BG DomeDSC02180 Upper Deck BG dome island greens DS        The Award Winning Buffalo Grove Golf & Sports Center has the dome open for the winter golf season on Old McHenry Road in Buffalo Grove. Call (847)-459-2321 or visit online Come by for the next Instructor Todd Sones free clinic on Jan. 21st at 6:30 PM. Why the driver swing is different, is the topic. Customer Appreciation Day is Feb. 7th from 11-2 PM.


By: Rory Spears, Editor & Director of Content. Follow Rory & Golfers on Golf on Twitter @GogBlogGuy

DSC02764 Flynn house on lancaster DS

Course architect William S. Flynn would stay in this house on the course when he worked at Lancaster.

It’s one of the great classic courses in America. Lancaster Country Club that dates back to the year 1900, will have one of it’s great moments in club history this summer when it hosts the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open.

USGA Executive Director Mike Davis took an invitation from a member of the club to come play Lancaster and fell in love right away. Davis knew the golf course would be right for an open. The question was, would it be a U.S Senior Open or a U.S. Women’s Open. Several months later the women won out. As a result, Michelle Wie will defend her title she won last year at Pinehurst on this great classic golf course.

DSC02761 lancaster 1st tee DS

The opening tee shot at Lancaster.

Lancaster is southeast of Harrisburg PA., and just under a 100 miles west of Philadelphia.

The response to this open has been overwhelming for a women’s open. The force of volunteers that normally takes to the last minute, was sold out quickly over one year out. Hospitality is selling and ticket sales are moving along. The players in this years field, are in for a special week.

For more on the U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster coming the second week of July, visit the website

DSC02760 lancaster 3rd par 4 DS

Elevation change will be significant on some holes, like the par 4, 3rd hole.

The golf course is a William S. Flynn design as the plaque on the first tee will tell you. But A.W. Tillinghast and the famed Donald Ross have had a look at it over the years.

In regards to golf design Flynn has this thought.

“The principal consideration of the architect is to design his course in a such a way as to hold the interest of the player from the first tee to the last green and to present the problems of various holes in such a way that they register in the player’s mind as he stands on the tee or on the fairway with a shot to the green.” Those who know Lancaster will tell you that Flynn did just that with his work at the course.

DSC02762 lancaster par 5 7th DS

The par 5, 7th hole has some great risk reward opportunities. Both in regular play and during the open.

One of the key holes on the front nine of the course is the par 5, 7th hole. The green is fronted by water on an approach shot to the middle and right side of green.

Davis has added an upper level tee for this hole near the third tee to add some excitement. With a good drive here, players will go for the green in two shots.

Depending on the set up, this hole will be looked upon as a birdie hole.

Classic golf courses have a hole or two that really stand out and define the course. That hole at Lancaster is the par 3, 12th hole.

DSC02763 Lancaster par3 12th DS

The par 3, 12th hole is a downhill shot to a sloped green, that sits just behind a creek.

It’s not exactly the par 3, 12th at Augusta National, but it’s one of the great par 3 holes you will ever play.

Perhaps from Flynn’s line of work, only the par 3, 4th at the Cascades Course at the Homestead, or the 17th hole at the famed Shinnecock Hills on Long Island draw as much attention.

The tee shot is about 175 yards downhill to a sloped green. If your long your in a deep bunker, the comeback shot could roll off the front into the creek. The creek must be cleared on the tee shot, and when the pin sits on the front of green, the nerves here get a little jumpy. It will be interesting how many birdies are made here during the open.

DSC02765 lancaster 14th DS

The Par 4, 14th hole, along with the 18th hole (just right of the trees). Are uphill demanding par 4’s.

From the 13th hole on, are a demanding stretch of holes that will challenge any golfer. But what they are is pure golf the way the game should be played.

In recent years Davis added some tee boxes and made a few other changes to the course for the open. Additional work was done by Flynn course restoration specialists Ron Forse and Jim Nagle. The project had several objectives to complete, including the restoration of some Flynn concepts that had been lost over the years. Those characteristics were restored, while enhancing the infrastructure of the golf course.

