GOG’S HOPES FOR FOUR GREAT 2018 GOLF MAJORS

  THE NEW CALLAWAY ROGUE DRIVER With Jailbreak Technology, now used by both defending Masters Champion Sergio Garcia and 3-time masters winner Phil Mickelson, THE NEW ROGER CLEVELAND WEDGE DESIGN the Mack Daddy’s in the bag of Phil Mickelson at the Masters Tournament. For more information Callawaygolf.com #Rogue   _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS,. On the 9th green at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club home of the 2018 US. Open. Follow Rory the Director of Creation and Content on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, or on Facebook, and Linkedin.

With the playing of the Masters Tournament this week in Augusta Georgia, it’s time for the 2018 golf season to begin the playing of it’s major tournaments.

The four majors are called majors for a reason, they are the biggest tournaments in golf. They are the tournaments that all golfers want to win the most. They are career defining moments, they are Hall of Fame defining moments.

This year the four-majors all have some story lines behind them. At certain majors there usually is a story line about one player who then becomes a sentimental favorite for one reason or another. So for 2018, here are my hopes for the four best potential major winners. The ones that make sense for the game, the fans (or this week the patrons) and the players themselves.

THE MASTERS-RORY MCILROY, the green jacket and a Masters win are the only thing thing missing from this Irish guys closet and career golf room. With his win at Bay Hill, McIlroy seems to have found his putting stroke, and can go low again when needed. There are only five players who have won golf’s ultimate prize, The Grand Slam and only the great Bobby Jones has done it one year. McIlroy had a chance to win the Masters once, and let it get away during the “Back nine on Sunday”. Here is hoping that doesn’t happen again, and McIlroy completes his career Grand Slam this coming Sunday.

THE U.S. OPEN-PHIL MICKELSON at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. “Lefty: as he’s known, needs just one more win to wrap up an amazing career. That win is the U.S. Open, a win at the open would give Mickelson his career grand slam and that is something the golf world love to see. Mickelson like no other player brings a presence to the golf arena, not felt since Arnold Palmer. Mickelson has a way with the fans that most players will never have. Mickelson has six second place finishes at the U.S. Open the most recent being in 2013 at Merion, when he came up a shot short of a playoff with Justin Rose. Mickelson had a great chance at Winged Foot in 2006, but failed to convert a putt on the 18th green. He came up a shot short in the famed 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, when the late Payne Stewart won his last major. Mickelson had a shot at Shinnecock in 2004, losing to Reteif Goosen, but he loves the golf course and it should suit him just fine come June.

THE BRITISH OPEN- A FIRST TIMER AT CARNOUSTIE GOLF LINKS. Every year in golf at least one major is won by a player who wins his first major. With no player trying to win a career Grand Slam at the British this year, this major would be best won a player who has not win a major before, and may or may not fall into the category of, “The Best Player to not have won a major”. That can be a long time veteran like Matt Kuchar who almost won last year, losing out to Jordan Spieth. It can be an up and comer like Bryson DeChambeau who fits the bill of a European type player with his Plus-Fours on. It can be European players like a Jon Rahm or Tommy Fleetwood, many Americans, especially younger ones would pick Rickie Fowler. Our hope is that the “Open Championship and the Claret Jug” go to a first time major winner at this very historic major venue.

THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP-JORDAN SPEITH AT BELLERIVE COUNTRY CLUB, when Jordan Spieth won the 2017 British Open at Birkdale, he put himself in position to win the career grand slam. Now with three of the four legs done and in the trophy case, it’s the only major the kid from Texas still needs. A Midwest venue like Bellerive just outside of St. Louis is the perfect place to do it. The PGA Championship will be played for the 100th time this August, and with the new dates and schedule change, it might never get played in August again, as it moves to May come 2019. The centennial PGA Championship deserves a great player, a classy player, someone good for game on and off the golf course. That player is Jordan Speith who hopefully will fulfill his career slam at the years final chance for glory. That is unless you count the Ryder Cup in September.

