2017 Golf Oklahoma August | September

Page 1

Official publication of the Oklahoma Golf Association


More golf than you can shake a 9-iron at. When it comes to championship golf, there’s no better destination than Alabama. Come play where the PGA TOUR professionals compete and see why Golf Digest editors picked two of Alabama’s golf resorts among their favorites. For starters there are the 468 holes along the world-renowned Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Stretching from the mountains in the north to the Gulf Coast in the south, America’s original golf trail opened 25 years ago and recently completed a massive renovation of its 26 courses. Then there are the many other impressive courses scattered across the state, designed by the likes of Arnold Palmer and Jerry Pate. Each with its own set of challenges, each with its own rewards. Plan an epic road trip to great golf courses across the state of Alabama.

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Volume 7 Issue 4

The Goods 16

Tom Bedell’s seeks a new putter, Golf Oklahoma rates the drivers, Vice Golf Balls, Scotland gin and a good cigar.

Chip Shots 22

Senior Games at Forest Ridge, Shangri-La Resort off to great start, Elk City G&CC recovers from tornado, Patriot Golf Day turns 10, AJGA event coming to Tulsa

Competition 28 31

Brendon Jelley wins third OGA crown Big summer for Alexis Sadeghy


Features 26

The Pellucid Report. Industry watchdog keeps it honest


Bob Tway, the quiet champ is always tinkering with his swing



Travel 50 52 54

Joe Walser Jr. and Ernie Vossler combined to change golf’s landscape


Oklahoma Courses 46

Firelake Golf Course in Shawnee reopens after extensive drainage project


The fourth nine completes the entertaining Scissortail GC at Winstar World Resort.

RTJ Trails turns 25 Innisbrook Resort ideal for a fall visit Golf Oklahoma goes to Scotland, and we like it, like it, yes we do

Departments 10 12 12 13 14 58 59 60 61

Letter from the Publisher OGA ED Mark Felder WOGA ED Sheila Dills Rules, Gene Mortensen USGA by David Thompson Instruction: Pat McTigue Instruction: Jim Young Fitness Schedules and results

On the cover Caddies at the Royal Dornoch Golf Links walk into the gloaming as our publisher experiences golf in Scotland for the first tiime.

Support junior golf by contributing to the OGA Foundation Call 405-848-0042 for more information 6



Opening Fall 2017! Gary Player Mountain Top Course


nspired by a deep desire to connect people to nature, Johnny Morris has set out to create one of the greatest golf experiences in the country. Top of the Rock is the first-ever par-3, 9 hole course to be included in a PGA TOUR event and features a Jack Nicklaus signature course and Arnold Palmer Driving Range. Nearby Buffalo Ridge is its own world-class outing and is also home to the PGA TOUR Champions event, the Bass Pro Legends of Golf. Ranked the #1 course in Missouri by Golf Magazine for 2016-2017, Buffalo Ridge has been transformed by the guiding hands of conservationist Johnny Morris and renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio. The game of golf is continuing to grow at Big Cedar Lodge. This year, the resort will proudly introduce a Gary Player designed world-class short course, followed by a Coore & Crenshaw 18-hole, championship course that will open in 2018 and the first ever Tiger Woods designed public golf courses coming in 2019. Big Cedar Lodge is truly a stay and play experience you will never forget!

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nent clubs that could create news of a positive or negative nature in the near future. As reported here previously, the ownership of the Golf Club of Oklahoma sued American Golf at the end of its 20-year lease agreement for not returning the course in the same condition as it was when it took over. A trial date has been set for next May. Would still expect these two to work something out before that, but we’ll see. Meanwhile, other courses that were unRecently I had the chance to visit the openings of two courses in Oklahoma, der long-term agreements with American Golf are nearing the end of their leases. which hasn’t been the case much of late. One was a renovation and one was the White Hawk Golf Club in Bixby owner addition of nine holes to an existing 27, Gerald Pope has been actively looking to so it wasn’t really a new facility in a new sell the course in advance of his lease exmarket. To my knowledge, the last new piring in 2018. A long-term lease of Silvercourse in Oklahoma was The Patriot in horn Golf Club in Oklahoma City is also 2010. In the intervening seven years, at nearing its expiration. American Golf least 15 courses in and most other Oklahoma have management comclosed, so again it panies are no lonwas really nice to ger offering sweetdo what used to be heart long-term a major part of our deals to owners job, report on new guaranteeing an course openings. income no matBoth are excelter how the course lent. The renovaperforms, which in tion of Firelake turn makes ownGolf Course in Shawnee, owned Drainage issues have been resolved at ership of a golf course a more risky by the Citizen Firelake Golf Course in Shawnee. proposition with toPotawatomie Nation, has vastly improved a course that day’s golf economy. It is now imperative previously had major drainage issues. The for owners to make certain their courses tribe, superintendent Derron Day, as well are managed, maintained and marketed as architect Conor Cummings of Randy properly, where in the past these long-term Heckenkemper’s design firm and the con- leases afforded owners a cushion from the struction firm of United Golf led by Dale stress of day-to-day operations. Also in Tulsa, rumors of a potential sale Forrest and shaper Mike Webb, are all to by Arcis Golf of Meadowbrook Country be congratulated for a job well done. The final nine holes for the Scissortail Club led to special meetings of the memCourse at WinStar World Resort & Casi- bership in an effort to make their own bid. no opened in July. The Scissortail Course Calls to the company to determine the vacontains the third and fourth nine-hole lidity of the rumors were not returned as of sets designed by D.A. Weibring and they press time. Homeowners and regular users of Coffee have quite a different feel and character from the original 18, including a series of Creek in Edmond were stunned when that tree-lined holes with white crushed marble course was sold and closed last year mainly bunkers with the material imported from for commercial real estate uses. Fair warnCalifornia, that give the course a feel of ing, this situation could be repeated at sevsettings you might encounter in the Caro- eral courses if owners see an opportunity to cash out versus trying to make money yearlinas or the northeast. If you get the opportunity, I would cer- to-year in a tough industry without the tainly make plans to stop by both these comfort of a long-term guarantee on a lease with a management company. Stay tuned. places in the near future. Meanwhile, there’s quite a bit brewing – Ken MacLeod under the surface with some of our promi-

Openings at Firelake, WinStar are hopeful sign



Volume 7, Number 4 Golf Oklahoma Offices Southern Hills Plaza 6218 S. Lewis Ave., Ste. 200 LIKE US! Tulsa, OK 74136 FACEBOOK.COM/ 918-280-0787 GOLFOKLAHOMAMAGAZINE Oklahoma City Office 405-640-9996 Publisher Ken MacLeod ken@golfoklahoma.org


COO/Marketing Director A.G. Meyers agm@golfoklahoma.org Art & Technology Director Chris Swafford chris@golfoklahoma.org Subscriptions to Golf Oklahoma are $15 for one year (five issues) or $25 for two years (10 issues). Call 918-280-0787 or go to www.golfoklahoma.org. Contributing photographers Rip Stell, Bill Powell Golf Oklahoma PGA Instructional Staff Jim Woodward Teaching Professional, Oak Tree National jwoodwardgolf@sbcglobal.net, 405-3482004 Jim Young Teaching Professional, River Oaks CC 405-630-8183 Pat McTigue Manager, GolfTec Tulsa pmctigue@golftec.com Tracy Phillips Director of Instruction, FlyingTee vt4u@yahoo.com, 918-352-1089 Maggie Roller Director of Instruction, Cedar Ridge CC maggie.roller@sbcglobal.net, 918-261-1441 Jerry Cozby PGA Professional jerrycozby@aol.com, 918-914-1784 Michael Boyd, PGA Professional Indian Springs Country Club 918-455-9515 Oklahoma Golf Association 2800 Coltrane Place, Suite 2 Edmond, OK 73034 405-848-0042 Executive Director Mark Felder mfelder@okgolf.org Director of Handicapping and Course Rating Jay Doudican jdoudican@okgolf.org Director of Junior Golf Morri Rose morose@okgolf.org Copyright 2017 by Golf Oklahoma Magazine. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from Golf Oklahoma. Golf Oklahoma is published by South Central Golf, Inc.


OGA Executive Director


Helping juniors is money well spent The OGA is proud to call be at The Patriot in Owasso, another out- “Most people who try to play in these national events realize how expensive it can Brendon Jelley of Tulsa our state amateur standing facility for our championship. Some of the best money the OGA has get with hotels, food, travel and fees.” champion for the third time in the past The OGA Foundation will spend four years. When Brendon is your cham- ever spent has been the $2,000 grants we pion, you know the event will be repre- award to families of golfers who have $20,000 this year to help families compete sented with class and dignity. We wish qualified for the boys and girls junior in those events. That so many Oklahoma boys and girls are not Brendon all the best only qualifying, but goin his senior year at ing on to great success, Oklahoma State and is a testament to the sucbeyond that in his cess of the Oklahoma professional career. Junior Golf Tour and Our state runnerMorri Rose. up, Cody Burrows of The OGA staff will be Chickasha, is another bolstered for 2018 by the excellent representaaddition of Mark Budler tive of the type of talas tournament direcent and class that is tor. Budler comes to the coming out of seemOGA after being Muskingly every area of the ogee Golf Club’s general state. The gentleman manager and head prothat he defeated in fessional the past two the semifinals, Mason years. Overstreet of KingIt will be good to have fisher, is the NCAA someone young in that runner-up as a freshposition and see what man at Arkansas and Brendon Jelley Cody Burrows Mark Budler ideas he has to improve a player with the raw our events. power and talent to go just about any- championships of the USGA and PGA. One of the season’s top events, the “I can’t tell you how thankful we are to where in this game. We thank Southern Hills Country Club the OGA,” Donna Wallace, mother of Lane Oklahoma Open, is coming up Aug. 24-26 for providing its world class venue in out- Wallace, told Golf Oklahoma after Lane at Oak Tree Country Club. Spectators are standing condition, it was a treat for all the qualified for both the U.S. Junior Amateur welcome to see these top young touring contestants. The 2018 championship will and the Boys Junior PGA Championship. pros and amateurs. See you there.


President WOGA


Oak Tree National rolled out red carpet The 2017 Women’s Oklahoma Fairlie in 2003. As for Oak Tree National, most know Golf Association was notable from several it was founded as a men’s standpoints. We crowned only club and remained that an excellent champion way until the mid 1990s. in Alexis Sadeghy, after However owner Everett a well-played championDobson and president Tom ship match against Sydney Jones could not have been Youngblood. And for the more gracious in making first time in 41 years we WOGA feel welcome and held a championship at Oak their staff was superb in asTree National, and it was sisting with every aspect of worth the wait. the tournament. Alexis became the first As most of you also woman to win both the know, the WOGA State State Amateur and Stroke Amateur is not just a comPlay Championship in the petition in championship same year since Amanda flight, but has a huge social Johnson in 2006. That feat Alexis Sadeghy component as well with was also accomplished by Michaela Cavener in 2005 and Lee Ann competition across at least seven flights

annually. Certainly there were some high scores as we tested ourselves against one of the more difficult golf courses ever constructed, but it was a fun and rewarding opportunity for the golfers of all skill levels. WOGA celebrated 100 years as an organization in 2015, but the state amateur will actually reach its centennial in 2018, as several years were taken off during World War II. We are still working on the site and date, but make plans for another celebration of golf and history next July. We have full fields lined up this fall for our Partnership event at Shangri-La on Aug. 14-15 and The WOGA Cup Sept. 1819 at The Territory in Duncan. Please go to www.woga.us for more information or to get involved in our organization and we hope you can join us!





OGA Rules Director


Watch out for tree ricochets I’m going to use my allotted space in this edition to answer a few questions. I hope you find it informative. In taking relief for a ball which is unplayable, you need to carefully consider the three options to make sure you don’t end up in the same predicament. For example, if your ball lies among tree roots, one option is to drop the ball within two club lengths of where it lies, under penalty of 1 stroke. The ball is in play when it leaves your hand in the drop so if it ends up back in the roots, you get to declare the ball unplayable again, and add an additional penalty of 1 stroke. Be mindful of that possibility and select the option which guarantees you will escape trouble. (Rule 28) If your ball in motion after a stroke bounces off a tree and hits you or your bag, it must be played as it lies, and you incur a penalty of 1 stroke. If your ball in motion is stopped or deflected by another player or his equipment, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies. In Match Play only, if your ball in motion is deflected or stopped by your opponent,


you have the option to replay the stroke. Remember, this option is only available in Match Play and it must be done before anyone plays another stroke. (Rule 19) When you take relief in certain situations you must drop your ball within one club length of the, “nearest point of relief”. The Rule says, “nearest” it doesn’t say nicest and there is only one such spot. If you have a ball on a cart path and proper relief puts you behind a tree, that’s too bad, but you can’t move to the other side. Always make sure you check to see where you will be going in taking relief before you pick up the ball as it may be better

to play the ball as it lies. (Rules 24 - 25) The word, “Fairway” appears only once in the Rules of Golf and that has to do with the closely-mown areas in which one gets relief for an embedded ball. If your ball lies on a sprinkler head you get relief and it doesn’t matter whether the sprinkler is in the middle of the fairway or twenty yards into the rough. If the sprinkler is in a water hazard there is no free relief and the player must proceed under the Water Hazard Rule. Look over the Rules so you know how the relief options differ depending on the location of your ball.

Have you checked out Golf Oklahoma’s new Member For A Day program, allowing you access to great private clubs? Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and check the site at www.golfoklahoma.org for the latest offers and for special giveaways and discounts!




USGA Regional Affairs Committee


Stick to the rules to avoid controversy Up front, I am a confessed Rules nerd. From the Rules of Golf, Rule 1-1 says, “The Game of Golf consists of playing a ball with a club into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.” Rule 6-1 states, “The player and his caddie are responsible for knowing the Rules. During a stipulated round, for any breach of a Rule by his caddie, the player incurs the applicable penalty. Over the past several weeks and months, there have been several rules incidents on the professional tours that have garnered a lot of attention. I must refer you to an article by Michael Bamberger in Golf Magazine’s June issue. Bamberger speaks directly to the incident when Lexi Thompson was penal-



Do we expect our CPA to be thoroughly knowledgeable of which tax deductions are allowed and which ones are not? Of course, that is what they do for a living. The USGA, The R&A and the professional tours have been characterized as the bad guys, but the ultimate responsibility rests with the player to be certain that the rules are followed. As Bamberger points out, “Golf on TV, as performed by the game’s high priests and priestesses must be played at the highest standard. That is the ultimate way for them to honor the game.” For a complete Lexi Thompson marking her ball. read of the reference http://www.golf.com/tourthe highest levels of play are ignorant of article, the Rules of the game that they play for a news/2017/06/01/rules-arent-made-beliving. Compare that to other professions. broken ized in the ANA Inspiration for incorrectly replacing her ball on the spot from which it was lifted. His solution, play by the Rules. I am continually amazed that players in





Some things we like to do before and after the round

The Bookshelf

will get you.” When it does get you — well, rare is the golfer who has never helicoptered a putter. Craig Stadler said after being asked at one tournament why he was using a new putter, “Because the last one didn’t float so well.” PING Greg Norman is of the school that periodically metes out putter discipline: “You Sigma G Tyne have to put your putter out to pasture every so often, let it eat and get fat so it can get MSRP) was the first to arrive and I immedimore birdies.” No one beats pro Ky Laffoon, ately took it out to a putting green and put it though, a story we’ve mentioned before, in play in my next round. I liked it right from who was once so mad at his naughty putter the start, not in the least because it reminded that he tied it to his car and dragged it 400 me of my missing-in-action Rife putter, a mid-sized mallet with a 34-inch shaft midmiles to the next tournament. Pondering my own golfing life, though I’ve way between heel and center. A Swiss company, MLA Golf stands for felt like snapping a few putters over my knee I never have; I do banish them to the garage Multiple Line Activation, an alignment techthough if a period of discontent ensues. I sup- nology design the science of which I wasn’t pose I’m more of a serial philanderer when too concerned about (are we ever?), and an it comes to putters; I’ll stick with one for a interchangeable weight system of which goodly period, but eventually something I figured would only confuse me at some point, but okay. Mainly, the putter looked flashier waltzes by and turns my head. But the current search began out of neces- good, felt good, and rolled well. The other three putters all arrived on the sity, hence in all innocence. I’d been contentedly using a Rife Barbados putter for years, same day and with deadline time running my first mallet, giving me a feel that made it short I immediately took them out to a putclear I would likely never return to a blade. ting green and put them all in play in my While at this year’s PGA Merchandise next round. Trial by fire. I have to say, I liked all of these, too, and Show in Orlando in January, I made it my mission to check out as many new putters as my putting was clearly better than with the possible. I saw some strange ones, but then interim blade that had been pressed into serthat’s nothing new. As the New York Times vice. Argolf was founded in Brittany by two reported, “The finale in freak putters has apparently not yet come, for after nearly ev- French aeronautical industrialists, hence putery shape of iron, wood and aluminum had ters named after Arthurian legends (though been exhausted… a Chicago professional headquarters has since been moved to Florhas come to the front with a putter made ida). Kenny Perry put the Pendragon model ($349) into his bag of gaspipe.” And this report was from 1922! right before winThis year, one putter was made out of a ning the U.S. Senior solid oblong block of transparent acrylic Open in July. and could stand by itself on the green, It was easily the giving a player the ability to see the best-looking putball through the back of the putter of the four, with ter and easily square it up to the a black matte fintarget line. Invented by a Swiss ish, the most prosurgeon who has 23 patents for nounced heft, pleasnose and hearing implants, the ing white sight lines, Iceblock Putter is easily the gasno inserts to mess pipe model of its day. with my mind, I eventually requested seven and a 33putters from manufacturers, but inch timing and availability issues kept the arrivals down to four, the Argolf Pendragon, the Bloodline RG-1 MalThe MLA let, the MLA Tour Mallet Black Edition, Tour Mallet and the PING Sigma G Tyne. The MLA Tour Mallet ($349