In 2013 the Women’s Western Golf Association (WWGA) held their national amateur championship at Lancaster, and the players gave the course very high reviews. Some players to do expect to return this year for the open. The club has a second golf course and a full driving range and practice facility.

To learn more about Lancaster please visit


DSC01763 Links & Tee's dome DSDSC03646 Links and tees dome DS    The Links and Tee’s Golf Dome on Lake Street in Addison. Friday night Country Nights are underway. Customer appreciation day is Saturday January 31st, prizes, games, equipment companies and more. 11-2 PM. See or call (630)-233-7275 Ext 4.

Rory on 18 Wissahickon approach shot DS


It’s nice to be back and writing again, the internet and more provider had us knocked off line for the last five days, so it’s been hard to crank out the product. Finally all is well and I’m back up and running.

So is the PGA Tour, yes I still consider the Kapalua Maui stop the start of the golf season. Sorry, but I’m not into the wrap-around concept. 2015 really shouldn’t start before it does.

Patrick Reed gets the first “W” of the year, over taking defending champion Zach Johnson and a few others, he earns a return trip to Kapalua in 2016. Reed is a golfer that the golf media needs to watch, this young emerging start has some game. Maybe just maybe some of the golf networks and social media pages they have will focus more on guys like him. As the Global Golf Post writes this week, the guard is changing on the PGA Tour.

gog-blog-logo2 Follow us on Twitter @GogBlogGuy


One of our local golfers is starting to make his mark on tour, Carlos Sainz Jr. of Elgin earned his tour card for this year. Sainz will be playing in most of the west coast swing events, good luck Carlos. Sainz won the 2013 Chicago Open at Cantigny and has knocked on the door at the Illinois Open.

Speaking of the Illinois Open, there has nobody speaking about what the deal will be regarding the Illinois Open for 2015. It seems the announcement that would tell us when and what two courses are being used is still on hold. The Illinois PGA and KemperSports are still pulling this together. If the courses that are to be used are going to be KSM operated courses, our choice would be a combination of Royal Melbourne and Hawthorn Woods. With Royal Melbourne hosting the final round, what a great new setting this could be. This would beat the alternative of going to Harborside International, while Harborside is a fine facility, it’s location would create issues the players don’t need.

The PGA Merchandise Show tee’s off in Orlando next week, I’ll be headed down again this year to check out what’s new and improved. Follow our coverage next week and beyond as I review the products. after the show I’ll be visiting some destinations you will wish to visit in the days, weeks and months ahead. Stay clicked in for our reviews.

My sources tell me that the area golf domes have been busy and that’s a good thing. I’m sure that many golfers are testing their new golf clubs that they received or purchased at the holidays. If your still in the testing mode before purchasing, hit some of the upcoming demo days around town. Get yourself fitted and get a good deal on price as well if you order new clubs at the demo days.

BG Dome

See or call (847)-459-2321. 801 McHenry Road in Buffalo Grove, open daily.

If you have taken a break from playing golf over our winter, it’s time to work the rust off. Before long that spring golf getaway will be here, or the snow will be melting and it will be time to play. Your league will be starting or that outing you look forward to will be on the calendar.

In the meantime, enjoy the Sony Championship from Hawaii this week, watch that for a little while and you will wish you were there. I made the trip over ABT Electronics this past week, watching golf from Hawaii on some of those big screen TV’s in high definition is really something to see.

The Gog Blog and Golfers on Golf sends it’s congratulations to Chad Johansen at Blackberry Oaks in Bristol. Johnasen the head professional, is now the GM and Director of Instruction as well. That’s a lot of hats Chad, good luck.

The Gog Blog hits the road this weekend, but a few more stories and news updates before the trip begins, stay clicked in. RS



DSC03646 Links and tees dome DSNew_GRAA_Logo DSlinksandteeslogo       Country Night is here, Friday Nights at Links & Tee’s. Wear in a Cowboy Hat and get a deal on hitting balls. The country tunes will be on. Customer appreciation day will be on Jan. 31st from 11-2. or call (630)-233-7275 Ext 4.



kyle kochevar US

KYLE KOCHEVAR with the Patriot All America Trophy


The Folds of Honor sponsored Patriot All America tournament recently played in Phoenix was won by Kyle Kochevar.

