THE STATE OF YOUR GAME
IN COMMAHAND Is Hunter Mahan Golf's Next #1 Player?
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Our staff tests the latest gear, gadgets and apparel for your consideration
TEST DRIVES: page 28
VOLUME 30, NUMBER 3 – WINTER ISSUE
Cover Feature: The Rise of Hunter Mahan With close calls in consecutive majors and another strong season, Hunter Mahan is emerging as one of the game’s elite talents-- rarified air for such a grounded soul.
16: Regional News: North Texas
McKinney-based PGA and LPGA Tour caddie Jeff King is causing a stir among professional golfers who can’t get enough of his KINGMADE Jerky. Find out if the flavor merits the buzz.
22: Regional News: Hill Country
They say quality will always sell. That seems to be the proven formula for the now decade-old luxury club and community at Boerne’s Cordillera Ranch.
26: Checking In: Spotlight on East Texas
The drives are quieter and the pines are taller in East Texas. But if you have a long weekend to spare you might find this under-touted section of the state has some pretty excellent golf.
e e. texasgolfermagazine.com
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VOLUME 30, NUMBER 3 – WINTER ISSUE
Big Whoop Architect Jeff Blume’s total renovation of the Campus Course at Texas A&M University transforms a cowtown course into one of the Houston area’s top daily-fee destinations. Page 15
IN THIS ISSUE: 34: You 2.0 8: The Hall Calls
Australian-born two-time major champion David Graham and the ultimate club professional and raconteur Eldridge Miles head the 2013 Texas Golf Hall of Fame class.
10: "The Short Game" .
"The Short Game” is a delightful (and at times nerve-racking) documentary that peeks into the competitive world of top-level junior golf.
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Work smarter, not harder with advice from Mike McCabe, Dave Pelz, and author and mental coach Dr. David Cook.
. 38: Travel
You’ve seen sports and Hollywood luminaries revel in the High Sierras at the televised American Century Celebrity Championship at Lake Tahoe. Now it’s your turn to discover this choice destination.
44: The Architect's Digest
Houston-based golf course architect Mike Nuzzo asks that we reexamine the concept of “fairness” as it pertains to golf in modern times.
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VOLUME 30, NUMBER 3 WINTER
Is it Summer Yet? During the summer when the Texas heat is at its meanest, it is common to think about winter and look forward to its arrival. Well, the cold blast has set in and it doesn’t really feel like Texas right now. I have no problem admitting I prefer the warmer summer months. No contest. One thing I have always said is “In Texas, you don’t have to scrape heat off your windshield.” As I write this, there is a lot of ice blanketing parts of the state right now. What happened to all the Global Warming talk?
THE RAVEN GOLF CLUB
MIRAMONT COUNTRY CLUB
Speaking of warmer times, this summer I had the pleasure of going back to the Destin, FL area and playing golf with my brother-in-law. We played the Regatta Bay Golf and Country Club and the Raven Golf Club. If you are in the Destin area, I would highly recommend that you put both of these courses on your to-do list. The Raven, located at the beautiful 2,400acre Sandestin Resort, is a great Robert Trent Jones Jr. design that plays through pines, lots of water and wetlands. That stark white sand that is native to the region contrasts neatly with the emerald fairways. Right down Emerald Coast Parkway toward Destin, you will find Regatta Bay snuggled in a gorgeous gated community. Regatta Bay is set in the awesome nature preserves along the Choctawhatchee Bay so it feels like a great escape into the wilderness. The course nestles right up to the pristine blue bay, offering incredible natural views. It’s one of the great natural settings for golf, making great use of the coastline. I play golf all over the country and I still consider these among the best golfing experiences in the country. Shortly after the trip to Destin, I went to Texas A&M for my 25 Year Reunion. There are so many things that have changed in the area, but one of the biggest additions is Miramont Country Club an unbelievable community and club in Bryan. My friend and an important contributor to this magazine is Brad Lardon, who is Miramont’s director of golf. He was gracious enough to host an old college buddy, Paul Slater and me for a round and all I can say is I now understand why so many Aggies are going back to retire in College Station. It is one of the best courses and finest golfing experiences in the state. Later in the year, as Fall approached, I had the chance to play at Primm Valley Golf Club while in Las Vegas for a conference. Just on the edge of town, Primm Valley's course has a nice layout designed by Tom Fazio, and is perhaps some of his best work. It was truly a majestic and stunning course, featuring water on five holes, narrow fairways and well-bunkered greens. It is definitely worth the stop if you ever find yourself in the Sin City.
PRIMM VALLEY GOLF CLUB
Tomorrow the high is supposed to be 38 degrees and I have signed up to play golf. Again, I find myself daydreaming about short-sleeve-and-sun-block weather. Happy New Year to all of you. Enjoy this very special time of year. I hope you like this edition of our magazine. Hit ‘em straight!
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Copyright 2013 by Texas Golfer Magazine. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from Texas Golfer. Texas Golfer Magazine is published by Texas Golfer Magazine, Inc., 15721 Park Row, Suite 100 Houston, TX 77084. ISSN #0889-4825
4 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
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H H H H H
THE FUTURE IS NOW for TEXAS' BEST PLAYERS A
few weeks back at the Texas Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony, one couldn’t help but be reminded of the incredible unbroken circle of great Texas golfers. Our fathers had their golfing heroes-- whether those were luminaries like Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson or Jimmy Demaret, Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw or Tom Kite—and it seems our state has always had a healthy contingent of top-level talent and major winners. Even in eras when Texans weren’t exactly dominant, stalwarts like Lanny Wadkins, Mark Brooks, Justin Leonard, Rich Beem and Todd Hamilton have notched majors and grown the Lone Star State’s legacy in the game. In case you’re wondering, the future of Texas golf seems to be in good hands. It’s easy to point to Jordan Spieth's spectacular rookie season as the signal that Texas is back on the map. The 20-year-old Dallas native started the 2013 season with no status on any professional tour and exemptions into just a handful of events. Today, he sits 21st in the Official World Golf Rankings having finished his first season as a professional ranked 10th on the money list after a victory (at the John Deere Classic) and eight top-10 finishes. His closing-round 64 to make the Presidents Cup team was one of the most clutch rounds by any Tour player in 2013. Golf fans still ask “What will Phil do next?” but they’d be well advised to keep an eye what Spieth does for an encore to his Rookie of the Year campaign. The former Texas Longhorn was very close to securing a second win at the Wyndham Championship in August when Patrick Reed stole a clinching birdie from what seemed like a horrible, blocked-out lie on the second hole of a sudden death playoff. This was the first career victory for Reed, a Spring resident and San Antonio native whose lucky charm seems to be his spirited blonde caddie/wife, Justine. The pair says they’ll maintain their player/caddie roles (and hopefully their hot momentum) until it’s time to start a family. San Antonio resident Jimmy Walker turned pro in 2001 and 188 tournaments later, he entered the winner’s circle for the first time at October’s season-opening (don’t get me started…) 6 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
Frys.com Open. Staying hot, Walker captured the Sony Open in January. Walker, Spieth and Reed will all be playing The Masters for the first time in April, giving Texan fans some new quality rooting interests in the season’s first major. “I can't wait (for The Masters).” Reed says. “I have butterflies thinking about it. I played it three times (while playing collegiate golf at Augusta State), but that's when it's wet, cold. You're hitting driver, 3-wood or hybrid into #11.” Speaking of majors, it’s quite possible our cover subject Hunter Mahan is on a trajectory to win one sooner rather than later. The Dallas star played in the final group at both the U.S. and British Opens and consistently displays the seasoning and skill to excel in the game’s toughest settings. What’s also exciting for Texas is the depth of young amateur players like Houston’s Cory Whitsett (the nation’s #1-ranked college player for the University of Alabama) and Dallas product Scottie Sheffler who looked fearless in his final match to secure this year’s U.S. Junior Amateur Championship and followed up that victory by advancing all the way to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur. There’s promise on the horizon on the women’s side as well. Angleton’s 17-year-old Lakareber Abe reached the finals of the U.S. Junior Girls Amateur Championship and before falling 2 and 1 to Gabriella Then. The Ugandan-born Abe has committed to play college golf at Alabama and will likely compete on occasion against her older sister Tezira, who plays for Texas. Understand that this is a cast of young talents who grew up emulating not players who simply made cuts and cashed checks, but watching Tiger Woods dominate the pro ranks. In their minds, Tiger set the bar and proved it’s possible to reach the top of the game… at any age. There are no guarantees in golf, but don’t be shocked to see more than one Texan in the next decade climb to the game’s pinnacle. History has a funny way of repeating itself and the rich history of golf in Texas seems destined to live on. – C.M. texasgolfermagazine.com
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Out of the Ashes: COLOVISTA IS BACK ON THE MAP
rom its debut in 1997 to its unfortunate closing in 2009 and recent re-launch, Bastrop’s ColoVista Country Club has remained one of the best-liked courses in Central Texas. A tranquil setting among the pines and along Colorado River gives the 6,596yard layout a special character and special spot in the hearts of area golfers.
Casper Golf came in to assume management operations earlier this year.
It wasn’t easy to bring the course back from the weeds or the effects of the 2011 wild fires, but players have been pleasantly surprised to find good playing conditions since the course reopened to the public in July. Residents and members did a noble job hacking back vegetation and mowing as best as they could until Billy
Once ranked by “Best Course in the State” by the Houston Chronicle, ColoVista has retained its charm with dramatic scenery and cool shot values. The steep climbs down to the first fairway and to the 15th green are the property’s iconic vistas but the course has character throughout and remains one the region’s best destinations for a day trip. Stay and play packages start as low as $75 per person and a new program offering “Weekday Memberships” for $99 per month was recently launched. Visit www.colovistagolf.com for more information.
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TEXAS GOLF HALL OF GAME
Harmon, Graham, Barrow Lead
2013 CLASS OF TEXAS GOLF HALL OF GAME INDUCTEES
PHOTO CREDIT: Gary Perkins
n a day and night of living history and surprises, eight new members and one new entry into the registry of historic Texas courses were inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame at Brackenridge Park in October. The honorees were formally introduced at the Walk of Fame on the TGHOF facility grounds at historic Brackenridge Park Golf Course and then saluted at a sold out dinner at Oak Hills Country Club. CBS lead announcer Jim Nantz flew in unexpectedly from his Sunday NFL assignment in Kansas City to (surprise and) honor his good friend and 2013 inductee Lance Barrow, a Colleyville native, who was inducted for his decades of broadcasting CBS Golf, including more than two dozen Masters Tournaments. “With my Texas roots and to honor my man Lance Barrow, I just had to be here tonight. He has done so much to bring golf television forward in the years he has been our producer at CBS.” Nantz was also joined by former or current CBS broadcast members Lanny Wadkins and Mike Hulbert, along David Marr III from the Golf Channel, who served as the emcee of the program. “It’s very special to have so many of friends here for this ceremony,” Barrow said. “We had an executive at CBS (Frank Chirkinian) who used to say they only put you in the Hall of Fame where you are getting ready to die. I certainly hope that is not the case. Three members of golf’s most famous teaching family, the Harmon brothers, Craig, Butch and Billy all were in attendance to honor their recently deceased brother, Dick, who was inducted for his nearly three decades of service as a head professional at River Oaks Country Club and Redstone Golf Course. 8 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
Butch called Dick the glue who held the family together. “It is just a tremendous honor for my brother and our family,” Butch Harmon said. “I tell you something, this is the best state golf hall of fame in the country and just might be better than all of the other 49 states combined.” Along with Barrow, inducted for distinguished service, in this year’s class were amateur standouts, Dallas’ Chip Stewart, who joined his father Earl, the last club professional to win a PGA Tour event in the HOF, and Rockwall’s Anna Schultz. Longtime club professionals Houston’s Harmon and Dallas’ Eldridge Miles were also inducted along with two-term Texas Golf Association president A.J. Triggs from Tyler and longtime Houston architect Jay Riviere, inducted in the pioneer category. Dallas’ David Graham, who captured the 1981 U.S. Open at Merion along with 37 other professional victories was inducted, but had to accept via video because of a recent heart surgery. Each received a large bronze eagle statue as part of the Gathering of the Eagles ceremony. San Antonio Country Club, the first private club in the city in 1907, and one of the first in the state, which hosted the induction dinner for the TGHOF the last three years, was added to the Texas Registry of Historic Courses. The Texas Golf Hall of Fame is the largest state golf hall of fame in the country and was founded in the 1978. It was reconstituted four years ago and moved to Brackenridge Park, Texas’ first public golf course, and its adjoining museum and conference center.
