THE VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP at Innisbrook on Copperhead. Catch all the action on NBC and Golf Channel all weekend long. Then book a play &

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Welcome to the Fairwoods-Pinehurst No.7

***There is a  2 1/2 hour frost delay, it’s 26 degrees out. But it’s still a beautiful day in Pinehurst.

You have stopped in the main dining room in the Carolina Hotel, you have now consumed the best breakfast in golf. But golf is still on hold, because it’s still only 30 degrees.

You ask yourself should I go play golf, it’s cold out-darn cold. But the sun is out, there is no wind, and it’s warming up. In eight days you will be back in Chicago, it will be 30 degrees when you get home and the courses won’t be open for at least seven weeks. So what do you do? You dress warmly and you go play-the sun is out and there is no rain scheduled for another 20 hours ( a rain that will wipe out tomorrows round on Course No.6).

When you do tee off, there is only a single player on the course ahead of you, and nobody behind you. Pace-of-play is just how you like it. RS ***

The clubhouse at No.7, pro shop downstairs, great upper deck bar, dining and view upstairs.

WHEN GOLFERS come to Pinehurst the first thought is lets play Course No.2, and if you love golf you should.

But the question is then what. Because Pinehurst has 10 golf courses to pick from. So when your thinking which course next, you do have options. 9 more, including Course No.9 and a nine hole course-take your pick.

One of the options you have, is course No.7 and it’s a course where you can belt the ball around.

The par 4, 462 yard second hole. Straight forward and play away.

36 years ago in 1986, Rees Jones built this Pinehurst styled course, taking full advantage of the pines trees and of course the sand.

Six years later in 1992, a kid named Tiger Woods won the Big I Junior Classic here on No.7, 24 years later it’s still the only Pinehurst area course he has ever won a tournament at.

10 years later Jones returned to No.7 and did some renovation work. More recently some bunker and drainage worked was done. So in spite of cold weather and the full Pinehurst green styled look not yet showing, No.7 was still in good shape for the month of February.

The 197 yard par 3, 16th hole.

No.7 has some elevation change to it, most of the elevation comes on the tee box, with a downhill shot to the fairway.

But there are some uphill shots into the greens. There is a real test on the last four holes, 15 and 17 are longer par 4 holes.

The closing hole, the 18th is a 600 yard par 5 hole, where even the big hitters are not getting home in two shots. But in between 15-17 and 18 is the 197 yard, par 3-16th hole which is an island green.

But your in Pinehurst, the island green is not surrounded by water. Because your surrounded by sand, if you miss the green you go splat, not splash. Plus you will get your ball back and you get to hit it again. A sandy in the sandhills is always great end result.

So if you need another golf option besides Course No.2, don’t rule of out Course No.7. Because you will enjoy the fairways of a course called the “Fairwoods.”

Book your Pinehurst play and stay at or call (800)-487-4653.


THESE PRO’S CAN PLAY-BUT BOY CAN THEY TEACH. The Mistwood professional staffer John Platt (L) and Andy Mickelson the 2021 Illinois PGA Section Champion (R) are both great players. But are even better instructors. Visit the Mistwood Golf Dome or the Mistwood Golf Club starting in April when it reopens for the season. Book a lesson at or call the dome on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook at (630)-739-7600.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn.

Welcome to the Sand Valley Resort in Nekoosa Wisconsin.

THERE IS MORE GOOD NEWS that is coming out of Sand Valley.

Another 18 hole golf course is on it’s way.

Tom Doak one of the world’s top golf course designers who is already on property working on the recreation of the historic Lido Golf Club, will stick around a little longer.

Doak and his Renaissance Golf design team will build Sedge Valley an 18-hole course. Construction will begin this spring, with an expected opening date at some point in 2024.

Projected look down the left side of the 5th hole at Sedge Valley.

“The golf experience at Sedge Valley is completely different from anything on the property,” says Sand Valley co-owner Michael Keiser. “Tom Doak moves so easily from the large-scale engineering project of the Lido to this much more intimate design. Greens are the heart and soul of any golf course. Watching him identify and work his routing to these incredible natural green sites has been an amazing process. This is how the great ones have always done it.”

Green view 7th hole at Sedge Valley.

With the acreage that’s getting used for the building of Sedge Valley, being part of Sand Valley’s best rich and sandy soil, native ground cover, and distinctive rock cropping’s. Sand Valley owners Michael and Chris Keiser have allowed Doak a free-reign to build his inspiration for the Sedge Valley design.

Doak’s first task was to find the best green sites, the land could offer.

“When you don’t have to think about stretching a course to 7,300 yards, you can start thinking about finding cool green sites without worrying about how close together they are,” Doak said. “I don’t have to worry as much about a severe slope at the edge of an green being “unfair” if you’re hitting a relatively short approach into it. My idea is to bring back a more intimate scale and build classically styled holes that everyone can enjoy, but may require some comprises from the long and wild hitters.”

