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WHAT A WILD RIDE Wisconsin Dells’ Wild Rock Golf Club Headlines Just Fore Fun Awards

RYDER CUP RAINCHECK Whistling Straits Left Waiting as COVID-19 Postpones Event to ’21


The Gaylord Golf Mecca is Your Can’t-Miss Golf Trip for 2020 www.golftimemag.com



Inside COVID-19 ’s Impact on Golf

Reverse Your Course at

e Loop

The Loop — Black No. 6/Red No. 12

New 10-Hole Short Course Opening Late Summer 2020 Imagine playing a course in one direction one day, then reversing the routing and experiencing a completely different course the following day. Introducing e Loop, Tom Doak’s Int reversible, links-style course. When combined with the original Forest Dunes course, a Tom Weiskopf design, you won’t nd two more contrasting styles of golf at one resort ... anywhere.

Forest Dunes No. 18

forestdunesgolf.com | (989) 275-0700 | info@forestdunesgolf.com Roscommon, Michigan


Ironworks Golf Academy has been recognized with several accomplishments, including:



Wisconsin PGA Teacher of the Year Wisconsin PGA Youth Player Development of the year Golf Digest Top Teacher of the State Ping Top 100 Club Fitter Taylormade & Titleist Premier Club Fitter Golf Channel Academy Facility



Smiles For Miles 24

50 Smoky Mountain Magic

Midwestern Mecca 34

60 Golf’s Cost of COVID-19

The Just Fore Fun Awards highlight the game’s purest pleasures Gaylord, Michigan, is the can’t-miss golf getaway we all need right now

Mad About Madeline 42

Touring one of Wisconsin’s most enchanting golf experiences

The rolling terrain of Tennessee makes a terrific and affordable golf destination How a global pandemic has impacted every facet of the game

66 Ryder Will Return

Officials postpone long-awaited Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits

Volume 15, Issue 2

Editor’s Note


Bump & Run


Rules of the Game


70 Equipment 78 The Back Nine

ON THE COVER: Wild Rock Golf Club in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. THIS SPREAD: The clubhouse at Black Lake Golf Club in Onaway, Michigan.

Photo by Nile Young Jr.

Photos by Nile Young Jr.

Editor’s Note

A Division of Killarney Golf Media, Inc. P.O. Box 14439 Madison, WI 53708

Phone: 608-280-8800 Fax: 866-877-9879






EDITOR Don Shell


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Gary D’Amato Danny Freels Rob Hernandez Dennis McCann



FOUNDER Kim Thompson

©Copyright 2020 Golftime All rights reserved. Golftime is not responsible or liable for any errors, omissions or changes in information.



elcome to the Summer 2020 issue, a.k.a. “Just Fore Fun” edition of Golftime Midwest, in which we’d planned on celebrating all the fun things about the game we love this year. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Of course, we’d planned this issue pre-global pandemic, as the terrible impact of COVID-19 was still unknown, five long months that seem like a lifetime ago. Since then, these have been some of the most challenging times any of us have ever seen, both personally and professionally. Golf has been far from immune, and every aspect of the game has been rocked from its natural axis, just like every other facet of our lives. But after the initial impact, as the country began to slowly reopen, it was golf that provided respite and a sense of normalcy. For many of us, golf has been the only saving grace we’ve had in 2020. In this issue, we take a deeper dive into some of the effects of the pandemic on the game, from a slower start to the season, to fewer fans along the fairways, to a reshuffled schedule of the game’s biggest events, most notably the Ryder Cup (see our story, starting on 66). But through it all, the game is proving more resilient than we knew it could be — just like us. See our Industry Insider starting on 58. If you’re like us, we know you’ve been going stir-crazy, and in desperate need of a golf getaway. We offer a trio of terrific options in this issue, from Wisconsin’s magical Madeline Island (see page 42), to Northern Michigan’s Gaylord Golf Mecca (page 34), and the whiskey-soaked hills of Tennessee’s Bear Trace (page 50). We know we could all use a break from the news, which is why the game goes on, and our Just Fore Fun Awards go on, as well. We might just need them more today than we ever planned. Thanks to our readers, we celebrate what’s great about the game here in the Midwest, where we’re grateful to have such fun-filled region to play in. Find out who won starting on page 24. This issue you’re reading ends the 15th year of Golftime Magazine, a proud milestone for the many people who’ve helped make Golftime great over the years. We want to thank you, our readers, clubs and courses, and the many other supporters who have been right with us on this wild ride. We’ve all had a tough year, but if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that in a turbulent time where we’re all held at arm’s reach, golf grabs us and connects us when nothing else can. Thanks for connecting with us.


2 FA Se 0% O LL pt em FF W SPE be ee C r & kni IA g Oc ht L tob St er ays 2

02 0

Destination Golf in Southeastern Indiana Harbor Links at Sagamore Resort Golf Advisor Top 50 Course 4 Years in a Row

Ainsley’s Café & Harbor Bar P.B. Dye Design Specializing in Stay and Play Packages Customizable Packages Extended Golfing Season

765-458-7431 ext. 221 www.harborlinksgc.com

15179 Old State Road 101 Liberty, IN

Must be 21 years or older to enter the casino. Gambling Problem? Call 1.800.9.WITH.IT!

Go for a drive this summer

The time is now for a road trip. And French Lick Resort, in the heart of the Midwest, is where that epic getaway happens.

Play, then play a little more at the casino.

Because playtime shouldn’t just be limited to the course. With slots, live-dealer table games and a sportsbook, kick back at French Lick Casino when your rounds are done for the day.

A taste of old-school, a taste of new-school.

Welcome to the only place in the world with courses by two World Golf Hall of Fame architects. Play Pete Dye’s modern gem and a classic Donald Ross layout, ranked #1 and #2 for 10 years running on GolfWeek’s “Best You Can Play” in Indiana.

A convenient meet-up spot for the whole crew.

Location, location, location. In the heart of Southern Indiana, French Lick Resort is an easy drive from Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, Cincinnati and Nashville.

Fine-tune your gear.

Ensure you’re properly fit for every club in your bag. Whether you’re needing just a driver or a putter or a complete set, the Callaway Performance Center provides award-winning custom fitting along with regripping and club repair.

Stay in style.

With one modern and two historic hotels on property, there’s three different ways to enjoy a luxury stay. And with free resort shuttle service throughout your stay, plus free parking and free Wi-Fi, you can save some cash for snacks on the drive home.

frenchlick.com/golf • (888) 936-9360

Photo by Nile Young Jr.


Everybody’s All-American When John Rooney, co-founder along with son and Air Force Lt. Col. Dan Rooney of the Folds of Honor Foundation, bought a tight little track on the sandy shores of Grand Haven, Michigan, in 1998, he knew he had something special — hidden beneath the surface. Two decades later, the son has taken the reins from the father, and the course’s true potential is about to be unearthed and reborn — as a Jack Nicklaus-redesigned marvel called American Dunes. Nicklaus is completely reimagining the course from its original 1965 design, tearing open the turf to expose the vast sandy soil underfoot, a la Sand Valley or even Pine Valley. With all course profits benefitting the Folds of Honor Foundation, the course will offer discounts to veterans and active duty members of the armed forces, too. American Dunes opens for invitation-only play this fall, ahead of 2021’s official launch. We can’t wait. americandunes.com.

Bump & Run


Here’s a look at a trio of important upgrades around the Midwest

Betting On Bent

Erin Hills is gambling big on bentgrass Erin Hills, which opened in 2006 and played host to the 2011 U.S. Amateur and the 2017 U.S. Open, has always been known for the exceptional quality of its bentgrass greens, but the fine fescue fairways and tees have been problematic. So the storied club shut down earlier this summer to overseed its fescue with two varieties of bent. Over the next year to 18 months, the bentgrass, slit-seeded and over-seeded with a broadcast spreader, will overtake and replace the compromised fine fescue and Erin Hills will have a new and greatly improved playing surface. “Our view is that our fairway turf, while it’s acceptable for play, is not up to the standards of the rest of our facility,” said 12


Erin Hills owner Andy Ziegler. “It’s not up to the standards of our greens, it’s not up to the standards of the golf course design and topography. It’s just not up to our standards, so we wanted to fix it.” Other than the brief period when the course was closed, play will continue unaffected. Because the conversion from fescue to bentgrass will be a slow process, golfers will scarcely notice any change on a given day, unless they happen to be turf experts. “Our goal was to try to attempt this process in a manner that provided the smallest amount of impact to the golf course and to our business operation,” said superintendent Zach Reineking. erinhills.com. — Gary D’Amato

Bump & Run

Bring On ‘The Baths’

Photo by Paul Hundley

Coming from Kohler Co. in 2021: ‘The Baths of Blackwolf Run,’ with 10 par-3 holes, a two-acre putting course ... and four swimming holes The Kohler Co. is taking the concept of the short course to a new level with “The Baths of Blackwolf Run,” which will combine a 10-hole par-3 course with a two-acre putting course and — get this — four “baths,” or swimming holes, built into the routing. The complex, being built on 27 acres between the first and 11th holes of the Meadow Valleys course at Blackwolf Run, is scheduled to open in June 2021. “There’s a great deal of flexibility built into this space,” said Dirk Willis, vice president of global golf, retail and landscape for Kohler Co. The four water features, or baths,

will have sand bottoms and beach access. For typical daily play, they will be part of the course routing, though multiple tee boxes ensure that there are no forced carries over water unless desired. If a business or group schedules an event, part of the par-3 course can be closed so that the baths do not come into play. — Gary D’Amato

Forest Dunes’ Opens Its Sweet New Short Course One of the Midwest’s best gets bigger and better — by going smaller One of the Midwest’s best golf resorts keeps getting better and better — little by little. Forest Dunes Golf Club, in Roscommon, Michigan, has three Top 100 courses — the Tom Weiskopf-designed Dunes Course, and the world’s only reversible golf course, The Black and Red courses by Tom Doak. With that trio casting a long shadow, owner Lew Thompson decided to go short, with the sensational new 10-hole Short Course which opened Aug. 1. Designed by the up-and-coming architecture duo Keith Rhebb and Riley Johns, the Short Course varies from 50 and 155 yards, playing up and beyond the hillside next to the club’s outdoor patio bar. The new course is the perfect post-round, bite-sized snack for groups to go out and set-

tle bets, even scores, and have a few laughs. “I equate it to more of a putt-putt (experience),” said Don Helinski, Forest Dunes’ director of operations. “A social experience. Guys are going to see each other at every hole, doggin’ on each other, hootin’ and hollerin’. It’s cool when everyone’s watching. It’s going to be pretty cool and fun. “You take a place like us, in the middle of nowhere, a pure golf retreat, it’s about getting out here with your group and spending time together.”