Here’s keeping our fingers crossed for a special year in the major championships, and that 2018 is a great year for the game of golf. RS

THE GOG BLOG SPEAKS OUT-MASTERS WEEK-ILLINI GET A “W”

  Schaumburg Golf Club readies to open it’s first renovated nine holes, this weeks cool temperatures make McQ’s Dome in Bolingbrook a great place to work on your game before heading outside next week. McQsDome.com or call (630)-739-7600 #Mistwood

   WELCOME TO THE AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB HOME OF THE MASTERS

Visit Masters.org

It’s that week all golfers look forward to, for many it’s the signal that golf season has started, it’s time to dust off the clubs that have sat idle all winter.

For everyone that sits in front of the television this week to watch the Azaleas in full bloom, an golfers walk between them and the pine trees of the Augusta National Golf Club, It should be a good week.

There are ten top name players who should be in the hunt come, The back nine on Sunday. In the tradition Unlike any Other, next Sunday “should be” outstanding. That being said, here is a look at our Top 10 Picks for this years Masters Tournament. 1.Justin Thomas, 2. Jordan Spieth, 3. Dustin Johnson, 4. Rory McIlroy, 5. Jason Day, 6. Phil Mickelson, 7. Bubba Watson, 8.Sergio Garcia, 9. Justin Rose, 10. Jon Rahm.

Then there are some sleepers in the field who could break through, they include John Deere Classic defending champion Bryson DeChambeau, former British Open Champion Henrik Stenson, former U of Illinois alum Thomas Pieters, 2017 Valspar Champion Adam Hadwin, and current BMW Champion Marc Leishman.

While another great story will be the play the of Arlington Heights resident Doug Ghim, who got a Masters invite with his runner-up finish in the 2017 U.S. Amateur Tournament at Riviera. Ghim is a senior at the University of Texas and will turn professional later in 2018. Ghim will play in the U.S. Open at Shinnecock this summer before turning professional.

As for Garcia, the defending champion is locking into his new Callaway Rogue Clubs and is starting to play some great golf, while the runner up from 2017 Justin Rose is playing good golf, and has had some success with the new hot golf shaft on tour the TPT, that Jason Day is also using.

McIlroy at Bay Hill seemed to figure out what has been wrong with his putting stroke and if so, maybe can finally slam the door on his career grand slam. Our pick to win, with either Day or Mickelson.

Phil Mickelson is playing some of his best golf in recent years and is a real threat to win his fourth green jacket. Mickelson like Garcia is playing the new Callaway Rogue line and seems to have settled in.

The scouting report coming in is that the Euro’s are playing well, and so is Canadian Adam Hadwin,check out his results this year and you will find a player flying under the radar. If there is a downer to this years Masters it’s that Steve Stricker who has played great golf this year is not in the field. When Stricker missed cut by 1 shot at Houston last Friday his chances to head to Augusta were over. Here is hoping that Stricker makes it into Shinnecock and the U.S. Open.

This week brings us many possibilities, with so many players in the mix. So if you just focus on one player, you will miss an incredible week of golf. Hopefully CBS and the crew including Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo understand this.

CONGRATS TO ILLINOIS, as Coach Mike Small’s team wins it’s second tournament in a row. Sr. Dylan Meyer won the tournament for the second year in a row at Forest Hills CC, in Augusta GA. Meyer and his teammates get tickets to today’s practice rounds at the Masters. Meyer for the second straight year in a row also earns a sponsors exemption into the 2019 Valspar Championship at Innisbrook. This year Meyer made the cut and played all four days.

The Gog Blog is written by RORY SPEARS, the Director of Creation and Content, you can follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, and on Linkedin and Facebook.