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“We don’t make her practice, but she enjoys the schedule and enjoys getting better. She’s already thinking about what college she wants to go to. Golf empowers her.” bob sudberry, sky's father
Junior Golf-Themed Documentary Features Houston Phenom I
n the opening moments of the junior-golf themed documentary The Short Game, we meet eight interesting little kids, five boys and three girls, ages 7 - 8; all precocious, all talented and all with parents laser-driven to see them succeed on golf's highest stages. It only takes a few moments to realize what a huge undertaking this film was to create. The young stars hail from five different countries: The U.S., France, South Africa, China and The Philippines and the film visits each of their homes to set the tone and reveal each junior’s personality in a setting where they’re most at ease. Like any cross section of kids, you have your outspoken ones and your shy ones, your studious types and the cutups, but the film illustrates well that, regardless of personality, they all have their eyes lasered on the prize: The U.S. Kids Golf World Championship in Pinehurst, NC. They’re among the best players from their respective homelands and they’re all out to excel on a global stage. If you happen to like golf and kids, this film is an irresistible peek into a world where birdies are everything and a “normal” childhood can be a challenge to manage. There's a noticeable effort to keep the tone of the documentary lighthearted, however we all know succeeding on golf’s highest levels is often a time- and energy-consuming grind. At any age. Pair that pressure with the presence of a diverse cast of uber-involved parents and you get where this film derives a lot of its drama. Some of the Daddy Caddies (as they’re frequently referred to in the film) are seen grimacing and moaning at missed putts and even going to their knees or remarking out loud when shots misfire. A few moments will feel disturbing when the exchanges between one junior and her well-meaning but overzealous father become too heated for the golf course. Or anywhere. Midway into The Short Game, you clearly get the point that golf isn’t about trophies and laughs for a few of these families. It’s the pro tour or bust. Allan Kournikova, younger brother to tennis star Anna, steals the show on many occasions with a daring wit and surprising 10 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
pragmatism. It’s thrilling to see him in a situation where he needs birdie and trusting that the driver swing he’s grooved “a million times” will carry 175 yards, clear a bunker and set up an eagle try. Kids as the lead subjects allow us to view the game and completion with fresh eyes. Some of the families in the film have it all in perspective while others seem to fumble for the elusive balance between a happy golf life and a happy home life. The storytelling throughout is very solid but there is a brief moment toward the and where the narrative gets a little jumpy and the viewer may have a little confusion as to where a couple of the golfers stand on the final-round leaderboard. Watch it like movie and not a tournament and you’ll be fine. One of the young golfers featured in the film is a Texan, sweet Sky Sudberry from Spring. With a smooth swing and determined eyes, Sudberry quietly and methodically goes about her business on the course. She’s not afraid to get aggressive with a makeable birdie putt and understands the short game is the foundation to better scoring. The steadiness she shows in the film likely comes from that fact that she’s played since the age of three and enjoys practicing at Augusta Pines up to 10 hours per week. Sudberry has made the rounds, promoting the film and playing tournaments since the film first debuted in the summer. She even competed against Matt Lauer in putting contest on the Today Show. “Sky has a very normal family life and people always ask what we had to do to push her. Sky is very self-motivated and she loves practice and improving. We don’t make her practice, but she enjoys the schedule and enjoys getting better,” says Bob Sudberry, Sky’s father. “She’s already thinking about what college she wants to go to. Golf empowers her.” Sudberry will get a taste of the big time in April as one of the contestants in the first-ever Drive, Chip and Putt competition hosted at Augusta National Golf Club, the home of The Masters. The Short Game, winner of the Audience Award at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival, is now available on Netflix’s streaming service. Simply access your Netflix account to add to it your watch list. texasgolfermagazine.com
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RAWLS COURSE CLUBHOUSE A Worthy Component
or a decade now, the Rawls Course at Texas Tech University has been quietly building a reputation as one of the most creative (and perhaps underappreciated) layouts in the state of Texas. A rollicking Scottish links-inspired course designed by acclaimed architect Tom Doak, the Rawls blows away visitors who may be expecting a flat, wind-beaten playing field. The Pacific Dunes mastermind transformed a former cotton field into a satisfying 7,207-yard routing with such ample swales, mounds and rise and fall that each hole feels like its own singular little universe. “When you’re playing the course, the only thing that matters or comes to mind is the hole you’re playing and the shot you’re looking at,” says general manager Greg Winter. “You wouldn’t think a course with this much movement would be possible in the South Plains, but it looks perfectly natural.” The result of Doak’s work and imagination is a rippling hillside that nature never revealed on its own, a winsome landscape to admire from the newly-completed clubhouse. “We knew we had a world-class golf course here (ranked #3 on Golfweek’s Best Campus Courses list and #2 on its list of Best Public-Access Courses in Texas), but the clubhouse completes the picture,” says Winter. The golf course is now an integral part of the campus culture, a gathering spot for golfers and non-golfers alike. “I love seeing faculty and folks from the athletic department having meetings in the clubhouse or grabbing a salad on the patio overlooking the golf course,” Winter says. “It’s really an inviting atmosphere with outstanding views.” Architect Robert McKinney incorporated the Spanish-inspired design found on many of the campus buildings into the 6,500-square-foot multi-functional space. Winter says having the indoor and outdoor meeting space and the full-service kitchen in Jerry’s Grill allows his staff to host more (and larger) golf events as well as campus fundraisers, fine-dining affairs and business functions. “We’re hosting a lot more alumni events and more of a variety of social functions,” Winter says. The men’s and women’s golf teams enjoy a state-of-the-art, 4,000-squarefoot private practice area complete with dedicated practice and study space as well as locker rooms and a hospitality/team room. “Recruits are coming in now and seeing that our practice facilities and private training and study areas are equal with other top schools in the country,” Texas Tech men’s head golf coach Greg Sands says. “We already had one of the best golf courses in the state. Having one of the finest places in the country to work on your game is a competitive edge.” Sands adds that the Rawls Course will host an NCAA Men’s Regional in 2015, step one in possibly hosting the National Championship. “We’re excited.” In cooler months, an outdoor fire pit becomes a top clubhouse attraction. “It’s really cool how the clubhouse has become a local ‘destination’ so to speak,” says Sands. “People will just stop over for lunch or a drink and enjoy the view. When I got here 14 years ago, I never could have pictured a golf facility this complete and this beautiful. People just want to spend time here and ‘hang out’. That’s a testament to a great design.”
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By BRAD LARDON
Prospective Peek Inside
The Zone By BRAD LARDON
everal years ago, I escorted several members of mine to Sand Hills Golf Club in Mullen, Nebraska. The Sand Hills is the number-one ranked
course in the world built after 1940. At the time the course record at the Sand Hills was 66, held by Nick Faldo and Scott Verplank. On the first day of the trip I had the round of my life.
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Ironically, most of my time this day was spent helping my members hunt golf balls from the native grass areas on every hole. While doing this and not really paying much attention to my own round, I was playing very well. I was on “cruise control”. I finished the front nine with a 30. I was hitting it great and making every putt. The back nine started with three pars and a bogey, which seemed to derail the momentum. Nonetheless, I continued hunting balls in the high roughs and started making putts again. When I got to the 17th hole-- a genius short par 3 of 135 yards with significant trouble surrounding a very undulated green-- I noticed that no one in my group would talk to me. They knew something very special was taking place. Now, so did I. I made the 15-footer on 17 and followed with a 35-footer on 18. I had birdied the last 5 holes and shot a 61, breaking the old course record by five strokes. That was 12 years ago and the scorecard is still on the golf shop wall at Sand Hills. Last May, Golf Digest put out a list of the Top-100 course records in the world. Mine was ranked #9, with Claude Harmon’s records at Fishers Island and Winged Foot on both sides of it. Somehow I stayed out of my own way that day… by hunting balls in the native grass.
perform at the level he was accustomed to. Even after his body got healthy and after two years working with Sean Foley, without spiritual and emotional peace of mind, there was no way he could be the old Tiger. Phil Mickelson’s 66 last year in the final round of the British Open at Muirfield is another example of a player in the Zone. While I’m sure Phil was aware of his position, he managed to stay out of his own way. This was a huge breakthrough for Phil as the British Open was by far the major he struggled with the most in the past. My brother, Dr. Michael Lardon has been helping Phil with his processes, practice and general mental awareness that last two years and we have seen Phil’s world ranking go from the twenties back to number two this season. Jason Dufner and Justin Rose also played remarkable final round during the respective major victories at Merion and Oak Hill. They were in the Zone. If you would like to learn more about the Zone and how to get there more often, I recommend you read my brother’s book, Finding Your Zone. Visit www.drlardon.com for more information. Brad Lardon, PGA Director of Golf, Miramont Country Club
So what is the zone? Ask 10 people and the one thing you will hear similarly is that time seems to slow down and athletes are relaxed and at peace during their time in the zone, completely focused on the task at hand. I can’t completely explain how to get into the zone, but I can tell you that having your “home in order” which means having all of your off-thecourse responsibilities taken care of, is key step. The other big piece of the puzzle is process and practice. Without proper practice and great process, one can’t achieve maximum results. It’s at the rare time when all three of these things are put together that we may find ourselves in the Zone. When Tiger Woods was having his personal issues several years ago, he had no chance to
Brad Lardon is the well-respected Director of Golf at Miramont Country Club. His ongoing series of articles, "From the Pro," will appear in each issue of TEXAS GOLFER. Brad can be reached at: Lardon@miramont.com
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The newly-unveiled Jeff Blume design has been transformed from a lovable-but-rugged pasture course to a state-of-the-art championship layout.
The (Non-Football) Pride of Aggieland:
Renovations Supercharge the Campus Course at Texas A&M You have to admit, it's a great time to be an Aggie. The Johnny Manziel-led football team is riding high, Kyle Field is undergoing an expansive renovation and pride on campus is stronger than it's been in most of our lifetimes. Great news for golfers, the 18-hole on-campus golf course has not been left behind in the renovation frenzy. The newly-unveiled Jeff Blume design has been transformed from a lovable-butrugged pasture course to a state-of-the-art championship layout. Now measuring just over 7,000 yards from the tips and playing to a par of 71, the Campus Course at Texas A&M looks nothing like the 1950 Ralph Plummer design some students remember playing for about the same price as a burger and fries. “This is now a very high-quality golf experience,” says general manager (and former A&M and NFL safety) Dave Elmendorf. “The conditions here will exceed most people’s expectations and the greens are going to be the best in the region.” Houston-based golf course architect and Texas A&M graduate Jeff Blume was able to completely re-orient the golf course, providing definition one and between holes, more trees and a routing the provided excellent views of many of the landmark features on campus. The trademark scenic backdrop is the humbling view of Kyle Field from the ninth fairway. “You really feel connected to the campus and the tradition here,” Blume says. “I’m very proud that I was able to have this opportunity to work on what we consider hallowed ground.” Blume’s work provides a slightly hillier golfing experience, taking advantage of some natural ridgelines. The driving range
was moved and expanded to help improve the routing. The fairways are now covered with Celebration Bermuda and the greens with MiniVerde. “I fell in love with classic golf course designs like National Golf Links on Long Island and you see a little of that inspiration here,” Blume says, adding that the fairways were sand-capped to allow for ‘old school’ firm and fast playing conditions. “The genius in classic designs is in the subtlety but also in the strategic quirkiness, so we had fun here with things like the placement of cross bunkers and features that challenge your perception as wells as your shotmaking.” The result of this transformation is that one of the area’s plainest golf courses is now one of the finest daily-fee operations in the Greater Houston region. Houston-based Sterling Golf Management now operates the facility. “It's exciting to see the golf course transform into an upscale golf operation. We are seeing more groups pre-book and more tournaments on the roster than we have in previous years. The golf course is a new course of pride and excellent reason to stay in town longer on game weekends or visit more regularly,” says Elmendorf. Rates with cart are now $49 during the week and $59 on weekends. Visit www.tamucampuscourse.com for more information.
