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.

CATCHING UP WITH ARCHITECT DAVID MCLAY-KIDD

WELCOME TO SAND VALLEY GOLF RESORT, in Nekoosa Wisconsin, Mammoth Dunes by David McLay Kidd now with all 18 holes open. Visit Sandvalleyresort.com.       _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation, Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or on Facebook, Linkedin and now Instagram. On the patio at Sand Valley Golf Resort.

THERE ARE now legions of golfers who know who David McLay Kidd is, and they all have Mike Keiser to thank for that.

It was just over 20 years ago when Keiser went to Scotland and got introduced to the son of golf course superintendent Jimmy Kidd the long time caretaker of Gleneagles. David Kidd had learned golf from his dad, he had worked the courses at Gleneagles growing up learning tee’s, greens, fairways, bunker styles and design.

As Kidd learned golf and golf courses, he decided that he could help build golf courses or restore them, which sounded like a better idea than just maintaining them on a daily basis.

Architect David McLay Kidd is proud of his Scottish heritage and proudly still wears a kilt.

In the Mid-1990’s when Keiser starts asking Kidd questions about designing a golf course that would be built on some sandy soil located next to an ocean, and at that time the land is covered by Gorse. Yes Gorse, that prickly shrub that most Americans only see on the television when the are watching the British Open.

By the time Keiser is finished with Kidd, he knows he has found his designer to help build a golf course on some land he has bought in Oregon, alongside of the Pacific Ocean. Kidd then travels to America, is excited about what he finds, and that the work to clear the Gorse and create Bandon Dunes is underway. Kidd’s stellar design that Keiser hopes will attract enough golfers to play 10,000 rounds in it’s first year so he can break-even from a financial standpoint, attracts so much play, that after two months Keiser knows his oceanside walking-only venue will likely produce close to 25,000 rounds in season number one. Immediately plans begin to build a second golf course, and Keiser hails Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to create 18 more holes that become Bandon Trails.

Golfers come from everywhere to play Bandon Dunes that sits on top of the Pacific Ocean shoreline.

With Kidd not landing anymore work at Bandon Dunes, he takes advantage of new his newly found popularity in America and sets up his own shop in Bend Oregon.

As Kidd moves on, so does Keiser. As time moves forward the two parties don’t seem to be on course to work together anytime soon. Then Kidd lands a project in Washington State, that becomes Gamble Sands, which is still emerging as a destination property.

As Keiser starts to zero in buying the property now known as Sand Valley, he calls Kidd to come see the land. Kidd hears central Wisconsin, and wonders if Keiser is crazy, but convinces Keiser to visit Gamble Sands to see his latest work. As Keiser walked off the 18th green, he calls Kidd, and tells him he loves Gamble Sands, and that Kidd has rediscovered the vision that made him so successful at Bandon Dunes.

The 6th hole at Gamble Sands in Washington State.

As a result Kidd is told he has a chance to design the first course on the land Keiser says he will buy in Wisconsin, and that he is likely to call Sand Valley.

Kidd heads to Wisconsin and checks out the sandy acreage, he creates a plan for the first 18 holes and submits it to Keiser.

Then on Christmas eve Kidd gets a call from Keiser, who is quick to wish Kidd a Merry Christmas before telling him that he has hired Coore and Crenshaw to build the first course at Sand Valley.

The Par 4, 6th hole on Mammoth Dunes, with a horseshoe styled green that is nothing short of “fun” to putt.

Kidd admits to being disappointed, but when opportunity knocks to built the second course at Sand Valley, and that he can use any of the remaining land that Coore and Crenshaw have not touched, he gets to work. His routing across much of the highest elevation on the property earns him the right to design Sand Valleys second golf course.

After coming up with the routing, that has the current third hole on Mammoth Dunes being his 18th hole, Keiser changes gears and announces the current location of the main clubhouse and villa’s and wants Mammoth Dunes to start and end at the new clubhouse location. Now the trick for Kidd is to make that all work, which he does and as a result, Mammoth Dunes is now drawing golfers from around the globe, and praise from the guests, media and national course raters of multiple golf publications.

Click here to hear the feature interview with architect David McLay Kidd, creator of Bandon Dunes, Mammoth Dunes, Gamble Sands, and likely to start work on Gamble Sands II in 2019.

