Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Give back to Patriot Golf Day by playing golf over the holiday weekend at participating Michigan courses

Michigan has already played a huge role in Patriot Golf Day.

The Folds of Honor Foundation was founded in May 2007 by Major Dan Rooney, an F-16 Fighter Pilot and PGA Professional who owns Grand Haven Golf Club. A decorated military pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, Major Rooney has served three combat tours in Iraq.

It was after his second tour, while a passenger on a commercial flight, that Major Rooney witnessed an event that would profoundly change his life. As the plane landed in Grand Rapids, the pilot announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, we have an American hero on board – Corporal Brock Bucklin. And his twin brother, Corporal Brad Bucklin, is accompanying him home from Iraq. As a sign of respect, please remain seated while Corporal Bucklin's family receives him in his final homecoming." Major Rooney watched through the window of the plane as the flag-draped casket was lowered. He saw a family waiting for Brock, and a little four-year old boy waiting for his father. This tragic homecoming inspired Major Rooney to create the Folds of Honor Foundation.

The fourth Patriot Golf Day®, over Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 3-6), will collect donations and raise awareness for the Folds of Honor Foundation. Patriot Golf Day, is the primary fundraiser for Folds of Honor which awards post-secondary educational scholarships for children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled while serving our great nation.

Through events across the country since 2007, PGA Professionals have helped raise more than $5.3 million, allowing Folds of Honor to award 1,163 post-secondary educational scholarships.

Golfers are asked to donate at least $1 for each round of golf. Participating private facilities will accept donations. Non-golfers can also participate by making a donation to the foundation at its website at FoldsofHonor.org. As a proud supporter and Official Card of Patriot Golf Day, American Express will match donations made using an American Express® Card during Patriot Golf Day Weekend.

While registration is still in progress, there are currently more than 3,500 facilities registered to host Patriot Golf Day events nationwide, with roughly 120 of those in Michigan.

Here's a comprehensive list of participating Michigan courses compiled on Aug. 31. This list may not reflect a complete list of participating facilities. Many opted out to be promoted on PlayGolfAmerica.com, so contact your local facility to see if they are taking part in Patriot Golf Day.

