Do you remember the first time you were given a stick and a ball (and) were told to aim at that target (or)
put the ball in that hole? Well, whether you were a Generation X’er -or- a baby boomer (&) were given a
plastic play set, or, your uncle George cut down a club (and) had you hit whiffle golf balls in the back yard…
or, you were lucky enough to grow up on/or near a golf course (&) start actually playing the game at a young
age… (you) (like all of us) – started somewhere.
As we all know, here in the region we have lost a number of entry-level properties – making it more difficult for kids to learn how much fun it can be to aim that ball – and make it go where you want it to! I believe this month’s feature facility “Zig-E’s Funland” in St. John, Indiana offers a wonderful opportunity to do just that!
I’ll Fill You In
Zig-E’s Funland is – by far – our region’s best option for “family fun” style entertainment – offering an incredible “menu” of options for a day with friends, the kids/grandkids, or just that place to “look-back” at how much fun we all experience in our younger years.
Opened in 2008, Zig-E’s was “created” through the determined efforts of two young men – Drew & Joe Dzieglowicz… (the family name was originally Smith – but they changed it to Dzieglowicz – to help simplify it for us all!!)… (and) the support of their parents Rose Ann and Marty.
Drew & Marty, having worked at the very popular Schererville Fun Center for many years, saw, upon the closing of that facility, the opportunity/need for a multi-recreational facility of that type in the area -and- rolled the dice, put their collective shoulders to the wall, and have (now) – (through the long hours, and collective leadership of (mostly) both Joe & Drew D.) – started to see some much deserved success!!
The Facility & “Offerings”
I’m going to simply list what Zig-E’s has to offer – but it is important for you to visit Zig-E’s, (and their website – www.zigesfunland.com) to truly understand all that is available, as the facility is constantly growing (and) changing. Bungee jumping (a bungee/trampoline experience) – batting cages, go karts, an indoor arcade, outdoor laser (tactical) tag (approx. 18,000 sq. ft. worth) – a snack shop w/ pizza, nachos, slushies, an indoor & outdoor party/pavilion area, and more – (and) a “mobile” laser tag “unit” that can actually come to you! And, of course, an (18) hole miniature golf course that provides that stick & ball introduction we have been talking about.
Zig E’s Funland is perfect for birthday/graduation parties, fundraisers, family reunions, and all manner of other group related events. (And) with the “mobile” aspect of the laser tag feature – can assist church groups, fun fairs, or even back-yard parties that you may be planning… -(or)- Zig E’s can just offer you & your family and friends a fun night out.
Built on approx. 3 ½ acres – (right on Rte. #41 in the wonderful community of St. John, Indiana) – Zig-E’s is easy to find (but call anyway 219-588-0596). The address is 8176 Wicker Ave., gift cards are available; the facility is open year round (weather permitting); and the spring through fall hours are approx. 10AM to 10PM (7) days a week!
I consider Zig-E’s to be “Northwest Indiana’s premier family fun center,” and not just a wonderful place to recreate (with over 35 very friendly staff members in season), but a viable place to intro that potential new golfer to our wonderful game – go on out to Zig-E’s – say hi to owner/operators Drew & Joe -or- my new friends Bob & Chuck – and just enjoy – the Fun, Golf, & More!
Spring! At Last! – Here’s hoping we get that good & early spring weather we deserve. To have your best season, here are a few suggestions:
1. Stretch, walk a few (9) hole rounds, practice your short game, hit a few balls (and) when you get a “feel” for your game – see your
flaws – recognize where you need work (or) need help – take a few lessons! We are very lucky to have some of the finest teaching
professionals right here in our area! Take advantage, try out a few different instructors if you like – but seek assistance where
needed, the game is always more fun when you understand your game & (of course) when you play well!
2. Check your equipment – grips usually last only 1-2 seasons, and “slick” grips can mess up your game (gripping too tight, etc.).
Visit your local golf shop and check out what new equipment is out there – if you have not changed clubs in the last (5) years or so
– you will not believe what “game improvement” features have been introduced to not only “woods” but irons, wedges, and putters
3. Book your outings now! Courses fill up fast in the “prime time” months.
4. Join a league – sign ups usually start in March – this is always a great way to meet new friends & have some friendly competition.
5. Take advantage of those spring rates. Courses are less crowded – go around twice!
6. Plan to try out new courses – get a variety – we have some unbelievably diverse golf courses within a 20-30 mile area of our region
– haven’t played South Shore CC in Cedar Lake? Aberdeen in Valparaiso? Turkey Creek in Merrillville? Why not?
7. Check out membership prices – really great deals are out there – call around.
8. And please try to introduce a new friend or family member to our great game this season. New blood is always good & you will be
introducing them to the “game of a lifetime.”
9. And, always follow Golf Plus Newspaper & GolfPlusOnline.net – A little plug! – Our wonderful advertisers offer coupons, etc. & we
will be having our own contests, giveaways, and more throughout the year.