During the interview, Kidd announces he has recently been selected by the owners of Gamble Sands to design the second course. While Tom Doak was recently named to create the third course at Sand Valley, the question is, might he get yet another chance to work for Mike Keiser at Sand Valley, or maybe somewhere else. There are those hush-hush Keiser projects that are still in hiding, likely behind the some sandy dunes, in the woods or along the coastline of a big body of water. Maybe that next announcement is not far off, hopefully it’s just not 20 years apart like it was from Bandon Dunes to Mammoth Dunes.

Golfers everywhere are eagerly waiting to hear about the next David McLay-Kidd and Mike Keiser project, it can’t come soon enough.

ERIN HILLS WRAPPING UP 2018 IN GREAT SHAPE

 NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITIES MEN’S GOLF TEAM your winners in this weeks Marquette University invitational at Erin Hills. TRISH JOHNSON is getting ready to defend her title in the SR. LPGA WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP at the French Lick Resort in 10 days. Tickets only $5 per day. October 15-17. Frenchlick.com for more information ______________________________________________________________________

It’s not too late, get your favorite foursome to Erin Hills, the course closes after play on Sunday October 14th for the season. The Gog Blog by Rory Spears, Director of Content and Creation, follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy and on Facebook, Linkedin and now Instagram.

ERIN HILLS home of the 2017 U.S. Open, is still open for 2018, but you need to hurry if you would like to get in a round on this public U.S. Open venue, that has turned into a great Midwest golf destination.

There is a fall special for the upcoming final week of the Erin Hills golf season, visit Erinhills.com to find out how much you can save with two rounds of golf and a 1 night stay in a cottage or room  in the lodge over the Erin Hills pub.

Since the pro’s and top amateurs left town Erin Hills has continued to make improvements and make the guest experience all that much better.

The U.S. Open collection on display in the main lobby, complete with Brooks Koepka’s 8-Iron.

There has been some improvements on the golf course. They include the redoing of the Par 3, 9th hole tee box, that is no longer just individual pads, but a fully connected larger teeing area that allow the hole to be played from angles never before attempted.

Erin Hills is not done adding that concept to a few other holes on the golf course, this fall that idea will be added to two other holes (hear our interview with Erin Hills professional Rich Tock for more details below).

U.S. Open venues with a plaque on one hole, give a sense of great golf history. That being said, Erin Hills has put down the Justin Thomas plaque, that is from the spot Thomas hit his over 300 yard 3-wood during Saturday’s third round when he shot his record open score of 63. (See plaque in picture above).

How about a comfortable bed in a Erin Hills cottage, that over looks the golf course.

Some of the other new highlights include, the Kettle Course for those who need a few holes of warm up when they arrive late in the day, before hitting a full 18 the next day.

Evening fun in the caddie barn, where the Ping-Pong tables, Pools tables, darts and other action all takes place.

Who needs a great beverage for after a round of golf on Erin Hills. The clubs new beverage is the Fescue Rescue, that is 1/3 Jamison’s, 1/3 Ginger Beer, 1/3 Lemonade, and some lemon juice. It’s goes down smooth on the rocks or not. If your at Erin Hills, no visit is complete without having at least one Fescue Rescue.

Click here to hear our interview with Erin Hills Professional Rich Tock, who recaps some U.S. Open, and what might be next with the USGA at Erin Hills.

10 days left in the golf season for 2018 at Erin Hills, with the some days coming next week. With only 16,000 rounds played at Erin Hills this summer, the course is in outstanding condition. Visit Erinhills.com for information on final week specials.

ERIN HILLS CADDIE CHRIS JOHNSON READIES FOR MSOP

 8 OF THE TOP PLAYERS in the UL International Crown, teeing off tonight in South Korea, catch all the action on The Golf Channel, 32 players, 8 countries, 1 Crown, the USA is the defending champion. WILSON GOLF GM TIM CLARKE, and former NHL star and Chicago Blackhawk Jeremy Roenick serves as judges on Driver vs Driver 2, see the path to the next new innovative driver by Wilson Golf, Tuesday nights on TGC.   ____________________________________________________________________

 

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Facebook, Linkedin and now Instagram. At the Justin Thomas Plaque in the 18th fairway at Erin Hills. L-R Roofing pros Perry & Glenn, Erin Hills pro Rick Tock, and yours truly. Photo by putting king Chris Johnson.

THERE IS AN OLD SAYING GOLF, that you Drive for Show and Putt for Dough.