Having two courses on the design table at once, is fun for Mike Keiser.

“These are exciting times for Sand Valley,” Keiser says. “The Lido is growing in and will open in 2023. Sedge Valley will follow a year later, along with some significant additions to the resort experience, which we will be announcing soon.”

Tom Doak (R) does an interview regarding his renovation of Medinah’s No.1 course. (file photo).

THE SAND VALLEY TEAM did a Q & A with Tom Doak, here are a few segments of that session.

HOW DOES SEDGE VALLEY CONTRAST-With the two existing courses at Sand Valley?

TD: The first two courses at Sand Valley are among the biggest wildest courses ever built. They invite you to swing away, but you seldom think of the word “finesse” to describe them. My idea for Sedge Valley is bring back more of an intimate scale and build classically styled holes that everyone can enjoy, but might require some compromises from the long and wild hitter.

SEDGE VALLEY BORROWS from English inland designs. For the golfer who may be familiar with links designs, explain some of the characteristics they will find here.

TD: The heathland courses built around London in the early 1900’s were the first great inland courses, and Sedge Valley will integrate some of those characteristics-native groundcover as a strategic element, for instance. This property has sand, open expanses, good terrain and intriguing green sites-the fundamentals of holes that stand up over time.

WHOSE WORK HAVE YOU considered in the design of Sedge Valley?

TD: Harry Colt did hundreds of great courses on all types of property, including heartland and links courses, and he was one of the several designers whose best work remains relevant, interesting and challenging. The inspiration for Sedge Valley comes from a handful of courses that never expanded much from their original scope-Colt’s Swinley Forest and Rye, Sir Guy Campbell and C.K. Hutchison’s West Sussex, Woking by Tom Dunn, The Addington by J.F. Abercrombie, and Tom Simpson’s New Zealand Golf Club. These are designs that have remained essentially unchanged over time. I can’t think of a higher standard.

MICHAEL KEISER SAYS THAT SEDGE VALLEY may have the most interesting collection of green sites at the resort. So what does that mean to you as a designer?

TD: The fifth at Sedge Valley is a 290 yard par-4 with a skinny shelf of a green. It’s the kind of hole that gets longer hitters into trouble because they feel compelled to attack even when it’s not wise. That freedom from length also means that back-to-back par-3 holes are fine, provided they’re different. The sixth and seventh at Sedge Valley will be 150 and 220 yards respectively. So the overall design does allow us to focus more on the green sites themselves. But you look for great green sites. We found them here, and it’s a credit to Michael and Chris that they have allowed us to build around those sites.

But stay clicked in as more announcements about the resort experience are announced. Real estate is now available at Sand Valley with pricing starting at $1.1 million. Details at


ANDY MICKELSON of Mistwood Golf Club/Dome (L) & Chad Johansen of Blackberry Oaks Golf Club are both Callaway Golf Ambassadors, do you need new clubs. If so, get fitted at either club, and follow the traveling Callaway fitting as it makes stops around the Chicagoland area. or #Callawaygolf

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.

***COURSES HAVE OPENED*** Maple Meadows in Wood Dale, Pine Meadow in Mundelein, Blackberry Oaks in Bristol.

Rich Harvest Farms will host LIV’s 5th event Sept. 16-18.

THE LIV INVESTMENT SERIES that will have eight events this year, with four events in America, has selected Jerry Rich’s Rich Harvest Farms as a host site from September 16-18.

This invitational will be a 54-hole event with no cut. The maximum field will be 48 players. But there is both an individual championship and a team competition. LIV will make more announcements prior to it’s first event at the Centurion Club in London, June 9-11. Rich Harvest Farms will be the fifth event.

Rich Harvest Farms Owner Jerry Rich with the NCAA Championship Trophy, the men’s and women’s championship was played at RHF in 2017.

The second event will be the first one in America, at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland July 1-3.

Which is opposite the John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour.

But LIV says it’s investment in these series of events, is over $400 million dollars. LIV feels fans will a enjoy a shorter format, shorter field and a shorter day, with the introduction of a Shotgun start.

” I want to golf to grow, players to have additional opportunities, and the fans to have more fun. My mission is to help the game reach it’s full potential and we know the role of golf as an entertainment product is critical to overall participation in the sport,” said Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf Investments. “In many ways we are a start-up. We have a long term vision and aim to grow. I believe we have a very bright and exciting future.”

Greg Norman CEO of LIV Golf on the golf course.

The third event will be played at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster New Jersey from July 29-31.

From there the series goes to The International Club in Boston from September 2-4, before moving to Rich Harvest Farms.

After Rich Harvest Farms the LIV Golf schedule moves out of America. October 7-9 the series goes to the Stonehill Golf Club in Bangkok. October 14-16 the Royal Greens Golf Club in Jeddah. The Team Championship will be October 28-30. But the location is TBD.

