Golf Buzz

October 14, 2012 - 8:10pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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CordeValle Golf Club
Courtesy of CordeValle Golf Club
CordeValle has established itself as Silicon Valley's home to championship golf.

For most of us wanna-be (but never gonna be) tour pros, playing the courses that the PGA Tour plays is a powerful draw. One place where you can do that this fall is at CordeValle, which has just hosted the Frys.com Open.

Now that the tournament has ended, golfers can take advantage of CordeValle’s Ultimate Golf Package, which runs through the end of the year. The package provides each golfer with a PGA Tour-like playing experience, as well as access to the facilities and amenities at CordeValle in either a one-night deal or for multiple nights and rounds.

The package includes a choice of accommodations, daily continental breakfast, unlimited play each day of your stay with cart, access to the practice facility and a wine tasting at the on-site Clos LaChance Winery.

During part of November, the golf course will be recovering from its annual turfgrass enrichment and aerification, so guests staying on the Ultimate Golf Package wil receive a special reduced rate. Until Nov. 11, rates start at $469 per person, and after that date will start at $359 per person (caddie fees, resort fees, tax and gratuities are additional).

CordeValle has established itself as Silicon Valley's home to championship golf, as the resort has hosted the prestigious PGA Cup as well as its annual stop on the PGA Tour. Later this fall, CordeValle welcomes back the annual Gifford Invitational, a premier men's collegiate event, and will host the 2013 USGA Senior Women's Amateur Championship.

CordeValle offers country club charm, with 45 expansive rooms that create a secluded sanctuary, designed into the harmony of the natural mountainside landscape, overlooking the golf course and lush, rolling hills. Tennis, swimming and the spa are also available, as is a taste of California's famed wine country, with an on-site winery and vineyard. Dining options include Il Vigneto's Italian cuisine with contemporary California flair, the Lion's Peak Grill, with relaxing indoor and outdoor patio seating, and the popular One Iron Bar.

For more information about the Ultimate Golf Package, visit www.cordevallegolf.com.

October 14, 2012 - 5:21pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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Robin Meade
Photo courtesy Robin Meade on Twitter
HLN morning news anchor Robin Meade has caught the golf bug.

 

Before I worked in the golf world, I cut my teeth working in the news world - over at HLN (formerly CNN Headline News.)  And when people find this out about me - it almost always leads to the same question -- "Do you know Robin Meade?"
 
For those that may not know, Robin Meade anchors the 6a-12noon (ET) "Morning Express with Robin Meade" every weekday morning on HLN.  She's smart, she's funny, she's talented (has a country music album out and sang the national anthem at this year's at NASCAR's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona this year) and oh by the way, she's a former Miss Ohio and even a top 10 finalist in the Miss America pageant.
 
Well, not only is the answer "Yes, I am proud to say I know Robin Meade (and call her friend)", but it's exciting to say that I am working with her again - sorta. Actually, it's PGA.com - and the PGA of America - teaming up with "Morning Express with Robin Meade" and HLN to showcase how easy it is to get those new to the game on the course and playing.
 
Using the "Get Golf Ready" model - Robin recently agreed to go through a series of golf lessons and we'd film them to chronicle her introduction to the game - from the walk into the pro shop to actually getting out on the course.  Prior to her first lesson, I told Robin to please give golf a solid chance, if she stuck with it for a little bit, she'd learn to really like it. 
 
Within a day, she had sent me an email. She was hooked. She didn't just like it. She loved it.
 
Robin went through her lessons with world-renowned instructor PGA Professional Suzy Whaley (Instructor at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., District 1 Director of the PGA Board of Directors and in 2003, became the first woman in 58 years to qualify for a PGA Tour event (Greater Hartford Open)). Meade and Whaley not only went through the different aspects of learning golf, but also talked at length about the benefits of golf to Robin's (and any woman's) personal and professional life. 
 
Starting Monday morning, you can watch Robin's intro into golf - with segments running all week on "Morning Express with Robin Meade."   We will also chronicle her golf progress here on PGA.com this week. Robin will eventually cap off her week of golf talk by traveling to Bermuda to play in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf Pro-Am alongside the likes of  Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Ernie Els and Keegan Bradley.
 
You can read more about Robin Meade and "Get Golf Ready" here
October 14, 2012 - 12:57am
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Ledgestone Country Club in Branson, Mo.
Courtesy of Ledgestone Country Club
Green fees are as low as $49 at Ledgestone Country Club in Branson next month.

When it comes to golf, Branson, Mo., is developing into a mini-Myrtle Beach, with a variety of golf courses mixed in with its wide variety of other family-friendly entertainment activities. And like Myrtle Beach, there are some very attractive autumn golf deals available.

Green fees at most of the dozen or so Branson-area courses easily start under $100 per round through October, while temperatures are still in the 60s and 70s, and some are well below the $100 mark. Here are some examples of fall green fees:

--Murder Rock Golf Club: $52 from Oct. 29
--Payne Stewart Golf CLub: $69 from Nov. 1
--Branson Creek Golf Club: $60 from Nov. 1
--Pointe Royale Golf Village: $39 from Nov. 1
--Holiday Hills Golf Resort: $48 before 11 a.m. and $36 after 11 a.m. from Nov. 1
--Thousand Hills Golf Resort: $39 from Nov. 1
--LedgeStone Country Club: $49 from Nov. 1

Golfers can combine a round with activities such as the Balloons over Branson Creek Hot Air Balloon Festival (Oct. 19-21), the Silver Dollar City Harvest Festival (through Oct. 27), and the Ozark Mountain Christmas, (starting Nov. 1).

Fall golf packages are available, starting at only $70 per person, per night for room and golf, and can be found online at http://www.explorebransongolf.com.