Kochevar who played his high school golf at west suburban Glenbard West, is now a member of the University of Virginia Cavaliers golf team. Kochevar is a Redshirt-Junior so he has this spring and two more seasons with the now 8th ranked in country, Cavaliers.

The Patriot All America Tournament is just that, a tournament that is played by golfers who have made All-American status at any level of college golf or through AJGA.

This year the tournament that is sponsored by the Folds of Honor Association, had 85 players come to Phoenix, for a 54 hole tournament played at the Wigwam Golf Club.

The first two days of the championship the temperatures were normal for that time of year in Arizona, the low 60’s. But things changed for the third and final round. The field of 85 players had to battle not only high temperatures of 45 degrees, but winds that gusted between 20-30 Mph.

Headed into the final round Kochevar had some ground to make up. But knowing that some of players in the field weren’t excited about the conditions, the native of cold weather in Illinois golf felt like he could make a charge being only three shots back at the start of the round.

Kochevar’s confidence could have been shattered right off the first green when he bogeyed the first hole. From there he settled down and went on to a round of 68, which as it turns out, was not the best round of the day. When Kochevar finished, his dad Dan Kochevar one of the best IPGA teachers in Illinois told him that he might be in a playoff.

A player who started the day behind Kochevar had rallied, and was in position to win the championship until Kochevar posted his 68 to tie him.

DSC03662 kyle Kochevar ds

Kyle Kochevar works on his game this week at the White Pines Golf Dome in Bensenville.

The 36 hole leader fell back under the cold and windy conditions, so Kochevar headed out for a 2-man playoff. One that went two holes.

Kochevar won the playoff with a par, when his opponent got as Kochevar says, “a little unlucky with his par putt.”

With the conditions being what they were, Kochevar says the key to his final round score was his short game. He was able to get up and down from around the green on multiple occasions. During the tournament all 85 players carried a golf bag with the name of a fallen hero embroidered on the bag. The bags are auctioned off and the money goes to the Folds of Honor Foundation for scholarships children of military members.

Click hear to hear an interview with Kyle Kochevar.

Kochevar won a trophy with a model of the new X-35 fighter jet on top. He gets a fighter pilots jacket with his name on it. As part of their coverage that was saluting our veterans over the holidays, ESPN was on hand at the tournament and showed Kochevar on Sportscenter. Next week Kochevars holiday break will be over, and he will head back to Virginia, hoping to help the Cavaliers make it to the NCAA National Championship in May.


BG DomeNew_GRAA_Logo DS  Buffalo Grove Golf and Sports Center is open for the winter. Highly rated instructor Todd Sones will be conducting a free clinic tonight in the dome. Putting, it’s as simple as 1-2-3. The dome is located at 801 McHenry Road in Buffalo Grove, call (847)-459-2321 or visit for more information.


BY: Rory Spears, Editor & Director of Content

DSC02713 SVCC Clubhouse 1 DS

The Saucon Valley Clubhouse in Bethlehem PA.

It’s one of the great historic clubs in the country, located one hour north of Philadelphia, Saucon Valley Country Club is a tribute to what golf is all about.

The club has three 18 hole layouts and a short course. There is mixed opinion on which of the courses there is the best, because of all of them are that good.

The Old Course was the first 18 holes and it opened in 1920, it was designed by British architect Herbert Strong, was from Royal St. George’s. Strong’s best known work in America is said to be the Canterbury Golf Club in the suburbs of Cleveland.

DSC02702 Saucon Valley Old Course 1st tee shot DS

The first tee shot at Saucon Valley’s Old Course.

Strong’s work on the Old Course has been touched up along the way by the likes of William Gordon, Perry Maxwell and Tom Marzolf of the Fazio Group.

