RORY SPEARS (L) in the WCPT Am 820 Studios, home of Golfers on Golf Radio, that tee’s off every Saturday morning at 10 Am. (R) Len Ziehm of Len ZiehmonGolf.com and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

BY: Rory Spears, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, and on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Thanks for joining us on the latest edition of Ziehm and Spears Podcast Series 2020, Volume 7. Open for Golf.

Illinois opens for golf tomorrow May 1st, under some very restrictive guidelines. In fact so restrictive you have to wonder how clubs and courses will make any money or even break even. At Blackberry Oaks in Bristol, GM-Pro Chad Johansen came up with a creative way to get as many golfers out on the course as possible. The LPGA has had to step back another month in starting it’s season, and Tiger and Phil might be playing for charity on Memorial Day weekend. We cover it all.

Click here to hear Ziehm and Spears Podcast Series 2020-Volume 7.

Len and Rory will return with another podcast next week to recap the first week of open golf courses in Illinois.

Golfers on Golf plans to be at courses tomorrow as they open, to capture the moment of players back on the courses.

Plus the Ziehm and Spears Travel Series ‘Where are you Playing” will have two new chapters coming up shortly. RS


WCPT-AM 820 the new home of Golfers on Golf, Saturday mornings with a tee time of 10 am. Your hosts are Ed Stevenson, Bill Berger, and Rory Spears (R). Live listen now wcpt820.com and see us on Facebook during the show. Our new contributor is Illinois Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2019 inductee and Daily Herald Columnist Len Ziehm. #golf   _____________________________________________________________________

Not much longer, hang in there golfers. Friday May 1st is coming.

BY RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. You can follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Facebook, LinkedIn, or now on Instagram.

Golf is coming back in 48 hours, please be patient and if your on the golf course, play with in the Covid-19 rules set down by the State of Illinois.

If you see other people not following the rules, talk to them or call the clubhouse. It’s not worth a setback at this time.

Always good to be at Pine Meadow in Mundelein. 847-566-GOLF.

Pine Meadow will be open on Friday, and head golf professional Dennis Johnsen and his staff have really gone the extra mile on safety.

If you want to know all the extra precautions, watch his video on the Pine Meadow GC website. There are probably no tee times open there for a few days, but you can try by calling 847-566-4653.

You can also see the current golf guidelines at Pine Meadow by viewing there website Pinemeadowgc.com.

Chad Johansen of Blackberry Oaks GC. The Man With the Golden Jacket.

Chad Johansen is taking care of you golfers, and as many as he can.

In an effort to get out as many golfers as possible, Blackberry Oaks in Bristol will become not one, but two Nine Hole Courses. Watch the video that will post Wednesday morning on the reopening of the golf course.

Due to overwhelming demand, Johansen came up with the plan for this Friday-Saturday and Sunday. On Monday BBO will re-evaluate going forward how to schedule the golf course.

Tee-times will start being sold later today for Friday-Saturday and Sunday only. For more information visit BlackberryOaks.com or call (630)-553-7170.

CHAMBERS BAY home of the 2015 U.S. Open will be back open for play on May 5th, the course has announced. See ChambersBaygolf.com for details.

Sand Valley Golf Resort in Nekoosa Wis. will open on Friday. Caddies are available.

SAND VALLEY is open starting on Friday May 1st

Yes they do have caddies available.

Both fore-caddies an AND regular walking caddies are available. But there are a series of rules that must be followed.

All of Sand Valley’s Courses are open, including Sand Valley, Mammoth Dunes, and the par 3 course, The Sandbox. Details at Sandvalley.com.

THE CHICAGO DISTRICT GOLF ASSOCIATION has cancelled the CDGA Senior Amateur and all qualifiers for the championship. The Senior-Amateur was to take Place June 1-4 at the Merit Club. More details at CDGA.org.

The Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena IL.

Eagle Ridge has announced that this Friday that both the North and South golf courses will open for play, under the restrictions set forth by the State of Illinois.

The resort has spent a great deal of time over the winter, and this spring while closed clearing out area’s to help improve turf conditions, and reduce lost balls and improve pace of play.

There is no date yet, to open both the East Course and the General golf courses. The General Clubhouse, pro shop, restaurant and golf course are undergoing a series of improvements. More details on Eagle Ridge and to make tee times at Eagleridge.com.

Welcome to Erin Hills, home of the 2017 U.S. Open and the 2025 U.S. Women’s Open.

