1. I had a chance to speak with golf course architect Gil Hanse just after he returned from Brazil to announce the Olympic golf course is complete and ready to roll. With Rio under his belt, he’s looking forward to designing the new “Black” course at Streamsong and the newest layout at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. It’s always nice to see a local boy do well and still manage to stay humble. He even survived working for Donald Trump at Doral.
2. I ran into Merion Golf Club’s Scott Nye and Applebrook Golf Club’s Dave McNabb at the PGA Merchandise Show earlier this year. Nye was named the PGA’s Merchandiser of the Year, while McNabb lamented about work getting in the way of his golf game. Both Nye and McNabb are two of the finest representatives for the game of golf in the Philadelphia area.
3. Congratulations to LedgeRock Golf Club’s Chip Lutz, who captured his first Senior Amateur Championship title at the demanding Philmont Country Club in September 2014. This was another impressive title to add to his already notable career.
4. Was that Jason Dufner we saw as the new pitchman for ultra-preppy clothier Vineyard Vines? Dufner was featured last year in a U.S. Open food feature we did, and is now 20 pounds slimmer. Both his game and wardrobe have improved.
5. Yes, that was our own Justin Martinson you saw on the Golf Channel’s popular reality show, Big Break the Palm Beaches, Fla. The Avondale, Pa., resident is one of 12 golfers competing for more than $120,000 in cash and prizes. Martinson graduated in 2011 as one of the top golfers in University of Delaware history.
6. Contrary to some local reports, Center Square Golf Club in Norristown, Pa., is open for play in 2015, according to head pro Keith Oldham. Residential builder Cutler Group did purchase the course, but as of now, it is open for business.
7. The USGA announced the establishment of a new championship, the U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship, which will debut in 2018. This is another good sign for the women’s game, and the continued growth of golf overall.
8. Golf lost two of its greats in February with the passing of Billy Casper and Charlie Sifford. I interviewed Casper about his book, The Big Three And Me, a few years back, and it was a big thrill. His 51 career wins rank him seventh all time.
9. Sifford was often referred to as the “Jackie Robinson of Golf”—he was the first black man to earn a PGA Tour card. He won numerous pro tournaments and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game.
10. Speaking of golf legends, many people don’t know that Arnold Palmer experienced a blood clot caused by deep vein thrombosis—or DVT—which is when a blood clot forms in a deep vein in the body. Palmer is using the experience to help raise awareness about blood clot prevention and treatment. Visit www.drive4clots.com.
11. Does anyone bring more fun and innovation to golf than the folks at Deerfield Golf Club in Newark, Del.? Forewinds Hospitality sales and marketing director Jeff Robinson and his team are always thinking of new ways to keep people golfing and smiling. No wonder they are back on Golfweek’s Top Places You Can Play for 2015. Deerfield keeps it exciting with events centered around 5K runs, relaxed rules and cornhole tournaments. Its Pub & Grille has great food and a killer Sunday brunch. Speaking of killer, the Doomsday Burger is to die for.
12. Combining golf and social media was the impetus behind Fore Golfers PHL, a platform that shares valuable insight into local course conditions, rates and the overall experience of your golfing peers. The site connects you with other area golfers, informs you of last-minute course specials and posts reviews of local courses.
13. Did you see that Jack Nicklaus is launching his own line of ice cream products? “It’s no secret that I love ice cream,” admits Nicklaus. “Needless to say, I have never had so much fun in the research and development of a product.” Look for seven new flavors, manufactured by the Schwan Food Company. I’m personally hoping for three-putt pecan.
14. According to Jane Dorey, executive director of the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia, the inaugural Rose Bowl Tournament will take place this August at Penn Oaks Golf Club in West Chester, Pa. The mixed event will honor that organization’s most senior member, Bobbie Rose. She celebrated her 99th birthday by shooting a 96 on a regulation course in Palm Beach.
Share your golf news with Jim Finnegan at email@example.com.