About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both Chicagoland Golf and the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine. Rory has played over 460 courses in 37 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.


  THE MISTWOOD GOLF DOME in Bolingbrook is now open daily until 10 PM. This year the dome had added Toptracer Technology, which gives golfers several options on how they can enjoy their time in the golf dome. While there golfers can enjoy great food and beverage while in McWethy’s Sportsbar. See everything the Mistwood Golf Dome has to offer at Mistwoodgolf.com or call (630)-739-7600. THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB has become a year round golf facility with the addition of it’s simulator bays, that now include several Top 100 courses and the next Ryder Cup venue Whistling Straits. Visit Schaumburggolf.com or call (847)-885-9000 to book your tee time. #chandlersforfood.    ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy and on Linkedin and Facebook. At the French Lick Resort Hotel.

(Reporting from Orlando Florida and the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show)

The 2019 Merchandise Show started with demo day on Tuesday, and a few LPGA professionals were on hand to promote various products. Seen were Lexi Thompson, and Karrie Webb.

Webb joined demo day on 48 hours before her departure to play in events in her native Australia, to speak on behalf of Nippon Shafts, a product she has used for years.

With shafts now as important as the rest of the club in many cases, picking the right shaft during a fitting process can add much to a new club or set of clubs.

Karrie Webb speaking with the media at the Nippon Shaft tent at demo day.

Webb is looking forward to a year where at 44 she is just shy of being old enough to play in the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick come October. Age requirements for the U.S. Senior Women’s Open are 50 years old.

Webb is already a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame with her 41 wins worldwide.

She won the U.S. Women’s Open in 2000 at the Merit Club in Libertyville.

Click here to hear the interview with Hall of Fame inductee Karrie Webb speak about her game, and playing with Nippon Shafts on her clubs. For more information on Nippon Shafts, see Nippongolf.com.


INSIDE OR OUTSIDE, The Schaumburg Golf Club on Roselle Road has an exciting 2019 shaping up for golfers. First on the tee now is you when you come and work on your game this winter in the updated simulator bays on the lower level of the clubhouse that are now complete with several new Top 100 golf courses and Ryder Cup venues. The second phase of the renovation the Baer Nine should be complete around July 1st and open for play. Schaumburggolf.com or call the club at (847)-885-9000 #teetimes     _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy. At the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show, Orlando Florida

(REPORTING FROM ORLANDO-and the Orange County Convention Center)

On Tuesday the demo day at the Orange County National Golf Club was packed with show attendee’s and one of the hot spots was the Wilson space when you entered the range area.

There was a line to hit and check out the new Wilson Driver Cortex and Wilson’s other clubs. The Distance challenge was a big hit in more ways than one.

This year being at demo day was different for the winner of Driver vs Driver 2, Evan Hoffman, because last year he was a secret and was kept away from most everyone who did visit the Wilson area, because it wasn’t supposed to be known who the finalists were.

Driver vs Driver 2 winner Evan Hoffman holds his winning driver the Cortex at the Wilson booth on Demo day

This year was different. Hoffman was one of the big hits with both media, and golf professionals lined up to meet him and Hoffman could talk to anyone he wanted.

Hoffman called the process nerve wracking, saying he knew that other finalists had good designs and you don’t know what the judges will do or think.

While the show ran only six weeks on the Golf Channel , the entire process took over one year to complete. But the process is one that Hoffman would go through again in “a heartbeat”. There was a hint from Wilson Golf President Tim Clarke that another show could be in the works, and an announcement could come in a few months, stay tuned.

Click here to hear the interview with Driver vs Driver 2 Winner Evan Hoffman.

Hoffman spent demo day looking at other equipment around the big circular range, who knows what he might come up with next time, if Wilson has another club creation program. See more at Wilsongolf.com


 THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB at 401 North Roselle Road is home to a simulator golf cave, that has made the club a year-round golf facility that golfers are enjoying. With Schaumburg’s outdoor nine’s undergoing a three year renovation, the simulators give you a chance to have your game ready for summer golf, when the second nine the Baer Nine reopens around July 1st. Play golf at TPC Scottsdle and TPC Sawgrass, and the 2020 Ryder Cup venues. Schaumburggolf.com or call (847)-885-9000 for tee times.  ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Linkedin and Facebook. On the range with the Epic Flash Driver by Callaway.