For Erin Hills Caddie Chris Johnson that saying hits it dead center in the cup.

Last year Johnson made it all the way to Las Vegas, where he took second place in the Major Series of Putting (MSOP).

This year Johnson when he is not lugging bags around Erin Hills home of the 2017 U.S. Open and the 2011 U.S Amateur, Johnson is working on his putting, something that paid off pretty well for him last year in Las Vegas. With a second place finish in 2017, Johnson took home over $42,000 for sinking a few putts. Last month Johnson returned to a local MSOP qualifier at Cantigny Golf in Wheaton, and now he advances back to the Jack Nicklaus designed putting course on the Strip in Las Vegas, where he has another chance to take home $75,000.

Chris Johnson by the Caddie Barn at Erin Hills.

When your out playing golf at Erin Hills, there are plenty of good caddies, but on Erin Hills greens landing Johnson as your caddie can shave a few strokes off your scorecard.

Johnson doesn’t just stand off to the corner of the green and suggest you hit it one-ball out. He stands over your ball and gets a real look at what kind of putt you have, before you have to step up and roll it. Not bad considering what some caddies at top clubs, actually do give you before expecting a big fat tip. So when your round is done at Erin Hills and your enjoying a nice cold Fescue Rescue on the patio by the clubhouse or by the fire pit behind the pub. That golfer walking up the first fairway, might be Johnson heading out for some practice.

Click here to hear the interview with Erin Hills caddie and putting champion Chris Johnson.

The Major Series of Putting (MSOP.com) championship finals are October 23-28 on the strip in Las Vegas. If your in the town that never sleeps, go cheer on Chris. The MSOP is open to anyone who wants to pay the entrance fee to compete.

NORTHWESTERN WINS AT ERIN HILLS

 PEAKVISION SUN GLASSES designed by golfers for golfers, Peakvision.com. The season is not over yet, play Erin Hills a US Open venue you can play see Erinhills.com.  ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, and on Facebook, Linkedin and now Instagram.

Northwestern University just went north to Wisconsin and returned the favor.

It was only a week ago that Marquette University came down to Lake Forest  Illinois and won the Northwestern Invitational, the Windon Championship at the Knollwood Club.

But this time it was Northwestern’s turn to shine up in Wisconsin, as the Wildcats returned the favor and won the Marquette Intercollegiate at Erin Hills.

The Wildcats hung on to defeat the Arizona State Sun Devils by two shots, and host Marquette by 10. NU shot a three round total of 858, with ASU at 860 and Marquette at 868.

Northwestern with the winners flag from Erin Hills

Northwestern’s Director of Golf Pat Goss said, “our team worked really hard yesterday to get in the final pairing for the final round.”

The key to the final round and the win for NU, was the stellar play of all five of their players on the back nine, holes 12 through 16 where the five NU players shot a combined 15 under par. There was one eagle, 14 birdies and just one bogey.

Wildcat Ryan Lumsden shot a final round 67 to win the individual title.

Click here to interviews with Northwestern Universities Director of Golf Pat Goss, and Ryan Lumsden, followed by Marquette’s Hunter Eichhorn and Coach Steve Bailey.

Bailey the former NU assistant to Goss said if his team wasn’t taking home the trophy, he wouldn’t rather hand it to anyone else other than Goss, who he worked under for five seasons in Evanston.

The University of Iowa team suffered a tough break when they had to be Disqualified after Round 2, for not being able to post and official four-man team score. One player Matthew Walker was injured during play on the front nine and had to withdraw from play. Then on the back nine Gonzalo Leal Montero who was in second place at the time, had a misinterpretation of a rule and was disqualified. All six of the Hawkeyes players were able to compete in the final round.

Marquette University and Northwestern University will meet again in two weeks at the University of Indiana Invitational in Bloomington Indiana. Marquette also won the Northern Illinois Intercollegiate at Rich Harvest Farms last month.

THE GOG BLOG SPEAKS OUT-RYDER FLOP

  THE RYDER CUP STORE IS OPEN IN KOHLER, just looking ahead to a comeback that is needed. DestinationKohler.com. This week our interview with David McLay Kidd designer of Bandon Dunes, Mammoth Dunes and Gamble Sands and Gamble Sands 2 _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation, follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Facebook, Linkedin and now Instagram. Hitting the fairway on 16 at Whistling Straits.