Bump & Run

Foursome of Friends Rescue Hidden Gem

The Links at Hunter’s Ridge awakens mid-Michigan’s golf scene We’ve all talked about it with our golfing buddies: How fun it would be to buy a course, run it together, play everyday. Man, that would be the life, right? That’s the dream. For Gary Kendra, Lou Folino, Eric Nichols and Sam Simich, all friends and golfing buddies for better than three decades, it’s a dream that became a reality in 2019, when the foursome bought a criminally underrated track in mid-Michigan called Hunter’s Ridge. Built 25 years ago by a farming family who still live next door, the newly renamed Links at Hunter’s Ridge was designed by Midwest architect Jerry Matthews together with Pete Dye protegé Paul Albanese.

But now under new ownership, the “hidden gem” is ready to reach its full potential. The foursome brought Albanese back to work on a long-term master plan, starting with a renovated clubhouse, new bunkering, and some hole renovations planned, as well. “The original owners just kind of ran out of steam,” Kendra said. “But it’s got good bones, so we thought it would be a good investment, and we could make some improvements. And we thought it would be fun.” The course is certainly fun. And thanks to some new life and ownership, it’s about to become even more. golfhuntersridge.com.

GOLF TECH: It’s Time to Score a Shot Scope If you’re looking for truly dialed-in distance, plus some powerful performance feedback, it might be time to check out the new Shot Scope V3 golf watch. The V3 combines GPS technology you find in a flood of other apps and devices, together with realtime tracking technology for every club in your bag. With 16 tags for your clubs and over 100 available statistics — including every shot plotted on the map of the course afterward — the V3 is a great way to fine-tune your game. Oh, and it works as a watch, too. $219. shotscope.com.



Bump & Run

Good to the Last Drop

From the Arnold Palmer to the John Daly, here are five of our favorite golf drinks Help toast our Just Fore Fun issue with one (or two) of these tasty golf beverages:

The Arnold Palmer — Still the

King. Half iced tea, half lemonade, all delicious.

The John Daly — An Arnold Palmer + vodka (of course).

The Azalea

Faderade — Vodka and Gatorade of your choice.

The Azalea — This Masters-inspired drink mixes 1 ounce lime

or lemon juice, 1 ounce pineapple juice, 3 ounces of gin, and a dash of grenadine.

The Transfusion — This golf club staple is the perfect blend of grape juice, ginger ale, club soda and a generous (4 oz.) pour of vodka. Do you have another favorite drink? We want to know! Email editor@golftimemag.com.

Good Reads, Great Routings

Doak dishes on his greatest courses in his new book, Getting to 18: Volume 1 Tom Doak made a name for himself with his heralded early designs and his infamous critique of golf course architecture, “The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses.” The Traverse City, Michigan-based architect extraordinaire is back at it again with his sixth book: Getting to 18: Volume 1. Unlike “The Confidential Guide,” Doak turns his insight inward this time around, dishing on his designs and taking a very deep dive into the thought process behind some of his most highly regarded routings. The book is limited to 1,500 copies, each signed and numbered by the author-architect himself. $350. doakgolf.com. 16



Trappers Turn Golf Club continues to inspire excellence with an unparalleled golf experience. Trappers Turn features 27 holes of award winning championship golf. Set amidst the scenic canyons of Wisconsin Dells, Trappers Turn is the destination for golfing enthusiasts. Visit TrappersTurn.com for the best available rates.



Bump & Run

In Memoriam: Jim McWethy

Mistwood Golf Club and Golf Dome owner leaves great legacy on Chicagoland golf The Chicago area lost of its greatest public golf champions earlier this summer, when Mistwood Golf Club and Mistwood Golf Dome owner Jim McWethy died June 22. McWethy, 76, was a savior to southwest Chicago’s public golf scene, and turned Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville into a onecourse feast for golfers across the Midwest, after buying it outright in 2003. In 2012 he brought architect Ray Hearn back to help bring the course to its full potential with an extensive renovation, which required the course to be closed for parts of 2012 and 2013. It was worth it. Golf Digest  named Mistwood as one of its Best New Courses in 2013 and  Golf Magazine listed it as one of its top Renovations of the Year. McWethy also added a performance learning center and incredible, 26,000-square-foot clubhouse, home to the beloved McWethy’s Tavern. McWethy also added the Mistwood Golf Dome in nearby Bolingbrook to his portfolio of public golf offerings. “Despite all of his business successes, recognition and awards, Jim McWethy was a down-toearth guy who lived and worked for the joy of helping others,” Hearn said in a statement. “His death was shocking as he always exhibited the energy and enthusiasm of a man half his age. Over the years, I was provided a bird’s eye view of his vision to, in just a few years, transform his Romeoville golf course into one of the state’s premier golf clubs. Each detail of the course was tackled with the singular goal of excellence. From the redesign of the course by Michigan architect Ray Hearn, to the type and color of stone used to line the course’s ponds and bridges, to the atmosphere and quality of the learning center, to the look and scope of the course’s grand 26,000 sq. ft. clubhouse … everything on the property had to have a ‘wow’ factor. That was Jim McWethy.” Wow, indeed. mistwoodgc.com.

TIGER WATCH­– We’re tracking the return of Tiger Woods,

the golfer, and the new South Shore Golf Club project underway in Chicago: The Golfer: WARM After a scorching, green-jacket wearing 2019, Woods has simmered this summer thanks to COVID-19. While many majors and even the Ryder Cup will have to wait for 2021, as of press time, we’re anxiously awaiting him defending his title at The Masters in November (that just sounds weird). 18


The Course: ON ICE The virus hasn’t helped the struggling South Shore project in Chicago, further sidelining a deal to combine the South Shore and Jackson Park courses into a Woods-designed championship track. Officials remain hopeful, but we’re not holding our breath for an opening anytime soon. chicagoparksgolfalliance.org.

Springs Course - Architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. North Nine Course - Architects Roger Packard and Andy North

Both Rated

by Golf Digest

UNPLUG AND ENJOY A Peaceful Getaway at The House on the Rock Resort The House on the Rock Resort combines championship golf with breathtaking views and fantastic amenities. While designing 27 holes of golf, three prestigious golf course architects took advantage of the amazing natural surroundings. The House on the Rock Resort offers flexible packages, dining, 80 suites, a Spa, Indoor/Outdoor pools, and a Fitness Center.

Enjoy the scenic drift-less area with unique sites like: The House on the Rock, American Players Theater, and Taliesin. Join us for an unforgettable Couples getaway, buddies trip, or family vacation. Visit our website at www.thehouseontherock.com for details and descriptions. The House on the Rock Resort is located just 35 minutes west of Madison along the Wisconsin River.

www.thehouseontherock.com | 608-588-7000 | 400 Springs Dr., Spring Green, WI 53588

Rules of the Game

Pandemic Edition

By John Morrissett

1 The Rules of Golf allow for an electronic scorecard to be used in stroke play. A: True B: False

lying two wherever that ball came to rest. A: True B: False Answer: a

(another change for 2019)

Answer: a

(a timely change for 2019!)

2 A player’s ball lies in the fairway. He accidentally strikes and moves his ball while making a practice swing. There is one penalty stroke, and he must replace the ball. A: True B: False

6 There is now no penalty for striking an unattended flagstick with a putt. A: True B: False Answer: a

(another timely pre-pandemic change)

(no change)

7 Before playing a ball from a bunker, a player may remove loose impediments (such as leaves) from that bunker.

3 Before playing a ball in a bunker, a player may take practice swings in that bunker, touching the sand with the club.

(a change for 2019)

Answer: a

A: True B: False Answer: b 4 Before playing a ball in a penalty area, a player may take practice swings in that penalty area, touching the ground with the club. A: True B: False Answer: a

(a change for 2019 for penalty areas but not bunkers)

5 A player’s tee shot strikes a tree and comes to rest back inside the teeing area. The player may lift the ball, tee it within the teeing area, and make his second stroke, with no penalty. He would then be

A: True B: False Answer: a

8 On a par 3, a player’s tee shot finishes just off the putting green. He double-hits his chip shot, which goes into the hole. His score for the hole is 2. A: True B: False Answer: a

(a change for 2019)

9 In match play, the players are required to keep a scorecard. A: True B: False Answer: b

(scorecard is required only in stroke play)

John Morrissett is Competitions Director at Erin Hills and former Director of Rules of Golf for the USGA. WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


Instructor’s Corner

Travis Becker PGA Professional

Chris Pytell PGA Professional

Travis Becker is the Director of Instruction and Club Fitting for the Ironworks Golf Academy located in Beloit, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin PGA voted Travis the Teacher of the Year in both 2015 and 2019. He was also rated by his peers as one of Golf Digest’s “Best Teachers” in the state of Wisconsin. In 2016, Travis was selected by the Golf Channel Academy to become the only lead coach in the state of Wisconsin. In addition, Travis has been recognized by Titleist as a Top 100 club fitter.

Chris Pytell has conducted more than 10,000 individual and group lessons since 1994. He enjoys instructing men, women, and junior golfers of all ages and levels, having transformed many junior players into competitive collegiate golfers. Because he believes that the learning process accelerates when golf is taught at a simple level, his lessons concentrate on the fundamentals of the game. Chris still plays in 10–15 PGA tournaments annually, believing that by maintaining his competitive edge he will help his students achieve their full potential.

Ironworks Golf Academy

Skokie Sports Park


847-674-1500, ext. 3100

625 3rd St., Suite 100, Beloit, WI 53511

3459 Oakton St., Skokie, IL 60076



Voted Best Golf Course!

