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"Serving the Golf Communities of NW Indiana and Chicago's South Suburbs"
                                        Youche Country Club -and- Crown Point, Indiana are both historic (&) proud community based institutions
                                     who have, through the years, long served our region with class & dignity. While protecting (&) respecting the past, they are constantly evolving – in order to offer the best for those that will follow. Both feature a strong sense of community, outstanding leadership and family based values, and, have that “friendly” “welcoming” feel that you will immediately notice upon visiting either this fine country club -or- the town that it calls home.
Crown Point, IN – A Brief History
  It is always a pleasure to visit Crown Point, and, having covered this town in past writings, I will only mention a few of the key highlights.
  Crown Point, Indiana was established in (1834) by Solon & Mariah Robinson. Together they established the first post office and general store in the area – while Mr. Robinson served as the 1st Justice of the Peace. Mr. Robinson was a “renaissance man” of sorts who I encourage all that have an interest in Crown Point history to research.
  As the town grew larger, more businesses were established – eventually forming a “square” surrounding the courthouse that was erected in (1878) – and which is still in the center of downtown. In (1882) a jail and sheriffs home were built (1) block south of the square – and in (1934) this jail became famous (infamous?) the world over for the escape of the notorious gangster John Dillinger. This jail still stands, and, upon this, the 80th anniversary of his escape, is available for viewing by tour only – call (219)663-3765 for info.
  In the early 20th century, Crown Point developed another point of significance by building up a very active marriage trade – and indeed – became the “marriage mill” of the Midwest. This was due to the “no waiting period for marriage licensing” policy in effect at the time. Among the celebrities who availed themselves of these services were: The famous film actor Rudolph Valentino, football great Red Grange, Cowboy star Tom Mix, Hollywood producer Michael Todd, and a young fighter by the name of Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali).
  Jumping ahead – today, Crown Point has a population approaching 30,000 – and is truly a “jewel” of a town in the northwest corner of the state of Indiana. The square surrounding the old courthouse is now a thriving grouping of established businesses, restaurants, and night spots - the courthouse itself has been lovingly restored (thank you Lake County Courthouse Foundation!) – and now houses a wonderful array of shops on its lower level. Crown Point is still the county seat (Lake County, IN), and is home to the (1974) new jail & courthouse located just north of downtown.
  The current civic leaders, and indeed all of the citizens of Crown Point have witnessed a “well-organized growth in all facets of their community. Including – the addition of a new library, a fantastic “Sportsplex” (a must see), and an outstanding new high school -and- the festivals & special events held throughout the year further showcase the “fun” and imagination of our regions true “hometown.”
Youche CC – The Course
  First established as the “Crown Point Gun Club” in the early 1920’s – Youche Country Club has grown to become one of the finest golf & country clubs in the Midwest. This beautiful (18) hole golf course – long regarded as one of the finest conditioned courses around – has a “timeless” grace about it that is seldom found – and once played – easily appreciated.
  In approximately (1925) the course began with (9) holes, soon thereafter acquiring additional land, (financed in large part through the generosity of local banker Mr. Julian W. Youche), and an additional (9) holes were added by the early 1930’s. Throughout the entirety of this difficult economic period – and the war years of the 1940’s – Youche CC “held on,” and by the middle of the 20th century, truly hit its stride.
  Moving forward: By the early 1990’s, the membership felt some “modernization” was necessary to the existing layout – and the famous golf course architect – Mr. Dick Nugent – was brought in to “improve upon/enhance” the already quality features of the course. And, in 2007, a “major” undertaking took place – (3) original holes, as well as the existing clubhouse, were vacated – while (3) new holes, a new driving range, and most notably, a new “outstanding” clubhouse were established on the north side of the property. These (3) holes – designed by Tim Nugent & Associates – have now blended in quite well, and are an exciting addition to the overall golf course.
Today’s Course
  The current Youche CC Golf Course is a wonderful, challenging, par (71) course – measuring from approx. 5,300 to 6,700+ yards – with (4) sets of tees (allowing all levels of players to enjoy their round) – has (64!) well-positioned (&) conditioned bunkers, (8) ponds, tree-lined “backdrops” to its difficult (but fair) rolling greens; some surrounding wetlands, beautiful plantings, and an “island green” (one of the newer holes) to test your skills!