ERIN HILLS in Erin Wisconsin, one of the Six U.S. Open courses you can play.

Erin Hills is still working on it’s plan for caddies, that was just approved by the Governor of Wisconsin on Monday.

Erin hills will finally open for the season on Monday May 18th, pushed back from May 4th.

For details on tee times, and other options to enjoy your experience at Erin Hills. Please visit Erinhills.com

THE LPGA has announced it’s 2020 season will now continue in July, instead of June, and the KPMG LPGA Championship will be held in October at Aronimink CC near Philadelphia.

The Gog Blog returns tomorrow. RS.


Robert Markionni is the Executive Director of the Chicago District Golf Association (CDGA).

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

From Rory Spears: Robert Markionni CDGA Executive Director, sent out a letter today in regards to golf reopening on Friday in Illinois. Here is what he had to say.

Ladies and Gentleman,

Since last Thursday (April 23), when Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the extension of the Stay at Home Order and that golf courses would be re-opening on May 1, and then on Friday, when the Golf Operational Restrictions were released by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development, we have received many questions and comments. I want to take a few moments to answer questions and clear up confusion.

The CDGA, along with our Allied Associations (the Illinois PGA Section, the Midwest association of Golf Course Superintendents and the Greater Chicago Chapter, Club Management Association of America), will continue to work together and advocate for the game as one voice, as we have throughout this pandemic. Our associations represent the game and all facets of it and we feel by working collaboratively, it provides the opportunity to interact with the Governor’s staff as one entity, rather than each of us operating on our own.

First and foremost, and we believe everyone will agree with this point-safety and common sense is our number one priority. We do not feel that anyone can disagree with this as the most important aspect. Quite simply, if it’s not safe, we should not do it. Even if it’s safe, common sense needs to be used, and I’ll speak more to this shortly.

Second, the Allied Associations are thankful that golf courses will be opening May 1st. This is an important first step in the process of getting back to the new normal. While we have received many comments in regards to the new rules, regulations and restrictions, if courses were not allowed to re-open, we would not even be discussing regulations. We are grateful that Governor Pritzker has re-classified golf from a non-essential business to an outdoor recreation activity.

Third, the Golf Operation Restrictions that were posted last Friday are not directly reflective of the recommendations the Allied Associations provided to the Governor’s office. We looked at the golf regulations on best practices and what has been in place in the Midwest Coalition, as well as in other parts of the country.

I do want to be very clear on this point, and that is we do agree with the vast majority of the regulations. There are only a few that we feel are too restrictive. It is our belief that golfers will take safety first and utilize common sense when it comes to social distancing, adapting to the new rules and playing in a safe environment. From what we have seen in other parts of the country, as well as here in the Midwest, that is exactly what other golfers have done. We don’t need to look any further than Indiana, home to a handful of CDGA member clubs and a few thousand CDGA members, to see that the regulations that are in place have have worked and golfers are abiding by them.

It is our intent to continue to work with the Governor’s staff on the few restrictions that we would like to see modified as part of step two in the re-opening of our game.

We appreciate your support, your comments and your patience. We all want to get back to some sort of normalcy in our lives, and for golfers, that mean back on the course, playing in events, outings and leagues, enjoying the warm weather and the camaraderie the game brings. That is what the Allied Associations are striving for. You have our commitment that we will continue to advocate the positive aspects that golf brings, while always stressing safety and common sense-first approach.

Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly. I only ask that your comments be respectful to the game and the individuals making the decisions. I promise to do my best to answer any and all communications in a timely manner. You can find my contact information on our website. CDGA.org.

Golfers on Golf thanks Robert Markionni for stepping up, in this crucial time for golf in Illinois. Friday will be here soon, stay patient a few more days everyone. RS.


THE NEW HOME OF GOLFERS ON GOLF RADIO WCPT-AM 820 CHICAGO. (R) Opening week is in the books, with Rory Spears (L) and Bill Berger (R) posing with the stations banner, while practicing social distancing. Next tee time 10 AM on Saturday.      ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. In the studio’s at WCPT Am 820 the home of Golfers on Golf Radio.

ILLINOIS IS OPEN or is it, come this Friday May 1st.

The golf courses in Illinois can finally open on Friday morning, but here in Illinois there are restrictions, and plenty of them. The two-page list can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce website.

Too many of them for most of the folks who work in the golf industry, and the Illinois golfers in general.

