THE VALLEY LODGE at the French Lick Resort and the WEST BADEN dome hotel. A perfect New Years Eve destination. Try the suites in the Valley Lodge at the French Lick Resort, attached to the casino and sports book, perfect for groups. #betthegames For more information visit Frenchlick.com and don’t forget to sign up for 2020 golf tee times. ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG-by RORY SPEARS Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, and on Facebook or Linkedin. At the Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort.

ON A DAY, where snow flurries were starting to fall, and the warm temperatures we have had, dropped back into the 20’s. It was time to think about golf that needs to be played, in the 20’s, 2020 that is.

It’s not about making some sort of an all-time bucket list, just places you would like to play next year for one reason or another. Is there a course you have been itching to get to, but haven’t found the time to play there. Did you play bad somewhere, and you really need a mulligan.

Is one of your favorite courses reopening from renovation, is one of them closing down in 2020, and you just have to play there before it closes.

Did you shoot your best round ever at a course, and you want to go back and break that low scoring record one-more time. Well after some thought, there are 20 courses I want to play in 2020. Here is my list, and I am hoping to hit them all.

20. Erin Hills in Erin Wis.Yes-but Erin Hills new Drumlin putting course has peaked my interest, putting courses are fun, and this new venture at Erin Hills looks to be just that and worth a two-hour drive to get there.

The new Drumlin putting course at Erin Hills. 63,000 square feet of putting green.

19.The Sheep Ranch at Bandon Dunes, Bandon Or.. I have been on the land, but never have hit a shot on it. It wasn’t hard to realize that good golf holes could be built right there.

Finally now there are good golf holes there, courtesy of Mike Keiser, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.

The Sheep Ranch Opens on June 1st, and is being promoted as the last new course at Bandon Dunes. It already sounds as if it’s a must play, right on the Pacific Ocean.

The 2nd hole on new Pfau Course at Indiana University, renovation work by Steve Smyers

18. Pinehurst No.5, Pinehurst NC., Pinehurst 5 might not be another Donald Ross U.S. Open Course, but when you look at the fact Pinehurst has 10 golf courses, 1-9 and the par three Cradle Course, and you have played 1-4,- 6-9 and the Cradle. The only course missing is #5. In baseball when you hit a home run, they say “touch’em all”. I can do that with a round of golf on Course No.5 at Pinehurst, and that alone would make it “special”, to touch all 10 of the Pinehurst Resorts great golf courses.

17. PFAU Course at Indiana University, Bloomington Ind., our first stop in Indiana is the new home course for the Hoosiers of Indiana. The long overdue renovation is done, and architect Steve Smyers has built a winner. It will be open this spring, and I can’t wait to play here. So will Indiana’s golf teams and new recruits. A great stop off on the way to the French Lick Resort.

Gamble Sands 6th hole, Washington State.

16. Gamble Sands, Brewster Washington. This David Kidd design put him back on the map, and it caught the eye of Mike Keiser, who then called Kidd, and told him he could build the second course at Sand Valley in Wis., the classic Mammoth Dunes layout. A must play.

I haven’t played golf in Washington State since October of 2012, where I got soaked at Chambers Bay, and tee’d off in 51 degree weather at one of the most scenic casino courses, Sallish Cliffs. Kidd is getting the second course ready at Gamble Sands, that is worth a look as well, even if it’s not quite open.

15. Suncadia Resort- Cle Elum, Washington. Former Illinois PGA professional Mike Jones is running the golf operation here, and he has invited me out for a look. Jones past stops include places like Cantigny, Kapalua, and Nemacolin, so I’m sure his current location ranks as a great place for golf. Two 18 hole golf courses, I think I need to play both of them.

Crooked Stick and the covered bridge.

14. Crooked Stick Golf Club, Carmel Ind., “The Stick” as I like to call the club is some really neat golf. It’s another one of Pete Dye’s really creative golf courses and it has some cool touches to it. Like the covered bridge, the train car you drive or walk through. Plus the statue of Pete and the late Alice Dye. Pete left a place for golfers to make suggestions about the course, it’s a mailbox in the middle of pond on the 18th hole. Just slice one about 30 yards right of the fairway, and your there. If you hook it 30 yards left of the fairway on 18, your in the backyard of Pete’s house. The Western Golf Association (WGA) will hold the Western Amateur there this summer, it’s worth the drive from Chicago to go see the amateur there. It’s also the last place I spoke with Pete, whose health was already declining, I’m glad I saw him when I did.

The front nine at the new Payne’s Valley at Big Cedar Resort

13.Payne’s Valley-Big Cedar Resort, Ridgedale Missouri. The new Tiger Woods designed course for Big Cedar Resort owner Johnny Morris looks like a winner. It’s a tribute to the late Payne Stewart, who grew up not far away. I’m not Tiger’s biggest fan, but he did a stellar job here with this golf course. It has several great holes, including an 18th and 19th holes cut out of hillside rock cropping’s. Really good. All 18 holes will be open at some point in the summer, I hope to be there when they do.

12. Olympia Fields Country Club-North Course, Olympia Fields Illinois. Olympia Fields North is a great Top 100 track and it will host the BMW Championship this August. I’m looking forward to seeing it before the pro’s do. Some of them will be back for the first time since the 2003 U.S. Open. 2015 U.S. Amateur Champion at Olympia Fields Bryson DeChambeau, has to be pumped to have a PGA Tour event on OFCC-North.

