THE GOG BLOG by written by Golfers on Golf radio host and Director of Content RORY SPEARS. Follow Rory on facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy. At Bethpage Black.

 THE RED EPIC DRIVER by Callaway Golf, a limited supply available for order now, visit THE NORTH COURSE at Innisbrook is open after renovation, book your tee times now.   _____________________________________________________________________

Chad Johansen in the CJ Putting Lab at Blackberry Oaks Golf Club in Bristol.

With the temperatures hanging in the low 60’s yesterday, there was a need to get out and play golf OUTSIDE, one more time.

Yes, only days ago it seemed like dome season was here to stay. But over the last few days Mother Nature raised the outdoor temps back up to a level where outdoor golf could and would happen for the diehards of the Chicago area.

The glue at Blackberry Oaks Golf Club is it’s GM/Head golf professional Chad Johansen. Johansen is more than just a golf pro, he is someone who has created a junior golf environment at Blackberry Oaks. Motto of the day every day is, “Kids Rule”. In fact one of the biggest surprises in the Illinois PGA Section, is how Johansen hasn’t won some type of IPGA Award for junior golf development. His junior golf numbers grow every year.

Johansen’s Perfect Putting Aid is a winner.

Johansen is the creative type, his Perfect Putting Aid is as good as it gets when finding a way to putt better. Forget some app on your phone, or a video, if you want to putt better it’s simple. Put a Perfect Putting Aid in your living room like I do, or the basement or your office and use it before you play. You will putt better that day, regardless of the green speeds, or the humps and bumps the architects have installed.

The CJ putting lab at Blackberry Oaks.

Last week when Johansen was firing out his social media promo’s, ones that said,” Hey the weather is fine, why not golf on Black Friday instead of shopping” he was on to a little something that brought out the golfers.

As a result when I called Johansen yesterday and said, Hey can I come out and play if your still open and he said he was, with the temps at 63, I made a mad-dash for Bristol with the golf bag in my cars trunk.

The bunker restoration plan is underway at Blackberry Oaks.

When I arrived I found that the BBO Clubhouse was getting some new improvements.

First up the pavement in front of the clubhouse had been redone, and the clubhouse itself was getting a new roof.

The bigger surprise was once on the golf course, I found that many of the bunkers were surrounded by plastic and work had started on some of them.

Blackberry Oaks is a good public golf course that might not get the attention it deserves, it’s fun and long enough at 6,400 yards to give anyone a nice round. But in some spots it was starting to show it’s age, so Kudo’s to Johansen and the ownership group for starting the bunker improvements.

After playing through a twosome and a threesome, I kept hitting fairways with my Callaway Epic Driver and cruised around the course in a snappy 2:45. My low 80’s score wasn’t bad and the fresh air and pace of play made it great for what could be the final outdoor round of 2017. All winter long I’ll be thinking of that 40 foot birdie putt I made on the Par 5, second hole.

But I do know this, if it gets up around 50 next week and some courses remain open, December golf in Chicago is always a rare experience so I’ll be out taking advantage of a gift from Mother Nature.

In 2018 I’ll be looking forward to playing Blackberry Oaks again, when all the bunkers have been renovated. You should as well. RS

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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 WCPT AM820 Chicago, he writes for both the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine, and formerly Chicagoland Golf. Rory has played over 525 courses in 39 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, within the golf industry.