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LOCAL GE ED KNOWL
News & Notes
COLLIGAN DESIGN WINS TWO RENOVATION AWARDS Colligan Golf Design of Arlington, TX continues to receive accolades for their renovations on golf courses, winning a pair of second places in Golf Inc. Magazine’s Renovation of the Year international competition.
ohn Colligan and associate Trey Kemp were honored for their work on the bunkers at the Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club in the private club category and for their renovation of the Luna Vista Golf Course, formerly L.B. Houston Golf Course, in Dallas in the public course category. On the Oklahoma project, the judges noted: “These folks used a very small renovation budget ($550,000) and made a huge comparative input. They improved playability without complicating maintenance.” Having had the opportunity to work on several Perry Maxwell courses plus studying many Alister MacKenzie courses along with pictures of bunkers from the early 1930s, Colligan’s team was able to transform a nondescript bunker look into one that included a step back in history—the implementation of a jaggededge cape and cove style. For the Dallas project, the judges felt Colligan’s team made “dramatic improvements aesthetically and agronomically” with a $3.2 million budget that exceeded the city’s expectations. Drainage was improved dramatically, eliminating the past problem of the course having to close for several days after heavy rains. A stateof-the-art irrigation system with more than 1,400 heads was added. The addition of more than 400 trees and 2,000 ornamental grasses improved aesthetics. Another plus for the city has been increased play. “Trey and I were very honored upon being notified that two of our projects were selected by Golf Inc. Magazine,” 16 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
Colligan said, pointing out that they were competing with the biggest names in golf architecture. “This comes on the heels of being finalists for the restoration of Brackenridge Park in San Antonio in 2009 and our bunker renovation project at River Crest Country Club in Fort Worth in 2010. It’s rewarding to see how providing a quality product even on a budget can be recognized by your peers.” The Richmond Golf Club in Petersham, England, just outside of London, took top honors in the private club category for renovations on its bunkers by Tim Lobb and Andrew Goosen, operating with a $200,000 budget. Glaze Meadow Golf Course in Black Butte Ranch, OR claimed honors among public courses for the retro redesign by John Fought where more than 3,000 trees were eliminated. Colligan Design recently completed major renovations and 13 new holes on the Mustang Course at Ross Rogers in Amarillo, much like they did at Stevens Park, and finished a major bunker renovation at the Ridgewood Country Club in Waco. Renovations were completed at Hidden Creek Golf Course in Burleson and Pecan Plantation Country Club in Granbury in 2012. “We’re definitely staying busy, “ Colligan continued, pointing to current projects at the Rolling Hills Country Club in Arlington, the DeCordova Bend Country Club in Granbury, the McAllen Country Club, the Chester Ditto Golf Course in Arlington and the short game area at the Stonebriar Country Club in Frisco. texasgolfermagazine.com
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Dallas-Area Caddie has
MAJOR BEEF D
ufnering. Flat billed caps. Tight plaid pants. You never quite know what’s going to catch on out on the PGA Tour these days. In a recent case, it’s beef jerky. PGA Tour caddie from McKinney, Mark King recently debuted his own brand of King Made Jerky and it’s become one of the most soughtafter delicacies inside the ropes. A social media image surfaced early in 2013 of Tiger Woods enjoying some of King’s special blend and went viral, giving the veteran caddie’s fledgling brand a much-needed shot of publicity. More than 100 tour players, including Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson are King Made devotees. “It’s hands down the best I’ve ever had,” Kuchar says.
“I always enjoyed eating beef jerky but the stuff I found in convenience stores and gas stations was terrible,” said King. “I knew there had to be a way to make a premium grade jerky and satisfy the health-conscious tastes of the players out on tour.” King Made offers three flavors featuring King’s personal recipes: Classic Recipe, Sweet Chili Pepper and Buffalo Style. King says his use of flank steak is the reason his jerky is so tender and holds its distinctive flavor. It seems to hit all the marks with golfers and the product is expanding into more shops as it gains momentum. $8.00 for 2.25 ounces, and also is available in one pound bags. Visit www.kingmadejerky.com for more.
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Neches Pines Undergoes Renovations Thanks to a $1.2 million grant from the Temple Foundation in nearby Lufkin, Diboll’s 18-hole Neches Pines Golf Course is in the final stages of a major renovation that the city hopes will return it to its original splendor. Buddy Zeagler, executive director of the Temple Foundation, indicated the city came asking for a grant for work on the irrigation system. After getting an evaluation from consultant Mike Sheridan of Boerne, it was approved with the stipulation the city have some “skin in the game” and make some additional upgrades. “It was time to do some polishing and rejuvenating,” said Jimmy Mettlin, head professional and general manager for the past 23 years. Mayor John McClain noted that city officials decided that renovations for the golf course and other community projects had to be made to attract new business and people to Diboll. “We were at the point with the golf course where we had reached a level where we were fixin’ to fall off the cliff,” he told the newspaper. Mettlin indicated the new irrigation system, installed earlier in 2013, would allow the course to take care of maintenance issues like applying chemicals and fertilizers that they could not do with the antiquated old system. “If it’s green and looks good, everyone wants to play it,” he said. “We want it to be the golf course we
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"We want it to be the golf course we had in 2001 when it was one of the top 25 municipal golf courses in the state and one of a few called hidden gems. We want to provide the most affordable golf in Angelina County and East Texas. That’s what we want to achieve." jimmy mettlin, neches pines golf course
HHH had tin 2001 when it was one of the top 25 municipal golf courses in the state and one of a few called hidden gems. We want to provide the most affordable golf in Angelina County and East Texas. That’s what we want to achieve.”
Following Sheridan’s recommendations, a superintendent and two additional works were also hired. Other renovations included rehabbing the bridges and creek crossings, renovating the bunkers and repairing the cart paths. All were expected to be completed by October. One regular player, who has an annual membership, noted that dramatic improvements had been made in the past six months. ”I’m just not sure I want others to find out about it as I like having my own hidden gem,” he said. City officials believe the renovations will pay off in the long run, allowing the golf course to pay its own way after losing money all but one time in the past few years. Mettlin also plans to expand its First Tee after-school program, introducing the game to more youths in Diboll. The Temple Foundation’s involvement with Neches Pines continues what Arthur Temple started when he donated the land to Diboll to build a 9-hole course back in 1968 and when he provided additional funds to add another nine holes in 1991.
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lubhouse design is the sort of thing most golfers rarely take note of until they lay eyes on a particularly good – or bad – example. The best, like East Lake, Shinnecock Hills or Augusta National are iconic, while the worst ones can leave us feeling cold or even lost. Thanks to bright minds like Oklahoma City-based clubhouse designer Tom Hoch, the clubhouse of the future can be a place where members and families partake in active lifestyle amenities and form a “personal connection” with the property and all it offers. “A lot of developers over the past 25 years, built enormous monstrosities of clubhouses to fill and sell real estate, but the net result can be something rather uninviting,” Hoch says. “If you have too big of a clubhouse, you disperse the energy and interrupt that lifeline. We try to rearrange and refocus spaces so they have new energy and become gathering places where people want to stay and enjoy the surroundings.” A graduate of TCU’s business and interior design schools, Hoch, who took over the family business from his father in 1994, is presently overseeing renovations at Wichita Falls Country Club and Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas. Hoch says today’s private clubs stand to gain more revenue and happier members by offering amenities and clubhouse features that match the lifestyles of their key demographic targets. “Clubs are getting younger and more family-oriented, so there’s real value in offering more activities and spaces for kids and also in simple things like following trends in the restaurant business. Most clubs compete less with each other and more with the most popular steakhouse on town or the high energy bar in the neighborhood.” He adds that modern restaurant features like exhibition kitchens, wood stove
"Most clubs compete less with each other and more with the most popular steakhouse on town or the high energy bar in the neighborhood.” tom hoch , clubhouse designer
pizza ovens or wine bars can fit into the club environment as long as the design and the architecture are “true and authentic.” Keeping members at the club “beyond golf” is a natural method for driving more revenue and Hoch says it can be as simple, in some cases, as allocating space for yoga studios, aerobic rooms and grab-and-go stations featuring healthy food offerings. When your fitness offerings are better than the best gym in the area or the food is as good as neighboring restaurants and you’re in an environment that’s warm and authentic, people will respond and connect.” A “resort for the day” concept is something Hoch says would help many clubs differentiate and step into the next generation. “We do a lot of work with Ritz-Carlton and Marriott and have been able to incorporate a number of things into clubhouse design that are historically more associated with a resort experience,” he says, adding that it shouldn’t be out of the realm to see clubhouses with “outside the box” offerings like two-lane bowling alleys, billiard rooms or indoor golf simulator rooms. Hoch is also quick to point out there’s no magic template with these emerging design concepts. “Our designs are specific to each club’s culture. I’m definitely not in a one-size-fits-all business. Space-planning, right-sizing and mapping are the key to (clubhouse) designs that only enhance revenue, but create a sense of place and pride for members. “The more amenity offerings available outside of golf, the more members will take advantage of those conveniences,” Hoch says. To check out Tom Hoch’s innovative clubhouse designs, visit his website: www.tomhoch.com
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LOCAL GE ED KNOWL
News & Notes
The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center: STILL A CHOICE DESTINATION
There's an elegant simplicity to the Woodlands Resort & Conference Center. As a destination, it provides exactly what the discriminating traveler, active family or business group seeks. Namely, seclusion from the outside world and the ability to make the best use of your time, however you choose to spend it. Spread across 350 acres of secluded forest, the resort is warm and casual with an array of fine amenities across the board. The Woodlands, a prototypical master-planned community 30 miles north of Houston, has set the standard for suburban living since the mid 1970s and recently saw its population push past 100,000. Once you glide through the resort entrance, you’d never know it, though. The seclusion is blissful. True, suburban Houston isn’t the first destination that leaps to mind when you think of resort getaway, but The Woodlands is a special kind of oasis not far from the city. Canopied by towering pines, the resort is undergoing an expansion and renovation that includes the addition of 184 guest rooms and suites, a 1,000-ft lazy river added to go along with five pools, including the awesome Forest Oasis Waterscape (which features a pair two-story waterslides, waterfalls and the poolside Cool Water Café), and a new steakhouse overlooking the 18th green of the signature Panther Trail golf course. As part of the $60 million renovation (slated for completion in late 2014), the 222 existing guest rooms and the meeting, reception and event spaces are being revived with a contemporary, luxury look and feel. “We’re excited to enter this new 20 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
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Spread across 350 acres of secluded forest, the resort is warm and casual with an array of fine amenities across the board.
phase at The Woodlands,” says director of sales and marketing Tory Enriquez. “We strive to lead the way for luxury business travel in this part of the country so the changes are going to convey our ‘next generation’ approach to offering the very best in luxury resort and business amenties.” Incredibly easy access from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport makes this destination popular with business groups. A founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers, The Woodlands Resort is passionate about staying on the cutting edge with its 60,000 square feet of state-of-the art conference and meeting space. The 13,430 square-foot
Grand Ballroom, lobby and pre-function space are all being “re-styled” as part of the renovation. The two golf courses at the resort, Panther Trail and The Oaks have stood the test of time and offer great conditions, traditional parkland shot values. Visitors love the thrill of the all-carry approach to the island green on #18 on Panther Trail, a well-forested layout that makes good use of wetlands and gently rolling terrain. Golf put The Woodlands on the map, Golf put The Woodlands on the map, hosting the Shell Houston Open from 1975 to 2002 at multiple courses in the community and these two original layouts keep the heritage and history
alive. It’s classic Houston golf and the conditions, practice area and staff are all first-rate. After golf, enjoy miles and miles of walking and nature trails or relax at the spa with nature-inspired treatment , whirlpools and a eucalyptus steam room. You’re also close to great restaurants, shopping and entertainment in The Woodlands. Whether you book a stay now or after the fantastic renovations are complete, you’ll be impressed with the quality of your stay and the peaceful ambience that surrounds this “Texas original” property. Visit www.woodlandsresort.com for more information.