Quail Ridge Golf Club Ada MI 49301
Pine River Country Club Alma MI 48801
Gull Lake View Golf Club Augusta MI 49012
Hawk Hollow Bath MI 48808
Cedar Farms Golf Club Battle Creek MI 49015
Battle Creek Country Club Battle Creek MI 49015
Cedar Creek Golf Course Battle Creek MI 49015
Hawk's Eye Golf Resort Bellaire MI 49615
Boulder Creek GC Belmont MI 49306
Blythefield Country Club Belmont MI 49306
Point O'Woods Country Club Benton Harbor MI 49022
Katke GC/FSU Big Rapids MI 49307
Falcon Head Golf Club Big Rapids MI 49307
Bloomfield Hills Country Club Bloomfield Hills MI 48304
Lost Dunes Golf Club Bridgman MI 49106
Brookwood Golf Course Buchanan MI 49107
Orchard Hills Country Club Buchanan MI 49107
IMA Brookwood Golf Course Burton MI 48509
Fellows Creek Golf Course Canton MI 48188
Pheasant Run Golf Club Canton MI 48188
Charlotte Country Club Charlotte MI 48813
Reddeman Farms Golf Course Chelsea MI 48118
The Golf Connection Clarkston MI 48346
Golf Club of Coldwater Coldwater MI 49036
Corunna Hills Golf Course Corunna MI 48817
Springfield Oaks Golf Course Davisburg MI 48350
Copper Ridge Golf Club Davison MI 48423
Rogell Golf Course Detroit MI 48219
Rouge Park Golf Course Detroit MI 48228
Chandler Golf Club Detroit MI 48213
Eagle Eye Golf Club East Lansing MI 48823
Escanaba Country Club Escanaba MI 49829
Glen Oaks Golf & Country Club Farmington Hills MI 48334
Tyrone Hills Golf Club Fenton MI 48430
The Coyote Preserve Fenton MI 48430
Apple Mountain Golf Club Freeland MI 48623
Wilderness Valley Golf Club Gaylord MI 49735
Otsego Club Gaylord MI 49734
Gaylord Country Club Gaylord MI 49734
Genesee Hills Golf Course Grand Blanc MI 48439
The Jewel of Grand Blanc Grand Blanc MI 48439
Grand Haven Golf Club Grand Haven MI 49417
Thousand Oaks Golf Club Grand Rapids MI 49525
The Mines Grand Rapids MI 49534
Watermark Country Club Grand Rapids MI 49546
Cascade Hills Country Club Grand Rapids MI 49546
Stonewater Country Club Grand Rapids MI 49518
Sunnybrook Country Club Grandville MI 49418
Fox Run Ctry Club Grayling MI 49738
Wicker Hills Golf Club Hale MI 48739
Diamond Springs Golf Course Hamilton MI 49419
Birchwood Farms Golf & CC Harbor Springs MI 49740
Hillsdale Golf & Country Club Hillsdale MI 49242
Faulkwood Shores Golf & C Club Howell MI 48843
Rackham Golf Course Huntington Woods MI 48070
Kalamazoo Country Club Kalamazoo MI 49008
Grand Prairie Golf Course Kalamazoo MI 49006
Chisholm Hills Country Club Lansing MI 48911
Garland Resort Lewiston MI 49756
Lost Lake Woods Club Lincoln MI 48742
Spring Meadows Country Club Linden MI 48451
Whispering Willows Golf Course Livonia MI 48152
Idyl Wyld Golf Club Livonia MI 48154
Fox Creek Golf Club Livonia MI 48152
Red Oaks Golf Course Madison Heights MI 48071
Deer Run @ Lakes of the North Mancelona MI 49659
Manistee Golf & Country Club Manistee MI 49660
Emerald Vale GC Manton MI 49663
El Dorado Golf Course Mason MI 48854
Branson Bay Golf Course Mason MI 48854
Golden Sands Golf Course Mears MI 49436
Menominee River Golf Club Menominee MI 49858
Sandy Ridge Golf Course Midland MI 48642
Currie Municipal Golf Course Midland MI 48640
Northwood University Midland MI 48640
Monroe Golf & Country Club Monroe MI 48162
Lincoln Golf Club Muskegon MI 49445
Whittaker Woods Golf Club New Buffalo MI 49117
Black Lake Golf Club Onaway MI 49765
Lakewood Shores Resort Oscoda MI 48750
Scenic Golf and Country Club Pigeon MI 48755
Timber Trace Golf Club Pinckney MI 48169
The Inn at St. John's Plymouth MI 48170
Hilltop Golf Club Plymouth MI 48170
Brae Burn Golf Club Plymouth MI 48170
Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Ctr Plymouth MI 48170
Bird Creek Golf Club Port Austin MI 48467
Gull Lake Country Club Richland MI 49083
Brookwood Golf Club Rochester Hills MI 48309
Forest Dunes Golf Club Roscommon MI 48653
St Clair River Country Club Saint Clair MI 48079
Berrien Hills Golf Club Saint Joseph MI 49085
Selfridge ANG Golf Course Selfridge MI 48045
Stoney Creek Golf Course Shelby Township MI 48316
Hidden Valley Golf Club Shelbyville MI 49344
HawksHead Links South Haven MI 49090
St. Ives Golf Club Stanwood MI 49346
Plum Brook Golf Club Sterling Heights MI 48312
Klinger Lake Country Club Sturgis MI 49091
Tecumseh Country Club Tecumseh MI 49286
Bay Meadows Golf Course Traverse City MI 49684
Treetops Resort-North Course Treetops Village MI 49735
Sanctuary Lake Golf Academy Troy MI 48085
Stonegate Golf Club Twin Lake MI 49457
Black Bear Golf Club Vanderbilt MI 49795
The Orchards Golf Club Washington MI 48094
Yankee Springs Golf Course Wayland MI 49348
Woodlands of Van Buren Wayne MI 48184
Twin Beach Country Club West Bloomfield MI 48323
Wuskowhan Players Club West Olive MI 49460
White Lake Oaks Golf Course White Lake MI 48386
White Lake Golf Club Whitehall MI 49461
Lyon Oaks Golf Club Wixom MI 48393

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Take advantage of free golf day around metro Detroit Aug. 31

Free golf?