STEVEN COOK JOINS MEDINAH AS DIRECTOR OF GROUNDS

   CHAD JOHANSEN the GM/PRO at Blackberry Oaks in Bristol, holds the Blackberry AM trophy, The Blackberry Amateur is June 23-24, sign up now at Blackberryoaks.com or call the clubhouse at (630)-553-7170, this year lets fill the 120 player field, the AM is sponsored by Wilson Golf and Michelob Ultra. VAL RUSSEL holds up an issue of Chicagoland Golf at the Chicago Golf Show, Chicagoland Golf has it’s second issue of 2018 out this week, pick up a copy at your local public golf course, or golf retail store.     _____________________________________________________________________

GOLFERSONGOLF.COM the Gog Blog by RORY SPEARS. Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, and on Linkedin and Facebook, with Dan Phillips in McQ’s Dome open today from 11-5 PM.

The Medinah Country Club has filled it’s opening at the Director of Grounds position with the hiring of Steven Cook, who comes over from Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan where he has been the Director of Agronomy for the last 21 years. He replaces Curtis Tyrrell who left for the Bonita Bay Club in Florida.

For Cook this will be his second stint at Medinah. After graduating from the University of Illinois, he started his career in the Mid to late 1980’s at the Medinah Country Club and was the superintendent of courses #1 and #3 until he left for a job in Paris France in 1989.

Welcome to Medinah Country Club.

Cook then came back to the United States and worked in Iowa at the Wakonda Club before moving over to Oakland Hills in 1997. While at Oakland Hills, Cook was in charge of getting both of Oakland Hills courses ready for the 2002 and 2016 U.S. Amateur Championships, the 2004 Ryder Cup and the the 2008 PGA Championship.

Cook is a Master Greenskeeper, and a three-time certified Golf Course Superintendent, he is a member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, and the former chapter president in Iowa. He is a member of the USGA and has served as a volunteer at both USGA and PGA events. He admits to being a Cubs-Bears and Illini fan when it comes to sports.

TIDEWATER STACKS UP IN SOUTH CAROLINA RANKINGS

  GOLFERS ON GOLF RADIO goes live at Tidewater Golf Club in Myrtle Beach South Carolina in 2016. The Gog Blog  Part of Golfers on Golf Radio AM 750 by Rory Spears. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Linkedin and Facebook.

The South Carolina Golf Panel has released it’s annual list of the best golf courses in the Grand Stand Area and in South Carolina.

Tidewater Golf Club in Myrtle Beach is ranked #3 in the Grand Strand area and number 27 in the state of South Carolina. On the public rankings side of South Carolina, the ocean Course at Kiawah island came in at #1, with Sea Pines-Harbour Town Golf Course at #2.

With all the golf courses in the Hilton Head Head Island area, the Charleston Area and the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina, #27 is a solid finish for Tidewater. That beat out courses like the Davis Love III designed Atlantic Dunes at the Sea Pines Resort. The Tidewater course has thee holes that have Atlantic Ocean Views.

:Our goal every day is to create an experience at Tidewater that rival the best public courses in South Carolina, and this is a validation of that effort,” said Chris Cooper the General Manager at Tidewater. “There are few states in the country that can rival South Carolina for the quality of golf, so this is an honor that we take great pride in. With the heart of the spring season upon us, we look forward to providing an unforgettable experience to our most important constituency-traveling golfers.”

IF YOUR PLAYING GOLF in the Myrtle Beach Area, Tidewater Golf Club should be on your must play list. Golfers on Golf Radio-Chicago.

For more information on Tidewater Golf Club please visit Tidewatergolf.com.

U-P’S SAGE RUN PREPARES TO OPEN

 REOPENING FROM RENOVATION- (L) SCHUAMBURG GOLF CLUB the first of three nines, (R) THE PRESERVE AT OAK MEADOWS, ready for it’s grans opening season, for more details see Schaumburggolf.com and DuPagegolf.com #NEWGOLF Go Play!   _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Creation and Content, follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy and on Linkedin and Facebook. At true Spec Golf

NEW GOLF COURSES aren’t being built all too often these days, so when one does open it’s a good thing.