Brown Joins Dave Williams Golf Academy Staff
elevision commentator and three-time winner on the PGA Tour Billy Ray Brown recently announced he’ll be offering instruction at the Golf Club of Houston’s Dave Williams Golf Academy. Brown now shares director of instruction duties with Derek Clouse and is now available for group and private lessons. “The staff here is exceptional and it’s exciting to be here because we truly have an instruction offering for every level of golfer,” says Brown. “This really puts the icing on the cake for my career, having played for Coach Williams and getting to pass on the incredible instruction I’ve received from some of the great teachers in the game.” Brown played for Dave Williams at the University of Houston from 1982 to 1985, winning the NCAA individual title as a freshman and plating on two national championship teams. He says he will teach some “elite-level” players but anyone can book a lesson with him. “The facilities at the Golf Club of Houston are the best in the area and as good as any on Tour,” Brown says. “It’s a treat for people to come here and get to work on any phase of their game. Derek Clouse has done a great job improving the array of lesson and school offerings for 2014.” New for this year is Golf University, touted as “the only Collegiate Golf Preparatory Academy in the Greater Houston area,” offering students (male and female, ages 4-18) a golf program to fit their age and skill level from beginners to those with aspirations to play golf collegiately and professionally. Visit www.davewilliamsgolfacademy.com for more information.
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News & Notes
Cordillera Ranch Reinvents Luxury Hill Country Lifestyle
t’s great hypothetical grill room fodder… “If you could join one club and remain a member for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?” Sure, it would be easy to go with the one that has hosted the most majors or has the highest initiation fee, but what about the club that offers the most rewarding lifestyle? In the Texas Hill Country, it’s hard to find a golf community as dedicated to a “Best of the Outdoors” lifestyle as Boerne’s Cordillera Ranch development. Spanning 8,700 acres of awe-inspiring former ranchland along the Guadalupe River in Boerne, Cordillera Ranch is a luxury community where development hasn’t spoiled the land’s natural, rugged beauty. Home sites range in size from one to 10 acres while access to the river, lakes, parks and a captivating array of recreational options put the community on par with many destination resorts. Nothing feels hemmed-in in Cordillera Ranch and that is by design. “Our owners made a commitment to the original owners that the land would never lose its ranch feel. There’s so much room here, that on each home site, you get the sensation that you are living on your own ranch property,” says vice president and CFO Charlie Hill. Just 45 minutes from downtown San Antonio, Cordillera Ranch feels 1,000 miles away once you enter the gates, like a resort in Big Sky country. Crazy thing is, people live here and take advantage
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of the awesome surrounding year-round. “You can’t beat the quality of life our here for a family, especially considering the great schools in Kendall County,” says Hill. “My family loves to be outdoors, so it’s incredible to be just a few hundred yards from the Guadalupe and a short walk from a 60-acre park with a big fishing lake. It’s not your traditional suburban community.” The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch is actually seven clubs in one: the Golf Club (featuring a classic Hill Country thrill ride designed by Jack Nicklaus), the Tennis & Swim Club, Spa & Athletic Club, Social Club, Equestrian Club, Rod & Gun Club and River Club. “There are select few places in Texas with Nicklaus Signature Golf, but very few with river access and fully-staffed outfitters. The Clubs embrace what nature offers here and gives our members the chance to enjoy the best of the Texas Hill Country,” says Hill. The Nicklaus Signature layout (ranked the fifth-best golf course in the state by a Dallas Morning News expert panel), which can stretch to almost 7,500 yards from the tips, takes brilliant advantage of the sweeping terrain as it winds to and along the Guadalupe. A round here is a commune with nature and no two holes resemble each other. Nicklaus makes terrific use of creeks, native stone, plentiful oaks and fun elevation changes. The par-3 16th is a picturesque all-carry
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Spanning 8,700 acres of awe-inspiring former ranchland along the Guadalupe River in Boerne, Cordillera Ranch is a luxury community where development hasn’t spoiled the land’s natural, rugged beauty.
hole near the rocky banks of the river, with a stunning waterfall pouring down the native rock outcroppings. The view from the tee here typifies this property’s awesome rough-hewn charms. Zeon Zoysia fairways (rare in this part of the U.S.) yield stellar, “sitting-up” lies in the fairways, reinforcing the notion that this club doesn’t do anything halfway. If it’s not special, it’s not happening at Cordillera Ranch. PGA Tour player Ryan Palmer says the work Nicklaus did at Cordillera Ranch is comparable to the experiences found at other Nicklaus Signature designs he has played on Tour, including Muirfield Village Golf Club and The Golf Club at Castle Pines. “We enjoy seeing prospective members or homebuyers come in from other places around the country where homes and lifestyle offerings like this would cost up to the three times what it costs here,” says Hill. “They have an instant appreciation for the quality of life and for what’s been created here. You can have your ideal leisure or adventure vacation every day here.” Cordillera Ranch has a great tag line on their web site: “Too good to be true? No. Too good to be ignored.” For a property hidden in the lush hills between San Antonio and New Braunfels that offers this caliber of amenities, that probably says it best. The community still has plenty of room to grow and it will be fascinating to see the direction this unique property takes as more families discover this one of a kind setting and everything it has to offer. Visit www.cordilleraranch.com for more information.
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News & Notes
BEGAY UNVEILS NEW RESORT COURSE NEAR TUCSON Albuquerque native and four-time winner on the PGA Tour, Notah Begay III recently debuted his latest golf course design, Sewailo Golf Club at Tucson Arizona’s Casino Del Sol. Begay, the only Native American on the PGA Tour, was eager to do this project to showcase “the beauty and tradition of (local) the Pascua Yaqui tribal community.” The 7,400-yard layout winds along rolling terrain and through large lakes, flowing streams, waterfalls and plush landscaping. The stunning visual effect contrasts with the wild desert surroundings and nearby mountain views to create a memorable “oasis” effect. The first golf course to open in the Tucson area in five years, Sewailo is the key attraction at the Casino Del Sol
Resort, a striking complex with a 215-room hotel, lavish dining options, a breathtaking spa and a full array of gaming options. “Casino Del Sol Resort is an extraordinary destination on its own. With the addition of Sewailo Golf Club, we’ve introduced the perfect complement to our award-winning property,” said Jim Burns, CEO of Casino Del Sol Resort. “We’re proud to now offer guests and locals alike a round of world-class golf as part of their experience.” Sewailo, the third course Begay has built, will be managed by Troon Golf. Fees range from $99 to $129. Visit www.casinodelsol.com/sewailogolfclub for packages and more information on this “oasis” of a resort.
Sun Country Tournaments Announced for 2014 After closing out an exciting year of tournaments, the Sun Country Golf Association and the Sun Country PGA have announced venues for several events for 2014. The New Mexico Open will be played at Santa Ana Golf Course near Albuquerque, a great links-style course that played host to the 2009 PGA Professional National Championship. Last year, PGA Tour player Charlie Beljan (a New Mexico State alum) won a three-way playoff to claim the event for the first time. The Women’s New Mexico-West Texas Amateur Championship, won last year by 15-year-old Dominique Galloway who shot 65-76, will be contested Aug. 2 – 3 at Sierra Del Rio Golf Club in Elephant Butte. For a full list of tournaments and dates, please visit www.suncountrygolf.org and www.suncountry.pga.com. 24 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
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By LEONARD FINKEL
Each year, the PGA Merchandise Show delivers new and innovative golf products. Manufacturers, buyers and golf media all gather in Orlando. A decade ago, a group of companies spearheaded by club manufacturer Tour Edge staged an extraordinary media event, where manufacturers and media could interact for an entire day. Here are some of the products you’ll see and read about in the coming year. 1.
1. TOUR EDGE'S CB PRO Tour Edge’s new, limited edition CB PRO combines the retro, smaller head of its Tour-winning CB2 fairway wood with an innovative Slip Stream sole function to create the ultimate fairway wood for accomplished players. This patent-pending sole glides through the turf, dramatically minimizing turf contact, allowing the head to maintain maximum speed through impact. The CB PRO features a premium beta titanium cup face with a hyper-steel body to produce maximum fairway wood distance. As a result of combo-brazing, every single gram of excess weight is eliminated from the face and shifted to the sole for a lower center of gravity. www.touredge.com
2. SUN MOUNTAIN'S H2NO BAGS New for 2014 from Sun Mountain, the H2NO collection of bags will be expanded to include cart bags and carry bags, all constructed with waterproof fabric, taped seams and waterproof zippers. The carry bags feature tops with integrated handles for ease in picking up and setting down, a top-molded stand attachment for stability, a proprietary E-Z Fit Dual Strap System for a balanced carry across both shoulders and patented Roller-Bottom stand mechanism for easy leg activation. They feature ample storage space, too, including a full-length clothing pocket, a velour-lined valuables pocket and multiple accessory pockets. Stand bags feature a larger diameter, individual club-divided top and two full-length waterproof clothing pockets, multiple accessory pockets and a velour-lined valuables pocket. www.sunmountain.com
3. THE DEVEREUX COLLECTION The Devereux collection is noted as a premium-quality modern menswear known for simple-yet-sophisticated pieces in contemporary colors and superb attention to detail. Clean modern styles are designed to fit properly and inspire performance both on and off the course. Specifically tailored to move seamlessly from workday to weekend and beyond, the line is all about modern sophistication, everyday elegance and simple versatility. The inspiration for this line was the great players and dressers of the game’s past, Hogan, Palmer, Player and Stewart. Natural (Pima Cotton) and synthetic (Polyester) fibers blend the best of both characteristics for easy care. www.dvrxgolf.com texasgolfermagazine.com
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SPECIAL SECTION: SPOTLIGHT ON EAST TEXAS
Get Lost in the Pines and Find Great Golf By JAMES MCAFEE
t’s Texas’ “Dark Corner”, but don’t let that scare you from sampling the great golf in the vast Piney Woods region between Nacogdoches and the state line near Shreveport. The golf courses and unique places to stay will surprise you, so next time you need to travel that direction, go ahead and pack your clubs. When you hear about the Azalea Trail, you might think someone is talking about a collection of golf courses in Georgia. However, the Challenge Golf Group, based in Marshall, TX, has put together seven courses in East Texas to provide a unique golfing experience. THE AZALEA GOLF TRAIL The Pinnacle Golf & Boat Club, nestled in the tall trees along the shoreline of Cedar Creek Lake 75 mile southeast of Dallas, is the latest addition. Carved from an old oak forest, the Don January design features tree-lined fairways that put the emphasis on accuracy off the tee. As an added challenge, water comes into play on 10 holes. The course is located inside a gated community with homes that have golf and water views. Green fees range from $29.99 Monday through Thursday to $49.99 on weekend mornings. The Dogwood Course at Garden Valley, located just over an hour east of Dallas in Lindale at the gateway to the Piney Woods, starts out with a front 9 through a more open area while the back nine winds through tall pines and around Lake Butler. It’s a great place for “buddy trips” with stay and play options in five unique levels of ac26 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
commodations for small and large groups. There’s also a separate gated enclave of single-family home sites where buyers receive free golf for life with a purchase. Green fees range from $49 to $59. North of Tyler is the Challenge at Gladewater, formerly the Gladewater Country Club. It was a nine-hole layout for 75 years until an additional nine was added in 2008, but still is user-friendly from the three set of tees 6,000, 5,668 and 4,604 yards. Green fees are $25 or $20 for seniors. Back down Interstate 20, the next stop could be The Challenge at Oak Forest, a private club in Longview formerly called the Oak Forest Country Club. The recently redesigned Don January design winds along Grace and Ray Creeks and can be stretched to 6,671 yards with a par of 72 for those wanting such a challenge. Green fees range from $45 to $69. The Challenge at Cypress Hills in Waskom is just minutes from the state line with Louisiana. Challenge Golf completed a makeover over of the former nine-hole Cypress Valley Golf Course, clearing out many trees to widen the fairways. It can be stretched to 6,762 yards with a par of 71. Green fees range from $37.82 to $43.56. Another leg of the Azalea Trail heads south of Tyler on Highway 69 to Bullard where you find one of the nicest lakefront communities in East Texas at Eagle’s Bluff. The Carlton Gipson design is lined with azaleas, dogwoods and mature oaks with plenty of water hazards to add to the challenge, including an island green on When
opened in 2001, the 6,977-yard course had one of the highest course ratings in the state, but these back tees are seldom used now by the 300 members. While on a bluff overlooking Lake Palestine, the only view for golfers is when they drive to the 18th tee. Green fees are $75 for non-members playing the Azalea Trail. Less than 30 minutes away south off Highway 69 is The Challenge at The Woods, tucked into a beautiful setting right outside the small town of Jacksonville. Even from the tips, the par 71 course measures only 6,231 yards. Green fees range from $42 to $55. When you play six of the courses, your seventh round is free. You might want to consider Eagle’s Bluff pro Jim Traina’s suggestion: “Save the best for last.” This plan also makes sense from a financial standpoint. Since they are private, check at Eagle’s Bluff and Oak Forest about certain restrictions. The others are open to the public. Visit www.azaleagolftrailtx.com for more information.