The back tee’s sit at just 7,126 but the rolling terrain of this course that was once a farm, makes it play longer than the yardage on the scorecard. The member tee’s play at 6,800 yards.

Seven USGA national championships have been played on the Old Course, including the Mid-Amateur Championship this past year. The other championships include the 1951 U.S. Amateur, the 1983 Junior Amateur, 1987 Senior Amateur, two U.S. Sr. Opens in 1992 and 2000, and the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open.

DSC02704 Saucon Valley OC 2nd DS

The Par 4, second hole on the Old Course

The opening hole is a par 5 that goes out, up and down to the green. With the second hole turning around the golfer and running them right back up the hill to the clubhouse.

The second shot is uphill and demanding, especially if you find the rough left of the fairway. But golfers that hit it long coming into the green, can end up in some trees and bushes behind the green. This par 4, 474 yard hole quickly tests your long game.

By the late 1940’s the club decided that second course was needed, as the membership was getting bigger. Architect William Gordon got the call to design the golf course. Gordon had worked on name projects with other architects when he was coming up through the ranks.

Those included William Flynn at Shinnecock Hills, Donald Ross at Seminole, Willie park Jr. at Maidstone, and Devereux Emmet at Garden City. It was then that the “Grace Course” was built, in honor of club founder Eugene Gifford Grace who helped shape the club as it is today.

DSC02705 Saucon valley OC 1st par 3 on back 11 DS

The Par 3, 174 yard 11th hole on the Old Course.

Grace was the president of Bethlehem Steel, a position he held for some 40 years. Grace was not only a big player in the steel industry, but in golf as well. He was called a, “friend of the game” by those who knew him. Saucon Valley considers it great honor that the course is named after a man described as a visionary.

The Grace Course does not return to the clubhouse after nine holes, but at the turn golfers can visit the famed halfway house that’s called “Villa Pazzetti.” From the tips the course plays at 7,051 yards,with greens less undulated but much bigger than the Old Course.

DSC02711 SVCC OC 18 DS

The 18th hole at Saucon Valley, with a great 19th hole just right of the green.

The Par 3, 11th hole on the Grace Course is modeled after the famed “Eden Hole’ the 11th at St. Andrews in Scotland.

Three solid par 4 holes make up holes 16-17-18, the shortest one of the holes is the 437 yard 17th hole. These holes will test any golfers game.

The third 18 hole course that makes up the club is the Weyhill Course, that was designed by Gordon. The course was built on a farm that had previously been owned by an executive of Bethlehem steel. The elevation changes on Weyhill are much different than the other courses. Members will tell you that Weyhill is the most picturesque of the three courses.

The Weyhill course opened for play in 1968. Two years later the course had it’s name changed to “Bent Creek Golf Course”, after Quincy Bent who had owned the property and Saucon Creek that ran through the golf course. But two years later the name was changed back to Weyhill.

DSC02715 Weyhill House DS

The Weyhill House provides overnight lodging for members and their guests.

Two of the most talked about holes on the Weyhill Course, are the 14th and the 15th holes.

The 14th hole is a par 3, that plays 176 yards and tee shots must carry a quarry to a severely sloped green. The 15th hole has been compared to the second hole at Pine Valley, golfers need to hit their approach shot into an elevated green that’s guarded by several bunkers.

The club has tennis and other activities for the members. The Weyhill House for overnight stays, is highly rated for it’s first class service and its amenities. For more information on the club please visit





DSC01919 Rory on 17 at kinderlou Forest DS

The 2015 golf season is now expected to start at the Kinderlou Forest Golf Club in Valdosta GA.

Winter is here, it has arrived in force. The rain mixed with snow, turned into snow and now the temperatures will go down the drain at least for this week anyway.

OKAY, I admit it. I can’t wait to depart for the PGA Merchandise Show coming up in two weeks in Orlando. I hope you will stay clicked in and check out our coverage from Florida and all of the other stops on the way down and back home again.