While Illinois golf courses sat shuttered and empty this past weekend, states like Indiana, and Wisconsin welcomed Illinois golfers with open arms, and gladly took Illinois money in all forms. Green or plastic.

I feel sorry for those in Illinois golf trying to survive, these days it’s not easy. Social media reports all weekend, had courses in Indiana with full parking lots, and many cars had Illinois plates. In Wisconsin, there are social media reports of 700 golfers teeing it up on Geneva National and their three golf courses yesterday. Reports of over 200 cars in the parking lot at Lawsonia Links on Saturday, and likely more yesterday. I’m sure you can guess what the license plates said on many of those vehicles.

THE ALLIED GOLF GROUP here in Illinois worked hard to get something, anything, going with Governor J.B. Pritzker’s (D) office. That group consists of the Illinois PGA, the Chicago District Golf Association, the Club Managers Association, and the Midwest Golf Course Superintendents Association.

They got the ball rolling, dimples and all. Golf reopens on Friday. But many are saying the terms of reopening are too strict, and the Allied Golf Group did not do enough.

SENDING OUT only twosomes 15 minutes apart is a start, but in the big picture it doesn’t really cut it. My feelings is at least threesomes, at 12 minute intervals will do just fine. If that system works, move to foursomes by Saturday May 9th. If everyone plays at a good 4 hour pace, that’s about 32 to 36 golfers on the course at a time. In some cases that’s about 1 golfer, per 4-5 acres on most courses. No social distancing problem here.

At least one major cart issue was somewhat resolved. By allowing those with disabilities and the doctors note to have a cart, after originally saying no carts at all. That being said, what’s a legit condition and what isn’t still remains to be seen. The loss of cart revenue in Illinois is another killer for our golf courses.

RANGE AREA’S AND LESSONS. The ranges should open, even if golfers must hit with an open stall or two between those practicing. As IPGA professional Dennis Johnsen at Pine Meadow Golf Club in Mundelein told me, we can wash our range balls with bleach before sending them out again. As a guy who washed range balls for 8 years, bleach along with the other soaps and cleaners that balls normally get washed in, will do the trick.

LESSON’S, yes some styles of teaching will need to be adjusted. But the teaching professionals should be allowed to teach, and the club fitters should fit. Most don’t stand that close to the students or those getting fit for clubs anyway. IPGA Executive Director Carrie Williams made a great point, in saying there is no reason that a twosome isn’t a golf professional and a student having a playing lesson. She is correct, but with so few tee slots available, can courses do that ?

ROBERT MARKIONNI the Executive Director of the Chicago District Golf Association, told me that golfers will need to be patient for now, and he admitted that can be hard to do. And he is correct, because in many cases that’s not what we are seeing.

DUES PAYING members can’t get on the courses they have written checks to, and the golfers who have permanent tee-times at clubs are getting wiped off the tee sheet. Is that right, of course not.

WHAT DID HAPPEN, is that the food and beverage operations can open even if the clubhouses can’t. But to-go orders are happening, even if it’s a short menu. I know the thinking is to load-up your golf bags with munchies and drinks at home. But if you can purchase something from F&B at the course, please do so. They could use your support. Your golf bag gets heavier when carrying it with four or five cans of your favorite drink in it anyway.

SINCE MANY OF US WILL BE WALKING, and carrying our own bag. Prepare your bag in advance, even taking out little things do make it lighter to carry. Pull out some of the extra golf balls, tees, rain suits, rule books, bottles of sunscreen or bug repellent. Leave the umbrella’s in the car, take off the four towels and 10 bag tags. I would figure out which club you never hit, or the one that always gives you bad results. Take it out of the bag, and leave it at home. Everybody for now can get by with 13 or even 12 clubs. Do you really need five golf gloves in the bag, leave your phone in the car. Maybe the yardage books as well.

WALKING AND NO CADDIES. Yes that’s an issue, and not good to hear for those who caddie and or the Western Golf Association (WGA). While I’m not sure right now, you can have a caddie out double bagging (carrying 2 bags at a time), there is no reason that fore-caddies can’t be out on all the par 4 and par 5 holes. Maybe one on each side of the hole, and one on a par 3 hole by the green, to help find balls and keep pace of play moving. I’m sure the WGA will be looking to have it’s voice heard in Springfield this week.