The waterfall on Slick Rock, one of the four courses at the Horseshoe Bay Resort in Austin Texas.

11. Summit Rock-Horseshoe Bay Resort, Austin Texas. It’s been over 10 years since I last visited Horseshoe Bay Resort. I played the three courses that HSBR had open at the time, Apple Rock, Ram Rock, and Slick Rock on a 97 degree day. But Summit Rock by Jack Nicklaus was just under construction, and a year plus away from opening. I walked through a few of the dirt piles to check out what Jack and his team were doing. I knew I had to comeback when it was done, it’s well past my time to return.

The par 3, 17th hole on Copperhead at Innisbrook resort in Florida, just north of Tampa.

10.Copperhead Innisbrook Resort, Tarpon Springs Florida. Home of the PGA Tour’s Valspar Classic on the Florida Swing. The tour pro’s love Copperhead, and you will too since it’s a PGA Tour course you can play. I haven’t played Copperhead since 2017, and it was just settling in from renovation with some area’s still roped off. Now Copperhead is in mid-season form, and the Snake Pit is a fun challenge coming down the stretch on the back-nine.

9.Sea Island-St. Simons Island Georgia. Sea Island has three outstanding courses, so I’m told, including one of them recently renovated by resident Davis Love III and his team. I’ve never been there, it’s one of the best resorts in America I haven’t been to, that changes in 2020.

The first hole on the Tournament Nine is growing in at the Schaumburg Golf Club.

8. Schaumburg Golf Club-Schaumburg Illinois. The Tournament Nine should reopen from renovation at some point in July, combined with the other two nines, the Players Nine and the Baer Nine. This 27 hole facility will become one of the best public layouts in the Chicago area. After playing Todd Quitno’s redesign of the Players and the Baer this fall, I can’t wait for the Tournament Nine to open. Chicago area golfers will enjoy Schaumburg Golf Club, and it’s redone practice areas as well.

7. The River Course at Blackwolf Run, Kohler Wisconsin. I haven’t played the River Course in over 10 years, and I’m overdue for a round here. Pete Dye told me once, that the par 4, tenth hole, is the best par 4 he ever designed. Because of the four options golfers have to play this hole. Named “Cathedral Spires” this hole shows the creativity Dye always had in his design work.

TPC Colorado designed by Art Schaupeter.

6. TPC Colorado, Berthoud Colorado. Architect Art Schaupeter (Highlands of Elgin) shines again with his design of TPC Colorado, already one of the favorite stops of players on the Korn Ferry Tour. I have never played golf in Colorado, and in 2020 that needs to change.

5.The Great Waters Course at Reynolds-Lake Oconee Georgia. Last January I walked the dirt piles on Great Waters with GM Mike Scully, as Jack Nicklaus and his team were renovating the golf course. The project is now complete and the course is open for play. Scully has quite a property in Georgia, and Reynolds Lake Oconee is getting better all the time. I’m ready to go back for another visit, you too should plan a visit to Lake Oconee.

The morning fog rises from the valley by the Pete Dye course at the French Lick Resort.

4. The Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort, French Lick Indiana. Our third stop in Indiana is in French Lick. It’s been a few years since I last played the Dye Course. In my most recent rounds on the Dye Course over the decade, I’ve always brought some of Chicago’s windy and chilly weather with me. So I’m determined to play the course when the sun is out, and the temperature is at least 70. The Dye Course has some of the best views (40 miles worth from a few holes some say) you will find on a Midwest golf course. The Sr. LPGA Championship moves to July so plan accordingly when you visit. At first, Dye wondered if he could build the course on the hilltops where he did, but he got it done and you will be glad he did. Volcano bunkers and all.

3. Whistling Straits-Haven Wisconsin. Dye’s Straits Course along Lake Michigan will host the 2020 Ryder Cup in September. Go there before the pro’s do in September (sounds like a plan). Besides some of the worlds best players might be out there this summer practicing. So who knows who you might run into if your out golfing on the Straits. If your attending the matches this fall, enjoy watching how the pro’s hit shots from where you did during your round. Maybe you will have hit a better one, especially if it’s a recovery shot.

The 18th hole at Whistling Straits, home of the 2020 Ryder Cup.

2. Merion GC Ardmore PA. The course one of America’s Top 100, normally in the top 10 on most lists, has reopened after famed architect Gil Hanse did a historical restoration of the golf course. Merion is a special place, with a great history. If you ever get the chance to play there, don’t pass it up. I love the Wicker Baskets on the flag sticks instead of flags, it’s really a neat look.

1. Pine Valley, Pine Valley New Jersey. It’s been rated the No.1 golf course in America for many years, by multiple publications. The holes look incredible, if you see them online from the drone footage that was shot not long ago. It’s amazing how many courses today, have had some sort of inspiration from something the architect saw at Pine Valley. Like Merion, if you ever get the chance to play here, don’t pass it up. Pine Valley is pretty special and No.1 for good reason.

15 of the courses on my list are open to the public, just five are private. A few might require a stay at the resort, but you can play them. Courses hosting top level professional or amateur championships can get shut down as it gets closer to tournament week.

I have a few more courses I would like to play in 2020, but the above list is a start. I hope to see you on the course in 2020, get out and play. Make your list and try to knock-off as many courses as possible. Happy New Year from all of us at Golfers on Golf, Ed Stevenson, Bill Berger, and Rory Spears. We are back on Jan. 2, 2020.