To start the 2015 golf season, it looks like I’ll hit the domes here around town for a little practice. It’s been about two months of recharging the batteries so I can hit the course running in 2015. My first stop on the road appears to be the very nice Kinderlou Forest Golf Club, that sits within a nice development in Valdosta Georgia. I stayed here last year and found that Kinderlou has maybe the best villa’s you will ever find. The Davis Love III/ Bob Spence designed course is a good one. The facility is open to the public and if you are headed south this winter and not by plane, you need to stop in for 18 holes and more. Some great BBQ and steakhouses in the area, that is only 10 miles from the Florida state line.

In the meantime, I’ll have more segments of our “Great Golf on Cold Day” coming along. My tour of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York’s top courses is not over. For those of you have responded with kind comments about my stories on these great clubs, I Thank You. Hopefully while sitting home and trying to keep warm, and in between digging out the driveway, these features will get you fired up for a dome visit, a warm weather destination trip, or just ready to go hit it here in Illinois when the snow melts.

If your in need of new equipment, watch the dome schedules for upcoming demo days from the club manufacturers. I’ll try and post them as I get them. But all the area domes should be having them before too long, especially when the reps return from the show.

Looking ahead, some of the upcoming clubs include. Saucon Valley PA., Lancaster Country Club PA., Scioto Country Club OH., Bethpage Black NY., Shinnecock Hills, and a few more classic courses from the Long Island area.

linksandteeslogo or Call (630)-233-7275 X 4. Links & Tee’s on Lake Avenue in Addison.

Yes I know some of these courses I listed are private clubs, but these days more and more clubs are letting in some outside play. Early or late in the year is one way to approach it. Are you looking to join a club, some courses looking for members will let you play once so you can test drive the golf course.

There are charity outings and tournaments at some clubs that could be on your hit list. Clubs looking to do, or having just completed costly renovations to the course or the clubhouse might be looking for some extra revenue, so don’t be afraid to inquire. Sometimes if you buy tickets to tournaments, they are contests to get a round of golf there, sometimes even free golf.

It’s too bad the weather hit when it did over the weekend. The Eskimo Open golfers at Cog Hill deserved better, than thinking they would have pretty good conditions to play in, when last year was awful. It appears the field of 150 players got reduced to a number in the Mid-80’s.

See you at the domes over the next two weeks everyone. Then it’s time for golf trip No.1 of 2015. 2015 is here, Go Hit It. RS


DSC01763 Links & Tee's dome DSDSC01759 Links & Tees chipping green DSDSC03493 Ready to rock DS   The Links & Tee’s Golf Dome on Lake Street in Addison, is open for the winter. Come take part on a wild kicking country music special this Friday night. Discounts for those who wear cowboys hats and clothes. or call (630)-233-7275 Ext 4.

DSC02754 Me at PCC 2 DS by Rory Spears. Editor & Director of Content. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy FB or Linkedin.

The nations oldest country club is not in New York or Boston or even Rhode Island. It’s in Philadelphia and it’s not Merion, no it’s the Philadelphia Cricket Club (PCC).

Philly Cricket is located on multiple sites as it has moved around over the years. But there is golf on the original site of the club. It might not be 18 holes anymore, but the St. Martins Course is still a treasure especially after having some renovation work done by architect Keith Foster during his time spent on PCC’s Wissahickon Course.

If you haven’t heard of the Wissahickon Course at Philly Cricket, you soon will. Fosters renovation work has put the course back on the map. Most if not all of the major golf publications are ranking it the top restoration project of 2014. Don’t be surprised if it enters Golfweek Magazine’s Top 100 Classic Course list.

DSC02750 Philadelphia Cricket Club Wissahickon 18 DS

The famed par 4, 18th on Wissahickon. One of the great closing par 4’s on a classic golf course.

Wissahickon is an old A.W. Tillinghast design. In fact Tillingahst loved the club and area so much, he not only spent a lot of time there, his ashes were spread into the creek that runs across the 18th hole (at bottom of hill) just to the right of the road to the right of the 18th green.