Sounds like a great way to end the summer.

At least a dozen of Southeastern Michigan’s finest golf clubs have signed on to participate in this year’s Free Day at the Links on Aug. 31, a “thank you” gesture by radio and television golf show host Jeff Lesson to the golfing community who have supported his Lesson On Golf program for many years.

The second annual free day will benefit the First Tee of Detroit program and the presenting sponsor is Ameriprise Financial Services Inc.

"Our first year was such a tremendous success, given the free golf, quality of courses and The First Tee as the beneficiary, it was a no brainer to do it again" said Lesson, a golfing enthusiast who founded the Lesson on Golf program and writes a newspaper column. "The First Tee does so much for these kids we are just thrilled to be a part of this."

Golfers must call the participating course of their choice to register for a tee time. Those who prefer to walk the course will do so free of charge. Cart riders will pay a minimum donation of $20 that will go to the First Tee program. Lisa Woodcox, executive director of The First Tee of Detroit commended Lesson for coming up with an idea that gives so much back to the community.

"We are so appreciative of Jeff Lesson for creating this day that benefits local golfers, golf courses, and youth participants in the First Tee of Detroit," Woodcox said. "It's wonderful to see the Metro Detroit's golf community support a program that has so positively impacted the lives of thousands of children over the past 12 years through our life and skills programs."

The courses committed so far to offer a free day include:
Tanglewood, South Lyon. 248-486-3355
Moose Ridge, South Lyon. 248-446-9030
The Majestic at Lake Walden, Hartland. 800-762-3280
Lyon Oaks, Wixom. 248-437-1488
The Westwynd, Oakland Township. 248-608-7820
Whispering Pines, Pinckney. 734-878-0009
Springfield Oaks, Davisburg. 248-625-2540
Fox Creek, Livonia. 248-771-3400
Whispering Willows, Livonia. 248-476-4493
Idyl Wyld , Livonia. 734-464-6325
Strategic Fox, Fox Hills. Plymouth 734-453-7272

There are plenty of other deals around the state to keep in mind the rest of the season.

* Treetops Resort in Gaylord hosts "Philanthropic Tuesdays" every week after 1 p.m. for the remainder of the season: any 9-Hole Round costs $25.00 per person with $5 donated to the charity, church or school of your choice. Enter the promo code 'CHARITY9' when booking. Any 18-Hole Round costs $45.00 per person with $10 donated to charity. Enter the promo code 'CHARITY18' when booking. Golfers will need to provide Treetops with the name and address of the charity that they wish to donate to at the time of check-in at the Pro Shop.
On Patriot Golf Day Wednesdays, the same rules apply to raise money for Patroit Day, founded to help those families who have lost loved ones in battle. Tee times after
1 p.m. cost $25 for nine holes (with $5 donated) and $45 for 18 (with $10 donated). Enter the codes PATRIOT9 and PATRIOT18 when booking. Visit treetops.com for more.

* There is still time to sign up for the Golf Association of Michigan Golf Days for the chance to play these private clubs: At Polo Fields Country Club in Ann Arbor on Aug. 30 and on Sept. 13; Spring Meadows on Sept. 20 and the Country Club of Jackson on Sept. 24. Your $60 Golf Day entry fee includes 18 holes of golf, cart, range balls and prizes. To register, visit GAM.org.

* Public players get the chance to play the private TPC of Michigan with the Nature Valley qualifier Sept. 13 at the prestigious Dearborn course. The 2010 Nature Valley Amateur, a June-September series, includes qualifying events in 18 coast-to-coast markets, from Washington state to Florida. Four players from each qualifying event will advance to the two-day Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, Nov. 5–6, 2010, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. “We’re inviting America’s best amateurs to play like a PGA TOUR pro on award-winning courses designed specifically for this elevated type of competition,” said Travis Trembath, Nature Valley marketing. “Nature Valley, for a fourth summer, is excited to bring an authentic, adrenaline-packed sporting experience to hundreds of golf enthusiasts.”
Men and women with an established USGA handicap index between 0 and 24 are eligible. Each qualifying event will play host to four flights, with each flight winner earning the chance to compete in the championship weekend. Visit naturevalleygolf.com for more.

