By Len Ziehm
LAKE WALES, Florida – I can’t think of a much more pleasant golf experience than playing a Donald Ross course on a crisp, sunny day. That’s what we thought we were doing when we visited Lake Wales Country Club, which is about 40 miles from Orlando.
Lake Wales is managed by Chicago-based GolfVisions, and we found it a well-conditioned, nicely designed layout that clearly had the feel of a Ross course.
Lakes Wales’ latest logo honors only one of its designers.
The club proclaims it a Ross design in its website and uses a likeness of the legendary architect in its most recent logo.
There’s only one problem.
Ross was involved in the course’s creation for sure, but recent research suggests he wasn’t the only architect and may not have even been the main one. Another almost-as-famous architect, Seth Raynor, was involved as well. Continue reading
By Len Ziehm
Golf trails are nothing new. Courses and clubs have formed marketing partnerships for years with varying degrees of impact.
In the United States alone there are at least 50 trails. Texas has five separate of them. Colorado Golf Trails is one marketing entity, but it promotes 10 different trails within that state, and some of those trails have as many of 12 courses. Go to http://www.golftrips.com/golftrails/ to check out the various trails out there.
Golfers of all abilities have enjoyed Riviera for 62 years.
Most famous is probably the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which unites 11 Alabama golf facilities. It’s been a rousing commercial success, but some of the “trails’’ amount to nothing more than websites.
I’ve played all the courses on Indiana’s Pete Dye Golf Trail and some courses on a few of the others, including the Robert Trent Jones. This winter, though, I’ve been introduced to one that is different – and in some ways better – than all the others. Continue reading
By Len Ziehm
The U.S. Golf Assn. has finally committed to holding a national championship for senior women players. Though long overdue, that’s good news.
On the other hand, the first such tournament won’t be held until 2018 and there will be differences between the first U.S. Senior Women’s Open and the only other major event for senior women, which is put on by the LPGA Legends Tour.
French Lick’s Pete Dye Course hosts the only major championship for senior women now, but that will change in 2018.
The Legends Championship has been played the last two years at the Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Ind., which is also the site of the Legends Hall of Fame. The Legends event is over 54 holes; the first U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be over 72 holes.
Players can ride in the Legends event, won the first two years by Lorie Kane and Laurie Rinker. As per USGA tradition in open championships, the Senior Women’s Open will be walking-only. And, of course, the Legends is for former LPGA players while both amateurs and professionals can compete in the Senior Women’s Open.
By Len Ziehm
CULVER, Ind. – Mission accomplished.
It took four years, but my attempt to play all seven courses on Indiana’s Pete Dye Golf Trail ended with a bang on a cold but sunny November afternoon – a most pleasant way to finish a most pleasant golf odyssey.
While Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is the most famous of the few such golf ventures, the Dye Trail is special, too. There may be fewer courses, but those included offer plenty of variety and an historical touch as well.
Mystic Hills golfers had a high-flying time at the Big Cup Chili Open.
Dye – arguably the premier golf course architect of this generation — picked the seven for the Trail from the 25 courses he designed in his home state. They included his first-ever 18-holer, now known as Maple Creek, and – until just a month ago – his last course, the Pete Dye Course at French Lick.
Maple Creek was known as Heather Hills when it opened in 1961. Design-wise it was a joint effort between Dye and wife Alice. Dye’s latest creation is at Keswick Hall, near Charlottesville, Va. I’m scheduled to play there in two weeks. Continue reading
By Len Ziehm
CHASKA, Minn. – In just a couple years a golf club that is just 52 years old will become only the second in history to host all of the top six championships played on American soil.
Hazeltine National, which opened in 1962, has already hosted the U.S. Open (1970, 1991), the U.S. Women’s Open (1966, 1977), the PGA Championship (2002, 2009), the U.S. Senior Open (1983) and the U.S. Amateur (2006).
Hazeltine’s Walking Man statue may soon become as famous as PInehurst’s Putter Boy.
All that’s missing is the Ryder Cup, and Hazeltine went on the clock to host that epic battle duel between the U.S. and Europe in 2016 after Europe continued its recent domination of the competition at Gleneagles in Scotland earlier this fall. Hazeltine will be the place to be from Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2016.
The only club to host all those big event is North Carolina’s Pinehurst No. 2, which opened in 1907 – 55 years before Hazeltine. Pinehurst, which became the first course to host both the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens in back-to-back weeks last June, also hosted the U.S. Senior Open (1994), PGA Championship (1936), U.S. Open (1999, 2005) and Ryder Cup (1951).