(Reporting from Demo Day at the PGA Show, Orlando Florida)

The comeback is on, and that’s great news for Chicago based Wilson Golf that has sales on the rise, and golfers being impressed by the product that has been coming out on the market.

Wilson’s Driver vs Driver shows have been a stroke of genius by golf division president Tim Clarke. The current winning Driver the Cortex, is so popular that the initial product run that Wilson did, has sold out in less that 60 days.

Wilson Golf President Tim Clarke has a lot to be smiling about these days,as the 2019 golf season kicks in.

Clarke says he can’t speak to what might be happening next in the golf reality show front, but hints to watch for an announcement about what might be coming next, over the next few months.

The Cortex might have had demo day goers lined up to hit the Cortex or take the Wilson Golf distance challenge, but there was other things for Clarke and Wilson to be happy about. There are improvements in the Wilson fairway woods, Irons and golf balls.

Wedges seems to be area where Wilson might not yet stack up against other leading companies in the industry, so maybe Wedge vs Wedge could be next.

The Cortex is one of the leading hitters at this years demo day and 2019 PGA Merchandise Show.

Adding to the Wilson professional staff was another one of Clarke’s goals for 2019, and he landed a top 20 PGA Tour player in Gary Woodland. Woodland put Wilson products in his bag at the PGA Tour real season opener at Kapalua the Tournament of Champions, and Woodland had the lead after three rounds, played great in the final round but fell to second place. But still not a bad finish at a big event for the first week of having new clubs in the bag.

Woodland did not have Cortex in the bag that week, but there is still a chance that could happen this year, Stay dialed in.

Click here to listen to the interview with Wilson Golf President Tim Clarke, about new clubs, golf reality television, and new exciting staffers.

Clarke is also excited about the fact that long time Wilson staffer Padraig Harrington will serve as the 2020 team Europe Ryder Cup Captain at Whistling Straits.

Wilson Golf is making a comeback and selling well in the market place, find out all the details at Wilsongolf.com.


 THE MISTWOOD GOLF DOME ON RT 53 IN BOLINGBROOK is Chicago’s premier indoor golf dome, now open until 10 PM daily, the Mistwood Golf Dome is home to Toptracer technology, McWethy’s Sportsbar, and a the Top 100 club fitting location in the country. See what all the excitement is about, visit mistwoodgolfdome.com or you can call (630)-739-7600. THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB has redone it’s simulators with several new Top 100 golf courses and the 2018 and 2020 Ryder Cup venues. Be ready for the summer ahead when Schaumburg Golf Club opens it’s second renovated 9, The Baer Nine around July 1st. Golf year-round at Schaumburg Golf Club located at 401 N. Roselle Rd., minutes from Woodfield Mall, Schaumburgolf.com (847)-885-9000   _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy with the NEW Epic Flash driver by Callaway. Get fitted for one at the Brad Brewer Golf Academy in Orlando Florida.

(Reporting from Orlando FL. home of the 2019 PGA Merchandise show)

THE EXCITEMENT is building as the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show is ready to tee off, with demo day today at the Orange County National driving range and practice facility.

Then the following three days are spent at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. But just a par 5 away from the convention center, is one of the top teaching academies not only in Florida but the country. The Brad Brewer academy is the home of teaching professional Brad Brewer, and is the place where  “The King” Arnold Palmer would go to work on his game away from the masses at at his home course Bay Hill. Some years ago Palmer had Brewer help him launch the Arnold Palmer golf schools. The Brad Brewer Academy is located within the Shingle Creek Golf Club and the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel, with over 1,500 rooms.

Brad Brewer outside his academy in Orlando.

Brewer’s connection to Palmer hasn’t been lost on the many major corporations that attend his school, to provide their executives with instruction to learn the game of golf and how important it is, in the world of business today, and how important golf can be in a corporate team building experience.

Brewer a PGA-Class A Professional was a successful competitor on the Australia-Asian PGA Tour, and the Nike/Hogan Tours.

Hitting Bays at the Brad Brewer Academy, have the Rosen at Shingle Creek as a target in the background.

Brewer has received the North Florida PGA teacher of the year award, and Junior Golf Leader of the Year. Brewer was named a Top 100 teacher by Golf Magazine. The Golf Channel hired Brewer to produce and advise on their online instruction.