IT WASN’T a hard prediction to make. You could feel Europe revving up for the Ryder Cup, over 51,000 a day on the golf course, and even the Tiger Woods PR hype machine, could not say everyone was there to see Tiger. In fact pretty much everyone was there for the atmosphere of the Ryder Cup.

They always are, and this year was no different, TV ratings were fine as always. What those viewers saw was another Team USA, who simply was not good enough. What Team USA needs, is more players like Justin Thomas, and less of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson who couldn’t even earn a half point over three days. Tiger was 0-4 and Phil was 0-2. I said three weeks ago, picking them both was a mistake, and it sure was. The blame however doesn’t fall completely on Tiger and Phil, they had plenty of help in handing the cup back to Europe.

I don’t know who the captain will be in 2020, hopefully Steve Stricker in his home state of Wisconsin at Whistling Straits. But the captains picks need to be smarter ones than this time. (2-10-0) was lowest percentage ever by Team USA captains selections. I don’t know how much pressure there was on Jim Furyk to pick Tiger and Phil, but it’s about time those picks contribute. Unfortunately Bryson DeChambeau didn’t deliver much either, the Ryder Cup rookie was 0-3-0. Tony Finau who was left hanging until being selected as the final member of Team USA, did some fine playing even crushing one of Europe’s hottest players Tommy Fleetwood 6&4 in the singles. Finau was 2-1-0 over three days of play.

Jordan Speith who had played well over the first two days, was exposed on social media by Patrick Reed’s wife Justine on Saturday, as not wanting to be partnered with her husband. Speith then went out and got crushed by Thorbjorn Olesen 5&4. Maybe the wife’s or girlfriends should stay off social media during the matches. Speith still has not won a singles match at the Ryder Cup.

What I do hope for, is that the recent task force that was put together by the PGA, isn’t reshuffled in major moves because of the loss. Another new task force with new idea’s is not needed. Kohler on the Lake will be here soon enough, now let’s just go play, and see who ends up making the team in some 22-23 months from now.

Golf architect David McLay Kidd, designer of Bandon Dunes, Mammoth Dunes and Gamble Sands to name a few.

It was great to catch up with architect David McLay Kidd this past week. Even better was the news that Kidd has been selected by the owners of Gamble Sands in the state of Washington to design the second course at that property that now has much needed over night rooms.

It was Kidd’s work at Gamble Sands that the Keiser family saw, than had them bring Kidd back to work at Sand Valley on Mammoth Dunes. My recent visit to SV, confirmed after playing the entire course this time around, that Mammoth Dunes is one of the best and most fun golf courses I have ever played. The Par 3 Sandbox Course by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw is a bunch of fun as well. My interview with Kidd will run later this week. So stay clicked in.

SPEAKING OF WISCONSIN, I’ll make my first visit back to Erin Hills over the next couple of days, since the 2017 U.S. Open. Marquette University has it’s college golf invitational there today and tomorrow. Marquette won the NIU invite at Rich Harvest Farms a few weeks back, and more recently Northwestern’s Windon invitational that was played at Knollwood last week. A few Illinois schools have made the trek north and I’ll be present for the final round tomorrow.

THE ILLINOIS MEN’S GOLF TEAM wins on the Yale Golf Course at the Macdonald Cup, with a 15 under par score. Bryan Baumgarten led the way for Illinois with an 8 under par score, he finished second for the tournament. THE ILLINI Women’s also had a 1st place finish at the Coeur D’Alene Collegiate with an even par score for the 3 round total. Freshman Crystal Wang led the way with a second place finish, by shooting a three day total of 1 under par. Illinois was second at this event last year, and should move up from their #23 ranking. Next up for the women’s is the Illini Invite next week at Medinah Country Club.

WHISTLING STRAITS and Kohler are now on the clock for the 2020 Ryder Cup, lets hope the USA can win back the cup on it’s home soil.

DRIVER vs DRIVER 2, hits the airways tomorrow night on The Golf Channel, and will run into early November. Wilson Golf has a plan in place with the USGA this time around, so the winner should be a conforming club right away.