DON’T THREATEN your pro or person answering the phone at the course you want to play, because they can’t grant all or any of your wishes right now. They have their hands tied, and there are those in the industry who believe our governor is looking for excuses to close golf down again in Illinois. So let’s not give him the chance to do so. Stay classy golfers.

Golfers on Golf Radio Am 820 WCPT 10 Am, every Saturday. We now have live listen online, and watch us live on Facebook. If you missed the show, it’s reposted online, catch a replay. Rory Spears (L) and Bill Berger (R).

Golfers on Golf Radio is back on the air for another season, our 30th.

Bill Berger and I tee’d off on Saturday to start the season. Our third partner Ed Stevenson was on the phone, but joined the show from out at The Preserve at Oak Meadows and Maple Meadows. Part of DuPage Golf. Visit Dupagegolf.com for details on all three DuPage County FPD courses and when they reopen.

Just a reminder, 2019 Illinois Golf Hall of Fame inductee Len Ziehm, has joined the show as a contributor. Ziehm and I are still doing weekly podcast’s and writing joint features on golf travel, and golf destination properties. Len is still writing his golf column in the Arlington Hts. Daily Herald and for other publications at times. We hope to have Ziehm on our show 1-2 times per month all season long. Our latest “Where are you Playing” story, involves Myrtle Beach South Carolina.

JOINING US IN WEEK 1 was Craig Annis from the USGA, we learned from Annis that this years U.S. Open at Winged Foot will have a field of only 144, instead of 156. Less daylight in September. Jim Richerson VP of the PGA of America joined us with updates on the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup, and we thank him for that.

ALL OF US at Golfers on Golf send our condolences to everyone involved at Gull Lake Resort in Augusta Michigan, six courses and villa’s. On the passing of Jon Scott, who operated the resort with the Scott family. Jon will be missed, he was a great guy and great for golf.

THE GOG BLOG will be back all week long. With plenty to say as golf prepares to reopen here in Illinois on Friday. RS


  LEN ZIEHM in Port St. Lucie Florida in PGA Village-RORY SPEARS in the pro shop at the Grande Dunes Golf Club in Myrtle Beach SC.

Len Ziehm at the World Amateur in Myrtle Beach. Photo by Joy Sarver.

“Where are you playing ?” Part-2.

BY LEN ZIEHM, of LenZiehmonGolf.com with Rory Spears of Golfersongolf.com.

WHERE ARE YOU PLAYING ?-How about Myrtle Beach.

Golf courses here-and there’s about a 100 of them-are ready for players, and they have been for quite awhile. This is what we’ve been told as April winds down into May.

The courses are open. Over 18 of them overseeded wall-to-wall-fairways, tee’s greens and rough. The other 73 overseeded everything but the rough.

Said one long-term Myrtle Beach golf booster. “We’ve had a real mild winter and a beautiful March-the March we’ve been waiting for. Everything is in spectacular condition.”

The 9th hole at the Tidewater Golf Club in Myrtle Beach.

Yes, hotels are restricted to short-term rentals and can’t take reservations through April 30th. Restaurants are closed, but curb-side pickup and carryouts are readily available. The hopes and expectations in Myrtle Beach are for that to change in early May-ideally very early May-or mid-May at the latest.

Current restrictions are one person per cart, but people are allowed to walk at many of the Myrtle Beach courses.

Lots of travel minded golfers consider Myrtle Beach a home away from home. There’s so many great options available, complete with prices that fit most budgets.

Welcome to the Ocean Front Double Tree by Hilton.

The younger member of this writing duo tabs the Greg Norman Course at the Barefoot Resort as one of his Myrtle Beach favorites, the others being Tidewater (one of the prettiest courses in the area and a clubhouse with great dining) and Grand Dunes. He also likes the Double-Tree by Hilton with it’s Ocean Blue Restaurant.

This, more experienced, collaborator for this new series has been a Myrtle Beach devotee for many more years, and he leans toward Caledonia Golf & Fish Club and it’s partner course True Blue as his favorite destination in the area. Then again, Tidewater and Grande Dunes are great. So is the Dye Course at Barefoot Resort.

Dustin Johnson blasts a drive at his new golf school at TPC Myrtle Beach

Of course you can’t leave out Pine Lakes, which dates back to 1927; the Dunes Club, Pawley’s Plantation and Founders Club. And TPC Myrtle Beach is something special too-especially since PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson recently made a dramatic expansion of it’s teaching academy.