EXPERIENCE The Best Golf Course

IN THE GENEVA LAKES AREA! LakeLawnResort.com 262.728.7950 2400 East Geneva Street Delavan, WI

18 Hole Championship Course | Full Service Pro Shop Group & Private Instruction | Clubhouse Bar & Grill Two Miles of Private Shoreline


DON’T WORRY Be Happy During the least fun year in memory, the Just Fore Fun Awards highlight golf ’s respite from reality



Photo by Nile Young Jr.

By Don Shell


few years ago, I remember rolling up to the first tee of Wild Rock Golf Club, the rollicking, rockin’ good time of a golf course carved through the wild terrain of the Wisconsin Dells, to find the threesome of strangers I was paired up with. “What tees you guys want to play from?” I asked, innocently. “We had planned on playing the tips, is that OK?” they replied. Gulp. Now Wild Rock, see, is a Dana Fry/Dr. Michael Hurdzan-designed gem, but it weighs in at a whopping 7,414 yards! As a bogey golfer at best, I was way, way out of my depth. (Of course I said yes.) But get this — I had a blast anyway. Wild Rock is just that kind of course, one that’ll have you grinning ear to ear even as it’s beating your brains in. (Pro tip: play the correct tees.) With deep ravines, rolling farmland, rocky canyons and outcroppings, and thrilling risk-reward options on every hole, we can’t think of a more fitting course to headline our very first Just Fore Fun Awards, as the Craziest Course in the Midwest. Crazy great, we’d say. Congratulations to all of our winners, and thank you to the many readers who submitted entries, including our three prize winners, chosen at random:

Joan Kram

Glenview, Illinois Grand Prize Winner of Geneva National Getaway Joan, from Glenview, Illinois, takes the grand prize getaway for two to Geneva National Resort. She’ll make good use of it, too. Golf is her passion and she is determined to improve her game now that she is recently retired. Just starting the game 10 years ago, Joan’s work26


ing with a teaching pro to break 100 this year. Good luck and congrats, Joan!

Jackie Alderman

Higgins Lake, Michigan Laser Link Rangefinder winner

Jackie and her husband are members at Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon, Michigan, where she is the current (and four-time) Ladies Club Champion! She loves her course and the many beautiful courses in Michigan. She also plays winter golf in Arizona, which is probably why she has become such a winner.

Paul Miler

Sussex, Wisconsin Laser Link Rangefinder winner Paul has been golfing since he was 10 years old, lettered in high school golf, and has regularly played in leagues over the last 30 years. He currently plays out of Wanaki Golf Course, but enjoys Wisconsin’s many championship courses. For the past nine years, Paul’s family has been involved with the So Long to Leukemia Golf Outing in Sussex. The fundraiser has raised more than $190,000 for research and patient care in memory of his father, David. Now, on to the rest of our winners:

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Best Girls’ Golf Getaway

Wisconsin Dells

As our grand prize winner Joan Kram might soon be able to attest, Lake Geneva is home to stunning scenery, eclectic shopping, fine dining (and wining), and of course, great golf. It’s pretty, and pretty much the perfect girls’ golf getaway, according to our readers. Other contenders included Traverse City, Michigan; Chicago, and Kohler, Wisconsin.

Best Guys’ Golf Getaway When you want to get away with the fellas for a true golf extravaganza, it’s tough to top Gaylord, Michigan, the Golf Mecca of the Midwest (and don’t miss our feature on page 34). With — count ’em — 20 courses to choose from, and a bustling, Bavarian-style burg to explore afterward, it’s easy to see why you picked it the Best Guys’ Golf Getaway, besting Milwaukee; French Lick, Indiana, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Best Place for Family Fun We know how hard it can be to go on a bonafide golf getaway with your toddlers or teens in tow. That’s the beauty of the Wisconsin Dells, home to some great golf in Wild Rock, Trappers Turn and Coldwater Canyon — plus being the “Waterpark Capital of the World.” It’s the perfect place for kids of all ages. Other fan favorites were Traverse City, Michigan and Northern Wisconsin. WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


Wild Rock Golf Club

Craziest Course in the Midwest Our readers have spoken, and it’s clear it doesn’t get crazier than Wild Rock on the Midwest golf scene. But they had strong

contenders in this category, with Arcadia Bluffs in Arcadia, Michigan, The General at Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena, Illinois, and the topsy-turvy, Tom Doak-designed Loop at Forest Dunes all garnering well-deserved votes. One thing’s for certain: We have a crazy amount of cool courses in the Midwest!

Best Place to Get Better

Kohler Golf Academy 28


You know what’s really fun? Getting better at the game we all love. And according to our esteemed readers, there’s no better place to get better than the Kohler Golf Academy. Kohler Golf Academy offers year-round golf instruction, with practice facilities at Blackwolf Run, Whistling Straits, and the Kohler Swing Studio & Golf Shop, plus private lessons and even pre-round “quick tips.” We could all use a tune-up from time to time. Treetops Resort and the Mistwood Golf Dome received honorable mentions, too.

Eagle Eye’s No. 17

Most Fun Par 3

Photo by Nile Young Jr.

What makes a fun par 3? Classic risk-reward? The adrenaline rush you feel from a thrilling tee shot? Impeccable, unforgettable design? How about all three? The incredible, 146yard, par-3 17th hole at Eagle Eye Golf Club in Bath, Michigan, checks all the right boxes. Built by Pete Dye protegé Chris Lutzke, the 17th is an exact replica of Dye’s famous 17th at the TPC at Sawgrass, the first replica Dye allowed to use the exact plans. This category’s other excellent contenders are the “flower power” found at SentryWorld’s 16th hole, the fantastic 15th of Sweetgrass in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and the cliffhanger of a hole known as the 17th at Whistling Straits.

Most Fun Par 4

Photo by Jeffery Bertch

When it comes to fantastic fours, you said it doesn’t get better than Mammoth Dunes’

sensational, 344-yard sixth hole. Sand Valley’s David McLay Kidd design is a feast for anyone’s eyes, but the sixth is special, thanks in large part to its vast seas of sand sandwiching the hole, and well, its mammoth horseshoe-shaped green. Kind of like the ear-toear grin you get playing it. Other contenders include the 14th at Brickyard Crossing in Speedway, Indiana, Forest Dunes’ fantastic 17th, and the stellar 13th on the Quarry nine at Bay Harbor Golf Club, in Bay Harbor, Michigan.

Glen Club’s No. 18

Most Fun Par 5 There are a ton of fabulous finishing holes in the Midwest, and a treasure-trove of tough par 5s, too. But for pure fun at the finish, it doesn’t get greater than The Glen Club, in Glenview, Illinois. Tom Fazio’s Chicagoland stunner is 589 yards of pure parkland joy, with an elevated tee shot providing the launch

Mammoth Dunes’ No. 6 WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


Top Golf, Naperville

pad for a classic risk-reward finish for the big hitters. While few can get home in two, all other mortals must take a wedge into a heavily guarded green featuring plenty of sand and water. Other category contenders include Erin Hills’ excellent 18th, and Tullymore Golf Club’s terrific finish in Stanwood, Michigan.

Best Place to Play Golf in the Winter Sadly, summer will soon say farewell in the Midwest, meaning we’ll be forced to find a fix for our golf addictions indoors. The overwhelming fan favorite is found at locations throughout the Great Lakes, with heated hitting bays, cold brew, and a fun, lively atmosphere: Top Golf. Other great options are the Ironworks Golf Lab in Beloit, Wisconsin, and 30


the Mistwood Golf Dome in Bolingbrook, Illinois.

Best Brats Just down the road from the HQ of arguably the world’s best brat business (Sheboygan, Wisconsin, home of Johnsonville), is a little Pete Dye course called Whistling Straits. It’s famous for other stuff, too, but its real claim to fame should be — are you ready for this, friends? — its double bratwurst extravaganza on the menu. The grilled Sheboygan double bratwurst includes sauerkraut, stewed onions, Stout cheese spread on a Sheboygan hard roll. No wonder it’s the fan favorite. Get in my belly.

Best Beers Yes, we love a good Transfusion as much as anyone (see page 16). But after a hot summer round, nothing beats a brewski. And according to our readers, there’s no better place to belly up for a brew than the Sports Bar at Treetops Resort. Sitting atop the ski hill, the Sports Bar offers 20-mile views and more than 120 brews, including nearly two dozen on tap. Other excellent options are the Blackwolf Run Restaurant and McWethy’s Tavern at Mistwood Golf Club. Cheers!

Most Fun Atmosphere

Photo by Nile Young Jr.

Nestled in the tiny town of Nekoosa, Wisconsin, sits a crazy-cool golf resort called Sand Valley, the Mike Keiser-built oasis in the middle of middle America. With a Bill

Coore-Ben Crenshaw track in Sand Valley and the aforementioned Mammoth Dunes, plus a riotous new short course called the Sandbox, it’s a must-visit destination for any golfer. But add in the intangibles — affordable wining and dining, unpretentious lodging and friendly staff — and you have what our readers call the Most Fun Atmosphere in the Midwest. Other contenders were Forest Dunes, Eagle Ridge and French Lick Resort.

Funniest Golf Pro When we told Treetops Resort’s Director of Golf and Ski Kevin McKinley he’d been selected Funniest Golf Pro by our readers, he deadpanned, “Wow, that’s interesting … I guess I’m funny.” So we asked him for his favorite golf joke, to prove it. He delivered. “A golfer who had never used a caddie before was assigned a caddie on the first tee. This golfer was playing terribly and had lost many balls already during the round. About the midway point in the round, the golfer was con-

Sand Valley



Craziest Greens We’ve seen some crazy greens in our time, greens that look like an elephant graveyard, or a giant, green Shar Pei’s wrinkly hide. 32


But who has the wildest roller-coaster greens in the Midwest? Our readers called Arcadia Bluffs the clear winner in that category, with its beautifully bumpy, humpy and often hair-raising greens. Other contenders include Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin, Wild Rock and Black Bear Golf Club in Vanderbilt, Michigan.

Wildest Tee Shot There’s not much better in the game than a heart-pumping tee shot, the kind you can’t wait to set sail into the wide blue yonder. For fans in the Midwest, the fantastic 14th

Photos by Nile Young Jr.

centrating over a two-foot putt when out of nowhere, the caddie sneezed right in the middle of his stroke, causing the golfer to jerk and miss the putt. The golfer exploded. ‘You must be the worst caddie in the world!’ The caddie calmly replied right back, ‘I highly doubt that — that would be too much of a coincidence!’” Yep, you’re funny, Kevin.