Reading the Greens by tom bedell

Yes, normally I’m reviewing books in this spot, but there seems to be a recent dearth of good titles. So I thought I’d try reading some greens instead, by way of searching for a new putter. I’ve been sort of searching since the end of last season, ever since my putter grew legs and walked away from my home course. Unless I left it leaning against a tree deep in the woods. Someone must have retrieved it, but it was never turned into the pro shop. Ever since, I’ve been glancing stealthily at players on the practice putting green to see if they had a guilty aspect or, more tellingly, my old putter in their hands. No luck. Putters are the most individual clubs in our bags, usually the only one with a singular name as it’s not part of a set of fairway clubs or irons that are probably signified by some weird number anyway — the PU-007, the SCKX 99, the WTF Tour Series. Some players give their putters names — most famously, perhaps, Bobby Jones, who basically used only two putters in all his major wins, Calamity Jane and Calamity Jane II. Such long relationships with putters aren’t unusual. Nick Price once said, “I curse the day the head of my putter fell off. It’s kind of like losing one of your best friends.” (Just to keep it literate here, I’ve raided Jim Apfelbaum’s wonderful 2007 compendium “The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations” for some choice nuggets.) Gary Player and Ben Hogan were on even more intimate terms with their flat sticks. Player said, “It’s a marriage. If I had to choose between my wife and my putter, well, I’d miss her.” Hogan noted that, “Selecting a putter is like selecting a wife. To each his own.” On the other end of the spectrum are players (or announcers) like Gary McCord, who said he preferred to use different putters in tournaments. “I go into the pro shop and select a putter off the rack, take it out, use it, and then take it back.” McCord clearly has a fear of putter commitment: “You can’t get too close to a putter, otherwise it 16



models that appealed to me in the new heel shaft, which was a tad shorter than Sigma G line, a series with full alumithe others, but fine by me. num milled faces that seek to deliver The Bloodline RG-1 ($499) comes from softer feel and sound without losing golf equipment industry veterans Brad Adenergy, and delivering a true roll even ams and Larry Bischmann, with former ties with mishits. I requested a new Tyne to Odyssey and TaylorMade and family model and PING manufactured it in members who also worked in the indusrecord time. try, hence the name. But the putter itself The Tyne has a simple elegance, a is an attractive red with white sight silver wing design with a single black lines. alignment stripe, heel shafted The Bloodline was perwith a pistol grip and the lowhaps the odd man out in est price ($215) of this terms of looks and feel. quartet. Like the Iceblock PutDid I pick a winner, ter, it can stand on its the club that will go own on the green and in the bag for at least allows a player to line up a few years, before it a shot effortlessly (if not grows legs and walks away? transparently). It was the lightThe Bloodline RG-1 Not quite — testing will go on, est of the lot, but with an oversized rounded grip that I didn’t particularly and though I think all four putters could care for. Nonetheless the Bloodline had the help me out, here’s where things get a little softest, almost creamy feel of the ball off the silly: I’m giving the edge to the PING Tyne face, and it seemed to be dropping an awful and the MLA Tour Mallet because both score well in the Gimme Scoop Up category. lot of putts. In other words, with both putters it’s easy Little need be said about PING and its long history with quality putters. At the to sweep the ball up from the turf after a PGA Show, I had seen and tried several conceded putt — with the PING you can


Argolf Pendragon

actually pick the ball up. Whereas the Pendragon has a low lip on the putter back, it’s not low enough for an easy scoop; the Bloodline has a thick rounded back and no scoopability whatsoever. Granted, this may not be — and probably should not be — the most important feature about a putter. But I’m not getting any younger, and if I can avoid bending down a few more times during a round, it’s important to me. Besides, I have Ben Hogan backing me up on this one: To each his own. Tom Bedell’s Putter Museum and Garage is located in Vermont.






Golf Oklahoma's Best of the Year

Callaway Golf Great Big Bertha Epic

TaylorMade Golf M1

by ed travis

Drivers -- the most talked about, written about and expensive clubs in the bag. At Golf Oklahoma, discussions each season often center on the many models we have hit and this year the decision was made to pass along those judgments to our readers. Thus was born Golf Oklahoma’s “Best of the Year,” our award for the most significant drivers of the 2017 model year. Manufacturers continue to incorporate more adjustability into driver head designs

TaylorMade Golf M2

Cobra Golf King F7

making it easier to custom fit launch characteristics to any player’s swing. This adjustability combined with new thinner and much more flexible faces, means makers can keep pursuing the goals of added distance, less side-to-side curvature and less loss of ball speed when impact misses the center of the face. We evaluated several factors including design, construction, materials use and popularity plus of course performance paying special attention to forgiveness since

Titleist 917D3 driver

Wilson Staff Triton DVD

for most of us that’s a major consideration. Finally, though price was not a factor in our selections for the “Best of the Year” award, there’s no question price is a big factor when purchasing and being fitted properly is the key to making sure a new 1-wood will fulfill expectations. So here in alphabetical order are the Golf Oklahoma’s “Best of the Year” drivers for 2017. Callaway Golf Great Big Bertha Epic Two titanium rods inside the clubhead connect the sole and crown to limit the amount of flexing by the crown and Callaway says the energy saved produces more ball speed. This is the first time any maker has been able to construct a head this way and combined with their Exo-Cage Triaxial Carbon crown, the GBB Epic has lots of forgiveness for every player. A sliding 17gram weight in the sole adjusts for left or right shot bias and aerodynamics are improved with the Speed Step on the crown originally developed last year in conjunction with Boeing. There’s also a low spin version called the Sub Zero. Cobra Golf King F7 The King F7 has an Arccos sensor in the butt end of the grip that, when linked with a free smartphone app, records every drive keeping real-time stats -- a simply smashing use of technology at no added cost. The app also serves as a GPS rangefinder. Make no mistake, though, the F7 is a very good driver, not just something for a golfing techie. A carbon fiber crown is matched with an E9 titanium face which was been re-engineered and there is both the MyFly 8 and Smartpad to compensate for ball curvature. There are three center of gravity settings using the various sole weights to achieve a low spin penetrating ball flight, a higher




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launch with more spin or added draw spin to compensate for a slice. The King F7+ for better players is similar. TaylorMade Golf M1 and M2 If you want the ultimate in adjustability the M1 is for you. The sole has two tracks for sliding weights; one from toe to heel (a 15-gram weight) and the other from front to back (a 12-gram weight). Both tracks were enlarged from the originals first seen in 2016 with 64 percent more front-to-back movement of the center of gravity. In addition, the heel/toe track acts as a flex channel behind the clubface. The crown is six layers of carbon fiber so it’s strong and the club body is a skeletal construction to save even more weight as does the redesigned aluminum loft sleeve that has 12 loft settings. The M1 and M2 (similar but without the sliding weights) are the 2-to-1 choice of PGA Tour players for their performance and in the case of the M1, the ease of customization. Titleist 917D2 and 917D3 With the 917s, Titleist opted while going for faster ball speeds on off-center hits, a good description of a forgiving driver, to pay close attention to the impact sound. The 917 achieves the proper sound in spades and of course impact sound is a great way to inspire confidence in any club. Customization is achieved from the timetested SureFit Hosel and with the addition of a weight cartridge positioned towards the rear of the sole that can be flipped end for end to adjust ball curvature bias. The 460cc 917D2 is targeted for use by recreational players and the 440cc 917D3 for better players. Wilson Staff Triton DVD The winner of the reality TV show Driver vs. Driver on the Golf Channel, the Triton makes our list because of two innovative features unlike any other driver on the market. First, the sole plate is changeable. Two plates come with each Triton — one of titanium (22 grams) for a high launch trajectory and the other of carbon fiber (9 grams) for lower launch. These are complimented with movable weights to fine tune the head’s center of gravity. But the other very visible and distinctive feature is the alignment aid on the crown which starts at the face the same width as the ball and tapers towards the toe. It’s a big help to center the face at address. The hosel has six settings for loft adjustment. GOLF OKL AHOMA • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017

Luminosa by Crowned Heads by patrick little

In these hot Oklahoma summers, one must prepare wisely to endure 18 holes. Make sure the beer and water is ice cold. Did you pack the sunscreen, tunes, a towel and snacks? You are meticulous down to every detail regardless if you are a scratch golfer or, like me, terrible but play for fun. So, the same care should be taken when you select your cigars. You can’t just take any stogie into this heat and expect a great experience. Therefore, you should pick up the Luminosa by Crowned Heads Cigars. Jon Huber has created something that as he says is “approachable” to anyone. This makes the Luminosa the perfect stick for your golf outing. The cigar is crafted in Nicaragua, and banishes a beautiful Ecuadorian Connecticut wrap-

per. The Luminosa Churchill has great construction, and draws well throughout the smoke. The first third of the smoke is mild, creamy and nutty which remains throughout the smoke. The smoke is cool and has a sweet aroma. The smoke ramps up a bit in the middle third picking up some espresso notes and faint floral notes on the retrohale. The strength is building from light to just light medium. The finish of the Luminosa was true medium strength with flavor notes of pepper and cedar on the retrohale, accompanied by a smooth draw. This is a cigar that kept my interest throughout the smoke. It did not however require my undivided attention, which in my opinion makes it a perfect cigar for your next outing. Stop by ZT Cigars in Oklahoma City or Yukon and pick yours up today.

Proudly serving Oklahoma with a fine selection of cigars and related products. Stop on by our current locations and share a smoke with us!

2726 W Britton Rd Oklahoma City, OK 405-942-0070

1801 Cornwell Dr. Suite 301 Yukon, OK 2nd Location NOW Open 405-494-7188

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Do you need a new Vice? Just in, gin by greg horton

Trying to break into a $1.2 billion industry that is already saturated with products is difficult, even when there isn’t a giant on top of the product pile. In the case of golf balls, though, there is a giant, and it’s Titleist. The Pro V1 dominates the market, but the mega-money pie probably offers smaller slices to clever competitors. Vice Golf is a German company with a solid product and an aggressive branding strategy. The latter matters little if the product isn’t good, but Vice seems to be firing on all cylinders. Vice’s sales of the

Pro, Tour and Driver balls are up in the United States, and that’s largely a function of getting a premium golf ball at a very good price. Recent tests have the distances with drivers, irons and wedges within a yard or two for the Vice balls versus the Pro V1, so performance is clearly not an issue. By ordering from the Vice website, the Drive series is only $10.95 a dozen, and even with shipping, that’s an insanely good price. Easy to see why the brand is growing in popularity, especially with younger golfers who pay attention to price and branding.

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from Scotland by greg horton

St. Andrews, Scotland, is rightly famous for two reasons, one of which is well known to golfers. The second, however, is gaining international popularity and is tied to the famous golf course. Just a couple of miles west of the old course is Eden Mill Distillery, Scotland’s original brewery and distillery. The Haig family opened the distillery and made whisky, gin and beer until 1860. The site was converted into a paper mill, and operated as such until 2008. After two years of disuse, St. Andrews University bought the site, and then sold it to current owner Paul Miller, who wanted to restore the brewing tradition on the site. During the brewing process for the first batch of beer, the master distiller decided to surprise Miller with a gin made in the traditional copper-pot distilling method. The gin was so good that Miller fired up a brewery and distillery immediately, and


thus Eden Mill Gin was born. As an homage to the famous courses, the original gin is called Golf Gin when sold in the shops around the 19th hole. It is available in Oklahoma under the name Eden Mill Original Gin. Scott Large, the owner of Provisions Fine Beverage Purveyors in Tulsa and representative for Eden Mill in the state, said the gin is a classic, Britishstyle gin. “The Original is made in the London dry style, but the botanicals are more pronounced,” Large said. “It’s a dry gin, but it’s smooth and made to be sipped, as well as made into a gin and tonic.” Large said Miller was so pleased with the Original, he wanted to play around with other flavor combinations, processes and botanicals. The result is Love, Hop, and


Oak. The former adds rose hips to the blend of botanicals, giving it even more softness and sip-ability than the Original. Hop uses Australian galaxy hops to create a dry, aromatic gin, much like the marriage of gin and IPA. Finally, Oak is aged in the brewery’s oak beer barrels, adding notes of caramel and fudge to the botanicals. This one is definitely made for sipping, not mixing. All four styles are available in Oklahoma, and good wine and spirit shops will have them on the shelf, ranging in price from $35-$40. As with all package stores in Oklahoma, the shop can order product for you, and depending on your proximity to Oklahoma City or Tulsa, have it in the store within 24-48 hours.






News around the state Sponsored by

Shangri-La Resort Hotel exceeds expectations of guests, visitors those in the know were havIn the month since the official dedication ing none of it. Gibbs was the and opening of the Shangri-La Resort Hotel, the reaction of guests has been music to the featured speaker ears of those who worked furiously to ac- at a press conference/party to celerate its opening. “It’s been fantastic,” said Mike Williams, commemorate The spectacular pool at Shangri-La Resort. the director of communications and govern- the opening of ment relations at Shangri-La Resort. “A lot the 119-room Shangri-La Resort Hotel, a years ago when it had 80 members and eight of people who are staying here have said beautiful new addition to the 27-hole golf employees. Today those numbers are 460 they’ve just been blown away. They had course and clubhouse which brings Shangri- members and 200 employees and the growth high expectations, but they didn’t realize La back to full resort status. More than $1 is expected to continue. Gibbs discussed the million in future business from companies, possibility of an 18-hole par-3 course and/or the scope of what’s been done.” At the official dedication on June 26, organizations and individuals has already an additional nine holes on the championship course as future additions. owner Eddy Gibbs tried to shrug off what been booked as far out as 2019. At the press conference, most of the maGibbs, who spent 40 years in the fenche’s accomplished at the now completely revitalized northeast Oklahoma resort, but ing business, bought the troubled resort six jor players involved in the rapid construction of the new hotel seemed both thrilled with the product and in need of a few days 㐀㄀㔀 匀 伀眀愀猀猀漀 off. General Manager Jason Sheffield, Vice 吀甀氀猀愀Ⰰ 伀䬀 㜀㐀㄀㈀ President of Operations Jon Davidson and 㤀㄀㠀⸀㠀㌀㈀⸀㔀㔀㐀㐀 Williams all noted in their prepared remarks the intensity of the process of build䬀愀爀猀琀攀渀 䌀爀攀攀欀 䜀漀氀昀 䌀氀甀戀          吀攀攀 刀攀渀漀瘀愀琀椀漀渀Ⰰ 倀爀愀挀琀椀挀攀 䜀爀攀攀渀 䌀漀渀猀琀爀甀挀琀椀漀渀 ☀ ing and opening the resort hotel in just 14                                 ㄀㠀ⴀ栀漀氀攀 䈀甀渀欀攀爀 刀攀渀漀瘀愀琀椀漀渀 ⴀ 䌀愀瀀椀氀氀愀爀礀 䌀漀渀挀爀攀琀攀  months. 䌀攀搀愀爀 刀椀搀最攀 䌀漀甀渀琀爀礀 䌀氀甀戀       ㄀㠀ⴀ栀漀氀攀 䈀甀渀欀攀爀 刀攀渀漀瘀愀琀椀漀渀 ⴀ 䈀攀琀琀攀爀 䈀椀氀氀礀 䈀甀渀欀攀爀  The hotel includes a large resort pool, hot tubs, fire pits, a 120-seat casual restau䜀漀氀昀 䌀氀甀戀 漀昀 伀欀氀愀栀漀洀愀           䌀漀甀爀猀攀 刀攀瀀愀椀爀猀 ☀ 刀攀渀漀瘀愀琀椀漀渀猀 rant named Doc’s Bar & Grill which spills 䔀愀最氀攀 䌀爀攀攀欀 䜀漀氀昀 䌀氀甀戀            䐀爀椀瘀攀 刀愀渀最攀 䤀爀爀椀最愀琀椀漀渀 ☀ 吀攀攀 刀攀渀漀瘀愀琀椀漀渀猀 to a patio area and has a roof top patio as 吀栀攀 圀漀漀搀猀 䜀漀氀昀 䌀氀甀戀            㔀ⴀ栀漀氀攀 一攀眀 䌀漀渀猀琀爀甀挀琀椀漀渀 well, a spa with steam rooms and saunas, 䠀愀爀搀猀挀爀愀戀戀氀攀 䌀漀甀渀琀爀礀 䌀氀甀戀      吀攀攀 䤀洀瀀爀漀瘀攀洀攀渀琀猀 䠀愀爀搀猀挀爀愀戀戀氀攀 䌀漀甀渀琀爀礀 䌀氀甀戀 indoor pool and more than 8,000 square 䜀愀椀氀氀愀爀搀椀愀 䜀漀氀昀 ☀ 䌀漀甀渀琀爀礀 䌀氀甀戀  ㄀㈀ᴠ 愀渀搀 ㈀㐀ᴠ 䐀爀愀椀渀愀最攀 刀攀瀀愀椀爀猀 ☀  feet of conference space including a 5,000                                 䈀甀渀欀攀爀 䤀洀瀀爀漀瘀攀洀攀渀琀猀  square-foot ballroom and smaller breakout 䈀攀氀氀愀 嘀椀猀琀愀 嘀椀氀氀愀最攀              䜀爀攀攀渀猀 匀甀爀爀漀甀渀搀猀 匀栀愀瀀椀渀最 rooms. All facilities, including the spa and 倀椀渀渀愀挀氀攀 䌀漀甀渀琀爀礀 䌀氀甀戀          ㄀㠀ⴀ栀漀氀攀 䈀甀渀欀攀爀 匀栀愀瀀椀渀最 indoor pool, are now open. 䴀挀䄀氀攀猀琀攀爀 䌀漀甀渀琀爀礀 䌀氀甀戀         䤀爀爀椀最愀琀椀漀渀 刀攀渀漀瘀愀琀椀漀渀 The hotel is next to the completely rebuilt and refurbished outdoor bar and grill at the Shangri-La Marina, now named Eddy’s. Chuck Perry, a member of the Oklahoma Tourism Commission and long-time member who has seen Shangri-La go through many incarnations, noted that there’s only been one person who walks on water, but in northeastern Oklahoma, Gibbs comes pretty close. Gibbs has easily poured more than $25 million into rebuilding the course, 䬀愀爀猀琀攀渀 䌀爀攀攀欀 䜀漀氀昀 䌀氀甀戀 ⌀㄀㌀ clubhouse and now hotel as well as devel眀眀眀⸀樀漀渀攀猀瀀氀愀渀⸀挀漀洀 䘀漀氀氀漀眀 甀猀 漀渀 䘀愀挀攀戀漀漀欀 oping surrounding houses and condos. As

一漀琀愀戀氀攀 倀爀漀樀攀挀琀猀

by ken macleod




Lodge in Branson. Lamb compared the rebirth and renewal of Shangri-La to the movie It’s A Wonderful Life, noting that if Gibbs had not been born, the golf course and surrounding lands would now be vacant. “Eddy, you’re making a difference,” Running late? Land your copter in the front of the new Lamb said. Shangri-La Resort Hotel. Gibbs said he bought real estate sales are going well and the a house at Shangri-La 16 years previous and rooms begin to fill, he’ll be expecting the watched as the resort fell into disrepair. “I thought, I know how to cut grass, I’ll resort to make money, but there’s no doubt he embarked on much of this because of his just buy this golf course,” Gibbs said jokingly. “We wouldn’t be here if Jason Sheflove for the place. Oklahoma Lt. Governor Todd Lamb field hadn’t quit his job in Owasso and noted as much during his remarks and dis- moved up here and started this project. We cussed how important having Shangri-La had nothing.” Gibbs credited superintendent Justin back as a full fledged resort would be not only for the area but for the entire state, May and Director of Golf Rob Yanovitch noting that Oklahoma businesses that and their teams for making the golf operations such wanted an ideal spot for meetings and reOnward_Financing_MagAd_HalfPage.pdf 1 1/27/17 12:43 PM a success that the hotel became laxation were going to Texas or Big Cedar an imperative.