  THE NEW VALLEY TOWER at the French Lick Resort, complete with the Valley Bar and Sports Book. How about New Years Eve in French Lick, See more Frenchlick.com   _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG-by Rory Spears, Director of Content, and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, and on LinkedIn and or Facebook.

SO HERE WE ARE at years end, and now ready to move into the 20’s. This will be the last Speaks Out column of the year, with tomorrow being my want list for the 20 courses I want to play in 2020. With a day off on New Years day. I’ll be back on Jan. 2nd, of 2020.

REMINDER, today is the last day for the 40% off all-apparel sale at the Schaumburg Golf Club, and don’t forget their simulators are open. Call ahead, at (847)-885-9000, they do get busy.

SOME OTHER NEWS to round out the year, on the “For Sale” front. A couple months back Klein Creek in Winfield was sold to a new owner. Two golf courses where I got my roots in the working world of golf for 11 years, the Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Heights, and what’s now called “The Tradition’s at Chevy Chase” in Wheeling, are both under the same management. The Wheeling Park District has entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the River Trails Park District to run Rob Roy’s golf and food and beverage operation. I’m hoping that this is a win-win for everyone involved.

NOW COME’S WORD that the Flossmoor Country Club has been sold. The new owner or new owner’s might be planning 7 figures worth of improvements on the golf course. If they do make improvements, there is no word yet if architect Ray Hearn will be involved. The Holland Michigan based architect did the renovation work at the club about 11 years ago. Word is that the clubhouse could be partially or totally demolished, and the swimming pool will be gone as well.

WHITE PINES in Bensenville does not have a golf dome for the first time in almost 30 years. But word is that the word has not really got around to golfers. Apparently plenty of golfers have pulled into the White Pines parking lot this winter looking for the dome, only to learn the sad news after arriving. Rumors persist that there will be a dome next there next year. Time will tell. In the meantime, when looking for a dome enjoy the best one in town, The Mistwood golf Dome in Bolingbrook.

IN JUST THREE WEEKS the PGA Merchandise Show will tee off in Orlando, I can’t week for the fun to start.

It’s hard to say how many outdoor days of golf are left this year and into the New Year, after many courses were open in the last week. St. Andrews in West Chicago had about 700 golfers, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and on the 26th. Word is Cog Hill with Courses 1, 2, and 3 open had plenty of business as well. Pine Meadow was crowded this week, somewhere the late Joe Jemsek is looking down and smiling at what Jemsek Golf did this past week with six courses pulling in the holiday golfers. So much for that theory some wish for you to believe that people don’t play golf anymore. That theory gets proven wrong, day after day.

2019 gave me plenty to write about, and I’m sure 2020 will give me even more. The BMW is back in town at Olympia Fields, along with the Big Ten Men’s Championships at Rich Harvest Farms. The Ryder Cup is not far away in Haven/Kohler Wisconsin at Whistling Straits. The French Lick Resort has the Sr. LPGA Championship back, but the new dates are in July. The same week in Indiana, will be the Western Amateur at Crooked Stick near Indianapolis. The date change for the Sr. LPGA Championship will be great for French Lick and senior women players.

I MADE A MAJOR equipment change this past year, and I’m still getting used to everything, but after getting fitted, and getting the numbers in check, I have dropped the handicap back into single-digits for the first time in years. That leaves me excited about playing more golf in 2020. I have now played almost 530 different courses over the years, and I’m hoping to to get that number up to over 550 by the end of next year.

27 holes of outdoor golf in December, in Chicago was a great way to close out the year. I’ll share some thoughts about 2020 tomorrow to close out the year. If you missed them I wrote about my 19 favorite rounds of 2019, and the top courses I played over the decade. It’s been fun.

TO EVERYONE who reads along,  and enjoys the golf news all year round here at Golfers on Golf, I say thank you. Keep reading and spread the word about Golfersongolf.com. Back with a final wrap up tomorrow. RS.


THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB at 401 N. Roselle Road is open today for the golf and hockey special, during the Blackhawks game that starts at 4 pm vs Columbus, and after the Bears season ends at Minnesota. Call the pro shop for details on today’s special at (847)-885-9000, the 40% off all-apparel sale ends tomorrow December 30th.   _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy and on LinkedIn or Facebook. At Pine Meadow GC in Mundelein.

IT’s BEEN quite a Christmas week, with great weather and golf courses open around the area.

For those who were, they got a late in the year present, of some additional revenue. Some places did pretty well.

As for today, some courses are open, maybe a little wet after last night, but yet open on this 50+ degree day, at least for the moment. Call your local pro shop, and find out if your club is open.

Hockey Night in Schaumburg starts this afternoon at 4 PM. At the Schaumburg Golf Club, simulator time and watch the Blackhawks in action in Columbus. Call the pro shop at (847)-885-9000.

CALLAWAY GOLF has new outerwear called Stormguard. Plus the new driver called Mavrik will be launched next month at the PGA show, stay tuned.

There are various resort destination properties running specials through New Years Eve, check online if you are looking to travel. Eagle Ridge resort in Galena, is having a New Years Eve special, see Eagleridge.com or call the resort if you want to get have some fun on New Years Eve this Tuesday.