THE LIV SERIES is scheduled not to interfere with golf’s four majors, international team events or heritage events. So players who are independent contractors can make their owns choices on where they want to play.

“Our events are truly additive to the world of golf. We have done our best to create a schedule that allows players to play elsewhere, while still participating in our events. I believe players will increasingly make progress in achieving their right to play where they want to play. We will help in anyway possible and will provide golfers opportunities to achieve their full potential,” said Norman.

The first seven event have purses with $25 million, with $20 million for individuals and $5 million for team championships. But there will be additional money for the top three individuals for season, and the season ending Team Championship will offer $50 million in prize money.

RICH HARVEST FARMS owner Jerry Rich was out of town and not available for comment. But a spokesman for Rich Harvest Farms issued this statement.

“Rich Harvest Farms is proud to host an exciting, high quality event. What is most important to us is that local businesses and key charities benefit as well as area golf fans. Mid-September is a perfect time of the year to showcase the beauty of Rich Harvest Farms.”

Rich Harvest Farms also release this information on why they have chosen to host this first year LIV-Series event.

The LIV Invitational Golf Series will benefit the following groups or charities.

The Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois-Established in 1998, and works with kids from age 5 to 17. Over the years the foundation has touched over 250,000 children.

The caddies at Rich Harvest Farms and the new Rich Harvest Farms caddie scholarship program. Ukrainian refugees, a donation will be sent to help those who have displaced by the current war with Russia.

Educational Universities such as Northern Illinois University (NIU) and Aurora University (AU), whose golf teams play and practice at Rich Harvest Farms.

Local businesses in the western suburbs. Because during 2009 Solheim Cup week at Rich Harvest Farms, the matches helped add over $70 million dollars of business from the Chicago area out to the towns of Aurora and Sugar Grove.

THE ILLINOIS GOLF COMMUNITY-Hosting a major men’s professional golf tournament would assist in growing the Illinois golf community, serving as a rallying point in a state that doesn’t often host major golf tournaments, or host them with any consistency.

So stay clicked in for information on this event during the months ahead.


ANDY MICKELSON stripes the new Callaway Rogue driver in the Mistwood Golf Dome. The dome has new putting and chipping area’s and is the place to practice with outdoor golf season coming up. Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook (630)-739-7600.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, or connect on LinkedIn or Facebook. On the 11th tee at the Southern Pines Country Club.

ROSS RESORTS is comprised of Mid-Pines, Pine Needles and now the Southern Pines Country Club, is one of the extremely few places you can find three Donald Ross courses under one roof.

Ross Resorts owner Kelly Miller made the purchase of the struggling Southern Pines Country Club just before Covid announced itself to the world.

So for a brief moment Miller had to wonder if the timing had been right to purchase Southern Pines. But as it turned out, Miller’s timing could not have been better.

Welcome to Southern Pines Golf Club, (formerly Southern Pines Country Club) designed by Donald Ross and first opened in 1906.

Once golf reopened from a short pandemic pause and golf courses had full tee-sheets again, golfers were out in force on what was now all three of Ross Resorts golf courses.

With golf now rolling, Miller went back to the well and called on his course designer Kyle Franz to work his sandhills magic at Southern Pines.

Franz now viewed as one of the hottest young architects in the golf business, took his talents about two miles down the road from his office at Pine Needles in the town of Southern Pines, rolled up his sleeves, and went back to work for Miller for the third time.

The par 3, third hole at Southern Pines Golf Club.

Franz started his golf career in his native Oregon, by driving down to Bandon Dunes and convincing Tom Doak to hire him during the building of Pacific Dunes.

From there Franz then went east and convinced Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw into hiring him to work on the restoration of Pinehurst #2.

But it was during the Pinehurst #2 project, that Franz met Miller. So after a stint with Gil Hanse in South America to work on the construction of the Olympic course in Rio de Janeiro. Franz headed back to America and set up shop in Southern Hills.

Architect Kyle Franz has restored all three Ross Resorts courses, including Pine Needles home the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open coming in June.

Miller first turned Franz loose on his Mid-Pines course, an old Ross course that was showing it’s age.

When the reviews came in, Miller didn’t waste much time putting Franz back to work at Pine Needles.

Pine Needles had hosted three U.S. Opens and was looking for another. Because the U.S. Senior Women’s Open was now part of the USGA’s championship schedule, it gave the resort a chance for two women’s opens. With Franz reworking of Pine Needles, the USGA awarded Pine Needles the second U.S. Senior Women’s Open. But then added this June’s U.S. Women’s Open.

The par 4 392 yard, sixth hole at Southern Pines.

During this time Franz did restoration work on the Charleston Country Club in South Carolina that hosted the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open.