Arcadia Bluffs

hole of The General is worth saluting again and again. Carved out of the rocky hillside in Galena, Illinois, the Eagle Ridge Resort’s famous hole drops nearly 200 feet to the fairway of this 437-yard beauty. Hit it just right, and you’ll have the drive of your life, or at least have fun trying. Other contenders include the awesome 18th at Whistling Straits, and the terrific 12th hole of the Arthur Hills Course at Boyne Highlands, in Harbor Springs, Michigan. Have a different take? Email your favorites to editor@golftimemag.com.

The General’s No. 14 WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


Photo by Nile Young Jr.



Wonderland Welcome to

When the cold is gone, Gaylord, Michigan, is hot on golf By Danny Freels

Photo by Nile Young Jr.


instant, “Treetops Resort” was born. Today, the scenic but very challenging Masterpiece (tipping out at 7,007 yards) is one of five layouts at Treetops. The Signature and Tradition courses at Treetops — both designed by well-known golf instructor Rick Smith — measure between 6,400 and 6,600 yards from the back tees. The Premier course, designed by Tom Fazio (his only course in the state of Michigan), offers a back-tee length of over 6,800 yards. All of the courses feature beautiful scenery and lots of elevation changes, and all offer a choice of multiple tees to match each player’s ability. But wait! No trip to Treetops would

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ven after all these years, it still sounds odd whenever I tell golfers to head for ski country if they’re looking for some great tracks. In a weird way, it’s like saying to an avid downhill skier, “Brother, I know a long par 5 that you would love.” But that’s the way it is in central northern Michigan, in and around the bustling Bavarian-themed town of Gaylord. Long known as one of the top ski areas in the state — partly due to its hilly terrain and partly due to the heavy snows that blow in off Lake Michigan and Lake Superior during the winter — Gaylord (commonly pronounced Gay-lured) is now considered one of the top destinations for golf in the country. While it’s true that golf has been played in northern Michigan since the late 1880s, Gaylord as a golf mecca actually began with the 1987 opening of a new course at the former Sylvan Ski Resort a few miles east of town. The course would be called The Masterpiece and its designer was the late, great architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. Jones, as the story goes, also came up with a new name for the facility while touring the property in search of a routing plan. Standing on what would become the tee of the par-3 sixth hole — the green to be built some 120 feet below — all the designer could see were the tops of thousands of trees spread out over the beautiful Pigeon River Valley. In an



PREVIOUS SPREAD: Treetops’ Masterpiece lives up to its name. CLOCKWISE ABOVE: The stellar Rick Smith Signature Course at Treetops. Free-ranging elk roam northern Michigan in the largest herd east of the Mississippi. The Jerry Matthews-designed gem called The Natural. be complete without taking a whack at the resort’s famous par-3 course: Threetops. Also a Smith design, Threetops was the longtime site of the “Par-3 Shootout” on ESPN. It’s tough but it’s a blast. Just south of town, on the west side of Otsego Lake, is The Natural at Beaver Creek Resort. Opened in 1992 and designed by Jerry Matthews (who, along with his father Bruce created dozens of courses in the state), The Natural may be the epitome of the Northern Michigan golf experience. You want rolling terrain? You got it. You want wetlands and wildlife? You got it. However — unlike most tracts in the area — this is not a bomber’s course. It’s only 6,330 yards from the back tees (two others are available), but it’s extremely narrow due to the hundreds of trees lining most, if not all, of

the holes. One of the most common sounds you’ll hear here, I suspect, in addition to the chirping of birds and gobbling of wild turkey, will be the thock of tee shots bouncing off the beautiful oak, maple and birch trees. The Natural is pretty, playable and fun, but it’s also tighter than your Uncle Bob. Like all great golf destinations, Gaylord offers lots to do before or after teeing it up. The Pigeon River State Forest, for example, consists of 105,000 acres and is home to one of the largest free-ranging herds of elk east of the Mississippi River. Thanks to the hard work of the Michigan DNR, which maintains the elk’s habitat, these majestic animals inhabit the area the year-round. Several sites outside of town are excellent for viewing the herd from a safe distance, either with binoculars or spotting scopes. WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: The dynamite Rees Jones-designed Black Lake Golf Club in Onaway, Michigan. Indian River Golf Club. The “Mighty Mac” Mackinac Bridge is the fifth-longest suspension bridge in the world. The best months for viewing are September and October (mating season) and from late April to early May. A small herd of elk is cared for by the city itself and the nearby site is easily accessible throughout the year. It’s located (where else?) right across from the Elk’s Club on Grandview Boulevard. Forty miles or so northeast of Gaylord, outside the small town of Onaway, sits one of the best, most beautiful courses in Michigan — if not the country: Black Lake Golf Club. Designed by Rees Jones (son of the aforementioned RTJ Sr.), Black Lake is a big-time layout that opened in 2000. In 2013, Golf Digest placed it No. 69 on its “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” list and additional accolades have followed. The centerpiece of the Black Lake Conference Center, owned by the United Auto Workers and featuring lodging, dining, boating and 38


other amenities, this spectacular layout is carved through oak, pine, aspen and maple trees on gently rolling terrain. Five sets of tees are available with a back-tee length of 7,035 yards. If you’re anywhere near the area, Black Lake is definitely worth a visit. Pretty much straight west of Onaway, a few minutes off I-75, there’s a course that’s just the opposite of Black Lake: Indian River Golf Club. It’s not spectacular, it’s not big-time. It’s just very playable and a lot of fun. Established as a 9-holer in 1923, Indian River was soon reworked by famed English golfer and architect Wilfred “Wilfie” Reid (designer of numerous courses around Detroit}. In 1984, architect Warner Bowen was brought in to update the existing course and expand it to 18 holes. Today, Indian River prides itself as being one of the “friendliest” courses in the state. The fair-

Photo by Nile Young Jr. Photo by Tim Burke

ways are mostly tree lined yet wide, there’s some water but not a lot, and the greens are fairly flat. Even from the furthest of its five sets of tees (6,700 yards), Indian River is an enjoyable place to tee it up. While you’re in the Gaylord area, make sure to take in one of the great wonders of Michigan: the Mackinac Bridge. Located within an hour’s drive straight up I-75 to the north, this marvel of engineering spans the Straits of Mackinac between lakes Huron and Michigan and links the upper and lower peninsulas of the state. At five miles in length from tip to tip, “Mighty Mac” is the fifth-longest suspension bridge in the world. Opened in 1957 after three years of con-

struction, the bridge at mid-point is almost 200 feet above the icy water and enormous cargo ships that pass below. Believe it: A trip across will have your eyes popping and your heart pounding. Back in Gaylord, your heart will also be racing when you stand on just about any of the tees at The Tribute — either because of the stunning views of the Sturgeon River Valley off in the distance or because of the challenging holes you’re about to play. The newest of two layouts at Otsego Resort, The Tribute was designed by Rick Robbins and PGA Tour winner and NBC golf commentator Gary Koch. At 7,087 yards from the tips (three other tees are available), The Tribute is not excessively long by today’s standards. Don’t let that fool you. Due to the frequent and dramatic elevation changes, this beautiful and exceptionally-designed layout can play a lot longer than what you see on the scorecard. This course is also well bunkered and the greens are well undulated. Like Black Lake, The Tribute is a big-time course and the high praise it’s gotten over the years is well deserved. Two fine facilities east of the city are The Loon and Michaywé (pronounced Micha-way). Like many of the resorts around town, The Loon offers multiple courses and a variety of lodging to choose from. The Ridge course at the Loon Resort is another Jerry Matthews design that opened in 1988. The shortest of the three courses here, the





the Pines to host the Michigan Amateur Championship in 1991. It was the first time in the association’s long history that a resort course was chosen for this honor. Five years later, the Pines hosted the event for a second time. Thirty-some years after it opened, Mr. Childs returned to Michaywé to remodel, strengthen and lengthen the layout. Today, the course provides a choice of five tees and a measurement between 5,194 and 7,040 yards. The Pines is a good one. In addition to the great golf and skiing, the Gaylord area offers water activities of all kinds (hey, Michigan isn’t called the Great Lakes State for nothin’). Thanks to the 90 inland lakes to be found here in Otsego County, canoeing and boating of every type are mainstays throughout the warmer months. Kayaking has also become an extremely popular sport in more recent years. And of course, where there’s water

TOP LEFT, RIGHT: Photos by Nile Young Jr.

Ridge tips out at 6,231 yards. Slightly longer at 6,421 yards from the back tees, the Lakes course offers two different types of scenery. Nine of the holes work their way through woods and over ski slopes, while the other nine holes meander around lovely Lake Michaywé. The resort’s namesake course — The Loon — is a Butch Harmon Signature Design, the only one I’m aware of in the state. (Frankly, I didn’t know the famous golf instructor designed courses.) There’s water and wetlands, tons of trees, and beautiful scenery everywhere. The Loon is the longest of the three layouts here at 6,701 yards. Another of the highly regarded layouts in the area is the Pines course at Michaywé. Designed by Robert Bills and Don Childs, this very pretty, sturdy but enjoyable tree-lined track opened in 1973. As testament to its quality and challenge, the Golf Association of Michigan selected

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Elk aren’t the only occupants in abundance here in northern Michigan. The Gary Koch-designed Tribute in Gaylord is criminally underrated. The Manistee River is one of many ways to wet your whistle. Michaywé is classic “up north” golf. there’s fishing. Five of the most famous and beautiful rivers in the state — the Sturgeon, Black, Pigeon and Manistee, and the upper branch of the Au Sable — flow out of the county and feature what many anglers believe is the best trout fishing (brook, brown and rainbow) not only in Michigan but the entire Midwest. It’s definitely a water wonderland. Of all the courses in the area, Gaylord Golf Club may be the one with the oldest “feel” to it. But, in my opinion, that’s a good thing not a bad thing. Established as a private club in 1924, a new semi-private club was built on its current site in 1975. “Parkland” is definitely the word to describe the design style. There are lots of trees, of course, and

plenty of bunkers, but the fairways are quite wide. And what elevation changes there are, are much more gradual than severe, either uphill or down. The slopes of the good-sized greens are less severe, too; many of them merely tilted from left to right, right to left or back to front. Kind of, well, “old” style. Four sets of tees are available at Gaylord GC, with the shortest at 5,104 yards and the longest coming in at 6,506 yards. It’s pretty, it’s fun, and it’s a great place to tee it up and end your round with a cold brew. Which thankfully, is something else you’ll find in abundance around the Bavarianthemed town of Gaylord. Visit gaylordgolfmecca.com. WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM



Magical Madeline Wisconsin’s Charming, Island-area Getaway Superior for Golf, too By Dennis McCann




ood golf, even great golf, can be found in lots of places, from the sandy center of Nebraska to rugged coastlines east and west. But for superior golf? Or more correctly, Superior golf?