Jackson's Ron Beurmann wins dramatic Michigan PGA Championship

EAST LANSING - The island green at the Eagle Eye Golf Club claimed another victim and yet again had a hand in the Michigan PGA Professional Championship.

Ron Beurmann of Jackson came from four strokes behind with two holes to play to win the 89th Michigan PGA Professional Championship in a playoff Aug. 25. The 50-year old Director of Golf at The Country Club of Jackson was two strokes behind entering the final round and won the tournament on the second hole of a three-man playoff.

“It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle,” he said. “The key for me winning this week is the fact I only missed two five-foot putts.”

John Seltzer of Ann Arbor held a two-stroke lead entering the final round and looked in control until his one-stroke lead vanished with a wet tee shot on the 142-yard 17th hole, which mimics the island green at the TPC of Sawgrass.

Sean Winters of Bloomfield Hills Country Club started the final round five shots behind Seltzer but got hot in the middle of the round with an eagle on 14 and a birdie on 15 before driving his tee shot into the water on the par five 18th hole. He ended with a double bogey. On the final hole, Seltzer’s layup shot found the edge of a railroad tie, leading to a double bogey. Beurmann birdied the hole as all three players finshed regulation at 10-under par.

Winters was eliminated on the first playoff hole when he again hit his tee shot into the water and ended with double bogey. Seltzer bogeyed the second hole of the playoff and Beurmann’s par was good enough to win the $7,000 first place prize and shake a 12-year draught of winning a major.

“I never gave up but it’s amazing how many times I’ve walked away from a tournament and said this is it because of my putting,” he said. “I’ve seen some crazy stuff over the years but never for me and it’s great to win in front of my friends and peers."

Four-time defending champion Scott Hebert of Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, fresh off an appearance in the PGA Championship, tied for fourth, six strokes back.

Top 10 finishers

*1, Ron Beurmann Country Club of Jackson 206 $7000.00
2, Sean Winters Bloomfield Hills Country Club 206 $3250.00
2, John Seltzer The Polo Fields in Ann Arbor 206 $3250.00
4, Scott Hebert Grand Traverse Resort Spa 212 $1800.00
4, Lee Houtteman Grand Traverse Resort Spa 212 $1800.00
6, Ian Ziska Manistee National Golf Resort 213 $1300.00
7, Eric Dovre Detroit Golf Club 214 $1100.00
8, Brian Cairns Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center 215 $906.67
8, Christopher Johnson Thousand Oaks Golf Club 215 $906.67
8, Frank McAuliffe Ann Arbor Country Club 215 $906.67

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Michigan PGA Championship returns to Hawk Hollow and Eagle Eye

It's been a busy week for golf in Michigan as the tournament scene slowly grinds to a halt as football takes over. Here's catching up on a few things.

MICHIGAN PGA PREVIEW: Scott Hebert will attempt to win his fifth consecutive Michigan PGA Championship at the Hawk Hollow Properties in East Lansing August 23-25. Hebert has been the only winner since the event moved to the Eagle Eye and Hawk Hollow golf courses in 2006. Hebert set the course record at Eagle Eye, eight-under 64, last year and coasted to a 13-stroke win.

It was recently announced that Hebert, a six-time Michigan Open golf champion and the 2008 PGA Professional National Championship, will be inducted into the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. The 40th annual induction banquet is April 23, 2011 at The Danforth Place in Escanaba.

“Scott is our section’s most celebrated player,” Michigan PGA Executive Director, Kevin Helm said in a release. “He just returned home from playing in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straights, he’s played in a number of PGA Tour events this year.”