Foster has done a magnificent job on restoring the golf course, as a result Foster landed projects on Long Island at Sands Point, and at the Baltimore Country Club, both Tillinghast designs. Sands Point reopened in 2014 (coming up soon in this segment of GGOACD) and Baltimore CC East Course will be open this coming June or July.

DSC02747 Wissahickon 4 and 5 PCC DS

Wissahickon holes 4 green front, Par 3, 5th in rear.

Philly Cricket is the only club in America that has opened a new golf course in each of the past three centuries.

The first course St. Martins opened in 1895, it was a Willie Tucker design. The course hosted two U.S. Open’s the first one in 1907 won by Alec Ross, and the second one in 1910 won by Alex Smith. A loop around the 9-hole course, is like going back in time to play golf.

DSC02744 9th hole at St. Martins course PCC DS

The 9th hole at St. Martins, that takes you into the main building that makes up the Philadelphia Cricket Club.

Tillinghast was not only the architect of the Wissahickon Course, but he was a club member as well. While the St. Martins course is located in Chestnut Hill, the Wissahickon Course and the newest member of the Philly Cricket Golf complex Militia Hill are a few miles away in Flourtown.

While the Wissahickon name was given to the golf course in 2002, the golf course itself first opened in 1922.

When Foster was brought in to renovate the golf course, the plan was to restore Tillinghast features. Tillinghast was known for eye-catching bunker designs, contoured greens, and for fairways with a unique style to them. One hole has a mix of cross bunkers, and is called the “Great Hazard,”. The course has hosted numerous championships and will host the PPNC (The PGA’s Club Professional Championship this summer). It would not be surprising to see the course host other top level championships in the years ahead.

DSC02743 9th hole at Militia Hill PCC DS

The par 4, 9th hole at Militia Hill

The latest course in the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s rotation is called Militia Hill, it was designed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry (Erin Hills designers) and it opened in 2002.

Militia Hill is named in honor to the surrounding parkland area, that was the last encampment for George Washington’s army before it moved to Valley Forge. There are some old ruins on the golf course you will see in the first few holes. With a few holes shaped in around a quarry and a railroad tunnel that helps separate Militia Hill from Wissahickon.

The club has dedicated Militia Hill to one of it’s former golf professionals Willie Anderson. Anderson is one of only four players to win the U.S. Open on four occasions.

DSC02741 The 6th hole on Militia Hill PCC DS

The dog leg right sixth hole, on Militia Hill.

The club has an outstanding practice area, that has been named a Top 50 Private Facility by Golf Range Association America (GRAA).

While many clubs are looking for ways to recruit new members, and are short of their maximum numbers of members. The PCC is not one of them. In fact both golf course and other recent improvements, have been paid in part by adding some new members off the waiting list. The club still has a waiting list for memberships. For more information on the club, the golf courses, the tennis program and other activities, please visit online


DSC03636 Bg dome pic 2 DSDSC02180 Upper Deck BG dome island greens DSDSC02176 BG Dome hitting area lower level DS           The Buffalo Grove Golf and Sports Center, 801 Old McHenry Road in Buffalo Grove, Call (847)-459-2321 or visit online, Instructor Todd Sones free clinics returning this week on Jan. 7th. Putting as easy as 1-2-3.


BY: Rory Spears Editor and Director of Content. Follow us on Twitter@GogBlogGuy.

In 2009 I visited Merion for the first time, and instantly found the club to be incredible. It’s a special place in golf history, and one you should visit if you ever have the chance to be invited to this private club. I returned last year just over 1 year after the 2013 U.S. Open was held, and found Merion to be a little different but still a great place to spend a day.

Rory with Wicker basket DS

With the Wicker basket, no flag sticks here.

The Merion Golf Club is located in the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia in Ardmore PA., the club has the distinction of hosting more USGA championships than any other club in the country. It’s an honor the club cherish’s and they should. Merion has hosted 18 USGA events, with the last championship being the open in 2013.