For that you must make your way to Wisconsin’s northern rim, where nearly two dozen islands dot the speckled water of the greatest Great Lake like leafy green jewels. Here you will find two courses, one an island layout designed by one of the game’s greatest architects, the other high on the mainland in a setting of such splendid scenery that a former governor has called it the “Pebble Beach of the North.” And wasn’t it no less than Robert Louis Stevenson who called the first Pebble Beach “the most felicitous meeting of land and sea?” It is the same thing here. Superior golf, indeed. Maybe a personal story will underline the point. Twenty years ago this summer I wanted to mark my 50th birthday with a long day of golf in the place I loved most. So at 7 a.m. on July 25 I teed off at Apostle Highlands Golf Course in Bayfield, walking but with my clubs on a cart driven by my wife. We played 18 holes, reclaimed the first tee and played seven more. We then made our way downtown, bought sandwiches at the deli and boarded the Madeline Island Ferry for the two-mile, 20-minute crossing to the village of La Pointe, where we had a second tee time at Madeline Island Golf Club, a one-of-a-kind Robert Trent Jones Sr. design with seven double greens the size of Rhode Island to hold both front and back nine pins. Still walking, and with my wife still serving

as cart caddie, I again played 25 holes for a total of 50 on my 50th. We checked in to a lovely bed and breakfast inn, soaked sore muscles in a hot tub and watched an amazing lightning show over Lake Superior that the biggest fireworks show could only envy. Such sky-born pyrotechnics can’t be guaranteed, of course, but the golf will be dependably memorable.

A History of Beauty Madeline Island, the largest of 22 islands that make up the Apostle Islands archipelago, is one of Wisconsin’s most historic places. Once it was home, and still is a sacred place, to the Ojibwe people and later served as the center of the fur trade in northern Wisconsin. Like so many northern places, it was logged off during the timber boom and needed time to regrow its forests, but eventually it became a popular warm-weather playground for summer-home owners, sailors, campers and day visitors who bicycle to the beckoning beaches at Big Bay Town Park or Big Bay State Park. Because it has a small community of several hundred year-round residents, Madeline is the only island that is not part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, much of which is managed as wilderness to the delight of campers and kayakers. Golf was added to the island’s many offerings in the 1960s, when developer and island lover Ted Gary brought in Robert Trent Jones Sr. to design what he envisioned

PREVIOUS SPREAD: The beautiful Apostle Highlands Golf Course features a littler version of the great Lake Superior. LEFT: Apostle Highlands is a beauty any time of year, but shines in the shoulder season. WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


ABOVE: The amazing Robert Trent Jones Sr.’s cleverly designed Madeline Island Golf Club conserves its island real estate by using nine double greens. RIGHT: Big Bay State Park showcases a truly Superior setting. as a top-notch golf course that would put Madeline Island on the country’s golf map. So over-the-top were his expectations that when Jones’ work was done, Gary declared the famous designer “had outdone himself ” and hosted a lavish grand opening that included an orchestra flown in from New York, bagpipers to lend a Scottish feel, fresh lobster brought in from Maine (Lake Superior’s popular whitefish apparently were viewed as not up to the occasion) and even a 57-foot yacht to house guests. Gary’s grand dream of a teeming golf course community and destination course was never fully realized — blame the course’s location on an island far from population centers as part of the reason, but credit that same unmatched location on winsome MadAPOSTLE ISLANDS

BAYFIELD Apostle Highlands


Madeline Island Golf Club



eline Island and Jones’ innovative design as reasons more golfers bearing clubs should board that ferry. Jones’ design is often referred to as a “double nine,” with parallel fairways for the front and back nines leading to the double greens, where red pins are used for the front nine and white for the back. More than a few golfers have delighted in shots that landed near the hole, only to remember they should have been aiming at another flag a near-world away on the same green. That’s only a slight exaggeration; the fourth green is 59 yards wide — and it isn’t even the biggest on the course. The design allowed Jones to create 18 holes on a limited amount of land. For example, the second hole is just 109 yards over a pond to a flag on the left side of the double green. From a nearby tee box the 11th hole plays longer but over the same pond to a pin on the right side of the green. Even where there are separate greens for front and back the layout is unique. The sixth and 15th holes share a tee box and fairway until it splits off into doglegs in opposite directions. And, good for the golfer if not for the golf course’s coffers, Madeline Island Golf Club is seldom too busy to get on because visitors

come by the thousands to sail, fish, swim, bike and lick ice cream cones from Grandpa Tony’s Restaurant downtown. As an area newspaper noted when it opened: “In most other locations the new golf course would be a singular attraction, but at Madeline it slips casually into a long list of attributes that have drawn people to the special atmosphere of the island for years.”

Inland Endeavors Remember our topic? The pond fronting the first tee at Apostle Islands Golf Course in Bayfield is a miniature Lake Superior. Often the blue tee is set squarely on the Bayfield peninsula, while the white tee represents the Keweenaw peninsula, about where you’ll find Houghton and Hancock, Michigan, in real life. There’s no sign informing first-timers that the water hazard is actually a mini-great lake but those who miss the homage aren’t entirely losing out. Over the course of their round they’ll see Lake Superior — the Ojibwe called it gichi-gami, meaning “great sea” — from 13 of Apostle Highland’s 18 holes, a shimmer48


ing backdrop dotted with sailboats that is as pretty a setting for golf as any Wisconsin course can boast. The course opened with nine holes in 1990 when the then-owner was looking for a way to erase the scarred landscape left behind when the hilltop site, 500 feet above Lake Superior, had been logged off. Course designer Bill Korpella came up with the routing, and with the idea of the replica Great Lake pond. Nine additional holes were added in the mid ’90s, creating a course with unmatched views of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands and even Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula. The lake first appears on the par-4 third hole, where the fairway seemingly falls away into the water in the distance. It might be the most photographed golf hole in the north and, during race week when dozens of colorful sailboats jockey for position in the distance, it rewards players with one of the prettiest distractions in golf. For many scenery-struck visitors to Apostle Highlands, a camera serves as a 15th club. The course is not long — just 6,332 yards

CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT: Madeline Island Golf Club’s views include the island’s exclusive marina. Kayaking Lake Superior is a great way to mix some surf with your turf. Lake Superior’s rugged coastline includes outcroppings and even caves. A trip to Madeline Island Golf Club is a sign you’re in the right vacation place. from the longest tees and under 6,000 from the whites — but serious elevation changes and woods lining the borders of many fairways often overwhelm big hitters who look at the scorecard’s modest numbers and try to conquer it with power. It is a course that demands placement over length, and newcomers who head out to play without being informed that all putts break toward the lake will be left muttering over putts that do just that, even when it seems obvious they don’t. Because they do. Some holes play shorter because they feed downhill toward the lake; others, despite stretching just over 300 yards, can feel twice as long because they play uphill, away from the lake. Some days the par-4 15th can feel like the longest 310-yard hole in golf, but that’s OK. If your second shot misses the small, two-tiered green just turn around and savor the gorgeous view of Madeline Island in the distance.

For good reason, many of the benches at Apostle Highlands face away from play. The course has a small but loyal group of local players but, given its setting in one of Wisconsin’s most popular summer playgrounds, gets a lot of tourist play, as well. Many squeeze in a round before taking the sunset cruise around the Apostle Islands or riding the ferry to Madeline Island. In fall, when Bayfield’s many orchards lure thousands of visitors to pick apples, the stunning views from Apostle Highlands are only enhanced by the trees blushing red and gold at water’s edge. That’s the same spectacular view offered from the clubhouse bar’s two-sided deck, where you are reminded that where you are often matters more than what you are doing, even if that is golf. For more info, visit www.golfbayfield.com or www.madelineislandgolf.com. WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


TENNE The Toast of

The Bear Trace at Tims Ford features an entire island just for the course itself.



ESSEE From Jack Daniel’s to Jack Nicklaus, there’s no shortage of great golf and drink in the land of Volunteers By Dennis McCann



ABOVE: Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain State Park is one of the top courses in Tennessee. RIGHT: Maybe the most famous distillery on Earth is Jack Daniel’s, in Lynchburg.


ne of the popular ways to savor the Volunteer State is by following the Tennessee Whiskey Trail that takes in dozens of spirited destinations, places like Bootleggers Distillery in Hartford or Doc Collier Moonshine Distillery in Gatlinburg or, for many, the mother ship of whiskey in America, Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg. As a billboard for Jack Daniel’s proclaims, “There are road trips, and then there are pilgrimages.” But there’s another pilgrimage through Tennessee that golfers might like even more — or at least as much. The Tennessee Golf Trail offers fine and affordable 18-hole golf courses in nine state parks, including three “Bear Trace” Jack Nicklaus signature designs. 52


Who wouldn’t volunteer for that? Over several trips through Tennessee I have taken time to play four rounds on trail courses, including the Buford Ellington course at Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill, the Frank G. Clement Golf Course at Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns and, on two occasions, the picturesque and playable Bear Trace at Tims Ford State Park in Winchester, a Nicklaus design on lovely Tims Ford Lake. Winchester, as it happens, isn’t far from Tullahoma, home of the George Dickel whisky distillery. Sometimes disparate trails intersect in wonderful ways. The golf trail got its start in the 1960s when “the powers that be decided they wanted to get into the golf course, hotel and hospitality business,” said Mike Nixon,



director of golf operations for the state. Many of the courses were built with lodging on site. For example, Montgomery Bell, named after a wealthy industrialist who established the first major iron furnace west of the Allegheny Mountains, has the usual state park amenities including campsites and picnic areas but also rental cabins and an inn and conference center with more than 100 guest rooms. Reaction to the original trail was so positive that “in the ’90s they decided they’d 54


venture out and build more golf courses and got Jack Nicklaus involved,” Nixon said. Of the five Nicklaus designs in Tennessee, three eventually became part of the trail. Some of the courses that are close to cities with large populations — Henry Horton is just south of Nashville and the Bear Trace at Harrison Bay State Park is near Chattanooga — are popular with local residents as well as destinations for out-of-state visitors. Others, like the course at Tims Ford, are in more remote settings but still draw golfers who

CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT: The Fall Creek Falls State Park course. The Bluegill Grill at Tims Ford, marina bar with just the right amount of local flavor. With 56 state parks in Tennessee, Fall Creek Falls might be the prettiest. There’s no shortage of tasty treats in Tennessee’s state parks, either. want to experience a Nicklaus design at a reasonable price. “We do remote well,” Nixon said. The Tennessee Golf Trail is not as well known as Alabama’s more celebrated Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which Nixon acknowledges is “the gold standard” for such course collections.