A good thing will happen this summer when the new Sage Run opens in the UP of Michigan.

Sage Run is part of the Island Casino group and gives the area a foursome of great golf courses.

If you don’t know the area, the other courses are Sweetgrass Course already on the casino property. The highly rated Greywalls course in Marquette, and Timberstone in Iron Mountain. As a result there will be 4 or 5 night packages, with four rounds of golf. With this new course addition the UP of Michigan becomes an even more attractive golf destination.

The new Sage Run in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan prepares for a summer of 2018 Grand Opening. Shown here is the Island Green and holes from the resorts Sweetgrass golf course.

Prices range from only $350 to $758 depending on time of year visiting and single or double occupancy.

Guests/ golfers signing up for packages get $5 in promo cash, bingo coupon, dining , spa services and gaming.

The resort has 328 guest rooms and a 42 site RV-Park.

The new Sage Run course is a Paul Albanese design. The golf course runs through the hardwoods of the UP area, with views from around a elongated hill, or ridge created by glaciers years ago, and has holes routed around this area. The variety of shot golfers will be able to play should create a fun and enjoyable round for golfers of all skill levels.

Albanese also designed the Sweetgrass Course at the resort, while Greywalls is a Mike Devries design and Timberstone golf course was created by Jerry Mathews.

The Island Resort and Casino is surrounded by numerous dining choices and a 1,315 seat auditorium for show from top entertainers. The resort is also home to an LPGA Symetra Tour event featuring some upcoming stars on the LPGA Tour.

For more information on the Island Resort & Casino visit Islandresortandcasino.com and find out when the new Sage Run golf course will open for play this summer.

ILLINOIS BAUMGARTEN BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK

  MCQ’S Dome is the place for indoor golf, in the final days of the winter golf season. Get your game ready with the Mistwood pro staff, and this weekend the Cubs-Sox-Loyola, and the tanking teams, the Bills and Blackhawks, McQ’s is open on Easter Sunday with reduced hours. Details see Mcqsdonme.com, or call (630)-739-7600 #McQsDome OTB  ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG ,RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGUy, Facebook and Linkedin. In the dome at MCQ’s

ILLINOIS Golf is on a roll, in the last week both the Men’s and the Women’s golf teams won the tournaments they played in.

For the men’s team they were lead by So. Bryan Baumgarten from California win the California based BigHorn Invitational shoting 205 for 54 holes that was an 11 under par score.

For his efforts Baumgarten was named the Big Ten Player of the Week for men’s golf. It was his first Big Ten player of the week award, and his first college tournament win. He carded a 5 under par 67, in the third and final round. Baumgarten had six birdies in his last nine holes.

Baumgarten will now travel to Augusta Georgia with the U of I golf team to compete in the 3M Augusta Invitational that starts this Saturday morning at 8:30 local time. The 3M is 54 holes, with a 36 hole format on Saturday and 18 holes on Sunday. The Forest Hills Golf Club plays to a Par of 72, and yardage of 7,005.

#13 Illinois is the highest ranked team in the 15 team field, their are 4 more top 40 teams in the field. University of Illinois Sr. Dylan Meyer won the 3M tournament last year. That earned him a sponsors exemption into the Valspar Classic earlier this month. The Illini as a team won the tournament back in 2016.

For more information on Illinois men’s golf, you can follow Fightingillini.com

ILLINI WOMEN RALLY TO WIN IN ARIZONA

  BLACKBERRY OAKS GM/PRO CHAD JOHANSEN holds the Blackberry Amateur Trophy, the Blackberry Amateur is sponsored by Michelob Ultra and Wilson Golf. It will be played on June 23-24, and this year it’s time to #fillthefield at 120 players. To sign up visit Blacberryoaks.com or call (630)-553-7170. THE PRESERVE at Oak Meadows will be reopening for the season shortly, follow DuPagegolf.com for details on opening day.   _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation, follow Rory to Kemper Lakes, home of the 2018 KPMG/PGA Women’s Championship, and on Twitter @GogBlogGuy and on Linkedin and Facebook.