There’s a reason Myrtle Beach can, with plenty of justification, call itself “the Golf Capitol of the World.”

The World Amateur in Myrtle Beach tee’s off.

And then there’s the area’s biggest event-the 37th staging of the Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship. It’s over 72 holes (plus a playoff) for competitors in nine divisions and features the World’s Largest 19th Hole and over $100,000 in prizes will be distributed. In short, it’s an event line no other.

This years version is August 31 to September 4th, and the usual 3,000-plus players are expected. Even with this year’s obstacles the tournament is expected to be held and entries are being accepted. I for one wouldn’t miss it. Neither should you.



THE GOG BLOG-by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation, for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy and on Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram.

On Thursday news broke about the return of golf in Illinois. On Friday the news about the restrictions that went along with the reopening, came out and into play. It left many golfers not pleased in several area’s, and I’ll have more on that come Monday in the Gog Blog Speaks Out. But I’ll say this for now, what Illinois has come Friday, is better than nothing or no golf at all.

Working hard to get golf courses open, was the Allied Golf Group of Illinois. This group is comprised of the Illinois PGA (IPGA), The Chicago District Golf Association (CDGA), the Club Managers Association, and the Midwest Golf Course Superintendents Association.

Robert Markionni Executive Director CDGA

As a result of the reopening, I spoke first with Robert Markionni Executive Director of the CDGA.  Our interview took place about 30 minutes before the guidelines from the State of Illinois were released.

We covered a variety of topics that included golf getting reopened in Illinois. How various organizations came together to unite under one voice to Governor J.B. Pritzker and his staff.

How the CDGA Championships and the schedule has been effected for 2020.

Click here to hear the full interview with Robert Markionni Executive Director of the CDGA.

Carrie Williams Executive Director of the Illinois PGA.

Later on Friday afternoon, after the guidelines were released, I spoke with Carrie Williams Executive Director of the Illinois IPGA.

We spoke about the reopening of golf in Illinois. How four golf bodies in Illinois came together, to get the ear of the governor and the State of Illinois.

How the virus has effected the IPGA and it’s championship schedule, for 2020.

Click here to hear the full interview with IPGA Executive Director Carrie Williams.

Golfersongolf.com will return frequently this week as golf prepares to open in Illinois come Friday May 1st. So stay clicked in. RS


  GOLFERS ON GOLF RADIO RETURNS TOMORROW AT 10 AM ON OUR NEW HOME, AM-820 WCPT. Your hosts remain, Ed Stevenson, Bill Berger and Rory Spears pictured top left.

BY-RORY SPEARS, follow Rory on Twitter@GogBlogGuy, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

Golfers on Golf Radio hosts Ed Stevenson-Bill Berger and Rory Spears, All return for 2020.

It’s that time of year, or maybe it has been for a few weeks already, but due to the virus, our radio season has been delayed.

But tomorrow at 10 Am, Golfers on Golf Radio is first on the tee, to start it’s 30th season, and continues being Chicago’s longest running golf radio show.

We have a new home for the year ahead, under the same management umbrella as in recent years. With management selling off one of their 6 stations, things got shuffled around a bit. Our old time slot on WNDZ-AM 750 has a new show on it, so we had a few options to choose from and this one seemed the best.

FOR ME, I get to return to a place where I spent several years in the 1990’s, when I was part of WSCR-AM, when the station was on AM-820, after it first launched in 1992.

For the show, our benefits and yours, is that we have a new state of the art studio, that includes live listen online at wcpt820.com and on Facebook. There are some people who say the signal of our new home is better in the Chicago area, than the old one. I’m not sure about that, but we will see.

OUR GUESTS for Week #1 include Craig Annis Chief Branding Officer for the USGA, and Jim Richerson VP-PGA of America, and VP of Arizona based Troon Golf Management.

We would like to thank our returning sponsors, they have all returned for another season.

  THE FRENCH LICK RESORT-Frenchlick.com       THE PRESERVE-Dupagegolf.com     ERIN HILLS Erin WI. Erinhills.com Arrowhead GC Wheaton, Arrowheadgolfclub.org

MISTWOOD GC Romeoville Mistwoodgc.com MT. PROSPECT Golfmtprospect.com


  THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB Schaumburggolf.com Rory with PGA VP Jim Richerson at the 2020 PGA Show last January. There are about 10 other properties expected to come on board, but those discussions got put on hold, due to the spread of the virus. We hope to announce some new partners yet this month or early May.