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Forest Ridge to host Senior Games Golf

his home course. The games are for anyone age 50 or older. The deadline to register is September 28th, and the event is on October 12th. For more Forest Ridge Golf Club will be hosting information, including a full list of events, go medal golf for the Oklahoma Senior Games, a to www.okseniorgames.com statewide event where four cities hold 19 different sports events. Elk City community unites to clean up This year’s cities are damaged golf course Elk City Golf & Country Club employees Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and members showed typical Oklahoma Norman, and Yukon. According to Janet grit and teamwork in getting their course reRobinson, State Di- opened just two weeks after a May 16 EF2 rector of the Senior tornado caused extensive damage, including Games, the goal of obliterating the clubhouse. Damaged or destroyed in the storm were the Senior Games is to build a supportive the clubhouse, cart barn, 20 carts, more than group of seniors that 200 trees as well as various fixtures, furniture encourage each other, and course equipment. At least 80 nearby compete, and stay houses, many belonging to members, were Buck Thornton and his healthy. heavily damaged or destroyed. Head PGA medal collection from Buck Thornton is a professional Alex Alvarez said the clubhouse the Senior Games. long-time participant was a total loss and efforts were under way in the Senior Games, he competes in mul- to select an architect and build a new facility. A community effort ensued the following tiple events, but golf is where his true passion lies. His favorite part about golf is just weekend to assist with repairs and clean up being outside. He’s won a lot of gold med- the course. Members brought heavy conals and he’s looking to add one more from struction equipment to pick up fallen trees

Members and others pitched in to help Elk City Golf & Country Club reopen. and debris that lay strewn. The course reopened May 30, just two weeks after the tornado. The office and pro shop were set up in mobile homes and will remain there while the clubhouse is rebuilt. The course, which celebrated its 80th anniversary on May 30, was able to hold its Oil and Gas Tournament in early June and play has been ongoing since.

Patriot Golf Day marks first decade Patriot Golf Day turns 10 years old this Labor Day weekend. The brainchild of Major Dan Rooney has raised more than $41 million in its first nine years, including $7,062,000 in 2016. The funds are used for educational scholarships for the families of servicemen and women killed or injured while serving U.S. military forces, and thus far has resulted in nearly 13,000 scholarships being awarded. So if you are a golfer wishing to donate in 2017, be sure to go to www.foldsofhonor. com to see which courses in your area are participating over Labor Day weekend Sept. 1-4. If you are a professional or individual looking to participate with a fund raiser or tournament or just accept donations, all the information is on that same site and signing up has been made vastly easier with improvements to the site over the past year. Several thousand courses participate nationwide each year including many in Oklahoma, according to Tony Biata, the vice president of Patriot Golf Day for the Folds of Honor Foundation. “It’s our founding fundraising event and grows every year,” Biata said. “The money raised is so important for the scholarships for these families which are so deserving.” 24



AJGA coming back to Tulsa by brett tyndall

It’s been close to a decade since the Tulsa area hosted an American Junior Golf Association event, but the national junior circuit is slated to return late next summer thanks to the efforts of Cedar Ridge Country Club director of instruction Maggie Roller. Roller filled out an application and formed a committee to oversee tournament-organizing protocol such as finding sponsors and setting dates. That committee includes Michael Boyd, former University of Tulsa star and PGA Tour player who runs his own golf school at The Club at Indian Springs, as well as golf enthusiasts Scott Mabrey, Darren Sides and Brian Woodliff. “We’re working with AJGA regional director Darren Nelson and Katie Nicholas from the Tulsa Sports Commission,” Roller said. “I’ve been in constant contact with them. We’ve been having committee meetings since February. I invited Rick Reed, head pro at Oaks Country Club, because I knew we would need help getting a golf course. Rick said he’d bring it up to his board and they approved the tournament in about a month. Getting the course was a very quick process and it’s at the perfect site.” Roller said the Tulsa Sports Commission will take care of a lot of the behind-the-scenes organizing, such as hotel reservations and car rentals for AJGA staff. Maggie Roller has led the charge Sponsors are a crucial element to bring an AJGA event to Tulsa. and Roller has already signed up two, including a $35,000 deal with Gateway Mortgage Company and a smaller package with Bama Pie. She is working with several other companies as well. Golfers from around the country will find hotels, restaurants and plenty else to do near The Oaks at the Tulsa Hills and Riverwalk shopping centers. The AJGA currently has events at Oak Tree CC in Edmond and Karsten Creek in Stillwater, but nothing in Tulsa since 2010 when an event was held at the Golf Club of Oklahoma. The date is tentatively set for late July into early August 2018 as Roller wants to avoid conflict with all the state amateur events occurring in the middle of July, the AJGA event at Oak Tree, or any other USGA junior events. The tournament is open to all AJGA members with enough status. Roller will also be organizing the Junior-Am fundraising event that commences before tournament play. “Tulsa is such a great golf town that this will hopefully be a big tournament nationally and become a tournament that the area can wrap its arms around,” said Roller, the former Tulsa All-American who is also mother to three talented junior golfers. It will be nice to watch them play a home tournament.”






Pellucid Corp:

From there, it then generates various pubence in November 2000, and then lications, such as Pellucid Perspective magabegan to regularly zine, Outside the Ropes newsletter and publish observa- State of the Industry; software products tions and insights such as the Cognilogic weather impact tool on the industry and the Golf Local Market Analyzer; and two months after- services such as custom consulting engagewards. Since then, ments and facility ops reviews. “By the admission of leading people in Pellucid has consistently offered an the industry, Pellucid has provided an unbiindependent voice, one that fact checks the ased, fact-based, alternative accounting of trade associations that typically control the the data, measures and sources needed to industry’s information and message, and, accurately measure health metrics — from individual facilities to the inmore often than not, counters dustry in general,” says Jim their findings through fact Koppenhaver, president of Pelchecking. lucid. To share the good, the bad Throughout the last 17 and sometimes even the ugly years, Pellucid has pioneered aspects of the golf business, nearly every improvement in Pellucid collects and compiles golf business analysis, whethinformation from a wide array er it’s the measure of supply/ of sources, including an annual demand imbalance and time to consumer survey, a golf faciliequilibrium; the quantification ty database that offers facts on Jim Koppenhaver, of weather’s impact on facility geographic distribution, price segments and supply levels, President of Pellucid performance; the segmentation of facilities by consumer (such and U.S. Census demographics as public premium versus price) against inand projections. dustry classifications (daily fees versus municipals); or the utilization of facility-based (rather than consumer survey) rounds to measure demand. “We were also the first to identify the Millennial Challenge and the fact that Baby Boomers are increasingly ‘carrying’ the golf industry,” Koppenhaver said. “We have elevated the conversation in golf around key issues and opportunities, and forced the industry to face facts that were being obfuscated by the industry trade associations when they had a monopoly on the information and the message.”

The golf industry's independent voice by chris lewis

Renowned as the industry’s realists, Pellucid Corp. offers an alternative to trade associations —unbiased facts and visibility into golf’s positive and negative aspects. Pellucid — an adjective; meaning translucently clear From its name to its actions (time after time again), the mission of Pellucid Corp. has been apparent since its founding in April 2000 — to offer unbiased facts and visibility into the health of the golf industry, whether they are positive or negative. Often referred to as the realists of the industry, the golf business solutions and data analysis provider received its initial industry inauguration at the Golf 20/20 Confer-

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Room to Grow: Participation, Technology and Pricing To continue to elevate the conversation and force the golf industry to face all facts (again, both good and bad), Pellucid has just finalized its 2016 participation analysis, which has revealed a continuous decline in the game’s consumer base, although at a slightly lower rate than in recent years. As expected, the analysis also depicted a rise in players and rounds among golfers aged 55 and older, along with a decline in participation among Millennials, aged 18 to 34. In addition, Pellucid is still publishing its monthly weather impact summary, which through April 2017, has shown a slight rise in Golf Playable Hours, when compared to GOLF OKL AHOMA • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017

2016’s average aggregate. Of equal importance, Pellucid has also recently studied golf’s shifting technology landscape. In doing so, it has been able to offer recommendations to businesses on the ways in which they can better leverage their technology and demand more from their technology providers to identify customers. From there, they can then utilize MAC addresses from mobile devices to provide customers, particularly Millennials, more personalized, satisfactory service. As Pellucid prepares for the future, it is also focused on determining the causes of two other crucial aspects of the industry — a decline in the game’s base and a lack of pricing power for the game in general — especially as consumer equipment manufacturers, facilities and lenders continue to consolidate and reorganize. “We’ve lost 9 million golfers since the last high-water mark in participation (roughly 30 million in 2002, compared to 21 million in 2016),” Koppenhaver said. “Not to mention, rounds have been declining at a 1 percent annual pace since the mid-2000s, and the average price of golf has lagged even the marginal inflation rate over the past decade.” He added, “These are not insurmountable challenges, but they are significant. Unfortunately, the industry has made little tangible progress over the last 16 years to move participation, rounds or demographics of the sport at the national level. To say the least, we have challenges in reshaping our sport to fit considerable changes in consumer preferences.” Rigorous Analysis for Unmet Needs According to Koppenhaver, if the industry is unable to sufficiently address these challenges in a timely manner, golf participation will likely decline below 20 million and then stabilize between 15 and 20 million afterwards. Although the sport will never disappear or become irrelevant recreationally, the industry must discover a more meaningful and scalable way to connect with Millennials; if not, the Baby Boomer generation (again, the sport’s most loyal customers) will not be replaced by new golfers as they age over the next decade. “However, on a positive note, the industry’s supply imbalance will continue to work its way towards better economics for surviving facilities,” Koppenhaver said. “After all, we’re currently projecting that (at the present pace) we’re three to four years away from the balance of the mid-1990s when the majority of operators were making adequate money. “That supply/demand balance will also be the harbinger for better pricing power, and barter will likely find its terminal velocity in the next three to five years. These will all be positive factors for the industry and those of us who make our living in it.” To continue to support the industry with rigorous, unbiased analysis and facts, while also retaining its reputation as a realist, Pellucid will do exactly what it’s done the last 16 years -- Persevere, despite tight financials and a fragmented industry that only consists of approximately 15,000 small business owners. “There are a multitude of unmet needs for information in the industry — inflow/outflow elements to our annual consumer survey, facility rounds/revenue benchmarking, pricing optimization, sales/valuation barometers for golf facilities and so forth,” Koppenhaver said. “As we look ahead to the coming years, we’ll expand to not only meet those needs in which the economics support them, but also have the assets and skills that are required to support them. From there, we will help the industry achieve its potential on a long-term basis.” GOLF OKL AHOMA • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017



W W W. C H A R L E S T O N S . C O M


Jelley prevails in OGA State Amateur for third win in four years by ken mac leod


or the third time in four years, Brendon Jelley hoisted the huge trophy signifying he is the Oklahoma Golf Association State Amateur champion. It may also be the last time as Jelley plans to turn professional next spring after his senior season at Oklahoma State. “This one meant an awful lot,” Jelley said. “It was here in my hometown. It’s one of my favorite events and I am really excited and relieved to bring it back.” Jelley brought it home decisively with a 4 and 3 victory over Cody Burrows of Chickasha in the championship match July 19 at Southern Hills Country Club. Burrows was the 2017 Summit League Player of the Year for Oral Roberts. Jelley was 5-up after 12 holes Cody Burrows was steady. before Burrows birdied 13 and 14. Jelley also birdied 13 and then won the match on 15 when Burrows’ birdie effort from 16 feet came up just short. Jelley made just one bogey on the final day, that on the 12th hole in his 4 and 3 semifinal victory over Bryce Newell of Oklahoma City. He Brendon Jelley bags third state amateur in four years. 28



also made just one bogey in his two matches July 18. Jelley nearly didn’t make it past his opening match. He had taken his hat off ready to concede as OSU teammate Tyson Reeder rolled a 6-foot birdie try on the first playoff hole. It missed, Jelley won two holes later and again is the champion. “That’s match play, you just never know what can happen,” Jelley said. “Tyson played really well and I thought he was going to make that putt.” Jelley took advantage of two miscues by Burrows to get ahead early. Burrows’ second shot on the par-4 second from the rough went over the green into a hazard. Then on the par-3 sixth, his tee shot hit the green and bounced over and out of bounds. Jelley then made his longest putt of the tournament, a 30foot birdie on the par-4 seventh. After Burrows three-putted the eighth, Jelley was four ahead and firmly in control. Burrows drove into a bunker on the par-4 ninth and made another bogey, giving Jelley a

huge 5-up lead. Burrows reached the final after an epic semifinal match with Arkansas sophomore Mason Overstreet of Kingfisher, the 2017 NCAA individual runner-up. Overstreet birdied four holes in succession early, but Burrows withstood the surge with three early birdies of his own and was just one down. He evened the match when Overstreet bogeyed the par-3 eighth, then birdied 10 and 11 to go one ahead. He eagled the par-5 16th to go 2-up, then Overstreet retaliated by nearly driving the par-4 17th and making his seventh birdie. Needing a final birdie on 18, Overstreet missed his attempt from 25 feet above the hole and Burrows was on to the final. “I was just trying to survive against Mason,” Burrows said. “He hits it so far past me. I was just trying to hit good iron shots and make a few putts.” Jelley has qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship. Then it will be back to Stillwater to fight for playing time on the talented 11-

UNI_17-RP-157_SouthCentral_Golf.indd 1 GOLF OKL AHOMA • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017

The power of Mason Overstreet.

7/27/17 2:07 PM W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG 29


Brady Richardson

playoff against Jon Valuck of Oklahoma man Cowboy squad. “I’m playing well and excited to get back City. His 1-up win marked his third in the event. Valuck won the OGA Senior State and get after it,” Jelley said. The last player with three state amateur Stroke Play Championship at Shawnee titles in a four-year span was Glen Fowler, Country Club after a two-hole playoff with a total who captured score of 5-over three in a row 147. Valuck from 1958-60. entered the fiBrady Richnal round six ardson of Oklashots behind homa Wesleyan the first-round University took leaders, Mihome the OGA chael Hughett Stroke Play of Owasso Championship and Wright. at Muskogee Valuck defeated Country Club Hughett and after a playoff Kirk Wright and Jon Valuck Jeff Smith of with Overstreet. Richardson won the playoff with Edmond in the playoff with a birdie on a birdie on the first hole and finished his No. 2. Lane Wallace of Yukon took home the final round with a 1-under 70 for a total score of 206 (71-65-70-206). Overstreet, title at the OGA Junior Championship at who entered the final round with a two- Kickingbird Golf Club in Edmond in June. shot lead, had a final spread of 68-66-72. Wallace, who will be playing for the University of Oklahoma, won his second conBurrows placed third at 209 (71-68-70). Kirk Wright of Oklahoma City success- secutive championship by edging future fully defended his title as the OGA Senior OU teammate Logan McAllister of OklaState Amateur champion after a one-hole homa City 4 and 3.



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Alexis Sadeghy won the Stroke Play and State Amateur.

Sydney Youngblood has high hopes this fall at OU.

Sadeghy sweeps WOGA championships by murray evans

Life as a soon-to-be college senior can pull one in many different directions, and Oklahoma State’s Alexis Sadeghy hasn’t had the chance to play in many summer events as a result. But she’s certainly made the most of the ones she has entered. Sadeghy, from Edmond, completed a sweep of Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association summer championships on July 20, edging University of Oklahoma sophomore Sydney Youngblood 1-up in the WOGA State Amateur Championship title match at Oak Tree National in Edmond. Sadeghy added the WOGA match-play title to the second straight Stroke Play Championship she won last month at Muskogee Country Club, where she shot a career-best 5-under-par 66 in the final round to prevail by 12 shots. The two WOGA championships, and an unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the U.S. Amateur, GOLF OKL AHOMA • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017

are the only competitive events in which she’s played all summer. “It feels really good to win both of them,” Sadeghy said of the WOGA titles. “It’s hard to play more while I’m taking classes, but it makes these ones sweeter. I’m excited for my senior year.” Sadeghy’s run of strong results began in the Big 12 Championship in April, when, as a last-minute sub for the Cowgirls, she fired an even-par 72 on the tournament’s first day at The Dominion Country Club in San Antonio. She was in the OSU lineup for an NCAA regional before embarking on her summer of success. “I’ve just been hitting the ball a lot better, especially with my irons, and pretty much working hard,” she said. “I’m practicing with a purpose more. Whether it’s hitting iron shots to specific locations or something else, it’s having a purpose when you practice.” She needed to be at her best against

Youngblood in an event that provided a rare summertime dose of Bedlam. Both players dressed for the occasion, with Sadeghy in an orange shirt and black skirt and Youngblood sporting her OU crimson shirt and cream shorts. And like in any good Bedlam matchup, there were no shortage of dramatic twists and turns. Sadeghy parred No. 1 to take an immediate lead, but hit into the water on No. 2, allowing Youngblood – who was injured much of the spring and was only cleared to play full rounds three weeks ahead of the event – to even the match with a par of her own. Sadeghy bogeyed No. 3, but Youngblood hit into a hazard and posted a double bogey. Youngblood, from Durant, evened the match on No. 7, parring as Sadeghy bogeyed after hitting an approach shot over the green. Sadeghy again went 1-up at No. 12, two-putting from 30 feet while Youngblood three-putted from 40 feet. Youngblood hit her approach shot on the par-4 No. 15 into a greenside bunker, then blasted out over the green about 45 feet from the hole. Sadeghy looked to be in good shape after rolling her third shot up a hill onto the green, about 6 feet out, W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


COM PET I T ION but Youngblood chipped in for par and Sadeghy missed her par putt. Suddenly, the match was tied again and Youngblood had considerable momentum. “I didn’t expect it to go in, but I knew it was going to be close,” Youngblood said. “When it did, I said, ‘We’ve got three holes left. Let’s kick it into gear and let’s get going.’” But a bold move on the par-5 No. 16 gave the momentum, and eventually the match, to Sadeghy. In the middle of the fairway after her tee shot, she used a 5-hybrid from 185 yards in an attempt to reach the green in two – and succeeded, sailing her ball over the bunkers that front the hole and into the middle of the green. That resulted in a two-putt birdie that Youngblood couldn’t match, as she hit her second shot right of the green. “It was a really good shot – probably Taylor Towers led the WOGA Stroke Play. the best shot I hit all day,” Sadeghy blood said. “I’ve known Alexis since we said. Both players parred No. 17 and Young- were little kids and we’ve always been blood left a 20-foot birdie attempt short on good competitors and even better friends. No. 18, ending her chances of extending When we got to play today, I just knew it was going to be a great match all the way the match. “It was a really good match,” Young- to the end. The whole ‘Bedlam in July’ at-

mosphere was really fun.” Sadeghy ‘s win at the WOGA Stroke Play Championship was not only her lowest round ever in relation to par but also her first bogey-free round. After shooting 74 the first round, Sadeghy entered the final round in second place behind eventual third-place finisher Taylor Towers of Owasso, who shot 1-over the first day. Northeastern State’s Lexi Armon took second place with a total score of 152 (77-75-152) and Towers also was at 152 (72-80152). Janet Miller won both the Mid-Amateur and Senior divisions of the WOGA Stroke Play Championship at Muskogee Country Club with scores of 7882 for a 160 total. She defeated Rebecca Davis in a one-hole playoff for the titles with a birdie on the first hole. ShaeBug Scarberry of Purcell won her second consecutive WOGA Junior Girls Championship at Oak Tree County Club’s East Course in June. With a 3-under 67 first round, she had a 10-shot lead before finishing with a 75. Scarberry won the title 11 shots ahead of runner-up Faith Hopkins of Bartlesville, who shot 78-75 for a 153.