OCTOBER is here and we are now fully into the fall golf season, get out and enjoy it while you can. It will be getting dark sooner by the day. RS

THE GOG BLOG’S MID-WEEK SHORT GAME NEWS UPDATE

 WILSON GOLF STAFF PLAYER KEVIN STREELMAN shows off the Driver vs Driver 2 hat in advance of the Wilson Golf Reality Golf program, that will be airing on The Golf Channel, starting on October 2nd, other segments will air on Oct. 9, 16, 23, 30, Nov. 6 and 13. IT’S RYDER CUP WEEK go Team USA, bring the Cup back home from France _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Facebook, Linkedin and now Instagram. In the broadcast booth at the 2016 Ryder Cup at HNGC.

IT’S RYDER CUP WEEK and the USA is looking to win on foreign soil for the first time in over 20 years. The matches start on Friday, and conclude on Sunday. TV times will start just past midnight, due to the time change from the USA to the Paris France area.

Some odds makers say the USA is the favorites this year, but Europe on it’s home turf is always tough to beat. Since the USA heads over in possession of the Ryder Cup, they will only need 14 points from the matches to retain the cup. Team Europe will need 14 1/2 points of the 28 points that are available, to claim the cup back to Europe. More on the Ryder Cup as the week continues here on the site.

The Ryder Cup now for sale in the Ryder Cup Store in Kohler Wisconsin, by the Inn on Woodlake.

ARE YOU READY FOR 20. Yes the Ryder Cup returns to the United States in 2020, and Haven/Kohler Wisconsin will be the hosts, as the Ryder Cup matches will be held on the Whistling Straits golf links part of the Kohler and the American Club resort.

Whistling Straits has already hosted the PGA Championship in 2004, 2010, and in 2015. It hosted the U.S. Senior Open back in 2007, and other events over the years during it’s 20 years.

Right now Kohler is offering a special 72 hour sale, if you book an upcoming visit by 5 PM this Friday, from the dates ahead of October 7, through January 31st, you can receive special rates on that visit, that include stays at the American Club, Inn on Woodlake, Blackwolf Run, Whistling Straits and the famed Kohler Waters Spa. Call (877)-257-4349 to make your reservations today. Visit Destinationkohler.com for information on this anniversary season in Kohler.

The Par 3, 11th hole on Pinehurst #4, recently redone by Gil Hanse, now open for play. See Pinehurst.com

IT’S OPEN FOR PLAY, Pinehurst #4 that has been recently renovated by architect Gil Hanse is now open for play. The course did get a little wet during the recent hurricane, but is in stellar condition and ready to go.

In some ways #4 is almost being called a new golf course, since the project is more that just a renovation or restoration. The look that Hanse installed is something that looks more like course #2 than some of the other designs in the resorts list of courses.

The USGA has already selected the golf course to be the second course for the 2019 U.S. Amateur that will be played at Pinehurst next August. More exciting news from Pinehurst is that new Pinehurst Brewery will be opening shortly. Details at the home of American Golf, Pinehurst.com.

DUSTIN JOHNSON at the Groundbreaking of his new Academy in Myrtle Beach SC. earlier this year.

PGA Tour star and USA Ryder Cup Team member Dustin Johnson, along with other celebrities are helping raise money for the Myrtle Beach area, that was affected by Hurricane Florence.

Music stars Hootie and Blowfish, NASCAR Champion Denny Hamlin, and the PGA Tour Superstores are also working to help the area’s victims.

On the golf scene in Myrtle Beach, at least 45 courses have now been open for a week, another 24 were reopened last weekend, with more courses having reopened this week. A vast majority of all courses in the Myrtle Beach area, are now open for play and welcoming back the golfers. Details at PlayGolfMrytleBeach.com.

The news thread will continue next week. RS

THE GOG BLOG SPEAKS OUT-EVERYTHING IS COMING UP ROSES

 IT’S RYDER CUP WEEK-FROM PARIS FRANCE. Can the USA win on foreign soil for the first time in years. (R) A massive gallery on the first tee at Hazeltine back in 2016.     _____________________________________________________________________

 

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter@GogBlogGuy, Facebook, Linkedin and now Instagram. With Le France National GM Paul Armitage at the 2016 Ryder Cup.

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR, every other year that gets golf fans worked up from around the world. It doesn’t matter who is on either team, it’s the Ryder Cup so galleries will be massive, and the TV ratings will be large.

USA vs Europe, the biggest and best international team golf matches that are held.

More on the Ryder Cup in the week ahead. But get ready for some great golf in a charged up atmosphere. Live from Paris France, where the matches will be held for the first time.