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PINE DUNES: Not Your Ordinary Golf Getaway While it is difficult to live up to all of the hype from the national media, especially pro golfer David Frost’s comparing Pine Dunes to Augusta National and Pine Valley, there is no doubt the course deserves its reputation as a peaceful getaway with a championship-caliber course, similar to those found in the Sandhills of North Carolina. Even general manager Chris Edmonson noted that when visitors drive up for the first time that “we might not have the curb appeal” expected when they have heard resort as part of the name. “But I’ve never had anyone leave and complain about the course,” he added. Jay Morrish crafted some interesting contoured fairways on the rolling sandy terrain with majestic century old pine trees bordering them, creating a par 72 layout that can be stretched to 7,117 yards with a course rating of 74.4. Be ready for a challenge right out of the gate as your first tee shot has to be hit to one of the narrowest of the fairways between trees while there is plenty of room on the next hole, a drivable par 4 for the long hitters, where there are no trees in the landing area. The par 5 fifth hole features a split fairway, giving golfers a safer route if they stay between trees to the right where it will require three shots to get home. The second shot needs to go far enough to provide a clear shot at the green as the trees can block you out if you do not. Long hitters, or ones who play it forward from the whites on my third chance, can try to clear a large sandy waste area off the tee, giving them a chance to get home in two or leave a short pitch to make birdie as I did. The 6th is a picturesque par 3 that plays from 126 to 254 yards downhill to a large green protected by a large bunkers on the hillside short and right and another large bunker on the left that catches a lot of balls with the slope kicks shots in its direction. Morrish crafted an interesting array of other holes, none that really look like another. There’s another drivable par 4 on the 15th, but trees on both sides can lead
Situated in the Piney Woods of East Texas 90 miles from Dallas, Frankston’s Pine Dunes Resort & Golf Club has collected an amazing array of accolades since opening in 2001. The property was even named the best in Texas open to the public.
to big numbers if a player’s drives hooks or slices too much as mine did the first time. A wiser course of action is an iron off the tee, leaving a wedge shot for your chance for a birdie. Water does come in to play on four of the last six holes, including the par 5 closing hole that measures only 512 yards from the tips—a hole that even the architect sounded like he would have liked a mulligan, mentioning he needed more room (One suggestion is to make it a par 4 for championship play and a par 5 for regular play for men by moving the whites and blues to 480 and 512 yards) . There is a large hazard at the turning point on the dogleg right that most long hitters have no problem carrying and having short iron second shot, but risk hitting into a large bunker on the right if they take a safer route to the right. Owner Jodi Lutz says the original 18th hole had more teeth as there were two large trees that prevented golfers from taking a more direct line toward the green. The trees were the victim of lightning, however. Lutz noted some of the regulars were “cheering” after this happened. Pine Dunes is definitely a great value with rates of $59 Monday through Thursday and $79 on Friday-Sunday and holidays. Seniors, like the couple from Dallas we met, get a $10 break Monday through Thursday. There are 10 modest, but comfortable condo units just down from the 18th green that can sleep up to 40. It’s operated separately with room rates from $124 in the summer and winter to $225 in the spring and fall. Lutz noted that Pine Dunes was a great place for a guys’ trip as they can play all the golf they want, cook steaks out on the grill, drink beer and play poker into the wee hours of the morning. Some groups even book a year in advance, especially for April, May, September and October bookings.
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We know it’s hard to get out and try every golf product on the Our staff has come across several cool offerings we’d like to share. W SWING SMART MOBILE APP DELIVERS KEY SWING DATA, HOPE In golf, like in life, knowledge is power. The knowledge you can quickly gain about your golf swing from the SwingSmart mobile app can actually help you improve your swing within a single practice session. With the help of the tiny lightweight Bluetooth attachment that affixes to your club shaft (just below the grip), the SwingSmart app on your mobile phone tracks your club’s motion to give you critical information on your swing speed and path, your tempo and the direction of your club face. The app saves 3-D views of all the swings you want to keep to help you chart your progress. The ability to see what you did and when allows you to adjust and improve as you practice, whether your issue is with tempo, path or length of swing. It’s pretty cool to your swing efficiency improve in a few short swings. Visit www.theswingsmartapp.com to learn more.
CROCS GOLF SHOES ACE THE COMFORT TEST The “street golf shoe” revolution has tossed out all the style rules for golfers. Comfort matters more than ever in golf footwear, so the question surfaces often: “What is the most comfortable golf shoe on the market?” It would very difficult to top Crocs Golf in terms of comfort. If you’ve ever worn Crocs, you know they’re extremely lightweight and provide little stress to the foot. A thicker sole than a standard Croc and a sporty, fashionable upper make for one heck of an easy-to-wear shoe. This is the kind of shoe you can wear on and off the course without any hassle. If you’ve tried and liked other street shoes and are intrigued what a lightweight version might be like, you should try Crocs Golf. The newest offering is the waterproof AllCast Ducks shoe. Visit www.crocs.com 28 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
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uct on the market, but that doesn’t stop a golfer’s curiosity. o share. We’ve used them and we like them. Maybe you will, too. TIGHT LIES RETURNS TRIUMPHANTLY It was the godfather of all hybrid clubs. The Tight Lies launched the Adams brand into the stratosphere in the mid 90s and showed golfers a way to get the ball launching higher and coming off the face more easily. Almost two decades later, the Tight Lies returns to the now-jammed marketplace it created. “In the ever-present pursuit of maximum distance, today’s fairway woods have become mini-drivers – extremely difficult to hit from anywhere other than from a tee,” says Adams Golf’s Director of R&D Justin Honea. “The low profile design places the center of gravity (CG) below the CG of the ball, making it easy to hit the ball in the air. The unique tri-sole design makes it easy to hit from a multitude of challenging lies and then we added a refined Cut-Thru Slot design so this new Tight Lies is twice as hot as the original.” Who doesn’t need an extra weapon for long-range fairway shots? Maybe Tight Lies is the one for you. www.adamsgolf.com
OAKLEY OFFERS GOLF-SPECIFIC LENS Oakley has long led the way in sports-specific eyewear, but the G30 “golf specific” lens available in the Flak Jacket XLJ and Fast Jacket XL models brings together unmatched optics, design and performance for golfers who appreciate the benefits of sunglasses while they play. The G30 lens enhances depth perception by boosting visual contrast and actually offers excellent clarity under overcast skies or shadows. If you’re looking for help following the flight of your ball or seeing contours and subtle slopes better on and around the greens, this is the way to go. It’s the perfect lens for the golfer who wants to avoid the fuss of constantly taking his glasses on and off during the round. Some golfers even say the glasses help their green-reading ability. The Flak Jacket XLJ and Fast Jacket XL both have an interchangeable lens design, so you can store your golf lens while you wear the same glasses to the lake or to hike with and Oakley lens more suited for the activity. Visit www.oakley.com or one of the two dozen Oakley Stores or Oakley Vaults in Texas. texasgolfermagazine.com
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TEST DRIVES MARTIN BRINGS CLASSIC STYLE BACK TO GOLF SHIRTS
Fairway & Greene apparel founder Rick Martin thought he was out of the clothing business for good, having built a long and successful career and having passed his expertise down to his children. What pulled Martin back in was the opportunity to work with family in a new venture coupled with his complete dissatisfaction with what passes for golf fashion these days. Martin looks at the manmade fabrics and ultra-sporty designs today and sees “uniforms” more befitting athletes in other sports. His sensibility hearkens back to the time of Walter Hagen or Ben Hogan, men who played great and looked great and signified golf’s classic style. What we’ve come to know as the “country club” look with sharp cotton fabrics and well defined shapes and patterns, Martin merely call it “the way golf should look.” “We’ve got cotton designs that feel great and that you’ll be proud to wear on or off the course,” Martin says. The signature Martin look is the mercerized Pima cotton shirt and the company’s founder prefers colors found in nature—even bold colors—to complement his classic styles. Look for Martin apparel exclusively in finer green grass shops and country clubs. www.martingolf.com
RIFE’S ICONIC STERLING PUTTER Confidence is critical to successful putting. For some, just feeling like they’re going to make a good move through the impact zone really bolsters that confidence. The first thing you notice about RIFE’s latest “Iconic” putter design is that it’s got a nice weight and center of gravity, making it easier to putt a confident stroke on the ball. Once you putt with one, you’ll notice the true roll thanks to the company’s patented Horizontal RollGroove design of face grooves. The design is meant to allow the putter to gently press into the cover of the ball and grip and lift it into an instant forward roll, creating "no skid" and a forgiving performance on off-center putts. www.rifegolf.com
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OWN THE ROAD IN THE 2014 CHEVROLET SILVERADO TEXAS EDITION It wouldn’t be a proper version of Test Drives, if we didn’t get behind the wheel of a current-model vehicle. For this issue, we chose the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado Texas Edition. Talk about “owning the road.” We drove this V8-powered, smooth-driving man cave on wheels from Austin to Houston and back to see what separates today’s performance trucks from the ones we grew up driving. The biggest surprise was with how seamlessly comfort and luxury pair with the power and rugged performance in this pick-up. This truck sits high, offers ample space for five passengers and rides as smooth as most sedans or SUVs. The new grill design makes a bold statement and makes the truck seems taller than previous models. Inside the Texas Edition, you’ll find all the creature comforts you’ve come to expect in a luxury vehicle: rear camera, on-screen GPS, satellite radio and large seats. The new Chevrolet MyLink provides easy-to-use connectivity, with natural voice recognition and enough ports and power outlets to support multiple devices. Under the hood, the 2014 Silverado 1500 offers three new EcoTec3 boasting a trio of state-of-the-art technologies – direct injection, cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing – that optimize power, torque and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions. If you’ve been waiting for the truck that marries power with elegance, this is the one. Visit your local Chevrolet dealer to explore the new Silverado.