October 13, 2012 - 1:35pm
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
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Cristie Kerr and Doug Brecht
Getty Images
Doug Brecht, shown here with Cristie Kerr in 2010, was an LPGA rules official for 22 years.

Sad news was announced on Saturday after Doug Brecht, 62, a longtime rules official and vice president of competitions for the LPGA, passed away near his home in Oklahoma Friday night after battling West Nile Virus for two months.

Brecht contracted the virus in Toledo, Ohio, while working the Jamie Farr Classic. He was hospitalized there and later transported to another facility in Oklahoma City. 

In a statement, LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said: “I talked to Doug’s wife Stephanie, and she told me that Doug passed very peacefully, and with his family close by. I’m no expert on how to grieve, but this one has hit pretty hard. There are no words that can either ease the pain of losing a member of our family, or help to fully explain or understand his passing.   What I do know for certain is that Doug loved being a part of the LPGA family, and he told me – on numerous occasions – that he felt blessed to have a job that he loved so much. Personally, there was a distinctive peacefulness that always seemed to accompany Doug. No doubt, he is in a place of peace now and he will always be remembered for his kind heart and many gifts.” 

Current and former LPGA players used social media to share the news and express their grief.

Jessica Korda wrote, “Really saddened about the passing of Dougie. He was my 1st ever ruling on tour. He was so special to me always someone you can come to with anything and he would always be there for you. Heaven got a special person today.”

Former tour player Leslie Spalding, now the head women’s golf coach at San Diego State, wrote, “The LPGA Family has lost a great man in Head Rules Official Doug Brecht. It's a sad day to lose a man to West Nile meningitis. Doug and Steph have given so much to golf. Doug was always a support person for each player on Tour. He helped me put my golf into perspective when I needed that person to help me. We are all grieving today, and supporting our friend Steph.” 

Michelle McGann posted on her Facebook page: “Another wonderful man has been taken from this earth. RIP Doug Brecht. You were a fabulous rules official, a friend & our LPGA family will miss you greatly. Steph, thanks for sharing your wonderful husband with so many of us. We love you & you will continue to be in our thoughts & prayers.”

With the tour in Asia, more sentiment will likely come out as news spreads. 

Until then, Kraig Kann, the LPGA director of communications, summed up the feelings of all when he said, “Doug Brecht was kind to all, a friend to the game, and fair in his work. He made everyone around him better.... and happier. RIP friend.” 

 

October 12, 2012 - 5:57pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Oakhurst Links
Many players don period clothing to tackle the old-time challenge at Oakhurst Links.

In what seems like the best possible result to what had become a painful situation to anyone interested in the preservation of golf history, the Greenbrier Resort is buying Oakhurst Links. Greenbrier owner Jim Justice confirmed the deal on Friday, saying the price was less than $1 million but more than the throwback layout was set to sell for at auction over the summer.

Oakhurst Links was built in 1884 just a few miles north of the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. The 30-acre course, museum and clubhouse are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and are filled with photos of visits from golfers such as Sam Snead, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson.

The facility has been owned for decades by Lewis Keller, who is now 89 and has been struggling to find a buyer in recent years. A Richmond, Va.-based group had planned to take over the course last year, but couldn't raise the $2.5 million to close the deal. Then in July, Keller hoped to auction the course off, but financing for the $410,000 winning bid fell through and he feared a Virginia bank would foreclose on the property.

At the nine-hole Oakhurst Links, which was built in 1884, players rent hickory-shafted clubs and hit gutta-percha balls off tees fashioned from sand and water the way it was done more than 130 years ago. The National Hickory Championship has been played there since since 1998.

Justice said he plans to keep the course intact and even make some improvements if needed.

''To be perfectly honest, I don't know that it's going to be a great thing for the Greenbrier,'' said Justice, who also bought the Greenbrier out of bankruptcy in 2009. ''But I know it's a great thing to do.''

He’s right and he’s wrong, in my view. The Greenbrier’s purchase is absolutely a great thing to do, both for Keller and for golf historians everywhere.

But I also believe that this could also be a great deal for the Greenbrier, which is already one of America’s great golf destinations and the home of the PGA Tour’s popular Greenbrier Classic. With a little creative marketing, I bet the Greenbrier can integrate Oakhurst Links into its recreational offerings and generate enough publicity – and income – to make this transaction a win-win.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this post.

 

October 12, 2012 - 2:01pm
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
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Ballybunion Golf Club
Buffalo Communication
Heroes and their families enjoy Ballybunion Golf Club during a trip to Ireland coordinated by the Folds of Honor Foundation.

 

Golf has long held a healing bond. Since the Spanish American War and through to present day, those who have come back from battle and the families of those who haven’t, have found solace and escape in the game – the peace, the beauty, the rich nuance that makes golf so special.

Now, organizations like the Folds of Honor Foundation, founded by PGA professional and combat fighter pilot, Maj. Dan Rooney, are using the game to help our heroes and their loved ones.

Recently, Folds of Honor sponsored an 11-day trip through Ireland for 20 wounded U.S. servicemen and their spouses. On Thursday of this week they played the Old Course at Ballybunion, one of the best links courses in the world and a favorite of none other than Tom Watson.

"We were quite humbled by the invitation to host these incredibly brave men and women,” says Vari McGreevy, Ballybunion General Manager. “Their perseverance over tremendous odds offers lessons for all, and their visit to our country exemplifies the close bond shared by the American and Irish people."

Scores didn’t matter. When it comes to the cathartic aspects of the game, they never do.

The Irish are among our greatest allies. And they are some of the friendliest people on earth. Their hospitality to these heroes went above and beyond.

For those who know them, it was no surprise at all.