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ShaeBug Scarberry repeats as WOGA Junior champ. Yujeong Son of Norman took home the girls’ OGA Junior Championship at Kickingbird Golf Club in Edmond in June. Son defeated Scarberry 5 and 4 after dominating throughout the entire event without any match surpassing the 15th hole.

Yujeong Son played in the U.S. Junior Girls and PGA Junior. GOLF OKL AHOMA • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017






w w w. m a h o g a n y p r i m e s t e a k h o u s e . c o m


Bob Tway Quiet

champion was constantly

seeking to improve by john rohde

Bob Tway during the 77th PGA Championship held at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. August, 1995. (photograph by The PGA of America)




n the 72nd hole of the 1986 PGA Championship at the Inverness Club in Akron, Ohio, Bob Tway pulled out his sand wedge and promptly used it to harpoon the “Great White Shark.” In one of the most magical moments in golf history, Tway holed out for birdie from a greenside bunker and slayed Australian shark enthusiast Greg Norman, who would go on to be inflicted with multiple scars while battling to win major championships throughout his Hall of Fame career. For Tway, the sequence was part of a magnificent season during which he posted four victories, 13 top-10 and 21 top-25 finishes that resulted in his peers selecting him PGA Tour Player of the Year. The PGA wasn’t the only major championship where Tway excelled in 1986. He tied for eighth in that year’s Masters, five strokes behind 46-year-old legend Jack Nicklaus, who captured his sixth Green Jacket. In that year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills (N.Y.) Golf Club, Tway was the first-round leader and trailed by two strokes entering the final round. He double-bogeyed the par-5 16th and bogeyed the 17th to again tie for eighth, five strokes behind winner Raymond Floyd. In just his second full season on the PGA Tour, the 27-year-old Tway already had accomplished more than most pro golfers achieve in a lifetime. These achievements helped make Tway an obvious choice for the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame. Oddly enough, as these prolific performances accumulated 31 years ago, Tway said he didn’t fully comprehend what he had accomplished. “At the time, you don’t realize it all, to tell you the truth,” Tway admitted. “I knew it was great to win a major and I was playing against all these great players, but I was still so young and naïve. I guess I didn’t know any better.” Tway remains the only OSU golfer ever to win a major championship on the PGA Tour, this despite the Cowboys having 10 national championships (eight under Holder) and 55 more All-American selections than any other Division I program all-time. Asked what the key is to excelling in major championships, Tway chuckled and said, “Oh, who knows, really. It’s funny, the reason I changed my swing so much is because I never thought I drove the ball well enough to win a U.S. Open. And looking over my career, I finished in the top 10


in the U.S. Open more than any other major (four times). It doesn’t make any sense. “I thought the Masters would be great for me, but I finished top 10 one time. I thought the British Open would be fantastic for me. Again, I finished in the top 10 one time. My only top 10 in the PGA Championship was the year I won it. It just doesn’t make sense. It just shows you what golf is. It’s kind of strange.” As the 2017 induction date approaches on Oct. 1 at Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club, the soft-spoken Tway quietly acknowledges a remarkable career that has included eight victories and $18.5 million in official career earnings on the PGA and Champions tours. Tway also was a threetime, first-team All-American (1979-81) at Oklahoma State and won the 1981 Fred Haskins Award as collegiate Player of the Year. Even with all his early success, which included six PGA Tour victories by 1990, the relentlessly competitive Tway sought further greatness and began tinkering with the swing that had catapulted him into one of the world’s elite players. For this, Tway makes no apology. “Even though I messed with my swing,


I was always trying to get better, so I can’t fault myself for that,” Tway said. “Obviously, if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have messed with my swing because I would have known what to do. I guess that’s part of digging it out of the dirt, trying to figure it out.” Further success eventually would come for Tway, though it came in ripples rather than with a tidal wave reminiscent of 1986. Tway’s first four victories on the PGA Tour came in a span of six months and 22 starts. His next four tour victories required 17 years and 468 starts. From 1992-94, Tway managed just two top-10 finishes and missed 37 cuts in 75 starts. In an effort to recapture his winning form, a determined Tway returned to his collegiate days and sought help from OSU coach Mike Holder. Asked if he was surprised Tway tinkered with his swing despite his tremendous success in 1986, Holder boldly confessed, “I always thought it was a lot my fault. Maybe we kind of had a culture on our team that encouraged tinkering with your golf swing. In a positive way, I was thinking that would make you better. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate

Bob Tway reading his putt during the 79th PGA Championship held at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. August 14-17, 1997. (Photograph by The PGA of America).



OKLAHOMA GOLF HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2017 that definitely is not the case. Once you’ve reached a certain level, you kind of need to accept that your golf swing is what it is and live with it. “It’s not going to determine whether you’re going to be a great player or not. That’s all going to come with how you handle the emotional side of the game, the strategic side of the game and the way the game should be played, which is in your subconscious with very little thought. All that realization came when seeing him (Tway) struggle with his game. Maybe I was a calming voice at a good time to remind him of how good he was and is, and getting him back to playing the game the way he did when he was 15 years old. That was plenty good enough then and certainly would be plenty good enough today.” Tway ended a five-year victory drought by winning the 1995 MCI Classic at Hilton Head Island, S.C. He also had eight top-10 and 15 top-25 finishes in 27 starts that season. As a result, Tway was voted PGA Tour Comeback Player of the Year. “I was happy for him,” Holder said. “I only had one stipulation and that was he couldn’t tell anyone that I was helping him



because I wanted him to understand that it wasn’t me. It was him. A player needs to take credit for his success because that confidence they build is invaluable, especially in the tough times, so you cannot share that with someone else. “Don’t give credit for your success to an instructor or someone else. At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to step up on the first tee between the ropes and own it. So take credit for your success because you’re going to need that reservoir of confidence down the road when you might hit some bumps.” Tway and Holder have a unique relationship that spans 40 years. While tutoring Tway, no longer was Holder the notorious taskmaster he personified as OSU’s golf coach and now as the school’s athletic director. “He was a totally different person than he was as a coach,” Tway said. “He was totally different when you got out of school than when you were in school. In school, he just tried to make things tough because he wanted to know who was going to throw in the towel (as a player) and who wasn’t.” When Tway finally survived PGA Tour

Bob Tway reacts to his bunker shot dropping in on the 18th hole to win the 1986 68th PGA Championship on August 11, 1986 at the Inverness Country Club in Toledo, Ohio. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)


Qualifying School after three straight failed attempts after turning pro, it was Holder who served as his caddie. “Coach would say, ‘You know what? We’re just going to swing smooth, we’re going to walk slowly, we’re going to do all the right things and by the last day you’re going to be hitting it better than the first day,’ ” Tway said. “Sure enough, on the last day, I’m like 7-under through the first 12 holes. It was like it was all coming true. Coach was always a great influence. He was always there to talk. He was so positive. We might not have been talking about golf. Maybe it was about life or whatever. He was just a different person.” Holder said a key element to Tway’s success was simply getting out of his own way. “I think that’s a good example of how the conscious mind can get in the way of great golf,” Holder said. “It has nothing to do with his ability to play on the PGA Tour or his inability to play in the Qualifying School. He just put too much pressure on himself. He made it too big of a deal instead of just going out there and playing golf the way he knew how to play it as another round of golf. It just overwhelmed


him. And after you miss (earning your tour playing privileges), it makes it even more challenging the next year, but he’s not the only one to ever experience difficulties at Qualifying School. “Bob’s guilty like a lot of us – he just thinks too much. Also, I never think he gave himself enough credit to how good he was and how good he could be. I’d like to think if you just went back and started over with, say, his freshman year in college, if I’m his coach again, I think the two of us would have ended up in a whole different spot. He would have won a lot more golf tournaments and I think he would have won a lot more majors. “I also think I would have had a better impact on a lot more players than I did, but that’s all hindsight. It’s easy to look back and get a better answer than what you had at the time. Everything we did, we did for the right reasons. We had all good intentions and we never were short on work ethic. We just really didn’t understand the way the game should be played at the highest level.” Tway said Holder excelled playing the dual role of instructor and psychologist. “He was instrumental with the golf

swing itself,” Tway said, “But the time he caddied for me, it was more mind games than anything else.” When Tway won the 2003 Bell Canadian Open, he recaptured his playing privileges at The Masters the following season and asked Holder to carry his bag at Augusta National. After Tway tied for 27th in the 2004 Masters, he asked Holder to caddie for him the following week in the MCI Heritage Classic, where Tway had won nine years earlier. Holder happily speaks at length about Tway and his entire family – wife, Tammie (a college sweetheart who Tway married in 1981), son Kevin (a 2013 Web.com Tour winner who played collegiately at OSU from 2007-11 and currently is enjoying his best season on the PGA Tour) and daughter Carly (a successful artist, model, actress and dancer based in Los Angeles). “I’m proud of the kind of man he is, the good friend he’s been to a lot of people, the children he’s raised, the son who played golf here at Oklahoma State University, just his whole family and the way he represents our institution and golf in general,” Holder said of Tway. “He’s just a credit to the human race. A great guy.”



Joe Ernie Visionary pros and

left legacy in Oklahoma, transformed the desert, set development standard by ken macleod


ike peanut butter and jelly, it’s hard to separate the contributions of Joe Walser and Ernie Vossler and how they blended their abilities for the greater good. The two club pros who worked their way onto the PGA Tour, then combined forces to build one of the greatest golf development companies in the game, will join the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame during its 2017 inductions Oct. 1 at Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club. Their legacy in Oklahoma will always be the creation of Oak Tree National and the 36 holes across the street at Oak Tree Country Club. Oak Tree National continues to be relevant on the national stage, recently hosting the 2014 U.S. Senior Open, while the country club is a hotbed of young talent that has made Edmond nationally famous for producing elite golfers. Yet the contributions of Walser and Vossler and the effect they had on their contemporaries goes much deeper than course development. They made their impacts as teachers, friends and shining examples of how to conduct yourself in business. Here’s a look at each individually and some of their accomplishments together.

The beginnings Ernie Vossler Talk about humble beginnings. The infant Ernie Vossler was left unannounced in a basket on a doorstep of a well-off oil executive in Fort Worth, Texas. This gentleman knew 38


the Vossler family down the street, a stable family in their mid-50s that owned a plumbing company and had no children. They accepted him, named him and raised him as their own. No one ever found out who his birth parents were. By the time he reached the age of 5, Joe Walser Jr. and Ernie Vossler took Landmark to unprecedentMrs. Vossler had gone ed heights as a golf course development company. blind, and young Ernie “Before I knew it he was breaking 80. He would hustle home after school to help her around the house before going off to his vari- was just a natural. We played and won the ous athletic endeavors. He was an excellent city championship twice and by then I knew tennis player, winning a state doubles cham- he had the bug. I knew he was going to be a pionship, and a good baseball and basketball pro some day because he had a great talent of player as well, but golf wasn’t in the picture being able to keep the ball in play. He was a until a neighborhood friend named Dan Jen- lot like Tom Kite or Zach Johnson.” To reach his potential, Vossler had to learn kins put a club in his hand and began to drag him out to the local municipal course, the in- like many young golfers to control his temper. Jenkins remembers him breaking a club famous Goat Hills. Yes, that Dan Jenkins. The man who im- over a middling shot one afternoon at Goat mortalized Goat Hills and went on to be- Hills. “He broke his 6-iron in the middle of the come the most well-known and talented sportswriter in the country for decades takes fairway, I guess because it didn’t go in the hole. He had reached the point where he pride in launching Vossler’s career in golf. “I recruited for the Paschal High School thought everything should go in. He slammed golf team in Fort Worth,” Jenkins said. “We the club down and it broke in two, the steel needed a fourth player and Ernie was already shaft went flying through the air and we all a good basketball, baseball and tennis player. ducked and hit the ground. That’s the only We’d known each other since junior high. I time I saw him lose his temper. He learned said, ‘Ernie, we’ve got to have a fourth player to control it once he got older and was a city on the team.’ He said he’d only played golf champion and a state champion before he a couple of times in his life. ‘Well, I just re- turned pro. He was a great, great competitor and always hit the right shot, the shot he had cruited you for the golf team.’ GOLF OKL AHOMA • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017






other young pro he’d met on tour to join him to hit.” Vossler gave up all his other sports except on these western swings, and that’s how he golf and began winning events all over Texas. and Joe Walser began taking Oklahoma famiAfter briefly trying plumbing as a career, he lies to the desert, a tradition that continues turned professional and was more than com- today. Vossler had more in mind on these trips petitive on the PGA Tour, winning three official PGA Tour events with a fourth win in than playing in the Bob Hope Desert Classic the Panama Open. He also got married and and enjoying the weather. He was intently began a family and always maintained that scanning the desert for development opwhen his eldest reached the age of 12 he portunities, learning the grasses, the terrain, would come home from the tour for his fam- weather, travel patterns and studying the ily’s sake. Fatefully, he was selected for the iorinfrastructure of the growing cities of Palm Senage job as head golf professional at Quail Creek ant Springs, Palm Desert and Indio. Adv ard “Dad was a piece of work,” Judy said. “He Country Club in Oklahoma City. Vossler was CAdvantage was very unassuming and would stand in the the head golf professional who influencedCard background until someone recognized who Ribbon cutting at Arnold’s Palmer’s course the first 12 years at Quail Creek. Judy Vossler, who went on to work in the he was, but he was really a character. He was at PGA West. FULL andLIST they OF cameBENEFITS non-stop. Also, was a champion golfer at Capitol Hill High family business and now is the senior vice an idea man AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE: he was brilliant with numbers. He could look School, dashing off to the driving range bepresident of administration for the Palm $59 Per Player tween stints at the family-owned Walser’s and was very intuitive Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, was at a financial sheet FREE Golf After Every 5 Rounds Played $39 by PerEdSenior with fabulous common didn’t fin- Grocery, and went on to play for Labron the first child, born in 1949, followed Includessense. SameHe Day Round State. was highly intelligent in the Harris Sr. at Oklahoma die in 1950, Andy in 1952, Ernie (Buddy) in ish college, butof Golf at Purchase TU L SAGHis O Learly F.O Rcareer G 0. 3 39.teacher 2 9 97 after Advantage & the Senior things he needed to know and skill set for included a brief stint as 8a0school 1954 and Cary in 1962. Advantage Card Rates *Seniorsas must 55 & older. **Available for a stint in the service a be First Lieutenant in careers.” While the children were young and his his golf and development ONLY. Card program subject to Early Access to Twilight** the U.S. Army atnon-Seniors Fort without Benning. the playing career was still going strong, Vossler change notice.He Visitplayed the website for rates, twilight times and complete program Range Punch Card ($35 Value)** PGA Tour beginning indetails. in the 1950s and, like got in the habit of going to Palm Springs each Joe Walser Jr. Expires 12.31.2017. The steadying influence in the partnership Vossler, gave up that life as the three children winter to play in the “winter league” events there and elsewhere in California, following to come had a more conventional upbring- (Steve, Susie and Jeff) of he and his wife, Pat, the example of his idol and friend Ben Hogan. ing than his mercurial partner. Joe Walser grew older. All of his children would up makOnce settled at Quail Creek, he invited an- Jr. was born and raised in Oklahoma City, ing great contributions to Landmark Land Co.