Because Franz was hitting home runs with his work in the Sandhills. There was never a doubt who Miller would use to bring the Rodd look of 1906 back to the Southern Pines Golf Club.

“Kyle’s work at Southern Pines has exceeded our expectations, but it is not done,” said Miller.

The par 3, 168 yard 7th hole.

Even with the golf course officially reopened since last October, there is still some work to be completed.

Because there is still a little grow in needed in a few areas, cart path and washed out area’s to be cleaned up. The site that formerly housed the Elks Lodge at the golf course, will become an 18 to 20,000 square foot putting green. With the first hole being the backdrop according to Miller, who added, the current pro shop and grill will see improvements before long.

The par 11th hole, saw more change than any others during the restoration.

Miller made it clear he would like to expose a few more of the scenic vista’s the course has to offer. So tree removal done in phase one of the project, will continue in a few areas.

What’s really amazing is the elevation change golfers notice early in the round. By the second hole comes a stretch of holes with rolling hills, that create both uphill and downhill shots. As a result the course plays longer than the current yardage wound indicate.

During the restoration the lost hole a par 3, located between holes 4 and 5, was restored. It’s location gives golfers the option of a nine hole round. Because golfers can then short-cut over to the 15th hole after playing holes 1-4 and the Lost Hole. The regular 18 hole routing does not return to the clubhouse after nine holes.

“I wanted to give golfers a chance to have a fun course and enjoy a Donald Ross golf course the way Ross designed it to play,” said Franz. “The fairways are a little wider so the course is more enjoyable to beginning golfers.”

The par 3, 175 yard 14th hole, has a small water carry.

When Miller was asked about the course hosting a United States Golf Association (USGA) Championship, he didn’t shy away. Saying when the USGA is here for the women’s open this June, they will tour Southern Pines.

Miller added that he expects to have more talks with the USGA, regarding hosting USGA championships in the years ahead.

Southern Pines has five sets of tees with the back tees at 6,354 yards, front tees sitting at 4,015 yards. But it wouldn’t be surprising if Franz added a few more back tee’s in the future.

The uphill dogleg left 350 yard, 18th hole.

So work is continuing on Southern Pines. But Franz most recent restoration is really good pure sandhills Donald Ross style golf, renovation of the year for 2021 awards should be coming.

When asked if golfers might like Southern Pines even more than the other two resort courses. Miller and Franz acknowledged that golfers have their own idea about what their favorite courses are. But they didn’t rule out the recent restoration of Southern Pines being some golfers favorite course, of the three Ross courses the resort has to offer.

To book your next play and stay, visit or call the resort at (800)-323-2114.


  MISTWOOD’S ANDY MICKELSON the 2021 Illinois PGA Section Champion (L) stripes the new Callaway Rogue Driver in the Mistwood Golf Dome. BLACKBERRY OAKS GM and Head Golf Professional Chad Johansen is now a Callaway Golf Ambassador and Blackberry Oaks Golf Club is now selling Callaway golf products. So if your thinking new clubs, #GetFit-play what your local IPGA professionals play.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn or Facebook. In the Mistwood Golf Dome with the new Callaway Rogue Driver (Photo by Bonny Brown).

AS GOLFERS ON GOLF goes to post this story, the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass is still trying to find it’s way to a conclusion.

The cut was made. So half the field can head home or drive the 3 1/2 hours over to Innisbrook, to play in the Valspar Championship.

Podcast partner Len Ziehm will be covering the tournament from Innisbrook, and will check in from the media center for this weeks podcast.

So stay tuned or clicked in here.

The lobby in the historic Carolina Hotel is now under a multi-year renovation.

During the second phase of my winter golf trip that started after the PGA Show in Orlando ended, I was able to visit a few destination properties.

When it comes to destination golf in America there are plenty of good ones. But in my books there is no place better than Pinehurst.

Pinehurst that sits in the sandhills of North Carolina, is the home or cradle of American golf for a reason. The flagship golf course Pinehurst #2, is arguably the best work by the famed architect Donald Ross. No. 2 has hosted plenty of championships, including several U.S. Open’s, and there are a several more coming over the next few decades. In fact Pinehurst is so good for golf, the United States Golf Association (USGA) is moving part of it’s golf operation there.

The second floor work zone.

TO REMAIN AT the top of their “A” game. Pinehurst under the outstanding leadership of president Tom Pashley and the Dedman family. Continues to uphold it’s tradition and history while keeping Pinehurst moving forward in todays world of needs for destination properties.

In recent years the resort has undertaken plenty of capital improvement projects, both on and off the golf course. Now it’s the Carolina Hotel’s (that opened in 1901) turn for renovation.

The front entrance to the hotel.

IT’S NEVER easy to improve older places, especially ones over a 120 years old.

But Pinehurst will find a way to do this right, and make the queen look really good- when the doors fully reopen and the crown is back on her head.