Brewer has been the author of, My Golf Journal, Golf for Everybody, Mentored by the King, and the soon to be published, Pro Secrets. Brewer an artist in the world of painting, is an advisory staff member to TaylorMade-Adidas, FlightScope, and the PGA of America’s President’s Council.

Click here to listen to the interview with Brad Brewer, on his academy and working with the King, Arnold Palmer.

Mentored by the King, by Brad Brewer

Brewer’s book, Mentored by the King, includes Arnold Palmer’s Success Lessons for Golf, Life and Business.

It’s 206 pages of reading, without pictures and provides solid good reading.

Another good thing about the Brewer Academy is his team of instructors that includes Chicago area native Chris Spalla, who leanred the game while growing up at the Olympia Fields Country Club in the south suburbs.

Instruction from Brewer and his team comes on the range, in the video rooms, in front of the monitors and on the golf course. If you are ready for new equipment, why not get your fitting done at the Brad Brewer Academy. Shingle Creek Golf Course that surrounds the academy, had a renovation four years ago, and was one of the last golf courses Palmer himself worked on before his passing.

If your game, your group, or your company is ready to head south, warm up and get ready for the golf season ahead, why not start the year out right at the Brad Brewer Golf Academy in Orlando. You can on course at the award winning Rosen Shingle Creek Luxury Hotel at preferred Academy rates. For complete pricing see bradbrewer.com or call (407)-996-3306. Shingle Creek is home to a conference center, and almost 500,000 square feet of meeting space.


  THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB has year round golf available, and the updated simulator bays are now stocked with new Top 100 Courses and the 2018 and 2020 Ryder Cup venues. Play Ryder Cup style matches with your foursome and have your game ready for the summer season at the Schaumburg Golf Club. By July 1st the Baer Nine is expected to be open, and 18 of 27 holes will be complete from the renovation. The Schaumburg Golf Club is located at 401 N Roselle Road, near Woodfield Mall. For more information see Schaumburggolf.com or call (847)-885-9000. SGC year round golf ______________________________________________________________________

 THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, or at Linkedin and Facebook. In the pro shop at Grande Dunes Golf Club in Mrytle Beach, and in Orlando at the for the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show.

SHOWTIME and the real launch of the 2019 golf season takes place this week with the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. More than 40,000 PGA professionals and golf industry professionals will attend. All the big prime-time players will be here. There has been some talk about Taylor Made not being here, oh well, so what, their loss. Maybe they aren’t a PTP’er after all. Club companies like Mizuno are returning after some years away, and they aren’t alone. I expect a great week at both demo day and for three days on the convention floor.

Before I get any further, condolences to the family and friends of Ken Lapp, the long time superintendent at Cog Hill who passed away last Friday at the young age of 82. Lapp spent 58 years in the golf business, working at St. Andrews in West Chicago, then at Fresh Meadow, and finally back with the Jemseks at Cog Hill and Pine Meadow. “He will be missed,” said Frank Jemsek. “Ken’s dedication, passion and love for agronomy will always be intertwined with Cog Hill.”

Ken was always there for us media types over the years and when he was needed to talk about Dubsdread around tournament week, and during the renovation of the golf course. He will be missed.

THE WEATHER is not great here in Orlando, sunny and 50, but it should get better as the week goes on. I know it’s much worse at home, but that shouldn’t stop the golfers from heading out to the Schaumburg Golf Club for some rounds in the simulators, or out to the Mistwood Golf Dome, where it’s nice inside for golf, or to see all the sports action on the big screens in McWethys Sports Bar.

Arlington Heights and Arlington Lakes Director of Golf Tim Govern.

I had a chance to speak with Tim Govern over at Arlington Lakes in Arlington Heights before I left town. Tim sends out a reminder that you can now sign up for permanent tee times or other tee times, and special events at Arlington Lakes for the summer ahead. See the website Ahpd.org or call the golf course at (847)-577-3030 for more information.

Arlington Lakes is a fun golf course to play, especially since the completion of the Mike Benkusky renovation a few years back. You can play 3-6-9 or 18 hole rounds, a great place to play for those who don’t have time for a full round of golf.