The big question, is can the USA win on foreign soil for the first time since before the calendar turned the year 2000. Will the Tiger Woods jinx hurt Team USA. Remember, the USA is undefeated since 2000 when Woods is not on the team (2-0), and they are (0-5) when he is playing.

EVERYTHING IS COMING UP ROSES for golf and Fed Ex Cup Champion Justin Rose, the real winner yesterday at East Lake just in case you hadn’t heard. In the outing for just 30 players in which about 25 or 26 of them already knew the outcome of the Fed Ex Cup, and spent the week getting ready for the Ryder Cup or some vacation time away from the tour. Rose has been playing solid golf in recent months and the WORLD #1 will be a big factor in this weeks Ryder Cup for Team Europe.

GOOD NEWS FOR THE WGA… It was nice to see the Western Golf Association be granted a Web.com event for the 2019 season. The Evans Scholars Invitational will be conducted in late May at the Glen Club. No word yet on who the sponsor will be, should one get named for the event. The WGA is hoping this fundraiser event, will help push the number of caddies in college for a single year to over 1,000 which is a major goal of the WGAESF, that they are hoping to meet within two years.

SAND VALLEY… I took the drive up to Nekoosa Wisconsin this past week to play the holes on Mammoth Dunes and the Par 3 Course the Sand Box, that were not finished when I visited the property last year. If you have not yet been to Sand Valley, or haven’t been there in the past year, it’s time to make the trip up before the resort closes for the year which is just about a month away. I will have more on my visit up to SV later in the week.

I PLAYED in the big event of the year at Mistwood Golf Club last week, The McWethy Cup, held in conjunction with owner Jim McWethy’s birthday every year. Happy Birthday to one of the great golf course and dome owners in the sport. A fun time was had by all, and Mistwood is in great shape. Kudo’s to superintendent Ben Kelnhofer and his team, the greens were unlike I had ever seen them before. Visit Mistwoodgc.com and play Mistwood before the season ends.

SUMMER is over, so says the calendar and the fall golf season is underway. Fall is one of the best times of year to play golf, so get out and hit it. Many courses will start offering fall discounts, so why not take advantage of them and enjoy.

IF YOUR READY FOR MORE CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF, head down to the French Lick Resort October 15-17 to see the LPGA Sr. Women’s Championship. Defending Champion Trish Johnson is back, and so is U.S. Sr. Women’s Open Champion from the Chicago Golf Club Laura Davies, see Frenchlick.com for more details. French Lick has announced a room expansion at the resort.

THE GOG BLOG returns this week, so stay clicked in. RS

CONGRESSIONAL AND PGA TEAM UP FOR 8 CHAMPIONSHIPS

 PINEHURST #4 by GIL HANSE IS OPEN FOR PLAY, and Pinehurst Resort President Tom Pashley welcomes all golfers to the home of American Golf to see Hanse’s latest work, and newest improvements to Pinehurst. For more information see Pinehurst.com.  ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Folow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, and on Facebook, Linkedin and now Instagram. At one of the classics, Chicago Golf.

In it’s latest multi-year, multi-event deal, the PGA of America has teamed up with the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda Maryland, to have CCC host 8 of it’s championships over the next 18 years.

Congressional lands the 2036 Ryder Cup, the 2031 PGA Championship, the Women’s PGA Championship in 2022-2027, the Senior PGA Championship in 2025 and 2033, the PGA Professional Championship in 2029, and the PGA Junior Boys and Girls Championship in 2024.

The championships will be played on the clubs Blue Course, that was first built in 1924 by Devereux Emmet. The Blue Course was later renovated by Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones and Rees Jones. The course will be renovated again in 2019 by Keith Foster.

Pga.com and Congressional Country Club

Congressional will additionally host a PGA Hope event annually over the years, that helps introduce the game of golf to our veterans.

The clubs hisotry dates back to 1921, so that members of Congress would have a social place to meet with business leaders. The club has a rich golf history that includes the 1976 PGA Championship won by Dave Stockton. There have been three U.S. Open’s contested at Congressional, 2011 won by Rory McIlroy, 1997 won by Ernie Els and the battle in the blistering heat won by Ken Venturi in 1964. Congressional has also hosted the 1995 U.S. Sr. Open, 1959 U.S. Women’s Amateur and multiple PGA Tour events.