Because there is still a need to have the Carolina open for business, the renovation is being done in phases. But the work will be complete before the worlds top professionals and amateur players arrive for the 2024 U.S. Open.

  THE NEW CAROLINA ROOM STYLE (L) and the new lobby reimagination when the work gets completed (R).

So what is the improvement list for this project. Painting that adds brighter colors, new furniture, bigger rooms, larger bathrooms. The lobby and Coffey shop will be redone.  New walls for better sound proofing, lobby floors and ceilings will have a new fresh look.

DURING MY RECENT STAY at times you could hear the work going on. But it was nothing that ruined a good nights sleep. Or a meal in the famed Carolina Hotel dining room (home to the best breakfast in golf).

So while the Carolina might be a few rooms short, there are still plenty to reserve for your next play and stay. It’s always a beautiful day in Pinehurst. So now is the best time of the year to go. So pardon a little dust, the Carolina is still a great place to stay. Visit for more information on the Carolina Hotel-The Queen of the South.

The Gog Blog returns all week. RS


STRIKER Says Welcome to Copperhead and the Snake Pit-The Valspar Championship is this week at Innisbrook. THE NATIONAL COTTAGES at Reynolds Lake Oconee, with the kitchen island. See six golf courses plan your visit today.

The Gog Blog by Rory Spears, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn or Facebook. In the Mistwood Golf Dome with the new Callaway Rogue Driver. (photo by Bonny Brown).

MISTWOOD GOLF CLUB is gearing up for the summer season. Because summer is coming up soon.

So does your junior golfer need some help in getting their golf game ready. If so the Mistwood golf professionals will be teaching junior clinics for those kids aged 7 to 18.

IT IS time to stock up on golf balls, so get your supply of Callaway Chrome Soft, buy 3 dozen personalized golf balls, and get the fourth dozen for free. But act quickly this is a limited time offer.

McWethy’s Tavern at Mistwood Golf Club on Renwick Road in Romeoville is having a special St. Patricks Day with some Guinness on Tap. Learn more by calling Mistwood at (815)-254-3333 or visit

The Mickey mouse bunker on the Magnolia Course.

Daily Herald golf writer Len Ziehm takes a look at 50 years of Walt Disney World Golf.

For the 50th anniversary, the Walt Disney company has decided to renovate it’s golf operation. One of the first steps now in the planning stage is to renovate the Magnolia Course, with work expected to start later this year.

Ziehm also says the improvements are not being done to try and lure the PGA Tour to return. So catch the entire story at

SOLACE CAPITAL PARTNERS has acquired Sun Mountain Sports, a maker of outdoor wear, and all weather golf apparel. But Sun Mountain will remain in Missoula Montana, and the current management team will remain in place. More details at

The Vokey SM9 Wedges are here.


Because the new Titleist Bob Vokey SM9 wedges have arrived.

So as of last Friday, they are now available for purchase in your favorite golf store or pro shop.

SM9 wedges are already being used on the PGA Tour by Titleist staff players, and some player not under contract to Titleist. So learn more at

PINE MEADOW GOLF CLUB in Mundelein is hosting it’s Goofers League for the 8th year. The Goofers league is all about fun. Limited to 40 Goofers. So call Pine Meadow today and get signed up at (847)-566-4654 (GOLF).

DALLAS BASED TOP GOLF has expanded in the Los Angeles California area, with a new facility in Ontario California that opened on March 11th. Details at

BOLINGBROOK GOLF CLUB in Bolingbrook Illinois, has been honored with several awards from within the wedding industry. Golfers if your getting married, and would like to have your celebration on and at the golf course. Visit The golf range at the club was honored with a Top 50 Golf Range Association of America (GRAA) award.

Cog Hill Golf Club in Palos Park


So would you like to play a little golf on Easter Sunday April 17th.

Because you can easily do that now, if you have your Easter Brunch at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Palos Park.

Easter brunch is from 10 AM to 3 PM. So check out the full menu at Pricing starts at $42.00 for adults and lower for the kids in different age groups. Call Cog Hill to make your reservation at (866)-COG-HILL ext. 1301.

Callaway Golf Ambassador Chad Johansen of Blackberry Oaks in Bristol.

NEW CALLAWAY GOLF AMBASSADOR Chad Johansen, has planned a series of events for Blackberry Oaks Golf Club in Bristol.

So if your ready to round up your foursome and play some scramble golf, on April 24th.

JOE AMORE has joined Blackberry Oaks as the new Callaway Golf custom fitter, you can now schedule a fitting and get your new clubs.

Need golf balls, buy three dozen Chrome Soft golf balls personalized and and get the fourth dozen for free. Limited time only. See more about what’s happening at Blackberry Oaks at or call the club at (630)-553-7170.

New Harborside International General Manager TJ Wydner


Located on Chicago’s Southside has now announced that TJ Wydner will be come the facilities new General Manager.