As for demo day tomorrow. I’m looking forward to finally testing out the new Wilson Cortex Driver, the winner of Driver vs Driver 2 on the Golf Channel. Another driver that is supposed to be incredible is the new Callaway Epic Flash, with speed unmatched in the industry, that should be a fun one to hit.

Go enjoy golf on a cold and snowy day in Chicago, check out the Mistwood Golf Dome in Bolingbrook on Rt 53, afterwards have some food and beverage in McWethys’ Sports Bar. Open daily until 10 pm. Mistwoodgolfdome.com or call (630)-739-7600 A Top 100 in America club fitting location.

Since I’m in need of wedges that actually work, I’ll be testing the new Callaway Mack Daddy wedges, co-designed by Callaway designer Roger Cleveland, and “Lefty” Phil Mickelson that should be a treat. Titleist has just announced that the “Wizzard of Wedges” Bob Vokey just in time for the show has launched his new SM-7 wedges.

Callaway has made an announcement about it’s apparel line with the new Swing Tech line. As far as professionals in attendance go, Greg Norman will do a broadcast on XM from the show. LPGA star Karrie Webb will be at demo day tomorrow promoting the line of shafts she is now using in her clubs.

The opening hole at Tobacco Road golf club in Sanford NC.

Last week before leaving Pinehurst I had the chance to go finally play a course a had heard some interesting things about, Tobacco Road. The course is about 30 minutes from downtown Pinehurst in the town of Sanford, and it’s well worth the drive.

The architect the late Mike Strantz was ahead of his time. I hear that Strantz was taking hits and arrows about the course when he passed away, and I’m surprised by that. You could say Strantz was ahead of his time, or a visionary. His design of Tabacco Road is really good. I know the normal line is that it’s a “love it or hate it” golf course. Put me down for a vote on the “love it” side. If you have played places like Bandon Dunes, Sand Valley, Erin Hills, or Streamsong, and like those courses, you will like Tobacco Road. There are some blind shots, but ways to overcome that are marked with old steam pipes. I enjoyed the theme with tee markers that are parts from equipment used to harvest Tobacco.

It’s the type of course that if Mike Keiser built it with any of his regular group of architects, everyone would be raving. There is a great quote from Strantz in the yardage book where he says,” I don’t care if people think my courses are too hard.” Strantz did leave golfers some challenging golf, but made them fun. If your near Sanford NC, or in Pinehurst, take the side-trip to Tobacco Road, it’s a neat golf experience.

When you get back to Pinehurst, then go to the new Pinehurst Brewery and enjoy all the locally brewed beers that just got put on tap.

BIG 3 partner Len Ziehm joins me for a few podcasts this week from the show, stay clicked in for that.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JACK NICKLAUS, the greatest Golfer of all time is 79 today, and spent time last week with Mike Scully at Reynolds at Lake Oconee in Georgia, working on his deigned golf course there.

With the that, I’m off to see for the first time Orlando’s top golf school, the Brad Brewer Academy. It’s showtime this week, stay clicked in, plenty more to come. To all of you back at home, keep warm, I know it’s a cold one. RS


THE DOUBLETREE by HILTON MYRTLE BEACH, an oceanfront beach hotel. THE GRANDE DUNES Golf Community and golf course, do visit Myrtle Beach for your next golf destination trip. 90 golf courses to pick from and home of The World Golf Amateur.  ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Linkedin and Facebook. In the pro shop at Grande Dunes Golf Club Myrtle Beach

THE WEEK AHEAD is going to be a great one, the PGA Show tee’s off on Tuesday in Orlando Florida, stay clicked in for the all the news.

With that the Gog Blog is saying Good-Bye to our hosts for this weekend, the people in Myrtle Beach. There was 70 degree weather for weekend golf, and it felt great.

Orlando may have a chilly, for Orlando that is day or two, but it will be much better than Chicago.

Myrtle Beach is quite a growing area and housing market is booming here, some of the land is coming from golf course sales, that private owners could not pass up, more in our Monday column.

The 2019 Western Junior Championship that will be played at Rich Harvest Farms, is looking for volunteers.

The 102nd Western Junior Championship that will be held at Jerry Rich’s Rich Harvest Farms this coming June, is looking for volunteers.

The Western Junior has a long history of turning out winners that go on to successful college and professional careers.

Here is your chance to get right up close and watch the future stars of tomorrow.