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OKLAHOMA GOLF HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2017 Another stroke of Landmark genius was “We had no money and the only thing we Walser started his club professional career at a course in knew was to make the golf course as good inviting professionals to live in the communiAltus, then was hired for two as it could be. We had no credit because Er- ty, use of a membership and represent Landyears by his friend Vossler as an assistant golf nie was putting any extra money I had into mark on the PGA Tour. Pretty soon the Oak professional at Quail Creek. He then went to the projects in Carmel and LaQuinta,” Bar- Tree Gang of David and Danny Edwards, Lake Hefner and eventually became the head ton said. “Don Mathis wasn’t a very good Bob Tway, Gil Morgan, Willie Wood, Scott professional at Oklahoma City Golf & Coun- student because he never went to class, but Verplank, Mark Hayes, Doug Tewell and he was very smart and played in honky tonk others was probably the largest group from try Club. Walser won both the Oklahoma Open and bands around town. He had also started a a single course on tour, all wearing the logo. Morgan, who met Vossler back in the the Oklahoma State Amateur as a player mid 1960s, took lessons from only him as well as many other notable tournauntil he passed away. One of the best ments. He quickly established a reputaball strikers in the game’s history credits tion throughout the state as a friendly, Vossler with teaching him all the shots. trustworthy and helpful professional, “He taught me everything I knew one dedicated to his profession, his craft about the mechanics and what I needed and the game. Older professionals in the to do to hit different types of shots,” state such as fellow Oklahoma Golf Hall Morgan said. “He was a tremendous of Famers Alsie Hyden and Jerry Cozby help in my career all the way through. rave about his relationships with fellow And he was so unselfish. He never pros and customers. charged me for a lesson. He was like a Yet, like Vossler, Walser had a roving second father to me. He treated me so eye for what was next in the golf induswell it was embarrassing at times. try. In 1971, the two formed a company Joe Walser Jr., right, during his days at Lake Hefner As Oak Tree Golf Club got cooking named Unique Golf Concepts and got Golf Course in Oklahoma City. and work began across the street on Oak involved in a development in Greenslittle furniture store. I called him up and he Tree Country Club, Vossler had moved to boro, N.C., where they recurited Pete Dye. Palm Springs to head up Landmark’s rapidly Another moment of fate. Walser got a call said, ‘Let’s see what I can do.’ ” With an infusion of cash from Mathis, the expanding developments in the Coachella from high school acquaintance Jerry Barton, who had gone on to a successfull financial men-only club was finished, memberships Valley (see story Page 42). Walser and Vossler had hit their stride, with Vossler coming up career, was just coming off a year as chief with an idea a minute and Walser playing his of staff for the governor, and had decided cautionary role. that real estate, in particular, real estate com“Ernie was a horse that wanted to race 100 munities involving golf courses, was where miles an hour,” Barton said. “He had trementhe future was. He didn’t play golf or know dous enthusiasm and intuition and believed anything about the game or business, so he in himself absolutely. Joe would say, ‘Tell me called “the only golfer I knew.” again pro, how are we going to do this?’ We The three met and they asked Barton to never did anything Joe didn’t want to do. meet with Dye. Barton was shocked that Some of Ernie’s ideas were great and some golf course design was actually a field of enweren’t and he couldn’t tell the difference, deavor, but quickly became impressed with but Joe could.” all three and soon offered to buy out Unique As the string of success continued in the Golf Concepts. The genesis of Landmark desert, the 1991 Ryder Cup was awarded Land Company was formed. to Landmark and was initially to be held at PGA West. One has to remember that promiDestination Edmond nent in the PGA at that time were both Jim Building a golf course, let alone a commuAwtrey, the executive director who had lived nity, in Edmond was quite a risk in the early with the Walsers for a time when he was 1970s. Edmond was a bedroom community head coach at the University of Oklahoma, of about 10,000 (now close to 88,000). Walsand Mark Kizziar, a former club pro at Ader and Vossler had purchased the land after Ernie Vossler won three times on the PGA Tour. ams Golf Course in Bartlesville who had rislooking closely at other sites. Dye was turned went on sale and splat, no one would buy en to president of the PGA of America. loose to discover a golf course. Awtrey remembers that suddenly it The course was going to be named Deer them. Even at $1,900 each. The next year Barton jacked the initiation dawned on everyone that a Ryder Cup in Creek Country Club after the small community nearby. Dye finally yelled to Walser, up to $10,000 and sold 100. Pretty soon it September could be a disaster from a specta“Why don’t you name it Oak Tree. You’ve was $20,000 and everyone wanted in. Run tor standpoint and it was moved to Kiawah by Landmark with legendary figures such as Island to be played on the yet-to-be finished got a million of the damn things in here.” Barton watched in wonder as Dye, with Hugh Edgmon, Chris Cole and Johnny Pott Ocean Course by Dye. (See page 43) “That was a lot of 20-hour days getting Walser and Vossler’s input, created what be- along with Walser, it became a bastion for oilcame one of the most iconic and hardest golf men, law sharks and other rugged individual- that ready,” remembers Alice Dye. “It was a real rush job. But Joe and Ernie stayed out of ists. courses in the country. 40



his way and let him get it done. They had a great relationship. “In the beginning at Oak Tree it was the same way. Pete was so imaginative and creative and Ernie and Joe let him be that way. They came out occasionally and said something if they didn’t think a hole looked right. But basically they let him work. With Barton leading the financing, Vossler charging full steam into new projects, Walser picking the best of those and Dye providing the designs, they changed the face of golf in the Coachella Valley (story page 45). “They were completely different personalities,” said Chris Cole, a former head golf professional at Oak Tree among many other Landmark duties. “Ernie was very regimented and most things were black and while, where Joe saw a lot more shades of grey and was just so personable.” Judy remembers attending Monday meetings in LaQuinta where Ernie would toss out ideas and then invite comment from the 10 or 12 key members of the team assembled. “Dad was a visionary, a gambler in the best sense of the word, a risk taker and not afraid to get out on a limb,” Judy said. “Joe was slower to react and a deeper thinker about the ramifications of the ideas. He had an amazing ability to pull Ernie back to center.” It was a good, somewhat glamorous life, with Arnold Palmer or Robert Wagner dropping by for lunch, until the Resolution Trust

Corporation decided that the savings and loan Landmark Land owned and was using to finance various projects could no longer list real estate as an asset. A long, complicated war with the government ensued that eventually cost Landmark nearly all of its flagship properties. The companies later reorganized, with Barton leading one version of Landmark on the east coast and overseas while Vossler revived the company out west, to be eventually rejoined by Walser after helping Deane Beman at the PGA Tour get the PGA Tour’s TPC properties up and viable. Barton led a long lawsuit against the government and finally won, but it was a hollow victory. “I lost $500 million and got back $21 million,” Barton said. “But we were the only savings and loan that sued the government and got a check. I was very proud that we were completely vindicated.” Today, Andy Vossler operates Landmark Golf as a boutique golf course management firm from a second-story office in a shopping center in Indian Wells. The walls are lined with historic pictures from the halcyon years. The landscape shifted considerably during the years spent fighting the government and opportunities are not what they were. The Coachella Valley now has 121 courses and more courses close in the United States each year than open by a wide margin.

Joe Walser Jr., right, was instrumental in the PGA Championship coming to Oak Tree in 1988. It was to come back in 2004 but the RTC troubles began and it went to Southern Hills. Also pictured are Hugh Edgmon, center, and PGA President Pat Rielly, left. “We were the best golf course development company there ever was,” Barton said. “The last year we operated we made $65 million net profit. The book value of Landmark in 1974 when we built Oak Tree was $3 million. In 14 years, we had a net gap book value of $500 million.” “Those were two very special people to not just me, but to a lot of people in the golf industry,” said Edgmon, who was president of Oak Tree from 1981 to 1995. “They had the vision, the insight, the stick-to-it-ness to take the ordinary and make it very special. Those were the best years of our lives.”

Hall of Fame banquet tables available Plan to witness history as the amazing class of Bob Tway, Doug Tewell, Mark Hayes, Joe Walser and Ernie Vossler are inducted into the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame. Now is the time to reserve your sponsor tables or individual seats for the 2017 Induction scheduled Oct. 1 at Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club. Sponsor tables include dinner and full Bob Tway Doug Tewell Mark Hayes Ernie Vossler Joe Walser bar reception for 10, permanent recognition on the Hall of Fame website, signage at medallions engraved with the Hall of Fame play boxes commemorating the class, seats the event and in the program, and pewter class. Tax-deductible contributions for the at the banquet, permanent recognition on sponsorships are $2,500. Individual the website, signage at the event and recseats are $150. Both can be pur- ognition on the program. Part of the money chased online at www.oklahoma- raised goes for the Hall of Fame scholarship program and the Everett Dobson Award. golfhof.org. Scholarship recipients for 2017 are Chloe Also, companies and individuals can still reserve spots in the Hall of McKinney of Durant and Graham Cox of Fame Classic Oct. 2 at Oklahoma Duncan. The Everett Dobson Award winner City Golf & Country Club. This fun will be announced in September. For more information on the dinner and four-person team event will include Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club will host breakfast, lunch, commemorative golf tournament, go to www.oklahomagolfthe 2017 Hall of Fame dinner. custom cherry stained wood dis- hof.org or call 918-280-0787. GOLF OKL AHOMA • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017




The Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West.

Visionaries in the desert

dent of Landmark Golf, a company his father founded. “He began to come out here new courses at properties like Mission Hills for about three to four months and play by larry bohannan Country Club and Westin Mission Hills the winter tour and during a couple of segThe story goes something like this. The Resort, both in nearby Rancho Mirage, ments of that he had groups of club memwives of Ernie Vossler and Joe Walser drove the dynamic team of Vossler and Walser bers from the club back at home come out up a little road in La Quinta one day while brought world-class architects, top-level as well.” The Oklahoma pros loved the Palm their husbands were busy escorting trav- tournaments and television cameras to an eling guests from Oklahoma around the area that had been mostly a retirement and Springs area, even buying small homes in Coachella Valley golf courses in the South- weekend golfing community for the previ- the desert. Having already developed golf courses as a team, they looked in the desert ous 30 years. ern California desert. Vossler and Walser had seen the potential for the right opportunity to bring their kind What the women found was a charming little bungalow-style hotel called the Hotel of the area for years when they would visit of golf to the Coachella Valley. That opporLa Quinta. It had been the site of one of the the Coachella Valley during the PGA Tour’s tunity came a few years after their wives earlier golf courses in the Coachella Valley, winter swing through California and Arizo- had discovered the Hotel La Quinta. Guests at the hotel were dating back to 1927. That allowed playing privileges nine-hole golf course had at nearby La Quinta Coungone fallow after World try Club, one of the grand War II. Still, the women desert courses built in the were charmed by what golf boom of the 1950s and they found and told a course played in the Bob their husbands about the Hope tournament. But the property. private club was about to From that simple end the practice of allowing visit sprang a true golfhotel guests on its fairways. ing empire in the desert Vossler and Walser saw an just outside of golf-crazy opening and jumped at a Palm Springs. Vossler chance. and Walser spent much The Oklahoma pair conof the next two decades The Pete Dye-designed Mountain Course at La Quinta. vinced hotel owner Leonard literally reshaping the sand dunes of the area into world-class golf na. Vossler played in the Bob Hope Desert Ettleson to sell them the land around the resorts and country clubs and in the pro- Classic nine times between 1960 and 1973, hotel. In the land at the base of the redcess re-energizing a golf mecca. Vossler and earning just $1,041 in two made cuts. But hued Santa Rosa Mountains, Vossler and Walser did more than just reshape an area the knowledge Vossler and Walser gained Walser unleashed their friend Dye to create two of the area’s most iconic courses, the that billed itself as the Winter Golf Capital from the trips was invaluable. “Back in the early 60s, my dad was still Dunes and the Mountain courses, opened of the World. They reinvented it. From three Pete Dye-courses at La Quin- a good player, he was still tour caliber at ta Resort to four courses at PGA West to that time,” said Andy Vossler, now presi- See VISIONARIES page 44 42



Moving 1991 Ryder Cup risky, bold move created monster by ken macleod

One of the more interesting subplots to the story of Joe Walser Jr. and Ernie Vossler is what they went through to put on the 1991 Ryder Cup and how their efforts helped turn the event into the monster it is today. As told by former PGA of America Executive Director and CEO Jim Awtrey, the 1991 Ryder Cup had been awarded to Landmark Land Company for all it had done for the PGA. The original intent was to hold it at PGA West or another Coachella Valley property owned by Landmark, but the Jim Awtrey PGA began to realize it was going to be well above 100 degrees and few visitors were around in September. The decision was made to move it to Kiawah Island, which Landmark had recently acquired. Pete Dye was brought in to build one of his signature bold designs and got


started. But Hugo, a massive category 4 hurricane, basically wiped out all the work that had been done in September 1989, as well as pulverized the South Carolina resort’s other courses and facilities. So, with two years to go before hosting the Ryder Cup, there was essentially no course and no facilities. Walser Bernhard Langer missed a putt on the final hole of the 1991 and Vossler, along with Ryder Cup that gave the United States a victory. Dye, assured Awtrey In a move Awtrey said could have only that there would be a happened in that freewheeling era, Landcourse in place. Awtrey remembered his first visit to the mark obtained permission from the Corps of Engineers for Dye to relocate some of the site before the preliminary work began. “Pete had me climbing around in the natural dunes. That began an unrelenting sedunes and bushes and telling me that this ries of 20-hour days for Dye and his crew hole went this way and this hole cut through to get Kiawah Island done in time for the here. I told him I can’t see anything except Ryder Cup. “We’re at The Belfry (site of the 1989 Rysand dunes. He yelled at me and said, “Look harder!” See RYDER CUP page 45





continued from 42

in 1981. It was a gamble, bringing in Dye’s distinctive and demanding architecture to a desert full of flat and simple golf courses. Not everyone thought it would work, including some home and course builders who had populated the desert with their developments in the 1970s. Many of those homebuilders found themselves working for Vossler and Walser in the 1980s as the duo’s success gained momentum. The pairing of Vossler and Walser, each bringing their own strength to the partnership now under the Landmark Land banner, was practically unstoppable. Vossler was known as the visionary, the idea man who pushed forward with those ideas. Walser was the realist, at times tempering Vossler’s push forward but at the same time helping to turn those visions from ideas into shovel-turning projects. Both had deep ties to the PGA of America and the PGA Tour and weren’t afraid to call on their friends to help built their desert empire. With their success at La Quinta Hotel, the Vossler-Walser team spread their golf development prowess through the desert. But the masterpiece, beyond question, was

The par-3 17th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West. the first course that the pair developed on what had been farm land even farther south in La Quinta, miles from any kind of civilization in the desert. Again, it was Dye who was called on to design not just a tough course, but an extraordinarily tough and dramatic course. “I remember sitting in that meeting with Ernie and Joe when I met Pete Dye, and

they told Pete, ‘Pete, we want you to make this the most difficult golf course in the United States,’” recalls Bill Bone, founder of Sunrise Company, one of those 1970s course developers who was now going to build homes on a property to be known as PGA West. “I said to Ernie, why do we want to do that? My homeowners typically aren’t very good golfers. Why would you

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The par-3 13th hole at Oak Tree National, the course that proved Landmark Land Co. had a winning strategy. want to do that? He said, oh now, we are going to build them for everybody. We are going to have the Palmer Course and the Nicklaus Course. We are going to do this and that. I said okay, guys, you think this is a good idea. But I am telling you, the people I am selling homes to, they are not going to be real thrilled if you make that the toughest golf course.” What Bone couldn’t have guessed was that the PGA West would be a huge success, both for golf and home sales. As it turned out, golfers were thrilled with the Stadium Course. Well, maybe not thrilled, but at least intrigued by the course, which opened in 1985. Television viewers across the country were equally intrigued when the Stadium Course hosted the Skins Game in 1986 and the Bob Hope Classic in 1987. PGA Tour players howled so much that the Hope tournament left the Dye design after a single year. But Ernie and Joe had used tournament play and television to spread the word about the dramatic changes that had come to the sleepy Coachella Valley golf world. The success for Vossler and Walser, including six courses by Dye, continued into the early 1990s. But the brilliant run for the pair and for the Landmark Land umbrella under which most of the development came would end in the mid-1990s, a victim of the savings and loan scandals for the era that had nothing to do with the way Vossler and Walser developed or financed GOLF OKL AHOMA • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017

their golf courses. Even after the S&L debacle, Vossler and Walser would develop other courses and bring other televised events to the desert. But that second act of the team’s show in the Coachella Valley never quite reached the heights of the 1980s and early 1990s. Maybe it was that the market had changed, maybe it was the timing just

Ryder Cup, continued from 43 der Cup) and they think we’ve lost our minds, awarding the Cup to a course that didn’t exist,” Awtrey said. “We had a lot of trust in Joe and Ernie to move the site to a course that hadn’t been built and we were going on their say-so that it was going to be a great one. They were trustworthy people. “It was a huge risk for us, but we stood by them, and when we got there, the golf course was perfect. Now it was very hard, and there wasn’t anything grown in yet off the fairways, but it was great theater.” The 1991 Ryder Cup was the first one televised in full by NBC and became known as “The War by the Shore.” After the U.S. team had shockingly lost in 1987 at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, Europe retained the cup with a 14-14 tie at The Belfry. The 1991 Cup came down to a missed 6-foot putt by

wasn’t as right the second time around. Or maybe it was that Vossler and Walser had been so successful and so dynamic in changing the face of golf in the Southern California desert that not even they could reach the bar they had set. But even the shifting dunes of the desert can’t erase the permanent mark the duo left in the Southern California sand. Bernhard Langer on the final hole of his match with Hale Irwin for the United States to regain the Cup, and the event has grown exponentially in popularity and economic impact since. Awtrey, who ived with the Walsers during part of the time he coached the University of Oklahoma from 1972-86, remembers U.S. captain Dave Stockton asking to bring the team to the course in April to play a practice round, only to be told the greens weren’t ready. He brought them anyway, and Tom Kite ended up burying a car in the sand up to the window. It was shortly after the Ryder Cup that the Resolution Trust Corporation took Kiawah Island and all the other Landmark properties, a move for which it later lost a lawsuit filed by Jerry Barton. “Joe and Ernie were pioneers, visionaries and their portfolio was extraordinary,” Awtrey said. “It should have continued.”




Firelake GC back in business by ken macleod

The par-3 16th hole at Firelake Golf Course.