The Gog Blog returns tomorrow. RS


  THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB 401 N. Roselle Road has a 40% off all-apparel sale through Monday Dec. 30th, and it’s simulators are open daily 9 Am to 8 Pm. This Sunday night, there is a hockey-golf night this Sunday, with the Blackhawks-Columbus game starting at 4 Pm. Call the pro shop for details at (847)-885-9000, or visit online at Schaumburggolf.com and learn about the course renovation work. (R) PINE MEADOW in Mundelein will be open all weekend, call the pro shop for tee times (847)-566-4653.    ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by Rory Spears, Director of Content and Creation, follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy and on LinkedIn and Facebook. At Shinnecock Hills on Long Island NY.

THE TEN’S ARE PASSING US BY, and in a few days they will be gone. The 20’s are coming, will they be the next version of the “Roaring 20’s” like they were a 100 years ago.

Before the 20’s arrive, I’m going to take this moment to remember the “Best of” the “Tens or the Teens”.

What were the Best 10 Courses I played in the last 10 years, there are so many that could make the list. My list of courses played over the last 10 years has grown from 275+, to almost 530.

But what were the Best 10 courses, or experiences in the last decade. Actually there were plenty, and many more than 10 could have made the list.

THE HONORABLE MENTION 10 include the following.The Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort, French Lick Ind., Wissahickon at the Philadelphia Cricket Club PA.,  Erin Hills WI., Bandon Dunes OR.,Copperhead at Innisbrook FL., The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island., Streamsong-courses FL.,Bay Harbor MI.,Medinah 3 IL., Pine Tree FL.

THE TEN-starting with a tie for 10th place.

  (L) The Club at Porto Cima part of the Four Seasons resort in Lake in the Ozarks MO., this Jack Nicklaus design never receives the credit it deserves. It should be hosting a major at some level. It’s powerful rolling hills and scenic views make this a great track and it’s one everyone can and should play. (R) Calusa Pines Naples FL., this Hurdzan and Fry design might be the best course in Florida, with a tip of the cap to several other courses, and I have not yet played Seminole. I had one of the best caddies I have ever had at Calusa Pines, and played here on a Saturday afternoon in January, while it was 25 degrees in Chicago. Several tour pro’s have memberships here, and it’s not hard to see why. The course is private.

NINE-Mammoth Dunes at Sand Valley Resort, Nakoosa Wi.

  Mammoth Dunes is public and part of the Sand Valley Resort, built by Mike Keiser. Keiser brought in David Kidd to do the second course, after seeing Kidd’s work at Gamble Sands in Washington. While there is no ocean in Wisconsin, like at Bandon Dunes where Kidd designed Bandon Dunes for Keiser, Kidd hit another home run for Keiser when he designed Mammoth Dunes, that has a small touch of the blind shot mixed in on several holes. Golfers love it, I loved it, you will too. Go Play it, everyone can.

EIGHT-Friar’s Head-Long Island NY.

 Friars Head is a Coore and Crenshaw design on Long Island that is one of the best courses in area, much less all of America. It’s a great walk with a great variety of holes. It’s too bad the club is private, because if you love the game of golf, this one place you should get to enjoy once. Even the walk between 15 and 16 takes you out through the trees and down a walk-way over water, and back through the trees and onto the golf course. Pretty special.

SEVEN-Bethpage Black-Long Island NY.

  You are warned in advance about playing here, just don’t if you don’t have some game. But you can play here in Bethpage State Park if you want to, but there are other courses to pick from. It’s not the easiest walk, and caddies are an option, a good one at that. Two U.S. Opens have been played here, one PGA Championship was in this current year, and the Ryder Cup rolls in come 2024. Go play if your ready for a solid challenge of your golf skills.

SIX-Old Macdonald-Bandon Dunes Resort, Bandon OR.

Old Macdonald is a tribute to Chicago Golf and other courses by C.B. Macdonald at Bandon Dunes. It’s great course to enjoy with your friends. Owner Mike Keiser thinks it’s the most fun course at his Bandon Dunes Resort in Oregon. He is correct. I played all 5 courses there at the time, and saved the best for last, Old Mac. Go play it, and while there starting in June 2020, try out the new Sheep Ranch by Coore and Crenshaw.

FIVE-Whistling Straits-Haven/Kohler WI. Part of the American Club Resort.

   STEVE STRICKER and PADRAIG HARRINGTON will fight over the Ryder Cup in September of 2020, before then you can play Whistling Straits, and take a caddie for a great walk down the shores of Lake Michigan. Some say it’s Pete Dye’s best work, and those people might just be right.

FOUR-Chicago Golf Club, Wheaton IL.

  Chicago Golf is another one of those special places I wish each golfer could enjoy at least once. History just hangs over this little club, and in 2018 the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open was played here. When you walk these fairways you can’t help but enjoy golf as it was meant to be played a hundred years ago. In the case of Chicago Golf, that number is over 125 years.

THREE-Pinehurst #2, Pinehurst NC. part of the Pinehurst Resort.

Pinehurst 2 is one of the great historic courses in America, Donald Ross maybe the best architect in American golf history designed #2. Some say it’s his masterpiece, and his house is just off the 3rd hole. U.S. Open’s and U.S. Amateurs get played here for a reason. Some folks who don’t have the game or the patience aren’t fans of the greens, but they are one of the great challenges in golf. It’s a U.S. Open course you can play. The walk with a caddie is one of the best in golf. The Coore & Crenshaw renovation was a good one. Pinehurst 2, just for you. Go Play history, and where history is made.

TWO-Shinnecock Hills, Long Island NY.