“We’d love to do everything they do and I’d love to have their money,” he said. But the golf options offered in Tennessee parks, along with non-course activities like fishing, boating, hiking and more, mean the park system ranks among the best in the country. “We’ve got 56 state parks,” Nixon said. “Every year we are in the top five state park WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


ABOVE: Paris Landing State Park skirts the shoreline of massive Kentucky Lake. RIGHT: Kentucky Lake is also a great place to dip your little piggies after a long day’s hike. BELOW: George Dickel whisky is one of the area’s most celebrated spirits. systems and some years we’re number one. We’re proud of our parks.” The golf courses have racked up their own share of accolades. The Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville has twice been named as the number one public course in Tennessee, among other honors, while Fall Creek Falls State Park Golf Course in Pikeville has been named by Golf Digest as one of the Top 100 Public Places to Play. As would be expected of golf courses in state parks, natural scenery is abundant. Warriors Path State Park Golf Course in Kingsport is located on the shores of Fort Patrick Henry Lake and in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, which helps make it one of the most popular courses in the state system. Paris Landing State Park Golf Course in Buchanan hugs the 56


western shore of Kentucky Lake, where several holes with elevated greens offer spectacular views of the region known as the “Land Between the Lakes.” When it opened, the Bear Trace at Tims Ford was described by one publication as a “glittering newcomer” for its picturesque setting. Wildlife is, of course, abundant. At Montgomery Bell, a half dozen deer on one fairway had no objection to our playing through. The trail courses are under the auspices of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and Nixon said every effort is taken to show that golf does not conflict with a good environment. All nine courses have been designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for steps taken to preserve and enhance wildlife habitat while protecting land and water resources. All courses have



TENNESSEE GOLF TRAIL 1 Cumberland Mountain, Crossville, BT

6 Montgomery Bell, Burns, T

2 3 4 5

7 Paris Landing, Buchanan, T

Harrison Bay, Harrison, BT Tims Ford, Winchester, BT Fall Creek Falls, Spencer, T Henry Horton, Chapel Hill, T

8 Pickwick Landing, Pickwick Dam, T 9 Warrior’s Path, Kingsport, T

BT - Bear Trace T - Traditional 9 19

8 7




2 7 24 10 6 6 5 5 3 13 12 4 9 3 11

4 1


15 25 18

21 27 14 20 23 26 17


TENNESSEE WHISKEY TRAIL 1 Old Dominic Distillery, Memphis

15 Brushy Mountain Distillery, Petros

2 Corsair Distillery, Nashville

16 Chattanooga Whiskey Distillery, Chattanooga

3 George Dickel Distillery, Tullahoma

17 Doc Collier Moonshine, Gatlinburg

4 Jack Daniel Distillery, Lynchburg

18 Knox Whiskey Works, Knoxville

5 Leiper’s Fork Distillery, Franklin

19 Lost State Distillery, Bristol

6 Nashville Craft Distillery, Nashville

20 Old Forge Distillery, Pigeon Forge

7 Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, Nashville

21 Old Tennessee Distillery, Kodak

8 Old Glory Distilling Co., Clarksville

23 Ole Smoky Distillery (Barrelhouse), Gatlinburg

9 Prichard’s Distillery, Kelso

24 Ole Smoky Distillery, Nashville

10 Short Mountain Distillery, Woodbury

25 Post Modern Spirits, Knoxville

11 Southern Pride Distillery, Fayetteville

26 Sugarlands Distilling Co., Gatlinburg

12 Big Machine Distillery, Lynnville

27 Tennessee Legend Distillery, Sevierville

13 Nearest Green Distillery, Shelbyville 14 Bootleggers Distillery, Hartford

also been recognized as Groundwater Green sites by The Groundwater Foundation for similar efforts to protect local water supplies. Switching from gas carts to electric also had a positive impact. “I think we’ve done a good job on that,” Nixon said, citing several awards won by the state course system for environmental 58


For more information visit tnwhiskeytrail.com.

leadership. Each year about 200,000 rounds are played on trail courses. Nixon said the goal is for the park courses to break even, so green fees are kept affordable by destination course standards. “Considering what we charge we do pretty good,” he said, “but golf is cheap in

ABOVE, CLOCKWISE: In 2017, one of the nation’s latest and greatest whiskeys was born — Uncle Nearest, honoring the legacy of Nearest Green, the slave who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey. The Tennessee State Parks have a proud history dating back to the New Deal era. Warriors Path State Park Golf Course is carved through the foothills of the Appalachians, making it a popular stop. Tennessee. That’s just the way it is. You kind of deal with what’s in your path.” But Nixon said improvements are always being made as the budget allows. Last year new lodges were being built at Paris Landing and Fall Creek Falls and some courses were getting new tees and other upgrades. All courses have driving ranges, practice greens, carts, on-site or nearby lodging and club rentals and lessons are available. For avid players there is a Tennessee Golf Trail Annual Pass. One thing Nixon couldn’t do was name

his favorite of the nine courses, much as a Tennessee whiskey man could hardly be expected to name just one favorite tipple. “That’s kind of like your children in a way,” Nixon said. “Harrison Bay’s really good, Tims Ford is a lot of fun, Montgomery Bell is just a real neat golf course…” And there were six he couldn’t have mentioned after those. In Tennessee, state park golf is big family. Tee times can be made with individual courses or online at www.tngolftrail.net. WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


Photo Illustration Nile Young Jr.

Industry Insider



ournament re-runs on TV. Face masks in the clubhouse. Foam donuts around the flagstick. The ripple effect of a global pandemic washed over the game of golf with an unprecedented, unbelievable fury, shuttering clubhouses, shutting down tournaments, and forcing everyone involved in the game to adapt to a stark, sudden reality few could’ve ever imagined. Welcome to golf’s new normal — at least, for now.



Industry Insider With more than 20 million infected worldwide and more than 155,000 deaths from COVID-19 here in the U.S. alone, the impact on golf is minuscule in the broader context of the loss of life and livelihoods on a global scale. Yet the impact has been felt on a sport enjoyed by millions across the globe all the same, especially here at home. As state governors took measures to protect the public nationwide in March, with many closing courses or delaying season starts here in the Midwest, the number of course openings slowly began trending upward in May, as the infection curve began to slow across the country. As of press time, courses are open in all 50 states, with varying levels of restriction on courses and clubhouses. In an open letter to members in late May, National Golf Foundation (NGF) President and CEO Joe Beditz said hope was on the horizon, and that signs showed golfers were definitely “scratching their itch to play.” Beditz indicated that 86 percent of core golfers reported that they’ve teed it up in the past couple of weeks of May. “I can’t say if that’s high because it’s not how we’ve traditionally collected this data, but it seems an encouraging sign,” he said.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS The NGF estimates as many as 20 million rounds were lost due to COVID-19 in March and April, mostly due to forced closures but also to virus-induced anxiety, with about $1 billion lost in golf course green fee revenues alone. But one strange side-effect as the stay-athome orders lessened has been the boon to golf courses, as golfers were looking for any 62


excuse to leave their quarantined quarters for some socially distant exercise outdoors. “There is evidence both anecdotal and scientific that rounds in May might be up significantly over last year as a result of a surge in demand, not only from core golfers, but from beginners and lapsed players too,” Beditz said. “If this surge proves true and if it persists even partially into the summer months, then we could recoup the rounds and revenue lost in March and April. Put another way, we’ll break even with last year if rounds are up 5% for the period May through December.” The “trampoline effect” of pent-up demand for golf, coupled with comparatively fewer entertainment options in a COVID19 landscape — no summer movies, fewer restaurant and bar options, to name just a few — has also benefitted the game. For proof, look no further than the rounds-played report for June from Golf Datatech, with a meaty 13.9% increase nationally over 2019, to the tune of an estimated 7-8 million more golfers on courses than last year. That results in an increase of as much as $400 million in operational revenue, Golf Datatech estimates.  Here in the Midwest, rounds are up an average of 11.2% for the year through June, with that number likely to only increase. “We had 14,000 rounds booked (in the spring), which was three months ahead of where we normally were,” lamented Don Helinski, the normally jovial director of operations at Forest Dunes Golf Club. “So, because of losing our early season, we decided to alter our schedule, and we’re going to close later, Oct. 10. The whole thing has had a trampoline effect for us. June might end

Industry Insider

Actual & Potential COVID-19 Effects on Rounds Played Actual monthly changes vs. 2019 Actual YTD changes (Jan-Jun) vs. 2019 Potential year-end scenario if Jul-Dec flat vs. 2019

20% 10% EVEN



vs. Jan ’19


vs. Feb ’19

+15% YTD




vs. Jun ’19

vs. May’19



-10% -20%

-2% -8.5%

vs. Mar ’19

-8% -16%






-30% -40%

-42.2% vs. Apr ’19

Source: National Golf Foundation

up being the best month — the most rounds we’ve ever done in a month in history. “We’ve had five of our best days all-time in the last two weeks. It’ll be really nice to see where we end up at the end of the year.”