Visit the WGA website to sign up. See WGAESF.org and be a part of this great event.

The Gog Blog will have more from Jerry Rich in the days ahead on this great event, the first of three championships in three years at Rich Harvest Farms. Which include the 2020 Big Ten Championship and the 2020 Palmer Cup named for Arnold Palmer.

THE EVANS SCHOLARS CHAMPIONSHIP on the Web.com tour coming to the Glen Club this June, has put out the call for volunteers. This tournament will feature many of the best players on the Web.com Tour, and is expected to have some local players competing.  More on this tournament and the news from Illinois PGA on making Ridgemoor Country Club the second course for the Illinois Open, and for Ruth Lake Country Club becoming the home of the 2019 Illinois PGA Section Championship.

The Gog Blog returns from Florida. RS


 THE DOUBLE TREE by Hilton should be your oceanfront lodging option in Myrtle Beach. Located right on the Atlantic Ocean and minutes from golf courses and and top notch dining choices, the DoubleTree has everything guests could want. Rooms at the DoubleTree are selling quickly for the World’s Largest Amateur Championship coming up this August in Myrtle Beach. The hotel is located at 3200 S. Ocean Boulevard. For more information see myrtlebeachresortdoubletreebyhilton.com or call (800)-222-TREE

Click here to hear an interview with DoubleTree Director of Sales and Marketing Alan Fabris, on DoubleTree in Myrtle Beach. Fabris, a former longtime Chicago area West Suburban resident, loves working with Chicago area golfers and golf groups. #MBGOLF ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or on Linkedin and Facebook. At Grande Dunes Golf Club in Myrtle Beach SC.

IT’S CALLED THE GRAND STRAND but Myrtle Beach is really several things wrapped into one. It’s one of the biggest golf capitals in the country, its the location of one of the biggest home building boom’s, it’s oceanfront beach access at it’s finest, and it’s just plain fun.

While Myrtle Beach is a first class golf location, it doesn’t always come with first-class prices. If your looking for a place to enjoy everything you want to do on a golf getaway, Myrtle Beach can be shaped to fit any budget.

There are no shortage of hotels lined up on the ocean, with miles of great beach’s. The hotels like the DoubleTree by Hilton work with various groups of golf courses to provide a level of golf that you and or your group desire. Coming down by yourself or with a foursome, your covered. A larger group from your club, or a corporate group is no problem either, when it comes to Myrtle Beach, the more the merrier. The ocean views from the DoubleTree rooms or the lobby bar, make any visit outstanding. When it comes time for breakfast, the hotel cafe comes complete with a chef making your breakfast Omlets. Sit and enjoy the ocean view poolside or while in the hot-tub, your choice.

Your seat is waiting at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Myrtle Beach, drinks please.

Golf is a big part of Myrtle Beach and with almost 100 golf courses to pick from, golfers have plenty of choices.

One of the biggest golf events in the country is the World’s Largest Amateur played in Myrtle Beach every August.

More than 3,200 golfers tee it up for a week full of golf, and championships in their handicapped flights. When golf is done for the day, the World’s Largest 19th hole is packed full of excitement and entertainment. Thousands of golfers have been known to have not just a good time, but a great time. Your playing partners could be three guys from New York, Myrtle Beach or even the part of the country you reside in. When the championship is over, sometimes you will have new golf partners for life.

The Par 3, 11th hole at Grande Dunes is a fun but challenging hole, where a mid-round birdie is possible.

One of the courses that you can be connected with through your stay at the DoubleTree, is GrandeDunes.

GrandeDunes is a signature design by renowned golf architect Roger Rulewich who for year was part of the Robert Trent Jones team. Rulewich has been part of the work done on famous courses in America and around the world.

GrandeDunes is a golf community, and GrandeDunes slogan is, Live here, Play here, Stay here. With 2,200 acres of land, the golf course and resort club is surrounded by upscale residences, and waterways where a boat or three might pass by during your round.

A boat sails past the par 3, 14th green.

GrandeDunes has flipped it’s nine’s but the original routing still has enough support from golfers, that on occasions golfers get to start on the back nine first to play the original design.

Either way GrandeDunes is good golf, with six sets of tees that range in yardage from a lengthy 7,578, to a yardage up front of 5,353. GrandeDunes was voted the 2009 National Course of the Year, and in 2014 hosted the PGA Professional (club professional) national championship. Ten of it’s holes have water in play, but not always a major factor.

