic Gary Amateur will once again be held at South Gleason Park Golf Course in Gary, Indiana on Saturday, June 7th & Sunday, June 8th. For all the info, call the course at (219)980-1089.
   Come on out to support the Griffith soccer club – as they hold their golf outing Sunday, May 18th at Wicker Park GC in Highland Indiana. For details, contact Rick Avalos at (219)838-4674.
   Mom deserves the best! Do Not forget Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 11th) – maybe treat her to a round of golf, a golf gift from her favorite local golf shop, or maybe dinner at one of our local clubs. * Just get her whatever she wants! Mom deserves the best!
   Junior golf leagues, instruction programs, events, etc. are available throughout our region – Please!! Get the kids involved – call any local golf course for info -or- contact me at the paper – I will be happy to direct you to the nearest/best opportunity for golf fun for your junior this season!
   Special thanks this month to: Chuck, Paul, and Vikki Hegan; Geoff Lalic and the whole staff at Summertree GC; to Mike Modrzejewski for his excellent work, and to my lovely wife Mary (&) most importantly to my mom – a true champion on & off the golf course!
   Lastly: Let your voice be heard – send in your choice(s) for the “Golf Plus NWI Golf Hall of Fame.” There are so many deserving golfers, course owners, etc. to choose from here in our region. …Pick a few – and mail in your vote(s) today!
   And as always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions, questions, stories, etc. Please contact me at our e-mail address: golfplus3@netzero.com or leave me a voice mail at (219)947-4313. And to read past golf course reviews – or to just visit Golf Plus newspaper online – visit our website at GolfPlusOnline.net.
   Finally: One more “note” on Arnie and his passion for the game – when asked by a reporter why? He wanted to win the Masters? Mr. Palmer replied: “Why do I want to win the Masters? …Why do I want to breathe?” – See ya next month. PM
Summertree GC in Crown Point, IN – “Happy 40th!”
by Pete Mandich
GPO Correspondent