A SEASON SET ASIDE While the average Janes and Joes are free to play to their hearts’ content, the professionals had their careers put on hold due to COVID-19, then had to adapt to a fan-free tournament experience. As the coronavirus gripped the nation in mid-March, the PGA Tour, among others, began cancelling or postponing tournaments. The Players Championship, at famed “fifth Major” at the TPC at Sawgrass, was the first to fall, with six others following suit in subsequent weeks. Even such a venerable institution as The

Masters wasn’t immune, and opted to postpone its pimento sandwiches and patrons until a potentially post-COVID-19 world November 12-15, an idea that seems in serious jeopardy based on current trends. When the PGA Tour did return with the Charles Schwab Challenge in early June (sans fans), it was met with an almost immediate spate of positive tests among caddies and players, including Brooks Koepka’s bagman, Ricky Elliott, and Webb Simpson, among others. Even Jack Nicklaus announced he’d tested positive for COVID-19 in March, and thankfully recovered fully. After the initial cases, the Tour quickly tightened testing and new rules to protect people on-course. But PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan seemed resigned to the fact that positive cases are an eventuality as long as the show goes on. WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


Industry Insider “You don’t want to have any, but I think as you look at where we are and the trends of our overall program ... the tightening that we’ve done, I think that the results are very good,’’ Monahan said. “We’re certainly encouraged by that. We’re proud of that. I think our players deserve a ton of credit for not only what they’re doing here on site in terms of social distancing and masking and being entirely aware of what we need to do when we’re on property.” The Tour’s efforts haven’t gone unrewarded by fans, however. With virtually all other professional sports shuttered in spring and into June and July, the PGA Tour’s tele-

EVEN SUCH A VENERABLE INSTITUTION AS THE MASTERS WASN’T IMMUNE … POSTPONED ’TIL NOV. 12-15 vision ratings have skyrocketed. The Charles Schwab Challenge averaged 3 million viewers, up 50 percent over last year’s tournament, with 3.88 million viewers tuning in to watch Daniel Berger’s final-round win — the biggest audience for the tournament’s final round in 16 years. The week before, a whopping 5.8 million tuned in to “The Match,”  the two-on-two competition pitting Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning  against  Phil Mickelson  and  Tom Brady. Woods and Manning held on to win, 64


1-up, with the match raising $20 million for COVID-19 relief.

EQUIPPED TO HANDLE THE HIATUS As courses gradually began reopening, the need for golf equipment — a leading indicator of industry strength — rose right along with it. Golf equipment dollar sales grew by 51 percent in June, compared to the comparable month last year, building off of the market’s 22 percent growth in May according to The NPD Group. “Golfers seem to be letting their spending belts out a notch too,” said Beditz. “(In June) we saw a significant jump in the proportion who say their spending has returned to a normal level (45%, up from 35%). And, as another measure of golfer confidence, the percent who’ve made an unexpected ‘big ticket purchase’ in the past 30 days has risen to 38%, up from 28% just a few weeks ago.” Retailers concur. “We’ve seen so much increased interest in the game of golf,” PGA Tour Superstore President and CEO Dick Sullivan told Forbes. “We’re seeing so many new faces in our stores. People that haven’t played in 20 years and they want to come back into the game. Our women’s business, whether its beginner sets, or in club business, is up 45-50%. “It is the one sport that people can physical distance. People want to get outdoors, they want to be healthy and people that work from home are tired of being inside. Golf courses are packed.” As the COVID-19 landscape shifted throughout the spring, golfers’ buying patterns shifted along with it. In April, the chain’s sales of push-pull walking golf carts

Industry Insider

Junior golf is up 20% this year, according to the NGF. were up 375%, as many courses limited golfers to walking-only or one person per cart. Whether those buying appetites will continue post-coronavirus remains to be seen, but the trend clearly beats the alternative.

THE NEXT NORMAL What the future holds for golf and especially, golf tournaments, no one knows, but it’s clear the game is much more resilient than many would have expected, and the game is finding new fans and new players in the face of all its adversity. The number of junior golfers (ages 6-17) could swell by as much as 20%  this year, according to the NGF. With approximately 2.5 million kids having teed it up on a golf course last year, that’s a potential Covidrelated bump of  half a million  junior golfers by year’s end. And coupled with a 20% increase in new and returning adults to the game this year, golf’s future is suddenly seeing a silver lining.

But to keep the momentum building, golfers everywhere must exhibit some of the same skills that make good players great — persistence, practice, and courtesy to their fellow golfers. “While it’s encouraging to see the golf business making a comeback, this isn’t business as usual, not from the standpoint of golf course operations, or from golfers’ compliance and responsibility,” Beditz said. “Golf course operators have specific safety protocols to follow, as do golfers. “Golf has been given the go-ahead because it’s considered a relatively safe activity when social distancing is maintained and other precautions are followed. But make no mistake, what has been given can be taken away. It’s now up to both golf course operators and golfers to keep golf open.”

For more about COVID-19’s impact on the game, visit www.ngf.org. WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


2021 Ryder Cup Preview

WHISTLING MUST WAIT The 2020 Ryder Cup postponed to next year amid coronavirus fears By Gary D’Amato


The coronavirus was surging in numerous states and showed no signs of abating. Positive tests were popping up on the PGA Tour and in professional sports leagues despite strict safety protocols. Quarantines were in place for international travel. Top players were calling for postponement if the Ryder Cup could not be safely held with spectators, and construction had not yet begun on grandstands and corporate chalets at the Straits. Finally, the PGA of America could wait no longer. On July 8, the PGA, which conducts the Ryder Cup when it is held in the 66


United States, announced that the event would be postponed one year. The biennial match between 12-man teams of professionals from the U.S. and Europe was rescheduled for Sept. 21-26, 2021, at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisconsin, with the competition the final three days. “Obviously, this nasty virus has shown its teeth again with the resurgences that are coming across the country,” said Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA. “And it became clear very recently that a postponement was the real logical, practical or responsible move that we had.

Photo by Nile Young Jr.

s May turned to June and June to July in 2020, hope faded that the 43rd Ryder Cup could be staged as scheduled in September at Whistling Straits.



Harrington agreed. “Rescheduling the Ryder Cup was never going to be an easy decision given the many factors to take into consideration. But I believe it is the right assessment given the unprecedented circumstances we are facing at this time.” The decision to postpone was made jointly by the major stakeholders — the PGA of America, the PGA Tour and the European Tour — after months of discussion and negotiation. Waugh, who consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hired an infectious diseases expert and even phoned Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy for advice, called it “the most complicated deal of my career.” The Ryder Cup is the most lucrative event in golf and postponement required the cooperation of the PGA Tour, which rakes in millions from the Presidents Cup. It also had a domino effect, with the Ryder Cup scheduled for 2022 in Rome moved back to 2023 and four more previously scheduled Ryder Cups in the U.S. all moved back one year.

THE PGA OF AMERICA OFFERED THE KOHLER CO. AN OPPORTUNITY TO OPT OUT OF ITS CONTRACT … IT WAS NEVER A SERIOUS CONSIDERATION. “While it is disappointing that the Ryder Cup won’t be played this year, the decision to reschedule is the right thing to do under the circumstances,” Stricker said. “At the end of the day, we want to stage a Ryder Cup that will rival all other Ryder Cups in my home state of Wisconsin, and now we have an opportunity to showcase the event as it was meant to be seen.” 68


“As Seth described it, we now face an array of logistical challenges with our colleagues at the PGA of America and with the PGA Tour, with Whistling Straits, with future venues on both sides of the Atlantic, with our commercial and broadcast partners and with our various event suppliers,” said Guy Kinnings, the European Tour’s deputy CEO. “We are so grateful

Photo by Nile Young Jr.

“This has been a very long, very arduous process, but I think we also need to put it in perspective, right? This pandemic has caused so much pain across the world, and this is a paper cut relative to what so many others are going through. We’re going to live to fight another day and hopefully we’ll have the kind of Ryder Cup that we have dreamed about.” The PGA Tour’s Presidents Cup, which had been scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2021 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, will now be played in September, 2022. The Ryder Cup will be held in odd years, with the Presidents Cup in even years. In a corresponding decision, the Junior Ryder Cup at Blue Mound Golf & Country Club in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, featuring the top junior golfers in the U.S. and Europe, was rescheduled for Sept. 20-21, 2021. It was originally scheduled for Sept. 21-22, 2020. Steve Stricker of Madison, Wisconsin, named U.S. Ryder Cup team captain in February 2019, will remain in that capacity, as will his counterpart, Padraig Harrington of Ireland.

for the understanding and cooperation of everyone involved in the process.” The PGA of America offered the Kohler Co. an opportunity to opt out of its contract to host the 43rd Ryder Cup, but David Kohler, the company’s president and CEO, said it was never a serious consideration. “From Day 1, we have been all-in to serve as honored hosts of the Ryder Cup,” Kohler said in a statement to Golftime. “We embrace the responsibility and opportunity in bringing the Ryder Cup to Wisconsin — now in 2021. It’s an incredible celebration of the game of golf and a capstone event recognizing the tremendous contribution that Herb Kohler and Pete Dye have made in making Wisconsin a top global golf destination. “Our team remains fully committed to delivering an unmatched experience, seeing it through safely and creating lifelong memories for all involved, locally and around the world.” Tickets purchased for the 2020 Ryder Cup via rydercup.com will automatically be valid for the corresponding day(s) in 2021.

The event was a sellout, with approximately 200,000 tickets claimed in a random lottery in October 2019. The PGA of America said it would contact those who secured tickets via rydercup. com to facilitate refunds for those unable to attend in 2021. People who purchased tickets and hospitality packages on the secondary market will have to contact that specific site directly. As for the PGA’s ability to stage the Ryder Cup with a full contingent of fans in 2021, Waugh said there were no guarantees. “I think I would bet on science, I guess, is what I would say … about the ability to figure out treatments, vaccines or protocols for safety, given that we have 15 months to do that,” he said. “But there frankly is no guarantee. If we do get to this time next year and we can’t responsibly hold it, it likely will result in a cancellation at that point. I don’t think we can perpetually roll things forward. “We’re hopeful that we will hold it, but all bets are off in terms of what’s going on in the world.” WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


Equipment Preview


Here’s the best gear for getting back to golf’s basics If you’re like us, “midseason form,” means suddenly nit-picking every club in your bag, looking for the weak link and a quick fix. When it’s time to mix things up, one of the best things you can do is get back to basics — drive, chip and putt. Here are some suitable replacements in those three crucial categories.