Merion was the host of the 1930 U.S. Amateur where Bobby Jones completed his Grand Slam. Word is the club has already informed the USGA, that they would be interested in hosting the U.S. Amateur again 2030 on the 100th anniversary Jones record setting accomplishment. The first U.S. Amateur played at Merion was in 1916, and was won by Charles “Chick” Evans, who the Evans Scholars Foundation operated by the Western Golf Association is named after.

DSC02720 Merion short par 3 13th DS

The 115 yard short par 3, 13th hole. A bogey here by Phil Mickelson in round 4 of the open, might have cost him the title.

Merion’s roots go back to 1896. The famed East Course was designed by Hugh Wilson, the courses first superintendent later moved on to design a few courses himself, William S. Flynn.

Merion does have a second course, the West Course that is located not far from the main clubhouse, practice facility and the East Course.

One of the great characteristics of Merion is it’s famed Wicker Basket on top of the “basket sticks” on the greens. They were designed so golfers could use a flag stick to determine the wind direction. The red baskets are used on the front nine, and with the orange colored baskets used on the back nine. When the club needs new baskets they have several made up at once by someone who lives in the area, cost is rumored to be about $1,000 per wicker basket to have made.

DSC02723 Merion 18 from fairway DS

The 18th hole at Merion

Merion is a great challenge right from the first tee box on. On the first tee, since it backs right up to the outdoor dining area alongside the clubhouse. Diners are asked to be quiet and respect those teeing off.

The first hole is a slight bender to the right around some tall pine trees. Then golfers walk across the street to the second hole, one of the two par 5’s on the golf course. Golfers need to be careful not to push their tee shot out right, and onto the road which is OB. That shot did in both tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in the final round of the 2013 U.S. Open.

After the long 220 yard par 3 third hole, the 600 yard par 5 fourth hole is your last par 5 for the day. From holes 5-18 you just battle the par 3’s and par 4’s. The par 4 18th hole now has a tee box back near 500 yards, with it’s downhill landing area and then uphill approach shot, it plays like a par 5. Merion’s closing holes run through part of an old quarry, combine that tricky bunkers, fescue grass, fast greens, elevation changes through rolling fairways, and one quickly finds out why this course does not have to play over 7,000 yards to be difficult.

DSC02718 Bobby Jones Rock DSDSC02721 Merion Ben Hogan plaque in 18th fairway DS   The history of Merion Golf Club, can be found on and off the golf course. The rock on the 11th the box (L) shows it’s the hole where Jones completed his Grand Slam, and the plaque in the 18th fairway, marks the spot of Ben Hogan’s famed 1-Iron that helped him win the 1950 U.S. Open.

Off the course, the club’s archives room is one of the golf museums in the country. Club historian John G. Capers III has done an outstanding job of keeping the clubs long history in check. In fact all visitors to the George Scudder archives room get to sign the guest book that is kept there for historical purposes. No day at Merion is complete without a visit to the archives room.

DSC02734 John Capers with Rose license plate DS DSC02732 Merion Archives DS DSC02735 Rose shoes at merion from US open DS DSC02738 Rose player badge for 2013 US open DS Top Row L-R. Club historian John Capers with the license plate from 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose’s car, view of the archives. Bottom Row, L-R. Rose’s shoes worn during the open (with his kids names on the back) and Rose’s players badge.

Merion remains one of the great treasures in american golf, should you ever have a chance to play or visit take advantage in a heart beat.

For more information on our Great Golf on a Cold Day, club of the day Merion Golf Club. Visit the clubs website at Some great pictures on the site as well.


DSC03646 Links and tees dome DSDSC01763 Links & Tee's dome DSDSC03493 Ready to rock DS        LINKS & TEE’S Golf Facility on Lake Street in Addison, come and enjoy several great promotions over the next week few weeks. Call (630)-233-7275 Ext 4 or visit online


BY: RORY SPEARS @GogBlogGuy Editor & Director of Content

DSC02754 Me at PCC 2 DSRory on 18 Wissahickon approach shot DS          ARE YOU READY!  I sure am. For days like this at 96 degrees and playing the nations oldest country club, the Philadelphia Cricket Club where they had a country club for over 40 years, before they had a golf course. (ABOVE) hitting from the Wissahickon’s Course 18th hole, an old A.W. Tillinghast classic recently renovated by Keith Foster.