ALPHARD’S DUO GOLF CART GETS YOU MOVING Many golfers say they love to walk when they play but Alphard’s Duo Golf Cart, a golf bag and push cart combined into one unit, actually makes walking practical. With four wheels, the Duo is easy to maneuver and it has a brake so parking is a snap. The unit folds down for storage and transporting (18.5 inches tall and 46 inches long when) and features an adjustable-length and angle handle with ample storage and an adjustable beverage holder. The wheels can be easily removed so the bag may fit easy onto a cart if needed. 14-way dividers and 9 velour-lined pockets provide excellent storage. www.alphardgolf.com
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On the Brink of Greatness? BY ART STRICKLIN
f the PGA Tour had a Rat Pack, Hunter Mahan would undoubtedly be a member. The five-time winner on Tour has lived in the Dallas area since middle school, but he oozes California Cool with a laid-back philosophy and mellow demeanor. Mahan’s attitude seems to suggest every little thing’s gonna be alright as long as he works hard and takes time for things that matter most—family and integrity. This past summer, he got to live that philosophy in front of the world when one fateful decision North of the Border brought him a new and unexpected level of notoriety.
eading the Canadian Open after two rounds and warming up for his third, Mahan got a call from his wife that she had gone into labor with the couple's first child. In a matter of minutes, Mahan, 31, who has lived in North Texas since he was in junior high school, fled the range, withdrew from the tournament and his possible sixth PGA Tour win, and headed home for his daughter's birth. Known for his ever-present sunglasses on the course and his colorful outfits and large belt buckles, Mahan was launched into national and even international fame as a caring dad and tough, yet tender Texan.
his first major championship win. More than a few experts get the sense that Mahan is progressing into the kind of player who could hoist Major championship hardware as soon as the 2014 season. While his career as a dad is just taking off, his career as a top professional golfer is getting ready to head into overdrive. During his busy home schedule, Mahan agreed to speak exclusively to Art Stricklin about his career, his car collection, Texas roots and frantic (and ultimately successful) North American baby dash.
A Good Morning America television interview put he and his wife, Kandi, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, and daughter Zoe went into the homes of millions of Americans who didn't know the difference between an on- or off-course birdie or eagle.
Texas Golfer: You’re in the midst of a very solid season on Tour with four top 10s and you have to be encouraged with your performances in the Majors. Do you feel like it’s your time, like you’re ready to clear that next hurdle in your career and win a major?
A star at McKinney High School and later at Oklahoma State, Mahan started working with Texas teacher Randy Smith and later switched to Florida teacher Sean Foley. Mahan has won two World Golf Championship events and made two U.S. Ryder Cup teams.
HUNTER MAHAN: I feel like I've worked really hard on my game and I'm ready for when the majors and big tournaments come.
This year, he became the first golfer since Tom Lehman to play in back-to-back final round groups while still looking for 32 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
TG: At this point in your career, are you the most confident you’ve ever been as a professional? HM: I feel good about my game and where it's headed. You have to have confi-
dence to be able to play well out here and I feel like I have that. I feel like my game is progressing where I want it to be. TG: You became the first golfer since Tom Lehman to be in the final group of two straight majors and not win. Do you think the close calls you’ve had at the U.S. Open and the British—along with the quality of victories you’ve had the past couple of seasons-- have helped you pinpoint the few things you need to do to close out and win that first major? HM: I don't think about being in the last group of a major championship. I just want to be right there near the top with a chance to win. I think we were a shot here or a shot there (where he shot 75 in the final rounds of the US and British Open) and I could have won both. TG: We know the Majors test every skill and each set-up creates a tough grind, do you feel more at ease when you play in the Majors? HM: You can’t make that one week more important than any of the others, but you have to have more of a focus as some of the better players do. At the U.S. Open, you have to put the ball in the fairway. At the Masters, you have to make birdies on the par 5s. I’ve always been a good driver of the ball, so I think I’m improving with that.
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TG: What has it been like at home since Zoe was born? HM: It's been pretty crazy, pretty hectic, but I've really enjoyed it. I've been spending time with her and my wife and my parents came in from California so that has been really great. I hit balls once and played right before I left, but it's a really busy time. TG; You’ve played a lot of practice rounds with Phil Mickelson. Did you see anything leading into this summer that suggested he’d go on this kind of run and win another major? HM: I'm so happy for Phil. He is such a great player and person. I'm glad he was able to win. To come from five shots behind on that golf course is awesome. It was a great win for him. TG: Have you learned anything about Phil’s preparation that’s helped you play better in tournaments?
Before the 2012 season, I spent part of the off-season in California, near where I was born, working on all phases of my game. I wrote down a list of objectives from most important to least important and went to work on those. I know I have to work on my short game, but I know I can get better. The tie for fourth at the U.S. Open was my best performance in a major and I followed with a top 10 in the British, so I'm moving in the right direction. TG: Let's talk about what lifted you from a young, talented PGA Tour golfer to a worldwide celebrity and internet darling. You get the call at the Canadian Open that your wife is in labor and you leave to go home, even though you're leading the tournament by two shots. How tough a decision was that? HM: Well we had talked about it a lot before with my wife, so it wasn't a big decision because we had already discussed it. What was surprising was how fast it came. She was three weeks early so that was the only surprise. TG: Were you surprised with the media reaction? HM: I guess I'm a little surprised, but I haven't talked to anybody who thought it was a bad idea. There are going to be a lot of golf tournaments, but only one first birth of your daughter. texasgolfermagazine.com
HM: He has such a unique talent and ability. I'm not sure what you can learn from him. He is just phenomenal with his short game and the way he approaches a golf course. I don't think anybody has that, but it's fun to watch and hang around and try to soak up things from him TG: Not to harp on near misses, but what stings more--- close calls in the U.S. and British Opens or Bill Haas stealing the FedEx Cup from you in 2011 with that ridiculous shot from the water?
myself. When we moved here, we came to McKinney which was a great place to live, and played a lot at El Dorado Country Club there and played in high school and junior tournaments. TG: You have stayed here since college? HM: It's a great place to play and practice with a lot of tour players here and good weather most of the time. I lived in Colleyville for a while, but moved back to Dallas within the last year. Of course, my wife Kandi has lived here and is a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and Mavericks dancer, so it's good for here to be here as well. TG: What about your Texas car collection? HM: My dad was into cars when I was growing up and then I really got into them. It’s a way to express my creative energy and it’s a natural reward system for me if I have a good tournament or a good year. When I see my car guy here in Lewisville, I see how much creativity there is in cars. TG: What do you have? HM: I have a 1972 GMC truck, a low rider, which is all tricked up and looks really cool. I also have a Cadillac Escalade and a Bentley Black Series. I switch up which one I drive, sometimes the Bentley, sometimes the Escalade or truck. I don’t want to have cars in a museum; I want cars I can drive.
HM: With the British and US Open, I didn't really play that badly, just a shot here or there. I really wasn't that far off. They played great and I didn't do much wrong. With the FedEx Cup, I was right there and he just took it from me with that shot on 18. That stung a little bit more to be honest because it was right there and he took it from me. Like I said after the 2010 Ryder Cup, one round or one shot is not going to define me. I hope to have a very long career. TG: Can you talk about what you love most about living in the DFW Metroplex? It seems a lot of Tour players like you are taking advantage of the location and weather, but what do you like about it?
TG: Do you plan to play in a lot of overseas events in the future?
HM: I have lived here since I was in junior high school. I had some great teachers, starting with Tom Sargent in California, and Randy Smith here in Texas, now Sean Foley, but I’m the type of person that needs to figure things out for
HM: No, but we're patiently waiting.
HM: It's going to change some after the new baby, so after the fed-ex cup we'll just see how it all pans out. TG: Have you already gotten some OSU cheerleader outfits for Zoe? HM: Bo Van Pelt sent one and we have some other things so we should be in good shape. TG: After winning the Canadian Open, Brandt Snedeker said he was going to send you a big present. Have you received it yet?
TG: Thanks for the time in a very busy week.
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We’ve all had rounds get away from us. Sometimes bad holes early in rounds de-rail us mentally as well as on the scorecard. Our panel of experts has been helping golfers prepare to play their best for years and they know some great methods for getting ready to perform at your peak and avoid surprises on the course.
WORK YOUR PLAN By Mike McCabe, PGA General Manager Old American Golf Club Sometimes the keys to improving your golf game are really simple. When I see most people practice on our Practice Grounds, I wonder if they have a plan to improve or if they’re just trying hitting practice balls and thinking that the time alone spent down there will make them better. Every time you practice, you should be working on something that will truly help you out on the golf course to lower your scores. By creating and following a practice plan, a player is setting themselves up for much better success. Don’t look at designing a practice plan as “complicating” your practice time. It’s actually the opposite. With a good working knowledge of your game’s strengths and weaknesses, you’ll understand how to best spend your practice time and you’ll never “just beat balls” again. As you work through the various parts of your game at your local practice area, take notes on how well you perform in each of these categories.
• Driving • Fairway woods and hybrids • Iron shots • 80, 50 and 30 yard wedge shots • Pitches around the green • Bunker shots • Chipping from the edge of the green • Lag putting • 15-foot putts • Short putts Give yourself a grade from 1 to 10 (1 being the worst and 10 being excellent) in each of these categories. Then, next 34 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
time you practice, start by working on your three weakest skills first. Chart your improvement in a note pad or your smart phone or whatever works best for you, but keep grading yourself. Do not abandon those areas that you are better in but spend more time and effort in those areas that received the lower grades. I would also recommend getting assistance from your local PGA Golf Professional in these weaker areas to help improve and gain confidence. Here at Old American Golf Club, we feel a little spoiled. We have a practice area on the back of our Practice Grounds that’s every bit as good as the ones the guys on the PGA Tour use. In fact, a handful of PGA Tour players practice here on a pretty regular basis. For those bad weather days we have covered hitting bays and a covered synthetic green.
For short game practice there is a large green for putting, chipping, pitching and bunker shots with a greenside bunker and one that is 40 yards away to practice those longer bunker shots. In this space, I can break my game into parts and really focus on the particular skills that need the most improvement. Practicing your lag putting or bunker shots may not be as fun as practicing your driver but it is crucial to lowering your scores especially if you struggle on course normally in these areas. If you have an amenity like this at your local course or club, use it. Not taking advantage of a place that can make you a better golfer is like having a membership to a state of the art fitness center and never going. Also, in your practice make sure that you are noting how far you are actually hitting each of your clubs. This information is extremely valuable to you on the golf course. You want to know how well you perform with each club in the bag. Next time, we’ll talk about some great pre-round drills. Until then, let’s commit to working on those weaknesses and tracking your progress. You’ll be amazed at how much you can improve! texasgolfermagazine.com
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Cook’s Sacred Journey Continues Sports psychologist Dr. David Cook is back with a sequel to his hotselling title Seven Days in Utopia, picking up right where the story left off in the book and movie of the same name. Pouring even more chicken soup for the golfer’s soul into the pages of Johnny’s U.S. Open: Golf’s Sacred Journey 2, Cook again uses golf as his characters’ platform to convey life lessons.