TaylorMade TP Patina Collection Look good, play good, goes the saying, and it’s tough to imagine a putter looking better than one from TaylorMade’s new TP Patina lineup. The collection includes seven different putter head options, all with the new patina finish — combining black nickel and copper for a unique look that will oxidize over time. Ooff. $299. taylormadegolf.com. 70


Equipment Preview

Ping G410 Plus

Ping’s newest driver drops some serious tech to help golfer’s with mid-range swing speeds. Easily adjustable with a moveable weight system, the G410 Plus can promote a draw, fade or neutral shot shape, with improved forgiveness and flight height. This Ping goes boom. $500. ping.com. .

Titlelist Vokey SM8

Bob Vokey might be the biggest name in wedge design, and the new SM8 might be his best yet. The new SM8 aims to help you in three areas: distance control, shot versatility and spin. The SM8 sounds like a triple threat to us. $159. vokey.com. . WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


Equipment Preview

Odyssey Stroke Lab Black The No. 1 putter company on every major tour has turned its mad scientists loose yet again, and the result is the beauty called Stroke Lab Black. Its innovative shaft saves 40 grams of weight, redistributing it to the head and grip of the putter for better balance and improved tempo and consistency in your stroke. $299. odyssey.com.

TaylorMade SIM Max D Just like your swing, the team at TaylorMade knows if you keep things the same you get the same result. Their new SIM drivers have an asymmetrical sole design and Inertia Generator to increase speed when you need it most. The Max D model promotes a draw shot shape, great for mid- to highhandicappers needing a midseason fade fix. $500. taylormadegolf.com.

Callaway Jaws MD5 Just when you thought it wasn’t safe in the sand anymore … comes Jaws. Touted as having the “Most Aggressive Teeth in Golf,” Callaway’s Jaws MD5 wedges come in 23 different loft/bounce combos and five grind styles. Jaws is as custom to you as your smile. $159. callawaygolf.com. 72


Equipment Preview

Bettinardi BB1 Flow Bob Bettinardi’s BB Series putters turn 21 this year, with the first ones unveiled back in 1999. Now they’re old enough to drink, you’ll want to toast them after a few rounds with the BB1 Flow, returning to the lineup after a five-year hiatus. The BB1-F features a flat topline, softened for a Tour-preferred, more contoured appearance, in addition to the Super-Fly Mill face. Salute! $300. bettinardi.com

TaylorMade Milled Grind 2.0 The Milled Grind 2.0 is truth in advertising: The reimagined club combines precision milling with a “Raw Face” technology that will slowly rust the face, but not the rest of the club. The laser-etched grooves are designed to deliver greater green side spin. $169. taylormadegolf.com.

Mizuno T20 Blue Ion If your short game’s got the blues, Mizuno’s T20 Blue Ion might have the cure for what ails you. The T20 is made with a “Grain Flow Forged HD” process to create consistency, distance control and incredible feedback. $149. mizunousa.com.




Equipment Preview

PING Sigma 2 Do you feel like you’re swinging a hammer on the greens? PING’s Sigma 2 invites you to the softer side of things, with a responsive feel but a firm face. The Sigma 2 also offers an adjustablelength shaft to find the right fit for you. Sounds like a great fit to us already. $219. ping.com.

Cobra King MIM Another contender is Cobra’s King MIM wedges. The MIM (that stands for Metal Injection Molded) is designed to deliver a soft and precise feel and create more consistency with your short game. $159. cobragolf.com.

Bridgestone Tour B JGR While many club makers seem bent on building Tour-ready clubs, Bridgestone’s take is their new Tour B JGR series, aiming at helping the rest of us: the mid- to high-handicappers. (Thank you.) Case in point: The Tour B JGR driver. With a 460cc head and “boost wave” crown, it’s designed to help you hit it higher, longer and straighter, with a slight draw bias. Sign us up! $297. bridgestonegolf.com.



you love love Erin Erin Hills, Whistling Straits, Kohler, Sand IfIf you Hills, Whistling Straits, Kohler, Sand Valley, The Ryder Cup, SentryWorld, Wisconsin Dells,

Valley, The Ryder Cup, SentryWorld, Wisconsin Dells, Lake Geneva, Badgers, cheese, tournaments, Lake Michigan, Lake Geneva, Badgers, cheese, tournaments, Lake Michigan, friendly golfers, views, beer, lakes, fun, and so much more… friendly golfers, views, beer, lakes, fun, and so much more… Then you need to follow Then you need to follow

The Voice of Golf in Wisconsin The Voice of Golf in Wisconsin

Best golf writers in the state with Gary D’Amato, Rob Hernandez Best golf writers in the state with Gary D’Amato, Rob Hernandez and Dennis McCann. Daily updates on all things golf. and Dennis McCann. Daily updates on all things golf.

www.Wisconsin.golf www.Wisconsin.golf

Killarney Golf Media publishes Wisconsin.golf and Golftime Midwest Killarney Golf Media publishes Wisconsin.golf and Golftime Midwest

Equipment Preview

Titleist Scotty Cameron Phantom X 12.5 For many struggling golfers, it’s not the swing it’s the setup. Scotty Cameron’s Phantom X 12.5 gives golfers a new setup option — a low-bend shaft and a single milled sight line. Titleist’s Phantom X 12.5 combines stainless steel and aircraft-grade aluminum for better feel, forgiveness and feedback. $429. titleist.com.

Cleveland CBX 2 Cleveland can make a case as the King of Wedges, and it’s no wonder with the new CBX 2s. Built for the average and high-handicap golfers, the CBX 2 provides tour-level spin and control for players looking to punch up their short game. $139. clevelandgolf.com.

Titleist TS1 Titleist has gone back to basics, too, and spent the past two years breaking down their drivers and rebuilding every facet for greater speed. The result is the stellar TS1, with the thinnest crown around to move that weight down and low, for higher speeds and launch angle, with a slight draw bias. Watch it go. $499. titleist.com.



The Back Nine

Are You a Real Golfer?


Photo by Nile Young Jr.

s I write this, I know I’m like millions of other people who are happy to have had golf as an escape from reality this year. While wondering about that, it occurred to me (not for the first time) to ask myself a question that I encourage you to ask yourself as well: What kind of a golfer am I? By that I don’t mean what kind of a golfer am I ability-wise, I mean what kind of a golfer am I person-wise. Put another way, are you a real golfer, or a golfer in name only? Yeah OK, you’ve got a bag full of nice clubs, cool shoes, the latest outfit, and maybe a low handicap. That doesn’t make you a real golfer; there’s more to it than that.

For example, when you get to a golf course — whether it’s your regular course or a new one — how does the staff treat you and how do you respond? Are the people in the pro shop friendly and happy to have you there, is the wait staff helpful and eager to supply you with some food or a drink? And what 78


by Danny Freels about the superintendent and members of the grounds crew? Do they greet you with a smile or a wave as you pass by? If the answer to those questions is no, then I suggest you finish your round and not go back. If, on the other hand, the answer to those questions is yes, think about how you treated them. Were you friendly in the pro shop, did you leave your waitress a nice tip, and did you wave back to the woman mowing the fairways? Years ago, someone at some public course somewhere came up with an advertising line that I believe has hurt golf etiquette immensely. The line was, “Your country club for a day.” Unfortunately, too many golfers took that to mean they were special and could act as badly as they wanted. That it was OK to take a divot on a green, or trash a trash can or toss a tee marker into the weeds. It’s sad but true — and I speak from experience. For the past 13 years, I’ve worked as a seasonal grounds crew member at a golf course near where I live in Michigan. One of the worst, most disheartening days I’ve had during this otherwise enjoyable time was the day two seniors pulled up to the tee where I was filling divots and one of them walked over and began to urinate only a few yards from where I was — as if I was nothing more than a tree. It made me so mad I wanted to knock this fellow senior of mine on his butt. But I didn’t — partly because I would’ve been fired immediately and partly because I probably would’ve been sued. Another reason was because I knew this old fart was not a real golfer and he was never, ever going to be. What about you?


1. Arrowwood Resort


Home of Great Golf and the 2016 & 2028 Ryder Cups

2. Black Bear Golf Course www.golfatthebear.com

3. Braemar Golf Course www.braemargolf.com

Play golf where the best golfers in the world play!

4. Breezy Point Resort


5. Chaska Town Course www.chaskatowncourse.com

The land of 10,000 water holes invites you to test your game at some of the most beautiful and challenging courses in the world — enjoy Minnesota golf.

6. Cragun’s Resort www.craguns.com

7. Destination Bloomington www.bloomingtonmn.org

8. Giants Ridge Golf & Ski Resort www.giantsridge.com

9. Legends Club


10. Madden’s on Gull Lake www.maddens.com


11. Minnesota National GC www.mnnationalgolfcourse.com

12. Prestwick Golf Club www.prestwick.com

13. Ridges at Sand Creek www.ridgesatsandcreek.com

14. Royal Golf Club www.royalclubmn.com

15. Rush Creek Golf Club www.stonebrooke.com

St. Cloud


19. Territory 15 Golf Club www.territorygc.com


20. The Wilds Golf Club 3 5 www.golfthewilds.com 7

14 17 12


20 9at Fortune Bay 21. Wilderness 35 13 www.golfthewilderness.com 22


St. Cloud

19 Twin Cities


3 20 9 22


14 17 12




22. Willingers Golf Club www.willingersgc.com


www.ExploreMinnesotaGolf.com WWW.GOLFTIMEMAG.COM


35E 35W

5 16


19 Twin Cities








17. StoneRidge Golf Club



6 10




16. Stonebrooke Golf Club

www.superiornational.com 94





18. Superior National GC




6 10






Nestled among the 6,800 acres of rolling hills in The Galena Territory in beautiful Northwest Illinois, Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa combines spectacular scenery with full-service amenities and activities for all occasions. For wide open spaces and memories with your loved ones, Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa is the perfect getaway.




Profile for Killarney Golf Media

Golftime Midwest Summer/Fall 2020  

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