We will talk at you tomorrow. Ed, Billy and Rory We are on the tee at 10 AM. Join us, and do practice social distancing. On or off the golf course.


LEN ZIEHM DOWN IN SUNNY FLORIDA (L)-RORY SPEARS studio style in Chicago but today out in the home studio. #SocialDistancing at 1250 miles apart. Podcast 6.

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

Len Ziehm and I have teamed up for Ziehm and Spears Podcast 2020, Volume 6. We compare the current state of golf in Florida to the state of no golf in Illinois. But that could be changing soon. We hope so. Len and I have teamed up to create “Where are you Playing”, that talks the golf travel industry, and where you should travel to, once the Virus lifts.

We ask the question if caddies can be used in the summer of 2020, what about Wisconsin opening on Friday, and the deal now offered to play Whistling Straits home of this years planned Ryder Cup.

And could golf be close to returning in Illinois.

TO HEAR ZIEHM & SPEARS Podcast 2020 Volume 6, Click here.

The Gog Blog Returns on Thursday.


THE HOLLY INN OPENED 1895-THE CAROLINA IN 1900-THE MANOR INN IN 1923 nothing but great historical southern charm in lodging-See the details at Pinehurst.com  _____________________________________________________________________

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

THIS IS PART 3 and the final part of our look at Pinehurst, and the Pinehurst Resort.

It’s also the last feature from our winter trip that revolves around the annual PGA Merchandise Show.

Pinehurst has 10 courses, #1-9 and the par 3 course the Cradle, that was featured in Part 2 of this series. It took me 22 years to play all of the courses, since I never rushed into playing them all right away. Before long there could be a Pinehurst #10, if the effects of the Covid-19 Virus don’t cripple the economy for too long down the road. More on that plan later. In the meantime, if your looking for a place to play Pinehurst has it’s courses open, hopefully all of the hotels will be too come April 30th, as currently planned.

THE PINEHURST 10-TOUCH’EM ALL by RORY SPEARS, along with LEN ZIEHM from Lenziehmongolf as part of the “Where you Going” travel series.

And with that, the final hole #18 on Pinehurst 5, was played to complete playing every hole at Pinehurst.

Len Ziehm sum’s up Pinehurst No.2 in this manner, after covering the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens in Pinehurst.

Course No.2 a Donald Ross design will always be the resort’s most famous course, as that it should be.

But No.2 is no longer the whole show in town, especially since the Gil Hanse renovation of Course No.4. While No.4 has more of the look that Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw brought to Course No.2 almost 10 years ago, it does have a bit of a different feel than the history-rich No.2.

  PINEHURST RESORT PRESIDENT TOM PASHLEY (L) welcomes golfers to the new Pinehurst 4, (R) the new hole on Pinehurst No.4, the par 3 11th hole.

Pinehurst No.4 has been tweaked by some of the great golf architects since 1919 when originally designed by Donald Ross. Robert Trent Jones was first in 1973, followed by his son Rees in 1982, with Tom Fazio next in 1999, before the recent redo by Gil Hanse. Even without much of a tournament resume, No.4 was used as the partner course with No.2 for the 2019 U.S. Amateur. Hanse brought more of the waste area scruffy look seen on No.2, and it’s a perfect compliment to the U.S. Open venue.

Course No.1 by Ross, opened in 1901 and the course is considered one of the best secret’s at the resort because many of the guests, don’t play it. While it’s only a par 70, at 6,089 yards, it’s a real treat to see where golf started in Pinehurst, if you don’t count the sand greens holes, that once sat where the par 3, Cradle Course is today. But this short course, still has a 222 yard par 3, 12th hole, that’s all you can ask for off the tee.

Pinehurst No.2 the 7th hole from green to tee.

Course No.2, what more can you say, it’s the Ross masterpiece that has hosted U.S Open’s, PGA’s, the Ryder Cup, and of course the famed North and South Championship.

Maybe the best walk off finish at a U.S. Open was on No.2, when the late Payne Stewart made his par putt to win the 1999 U.S. Open.

Pinehurst No.2 will host it’s fourth U.S. Open (men’s), and fifth U.S. Open in 25 years come 2024. The course is just that good. One of six U.S. Open Courses you can play and when you do, take a caddy.

The par 3, 4th 119 yards, in between the bunkers and over the pond. Is a great short par 3 hole on Pinehurst 3.