The original movie and book has struck such a chord with readers that thousands travel to Utopia, TX each year just to see the place that inspired the book and its characters and perhaps soak in a little bit of Utopia’s spirit and inspiration. Cook says he also gets a kick out of seeing golf balls marked “SFT” in reference to the “See it, Feel it, Trust it” mantra embraced by his protagonist (who is unnamed in the first book but called Luke Chisolm in the film and the new book). “It’s a blessing to see people marking their balls SFT because it shows they identify with the characters and the message. The only trouble is, everyone thinks their my balls and I’m always in the rough,” Cook jokes. “I actually did pull a shot over a fence and into the road once when I was living in Colorado. The next Thursday morning, I was teaching a Bible Study at the country club and I guy walks in and asks “Is this your ball?” and SFT was written in the same green color I was using at the time, so I said it was. I asked ‘Where’d you find it?’ He said he was driving down the road in his convertible and it bounced into the car. I laughed until I cried and then I realized it got the man to the Bible Study and he never missed another one. I love how God uses small things to do big work.” The new book brings Luke back to Utopia for a U.S. Open tune-up with his mentor Johnny that turns into seven more days in the tiny town and a challenge to try a new, unorthodox swing method Johnny calls the Utopia Pre-Set. Cook uses the method in real life and weaves some fascinating thoughts on golf instruction into his fiction. “Johnny presses Luke to take a new perspec-
tive and go against tradition and presses him into a new golf swing,” Cook says. “The funny thing is, the technique works. The hardest thing for golfers to do sometimes is to find the right slot at the top of the golf swing. By changing the sequence of the swing motion, Johnny shows Luke how to get the club set in the first two moves rather than the last two- which is much easier to repeat.” In this sequel, we meet Johnny’s family and learn Johnny has history with the great player from the first book, TK Oh and his domineering father. We learn more about Johnny’s past as a teacher and his penchant for going against the grain. “As we weave the stories of these characters together, we show the power of grace and show how circumstances that seem bad can be turned around for good, Cook says. The climax of the book takes readers through the toughest U.S. Open in history and shows the characters grow and come to life-altering realizations. It’s a satisfying read for golfers as well as the spiritually-minded. To Cook and his characters, there's a lesson in virtually every pull-hook, inspiration in every bunker blast, we could all do well to take Cook’s challenge to re-examine what’s working in our lives (and golf games, for that matter) and what isn’t. “Sometimes what’s “traditional” isn’t your answer. Truth always trumps tradition, Cooks says. To see what happens to these characters and to glean from Cook’s unique brand of inspirational storytelling, order a copy of the new book at www.linksofutopia.com. WINTER ISSUE TexasGolfer 35
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eople are consistently surprised that “Short Putts” are one of the most feared shots featured in my book, “Dave Pelz’s Golf Without Fear.” But when over ten thousand golfers responded to our survey, we found those little knee-knockers cause as much anxiety as shots that require much more skill and result in much tougher consequences. Even PGA Tour professionals miss short putts. I remember at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in 2011, Robert Garrigus fell victim to a dreaded three-footer in a playoff with Jonathan Byrd. His miss handed Byrd the tournament victory. Garrigus took the miss in good spirits but I guarantee you, he would have loved that win. Putts can be missed for several reasons. Garrigus’ putt seemed to just be a slight misread, but amateurs often miss their short putts for other reasons, like excessive forearm rotation and deceleration. If short putts trouble you, let me suggest a few adjustments you can make to eliminate these tendencies and become more “automatic” on short putts. To consistently roll short putts well, you must deliver a square strike to the ball. This means the face of your putter should be perpendicular to its stroke-path direction at the moment of impact. The short putting stroke should be as simple as you can make it. There should be no extra movements or time wasted standing over the ball before you putt. To deliver your putter face squarely to the line of your putt, you must have it aimed there before you start the stroke. On the backstroke, you must not rotate the face open or close from its square-to-the-line orientation. There is no time during your short backstroke motion (only two to three inches long) to rotate the face open or closed and then get it back to square at exactly the right time. For right-handers, the back of your left forearm 36 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
should point in the same direction as your putter face at impact. Some golfers have never through of their forearm-putter face connection. The fact is, for right-handers, the back of your left forearm always faces in the same direction as the face of your putter. One is tied to the other. When you push a putt, you do so by aiming your left forearm to the right at impact; when you pull to the left, you do so by aligning that forearm left at impact. Pay attention to where your forearm and the back of your left hand are throughout your putting stoke—because wherever they are pointing at impact … that’s where the ball’s going! Also, remember that putter deceleration is a killer on short putts, and that when putts are “dieing” as they approach the hole, they tend to turn away from it (perhaps because they don’t have the courage to face the impending drop). Smooth, rhythmic acceleration is a trademark of good putting. If you keep your putter face square and take your backstroke to the count of “one” and then make a slightly longer through-stroke to the count of “two”, you will achieve a simple acceleration to your putter head through your impact zone. If you can achieve a square and accelerating stroke, you’ll be well on your way to conquering your fear of short putts.
Take the Fear Out of Short Putts By DAVE PELZ
"To consistently roll short putts well, you must deliver a square strike to the ball. This means the face of your putter should be perpendicular to its stroke-path direction at the moment of impact."
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FISHING for BIRDIES at Cypress Bend
en Rams, the director of golf at Cypress Bend Golf Resort and Conference Center, has an unusual commute to work. He walks out of his home on the Texas side of Toledo Bend Lake and takes a three-mile boat ride and a short ride on a golf cart to the golf course on the Louisiana side. If he had to drive a car to work, it would be a 26-mile trip. While bass fishing is still the major attraction at the 160-mile long, 186,000acre Toledo Bend, golfers will definitely be in awe of all the breathtaking views of the lake from a bluff at the western Louisiana course, part of the state’s Audubon Golf Trail, that curls around an inlet of the lake and meanders through a hardwood forest with dramatic elevation changes. The course isn’t very long, measuring only 6,707 yards from the tips, but seems to play longer as the holes on the backside by the lake tend to have twists and turns on severe dogleg holes that take the driver out of the hands of long hitters. Golfers from the blues at 6,248 yards, the whites at 5,784 yards and the reds at 5,091 yards face similar challenges de-
ciding what to hit off the tees for the best results. Two of the more demanding approach shots come on dogleg right par4s at Nos. 14 and 16 where after getting as close to the water as you dare with your drive, you have to hit over an inlet of the lake to reach the green. Bunkers and trees on the right sides of the two fairways force golfers to aim down the left sides off the tees. A recent renovation included the elimination of 25 bunkers, leaving the number now at 55, but still in strategic places in the landing areas and waiting for errant approach shots. It’s a great value with rates of $55 during the week and $70 on weekends and holidays with discounts of $10 for seniors. Golf packages for stays in the 14 villas located across from the golf shop can handle buddy trips of up to 28 since there are that many queen size beds. The 18-hole golf course is now just one of many amenities at the state-of-theart conference center with an elegant country inn décor that features 95 luxurious rooms, including 17 suites like the
one that my wife, granddaughter and I shared recently. There’s an 82-seat amphitheater, offering tiered seating, ergonomic chairs, wireless service, rear screen projection and built-in projector. In addition, nine other meeting rooms, including an Executive Boardroom, are available for groups having conferences. As my granddaughter can verify, the heated indoor/outdoor swimming pool was a great added benefit when traveling with grandparents. There’s a full service spa and salon for those desiring such services. There’s also fine dining available in the Cypress Dining Room which specializes in Louisiana dishes like crawfish etouffee, fried alligator tail and bourbon bread pudding.
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H texas golfer H
CLOSER TO HEAVEN:
Golf in the High Sierras BY WAYNE MILLS Getting high means different things to different people. For golfers who like to stay on the right side of the law you won’t find a better buzz than golf in the High Sierra of Nevada and California. The clean mountain air at high elevation is about as close to heaven as you’ll get while wandering the terra firma of the fairways and greens in the High Sierra. With spectacular Lake Tahoe as the centerpiece, the area offers a full smorgasbord of golf with just about any other activity you might desire, outdoors or in. The starting point is Reno and its just-big-enough Reno Tahoe International Airport with handy on-site car rental and easy highway access. Billing Reno as a smaller version of Las Vegas wouldn’t be quite right although it offers the second highest concentration of gambling options in the state. With big time casino gaming action at Silver Legacy, Circus Circus, Harrah's, Atlantis, Grand Sierra and The Nugget you get all the action you need with a lot less decadence than Vegas. When it’s time to head outdoors featured golf options in Reno are at Red Hawk Golf Club, a 36 hole semi-private complex. With the Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed Lakes Course and the Hale Irwin designed Hills Course and great practice facilities Red Hawk is a strong beginning to the trip. Lakeridge GC on the south side of town is an older Robert Trent Jones Sr. layout that plays up into the hills and features one of the first island greens in the US, the signature 220 yard downhill 15th hole. Although private it is worth the effort to get on Montreux Golf and Country Club. Montreux is a dramatic Jack Nicklaus design that many will recognize as home to the PGA Tour’s Reno Tahoe Open. If you can’t play Montreux, you can always attend the event. They throw a great party. 38 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
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Craving a change of pace? Head south to Carson City, the second smallest state capitol in the United States. The must play in Carson City is at Genoa Lakes GC’s Lakes Course. Co-designed by PGA Tour winner Peter Jacobsen and John Harbottle III, this links-style course with rolling fairways meets head-on with the eastern slopes of the breathtaking Sierra Nevada Mountains. Lush wetlands and the winding Carson River bring water into play on 14 holes. For low key lodging and gaming in Carson try Gold Dust West conveniently located at the freeway and Highway 50 crossroads. From Carson City head up and over the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains to Stateline and South Lake Tahoe climbing from 4,000 feet elevation to over 7,200 in just a few miles. Halfway down the western side descent you will encounter the other-worldly vision of Lake Tahoe, a view so spellbinding the locals joke about how it nearly stops traffic. South Lake, as it’s referred to locally, has a split personality. Since the border between Nevada and California bisects the town you have substantial casino hotels like Harrah’s, Harvey’s, Mont Bleu and Lakeside in Nevada and more mellow California lodging and dining next door. If you tee it up anywhere on this trip it must be at Edgewood Tahoe GC which sits at the south end of the lake and features three lakefront finishing holes. This is the fresh water Pebble Beach and home to the nationally televised American Century Celebrity Championship. Drive north from South Lake on either the narrow, winding California side (which includes Emerald Bay) or the wider Nevada route to North Lake. Either road offers one mind-blowing view after the other. The stop on the California side is at Squaw Valley site of the 1960 Winter Olympics which features a Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course and spiffy accommodations at the Resort at Squaw Creek. In Nevada don’t miss Incline Village where LPGA great Annika Sorenstam keeps a home and offers the RTJ father-son duo of Sr.’s par 72 Championship Course and Jr.’s par 58 Mountain Course. A little north of the lake is probably the best all around stop on the journey-Truckee, California. Combining an old school Wild West downtown with the best combination of golf courses makes Truckee worth a multi-day stay. Golf in Truckee has a group of high-end layouts that were originally intended as private residential clubs but because of the recent economic downturn are, at least for now, open to the public. Every one of them is absolutely top notch in every regard. These include Schaffer’s Mill, a Harbottle and Johnny Miller design, Old Greenwood by Jack Nicklaus, Gray’s Crossing, a Jacobsen-Hardy stunner, Coyote Moon, a Brad Bell beauty alone in nature and Tahoe Donner, a tight and challenging RTJ, Jr. design that plays through towering Ponderosa pines. Donner Pass Boulevard, downtown Truckee’s main drag, has everything from cutesy wine bars and four star eateries to rowdy ski bum/blue collar dives. Try the Bar of America for a little of both. If you want to see what real rural California looks like head north from Truckee through the high meadows of Sierraville
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into the Plumas National Forest area. It’s worth the effort just to play two absolute gems- Whitehawk Ranch and Grizzly Ranch. Opened in 1996 and designed by Dick Bailey who did most of his work in Arizona, Whitehawk winds its way across meadows and wetlands into the pines and back out for a great day of golf. Grizzly Ranch’s history lies in the gold rush days of the 1880’s and is where the railroads first pushed through the mountains. The remains can be found around the 2005
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Bob Cupp design that is certainly one of his best and a worthy reward for the ride to get there. A real estate based club, Grizzly welcomes public play and has stay and play packages at on site cabins. Be sure to look up “Cowboy” Van Batchelder, the director of golf. With his Stetson hat and laconic humor he is an entertaining dude. You may get tuckered out playing hard in the altitude of the High Sierras but surely you will go to sleep with a smile on your face.