The University of Illinois Women’s Golf Team kept the week going for Illini golf.

On the heels of a win in California by the men’s team, the women’s team won their tournament in Tucson Arizona.

Illinois started out strong in Mountain View Collegiate,being tied for 1st place after the first round, but fell back to third place after Round 2.

But a team score of 5 under par in the final round made the Illini the champions of the tournament.

The five under par score for a single round was the fifth best, in program history.

Leading Ilinois was Sr. Grace Park and So. Tristyn Nowlin, who each carded 1 under par scores for the championship, and gave them a T-2 overall individual finish. For Nowlin it was her career best finish, the T-2 equaled Park’s best finish. The win for Illinois was the program’s second win of the season

Next on the tee is a trip to Columbus Ohio on April 14-15 for the Lady Buckeye Invitational, then the Illini ranked 23rd will get ready for the conference championship.

THE GOG BLOG SPEAKS OUT- RYDER CUP HAZELTINE 2028

  BLACKBERRY OAKS GM&PRO Chad Johansen holds the Blackberry Amateur trophy, the BB-AM will be played June 23-24, sign up today at Blackberryoaks.com or call the pro shop at (630)-553-7170, this year lets #FILLTHEFIELD at 120 players. Go Rogue, Go Callaway, Fitting Day this Saturday at Zigfieldtroy, call the pro shop  (630)-985-9860. ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. In the booth at Hazeltine in 2016, Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Liinkedin and Facebook.

IT’S BACK, that little trophy called the Ryder Cup that elicits so much emotion from the players that play for it, and the fans who attend the matches.

Enter, or in this case, re-enter Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska Minnesota, that will be the first course in America to re-host the Ryder Cup when it returns in 2028.

Just 12 years after the little cup made it’s way to Minnesota the first time in 2016. Which BTW for those of you keeping track, was a TEAM USA Win. One of the few, the proud, that our side has been able to pull off in recent years. The PGA of America made the announcement yesterday via a video with members of Team USA curling, that just brought home the gold from the winter games in South Korea. Which was an interesting way to make the announcement. If you want to sell Minnesota there will be playoff hockey NHL style with the Wild coming soon, and the Twins home opener is right around the corner. The Vikings will have a first round draft pick in a few weeks, I could see him sitting with the Ryder Cup.

The first hole area at Hazeltine in 2016.

So could the cup have made a stronger entrance back to Minnesota, you betcha, but the Ryder Cup’s return to the far north of Minnesota does raise some questions.

Yesterday the comment was “money talks”, really, if that was the case the cup would be back at Medinah, a place where the PGA of America made more money than any other Ryder Cup host venue to date. In fact now the only scheduled venue expected to do better than Medinah in years to come in terms of money made is 2024, in New York at Bethpage on the Black Course.

The Ryder Cup on display at Wrigley Field in 2016.

The upcoming schedule of Ryder Cups is this.

This fall in France, at Le Golf National outside of Paris.

2020 Whistling Straits in Kohler/Haven Wisconsin.

2022 Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome Italy.

2024 Bethpage Black on Long Island in New York.

2026 TBA. 2028 Hazeltine, 2032 The Olympic Club in San Francisco. Which means the next Ryder Cup open date in America is 2036. 2036, like wow, that’s a ways off, and it’s a long way off if you are a club wanting to host the Ryder Cup. A Medinah return which was a great idea after 2012 seems out of the question. A return to Valhalla which had been proposed and repeatedly talked about is out of the question for almost two decades. What if Whistling Straits is a big hit in 2020, then you have to wait some 16 years minimum to go back to Wisconsin, a place no longer suitable for a PGA with the new May dates.

With a new PGA HQ on the drawing board for the North Suburb of Dallas, Frisco Texas, where four new courses are supposed to be built, including one designed for a Ryder Cup, and one for a PGA Championship. It would sure take a while to break in those new layouts, if indeed they get built.