Hebert’s four titles tie him with Grand Rapids’ Lynn Janson. Legendary golfers Chick Harbert (six championships) and Al Watrous (nine) are the only players in the history of this tournament with more wins. The field will feature 161 players in a 54-hole event. Players in the top 70 positions and ties will be vying for a piece of the $65,000 purse. The winner’s share is $7,000.

“We’re proud to host the championship and house the Michigan PGA Headquarters on our complex” said Alex Coss, General Manager of Hawk Hollow Properties. “PGA Professionals add so much to the game of the golf on the consumer level. It’s a privilege to have them playing here and receive such positive response to the quality of our courses.”

Past champions in the 2010 field include, two-time winners Brian Cairns from Fox Hills Golf Course, Steve Brady from Oakland Hills Country Club and Barry Redmond of Boyne Highlands. Other past champions include, John Traub of TNT Enterprises. Tom Harding of Kendall Academy of Golf, Joe Pollack of Boulder Creek Golf Club, Bob Makoski of Grosse Ile CC and Randy Erskine of Great Oaks Country Club.

HOLE IN ONE? If you celebrated a hole-in-one this year, you're eligible for the annual Detroit News/Golf Association of Michigan Hole-In-One Contest at Whispering Willows Golf Course in Livonia on Sept. 7. The tee opens at 7:30 a.m. and will remain open until there are no more contestants. Each contestant gets two swings for a chance at the grand prize: an Osprey Golf weekend getaway. The contest will be flighted by age. In addition, the Hole-In-One contest will be a fundraiser for the Folds of Honor program in the form of a raffle. Prizes include a stay-and-play package at Muskegon Country Club, golf at Meadowbrook Country Club, restaurant certificates and more. To submit entries, send your name, age, gender, phone number, and when and where you had your hole-in-one to sports@detnews.com. Also indicate what time you would like to participate in the contest (tee times start at 7:30 a.m. and run throughout the day) and if you are a GAM member.

LUCK OF THE IRISH: When Paul Sutherland pulled out of the Travis Pointe parking lot in Saline after playing in the GAM Father & Son tournament and headed home to Cleveland, Ohio, the last thing he expected was a call from his dad telling him he had won the grand prize at the tournament: A trip for two to Ireland from GAM sponsor Sullivan Golf & Travel.

“We had finished playing golf fairly quickly, and I knew we didn’t win our bracket because it was a frustrating day on the golf course, so I decided to head back home before dinner,” said Sutherland. “My dad called me a few hours later to tell me I won the grand prize and what it was. I was shocked! I never win anything!”

LUCKY CADDIE: Point O’Woods member Stan Andrei gave his caddie a nice tip after notching a hole-in-one July 23 at the Robert Trent Jones Invitational. Andrei received a Jeep Wrangler 4x4 provided by Don Brookfield Chrysler for his ace and gave it to his caddie Dave Maxey. Maxey suggested the 5-iron for the 165-yard par 3, and Andrei wasn’t sure it was enough club. Andrei told Maxey before he teed off that if he made the ace, he would give Maxey the choice of a big tip or the Jeep. Maxey, 23, who was driving the same car he has had since high school, chose the Jeep.

SUPER SUPERINTENDENT: Crystal Mountain Golf Course Superintendent Adam Ikamas has earned the credential of Certified Golf Course Superintendent (CGCS) from the Golf Course Superintendent’s Association of America (GCSAA). There are approximately 17,000 golf courses in the United States yet roughly 1,700 superintendents have earned the CGCS distinction. Ikamas, who has been Crystal Mountain’s golf course superintendent for seven years, is one of just 68 to earn certification in the state of Michigan, which has over 800 courses. An extensive certification program is required in order to earn this credential. Each applicant must submit a portfolio consisting of their responses to skill statements, case-study scenarios and submission of work samples. An on-site inspection of their golf facility is required as well as a rigorous six-hour examination covering everything from equipment and irrigation systems to project management and ethics and values. As we all know, Crystal Mountain's two courses are always in excellent shape. We can all thank Ikamas for his hard work.

Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor breathing life back into Manitou Passage GC

Bob Kuras has always dreamed of having an 18-hole golf course at his beautiful Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor.

