Turbulent weather has claimed another U.S. golf course, this one a fixture of the PGA Tour.
Torrential rains in upstate New York earlier this month sent the Susquehanna River over its banks, leaving 90 percent of En-Joie Golf Course in Endicott under water. The course is closed indefinitely for repairs, likely until next spring.
En-Joie, a municipally owned and operated golf course that opened in 1927, has long been a popular spot, both with area golfers and with pro golfers who remember it as a neighborly, small-town Tour stop. En-Joie was home to the PGA Tour’s B.C. Open from 1973 to 2005 and since 2007 has been the site of the Champions Tour’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
En-Joie’s immediate troubles started Sept. 7-8, when Tropical Storm Lee dumped 10 1/2 inches of rain on the Triple Cities Area of Endicott, Johnson City and Binghamton. En-Joie course superintendent Rocco Greco said the Susquehanna rose 17 feet above flood stage, inundating neighborhoods and leaving the course with as much as 20 feet of standing water. “Fairways, tees, all the greens expect the ninth, 18th and putting green were flooded,” he said.
This is not the ...
TUCSON, Ariz. – College football has plenty of rivalries of such intensity that they have martial overtones.
There’s the Civil War.
The Border War.
The Holy War.
And those “wars” don’t even include America’s greatest college rivalry, between the true warriors from Army and Navy. Yet the folks in these parts can make an argument that the annual “Duel in the Desert,” the in-state fracas between Arizona and Arizona State, is as storied as any other rivalry. The winner receives the Territorial Cup, first awarded in 1899, in what is billed as the longest-running trophy rivalry in the nation.
For your correspondent’s purely selfish reasons, it doesn’t hurt that the UA-ASU football game alternates between two cities that are synonymous with great desert golf. The regular-season finale in Tucson seemed an ideal time to become better acquainted with local institutions such as Ventana Canyon and Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain.
The latter, in the northern suburb of Marana, opened in December 2009, and two months later hosted the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
After that tournament, architect Jack Nicklaus returned to tone down the unruly greens. Still, no one would describe the elevated, wavy surfaces as tame, and the ...
BATON ROUGE, La. – If college football in the South is truly a religion, then consider me a convert. After all, we did witness a miracle. Not a “Hail Mary pass,” mind you, but a finish worthy of a few hallelujahs.
My fellow pigskin apostle was my buddy, Scott. Years ago, as undergrads, we used to broadcast Colgate University football. We resolved then to share the gospel of college football with the faithful at a different campus each fall. We had not, however, observed that rite as devoutly as we would have liked. We decided to renew our faith with a visit to Death Valley, home of the distinctive 5-yard hash marks and the rabid congregation whose fervor has been known to shake the earth to its core. With bitter Southeastern Conference rival Tennessee set to visit LSU, it was almost as if John Heisman, the Moses of college football, had commanded us to “Geaux.”
We flew into New Orleans, which will never be confused for a golf mecca, despite some estimable options. Our kickoff came at TPC Louisiana, a Pete Dye design that opened in 2004 and hosts the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic. For the pros, TPC Louisiana, with ...
BRANSON, Mo. – Most mornings at the crack of dawn, you can find country singer Marty Haggard on the first tee at Thousand Hills Golf Course, squeezing in a round before he takes the stage for his 2 p.m. show at The new Clay Cooper Theatre. Thousand Hills is a favorite teeing ground for Branson’s many entertainers because it’s conveniently located just off Highway 76, better known as The Strip, which bisects town.
It’s a par-64 layout, but don’t let that fool you. Water is in play on 16 holes and trouble left means that a hook plays about as well as a guitar string that busts mid-song. So the course-record 58 that Haggard shot a few months ago was no small feat, even if he seems pretty blasé about it.
“I’ve shot lower than that,” said Haggard, the son of Merle. “I just didn’t have anybody with me.”
Tourists come to Branson to see acts such as Haggard and his frequent golf partner, Shoji Tabuchi, the fabulous fiddler who has been one of the biggest acts in town since he opened his own theater in 1989. But golf has become a growing attraction ...
Suncadia, a resort and residential community in Roslyn, Wash., plans to open its third course, Rope Rider, for public play on Aug. 12.
The course, built by Jacobsen Hardy Golf Course Design, rests on land formerly used for coal mining.
Rope Rider is a par-72, 7,300-yard layout, but it is built to accommodate family play as well as players who don’t have time to play 18 holes. Youth tees have been set up 80-150 yards from the greens. In addition, the first six holes can be played as a loop, as can Nos. 7 through 9. The course also has a five-acre short-game facility.
To celebrate the opening of Rope Rider, Suncadia will host several events Aug. 26-27. Those include: the Deadliest Open Celebrity Golf Tournament, which will benefit the Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial; a golf clinic and autograph session with architects Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy on Aug. 26; and a crab feed and concert.