ARCHITECT KEITH FOSTER using the Digital Sloper on the greens at the Baltimore Country Club during the 2014 Renovation.

“This partnership with Congressional Country Club and it’s membership is monumental in scope and stature, and we are excited to showcase the range of championships and events the PGA has to offer,” said PGA of America Interim CEO John Easterbrook. “We’re also looking forward to building a lasting relationship with the legions of golf fans that very knowledgeable from the Maryland, Virginia, and District of Columbia, and believe they will enjoy their time with us and marvel at the talents we will bring to Congressional in the following years.”

“Congressional Country Club is proud to be partnering with the PGA of America and looks forward to creating future championship history,” said Bev Lane, President of Congressional Country Club. “The PGA of America and it’s nearly 29,000 professionals represent the very best that golf has to offer. We are excited to bring major championship golf back to Congressional and represent our country and the Nation’s Capital as the host of the 2036 Ryder Cup.”

During an exchange of emails with Golfers on Golf, Foster said he is excited to be working at Congressional, and called it a big time project. Restoration work begins in 2019, and the course should reopen in at some point in 2020.

WGA ANNOUNCES NEW WEB TOURNAMENT

 PINEHURST #4 by Gil Hanse is now open for play, see Pinehurst.com for details. THE NEWEST arrival on the sunglasses scene is Peakvision, visit Peakvision.com for more.  _____________________________________________________________________

  THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, and on Linkedin, Facebook, and now Instagram. Web.com Tour  ______________________________________________________________________

WGAESF.org

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT the Web.com Tour was leaving Chicago, it returns with a new face, a new logo, and at a new location. Rust-Oleum and their spray paint and cans of stain are gone, along with the Ivanhoe Country Club. The WGA, it’s caddies and the Glen Club are in, with the announcement of the new Chicago area based Web.com event the Evans Scholars Invitational.

The dates for the new event will be from May 20-26 in 2019. This new four year partnership runs through 2022. All proceeds will benefit the Evans Scholars Foundation.

The Glen Club, home of the Illinois PGA and the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame.

“We’re very excited and pleased to be expanding our championship operations to include an annual event on the web.com Tour,” said WGA Chairman Frank Morley. “This new event will feature the future stars of golf, including many that have competed in our Western Junior and Western Amateur Championships. Combined with our annual BMW Championship, this allows us to be a part of these players development throughout their competitive years.”

The championship gives the WGA another major fundraising opportunity for the Evans Scholars Foundation.

“Our goal is to have 1,000 caddies in college in 2020,” Morley said. “To reach that number and provide for future growth, we need these fundraising opportunities. This event  will help us do that, while also building further awareness of the WGA and our focus on championships and scholarships.”

Web.com Tour President Dan Glod says,” with the incredible work being done in the Chicago area by the (ESF) we will be able to leave a meaningful footprint here in the greater Chicago community.”

“Anything that the Western Golf Association does is first class,” said KemperSports President Josh Lesnik. (KSM manages the Glen Club). “It’s an honor for us to host the Evans Scholars Invitational at the Glen Club to showcase the next generation of great golfers and help raise money to send deserving caddies to college.”

For more information on this new event please visit PGATOUR.com. For more details on this event as they emerge, continue to click on Golfersongolf.com.

THE GOG BLOG SPEAKS OUT-COLLEGE GOLF AND THENSOME

 THE FRENCH LICK RESORT proudly presents the second Sr. LPGA Championship to be contested on the Pete Dye Golf Course. Defending champion Trish Johnson returns and U.S. Senior Open Champion Laura Davies will compete looking to win both senior women’s major championships this year. For details see Frenchlick.com. Oct. 15-17th.    ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation, follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Facebook, Linkedin and now Instagram. On the Par 3-Cradle at Pinehurst, which is wet this week. Stay dry everyone there.

IT WAS A GREAT WEEKEND FOR COLLEGE GOLF this past weekend in the Chicago area.

Both the University of Illinois and Northern Illinois University held their invitationals this past weekend. It would have been nice if they were scheduled a week apart, but just as this year has gone, we can’t schedule a golf event in the Chicago area, unless there is already one scheduled for the same day or week already.