  The new driving range, practice area (including sand trap), and putting green, are all very well-designed, and, although the membership is quite active – with men’s & women’s leagues, a junior golf program, and many couples events, the course is usually not crowded -and- tee times are not necessary!!
  Youche CC offers a bag room (&) locker rooms for your convenience, as well as, a fully stocked golf shop, and, golf instruction from one of the area’s top golf professionals – (Mr. Mike Liming – a fine player and Hammond Morton grad) – and is home to both the Boys & Girls Crown Point HS golf teams.
  And, above all, this fine course is still considered one of the finest conditioned/maintained you will find in all of the area – thanks in no small part to the greatly respected Youche CC Superintendent of (30+) years – Mr. Doug Meyers (&) his staff – (including now veteran David Flesvig) – and a very supportive board of directors.
The Clubhouse & More
  The beautifully designed clubhouse (and pool!) are a very “welcoming” place to enjoy the “featured” fine dining – (brought to you by locally renowned Chef Tim Merkel) -or- more casual clubhouse “fare” in one of the adjacent rooms (or even on the scenic patio); the main dining room – with room for 150+ - is perfect for all manner of special events, weddings, etc – and professionally run by Ms. Heidi Besse – the club’s service & special events coordinator; meeting rooms are equally well-designed, and the most important person to know – (by my way of thinking) – Denise Herkey (the bar manager!) – and her staff, really know how to take care of you!
  The Clubhouse also contains a fitness/exercise center -and- is directly adjacent to a beautiful pool/wading pool area – with full service poolside & run by pool manager extraordinaire Mr. Brad Nieman.
  And club life at Youche CC offers a variety of activities – including: cooking demonstrations, ballroom dance classes, gourmet meals w/wine tastings, bridge clubs, game nights & “family” based events…and is a very “community based” (and) charitable club – providing “special events” for others, including college scholarship programs.
Further
  Youche Country Club is owned/operated by its obviously forward thinking membership/board of directors (with) current club President Craig Slosson, Vice President Tom Adams Jr. & Membership Chairman Mike Barancyk helping to keep the club’s high quality standards intact – while the operations staff, including Office Manager Kathy Just, the very helpful Cathy Sharkey, and the balance of the club personnel ensures that the time you spend at the club is very enjoyable.
In Closing
  Youche Country Club is – simply put – everything you would want in a private country club -with- a very supportive & active group of members, a fine leadership group, an excellent staff, and quite possibly the most “friendly” atmosphere you will encounter at any establishment (&) which is constantly improving upon itself and the facility.
  So, if you love golf, and want to be part of a historic and beautiful golf facility – with “room to breathe” on the course (&) a bright future – venture out to Youche CC - take a “GUIDED TOUR” – (usually performed by the “amazing” Mr. Al Braccolino – the club’s Membership Coordinator/Good-Will Ambassador) – and see why Youche Country Club is where yesterday truly does meet tomorrow.
  Youche Country Club is currently welcoming new members – call (219)663-1418 for info – several membership options are available to fit your needs – with NO initiation fee! (and) the club is open year round. Youche CC is located at: 2301 W 129th Place in Crown Point, IN & the website is www.youchecc.com and for more info on Crown Point, IN & its events, etc, visit www.crownpoint.in.gov.
Golf Shots
  Is everybody tired of winter?... Nevermind! -But- now that we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel – try and make a few Springtime resolutions. Since our golf season is such a valued time, make a point to enjoy every minute – start by checking your equipment (#1) slick grips can effect your game (gripping too hard, etc) and they generally only last (if stored correctly) about (1-2) seasons – check them out. (#2) Demo Days are coming up (follow this publication) – and most golf shops are getting in new clubs (check out some hybrids) – they usually let you try them out; let your equipment help you, not hold you back. (#3) A round of golf can be a little pricey - (Spring rates are here!) – so be ready – practice on the putting green, do some stretching – hit balls when you can – a little practice can go a long way. (#4) Take lessons – it is time to learn your game & a set of professional eyes can be a big help – and be prepared when you take these lessons (bring your questions, point out your weak points to your instructor, etc) – above all – golf is always more fun when you play well!
  If the snow does want to melt a little longer – give the great facility – (w/ instruction available) – Creekside Golf & Learning Center a try – heated stalls are available, as well as, indoor nets & simulators – located in Valpo – call (219)531-7888 for info.