Shinnecock Hills is ranked one of the Top 10 courses in the country every year. It’s another one of those great walks, every golfer should have the chance to take at least once. Like Pinehurst #2, U.S. Opens get played here on the William Flynn design for a reason, this course is just that good. The clubhouse is really special, with history down the walls every where. More history will be made in 2026, when the U.S. Open returns.

ONE-Merion Golf Club, Ardmore PA.

Merion is my favorite golf course, everything about it is really neat. From the drive in past the short par 3 13th hole, to the Red and Orange wicker-baskets that serve as flag sticks. History is made here, and the U.S. Open was back again in 2013. Ben Hogan won his miracle U.S. Open here after surviving getting hit head-on in his car by a Greyhound Bus. Club historian John Capers runs the best history room you will ever find at any club, that’s filled with amazing artifacts from the clubs history. I’ve played this course twice, and now Gil Hanse has done restoration work since my last visit. I need to go back in the 2020’s. Merion, where Bobby Jones won the only “Grand Slam” in golf history, closed it out here at Merion. With that I closed out my list.

Now I wonder if I can come up with a better list for the next decade. This one will be tough to beat. Stay clicked in for 20 courses on my hit list for 2020. RS


THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB at 401 North Roselle Road is open for golf year round, as the simulators are open from 9 Am to 8 Pm. Through Monday Dec. 30th there is a 40% off all-apparel sale. Call the pro shop for simulator times at (847)-885-9000.      _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG-by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, and LinkedIn or Facebook. In the grill at Pine Meadow the day after Christmas, December 26th. Photo by Dennis Johnsen-IPGA.

THE WEATHER OUTSIDE was not frightening, it made the day great and exciting, the sun was outside and shining. The wind didn’t blow, didn’t blow and there is no snow.

As a result here on December 26th, 2019, in the final days of the decade, the golf courses in the Chicago area that were open, were crowded. With foursome after foursome teeing off and tee sheets were full of foursomes.

The golfers started arriving early, and they played until late in the day. In fact as the sun set at Pine Meadow in Mundelein, golfers just started appearing out of the openings in the bushes like zombies appearing at night in a horror film, as they walked in from whatever hole they were on. If you finished on the par 4, 9th hole like two golfers did, you timed out your round perfectly.

In fact as two golfers walked off the ninth green, all they could barely see on the par 4, 18th hole, was golfers and golf carts coming up the final fairway of 2019. As the players hoped for a final par or birdie. One golfer tee’d off on the first hole with just enough time to putt out on the first green, walk over to the ninth tee box and play in. I guess two holes on December 26th is better than none. Maybe he had new clubs that he had to hit.

The par 4, 9th hole at Pine Meadow in Mundelein, became the final outdoor hole for Golfers on Golf as the sun set on our outdoor golf season, for the decade and for 2019.

Arriving at Pine Meadow Golf Club at 1:40 PM on the day after Christmas, all GM-Head Professional Dennis Johnsen could say, is that the tee sheet was full until 3 pm. Sunset was about 4:50 pm.

At 3:20 the tee was empty and off went a golfer, with a bag over his shoulder, as the golf carts were sold out and , none were left. Soon there was a two-some behind him. Dad and his junior golfer, but they seems to be having fun, even if it would only be for another hour, and maybe just six holes.

The walk was solid as the sun on the horizon shined a bright bluish-pinkish glare. It wasn’t cold and the wind was non-existent. It was pick your own place to hit from day, with no tee markers on the tee boxes.

The par 3, 12th hole at Pine Meadow Golf Club

It’s not clear how many more days of outside golf are left.

All of that will depend on when the temperatures really dip, or when the snow falls, or how cold golfers still want to play outside, until they head into the golf domes, or partially sheltered ranges with heaters blowing down on them.

But one thing that was clear on the day after Christmas, and that good weather for an outdoor golf season was alive for another day. Many golfers took advantage of it one more time in 2019, and maybe one last time for the decade.

But then the Eskimo Open at Cog Hill is only 10 days away. What a way to bring in the new decade. Outdoor golf on January 5th of 2020, in the middle of a not so harsh Chicago winter. At least so far anyway.

Pine Meadow will be open this coming Saturday the 28th and Sunday the 29th. Tee times on Saturday start at 11 am, and at 9 am on Sunday. (847)-566-GOLF.


Golfers on Golf Radio Am 750 WNDZ.

MERRY CHRISTMAS from all of us at Golfers on Golf.

Ed Stevenson-Bill Berger and Rory Spears.

Wishing you and your families a great Christmas.

The Gog Blog will return on Thursday December 26th, as we start to look at both year end, and decade end. Before welcoming in 2020 and the decade of the 20’s.

REMINDER-many of the area golf courses that have been open the past few days are closed for Christmas Day, but will reopen on Thursday. The Eskimo Open at Cog Hill is Sunday January 5th. The golf domes like Mistwood and Links and Tee’s will be open on Thursday. Courses open on the 26th that we know of are Cog Hill Courses 1-2-3. Pine Meadow, St. Andrews, Maple Meadows, some of the GolfVisions courses. Plus others, call the pro shop if in question. The simulators are back open at the Schaumburg Golf Club on Thursday. For those with new clubs, go test them out.

As golfers, we hope all golfers get what they want for Christmas, and to our Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah. I’ll be offering up some post Christmas golf idea’s for all of you who received $$$ or gift cards to go golf shopping with. See you on Thursday.


SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB at 401 North Roselle Road in Schaumburg is your home for year round golf. The simulators are open with plenty of Top 100 courses, and a few major championship and Ryder Cup venues. Currently through December 30th the pro shop has a 40% off sale on all apparel. Call the pro shop to reserve simulator tee times at (847)-885-9000, to learn more on the course renovations see Schaumburggolf.com.  _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by Rory Spears, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, and on Linkedin or Facebook. Teeing of on 18 at White Eagle Country Club in Naperville, home of the 2020 Illinois Open. Photo by Chip Wagner.

THERE ARE ALWAYS GREAT ROUNDS, for many reasons. It’s because of how you played, where you played, who you played with, or a day on the golf course came at good time.

Maybe you played in a charity event, and raised a lot of money for a good cause. Did you help your team win the tournament that day, maybe you won the tournament that day. Did you a hit the shot of a lifetime, a hole-in-one or a Double-Eagle 2, on a par 5. It’s always great to recover with a birdie after you have taken a penalty on a hole, and you holed a recovery shot. Was it your longest drive ever, 300+ yards. All of these shots bring you back for more.

My 19 favorite rounds for 2019 are below, I hope you got in 19 rounds this past year or at least 10. Coming up later this week, My Best 10 rounds of the the tens (this decade) and 20 rounds I’d like to play in 2020.

The par 3, 3rd hole on Innisbrook South Course.

19. Innisbrook FL. South Course. The recently renovated South Course is good, and a fun track golfers of all skill levels can play.

One of the enjoyable things about this round, is that it was 53 degrees when I teed off last January. The starter had on a down jacket, I had a wind-breaker. I was warm he was not.

A friend called from Chicago as I was on the 4th tee, he said it was 22 below temperature wise back home. And here I was out golfing. It’s days like this you enjoy playing even if your score isn’t good.

18. The Donald Ross Course at the French Lick Resort, Ind. I played the Ross while working the Sr. LPGA Championship, my partner was the soon to be Hall of Famer Len Ziehm, in his last round before induction. We had a blast and the Ross Course is a great track.

17. Stonebridge Country Club IL. I had not been there since 2004 when Karrie Webb walked out the door with the trophy from the last Kellogg-Keebler LPGA Tour event. The course has matured, and been renovated by the Fazio group. It looks better than ever and will make a great second course for the 2020 Illinois Open.

16.Rich Harvest Farms-Sugar Grove IL., RHF is a Top 100 course that gets better every year as owner Jerry Rich and his staff make little improvements here and there. I had a great fall round with the colors on the trees out in full force. Of course I finished with a 65 foot birdie putt to cap off a great day. The Men’s Big 10 Conference Championship is here May 1-3 in 2020, can’t wait to see that

15. The Preserve at Oak Meadows in Addison IL., I played the Preserve when it first opened, and again in early 2018. Then I didn’t go back for 16 months. When a course reopens from a major renovation it still takes time to fully grow in. The 16 months made a world of difference at the Preserve, which was really eye-popping last September. The new halfway-house was open and I played well. The DuPage County Forest Preserve District has a winner in the Greg Martin renovation of Oak Meadows. I can’t wait for the new clubhouse to open in late summer of 2020.

14. White Eagle Country Club in Naperville IL., I enjoyed a round here on my birthday with my friend Chip Wagner, who is the clubs historian. I had not played here in 5 years, and since the Todd Quitno-Lohman renovation had been completed. WECC will be a great home for the 2020 Illinois Open, and the course, all 27 holes of it look better than ever.

13.The Glen Club in Glenview IL., played here twice in 2019, once for media day marking the new WGA event on the Korn-Ferry Tour, the Evans Scholars Invitational. Then in the fall for the Kemper Sports Invitational, while I didn’t play great either day, my team won the KSI, and it’s always nice to win a golf tournament.

12.The Warren Course in South Bend Indiana. I played the Warren Course in the final round with my old golf clubs, before the new ones arrived after getting fitted. The Warren Course was used for the 2019 U.S. Sr. Open, won by Steve Stricker. Steve played the course much better than I did, but it was fun seeing one of the first ever Ben Crenshaw & Bill Coore designs, and it’s always fun playing a U.S. Open golf course.

11.The Golf Course at Golden Nugget in Lake Charles LA., it’s one of the best casino courses I have played, and the Korn Ferry Tour arrives in 2020. It was the highlight of the Lake Charles trip, and I would go back and play it again, anytime.

10.The Cradle at Pinehurst NC., Gil Hanse’s design of the Pinehurst Resorts par 3 course is called the most fun 10 acres in golf by some. I can’t agree more. On a 48 degree January day I had the course to myself for a quick 18 holes and 2 laps around this 9 hole track. The speakers are hidden in the prairie grass, and it’s the first time I have ever tee’d off with Led Zeppelin playing in my ears. I hit it 5 feet and made the birdie. This course is fun-fun-fun and a must play.

9.Mid Pines in Southern Pines NC.. It was a trip back 20 years later to the first course I ever played in North Carolina, and with a renovation since completed, Mid Pines is really good. It might not get the most publicity but well worth playing it. Special thanks to Ross Hutchison of the sales department for joining me. We had fun even though it was 38 degrees when we tee’d off, and only 45 when we walked off 18.

8.Tobacco Road Samford NC.. This Mike Strantz design has always been known as a love it or hate it type course. I loved it. I can see 20 years ago where golfers might find it a bit different that what was the norm back then, but if you enjoy Bandon Dunes, Sand Valley, or Streamsong, you will love Tobacco Road. Strantz was just ahead of the times when he created Tobacco Road, too bad he did not live long enough to build a few more courses just like it. Before he lost his fight to cancer.