Many of the top college powers were here, including nine of the Top 25 schools at the Illinois event. Defending national champions Oklahoma State won by plenty at Olympia Fields and according to Illinois head coach Mike Small they deserved it. I spoke with Small this morning about the tournament and Illinois Jr. Michael Feagles the lone Illini under par (69 -1) in yesterdays final round and below are their thoughts. Small was still shaking his head on how Illinois led the entire field in birdies made, but lost the championship by 33 shots and finished in 6th place. Illinois now has two weeks to get ready for the Macdonald Cup on the Yale University course.

Click here to hear interviews with Michael Feagles and then Illinois Coach Mike Small.

Illinois was 15 shots back of second place USC. The Olympia Fields North Course was set up at a par of 70 and over 7,300 yards, with the pin placements being those that were used for the 2003 U.S. Open. The golf course was in outstanding condition and Director of Grounds Sam Mackenzie and his crew should get credit.

IN SUGAR GROVE at Rich Harvest Farms it was Marquette that held off Notre Dame for the win by one shot. While I was at Olympia Fields on Sunday, I was at Rich Harvest Farms on Saturday, and was the only local media outlet covering either event.

While I did not see this in person, I was told by multiple sources that behavior by a few of the coaches at RHF was out of line. One coach drove his cart up on a tee box to speak with one of his players, and another had a cart on the side of a tee box, and another had his cart on the side-slope of a green and almost on the putting surface. SERIOUSLY !!! if you are a D1 college coach, please set an example for your team and others watching, instead of being someone who looks like they don’t know anything about the sport they are coaching.

The members of RHF can’t do that, so why should some visiting college coach get away with that type of poor behavior. It should cost that coaches team 2-shots, with an assessed penalty.

Maybe it’s coaches trying to over coach, that pace-of-play was a disaster at RHF. The first round on Saturday was almost six hours, so as a result Round 2 on Saturday did not finish. Players had anywhere from 2-5 holes left to play on Sunday morning from Round 2, before Round 3 could start. Pace of play at Olympia Fields was running just over five hours per round.

COURSE NOTES… at Olympia Fields.

The men’s grill at Olympia Fields.

The men’s grill and the dining room are getting redone as a result of water damage, that occurred on January 2nd of this year, when at 2 AM a water pipe broke and started flooding the clubhouse. It was not until almost 6 Am that the leak was discovered by security.

Both area’s that were part of the clubs master plan for a redo-saw the time table get bumped up. The clubs new 1915 club looks great along with area’s in both of the locker rooms that have been upgraded. Architect Keith Foster returns next month to present his plan to clubs board for improvements on both the North and South Course’s. Foster one of the best in the golf architect business, will really put the shine back on OFCC’s diamond if the board allows him to proceed.

AT RICH HARVEST FARMS…tournament season returns over the next three years as RHF will host the 2019 Western Junior Golf Championship. In 2020, the Big Ten Men’s conference championship comes to town, and in 2021 the Palmer Cup returns and unlike in 2015, there is now both a men’s ans women’s division for the event.

What about 2022 at RHF. Stay tuned, professional golf might be a possibility by then, let’s hope so.

THERE IS NO DECISION YET, but as of earlier today the debate was on whether to open the Gil Hanse renovated Pinehurst Course #4 as scheduled this Friday. Pinehurst is not flooded, but has received quite a bit of rain from Hurricane Florence. Even the sandhills area is well soaked.

KUDO’s to the membership at White Eagle Country Club in Naperville, as architect Todd Quitno who is doing great work at the Schaumburg Golf Club, will be working on renovations just approved by the clubs board at White Eagle.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Mistwood Golf Club and McQ’s Dome owner Jim McWethy, who will celebrate by hosting the annual McWethy Cup tomorrow at Mistwood. I predict a good time will be had by all in attendance. See Mistwoodgc.com.

I DID play at Mt. Prospect Golf Club last week, and the course is in great condition, and has really grown in from the renovation work done a few years ago. I suggest a round at Mt. Prospect before the season ends.

IT WAS fun to be at the grand opening of the new PXG Fitting studio located on Techny Road in Northbrook, the studio the first of it’s kind, should bring more golfers with the bigger budget to spend on clubs, into the fold of PXG (Parson’s Xtreme Golf). Owner Bob Parson’s is one colorful guy, that every person who loves golf should have a chance to meet on a golf course, or in the 19th hole someday. He loves the game.

I’m off to Sand Valley later this week, I’ll have a recap on that trip and visit to the Par 3 Sandbox, and Mammoth Dunes later this week. Golf season is slipping away, get out and play everyone. RS