Chris Chesser. “Before, after a heavy rain we fter two years of work, the drain- had water sitting on the fairways for weeks. age – or lack of it –- is no longer Now it drains and we’re open the next day.” The course is owned by the Citizen Potan issue at Firelake Golf Course in tawatomie Tribe and it invested the time and Shawnee. Under the guidance of onsite architect money to fix the situation permanently and Conor Cummings of Heckenkemper Golf properly. While the course was closed, the in Tulsa, and shaper Mike Webb from golf tribe undertook a complete renovation of the builders United Golf of Tulsa, with heavy clubhouse as well. The new one is open, with contributions from superintendent Derron a spacious pro shop, large bar and restaurant Day and his staff, Firelake is transformed, and an 8,000-square foot event center upabove ground and below. It has more than a stairs, ready with a dance floor for your next hundred new catch basins where previously party or wedding. The third hole was switched from a brutthere were none, miles of new drainage piping and a new look with mounding, gentle ish par-4 into a more playable par-5, but othslopes and movement throughout, all de- erwise the greens themselves did not move signed to move the water from the course to while the course around them changed. Firelake was the second course in Oklahoma afirrigation ponds. While the end result was transforming a ter Idabel Country Club to install the Chammostly flat course into one with interest- pion ultradwarf Bermuda greens and it has ing and esthetically pleasing movement been a successful experiment, as the course throughout, the object was always to pre- has not suffered any major winter damage vent future flooding, as Firelake lost weeks except for when one tarp blew off in a storm. of play in the past each year to fairways that The success of the Bermuda greens at Firewould hold water for up to 41 days follow- lake was inspiration for many other courses in the state to make the switch, including the ing a heavy rain. “It looks a lot better, but the priority of the city of Tulsa owned courses at Page Belcher project wasn’t building mounds or swales for and Mohawk Park. The greens are generally raised with lots visual interest,” Cummings said. “All of the work we were doing was designed to make of subtle breaks. The course itself has numerthe course drain properly. But hopefully it ous ponds and streams, large groves of pecan makes the golf out there a lot more fun and and oak with some pine trees and is in immaculate conditioning upon reopening. The interesting as well.” “It’s so much better,” said head professional fairways are Astro (U3) Bermuda, the same

variety as used at Southern Hills Country Club and other major courses throughout Oklahoma that have recently regrassed their fairways. Latitude 36, an award-winning finely textured Bermuda developed at Oklahoma State University, was used around bunkers and green surrounds. “United Golf has talented crews and Mike Webb is a great shaper,” Heckenkemper said. “And then Derron Day and the tribe really followed through and executed all the design recommendations that we made. With the course closed for nearly two years, it’s a real testament to their ability to follow through and do the job the way it needed to be.” “The reaction from the golfers to all the renovations is that they’re extremely pleased,” Chesser said. “Our old golfers are all coming back and we’re seeing a lot of new faces we’ve never seen before. People are hearing about it and showing up. “Our goal is to be one of the best public courses in the state. Forest Ridge is probably the standard and we hope to get pretty close to them. That’s our goal.” Chesser said Firelake averaged close to 20,000 rounds annually before the renovation but is hoping to increase that number to close to 30,000 with all the improvements. A greens fee plus cart is $38 all week. The bar area is currently closing around 8 p.m., but will be open later for college football and basketball games along with other special events.






Course update

The par-3 17th is one of the striking holes on the new nine at Scissortail.

Scissortail adds tree-lined flair to WinStar by ken macleod


n July, the final nine holes of the Scissortail Course at WinStar Resort & Casino in Thackerville opened. Golfers may think they’ve been transported from the Oklahoma-Texas border to somewhere in North Carolina. Complementing the front nine which opened in 2011, the back nine features gently bending, tree-lined par-4s and par-5s with a wooded ridge visible in the background. Water features come into play on several holes, particularly the wooded chute on the par-3 17th. The original 18 at WinStar had more of an open prairie feel, but architect D.A. Weibring of Dallas was fortunate that the additional property secured for Scissortail included some relatively flat forested terrain. Many of the greens are slightly elevated and the fairway and greenside bunker complexes are bright with white crushed marble sand, lending to that eastern ambiance. “It’s a very fun, very fair test of golf that aesthetically and visually is not something you would expect to see in this part of the country,” said general manager Michael Ferguson. “Roger Maxwell (long-time golf and resort developer) came out and toured it and said No. 14 reminds him of a hole at Pine View from behind the par-5 15th hole. 48



Valley. I said let’s not get carried away, but that’s a pretty impressive compliment.” The final nine begins with the short par4 10th, a good birdie opportunity at just 365 yards, followed by a 226-yard par-3. Of course, don’t play the back tees unless you’re a pro or member of the Long Drivers Association warming up, they stretch out to a listed distance of 7,192 yards that is closer to 7,400 once you play the additional tees that have been added to several holes. “If we ever have a Champions Tour or Web.com Tour event out here, we wanted to be able to stretch it out to at least 7,400 yards,” Ferguson said. The greens are grassed with the MiniVerde strain of ultra dwarf Bermuda. Fairways and roughs are the hybrid TifSport Bermuda grass. The greens on the new back nine are a bit larger with more contours than the front nine. Between the two courses, there are some 20 acres of ponds and 54 acres of native area, including 13 acres that have been planted with milkweed in order to assist the Monarch butterfly, which makes heavy migration south through that area in the fall. As the new nine progresses, golfers will have their hands full starting on 13, a 551yard par-5 with water down the right side. After the 442-yard par-4 14th, the 15th is a

The gently bending tree-lined par-4 14th hole on the Scissortail Course. 586-yard par-5, followed by the 410-yard par-4 16th. The par-3 17th is a favorite of the staff, measuring at 195 yards. The final hole is a 452-yard par-4 with multiple bunkers down the right side. “The reaction from our members and the public has been great,” Ferguson said. “They are finding it really enjoyable.” Members, including the VIPs from the casino, have a block of tee times that rotate daily

from Scissortail to the original course, now named Red Bud. Just check with the pro shop for availability. Notes: WinStar World Casino & Resort will be the home of the World Long Drive Championship on Aug. 31 through Sept. 6, with the finals on Sept. 5 and 6 televised by the Golf Channel. The field is set up on the course’s driving range with temporary bleachers installed. There is no cost for admission.

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Number 2 at Ross Bridge is a short downhill par-4 with sand to be avoided off the tee and on the approach.

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail by ed travis


ost golfers don’t know the name Dr. David G. Bronner, but they should give the Minnesota native a tip-of-the-cap for an idea 30 years ago that resulted in a major change to golf in the southern part of the United States. His imaginative vision was for the largest golf project ever, Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Bronner believed making the state a first-class golf destination would have an immense economic impact and as CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama he also knew an investment such as the Trail would benefit the retirement income for state workers in years to come. He was able to persuade Robert Trent Jones Sr., the “father of modern course architecture” and then in his 80s, to come out of retirement to tackle the daunting job of course design at the many diverse sites chosen around the state. Jones, along with his associate, Roger Rulewich, oversaw a construction crew of 700 beginning in 1990 for the developers, Sunbelt Golf Corporation, and in 1992 the first four Trail locations opened, comprised of 12 courses with 216 holes of golf. These four (all with 54 holes) were Oxmoor Valley in Birmingham, Hampton Cove near Huntsville, Grand National in 50


Opelika and Magnolia Grove near Mobile. The topography of each is quite different; there’s no sense of having previously played a particular style hole as you travel from course to course and personally I look forward to visiting each again. At each location, Jones and Rulewich made use of the existing land forms and one never gets the feeling of artificiality or having dirt moved just for the sake of moving dirt as is seen sometimes at other courses. The Trail has expanded with seven more locations and totals 26 courses running roughly 380 miles from Muscle Shoals in the northern part of the state near the Tennessee border to Point Clear on the Gulf of Mexico. Its popularity is a proven fact with more than 12 million rounds played since 1992 and the original venues have continued to be improved and updated with extensive renovations. According to public relations director Bill Lang, “Before the Trail, Alabama tourism was a $1.8 billion industry. Last year it was $13.3 billion. Certainly not all of the increase came from the Trail, but it was a significant part and a major catalyst for tourism increase in our state.” Lang added, “More than 500,000 rounds per year,” are played on Trail courses. The remaining stops on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail are with their opening dates:

Cambrian Ridge in Greenville, 36 holes (1993) Silver Lakes in Anniston/Gadsen, 36 holes (1993) Highland Oaks in Dothan, 36 holes (1993) Capitol Hill in Prattville, 54 holes (1999) Lakewood in Point Clear, 36 holes (renovated 2004) The Shoals in Muscle Shoals, 36 holes (2004) Ross Bridge in Hoover, 18 holes (2005) Eight Trail locations have resort hotels on property or nearby – four of them operated are under the Renaissance name and four by Marriott. Much of the land was donated by municipalities and developers who saw the value to the local economy knowing participation would benefit surrounding area. Overall the Trail is profitable and it plays a significant role helping the state attract major industrial development. Greens fees in general are a pleasant surprise starting at $65 depending on the course and the time of year and several of the Trail sites have a short course in addition to regulation length layouts. Greens fees at these short courses are an astonishing bargain at $18 and I recommend playing them since they were designed and constructed with the same imagination and quality as the full-length layouts and GOLF OKL AHOMA • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017

The finish at Ross Bridge is a classic risk-reward par-4 but a tee shot between the flanking fairway bunkers sets up for a mid to long iron into the green which has more sand in the front and water you will want to miss.

provide lots of challenging shots to every player. A good example of what you will find when you travel the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is the Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa, the most recent to open and host for a number of years to the Regions Tradition, a major championship on the PGA Tour Champions circuit. At 8,191 yards, Ross Bridge boasts it is one of the longest courses in the world, but who would actually want to play the 78.5 rated black tees where the shortest par-3 is 208 yards? Teeing it up from more player-friendly markers, you are immediately struck by the beauty of this parkland-style layout. Built on a series of hills, there are dramatic elevation changes and there’s even a multitier 80-foot high waterfall between the ninth and 18th greens complete with a replica gristmill. Most of the holes are framed by creeks and lakes and many wind their way through stands of pines and oaks. Ross Bridge will call for every club in your bag and provide memories galore to take home. For instance, there’s the downhill par-3

fourth hole. It’s not long but an over-water tee shot means if you’re just a little short, the slope of the green front will pull the ball back into the hazard. The green is steeply pitched and twice as wide as deep so hitting to any pin position other than back left or back right there is real danger of winding up wet. On a recent visit, two of our foursome did just that. Finishing the first nine, the par-4 No. 9 has a split fairway around a huge bunker and accomplishes something most holes of this type do not – actually reward a drive finding the very narrow left side with a measurably easier shot to the green. Flirting with the water and avoiding the fairway bunker turns a long iron second shot from the right side into a mid or short iron from the left. What fun! Or take the par-4 17th which we played from tees measuring 411 yards. The downhill tee shot is very demanding since three bunkers on the left side force you to drive to the right. The landing area over there is easy to hit, but leaves a mid-iron approach that isn’t. This green is the smallest on the course and fronted by sand on the right with water circling around behind placing

a premium on both line and distance. It’s lots of challenge and lots of fun while building more of those take-home memories. The Ross Bridge clubhouse is part of the architecturally pleasing 270-room Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa. This award-winning facility has all the requisite amenities including a 12,000-square foot spa and a bagpiper who plays each afternoon as the sun dips below the hills. No visit would be complete without dinner in Brock’s, the resort’s fine restaurant that combines a wide-ranging menu (try any of the beef entrees) and a surprisingly complete wine list. For a special treat, try the tapas or Spanish appetizers, more than you’ll find almost anywhere – could easily be a meal by themselves. And for another tasty touch, Brock’s uses locally grown produce making each meal special. A similar description could easily be written about any of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail courses and resorts, but it would be much better to visit and experience Dr. Bronner’s gift to the people of Alabama and golfers everywhere.

Ross Bridge’s 7th, a par-5 that you can try for in two, has a really long green without large slopes so most putts are fairly straight.





Innisbrook Unrivaled golf, unspoiled nature by les schupak


f you are like most golfers, you tune in the weekly televised golf action and dream about playing that very same championship venue on which PGA Tour professionals get to compete. Well, I’m just like you and love to turn my dreams into reality. Weary of cold, harsh weather, I recently made an impulsive decision and booked an air reservation to Tampa. A day later, I arrived at one of America’s foremost resort properties, Innisbrook Golf Resort & Spa, home of the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship. Just a few days earlier, Canada’s Adam Hadwin claimed his first PGA Tour victory on the resort’s Copperhead course. After a quick check-in, I rushed to make my reserved tee time and stood on the first tee box. At last I was confronted with the predicament of how to play the imposing par-5, 560-yard dogleg right opening hole I had seen days before on television. I could only wonder what past tournament champions thought it would take to master all 18 holes of the 7,200-yard course considered one of the five best in the state of Florida by NBC golf analyst, Mark Rolfing. 52


A view of the 5th green at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club- North Course With great trepidation, I nevertheless attacked my tee shot and was relieved to see the ball soar down the middle of the fairway. But that sense of accomplishment did not last long as Copperhead bit me early and often. Throwing salt into my wound was finding the water, sand bunkers and pine straw areas dotting the collection of truly challenging holes known as “The Snake Pit.” It is here at the 16th, 17th and 18th holes that dreams of either conquering the course, winning a $2 Nassau, or taking home the PGA Tour event’s unique trophy and sizable winner’s check are oftentimes dashed. Copperhead, named for the reptile occasionally found roaming the property, was designed by golf course architect Larry Packard more than 40 years ago. In 2015, the owner of Innisbrook, Sheila Johnson, CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, herself a member of the United States Golf Association’s Executive Committee, set about the process of restoring, regrassing and enhancing the course. The goal was to honor Packard’s original vision, and the players in the 2017 event were unanimous in their praise. After my humbling performance at Cop-

perhead where I dejectedly left holding only a bag full of uncooperative golf clubs and no $2 Nassau payout, it seemed sensible to correct some of my swing flaws. I was fortunate to be introduced to Innisbrook Golf Institute’s Director of Instruction, Dawn Mercer. At the outset of the lesson, she presents each student with an instructional sheet that has four elemental and easy to follow check points of the golf swing. From there, using a practical philosophy, she adds video and hands-on help. Dawn and her award-winning male and female instructors guide golfers in understanding the mechanics and techniques of the golf swing as it relates to their individual physical attributes and capabilities. While Copperhead is the resort’s crown jewel, three other Packard-designed challenges await – the Island, North and South courses. Each carries its own personality with Island capturing an unusual element for Florida golf courses – significant elevation changes. The next day I took those golf lessons to the Island course and found some answers. One of which was to listen to the good advice of the starter who recommended hitting a longer club for the approach shot to GOLF OKL AHOMA • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017

the first hole’s raised green – some 87 feet higher than the tee box 396 yards back. Fairways were lined with pine and oak trees and the natural looking environment was populated with at least a half-dozen varieties of birds, umpteen bushy-tailed squirrels, and as is common in Florida, an alligator here or there. Island is a course suited for every skill level. But there is much more to Innisbrook than golf. Among its sprawling 900 acres is a tennis center with 11 clay courts, six swimming pools, jogging and hiking trails, a fitness center, and to rejuvenate those sore muscles, a European-style spa awaits. The 36 holes of the past two days sent a message to my brain from my aching joints and muscles, so I went straightaway to relax in the luxurious spa facility. First, a steam bath, and then what is described as a “Golfer’s Muscle Melter” massage using Thai stretching techniques, restored my physique to where I was ready to enjoy all the activities Innisbrook had to offer. Ensuring the body had enough nourishment, that evening I made my way to Innisbrook’s premier dining establishment, Packard’s Steak House. Known for its prime, aged meats offered with several enhancements such as lobster tail, jumbo


gulf shrimp, and three additional sauce choices, all competed for my attention and appetite along with freshly caught fish from local waters. Don’t pass up the house’s signature appetizers, Shecrab soup and escargots with cremini mushrooms. There is a prodigious wine In addition to golf, Innisbrook offers tennis, swimming and a spa. list and after dinner, check out the single tions to the clubhouse and was greeted by malt scotch menu, one of the best anywh a smiling and helpful guard, to the golf course assistant who offered to transport ere. Room accommodations won’t disap- my clubs to my room -- since I was headed point, although management will concede to the spa -- every staff member said hello that improvement is required. There is a and asked how my stay was going. Innisbrook’s stated goal is to provide planned program to redo sections in an orderly staged approach so as not to disturb guests with impeccable service and exceptional facilities leading to experiences that guests and members. Critical to a destination resort’s suc- will generate lifelong memories. Since purcess, are not only the facilities and ameni- chasing the property in 2007, management ties available, but the level of service and under Johnson’s leadership, continues to dedication of its staff. From the moment I strive to exceed that objective. www.innisbrookgolfresort.com stopped at the front gate to obtain direc-