The GrandeDunes clubhouse sits behind the 18th green.

If your trip to GrandeDunes requires a some extra work before you tee off, the club has full practice facilities, including a driving range, chipping green with a greenside bunker, and a large putting green.

Indoors the clubhouse a bar and grill area, with a full sized dining room and locker room. GrandeDunes was designed to be a private club during it’s initial stage, so the feel and first class member style treatment remains a part of the club.

The par 5’s are no pushover, with the number one handicap hole being the 560 yard 13th hole,which is also the shortest of the courses four-par five holes. three of the four par 3 holes, can play over two hundred yards. Longer hitters will enjoy the shorter par 4, sixth hole. The back tee’s are at 365 yards, but the other tee’s are shorter and can be adjusted to play as a short par four.

If your golf getaway is ready for one of golf’s largest golf destinations, Myrtle Beach South Carolina. Make sure your stay and play includes the DoubleTree by Hilton and GrandeDunes Golf, see Grandedunesgolf.com or call (888)-886-8877.

Don’t forget you can now sign up for the 2019 World’s Largest Amateur, in Myrtle Beach coming in late August. It’s one of the most fun weeks of golf competition in the country.


 THE MISTWOOD GOLF DOME is now open daily until 10 PM, and is located on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook. This year the addition of Toptracer has golfers talking and improving their game all winter long, and getting dialed in on what they need in new equipment for the summer ahead. If your ready for a break this weekend from the snow, head over to the Mistwood Golf Dome, hit some balls and enjoy a beverage especially if you have had a workout moving snow. See Mistwoodgolfdome.com or call (630)-739-7600 #golf    _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Linkedin or Facebook. With Pinehurst Resort President Tom Pashley in the Deuce.

Pinehurst the home of American golf has been a busy place in recent years, and that won’t stop this year.

Pinehurst resort will host the 2019 U.S. Amateur in August and add another major championship in golf, to it’s long and impressive resume.

In recent years the resort has undergone numerous changes both on and off its golf courses.

In the last few months alone, the Gil Hanse renovation on Pinehurst #4 has been a huge success since the course reopened for play last fall. On a smaller scale the Cradle, the Pinehurst 789 yard bundle of fun nine hole par 3 course has been a busy place. The resort has created the Deuce, a sports bar styled area behind the 18th green of Pinehurst No.2 that has been a hit with members and resort guests alike.

Pinehurst Resort President Tom Pashley stands at the first tee of the redone Pinehurst #4 golf course.

There have been renovations to the resorts hotels, the historic Carolina, and the Holly Inn. The next big restoration is now underway with work happening at the Manor Inn, rooms will be set up for groups, with common rooms for meetings and activities.

The practice area’s have seen improvements, and the Thistle Due putting green has been moved and redone. A new swimming pool has emerged and is a hot, or shall we say cool spot in the summer months.

Changes were made to courses #1 and #3 to help make way for the Cradle. In between courses 2&4 there is a new halfway house under construction, that will be complete with an upper deck, or the Pinehurst version of the Crow’s Nest. If walking either course has you worn out at the turn, take a load off your feet for a few minutes. Just don’t keep your caddies waiting too long, or throw a wrench into the pace of play.

Pinehurst not only has the U.S. Amateur this year, but another U.S. Open in 2024. From all accounts they will be ready for both, even though the work at the Manor Inn should be wrapping up right about amateur week.

The man in the middle of all these projects is Pinehurst’s resort president Tom Pashley, whose watch has accomplished in just a few years, what some properties might need decades to do. Pashley and his team have moved Pinehurst forward into modern times, while preserving the resorts history and traditions. The restoration of the Donald Ross cottage that sits alongside of the Pinehurst No.2 that is now owned by the resort is a good example.

Click here to listen to the interview with Tom Pashley on everything Pinehurst.

One of the newest hot spots in Pinehurst is the Pinehurst Brewery, that is a big draw just about every night. If you like BBQ, or brick-oven pizza’s or your choice in variety of beers, many of them made locally, then the Pinehurst Brewery is for you. The brewery was created in the towns former steamplant that supplied the energy to the village. The only thing now coming out of the rebuilt brick-by-brick smokestack is the smell of some freshly cooked BBQ, and it smells great.