7. Farm Links AL.. Farm Links is a really good golf course, that leaves you plenty of room to hit the ball. It has two of the best par 3’s ever built on the same golf course with major elevation change involved (thanks Dana Fry). David Purcell and his family have a great resort with top notch hospitality, it could use a second golf course. But Farm Links should be on all golfers bucket list, it’s an Alabama must play. And it was great playing with owner David Purcell.

6. The National Golf Course at Reynolds at Lake Oconee. A great track in the hills of Georgia, and at a resort/development now under the watchful eye of former Medinah head professional Mike Scully, who serves as Reynolds GM. National was a great way to wrap up the winter trip and is one of six courses at Reynolds. The Jack Nicklaus Great Water design at Reynolds has reopened from renovation. Put it on your hit list.

5. Schaumburg Golf Club, only 18 holes are open from the Todd Quitno renovation, but the Players Nine and the Baer Nine are really good, and it leaves you chomping at the bit for the Tournament Nine to open in July or August of 2020. A 27 hole day here at the Schaumburg Golf Club should be on all Chicago area golfers bucket list. Chandlers Chophouse in the clubhouse would round out a perfect day in the summer ahead. I played great here and that only added to my experience at SGC.

4.Ozark National and Top of the Rock at Big Cedar in Sw. Mo. near Branson. Owner Johnny Morris has made Big Cedar one of the best resorts in the Midwest. Top of the Rock is a great par 3 course, and the Coore-Crenshaw design of ON has been named Best New Course for 2019 by multiple publications. And it should be. I played with Assistant Pro and two-time Missouri State Amateur Champion Joey Johnson who was a great tour guide. I birdied 18 with a 22 footer, a great way to walk off.

3.The Lake Course on the Robert Trent Jones Trail AL.. I never thought one of the best courses I would play all year, would be in the middle of Alabama. But it was. The Lake Course is one of two courses at the property. But the Lake gets the nod by a nose. Two island greens and just pretty holes carved out between the trees and some water. You could use the camera on almost every hole, the photo opp’s are that good, but the golf is better. Visit the trail and you will find a Marriott nearby-with a spa. Can’t beat it.

2. Medinah Country Club #3, the course that Justin Thomas destroyed during BMW Championship week is always a great day of golf, regardless of your score. It’s a course where I learned that my recently fitted new clubs weren’t right, Medinah 3 exposed that. New shafts were ordered within 48 hours and things got better the rest of the summer. I hadn’t played #3 in seven years, I won’t make that mistake again.

1. Pinehurst #4, on a day is was 42 when I tee’d off and 52 when I finished. But the sun was out and the company was great for the walk, that came on heels of walking #2 the day before. I was joined by Pinehurst media director Alex Podlogar, and the course #4 superintendent. Gil Hanse did a wonderful job, even though the uphill par 4, 6th hole that plays almost 500 is tough in the cold. Driver-3 wood could not get me home in two. But if you have seen the pictures, and you like what you see, GO !. #4 was used in the U.S. Amateur this year, and you can play this championship course. I have played #4 before Fazio, and after the Fazio renovation, now after the Hanse renovation. It’s never been better. Pinehurst the Cradle or Home of American Golf never lets you down. Courses #4 and #2 share one of the best halfway houses you will ever find.


THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB has the simulators open for year round golf, and a 40% off all-apparel sale in the pro shop through Dec. 30th. SGC is located at 401 N. Roselle Road, hours are 9 Am-8 Pm, call the pro shop for tee times at (847)-885-9000.  _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG-by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, and on Linkedin or Facebook. In the Maple Meadows pro shop that is open today and tomorrow for outside golf.

IT MIGHT BE LATE DECEMBER but several courses are open for outdoor play, and good news it’s now getting light outside longer.

Maple Meadows in Wood Dale, Pine Meadow in Mundelein, Cog Hill in Lemont/Palos courses 1-2-3, are open for outdoor play. Arlington Lakes, Arlington Hts. is open. Some of the Golfvisons courses are open, visit their website for more details.

A few notes before off to NFL football before that season winds down, and it’s time to celebrate Christmas.

THE ILLINOIS PGA has announced a partnership with DOT Productions for video production work. Illinois PGA Executive Director Carrie Williams says that previous work done with DOT, has allowed the section to tell stories about Illinois PGA professionals, their facilities and the work done at the IPGA section office and IPGA Foundation. The announcement comes with an endorsement from Glen Oaks Country Club head golf professional Danny Mulhearn, about the work by DOT at GOCC.

TOPGOLF has announced it’s reached over $1 million dollars in donations to the Make-A-Wish-Foundation. The latest donation was a simulator to the home of a 12 year old girl with health issues. More details at topgolf.com.

THE CHICAGO GOLF SHOW is running a ticket special for weekend admissions, buy 4 tickets by January 5th, for adult admissions, and the normal price of $44 for 4, becomes $28 for 4 tickets. You save $16 dollars, that you can now spend at the show. The Chicago Golf Show is Feb. 28-29-March 1st. Details Chicagogolfshow.corcexpo.com.  The show’s presenting sponsor is the French Lick Resort-see Frenchlick.com.

THE 2021 SOLHEIM CUP in Toldeo Ohio at Inverness, is offering discounted tickets for the holidays. Use the code Holiday2019 and buy tickets by Jaunary 1st. Online please visit solheimcup@lpga.com for more information.