Suncadia, located 80 miles east of Seattle, is a 6,400-acre property on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains. Two of its three golf courses – Prospector and now Rope Rider – are open to the public. The third course, Tumble Creek, is ...
TRUCKEE, Calif. - Almost from the day it opened in 1998, the course had the makings of a dark, medieval legend, with a fearsome reputation and a foreboding name.
“Send me your heroes” was the slogan at The Dragon, a fire-breathing layout that stretched 7,000-plus yards through the Sierra Nevada and tipped out at a slope of 147.
Countless knights in collared shirts drove the hour north from Lake Tahoe to accept the challenge, only to fall meekly on their blades.
It was good sport while it lasted.
But a course can claim only so many victims before no one is left standing with the will to take it on.
As time went by, play at The Dragon slowed, and management disharmony compounded problems. In 2006, a beast that had feasted on a thousand brave foot soldiers – and swallowed at least that many Pro V1s – died a quiet death.
Four years passed.
Then, last summer, like a creature from a fable, The Dragon stirred once more. New owners from Tucson, Ariz., revived the club, and set about refurbishing its reputation. For the 2011 season, they removed trees and bunkers, cleared out underbrush and let the rough grow shaggy in select ...
SCIACA, Italy – Unlike the picture-perfect and tourist-tested towns of Tuscany, Sicily has some rough edges. I saw them once again as soon as I got out of the airport in Palermo and learned that there’s now a shuttle bus to the parking lot and car rental.
This is progress? I’ve been to Sicily at least 20 times, and it sometimes appears as if things are moving backward rather than forward.
But all was forgiven just a half-hour later, as I was enjoying a lovely breeze and a stunning blue sea just outside the window of my Alfa Romeo.
My ultimate goal was Rocco Forte’s Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, near the town of Sciacca, but I was taking the long route, which allowed me to see a couple of other clubs and a few wonderful sights along the way.
Actually, I could have seen three other clubs, but I skipped the first. That’s my only confession to make; I had a choice between seeing the town of Cefalù and visiting Le Madonie Golf Resort, and I chose Cefalù.
Anyone who has ever been to Cefalù, a splendid jewel by the sea, will ...
MESQUITE, Nev. – The yardage seekers are drawn here, as if on a religious crusade.
They come from around the world. They are golfers seeking longer drives. They listen intently as their prophet barks the elementary question: “How fast can you swing the stick?”
The stick is the golf shaft. Speed is their mantra. They swing that stick until they’re blue in the face and white in the knuckles. They swing it and swing it until the noise they hear sounds like a jet plane knifing through the blue Nevada sky.
“That’s it,” compliments their leader, Art Sellinger, the two-time world long-drive champion. This three-day golf school, the Long Drivers of America Power Academy, is Sellinger’s baby.
It was held in March in Mesquite, which has become the long-drive capital of the golf universe. The globally televised Re/Max World Long Drive Championship also is contested here, turning world champs Jason Zuback and Jamie Sadlowski into household names among golfers who live to hit it longer.
Sure, many of the home-run fanatics who attend Sellinger’s school don’t give a hoot about the direction of their drives or the scores they shoot. They just want to ...
HERSHEY, Pa. – As anyone who has ever sought comfort in a silver-wrapped Hershey’s Kiss knows, sometimes little things mean the most. Of all the fond memories I took home from a recent visit to Hershey, it’s the stuffed animal summit that first leaps to mind.
Such is the changed perspective brought on by the presence of wife and child. I’d been to The Hotel Hershey seven years ago as a bachelor. Golf (strong), Chocolate Fondue Wrap treatment in the Chocolate Spa (decadent), afternoon nap (ditto), dinner at the Circular Dining Room (luxe; jackets required); (strong) drinks by the fire in the Iberian Lounge. Flying solo here was A-OK. With a family, however, Hershey is really tough to beat.
So, the summit: As families are wont to do, we scrambled out the door to the Hersheypark amusement park, leaving our room disheveled. The park was a revelation. Dominating the view from the hotel on high, the place looks huge; once there, it’s bigger. I can only imagine what all those wild rides, all those bells and whistles, all those people looked like through the eyes of my 3-year-old son, Ike, though their saucer-like wonder from atop the ...
As co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, Sheila Johnson knows a thing or two about creating buzz and excitement. So after buying Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club in August 2007, she called a news conference to lay out her plans for what was, at the time, a property that was showing its age.
Standing before the media, Johnson picked up a walkie-talkie and ordered a construction crew already assembled on Innisbrook’s Island Course to fire up the bulldozers and begin renovations on the course where Phil Mickelson won the 1990 NCAA Championship.
Johnson’s message was clear: Innisbrook needed a makeover, and she wasn’t going to waste any time getting started. Since acquiring Innisbrook, she has spent liberally and well to revive the 900-acre resort.
Innisbrook, in Palm Harbor, was the northern starting point on a recent, weeklong exploration of resort golf along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The fruits of Johnson’s nearly $30 million in renovations will be evident to fans at the PGA Tour’s Transitions Championship, being played this week on Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course.