So whether it’s to go play some golf, drink some beer, or enjoy the other comforts in life mixed in through some southern hospitality, Pinehurst should be on your list of places to visit in 2019. Coming to watch the U.S. Amateur and seeing the professionals of the future is a great idea too. It’s always a beautiful day in Pinehurst. See Pinehurst.com. to plan your stay.


 THE MISTWOOD GOLF DOME is Chicago’s Premier golf dome, and has added the new Toptracer technology. Enjoy dome golf like never before, and while you are there check out McWethy’s Sports bar for great food, beverage and the place to catch all the sports action. Mistwood is a Top 100 in the country golf club fitter as rated by Golf Digest. Check out Mistwoodgolfdome.com to see the current fitting specials. Mistwood Golf Dome is located on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook (630)-793-7600. THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB is your home for simulator golf. With the addition of it’s simulator bays, the Schaumburg Golf Club has become a year-round golf facility. Have your game ready to go with Schaumburgs outdoor 27 holes opens for play the this spring. While playing on the simulators, order from Chandlers Chophouse right upstairs in the clubhouse. For more information see schaumburggolf.com or (847)-885-9000 located on Roselle Road _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Linkedin and Facebook. In the 18th fairway at Mid Pines, a Donald Ross Golf Course.

DONALD ROSS designed several courses in the Pinehurst-Southern Pines part of North Carolina, which is also known as the Sandhills area, which offers great land for fantastic golf.

While his masterpieces at the Pinehurst Resort draw much of the attention, his work in the Pinehurst area expands beyond the famous resort.

If you drive just a few minutes past the famed Pinehurst No.2 course, and down the street into Southern Pines, you will find two more Ross masterpieces that should be on any golfers hit list. The two courses are right across the street from another, they are Mid Pines and Pine Needles. They are part of the same resort, and they carry a bunker full history.

The opening tee shot at Mid Pines.

While Pine Needles gets most of the attention for having hosted three U.S. Women’s Open’s, and will host the 2019 U.S.Sr. Women’s Open, and another Women’s Open in 2022, the course across the street can hold hold it’s own with it’s sister property.

In fact Mid Pines is known to play a few strokes harder when it hosts stroke play tournaments of it’s own.

Mid Pines underwent a renovation in 2013 by architect Kyle Franz, who worked with Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore on the Pinehurst No.2 restoration, got his first break when he was hired to redo Mid Pines. Franz work on Mid Pines helped the golf course earn multiple awards from numerous national golf publications. Which then helped him land the renovation project at Pine Needles across the street.

The backside view of the Par 3, 8th hole on Mid Pines.

Mid Pines was the first of the two golf courses, opening in 1921, before Pine Needles in 1927. The Holly House that is rented out by resort visitors and golfers, was built while the golf course was being built. So the next time you visit Mid Pines, you do a have a chance to stay in an almost 100 year old house, right on the golf course.

Franz work turned out so well, the view for those who airmail shots over greens, practically get a hole that’s about as good playing another shot back to the green. Mid Pines is not a long course, playing only 6,732 from the back tees. The front tee’s of the four sets of tee’s measure in at 4,903.

The par 3, 13th hole at Mid Pines, from the back tee’s it plays 232 yards, the longest par 3 on the golf course.

Franz did a great job of mixing in waste bunkers that fit with the green sizes he was working with.

In these times as some modern day architects are creating waste bunkers that stretch out for tens or hundreds of yards, Franz made the Mid Pines bunkers and waste area’s look they were left as they were in 1921.

The new greens, tee’s and bunkers, mixed in with some limited tree removal has made Mid Pines a very comfortable playing golf course, that looks like Ross himself did the renovation now just over five years old.

the 18th green leading into the back of the Mid Pines hotel has been redone in recent years, with the removal and additions to the hotels patio’s.

The renovation of Mid Pines has made this cozy golf course, a little more playable with some tree removal. But the feeling of being comfortable between the pines, has never left. In fact the new changes also make the golf course a little easier to walk.

Which is what many of the players in the annual Hickory Open do, they walk. Each year the Mid Pines-Hickory Open attracts over 100 players who tee it up with the old sticks, and dress accordingly.