I’m looking forward to more rounds like this one, on great courses on warm days where the company is great and the 19th hole has everything that hits the spot.

YOU CAN go hit it outside this weekend at Cog Hill, where on Sunday it’s the annual Eskimo Open. Last year was a record low for golfers as the temps got down around zero and the snow was piled up. This year there should be only small amounts of snow and temps closing in on 40. Here’s to a good turn out.

Beyond this weekend, what’s ahead. Well in 2015 there’s a lot to look forward to and you need to take advantage of it. Course’s that will reopen for play from renovations, to great tournaments and more.

What am I looking forward to, plenty.

Starting in January there is the PGA Merchandise show in Orlando. This will be my third straight year at the show and I will have plenty of stories about new products, and things to help you enjoy your rounds of golf even more in 2015. During my time in Florida and a few other states, I’ll be visiting some properties and passing some along travel destination idea’s for when old man winter really hits us hard.

In February the golf shows here in town. First up on Feb. 6-8 is the Tinley Park Golf Expo, and on the last weekend of the month it’s time for the Chicago Golf Show to visit Rosemont.

By April it will be time for the Masters. Like the rest of the golf world I’ll be watching as everyone pulls for Rory McIlroy to keep his major win streak alive, and then get both a green jacket and a career Grand Slam. Later that month, Golfers on Golf Radio should return to WSBC & WCFJ Radio.

In May the local golf season will start to take shape, and everyone will start to learn more about the tournaments coming to town. By June we will see if the Glenview Park District golf course and the Mt. Prospect  Park District golf course are ready to reopen from renovations. It will be interesting to hear the responses from golfers who try to tackle the classic course style changes at Mt. Prospect. In June the Palmer Cup will tee off at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove.

The U.S. Open will tee off at Chambers Bay for the first time. It’s always fun to watch the U.S. Open when you have played the course and see how the pro’s play it. Can Phil Mickelson complete the career Grand Slam.

In July the Encompass Championship returns for the last time to the North Shore Country Club, it’s a new date for the tournament. It appears Encompass will not return as sponsor in 2016, and North Shore is expected by then to be undergoing a renovation. The John Deere Classic will be back at TPC Deere Run in the Quad Cities, another exciting shootout is expected, and the field gets better every year. A British Open at St. Andrews the home of golf is always a treat.

The Illinois Open will have a larger field and will need two courses. Details are still unfolding from the Illinois PGA. The Phil Kosin Illinois Women’s Open will be played at Mistwood, that will begin tournament week with an event in it’s new clubhouse. The following week will have the Western Amateur at Rich Harvest Farms.

2015 USGA Amateur OFCC


In August the last USGA event on the calendar for years to come in the Chicago area, tee’s off at Olympia Fields. The championship will use both courses and should be outstanding.

The PGA championship returns to Wisconsin and the highly rated Whistling Straits Course, part of the American Club resort in Kohler/Haven. Maybe Steve Stricker can get a major championship in his home state.

In September the PGA Tour returns to the Chicago area as the BMW Championship drives back into Conway Farms in Lake Forest.

Iowa native Zach Johnson won the championship when it was last held at Conway Farms in 2013. Since then the club has redone it’s greens and made some other “tweeks” around the golf course and off the golf course.

In October the Chicago Open will played for the third straight year and benefit Illinois Junior Golf.

In the fall course renovation season will start again. At this time the long awaited for project at the Oak Meadows Golf Club is expected to start, and maybe a few others.

2015 has so much going on, I can’t wait for it to start getting into gear. Happy New Year and 2015 golfers, see you in the domes on the golf course and at the tournaments.


BG DomeDSC02176 BG Dome hitting area lower level DSDSC03636 Bg dome pic 2 DS The Buffalo Grove Grove Golf Dome and Sports Center. Ready for 2015, activities planned in the weeks ahead. Call (847)-459-2321. See for more details.