Wydner joins Harborside after a few years at the famed Firestone Country Club in Akron Ohio.

Prior to his time in Ohio, Wydner worked in New Jersey at a kemperSports operated club.

Harborside International has 36 holes, the Port and the Starboard courses, and a full size practice range. But for more information see

Victoria Hills in Daytona Beach Florida.

DAYTONA BEACH FLORIDA has several golf courses to offer, that are just a short iron from the beach and the ocean.

But three courses that should make your must play list if your in Daytona area include, DeBary Golf & Country Club, Victoria Hills a top 15 public course in Florida designed by Florida’s Ron Garl.

But there is also the Deltona Club, designed by architect Bobby Weed. So for more information on all three clubs, and Daytona Beach golf, see

The Gog Blog returns tomorrow. RS


THE OCONEE COURSE BY REES JONES (L) GREAT WATERS BY JACK NICKLAUS (R) Reynolds Lake Oconee-6 golf courses. For when you have Georgia on your Mind. Visit check out Reynolds Living-Ritz Carlton and more.

ZIEHM & SPEARS is Len Ziehm and Rory Spears, with 90 years of golf reporting. Chicago’s most complete weekly golf report, listen in today.

Len Ziehm (L) and Rory Spears (R), in the Ziehm Studio’s located in Sarasota Florida, over looking the Palm Aire Country Club. Photo by Joy Sarver.

THIS WEEK LEN & RORY recap two crazy weeks on the PGA Tour.

First up the finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (API) at Bay Hill. The players are upset, was the course set up to hard even for the best professionals.

This week the Players Championship has been hammered by poor weather, a Monday finish seems more than likely.

WHAT ABOUT our local players, how have they played of late. Too many missed cuts says Ziehm & Spears.

Can Doug Ghim hang on this year at the Players Championship, he is Top 10 again this week. Plenty of changes at local courses, who is going where. So all this and more in this weeks edition of Ziehm and Spears.

CLICK HERE to hear this weeks edition of Ziehm and Spears-The Podcast series.

So thanks for listening, Len and Rory.


MISTWOOD GOLF DOME on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook is open daily. But with cold weather arriving, now is the time to get in a well needed practice session. Before outdoor golf season arrives. Toptracer, lessons, club fittings are available. So bring your clubs and an appetite, to eat at McWethys Sports Bar. or (630)-739-7600.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn or Facebook. In the Mistwood Golf Dome with the new Callaway Rogue Driver. Photo by Bonny Brown.


The Oconee Course and Reynolds as a destination visit or future home.

AFTER PLAYING GREAT WATERS, the next day was another over due round of golf, the Oconee Course by Rees Jones.

I was supposed to play Oconee the day before the rainout on Great Waters back in February of 2020. But arrived to find the course closed for maintenance.

This time rain struck again at 4 AM, and when I arrived for the 11 AM shotgun on Oconee, the course was cart path only. As a result, I was the only one who showed up to play. But that was also a result of the fact that more rain was on it’s way. But when you have one of the best courses in state all to yourself, and the temperature is 67 degrees in February. You go play, and I did.

Welcome to the Oconee Course-your on the first hole. The first of 18 good holes you will play during this round of golf.

THE OCONEE COURSE opened in 2002 and was designed by Rees Jones. Jones who was nicknamed “The Open Doctor”, for renovation work on courses that were awarded U.S. Opens. But in later years, a few touring professionals were critical  of some of Jones work. But even the those players would have trouble finding fault with Jones design of the Oconee Course, because Oconee might be some of the best work Jones has ever done. Jones himself says the back-nine on Oconee is one of the best you will play, and Oconee’s mix of par 3 holes have constantly received rave reviews.

The par 4, 4th hole on Oconee.

RIGHT FROM THE first tee the course jumps out and catches your eye.

Elevation change is evident right from the opening tee shot, and Jones used it every way he could during the building of the golf course.

Oconee has uphill and downhill holes, some that are banked on the left side and right side of the fairways. Elevated tee shots, and both uphill or downhill approach shots.

The downhill 202 yard, par 3 eighth hole. Tee shot tip-don’t miss left.

BACK TEES TOP OUT at 7,158 yards, but there are five sets of tees, that have eight different yardage combinations from both sets of tees. Front tees measure out at 5,150 yards.

No matter how good the golf course is, there is usually one hole that seasoned golfers might take issue with. However that is not the case with the Oconee course, it’s that good. In fact one of the toughest questions to answer for any golfer, is the one about if you had to pick one course to play every day which one would it be. Oconee is a course that would fall on that list for many golfers.

The par 3 227 yard, 13th hole requires a large bunker carry, but is fun to play from the elevated tee boxes.

There is an old saying in golf, that the best courses require you to hit every club in your bag. Well Oconee will do that, so make sure you have all 14 clubs in the your golf bag when you start your round.