CALLAWAY GOLF is launching a new product (clubs)in January of 2020, be on the watch for Mavrik, more distance. Callawaygolf.com

HORSESHOE BAY RESORT in Austin Texas has a Ultimate Golf Experience special that starts at $305, find out more at hsbresort.com Horseshoe Bay has four golf courses, three by Robert Trent Jones and one by Jack Nicklaus. Recent renovations make Horseshoe Bay a great golf destination.

The Daytona Beach Golf Course has now reopened.

The Daytona Beach Golf Club’s North Course has reopened following a project that included new greens and some re-routing of the back nine.

Daytona Beach GC is a 36 hole municipal facility, that closed it’s North Course on May 9th, and saw it reopen on November 2nd.

The new TIFEagle surfaces helped restore green overall greensize by 3 to 9 feet, and which means more pin placements and less wear and tear in the same locations. USGA specifications are back in place. “It’s been great,” says DBGC Director of Golf Brian Jaquet of the greens project. “Everyone has liked the work that was done.”

While the course was shut down, the staff added two tee boxes. So the course doesn’t end with back-to-back par fives. 55 yards was added and the course is now 6,413 from the tips. The well priced North and South courses are golfer friendly. See Daytonabeachgc.com. for more information.



LOCATED AT 401 NORTH ROSELLE ROAD, the Schaumburg Golf Club is now open year round for golf, if you can’t wait for the outdoor course renovation to be complete, come inside and play on the simulators. Plenty of Top 100 courses, major championship and Ryder Cup venues to pick from. Enjoy food and drink from Chandlers Chophouse right upstairs, and through December 30th there is a 40% off all apparel sale. Plenty of long and short-sleeve shirts to pick from. So call the pro shop open daily from 9 Am to 8 Pm and your simulator tee time, and get renovation updates at Schaumburggolf.com.     _____________________________________________________________________

GOLF COURSES ARE OPEN-TODAY-TOMORROW-MONDAY play golf outside with great deals at Cog Hill (Courses 1-2-3 open), Pine Meadow in Mundelein, Maple Meadows-part of Dupage Golf is open. Some of the Golfvisions courses are open.

With Steve Kashul on NBC Sports Chicago

The winter edition of the Golf Scene is back on NBC Sports Chicago, hosted by Steve Kashul.

The December schedule is the following. Sunday Dec. 22 6 pm, Thursday Dec. 26 at 12:30 Pm and on the 26th on NBC Sports Plus at 3 pm. Saturday the 28th at 4, and Sunday the 29th at 2 pm.

Steve hosted the show at Medinah Country Club, and the show features new equipment from XXIO, professional Chuck Lynch with his academy at Links & Tee’s this winter. Winter golf at the Des Plaines Golf Center. The inside look at Brendan Doyle Golf and a Tour of Legends Golf.

Catch all of this on NBC Sports Chicago golf dome in Addison or NBC Chicago Sports Plus.


  THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB at 401 North Roselle Road is your 12 month golf destination. The simulators are open daily from 9 Am to 8 Pm, where you can play several Top 100 courses, along with major championship and Ryder Cup venues. Now through December 30th, there is a 40% off all apparel sale in the pro shop. Call for your tee times at (847)-885-9000, or see more on course renovations Schaumburggolf.com.   _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS-Director of Content and Creation, follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Linkedin or Facebook. On the Pete Dye course at French Lick Resort.

French Lick Resort has announced that the Valley Tower is open. What is the Valley Tower ?

It’s six floors of 71 suite rooms that are joined to the French Lick Casino. The rooms have additional space with adjoining doors for groups and those on the golf trips or gambling trips with friends.

The resorts first ever sports book is now open, so if your from adjoining states like Illinois, and want to bet your local teams, why not travel to French Lick where you can, and can do it legally.

The new sports book is run by Rush Street International (RSI), and allows for bets on most sports or more.

   THE NEW VALLEY SPORTS BAR (L) in the valley tower. (r) The Valley Tower that’s connected to the French Lick Resort Casino, and the bridge-way to the vents center and French Lick Resort Hotel.

The sports viewing lounge has two 14 feet long and eight foot high LED video walls that make up the prime viewing in the sportsbook and watching area. The sportsbook area has 18 other viewing televisions. The sportsbook as three betting windows to keep the line moving, as events get ready to start.

                   Valley Tower room.

The Valley Bar located in the tower, has a menu of appetizers along with over 20 regional craft beers, domestic beers, and traditional cocktails and wine.

“With as much history, and welcoming space as this hotel has had for decades, it’s exciting to open the Valley Tower, Valley Bar, along with the new Sports Book and spacious sports viewing area in the French Lick Casino,” says French Lick Resort director of golf Dave Harner. “So many of our golfing guests are huge sports fans, so we think they are going to make the Valley Tower and the new Sports Book area, their preferred place to relax and enjoy all the fun French Lick has to offer.”

Visitors to the French Lick Resort one of the Top 10 Historic Resorts in America per the USA Today, can enjoy 45 holes of golf on the Pete Dye Course, the Donald Ross Course and the 9-hole Valley Links Course. The recent Valley Tower, Valley Bar and Sports Book was part of a 17 million dollar addition.

The resort now has 757 rooms (443 at French Lick-243 at the West Baden Dome Springs Hotel and 71 rooms in the Valley Tower). For more details see Frenchlick.com