The stands rocking on Sunday at the Ryder Cup.

In the case of Hazeltine, the PGA felt the venue was a success in 2016 and not just because the USA won. There is some thought that Hazeltine was supposed to be getting more PGA events going forward, which included the return of the PGA Championship.

The KPMG/PGA Women’s Championship heads up to Hazeltine next year, but with the new May dates Hazeltine is out as a future PGA site, unless at some point the PGA moves back to August.

Hazeltine was designed by the late Robert Trent Jones in 1962 and has had renovation work done by his son Rees Jones in 2002 and 2005. The Par 72 course can play long and very hard when set up to do so, trust me I know after playing there one day in the first week of October in 2014.

One of the great things about golf is how it’s big golf events, majors and Ryder Cups and more, move around our nation to expose top level golf to different markets and parts of the country. It energizes people to go play. Frank Jemsek owner of Cog Hill in Lemont, has always told me for years, when the tour is in town, rounds are up, the same with the majors. When the Ryder Cup was at Medinah in 2012, Chicago area courses were sold out for 10 days around Ryder cup week. Ten years from now the Chaska-Twin Cities area will reap the benefits.

In 2016 during Ryder Cup week, the music blaring around Hazeltine on the big speakers was Kiss-by Prince. It was played so often it was stuck in my head for months after coming home. But something else that got stuck in my head, was the sight of Arnold Palmers Ryder Cup golf bag near the first tee of the matches, and the USA leaving with the Cup for the first time in 8 years.

With that, bring on Hazeltine in 2028, Hopefully with a better Wi-Fi for the media tent by then. RS

THE GOG BLOG SPEAKS OUT-TIME FOR WEATHER CHANGE-RYDER CUP

  MCQ’S DOME is your place for an indoor tune-up of your golf game, get with the Mistwood golf club professionals for a spring lesson or a review of your clubs. Stop at mcQ’s, enjoy the OTB or the Bar & Grill. Bolingbrook Rd in Bolingbrook mcqsdome.com ______________________________________________________________________

BREAKING NEWS-RYDER CUP returns to Hazeltine GC, Chaska Minn. in 2028.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation, with BIG 3 Partner Len Ziehm on the Dye Course at PGA Village. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy., Linkedin and Facebook

I could use more weather like this, like the day I had in Port St. Lucie with BIG 3 partner Len Ziehm. So much for Global Warming,as the Chicago area is running 10 degrees below normal for this time of year, so say most of our local TV and Radio weather people.

I would like to see things warm up so that the local courses can get a start on summer, and start booking in some rounds. It would be nice to have a great golf season from start to finish this year. according to a recent study by World Golf and Health, playing golf and walking is a very healthy thing to do. Check out the results and findings of this study at golfandhealth.org.

I know 50 degrees is on the schedule a little bit this week, let’s hope it keeps on the schedule for a while until it turns into days where we should be at 60 or 70. In the meantime if outside does not work for you, then take it in the dome, and there is no place like mcQ’s in Bolingbrook. Next Saturday it’s the place for golf, horses and Loyola, MCQ’s one stop golf and more.

BIG 3 partner Len Ziehm has a few new travel posts on his site, Lenziehmongolf.com you should check them out. Myrtle Beach is among them, and speaking of MB, you can now sign up for the World’s Largest Amateur Tournament that is played in Myrtle Beach in late August. You can sign up now and save $100 on the tournament entrance fee. Myrtlebeachworldamateur.com for more details on this fun event, that attracts over 3,000 golfers every year.

TIGER WOODS is not a popular subject it appears based on several stories this past week. First up there is book on TW due out this week, that talks about Woods repeated run in’s with former President Bill Clinton. Don’t invite them to the same event. Another story suggests Woods is bad for business, as the sponsors are not heading back in his direction quite yet. Another feature says Woods is getting the TV time, but Phil Mickelson is playing much better golf, and fans like Phil more because he is more like Arnold Palmer. I will put out my top 10 picks for the Masters and one hint is that ol’ TW is not on it.