To enjoy an outstanding day on one of Georgia’s best golf courses, call the pro shop at (706)-467-1200. You will be glad you did.

IF YOUR HUNGRY when you finish play at Oconee, why not just walk in and dine at the Linger Longer Steakhouse, or pick from the options at the nearby Ritz-Carlton. Either way you can’t go wrong.

THE OCONEE CLUB HOUSE and home to the Linger Longer Steakhouse (L). The entrance to the Ritz-Carlton-Reynolds Lake Oconee (R)

THE TAVERN at the National Golf Course is some of the best dining on property, with a full bar, tasty brick-oven pizza’s and more. Across the street from the Tavern are the National Cottages, a multi-level cottage that has four bedroom/baths and is great for visiting groups.

(L) The Creek Club by Jim Engh (2007) the members course, you must be a member or golf with a member for access to the Creek Club. (R) The ninth hole on the National by Tom Fazio (1997). Reynolds has six golf courses total, five are open to guests.

The main kitchen and dining island in the National cottages.

LIVING AT REYNOLDS is a great option for all who visit, because some visitors end up never leaving. Homes at Reynolds are designed for the owners tastes. You won’t end up having a house that looks identical to the neighbors on each side of your home.

With all that Reynolds has to offer, there are several home options. You can live back in the peacefulness of the trees, on the golf course, or right on the water front of Lake Oconee. There are some 374 miles of shoreline to pick from, if you would like to build your new home with a lake view.

IF YOU ENJOY other activities in addition to golf, Reynolds offers boating, tennis, walking trails, sporting clays, fishing and there are plenty of pools to pick from and a spa for some real relaxation.

Reynolds Lake Oconee is 85 miles from Atlanta and the Hartsfield-Jackson International airport, and 84 miles from Augusta Georgia. Just over an hours drive if your going to a major golf tournament in the month of April.

For information on golf trips or living at Reynolds, visit or call (800)-901-1204. Reynolds Lake-Oconee for when you have Georgia on your mind.


MISTWOOD GOLF DOME-bring your clubs and your appetite. Opening day for outdoor golf is coming soon. So get ready with some indoor practice & award winning food and beverage in the dome. Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook (630)-739-7600 .

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy and connect on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Rory Spears on the Jack Nicklaus designed Great Waters Golf Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro GA.


*** Editors note***

My first trip to Reynolds Lake Oconee was a few years ago. Former Medinah Country Club head golf professional Mike Scully was now the General Manager at Reynolds-Lake Oconee and encouraged me to visit.

When I arrived I found an outstanding golf and and community destination. I also found the Great Waters golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus under renovation, with dirt piles stacked up everywhere.

Great Waters 9th hole, was starting to hold water when I arrived that morning. Then things got worse when it started raining harder one February day in 2020. (Photo by Rory Spears).

Scully’s advice was to come back when Great Waters reopens. So I did the following year after the PGA Show. But only hours after returning, the skies opened up and the downpour started, and didn’t stop. Before I knew it streams of water were running down Great Waters fairways. Puddles were forming on the greens. Sadly I left for home without hitting a shot.

2021 wasn’t an option due to Covid and weather. But I didn’t give up and finally last month I returned to Reynolds.

Scully had left and is now at Streamsong in Florida, but my desire had not left to to play Great Waters. I interviewed Nicklaus at the U.S. Senior Open after he followed his son’s second round, and learned more about the Golden Bear’s new vision for Great Waters. Hearing that, the desire to tee it up on Great Waters increased.

I hoped to play the course on the way to the PGA Show in January, but weather delayed us again until the drive home. Finally accompanied by head professional Ryan MacNeill, all 18 holes of Great Waters were played last month and it was well worth the wait.


Welcome to Great Waters at Lake Oconee, designed by Jack Nicklaus.

REYNOLDS LAKE-OCONEE has six golf courses, incredible practice area’s and a lesson and fitting academy. There are not many options for both lessons and club fitting, that run as complete as what you find at Reynolds.

Once can make an argument on which of the six golf courses might be the best in the Reynolds community. But it’s hard to vote against Great Waters, when you play the course since the recent Nicklaus redesigning.

The opening tee shot. You’re on the first, at Great Waters.

Great Waters first opened for play in 1992. But now with the removal of a significant amount of trees, the views around the course are breathtaking.

The golf course plays a little longer too, especially if you want to play from the back tees or the bear tees that sit at 7,436 yards. The bear tees are the ones with the tee markers that are little Golden Bears.

Not a big hitter. No problem. Because there are five sets of tees, throw in a few combination routings and golfers have 11 different yardage options to pick from. Front tees measure out at just 4,485 yards.

The front nine closes with this 414 yard par 4, with an approach shot over water.

The front nine weaves it’s way through the rolling hills and tall Georgia pines, with water coming into play on the ninth hole.