Golf in Scotland: 20 years

of expectations


A spectacular view at Cruden Bay. by ken macleod

Note here that the best decision we made to coordinate the trip and its proprietor Jim n our weekend group, a pilgrimage to Mills was very knowledgeable and helpful. was to hire a coach and driver. The roads are see and play the links courses of Scot- I bounced some ideas off him on the scale narrow, roundabouts innumerable and travel land has been long discussed, but just and travel times, but most of the itinerary times indeterminate. Not only did our driver as long put off by the realities of con- in terms of courses I pieced together from , Robin Paterson, know every twist and turn, flicting demands and schedules of work and Malcolm Campbell’s excellent “The Scottish he is a golfer himself and knows what golfers generally want to see and do on these family. trips, directing us to the best pubs, resWith everyone either approaching or taurants and sights worth seeing in each surpassing the big 6-0, we finally comlocale. mitted this winter, with three from our Not certain if any of us would be back, Sunday morning game and three other we selected a fairly ambitious ninefriends from around the country arrangcourse trip starting with the charming ing to meet in Inverness on July 2 to highland course Brora, designed by James embark on a 10-day journey down the Braid and one where single-wire electric east coast, starting in the highlands and fences keep the wandering sheep and working our way south past St. Andrews cows from walking across the greens. to the beautiful links of Gullane and A beautiful way to stretch our legs and North Berwick. loosen up after 24 hours or so in planes It was pure magic. The advice I would and airports going from Tulsa to Atlanta give any other group considering whethto Amsterdam to Inverness. er the time and cost is worth it is an unAfter a long day of golf including rounds at Kingsbarns After the round, we repaired to the equivocal yes. and the Old Course, our group is pleasantly exhausted. Dornoch Castle, an actual castle retrofitTo qualify that answer a bit, only do it if you have a real appreciation for the game Golf Book.” Campbell is a revered golf writer ted into a charming hotel. We were all wiped and the grounds it is played on, not if your and authority in the country whom I’d been out at this point, having been mostly up for idea of golf is to ride in a cart and drink beer fortunate enough to meet in Alabama of all 30-plus hours, but made it to about 10 p.m. and ogle beverage girls. You won’t find any places on a tour of some of the Robert Trent before going to bed and getting our body carts, on-course beer or beverage girls in Scot- Jones Trail courses. In this book he reviews clocks started on local time. The next day, we had a late tee time at land, although you could probably slip a flask basically every course of note in the country, in your bag with some local whisky and be and once we decided on how ambitious we Royal Dornoch and the final member of our wanted our travel times to be, the rotation group to pick up back in Inverness, so we perforgiven. suaded Robin to take us to Loch Ness on the We used Fore Golf Tours out of Bartlesville came together. The 18th hole at TPC Louisiana, site of the Zurich Classic,





way. No Nessie sighting, but a beautiful place. That afternoon, the golf trip went to a new level. Royal Dornoch Once regarded as remote, this majestic classic links course just four degrees south of the Arctic Circle, was first laid out in 1876, with Old Tom Morris extending the original nine to 18 holes in 1888. It would easily be in The Open Championship rotation if there was any infrastructure to support it. Instead, it’s a course in which 90 percent of the rounds are now played by travelers from the United States, according to one of our caddies. The front nine winds through the dunes at a slightly higher level than many of the inward nine, so you can see them below and to your right on your outbound passage. The North Sea is visible from every hole, the conditions are spectacular and the shots required gave us a great taste of what was to come. Even after seeing one magnificent course after the next for the next eight days, our group still rated Dornoch at the top of an informal poll at trip’s end. Castle Stuart Golf Links From one of the most ancient courses in Scotland we traveled to one of the newer links. Opened in 2009 and immediately named by Golf Magazine as its top new international course and No. 56 in the world, Castle Stuart offers wider fairways and fewer blind shots, but still plenty of traditional links excitement. With views of the Moray Firth and the hills and mountains of the highlands beyond, it’s visually stunning and equally as fun to play. Cruden Bay Golf Links Despite having a blind tee shot on a par-3 which is a bit unnerving, Cruden Bay, opened in its present site in 1899, is an absolute must for any golf traveler ranging the east coast and the Highlands area. Take a caddie, for you will want a good guide on this wild ride though towering dunes, ball-gobbling rough and impenetrable gorse. The visuals are magnificent of both the course and sea. Unlike some courses, you can feel the intent of the architect on most holes and guess at the types of shots required, only making you feel even better if your caddie confirms your suspicions. I would have gladly teed off again at the end of the round and will beat a hasty path back if ever chance allows. A bonus is if you’re staying nearby, as we were at the charming Kilmarnock Arms, a short walk takes you out to the ruins of Slains Castle, a wild-looking place overlooking the sea that served as the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Royal Aberdeen Golf Club Campbell writes that it was at Royal Aberdeen that the rule of looking for a lost ball for no more than five minutes was first adopted, and it’s easy to see why. The fairways are often winding ribbons that look even more narrow from the tee than they actually are. The course is tight with a few blind shots that, despite aiming poles in the distance, you would be hard pressed to guess on your first trip around without a caddie’s advice. Although a wonderful links test, the main feeling I had walking off was wanting to battle it again, as it fooled me in places and led me to play too conservatively in others. Not as easy a course to embrace on a first trip as Cruden Bay and Royal Dornoch, but probably one its members live to challenge on a weekly basis, discovering more subtleties each time around. Carnoustie Golf Links With all the fearsome stories we had heard about “Carnasty,” GOLF OKL AHOMA • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017





W W W. R E D R O C KC A N YO N G R I L L . C O M


Stunning Kingsbarn Golf Links near St. Andrews, site of the 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open.

it’s no wonder most in our group were over swinging and making a hard course unplayable. I actually had a solid front nine spoiled only by a bern down the left side of the fourth hole of which I was unaware from the tee box. However, this great and fearsome links wasn’t about to let me get the upper hand. Early in the back nine, our caddie said “Better get your slickers out boys.” The sky looked no different than it had all day, but sure enough five minutes later it was raining sideways and the wind was howling. Our first taste of real Scottish golf weather! The back nine has four par-4s of more than 450 yards, and now with the wind most were playing even longer. There wasn’t even a thought on 18 of trying to get over the Barry Burn which played such an instrumental role in Jean van de Velde’s infamous 18th-hole meltdown in the 1999 Open Championship, a triple-bogey 7 which forced a playoff he lost to Paul Lawrie. We laid up and hit wedges in, which if Van de Velde had done the same he would have an Open Championship to his name. Despite limping home, we came away The Old Course at St. Andrews.

with great respect for this most ancient and Mine was at 2:50, giving me plenty of time to fearsome links course. But now it was on to keep the 8 a.m. tee time at Kingsbarns, drive back, have lunch and walk my eighth round St. Andrews! in seven days. One of the best lines of the trip was deKingsbarns Golf Links/Old Course American owned and just a bit over a de- livered by one of our understated caddies at Kingsbarns as he watched cade old, Kingsbarns was my friend’s tee shot sail 60 scheduled when our attempt yards left of target, over tall to get on the Old Course by rough into gorse. ballot failed. The most ex“That’s not ideal.” pensive course we played After the incredible visuat close to $300, it was also als at Kingsbarns, the Old the most visually spectacuCourse appeared muted by lar and, like Castle Stuart, comparison. But the setting, retained the links style and the history and the landfeel despite evidence that forms soon engulf you in a perhaps a bit more earth journey like none other. was moved in its creation Fortunately for me, I than the older venues. was paired with three nonFive of us had walked English speaking Spaniards, from the Russell Hotel in St. Andrews down to the If you order two fillets with your which left me alone to enjoy Old Course at 5 a.m. in a fish & chips, bettter be hungry. extended conversation with last-ditch effort to get on after striking out my caddie Scottie, an excellent guide who twice in the ballot. Bingo, we all got slots. also knew his history. It made for a thorough-

A lengthy birdie putt at Royal Dornoch.

ly enjoyable venture. Running out of steam on 18, I pulled my drive left and it stopped in the middle of the ancient town road that dissects the first and final fairways. “Most people would pull their ball back off the road, but if you’re playing real golf, you hit it where it lies,” Scottie said. Good enough. A 7-iron punch to about 20 feet and lipped out the birdie putt. A few claps from the folks who gather behind the 18th to watch the sun set and the golfers come in. A great end to an amazing day.

Author tees off on first hole at St. Andrews, a dream come true.

Geller. The course has some memorable and quirky holes, including the famous Redan green on the par-3 15th, a wild double green on the 17th and some of the tougher par4s we played. Maybe one of the best tests of a wide variety of shots required that we played. There are an infinite number of courses one could play with the time and resources. We didn’t even touch the west coast and didn’t

consider any inland courses. For what we were aiming for, a full immersion in the links golf experience, I don’t know that we could have done much better and would strongly endorse any of the courses we played to anyone visiting Scotland. The people were extremely friendly, the food was fine despite what you may have heard, and the beer and whisky were excellent. We were hoping for the trip of a lifetime and that’s exactly what it was.

Gullane No. 1 and North Berwick One would think that anything after playing Kingsbarns and The Old Course in the same day would be anticlimactic. However, after we closed the trip with rounds at Gullane No. 1 and North Berwick, you had to drag us away from each. Gullane was largely formed by westerly winds blowing sand that was blocked by Gullane Hill. The view from atop is awe inspiring, with Muirfield in the background to the right, the Firth of Fourth straight ahead and beyond to the hills of the Kingdom of Fife. On your left is the downhill drive to the seventh fairway. Worth the trip right there. The 17th hole also plays downhill from an elevated tee in which many golfers can drive it 340 yards or so into greenside bunkers. Many of those who leave themselves short of the bunkers on the downslope, wind up skulling the ball over the green. Large concrete blocks along the coast at Gullane were put in place to keep Hitler’s tanks from being able to storm ashore. Our caddie noted that they were made by a company owned by Winston Churchill. At North Berwick, our history lesson noted that one of the islands just offshore was the inspiration for Treasure Island, while another was owned by spoon-bending fraud Uri GOLF OKL AHOMA • AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017




Manage practice time It’s great when you decide to commit a couple hours a week to practicing your game. But how do you go about practicing efficiently? First, let’s define what practice is and isn’t. Pat McTigue What you do before a round of golf is not practice. That’s warmup, and quite possibly the worst time to start working on swing mechanics. Warm-up is the time to loosen up the body, find good tempo, determine what you can and can’t do that day and to get target oriented. By the way, one of the best times to practice is after your round. Practice can be swinging at home in front of a mirror, working on the range on technique or precision, and certainly time spent on the chipping and putting greens. An effective practice regimen will include all of the above. Keep in mind that practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. Be careful of what you’re making permanent.

There are only two results for a golf shot: acceptable or unacceptable. It is up to the golfer, according to his skill level, to define the parameters for a given shot, then work to meet the criteria. For example, a good goal for a low singledigit handicap golfer would be to hit 75 percent of shots at 150 yards within 10 yards of the target. That would lead to missing very few greens. For a 12-handicap that might be 15-18 yards, while for a high handicapper, simply making consistent contact would be a reasonable goal. If your goal is to shoot lower scores (that’s the only reason I practice), then get off the range and get to the practice green. As much as 60 percent of your score happens from 30 yards and closer. There are four shots around the green to become proficient with – putts, chips, pitches, and lob shots. Learn them in that order, and don’t start hitting lob shots until you have a good grasp on the first three. Please get professional help in getting your short game in order, then practice to produce good contact and then, finally, distance control.

Before you embark on your practice regimen, decide whether you’re working to hit the ball better or to be more effective at getting the ball in the hole, they’re not the same. With only a couple hours a week to practice, most avid golfers would be better off spending 90 percent of their practice time working on shots from inside 100 yards. For beginning golfers, a much higher percentage would need to be spent on full swing technique under the guidance of their PGA professional, until he or she can produce a consistent shot pattern. My initial goals for golfers are simple: hit a high percentage of shots with solid contact, then work to produce a predictable ball flight. Understand that ball flight doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty, it just has to be reasonably predictable in order to play a decent round. Most golfers spend all their practice time on technique rather than working to improve their skill level. Technique practice would be hitting 7-irons until one can produce a “perfect” shot. Raising the skill level would be hitting 10 7-irons Pat McTigue is the director of instruction at with the goal to hit seven or eight of them within a reasonable proximity to the target. GolfTec, Tulsa. Email him at pmctigue@cox.net.

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Learn from your kids One of the things I notice when giving lessons is the stark contrast between adult students and very young junior golfers in how they react to a poor shot. Whether we are Jim Young on the driving range or on the golf course, most of the junior students around ages 5-8 move from one shot to the next with blinding speed. They go through range balls like they are firing a machine gun, only slowing down to make sure I “saw that one.” In many cases, given the opportunity they would sprint from one shot to another. Obviously we sneak the instruction in when they stop to come up for air, slowing down enough to make sure they have a chance to appreciate what they are doing. Left to their own devices, the adults go through range balls at similar speed, muttering to themselves as they rake one over and whack it, rake one over and whack it.



out•doors (out-dawrz) n. The world outside of or away from the confi nes of a building



They’ll slow the golf cart down just long enough to hit the shot on the golf course, but stopping to smell the roses is not in the plan, at least not unprompted. The difference is in the attitude. The kids can make 100 swings and might miss, top or chunk 97 of them but they will remember with startling clarity the 3 they hit well. The adult on the other hand might hit 100 balls, hit 97 of them well but focus on the 3 they mis-hit. We’ve been conditioned as adults to be hard on ourselves, believing that it somehow improves performance. But the science of the brain refutes that. Put simply, our emotional state affects our body’s ability to perform motor skills. Happy and content is better than grouchy and frustrated. Sounds simple but it’s not always easy to do. Given our conditioning, it takes

concentration to drink in the good ones and ignore those shots that don’t come off. It’s especially difficult when we struggle, so we have to take a deep breath and focus on the good ones when they happen. The brain feeds on that positivity and looks to repeat the movement. I’m not saying we shouldn’t seek to understand what’s going wrong on poor results, but verbally pistol whipping yourself is not the answer. Also, please remember that the people that are learning from you will mirror your attitude as well, kids in particular. So take a page out of the 5 year old’s play book and zero in on the good ones. Your game will thank you for it. As always, let me know if I can help. Jim Young PGA Teaching Professional River Oaks Golf Club Edmond, OK ph. 405-630-8183 www.jimyounggolf.com jpygolf12@gmail.com Facebook: Jim Young Golf, Twitter: @jpygolf


30 Rainbow Road NE

Albuquerque, NM



*Price is per person/per night based on double occupancy. Valid Sunday – Thursday. Rate does not include tax. Price is subject to availability and/or blackout dates. Not applicable to groups (17 or more), conventions, or special discount offers.





Got elbow pain? screened by a TPI pro in your area. So let’s briefly talk about a few of these causes and review some quick tips to improve your elbow pain and your golf game. A commonly missed reason for persistent elbow pain is your sleeping position. If you tend to sleep on your arm or with your arm overhead, this can put excessive prolonged stress on those tissues and will really slow down the healing process. You Sean Riley Ryan Smith can imagine it is hard to resolve if you are SwingFit SwingFit overloading it for 6-to-8 hours every night. Do you struggle with elbow pain? Have So check your sleep position and make sure you tried massage, creams, and braces with you aren’t irritating your elbow at night. The most common swing fault that leads no luck? Well, you are not alone. to elbow pain is the dreaded chicken wing. The most common injury next to back When a player chicken wings, you will pain seen in amateur golfers is elbow see a breakdown of the upper body pain, particularly on the outside of the at impact leading to a bent left lead arm. So in a right-handed golfer elbow (see Figure 1 - image courwe most commonly see outside or lattesy of TPI). Chicken winging is a eral, left elbow pain. This is a particucommon swing fault seen in amalarly troublesome problem that can be teur golfers that have poor left caused by multiple factors, which if not shoulder external rotation range addressed, will continue the pain. of motion. So you will need to So what is the source of pain? While check to see if you have enough there can be several causes, the most left shoulder external rotation common reason is a strain of the range of motion. muscle-tendon complex that To test this position, assume pulls the wrist back and is used when gripping. The problem 1 golf address position and place your arm in a 90/90 position often starts as a result of your golf swing, from weakness in your shoul- with your forearm parallel with the floor der or your sleeping position. This is why (see Figure 2). Then try to rotate your forewe strongly encourage to get physically arm behind you, keeping your elbow bent (see Figure 3). If you can’t rotate your arm back to where it is parallel with your spine or beyond,

2 60



there is a good chance you will chicken wing at impact due to lack of motion. To improve your shoulder external rotation motion along with your thoracic mobility, we recommend the wall touchdown stretch. Sit on the floor against the wall with your low back, mid back and head against the wall. Bring your feet in to stretch your hips. Then place your arms in a 90-90 position and try to touch your forearms to the wall (see Figure 4). If you can’t touch the wall due to tightness, don’t force it. Now try to slide your arms up the wall to where you feel tight and hold for 10 seconds (see Figure 5). Repeat 10 times and perform daily. If you have any pain, we recommend you get assessed by a TPI certified medical professional to determine the limitation in your shoulder. Persistent elbow pain is often caused by multiple factors. Take the time to check your sleep position and then check your shoulder range of motion. Finally spend the time and money to work with a PGA professional to improve your swing sequence and mechanics. The result will be less elbow pain, a better golf game and more fun. SwingFit specializes in golf specific fitness, performance, and training services for golfers of all ages. Founded by Titleist Performance Institute Certified Medical Professionals, Ryan Smith, DPT and Sean Riley, DC, SwingFit gives players access to the same proprietary testing and training systems used the by the best players in the world. The SwingFit system identifies the least amount of physical changes required in your body to produce the greatest results in your golf swing. The result is better practice with your swing coach and more enjoyment on the course. To schedule your SwingFit Golf Assessment and get fit for golf, contact SwingFit at (918) 743-3737 or visit us on the web at www. swingfittulsa.com.


SCH E DU L E S & R E SU LTS : More at w w w.gol fok la homa.org OKLAHOMA GOLF ASSOCIATION STATE AMATEUR AT SOUTHERN HILLS CC, TULSA JULY 17-19 Round of 32 Brendon Jelley def. Declan Kenny 8 and 6; Alexander Hughes def. Quade Cummins 3 and 2; Brock Polhill def. Carlos Gomez 3 and 1; Cody Burrows def. Carson Griggs 5 and 4; Ben Klaus def. Joby Dutcher 5 and 4; Mason Keller def. Carson Daniel 2 and 1; Mason Overstreet def. Hunter Laughlin 6 and 5; Dillon Jordan def. Drew Dorsey 1-up (21 holes); Hudson Hoover def. Davis Woodliff 1-up; Wesley Jackson def. Ethan Smith 5 and 4; McCain Schellhardt def. Bryce Newton 2 and 1; Bryce Newell def. Garrison Mendoza 1-up; Chris Muriana def. Carson Seals 1-up; Christopher Noel def. Mitchell Ross 2 and 1; Thomas Johnson def. Austen Fuller 1-up (21 holes); Rhett Bechtel def. Dalton Rhoden 3 and 2. Round of 16 Jelley def. Bechtel 2-up; Hughes def. Polhill 6 and 4; Burrows def. Klaus 5 and 3; Overstreet def. Keller 1-up; Jordan def. Hudson 6 and 5; Jackson def. Schellhardt 3 and 2; Newell def. Muriana 2 and 1; Noel def. Johnson 6 and 5. QUARTERFINALS Jelley def. Noel 3 and 2; Burrows def. Hughes 2-up; Overstreey def. Jordan 1-up (20 holes); Newell def. Jackson 5 and 4. SEMIFINALS Jelley def. Newell 4 and 3; Burrows def. Overstreet 1-up. FINAL Jelley def. Burrows 4 and 3. SENIOR STROKE PLAY AT SHAWNEE CC (PAR-71) JULY 10-11 1. Jon Valuck 77-70 – 147 (won playoff on 2nd hole); 2 (tie), Jeff Smith 76-71 – 147 and Michael Hughett 71-76 – 147; 4, Kirk Wright 71-77 – 148; 5 (tie), Blake Gibson 75-75 – 150 and Jay Mayfield 75-75 – 150; 7, Jerry Nick 72-80 – 152; 8 (tie), Nick Sidorakis 82-74 – 156 and Terry Collier 76-80 – 156; 10, Don Clark 81-76 – 157; 11, Tom Nielsen 83-77 – 160; 12, Donald Cho 82-80 – 162. Super Seniors: 1, jack Steinmeyer 75-78 – 153; 2, Craig Collins 78-76 – 154; 3, Paul Dickson 78-77 – 155; 4, Karl Brinkmeyer 78-78 – 156; 5 (tie), Jim Wetzel 80-77 – 157 and John Reese 81-76 – 157; 7, Ken Kee 79-80 – 159; 8, Gary Bonner 81-81 – 162. STROKE PLAY AT MUSKOGEE CC (PAR-71) JUNE 26-28 1, Brady Richardson 71-65-70 – 206 (won playoff on 1st hole); 2, Mason Overstreet 68-66-72 – 206; 3, Cody Burrows 71-68-70 – 209; 4 (tie), Eli Armstrong 73-69-68 – 210 and Nick Pierce 73-66-71 – 210; 6, Brody King 71-67-73 – 211; 7, Ethan Smith 75-68-69 – 212; 8, Dalton Rhoden 72-72-69 – 213; 9 (tie), Tyler Shelnutt 69-6976 – 214 and Tyson Reeder 70-70-74 – 214; 11 (tie), Wesley Jackson 76-70-70 – 216 and Rhett Bechtel 70-73-73 – 216; 13 (tie), Dalton Daniel 7171-75 – 217 and Dustin Hasley 74-67-76 – 217; 15 (tie), Michael Biata 73-72-73 – 218 and Matthew Cheung 67-73-78 – 218. SENIOR STATE AMATEUR AT OAK TREE GC (EAST), EDMOND JUNE 12-15 Round of 16 John Stansbury def. Kelly Reed 4 and 3; Kirk Wright def. Craig Collins 4 and 3; Blake Gibson def. Jeff Richter 5 and 4; Ron Roden def. Curt Howard 1-up (22); Don Clark def. Tom Nielsen 1-up (19); Tim McFarland def. Michael Hughett 1-up; Jon Valuck def. Brian Szymanski 1-up (20); Nick Sidorakis def. Michael Koljack 6 and 4. QUARTERFINALS Stansbury def. Roden 4 and 3; Wright def. Gibson 1-up; Clark def. McFarland 1-up; Valuck def. Sidorakis 3 and 2. SEMIFINALS Wright def. Stansbury 2 and 1; Valuck def. Clark 1-up. FINAL Wright def. Valuck 1-up (19).