  Or go visit our friend Don at “The Dome” in Crown Point – call for hours (219)663-3663 – good pricing, nice mats, new balls – lots of fun.
  And region golf veteran Dean Gabey (ably assisted by his pre-apprentice Tyler Ochi) offer a variety of practice/lesson packages at Lost Marsh of Hammond, call (219)765-3479 or dgabey@lostmarshgolf.com for details. Dean has an outstanding indoor simulator set-up where you can play a round of golf, (current special – (4) players for the price of (3) -or- play as a single) – analyze your swing – learn about golf fitness/nutrition – or simply hit from the heated bays. Open Monday-Saturday 9-9! & Sunday 9-6. *And don’t forget Dean offers a free clinic (all year) on Wednesdays from 5-6PM.
  I hope you got a chance to check out some winter TV golf – all the tours are off to a great start. Viewership & attendance are at an all-time high worldwide. *A few high points – Miquel Angel Jimenez of Spain (49) became the oldest player to win on the European Tour – Lydia Ko of New Zealand (16) wins right away as she turns pro – Jim Kaat (the former great MLB pitcher) broke (75!) both right & left handed!! Terrific final match was played at the Accenture Match Play Championship between (eventual winner) Jason Day & emerging star Victor Dubuisson of France – Dustin Johnson won for the 7th straight year to begin his career – veteran Jimmy Walker wins (3) times to start his 2013-14 season – Jordan Speith (20) (last year’s Rookie of the Year) continues his fine play – Cheyenne Woods (23) (Tigers niece) wins the Australian Masters (her 1st victory) – Bubba (no last name necessary!) wins at Riviera CC after a winless 2013 (he is great for golf) – Karrie Webb wins the Australian Open for the (5th) time (that’s 40 career victories!) – and Rory McIlroy (even after his near miss at the Honda Classic) looks like his game is in good from for 2014.
Quick Shots
  We’re back…if you would like to win?! – Join the fun as I appear as a guest on “The Back Room” radio show starring “Larry The K” and “Big George.” I will be on their show the (3rd) Thursday of every month at approx. 6:30PM – to discuss local golf goings on & GIVING AWAY a few rounds of golf to some of our fine local courses. For a CHANCE TO WIN - or just to listen in – tune in to WJOB1230AM –or- log on to www.wjob1230am.com to view the show. The call-in number is (219)845-1100 – Good Luck!
  Congratulations to both the Tinley Park Golf Expo & the Chicago Golf Show of Rosemont for a job well done – all those that attended really had a good time.
      And good luck to all the local college and high school golf teams as they start their 2014 seasons – including the Calumet College of St. Joseph (Cal College) as coach George Topoll and his team of region golfers – Tyler Nicol of Boone Grove, Anthony Rubino of Munster, Steve Rankin of Lowell, Anthony Spolla also from Boone Grove, and another Lowell product Michael Bafia, head down to play in the “Warner University Golf Classic Invitational” in Sebring, Florida.
      Special thanks this month: To Al, Kathy, & Cathy, and the entire staff at Youche CC, to all the fine folks at the new Crown Point Library, to Mike Modrzejewski for all his help, to my lovely wife Mary for her support, and to Harold Ramis! – a man who changed golf forever – by bringing us the unbelievable movie “Caddy Shack” – as you read this, I dare you not to come up with (5-10) great lines from this movie!
     Special note: It was correctly pointed out to me that in my feature article covering Lansing CC in November of last year – wherein I mentioned the tragic circumstances surrounding the passing of professional golfer Tony Lema – I mistakenly referred to Mr. Lema as an “ex-marine.” I, of course, know that there is no such thing as an “ex-marine” – once a marine, always a marine! My bad, and I thank all in the military (past & present) for their service. 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 voicemail at (219)947-4313, and to read past golf course reviews – or to just visit Golf Plus newspaper online – visit our website at www.GolfPlusOnline.net.
      Lastly: Henry Ford once stated – that regardless of what you are attempting to do well – whether you think you can (or) you can’t – you are always right! Make this the season that you play your best!
Youche CC in Crown Point, IN – “Where Yesterday Meets Tomorrow”
by Pete Mandich
GPO Correspondent