Pinehurst 3 and Pinehurst 5 both underwent some tweaking, that was needed to accommodate the building of the par 3, Cradle Course.

Course No.3 got two new par 3 holes, while Course No.3 and No.5 got new starting holes in the renovation process.

Pinehurst No.3 is about as short as it gets outside the Cradle. The tips sit back at only 5,155 yards, but there is enough elevation change, and a few tight landing zones that make it play longer. It’s redone new look makes it feel more like courses 2 and 4, and it’s fun to play.

Ellis Maples a protege of Ross created Pinehurst 5, it’s par 3 15th hole (pictured above) is called the Cathedral Hole. Robert Trent Jones did a renovation in 1971.

PINEHURST 6 is the first Pinehurst Resort course built away from the heart of town and the resort. New homes were built around the new course that was designed in 1979 by George Fazio and his nephew Tom Fazio, who returned in 2005 to do renovation work on the course. As the resort planed to put more resort guests out on this course, when the resort was at peak times. Pinehurst 6 yardage is expanded to 7,053 yards and a par of 72.

A visiting golf reporter in October of 2005, turns down a chance to play a busy course No.2, and decides to check out Fazio’s recent renovations on No.6. It’s a decision that pay’s off, when his 172 yard 6-Iron on the par 3, 7th hole, goes in for his only hole-in-one in his 47 years of playing golf. Pinehurst who takes good care of those making an ace on it’s courses, sends a certificate and bag-tag. A week later the red pin-flag arrives from off the flag-stick, and still hangs in the Spears home. Making the moment even more memorable.

PINEHURST 7 was designed by Rees Jones in 1986, and Jones returned for renovation work in 2002. Jones takes advantage here of elevation change, and gives golfers who love to drive the ball a little extra help with a fair-share of holes that are downhill off the tee box. But that extra distance off the tee forces golfers to be left with several uphill approach shots into greens.

Jones found history while working on No.7, discovering some old bunkers designed by Ross, from an abandoned employees golf course built years before. Jones took those bunkers and brought them back, but they do sit close to the tee box on the 4th hole. Other classic holes include the par 4, 7th hole called the “Devil’s Gut” that requires a well-struck approach over wetlands. The double-dogleg par 5, 12th hole includes one of the uphill greens. If your looking for an island green the par 3, 16th hole, complete with long finger bunkers of sand, surround this island green with no-water required.

No.7 is also the answer to a trivia question. Name the only course in Pinehurst Tiger Woods ever won a tournament on. Woods won the Big I Insurance Youth Classic in 1992, on course No.7.

The Pinehurst 8 Clubhouse from the 18th fairway.

Tom Fazio returned to Pinehurst in 1996 to design Pinehurst 8, and help it join the Pinehurst family in time for the resorts 100th anniversary.

Fazio had his own design in mind when he set out to build No.8 over 420 acres of land, and like Course No.6, it sits a few miles away from the main resort.

But what Fazio did was add a little touch of Ross to the greens and surrounding area’s. Fazio had room to make the greens bigger than the Ross classic greens on No.2, but get around the edges of these greens, and the spirit of Ross will find your golf ball. No.8 has wetlands, something not found for the most part on other Pinehurst Resort Courses, so the look is a different yet scenic No.8. It’s designated as a Sanctuary Course by the National Audubon Society. No.8 can play all the way back at 7,139 yards, to a par of 72.

Pinehurst No.9 the 8th hole by Jack Nicklaus.

PINEHURST NO.9, by Jack Nicklaus was designed in 1988, with a return by Nicklaus in 2012.

The club known for years as Pinehurst National is surrounded by large homes but  had some financial issues. That led to it ending up under the Pinehurst Resort umbrella around 6 years ago.

The move was a good one for both sides. Pinehurst put some money into area’s the golf course needed, and the resort gained an asset allowing it to send guests and members out to play a Nicklaus design in Pinehurst, not far from the heart of town. This par 72 layout, tops out at 7,122 yards, and it’s fun to see a Nicklaus design with some Pinehurst flavor and Ross features, that will test your game.

The Cradle is the resorts Par 3 venue and the tenth course, see Part 2 of this series on the Gil Hanse 789 yards of fun, that sits outside the main clubhouse. Part of the reasoning on not calling the Cradle Pinehurst No.10, is that it only has 9 holes.

Welcome to the Pit, could it be the future home of Pinehurst No.10.

