MARQUETTE GOLF CLUB is home to two courses including the famed Greywalls golf course, rated #2 public in Michigan see for details. ISLAND RESORT and Casino in Harris is home to Sweetgrass golf club and the new Sage Run golf course, both designed by Paul Albanese. For information      ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy and on Facebook, Linkedin and now Instagram. On the 17th hole at the new Sage Run Golf Course. Photo by Kevin Frisch.

It was really nice to make the trip north to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and play some golf courses that I had never played before in this past week.

By virtue of playing Greywalls at the Marquette Golf Club in Marquette, and the newly opened Sage Run golf course part of the Island Resort Casino, and the original golf course at the resort, Sweetgrass. I added three new courses to my list of courses played.

That was the final three courses I need to reach 500, different golf courses played. It only took me 45 years to do it, but so be it. I’ll celebrate again if I get to 600 someday. When I learned at the start of the golf season here up north, that after the winter trip down south that focused on the PGA Merchandise Show with golf on the way down and back, that I was at 494 courses. I knew this year I had to make the 500 mark.

That was before I found that I had an eye infection, and then Cataracts, that were causing me to lose my vision. Since it was so hard to see this summer, my golf was limited. The good news is, is that the infection is gone and I have had one laser cataract surgery already, and my vision is much improved. I’m back into the hospital this week to get the other eye done. At that point things should be really looking good. French Lick Resort home of the Pete Dye, Donald Ross and Valley Links Golf Courses.

Once done with both eye surgeries I’m looking forward to teeing it up a little more often until the snow falls.

My drive to 500, saw me play #495 at the Sunset Ridge Country Club in Advance of the Western Amateur. #496 at Ravina Green Country Club before the Illinois Open with defending champion Patrick Flavin. #497 with Len Ziehm at the Players Course 9 recently renovated at the Schaumburg Golf Club. Then #498 at Greywalls, #499 at Sage Run and finally #500 at Sweetgrass. I played all 18 holes that day with Ziehm and LZG photographer Joy Sarver, who captured me on film with course architect Paul Albanese who joined us for the back 9 on Sweetgrass.

Sweetgrass was a nice and fun course to play #500 on my score wasn’t great, due to several lip-out’s, including the full 360-ringer on 18, that denied me a closing par. After putting a lot into the final drive to 500, I’m glad it’s done. Now I’ll work on finding a few new courses to add to my personal Top 100 courses I’ve played list.

I have already posted a story on Greywalls and Marquette GC this past weekend. This week I’ll have more on the two Albanese courses at the IR&C.

I’M REALLY SURPRISED that there was not more attention to the best round of golf in 2018 played on the PGA Tour. Brandt Sendeker shot 59 in the first round this past week at the Wyndham and held off late charges by a few players to go wire-to-wire and win yesterday.

It was good to see former U of I guy DA Points (T-4) have a good tournament, along with tour rookies Arlington Heights Doug Ghim (T-20) and U of I alum and 2016 Western Amateur Champion Dylan Meyer (T-36).

THIS WEDNESDAY the media finally gets a look at the recently reopened Sunset Valley GC in Highland Park, I know some public golfers played it all weekend, but our preview stories will be out later this week on the architect Rick Jacobson renovation.

LAST FRIDAY Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn wrote a piece on the Jackson Park South Shore project, after speaking with Golf Chicago Magazine founder Bill Daniels and architects Greg Martin and Mike Benkusky. All three parties suggested an ulterior idea for the golf course. With a less than 10 million dollar price tag, there could still be plenty of improvements made, and kept affordable for the local clientele. Zorn suggesting the Chicago Park District take a mulligan and start over. With the headline suggesting to forget about Tiger Woods and his design team. Not a bad idea.

The PGA Tour Playoff’s start this week, it will be interesting to see how they shake out, and how the BMW Championship plays out in Philadelphia at Aronimink GC. Q-School gets rolling this week as well. Should be a great week for golf, Go Play. RS

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WCPT AM820 Chicago, he writes for both the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine, and formerly Chicagoland Golf. Rory has played over 525 courses in 39 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, within the golf industry.