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SOUTHERN ALABAMA’S STEWART LODGES AT STEELWOOD: A QUIET ESCAPE TO SOUTHERN CHARMS By Danny Freels
bout 20 miles east of Mobile, Alabama, in the town of Loxley, is a 1,400-acre, gated development known as Steelwood. Within the property sits the Stewart Lodges at Steelwood. Planned as a relaxing retreat for corporations, families and other groups, the facility features a pair of two-story antebellum-style lodges, each offering comfortable accommodations, a large living room, a kitchen, a bar and fully-equipped conference rooms. Fishing, hunting, billiards, table tennis and golf are among the available activities, plus there’s a swimming pool, a hot tub, a large area for cookouts, and a stately clubhouse that also offers some of the finest cuisine in the state. Other than being a member of this exclusive club, staying at the Stewart Lodges is the only way to be able to enjoy all these great amenities.
the two wonderful courses Pate co-designed at Dancing Rabbit in Mississippi. Due to some surprising elevation changes, the course can play a lot longer than its yardage (7,096 from the tips; four other tees are available). The tree-lined fairways are wide, the holes are well bunkered (nearly 60 in all), and the greens are more subtly sloped than severe. My bottom line: Steelwood is a very playable and extremely pretty layout, finished off perfectly by the final four holes along the lake – especially the absolutely gorgeous 535-yard, par-five 18th.
From the back tees, each combination produces 18 attractive and enjoyable holes that measure just about 7,000 yards from the back tees (four other markers are available). While certainly not easy, I suspect the flatter Pines 9 is the most manageable for the recreational player. The more rolling and more tree-lined Dogwood 9 is a bit harder than the Pines, and the Magnolia 9 is even tighter and more demanding than Dogwood. Each 9 at Timber Creek is pretty, playable, challenging and fun, and it’s a nice change of pace from Steelwood.
As good as it is, though, when staying at the Steward Lodges you may not want to play the same course every day. If that’s the case, another excellent choice can be found in the nearby city of Daphne: Timber Creek Golf Club.
The golf course here, like the 200-acre lake that sits alongside, is called Steelwood, a nod to the steel and timber industries that once thrived in the area. Designed by 1976 U.S. Open champion Jerry Pate and opened in 1997, Steelwood is a big, beautiful layout that winds its way through a forest of dogwood and pine trees. Annually ranked among the Top 10 courses in Alabama, Steelwood is as good as or better than highly-regarded Kiva Dunes in nearby Gulf Shores and
Opened in 1993, Timber Creek is a 27-hole facility that was designed by Earl Stone, an architect that I had never heard of until two years ago. Too bad for me; this guy is good.
When you get back to your lodge, though, and are sitting out back with a view of the lake and Steelwood’s 16th hole, the chances are good you’ll be thinking about taking on Jerry Pate again in the morning. It’s one of a number of great choices you can make after you make your first one: the Stewart Lodges at Steelwood in Loxley, Alabama.
For more information, please visit www.stewartsteelwood.com
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Nebraska’s Dismal River Adds a Tom Doak Gem By WAYNE MILLS Golf is seemingly full of contradictions such as lowest score wins, hit down on the ball to make it go up and a one inch putt counts the same as a 300 yard drive. Another is the area that most closely resembles the ancient golfing grounds of the British Isles is located 1,800 miles from the Atlantic Ocean in the heartland of Western Nebraska. With millions of acres of wild rolling high prairie land on top up a sea of fine sand which sits on top of the world’s largest underground water supply, the Ogalalla Aquifer, the area is a unique environment fully suited for golf courses. Golf came to the area in the early 1990’s when Dick Youngscap, who was involved in the development of Firethorne Golf Club in eastern Nebraska in 1980’s, decided to fully test the “If You Build it They Will Come” theory by optioning 8,000 acres in Mullen (pop. 471) to build the private Sand Hills Golf Club. To say this property was in the middle of nowhere would grossly underestimate just how massive nowhere is in Western Nebraska. Over the next two years, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw made numerous site visits and by the spring of 1993, discovered over 130 holes, from which 18 were selected and a routing plan finalized. Sand Hills GC has gone on to become recognized as one of the world’s greatest golf courses with accolades including being the Golfweek’s #1 ranked Modern Course several years running and was recently awarded the best modern course and #16 overall worldwide in Britain’s Golf Course Architecture’s Top 100 in the World. Sand Hills opened the world’s eyes to how extraordinary the area is for golf. Other developments have followed giving more and more opportunities for golfers to enjoy this truly amazing landscape. Just as they were finishing up building Sand Hills for Coore and Crenshaw, a couple of good old Texas dirt dogs, Dave Axland and Dan Proctor, got wind of a possible new course being built down in Gothenburg. Once they saw the rolling prairie site they told the local boys they would be building it, thanks very much. 42 TexasGolfer WINTER ISSUE
Axland and Proctor, working on foot and by eye without any plans or topographical maps, built Wild Horse Golf Club with the help of local farmers who would come by in the morning with their tractors to bust sod, for under $900,000. The result is a stunning layout that features forced carries over native fescue, huge blowout bunkers and an ever present wind that constantly adds to the challenge. Ranked as the 27th best Modern Course by Golfweek soon after it opened it can be played for around $50. Jack Nicklaus, a man that knows a thing or two about great courses in the British Isles said during his first site visit in 2004 to the Dismal River Club near Mullen “It was like stepping back in time and seeing what the dunes of Northeast Scotland must have looked like a hundred years ago.” His challenging signature course, designed with associate Chris Cochran opened for play in 2006. Soon after buying out the original developers at Dismal River in 2010 CEO Chris Johnston decided he needed to add another course to his property to draw new members and guests to the remote location which is 20 miles down a single lane road from the state highway. After interviewing a number of architects including a guy named Woods, Johnston decided on Tom Doak or as he puts it “Mr. Doak doesn’t just take any course. You call him, talk to him about your ideas and invite him to the property. You don’t ‘pick’ him. He ‘picks’ you.’’ While much of the original 3,000 acre property was available Doak had to not only make routing decisions but build in the shadow of the Nicklaus design. “Chris gave me a lot of freedom to come up with a cool design,” said Doak, “I knew once Chris sent the map that I would want to gravitate down toward the river. It's a unique feature that none of the other courses in the region have to use, both the river and then the giant bluff on the opposite bank. It helps orient the golfer, whereas on other courses in the area, you sometimes just feel lost among all the dunes.” And the Nicklaus shadow? “We've worked next to several of the best courses in the world before --Pacific Dunes was next to Bandon Dunes, Sebonack was next to Shinnecock Hills and The National, and The Renaissance Club is next to Muirfield in Scotland. You're unlikely to "beat" those neighbors in the rankings, so you're better off just trying to build a course that's different and has a character of its own, and see what people think.” The Doak course, which opened in July 2013, is a worthy counterpoint to Nicklaus’s challenging Dismal River layout. Playing between and over the dunes and down to the river it offers wide fairways, directional bunkering and bailout areas around the greens. It appears to flow with the site rather than being imposed on it. Considering the relative remoteness of the Sand Hills one doesn’t so much visit as make a pilgrimage to play there. That remoteness creates an experience amongst the rolling dunes and waving prairie grasses that has a purity that won’t be found anyplace else in the United States. You should go. You will never forget it. texasgolfermagazine.com
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“IT WAS LIKE STEPPING BACK IN TIME AND SEEING WHAT THE DUNES OF NORTHEAST SCOTLAND MUST HAVE LOOKED LIKE A HUNDRED YEARS AGO.” texasgolfermagazine.com
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THE ARCHITECT'S DIGEST
how far is too far
WHEN IT COMES TO FAIR?
Is it possible the golf course industry has become so obsessed with the concept of fairness that perhaps we’ve lost sight of what “fair” meant to the founders of the game? By MIKE NUZZO
think the origin of fairness, as it pertains to our wonderful royal and ancient game, has a lot to do with the simple question: Why does a golf course have 18 holes? You may have heard the old wives’ tale that it took a Scotsman exactly 18 swigs to finish a fifth of scotch. I’m more inclined to believe the founders had a more measured rationale for arriving at 18, and who can argue that 18 holes packs plenty of drama and intrigue into a round while creating a level playing fields for matches? If you accept that “18 holes” makes golf fair enough, you don’t really need for everything else about the game to be overly fair. Even individual golf holes do not need to be fair. The quest for fairness of the single hole in golf course design has led to as many as six tees per hole. That has led to greater requirements for land, more maintenance and, frankly, uglier golf courses. Think about this: golf originally had no teeing grounds! Golf is a difficult game, yet it inevitably allows for its own type of fairness, you only have to win one hole more than your opponent, not every single one. As such, the better player, the one with superior techniques, will win most of the time. Fairness was built into the foundation of the game side by side with the randomness of nature.
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If everything was proportional, matches would be over by the tenth tee. Nobody would ever want to play golf with somebody who was better than they are, because the result would be a foregone conclusion. For me, the point of golf architecture is to build courses that are fun for everyone, and to make the better player work to prove he is better, by stacking the deck against him a little bit.
– TOM DOAK Par does not need to be fair. Par can be a great equalizer – not a separator. Even if your opponent’s swing looks better, if their shots go farther and land closer to the hole, you can still make the same score. That is fair enough. Do you think the better player should win most every hole? Do you think it is unfair when the course gives the lesser player a little boost or a helpful bounce?
Do not let certain standards become an obsession. Quality, not length; interest, not the number of holes; distinction, not the size in the greens – these things are worth striving for.
– ROBERT HUNTER
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Fairness for fairness sake has drastically changed golf, especially for those who make their livings playing on the PGA Tour. For many years, the Tour player has been crying for perfection in their bunkers. We’ve all heard players cheer for their balls to get into the bunkers for an easier recovery. Now, they score the same whether they hit it in the rough or in a bunker. This year, the PGA Tour recovery percentages are 53% from a bunker and 56% from the rough, which means it doesn’t much matter where they hit their ball if they miss the green. Why even build bunkers if they have the same effect on the score but with a significant impact on cost? Today, bunkers cost as much to maintain and build as greens. The greatest golf course architects all had slightly different philosophies, but one thing they shared in common was the importance on variety for a great golf course. I contend the quest for fairness has pushed us to “balanced” nines, standard green sizes, the elimination of blindness and as much whimsy as possible. Fairness has been reducing the variety everywhere at the behest of the player’s so-called enjoyment. Fairness has also helped to escalate the cost of golf to an unsustainable level: faster and flatter greens; perfect fairways with sand capping and far too many irrigation bells and whistles. Fairness also makes stroke play so much more complicated. When playing stroke play, most golfers naturally want to keep improving, and all too often it is the blame of the course
why someone missed a stroke here or there. That is part of the beauty of golf, in that the elements create a little bit of uncertainty. Today professional golfers are so talented, they need 72 holes to separate themselves from each other. Professionals should play stroke play, and amateurs should play match play mostly as a team – it is so much more fun that way. I am not advocating a change to the 18-hole model. I’m sure 18 holes will be the standard for generations to come. I am hoping that players and owners will realize that golf is standardized enough. By making “fair” the goal, we miss opportunities to experience the charm and character of the game and the golf course. Think of how much more fun the game would be if we weren’t fixated with the golf course being fair but rather on hitting good shots and trying to win one hole at a time. The game, for most us, should be played for fun and I think enjoying each individual hole is a great way to change the perception of that fun and to take unneeded pressure off of golfers and course operators. Think about it! Mike Nuzzo is a talented Houston-based golf course architect. Visit www.mnuzzo.com to see his work.
Your driver awaits.
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Elevate your game to new heights at the #1 Golf Resort in Texas, Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa. Set on 4,000 scenic acres, this unique resort is home to four championship courses, each offering a different challenge. After you play, experience luxurious accommodations, delectable dining and a world-class spa — the perfect way to refresh before your next tee time.
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