AT ONE TIME, THE PIT GOLF COURSE was not a Pit, in fact it was well liked by many golfers especially ones from out of town that came to play it.

What it is today, is closed for one, but an overgrown and abandoned golf course. A walk through the Pit these days is something out of a spooky-movie, or a Scooby-Doo mystery cartoon.

But the Pit or at least part of it could get revived by Pinehurst, that owns the land and adjoining land. A new routing might only include a few of the old corridors. In The Golden Age of Pinehurst Book by author Lee Pace, The Story of the Rebirth of No.2, page 336 finds a routing submitted to Pinehurst by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. At the time the plan was called Pinehurst No.9, which now won’t be the case.

Coore calls the land spectacular, and feels Crenshaw and he can do something special there. We bet they can too. For now Pinehurst has 10 special golf courses, go enjoy them all, and do it quicker than a 22-year window. It will be fun. Pinehurst.com for details. “Where it’s always a Beautiful Day.”



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

ABOUT THE TIME YOU THINK, you have seen it all, we get this virus, and the world comes to a halt.

People are getting sick, people are dying, it’s not good. But somehow in the middle of all this, our world as we know it is crumbling. Especially here in Illinois where the business model is moving to other states, or closing down because of being choked to death by taxes. It’s no longer time for Springfield to dodge the question, open the golf courses on May 1st. Quit passing the buck, it stops here.

It doesn’t matter which party proposed the taxes, voted to approve them, and or put them into law. What we do know, is that the situation will get worse, a lot worse, if things don’t change, and soon.

While everyone has been asked to stay home and help stop the spread of the Covid-19 Virus, it is still important to get outside, get your exercise, and maybe do something that gets your mind off the non-stop virus talk, that drives all of us nuts. I suggest we start driving golf balls, on the range, down the fairway, and onto the green. GOLF is a great way to do many things, while doing it safely, with guidelines that have been set down during this pandemic.

I do believe a shutdown was necessary for a few weeks, things got bad here, real bad. But all of the surrounding states have, or will shortly have open golf courses. Illinois should too, Springfield no more ducking the issue, or you are DQ’d from the equation going forward.

MAYBE AFTER MOTHER’S DAY on the 10th of May, Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) can ease up on a few more things. Food operations can expand what they offer a little, and us golfing types, can get a hot dog or a burger to go, with a soft drink after our round.

Governor, don’t come crying poor this fall with your hand open looking for tax dollars if you won’t do something, anything, to help restart the economy of this state. Golf courses are a big part of that, golf and golf courses help on so many fronts. So unless you want to lower the far too large tax bills that Illinois sends out to golf courses up and down the Land of Lincoln, get the courses open on May 1st. EVERYDAY they are not open after May 1st, they should be able to subtract up to 5% of their tax bills.

IS THERE A UNIFORMED coordinated plan of protest from golf organizations in Illinois, there are hints that there could be. Let’s hope so, Springfield you need to listen.

GOLF COURSES are home to plenty of charity events over the summer, many more of them are helped by the major tournaments that come here. Governor, is the state prepared to support all the charities that don’t get their badly needed funds through the golf outings that help them.

IF YOU HAVE TO, have your people and the golf organizations of Illinois draw up uniformed guidelines that must be maintained in order to open, and stay open. But May 1st, it’s time to unlock the gates and let golf take it’s place. The weather wasn’t always great in April, so those were good days to be closed anyway. Plus area golf courses hopefully took advantage of the time closed, to have the course in better shape for the summer ahead. Let’s hope they did.

From the 2020 PGA Show-Rory Spears (L), with Jim Richerson of Troon Golf and current VP of the PGA of America.

GOLFERS ON GOLF RADIO will return this Saturday, at 10 AM on WCPT-AM 820.

We are still working on our guest list for show #1. One confirmation we do have is that Jim Richerson of Troon Golf and the Vice President of the PGA of America will join us.

Our guest list should be good over the first few weeks of the show, especially as the Illinois golf industry tries to recover from this poor start to the season from lock down, stay-at-home orders and cold and snowy weather.

In the week ahead, more updates on the radio show. Part 3 of our look at the Pinehurst Resort, and our product reviews of CBD and CB5 products. Len Ziehm returns for volume 6 of our podcast series on Wednesday.

Let’s hope this is a start to golf season hitting stride. The Gog Blog Returns tomorrow. RS