SPEAKING OF THE KING..Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge is upping it’s game again with improvements in the practice area and on both courses. It is interesting to see what Bay Hill is doing, since one story sent our way has some folks at BH thinking the PGA Tour will be gone in four years.

WITH THE Players Championship moving back to March, somebody has to go that month and my pick would be the WGC Mexico event. Why go to Mexico anyway, so the players can continue to get sick. The entire month of March should be the Florida swing. The PGA TOUR asked Valspar to move to the fall, and the answer back was NO.

So now without Arnie, maybe Bay Hill is on the chopping block. That could also be a good move sending the Mastercard event to the fall. Players in a relaxed mode come October could give Arnie an annual tribute. For the Florida guys who don’t play in the fall, they might play at Arnie’s place, it would be a home game for many. In addition no need for the PGA Tour to fear the NFL if you have a good field. In October the NFL has three weeks of night games, London games, and bye-weeks all rolled into one. This opens up plenty of markets to watch golf.

SPEAKING OF THE TOUR… ICYMI Sentry insurance is the new sponsor for five years at the Tournament of Champions event that starts the year in Maui Hawaii at Kapalua. Which BTW will be undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation by the original course designers Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore.

The new clubhouse drawing for the University of Iowa Course Finkbine

Apologies for leaving this note out of my college golf update this past week.

The University of Iowa course Finkbine will be getting a new clubhouse and support facility.

This has been approved by the State of Iowa and the universities board of regents.

The cost of the project is $9.95 million and will replace an aging 52 year old building. The new clubhouse plans got the approval of both golf coaches, Tyler Stith of the men’s team and Megan Menzel the women’s golf coach. Construction will start this spring and the new clubhouse will open in spring of 2019. Congrats to the Hawkeye’s on this great development for their golf teams. Donor gifts to the athletic department will pay for the cost of the project.

I HEAR that in the latest round of public forum on the Lake Bluff Golf Course by the Park District on keeping the golf course open or to close it in 2019, that some speakers didn’t have much good to say about the Billy Casper golf management firm running the golf course. Most of the successful park district golf courses in the area, do not have a golf management firm operating them.

KUDO’s to Illini Men’s Coach Mike Small and his team on a big win at BIGHORN in California over the weekend. Illinois was 40 under par as a team. The “W” was needed by the 15th ranked Illinois Team.

FORMER ILLINOIS STANDOUT Steve Stricker is on a roll, with his second Champions Tour win in two tries, Stricker has played well on the PGA Tour when he plays there. He will now play in Houston next week in a late attempt to get into the Masters, here’s hoping he makes it. If he gets in, he could contend.

The Gog Blog returns on Tuesday. RS

THE GOG BLOG’S SUNDAY MORNING SHORT GAME

      MCQ’S DOME in Bolingbrook is the premier golf dome in the Chicagoland area, work on your golf game, take a lesson or get fitted for new clubs from the Mistwood Golf Club professional staff. MCQ’s Dome has two levels of hitting bays, plus an OTB so you can play the ponies and be ready for the Kentucky Derby less than two months away. Enjoy the food and beverage in the bar and grill, a great place to watch Loyola next weekend when they compete in the final four. While the Blackhawks season is almost over, we are just days away from the Cubs and Sox season openers, and the Masters. So why not head out to McQ’s Dome, on Bolingbrook Road. Please call (630)-739-7600 or on line go to Mcqsdome.com to learn about the specials, and what Chef Anton is cooking.   _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG part of Golfers on Golf is produced by Rory Spears, Director of Creation and Content, Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, or Linkedin/Facebook.