Kuras, president of the resort, fulfilled his dream with the purchase of the former King's Challenge course in nearby Cedar last year. Since then, he has poured his money, energy and spirit into reviving the Arnold Palmer signature course that had fallen into disrepair.

Now that the newly named Manitou Passage Golf Club is in a better place, he can joke about the challenges along the journey. He compared the revival of the course to a home remodel. And we all know how painful those can be, both emotionally and financially.

"You know when you paint the bathroom and it makes the bedroom look bad?" he told a small gathering of golf writers at Monday's media day. "And when you paint the bedroom, the kitchen looks awful. ... Every time we thought we were making progress, we found something else to do."

Unfortunately, I never played the former King's Challenge, but from what I've witnessed during a tour of the course last June to today, the facility has had a complete facelift. The new clubhouse, which was all torn up during my last visit, is now a delight. There's a little library area that honors the history of the "Manitou Passage," the narrow body of water visible from the stunning eighth tee. The cozy bar and grill serves quality food that is best enjoyed on the new multi-tiered patio overlooking the 18th green and a colorful bed of flowers and landscaping. The pro shop is stocked with logo gear.

During media day, I teed it up with Stefan Carlsmith, a longtime instructor with the Dave Pelz Golf School at The Homestead. He was an excellent tour guide who went into greater detail on many of the course changes.

Most of the work focused on the tees and bunkers. Several tees, notably on the fourth and 16th holes, were moved to soften dog legs and give players a better angle to the fairway.

A new tee was added on No. 18 to transform a murderous par-4 into a go-for-broke 492-yard par-5 that longer hitters can eagle if they safely navigate the pond guarding the right side. The course now plays a slightly longer 6,668 yards from the tips.

Dozens of bunkers were reshaped while others were moved or filled in.

Even the signature hole, the par-5 eighth, was extensively reworked. The fairway used to be a hog-back shape that repelled shots into the woods. It was leveled to reward good play.

Overgrown trees and weeds were removed throughout. For example, a fairway was added to the par-3 third hole. The changes were all made to make a tight course play a little friendlier. It still plays much harder than its yardage from the blue tees (6,257 yards) imply.

The course conditioning is just beginning to round into form as well. The grounds crew has aerated the greens nine times within last year, bringing them back to life. They roll true.

Once newly planted fescue grows in to define a number of fairways, the course's visual appeal should jump off the charts.

"The changes have all really helped the golf course," Carlsmith said.

Kuras has talked about bringing world-class golf to the Leelanau Peninsula. He's well on his way to making the dream a reality.

For tee times visit manitoupassagegolfclub.com or call 231-228-6000.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nicklaus, Palmer, Miller and Watson wow the crowds in the Champions for Change at the Golf Club of Harbor Shores

Forget the Buick Open.

Michigan golf fans wouldn't miss the PGA Tour if they could experience more fantastic events like the Champions for Change, the charity shootout that served as a grand opening celebration for the Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor.

The 3,600 fans lucky enough to secure tickets witnessed quite possibly the most star-studded foursome ever assembled for a charity event. Jack Nicklaus, the course designer, hosted Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Johnny Miller in a scramble skins shootout that delivered both great shot-making and fun-loving banter between the four legendary friends.

They've combined to win 35 major titles and 199 PGA Tour titles in one foursome, folks. Incredible.

I heard one African-American golf fan exclaim: "I can't believe Jack Nicklaus is in Benton Harbor. I walked from my house to see Jack Nicklaus."

Watson, 60, was on form, showcasing the shotmaking that almost won him the 2009 British Open. Playing with Arnold Palmer as his partner, he eagled the 14th hole on his own ball. Even with Nicklaus playfully interupting his routine to remind him that the putt on the 18th green was for the match, Watson stepped up and sank it without a moment's doubt.

Miller, the lead golf analyst for NBC, had his moments, but it was Nicklaus, even at age 70, that looked like he could still compete on the Champions Tour. In the most memorable moment of the day, Miller was all set to hit a lob wedge from the lower tier of the green on the par-5 10th hole when Nicklaus stepped in trying to save his course's green from getting a chunk ripped out of it. Nicklaus promptly holed his improbable putt up and over a severe slope, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

"For it to go in was pure freakin' luck," Nicklaus said afterward. "That was what I got the biggest kick out of today."