More good news is that Mid Pines will stay open during the U.S. Sr Women’s Open that runs from May 16-19. So if your in town for the championship, you can watch golf and play the Donald Ross Course right across the street from the open.

Mid Pines is a Donald Ross course anyone can play, and should if you enjoy golf or Donald Ross courses. For more information see Pineneedles-midpines.com or call (910)-692-2114.


THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB at 401 N. Roselle Road is a now a year round golf facility, and has upgraded it’s simulator bays to include courses like TPC Sawgrass (R) and the 2018 and 2020 Ryder Cup venues. Chandlers Chophouse is located right upstairs so enjoy great food while golfing. Schaumburggolf.com or (847)-885-9000.        _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Linkedin and Facebook. In the 18th fairway on the Mid Pines Golf Course.

THE 2019 GOLF SEASON IS UNDERWAY, and that’s a start. After heading south and east from the French Lick Resort, Pinehurst North Carolina has been the next stop.

This year I did not drive into Pinehurst right after a blizzard dumped 4-5 inches of snow on the ground. But the rain and cold temperatures have been a hassle, but I’m playing golf. I have six rounds in the books, and two more to go, before I leave town. Which I will do before the weekend and early next week before weather gets cold and rainy again.

There is so much going here in Pinehurst and the surrounding communities it’s hard to believe. For years this sleepy little part of North Carolina didn’t change much, that is no longer true. It’s more than just golf course renovations or golf related changes, so if your headed this way to play, or take in the two big golf events in 2019, your in for some fun.

Those two big golf tournaments are both USGA related. First on the tee in May from the 16th to the 19th is the U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Pine Needles, and then in August the U.S. Amateur at the Pinehurst Resort, on courses #2 and the recently renovated #4 by Gil Hanse.  I get a shot at #4 today, so I’ll see how that turned out and report back.

The weather has not been great, in fact if I was at home I probably would not have played due to the low 35-45 degree temperatures. Yesterday while on Pinehurst 2, the sun did come out the last 5 holes and temps jumped up to a balmy 53. That has been the warmest yet. Today will be better and that can’t come fast enough.

The Mistwood Golf Dome, Chicago’s premier golf done is now open daily until 10 PM, come check out Toptracer and McWethy’s Sportsbar. Mistwoodgolfdome.com or call (630)-739-7600

While golf at the Pinehurst Resort is outstanding, there are other options that are very good as well.

I went back to where my golf experience started in Pinehurst some 22 years ago, with a round on Mid Pines, an old classic Donald Ross course that’s really good especially after a renovation of a few years back. The Mid Pines Hotel is having work done and the property is improving across the board. Across the street Pine Needles is looking outstanding already with the U.S. Sr. Women’s Open only 4 months away. The ladies enjoyed the Chicago Golf Club last July, and they will enjoy a return to Pine Needles this May, that also has it’s fourth U.S. Women’s Open coming up in just a few years.

The Talamore Resort that includes Talamore and the Mid South Club is another winner and provides two great stay and play options. Another thing is the home building going up around both courses, don’t let articles that say buying a home on a golf course is a bad investment fool you. The home are going up at both Talamore and Mid South and there are no shortage of buyers.

I had a chance to play the Coore-Crenshaw design of the Dormie Club, that has a little bit of the scruffy look that golfers who enjoy Mike Keiser properties would enjoy. I’ll have a full story on the Dormie Club in the days ahead.

Pinehurst Resort is continuing to evolve. The new steam plant brewery is crowded every night, table waits can be 30-45 minutes but it’s worth the wait. The Cradle, the Gil Hanse 789 yard par 3 course is nothing short of fun. Complete with one of the more unique beverage carts you will ever see, and a few rocks in the love grass that serve as covers for the speakers that play music add a great touch. As I tee’d off on the third hole I found Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir playing through out the course, very good indeed.

The Cradle is the resorts tenth course, unofficially it’s Pinehurst #10, but No. 10 only has nine holes. Pinehurst that is known as the Home of American Golf or the Cradle of American Golf, really has something going with this fun short course.

If you love golf, then Pinehurst is the place for you. Or even if you don’t. I did meet a couple from Naperville that just moved to Pinehurst, sold their house in Illinois and just moved. They don’t even play golf, they just loved the area. It’s hard not to. RS