A WIN FOR THE ILLINOIS MEN’S GOLF TEAM, Coach Mike Small’s men’s golf team got a well needed tournament win at the Big Horn Invitational, where the team shot a 40 under par. So. Bryan Baumgarten carded his first tournament win, with a final round 67 and a 11 under par score for the tournament. Right behind Baumgarten was So. Giovanni Tadiotto and Sr.Dylan Meyer who were T-2 at 8 under par. Sr. Nick Hardy was T-6 at 7 under par, and Michael Feagles was T-14 at 5 under par.

“This tournament was a total team effort from start to finish and that’s important to a coach, when everybody contributes at sometime or another,” said head coach Mike Small. “The highlight of the day was Giovanni getting out first and setting the tone, and that is something we talk about as a a team. The way bryan closed out the tournament was gratifying to see.”

The men’s team heads to Augusta for the 3M Augusta Invitational next weekend. The Illinois Women’s Team that was T-1 after the first day in Tucson Arizona, slipped back into third place after round 2, but not far off the leaders.

Drive Chip and Putt finals next weekend at Augusta National Golf Club.

The national finals of the Drive Chip and Putt will take place next weekend at Augusta National Golf Club in advance of the Masters Tournament.

Illinois will have a local entrant in 13 year old Andrew Lim of Naperville, whose home course is the Naperville Country Club.

Lim started his run to Augusta by taking second place at Cantigny Golf in a local qualifier. From there it was off to Cog Hill and a sub-regional where Lim finished first. The regional qualifier was the Honors Course in Ooltewah Tennessee where Lim was first again.

“We are thrilled to once again have a local player qualify for the National Finals at Augusta from our PGA Section,” said Carrie Williams executive director of the Illinois PGA Section. “Drive Chip and Putt is a wonderful program for kids to test their skills and have fun.”

Lim is looking forward to having a chance to go to Augusta National. “I’m really excited about competing in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals,” said Lim. “I love playing golf and this is a real privilege to have this opportunity at a special place like Augusta.”

Brian Brown head professional at Naperville Country Club says.” the club is very excited for Andrew, and we will have the TV on watching him and cheering for him.”

MIURA GOLF the makers of the world finest forged golf clubs, have released a film about the history of their company via digital distribution http://miuragolf.com/film/. The three chapter film by Howard Milstein, talks about the companies history that started in 1957 by founder Katsuhiro Miura. The three chapters are, The Mystery, The Laboratory and the Golfer’s Sword. For information on Miura Golf products visit Miuragolf.com.

WE ARE GOLF a coalition of the game of golf’s leading associations and industry partners host’s the 2nd annual Community Service Project on Tuesday April 24th from 8 Am to Noon EST., this event is in advance of the 11th annual National Golf Day taking place on April 25th.

THE BEN HOGAN GOLF COMPANY announces the Hogan Equalizer Line of Wedges is back,bearing the famous Hogan name. The wedges can be ordered immediately at www.BenHoganGolf.com. During his playing days Hogan was known for playing his pitching wedge at a high level. For more information to see why Hogan wedges are designed much different than most other wedges on the market or on tour, visit the companies Ben Hogan website.

THE MYRTLE BEACH WORLD AMATEUR is now taking entries for the 35th annual championship from August 27-31 that will take place on 64 of Myrtle Beach’s top golf courses. If you sign up by May 17th the cost is only $525 dollars a $100 savingsover the normal price. The field is expected to be over 3,000 players from over 20 countries. Players are flighted into nine divisions. After four days of competitions, flight winners move on to the World Championship 18 hole playoff that determines the winner.

Once golf is completed for the day, golfers head to the world’s largest 19th hole, for an evening of fun and entertainment. To sign up see MyrtleBeachWorldAmateur.com.

GETTING THE SHAFT..Club Champion based in Chicago has entered it’s 8th year in the expansion mode. CC has 31 locations and plans to open more over the year. CC has over 35,000 hittable shaft and head combinations.Club Champion will tell you that getting the right shaft can add twenty yards to your drives,meaning as much as two-clubs less into the green. See Clubchampiongolf.com for more information.