Near the 12th hole, Johnson’s company, Salamander Hospitality, built the 20,000- square-foot Indaba Spa, filling a gaping void on the ...
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Prediction: Someday soon, Hollywood is going to make a television series about this town. In truth, it’s surprising it hasn’t happened already.
Some hotshot producer will fly his private plane into The Airpark on North Scottsdale Road to decompress for a few days. He’ll steal away at the Fairmont Princess or up at The Boulders, play some sun-splashed golf and pamper himself at the spas. And at some point, maybe when he’s getting the Up to Par massage or Gentleman’s Facial at Willow Stream Spa, it will hit him: This city has all of the elements of a hit show.
Maybe it will be a reality spinoff. Try “Million Dollar Listing: Scottsdale,” starring three deeply self-absorbed twentysomethings who peddle North Scottsdale mansions in a down economy. Or perhaps it will be a twist on a proven formula: “Real Golf Pros of Scottsdale,” in which pros from Troon North, We-Ko-Pa, The Boulders, Talking Stick and TPC Scottsdale engage in cutthroat competition for the lucrative tourist business by day, then spend their nights socializing in Old Town Scottsdale.
Or maybe our producer will eschew the reality genre in favor of fiction. Try this story pitch ...
OAHU, Hawaii – As the most-watched meteorologist in Hawaii, Guy Hagi has a handle on local weather patterns.
If only his tee shots were as easy to predict.
It was just past daybreak on Oahu, and the tradewinds had conducted their early-morning business. Blowing off the ocean, they’d carried in rain clouds that wrung themselves like sponges on the island’s windward side, softening the turf at Ko’olau Golf Club, where Hagi stood and waggled on the first tee.
In such tenderized conditions, a Tour pro could go low. But Hagi kept his forecast modest, realistic. It called for temperatures in the mid-80s, with high scores pushing into triple digits: mostly sunny, with a chance of shanks.
“At a course like this, you never really know,” said Hagi, a 10-handicap and the weekday weather anchor for “Hawaii News Now,” which airs on CBS and NBC. “But the general rule of thumb here is, you’ll need as many balls as your handicap. It’s one of the toughest places you’ll ever play.”
Few course raters disagree.
Designed by Dick Nugent in 1992, Ko’olau ranks as the hardest layout in Hawaii and among the most difficult in the ...
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – A United Arab Emirates business magazine says Tiger Woods received $55.4 million from a developer to promote a local golf resort that has yet to be built.
Arabian Business reported Thursday that it has seen documents confirming Woods received the payments to promote the $1 billion project, with the course at the centerpiece of a complex of 100 villas, 75 mansions and 22 palaces.
Woods refused to comment Wednesday on the contract he signed with the course developer, part of a conglomerate controlled by Dubai’s debt-squeezed ruler. But he said he hoped to meet with developers to discuss reviving the project while he is in Dubai.
Woods played his first round of the Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday.
Even by the standards of golf’s go-go era of course development – which ended only a few years ago, yet seems as distant as the Roaring ’20s – the 2006 opening of $50 million Temenos Golf Club on Anguilla was big news.
In golf circles, accustomed to new-course announcements from less exotic outposts such as Myrtle Beach, S.C., or Scottsdale, Ariz., the news raised two questions: 1. Where is Anguilla? (Answer: It’s one of the northernmost Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, about 180 miles east of Puerto Rico.) And 2. Does that part of the Caribbean have gold-flaked Bermudagrass? (No, standard 419 Bermuda is grown there.)
Given the price tag and the economic tsunami that was about to sweep across the globe, what happened next was all too inevitable. By 2008, Temenos, a Greg Norman design, was closed, a victim of the recession and cost overruns in constructing seaside villas and a resort associated with the project. Cap Juluca, the luxurious beach hideaway that has anchored the southwest corner of the island for 23 years, stepped in to nurse Temenos back to health. The course, the only one on the 35-square-mile island, reopened for play in December 2009 ...
David McLay Kidd first came to Laucala Island more than five years ago to build a golf course in a jungle so dense that King Kong could get lost in it. At the time, hundreds of workers had just arrived to carry out a fantastical mission: They were going to turn the north side of the 3,000-acre former coconut plantation into a private, seven-star resort.
Kidd recently recalled those days while sitting in Laucala’s small Teppanyaki bar that hangs off a cliff above the South Pacific, eating fresh wahoo caught the day before by a friend whose biggest concern upon hooking the 50-pound fish was: Now what do I do with my champagne flute?
Such are the weighty decisions that confront Laucala’s guests: Do I golf or strap on scuba gear and explore the region’s famous coral reefs? Do I arrange a Thai massage in my private home or at the open-air spa overlooking the ocean? Do I circle the island on a Sea-Doo or a mountain bike? Do I relax by my private pool or the 16,400-square-foot, oceanside lagoon? There are no wrong answers.
As Kidd said, “There’s no ‘why?’, there’s just ...