But the back-nine is a different story.

After playing the tenth hole, golfers will see water on the remaining eight holes. Water may not come into play on all eight holes, but it’s never far away and the views make for a great day on the golf course.

The par 4, 11th hole at Great Waters is the beginning of an eight hole stretch where golfers get water views.

Reynolds has six golf courses, and 117 holes of golf. But the back nine on Great Waters has some of the best views you will see on the property.

Closing holes 16-17-18 make the golfer stay sharp through the end of the round.

Sixteen can play over 500 yards from the back tees, but it is still a par 4. There is water around the green, so water can be in play on the approach shot.

Seventeen is par three, it’s only 173 yards from the new back tees. But there is a water carry that can play longer that the view one gets from the tee. One must use enough club on 17, or be prepared to see your golf ball go for a swim.

The Par 5-18th hole. Your approach shot will need to carry the edge of water.

The closing hole, the eighteenth hole is a par 5, that plays only 543 yards from the back tees. With the next set of tees going forward, playing only 495 yards.

With yardage at under 500 yards, many big hitting golfers will think about going for the green in two shots.

But this fairway curls left around a water inlet that has been known to steal a few golf balls. So do you like risk-reward, because if so, this 18th hole can be a great way to a great score, or a great way to win or lose a match.

Great Waters was built and reimagined by the great one himself. When you visit Reynolds Lake Oconee, why not have a great day on a great golf course. it’s called Great Waters for a reason. The Great Waters pro shop can be reached at (706)-467-4020. Online visit

PART 2- The Oconee Course and Reynolds Living. Play and stay today.


DO YOU HAVE GEORGIA ON YOUR MIND! Jack (Nicklaus) is back with the renovation of his Great Waters Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro Georgia. So learn more on how you can visit Georgia’s top golf destination at

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of content and Creation at Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.

General Manager Wyatt Detmer welcomes everyone to the Summer Grove Golf Course in Newnan Georgia.

THOSE WHO PLAY GOLF in the Chicago area, know very well about the courses of Jemsek Golf.

Because what started with Joe Jemsek and St. Andrews Golf & Country Club in West Chicago years ago, has now become Cog Hill in Palos Park, Pine Meadow Golf Club in Mundelein, both operated by Frank Jemsek and his daughter Katherine Jemsek.

But what many Chicago area golfers don’t know, is that Jemsek Golf has expanded to the Great South. Because 30 minutes south of Atlanta is Newnan Georgia where Summer Grove Golf Club is located. Summer Grove designed by Jeff Burton and Joe T. Jemsek, was built by Jemsek Golf with the club opening in 1999, but 12 years later the course was sold. But the Jemsek’s returned as owners in February of 2013.

The lobby in the Summer Grove clubhouse is a relaxing southern style of comfort.

Last December the course was hit by 15 inches of rain in just two days. So as a result some flooding did occur.

But the good news is that most of the flooded area’s are now back in great shape, only a small area of the golf course still has to be restored.

Because of strong play over the last two years, the Jemsek’s have given the green light to spend money on several course improvements not done in years. Frank Jemsek tells Golfers on Golf that much of the reason for tee sheets filled up with foursomes, are not just pandemic related. Jemsek feels that having GM Wyatt Detmer at Summer Grove has made a major difference saying, “we now have the right guy in charge.”

The bar area of Summer Grove-home of the best hot dog one recent visitor has tasted, since since a visit to Pine Meadow Golf Club last year.

Summer Grove’s staff is delighted they have the approvals and the money to put Summer Grove back in a great shape. By May expectations are that course conditions will see a night-and-day level of improvement.

Summer Grove has six sets of tee’s with yardages running from 6,919 on the tips, to 5,131 up front. A full sized range and putting green.

The golf course starts with two holes that while not being sharp enough to be a dogleg, do curve right. But then the third hole actually does dogleg left. But then the par 3 fourth hole awaits, and it’s an island green.

The par 3-4th hole at Summer Grove.

Summer Grove has plenty of challenges but none are overbearing.

The rough isn’t too deep. There is not an excess of bunkers, water yes but golfers won’t feel like they are playing between ponds all through the round.

Tree’s in some strategic locations, but none of the holes feel like they are about wide as a bowling lane. There is room to work the ball on your longer shots, from on the tee or in the fairway.

The par 4, 413 yard tenth hole is a good hole to start the back nine.

There are holes that have some significant elevation change. One of them is the 18th hole, where the tee box sits at least 50 yards up and over the fairway below.

The greens are in good shape, and have plenty of subtle breaks, without having serious humps and bumps.

Two “signature holes” are the par 3, fourth hole with it’s island green and the par 4, 475 yard finishing hole the 18th.

So if you enjoy the Jemsek courses in the Chicago area, try the one in the Atlanta area. Traveling south this spring, book a tee time at Summer grove by calling (770)-251-1800 or online at