All the world tours had great “winter” seasons. A few highlights:
The LPGA – One of the biggest stories of the year was the rise of young (17) Lydia Ko (who grew up in New Zealand) to the #1 position on the ladies tour. She is the youngest player on any tour to become #1 – and seems to be handling the pressure (and) the new “riches” very well. Cheyenne Woods (Tiger’s niece) received her LPGA (full privileges card), young Chinese star Shanshan Feng won the Dubai Masters, and emerging stars throughout the world are propelling this tour to new heights!
The European Tour – saw Luke Donald being chased down the fairway by a baboon in South Africa!; John Daly get his 1st win in (10) years at the Beko Classic in Turkey; Anirban Lahiri (of India) win twice within (3) weeks; Branden Grace (a great young player from South Africa) get (2) big wins of his own; Greg Chalmers win the Australian PGA Championship in a (7) hole playoff over defending champ Adam Scott; and world #1 Rory McIlroy wins again in Dubai!
The Champions Tour (Seniors) – Got off to a great start – with the incredible Miguel Angel Jimenez winning two of his 1st three starts in his premier (50+) season; Lee Janzen won his 1st Seniors event; Paul Goydos won the Allianz Championship; and Charles Schwab Inc. (the title sponsor of the year-long Charles Schwab Cup) signs on for an additional 20 year run!
The PGA Tour – Just keeps getting bigger & better! Even with Tiger Woods still being absent – (due to new/lingering injuries) – the Men’s Tour continues to present a great product with new stars, exciting golf, and very supportive sponsors. Examples: Jordan Speith (23) wins the “Hero World Challenge” event by (10) shots! Patrick Reed & Jimmy Walker, last season’s winners of (3) events each – (and Ryder Cup stand-outs) – each have won in 2015; new, young (24) man to watch – Brooks Koepka – wins the Phoenix Open (an event which again had 500,000+ spectators over the (4) day tourney!); While Jason Day returns healthy – winning the Farmers Insurance Open. *This year’s “Majors” are shaping up to be the best in years!
As time marches on – (and we all march with it!) – our golfing heroes & stars of the past are getting older – (ex. Palmer & Nicklaus are now (85) & (75) respectively) & over the winter we saw the passing of two of golf’s truly great men... Mr. Charlie Sifford – a true pioneer for minorities in golf/all sports, who was the 1st African American to receive a PGA Tour card, a tour winner, a World Golf Hall Of Fame member (and) a proud World War II veteran. In (2014) Mr. Sifford was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and for many will always be remembered as a leader, and a friend to those who sought his advice. For more on the life of Mr. Sifford, (and) his thoughts – pick up a book by Mr. Pete McDaniel entitled “Uneven Lies” – very enlightening. We also lost a man by the name of Billy Casper – long regarded as one of the best putters in golf history – his record was long over-looked in other areas. Mr. Casper captured (69) worldwide wins in his career (including 51 PGA Tour victories) – won (3) Majors, still holds the record for most Ryder Cup points by any individual!, won more tournaments between 1964-1970 than anyone in the world!, and was perhaps the Tour’s all-time family man – raising (11) children, and now having (71) grandchildren/great grandchildren! A wonderful man of golf – whose life was well documented in his book “The Big 3 & Me” – they will both be long remembered.
Running out of room – good luck to the Calumet College of St. Joseph & Purdue-Calumet & boys local high school golf teams as their season’s move forward – (layers, its all about layers in the spring!). Congrats to our young friend – (and Florida State U. golfer) – Hank Lebioda on his Top 5 finish in the prestigious “Jones Invitational.” And, remember to get those (2015) Golf Plus Hall of Fame votes in early – a great number of deserving candidates are going to be up for a vote this year!
Special thanks this month: To Joe, Drew, Bob & Chuck from Zig-E’s Funland, To Mike Modrzejewski for his constant help, to my lovely wife Mary for everything, and to my friends at Ameristar for such an enjoyable year.
On a personal note: Thanks for letting me promote the Benefit – Fundraiser for my brother-in-law Joe Rodriquez (&) sister-in-law Priscilla, who are both facing serious health issues – a concert/dance will be held Sat. March 21st at the Hammond Civic center in Hammond, IN – the entertainment will include the fantastic group(s) – “Together”, “The Nicole Jamrose Band” & “Latin, Satin, Soul.” The music, etc. runs from 4PM – to 11PM & raffles, food, liquor, etc. will be just part of the fun – thanks again for your support – info? – (219)677-2567. Ask for Mary Mystica.
As Always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions, questions, stories, etc. Please contact me at our e-mail address: email@example.com 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.
Lastly: Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all – I know how I’m going to celebrate – I’m sneaking off to see the band “A Bit Of Timepeace” at Flo’s Kenwood Lounge on Kennedy Ave. in Hammond, IN (Tuesday, March 17th from 6:30-9:30PM) -(but)- whatever your plans – (or) whether your game this season more resembles your bowling score(!) than your desired golf score! – Enjoy – and please take the advice of the great Charlie Chaplin who once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted!”
See you next month - Pete