JUNIOR AT KICKINGBIRD GC, EDMOND JUNE 6-8 Boys 16-18 Round of 16 Logan McAllister def. Zander Tway 5 and 4; Shayne Patel def. Kyle Peterson 2-up; Harrison Gearhart def. Kolton Baber 1-up; Grayson Wallace def. Cooper Wiguess 5 and 4; Lane Wallace def. Blake Blaser 2 and 1; William McDonald def. Max Roberts 3 and 2; Brock Polhill def. Trent Lutze 2 and 1; Conner Kauffman def. Jack Glenn 3 and 2. QUARTERFINALS McAllister def. Patel 4 and 3; Hearhart def. G. Wallace 1-up (19); L. Wallace def. McDonald 3 and 2; Polhill def. Kauffman 1-up. SEMIFINALS McAllister def. Gearhart 5 and 4; L. Wallace def. Polhill 2 and 1. FINAL L. Wallace def, McAllister 4 and 3. 14-15 QUARTERFINALS Jordan Wilson def. Logan Brooks 4 and 3; Craig Sanders def. Gabe Replogle 1-up (19); Jaxon Dowell def. Hardy Bowers 4 and 2; James Roller def. Buddy Wehrli 2-up. SEMIFINALS Wilson def. Sanders 5 and 4; Dowell def. Roller 1-up. FINAL Wilson def. Dowell 1-up. Girls Round of 16 Yujeong Son def, Mika Ramos 6 and 5; Megan Brown def. Chloe Black 2 and 1; Madison O’Dell def. Alyssa Wilson 5 and 3; Adeline Norton def. Kailee McCrary 6 and 5; Nina Lee def. Faith Stewart 1-up; Olivia Schmidt def. Felicity Wittenberg 6 and 5; ShaeBug Scarberry def. Mayden Meiser 4 and 3; Emilie Jackson def. Josie Patterson 1-up. QUARTERFINALS Son def. Brown 6 and 5; Norton def. O’Dell 2-up; Lee def. Schmidt 3 and 2; Scarberry def. Jackson 6 and 5. SEMIFINALS Son def. Norton 4 and 3; Lee def. Scarberry 3 and 1. FINAL Son def. Scarberry 5 and 4. WOMEN’S OKLA. GOLF ASSOCIATION STATE AMATEUR AT OAK TREE NATIONAL, EDMOND JULY 18-20 CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT QUARTERFINALS Alexis Sadeghy def. Melissa Eldredge 1-up (19 holes); Maria Souvanassing def. Elizabeth Freeman 7 and 6; Sydney Youngblood def. ShaeBug Scarberry 1-up; Megan Blonien def. Brinn Fariss 4 and 2. SEMIFINALS Young def. Blonien 5 and 4; Sadeghy def. Souvannasing 1-up (19). FINAL Sadeghy def..Youngblood 1-up. President’s flight SEMIFINALS Janet Miller def. Rebecca Davis 6 and 5; Marna Raburn def. Leigh Ann Fore 4 and 3. FINAL Miller def. Raburn 1-up. Consolation Laurie Makes Cry def. Rose Cassidy 4 and 2. A flight final Tammy Fairchild def. Nan Dyer 3 and 2. Consolation Jill Johnson def. Dane Hurley 1-up (20). JUNIOR AT OAK TREE CC (EAST), EDMOND (PAR-70) JUNE 28-29

1, ShaeBug Scarberry 67-75 – 142; 2, Faith Hopkins 78-75 – 153; 3, Natalie Gough 79-76 – 155; 4, Sydney Hermann 78-80 – 158; 5, Alyssa Wilson 80-80 – 160; 6 (tie), Madison O’Dell 80-82 – 163 and Jenni Roller 82-80 – 16; 8 (tie), Faith Belmear 84-79 – 163, Adeline Norton 83-80 – 163 and Alesia Begino Gonz 77-86 – 163; 11 (tie), Summer Marshall 88-77 – 165, Emily Miller 81-84 – 165 and Faith Stewart 84-81 – 165; 14, Chloe Black 84-82 – 166 and Raychel Nelke 83-83 – 166. STROKE PLAY AT MUSKOGEE CC (PAR-71) JUNE 19-20 1, Alexis Sadeghy 74-66 – 140; 2, Lexi Armon 77-75 – 152; 3, Taylor Towers 72-80 – 152; 4, Marla Souvannasing 77-76 – 153; 5, Melissa Eldridge 7976 – 155; 6 (tie), Shannan Stewart 83-80 – 163 and Bailey Blake 79-84 – 163; 8, Madison O’Dell 89-78 – 167; 9, McKenzie McCoy 89-81 – 170; 10, Shelby Phillips 85-88 – 173. Mid-Am & Senior Championship flights 1, Janet Miller 78-82 – 160; 2, Rebeccea Davis 81-79 – 160. TULSA GOLF ASSOCIATION STROKE PLAY AT LAFORTUNE PARK GC (PAR-72) JUNE 24-25 Championship: 1, Garrett Jelley 68-67 – 135; 2, Tyler Hunt 71-66 – 137; 3, Gabe Replogle 68-76 – 144; 4, Brad Shirley 69-75 -- 144 ; 5, Tommy Riddle 72-74 – 146; 6, Matt Willingham 72-76 – 148; 7, Patrick West 73-76 – 149; 8, John Ryan Bonaobra 71-78 – 149; 9, Carlos Gomez 75-74 – 149; 10 (tie), Michael Phelps 75-76 – 151 and Kirk Fryer 78-73 – 151. Senior Championship: 1, Terry Collier 74-73 – 147; 2, Jim Langlois 72-76 – 148; 3, Nick Sidorakis 7574 – 149; 4, Todd Raffensperger 75-74 – 149; 5, Lee Inman 79-73 – 152; 6, Jerry Nick 75-77 – 152; 7, Steve Hughes 73-79 – 152. A flight: 1, Mike Singleton 75-72 – 147; 2, Tim Tiger 72-79 – 151; 3, Paul Stanton 77-75 – 152; 4, James Coffey 76-78 – 154; 5 (tie), John Human 73-82 – 155 and Jim Ingram 75-80 – 155; 7, Ken MacLeod

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SCH E DU L E S & R E SU LTS : More at w w w.gol fok la homa.org 77-82 – 159. GOLF INC OKC AMATEUR AT LAKE HEFNER, LINCOLN PARK, EARLYWINE GC JUNE 9-11 Championship 1, Luke Phillps 68-73-72 – 213; 2, Joseph Lemieux 69-68-80 – 217; 3, William Payne 72-72-81 – 225; 4, Aaron Simpson 71-74-82 – 227; 5, Payte Owen 74-79-80 – 233; 6, Addison Tway 77-88-77 – 242. Senior 1, Kirk Wright 72-73-75 – 220; 2 (tie), Scott Adams 71-77-73 – 221 and John Carver 73-74-74 – 221. Super Senior 1, Randy Robinson 74-71-76 – 221; 2, Mike Matthews 74-74-80 – 228; 3, Mike Jackson 74-76-79 – 229. SOUTH CENTRAL PGA JUNIOR TOUR PLAYERS TOUR NO. 5 AT RIVER OAKS GC, EDMOND (PAR-71) JULY 24-25 Boys 1, Matt Guerin 70-73 – 143 (won playoff); 2, Peyton Burns 74-69 – 143; 3, Lucas Laukhart 70-75 – 145; 4, Ben Thionnet 73-75 – 148; 5, Bryce Vickery 79-70 – 149; 6 (tie), Blake Miller 76-74 – 150 and Zane Heusel 73-77 – 150; 8, Carson Rainbolt 74-77 – 151; 9 (tie), Conner DeWitt 75-77 – 152, Josiah Crews 76-76 – 152 and Charlie Jackson 75-77 – 152. Girls 1, Sarah Rhinehart 77-76 – 153; 2, Lauren Behnken 77-79 – 156; 3, Josie Patterson 79-80 – 159; 4, Hayden Meiser 80-80 – 160. PLAYERS TOUR NO. 4 AT FOREST RIDGE GC, BROKEN ARROW (PAR71) JULY 17-18 Boys 1, Luke Morgan 72-70 – 142; 2, Clete Carlson 82-

70 – 152; 3 (tie), Jackson White 76-77 – 153 and Carson Rainbolt 75-78 – 153; 5 (tie), Ben Spicer 82-75 – 157 and Blake Miller 74-83 – 157; 7 (tie), Lucas Laukhart 79-79 – 158 and Grant Mahaney 79-79 – 158; 9, Mason Hadley 85-74 – 159; 10, Wil Gibson 76-84 – 160. Girls 1, Bailey Benton 83-83 – 166; 2 (tie), Rachel Eckert 89-81 – 170 and Lauren Behnken 85-85 – 170. PLAYERS TOUR NO. 2 AT STILLWATER CC (PAR-70) JUNE 19-20

Boys 1, Payton Posada 74-70 – 144; 2 (tie) Trent Lutze 75-74 – 149, Luke Morgan 71-78 -- 149 and Tyler Dunham 74-75 – 149; 5 (tie), Andrew Goodman 77-73 – 150 and Jackson White 73-77 – 150; 7 (tie), Colin Broerman 75-76 – 151 and Parker Rose 73-78 – 151; 9, Jack Glenn 76-76 – 152; 10, Dax Russell 76-77 – 153. Girls 1, Sydney Hermann 76-73 – 149; 2, Blayne Barker 80-77 – 157; 3, Emma Shelley 79-79 – 158; 4, Josie Patterson 88-78 – 166. PLAYERS TOUR NO. 1 AT WILLOWBEND GC, WICHITA, KANSAS (PAR-72) JUNE 13-14 Boys 1, Bo Robbins 80-75 – 155; 2, William Sides 7978 – 157; 3, Conner DeWitt 76-83 – 159; 4 (tie), Will Craig 82-78 – 160 and Matt Guerin 83-77 – 160. Girls 1, Emily Miles 91-87 – 178; 2, Kiersten Riggs 9391 – 184; 3, Lauren Behnken 99-87 – 186. JUNIOR PGA QUALIFIER AT THE CLUB AT INDIAN SPRINGS, BROKEN ARROW (PAR-72) JUNE 26-27 Boys 1, Logan McAllister 66-71 – 137; 2, Lane Wallace 70-69 – 139; 3 (tie), James Roller 71-69 – 140, Jared Strathe 69-71 – 140, Matthew Braley 70-70 – 140 and Wil Gibson 64-76 – 140; 7 (tie), Jackson White 73-70 – 143, Cameron Riley 70-73 – 143, Brodey Claborn 71-72 – 143 and Carson Griggs 70-73 – 143. Girls 1, Summer Marshall 72-74 – 146; 2, Taylor Towers 75-74 – 149; 3, Jenni Roller 77-76 – 153; 4, Olivia Schmidt 81-76 – 157; 5, Hayden Meiser 78-80 - -158; 6, Madison O’Dell 82-77 -- 159; 7, Alyssa Wilson 80-80 – 160. OJGT KICKOFF CLASSIC AT LINCOLN PARK GC (EAST), OKLA. CITY (PAR-70) JULY 13-14 Boys 15-18 1, Jared Strathe 64-67 – 131; 2, Carson Griggs 71-64 – 135; 3, Matthew Braley 66-69 – 135; 4, Brock Polhill 67-69 – 136, Jack Glenn 64-72 – 136, William McDonald 70-66 -- 136 and Connor Wilson 67-69 – 136; 8, Zander Tway 66-71 – 137; 9, James Roller 67-72 – 139. Boys 12-14 1, Benjamin Stoller 73-68 – 141; 2, William Sides 69-73 – 142; 3, Austin Dolan 72-75—147; 4 (tie), Buddy Wehrli 73-75 – 148 and Matthew Smith 71-77 – 148. Girls 1, ShaeBug Scarberry 67-66 – 133; 2, Madison Smith 66-68 – 134; 3 (tie), Mika Rimos 72-75 – 147 and Mikala Rindermann 75-72 – 147; 5, Natalie Gough 71-77 – 148; 6 (tie), Jenni Roller 77-72 – 149 and Lilly Whitley 74-75 – 149; 8, Maddi Kamas 74-76 – 150. HIGH SCHOOLS ALL-STATE AT CHEROKEE HILLS GC, CATOOSA (PAR-72) JULY 24 BOYS East 16, West 8 Jacob Stoller, Owasso/Ryan Capps, Kingston (E) def. Dylan Faires, St. Mary/Carson Sparkman, Newcastle 3-1, 71-76; Josh La Mar/Andrew



Loseke, Jenks (E), def. Hunter Sudberry/Connor Kesler, Plainview, 4-0, 66-70; Josh Gentry, Shawnee/Ethan Bailey, Victory Christian (E) def. Heston Brown, Cordell/Jake Bay, Shattuck, 3-1, 65-67; Grant Sikes, Hilldale/Brantley Hughes, Haworth (E) def. Tanner Harris, Elgin/ Jackson Thomas, Weatherford, 3-1, 70-72; Dalton Daniel, Newcastle/Austin Kang, Edmond Memorial (W) def. Matt Edgeller, Bishop Kelley/ Cooper Williamson, Holland Hall, 4-0, 65-73; Brice Terry, Checotah/Zach Taylor (E) def. Graham Cox, Duncan,/Conner Kauffman, Guymon 3-1, 70-72. GIRLS East 16, West 8 Madison Lavalle, Owasso/Stephanie Royer, Union (E) def. Amanda Prasuhn, Edmond Santa Fe/Madison Schroeder, Carl Albert 4-0, 75-87; Abby Psomas/Shelby Phillips, Fort Gibson (E) def. Kirstyn Elroy, Marlow/Lindsey Craig, Comanche 4-0, 73-87; Zoe Rosebrough, Pryor/ Alexis Dake/Claremore (E) tied Kinsey Hall/ Kelcee Millican, Elk City 2-2, 79-77; McKenzie McCOy, Beggs/Nicole Robertson, Henryetta (E) def. Tracy McGill, Turner/Brooklyn Bartling, Velma-Alma 3-1, 71-77; Sam Peters, Ardmore/ Kaitlyn Milligan, Norman North (W) def. Sonnie Palmatary, Pawnee/Baylee Brewer, Broken Arrow 3-1, 69-82; Chloe McKinney, Durant/ Breanna Shaw, Idabel (E) tied Makenna Rose, Goodwell/Rachel Campbell, Westmoore 2-2, 83-83. USGA U.S. AMATEUR QUALIFYING AT KARSTEN CREEK GC (PAR-72) JULY 10 1 (tie), Hayden Wood 70-68 – 138 and Brendon Jelley 69-69 – 138; 3, Austin Eckroat 69-72 – 141 (1st alternate); 4, Grant Hirschman 72-71 -- 143 (2nd alternate); 5, Sam Stevens 73-74 147; 6, Logan McAllister 72-76 – 148. GOLF CHANNEL TOUR OAK TREE OPEN AT OAK TREE CC (WEST), EDMOND (PAR-70) JULY 23 1, Jared Taft 69; 2, Stephen Carroll 73; 3, Al Swanson 78; 4, Goose Clark 81. CHEROKEE HILLS CATOOSA OPEN AT CHEROKEE HILLS GC, CATOOSA (PAR-70) JULY 16 1, Stephen Carroll 79; 2, Jared Taft 79; 3, Randy Collier 80; 4, Jordan Blackmon 84. RED RIVER SHOOTOUT AT WINSTAR GC (SCISSORTAIL), THACKERVILLE (PAR-72) JULY 8-9 1 (tie), Mark Colangelo 72-73 – 145 and Thomas Cruickshank 74-71 – 145; 3, Rusty Lippert 74-73 – 147; 4 (tie), Deon Sauzek 75-74 – 149 and Todd Mykleby 75-74 – 149; 6, Gant Bills 80-70 – 150; 7 (tie), Mark Taylor 72-79 – 151, Preston Standley 77-74 – 151 and Michael Hodges 73-78 – 151; 10, Robert Hayward 76-76 – 152. MAXWELL OPEN AT DORNICK HILLS G&CC, ARDMORE (PAR-70) JULY 7 1, Keith McKelvy 75; 2, Jack Carlile 76; 3 (tie), Michael Hodges and Ron Finnerty 79. TULSA OPEN AT FOREST RIDGE GC, BROKEN ARROW (PAR-71) JUNE 17 1, Goose Clark 76; 2, Tanner Hodgkinson 78; 3, Corbin Craycraft 79; 4, Cody Rozell 84. BUFFALO ROCK SHOWDOWN AT BUFFALO ROCK & GUN CLUB, CUSHING (PAR-70) JUNE 10 1, Goose Clark 77; 2, Jared Taft 78; 3, Jeff Richter 81.


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