The tournament was my first look at the 6,861-yard, par-71 course. It's a beauty. The three dune holes at No. 7-9 are gorgeous and challenging. Boaters watched the action from the holes that touch the Paw Paw River -- No. 3 and 14-15 and No. 18. Nicklaus' chief designer Chris Rule added some unique touches like two greens on the sixth hole, a shorter one without the long carry over the river and one across the water.

And let's not forget that the whole event and course came to be for one purpose: To revitalize the economy in the sister communities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph. The 530-acre non-profit Harbor Shores project could eventually build out to include a hotel, marina, a town center and shops, a fitness center and nearly 800 different residences. For more, visit harborshoresresort.com.

"What I would like to see in 10 years, I'd like to see the course have success, to create jobs, to create housing and a tax base," Nicklaus said.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

LPGA star Natalie Gulbis up next for a visit to The Loon Golf Resort in Gaylord

If Natalie Gulbis is half as good a host as Butch Harmon was on his visit to the Loon Golf Resort for his pro-am July 31-Aug. 1, the lucky golfers who sign up for either of Gulbis' upcoming events in northern Michigan are in for a spectacular treat.

Harmon, the No. 1 instructor in the world, was comfortable wherever he was ... talking to reporters in his new building that houses his new Butch Harmon School of golf, with a mike in his hand telling stories to the crowd after dinner, hitting trick shots in his clinic, signing autographs, taking pictures on the course, etc. Harmon was just one of the guys, making it a real treat to meet him.

The Loon staff went over-the-top in making it a first-class tournament. I won't spill the secrets of what went down, but golfers can expect the same treatment if they sign up for the Natalie Gulbis Charity Classic August 13-15 or the Natalie Gulbis Showcase September 24-26.

Luring Gulbis and Harmon to the Loon Golf Resort in Gaylord, along with the new golf school and 11 new townhomes on site, show the resort commitment to becoming one of the premier golfing experiences in northern Michigan. The course is currently in phenominal shape.

"We are very excited to have Natalie Gulbis coming to The Loon Golf Resort this summer and helping us create two unique and special events for golfers and charity," said Matt Preuss, General Manager at The Loon Golf Resort. "Both will be must play golf events in northern Michigan this season and a great opportunity for golfers to meet and interact with the one of the most popular LPGA stars on tour."

The two-day 36-hole events will include a four-person team format with amateurs competing in both gross and net divisions. Gulbis will offer private clinics for the contestants, including a junior clinic for kids, as well as participating on golf holes, and interacting with each group.

The cost to participate in the pro-am event is $2,000 per four-person team, a real bargain considering how much face time each team gets with Gulbis. The price includes practice rounds on Friday, two tournament rounds, clinics with Gulbis, cocktails, meals, as well as awards and prizes. In addition, the first 20 teams to register will receive lodging at the Loon Golf Resort.

For those of you interested in instruction, four of Harmon’s instructors from Las Vegas will lead five different three-day golf schools at the Loon’s expanded driving range from Aug. 17 to Sept. 2.

For more, visit loongolfresort.com.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Brehm wins Michigan Women's Am, Pressel visits Carl's Golfland

ST. CLAIR -- It was an all green and white final at the 94th Michigan Women’s Amateur at St. Clair River Country Club. Michigan State University senior Natalie Brehm (Mount Pleasant) defeated incoming freshman Christine Meier, 4&3.

Brehm was the 2009 runner-up and was driven to win this year.

“I was really hoping I wouldn’t end up getting the second-place trophy again,” said Brehm. “It was fun to play against Christine. She played really well and I can tell you from what I saw today we are going to have a great team at MSU this year.”

The only thing that could have made the day more perfect for Brehm was if her brother Ryan could have been in attendance. He was runner-up in the Men’s Amateur in 2006 and won the championship in 2007. That makes the Brehms the first brother-sister tandem to win the state amateur.

“He’s playing in Alabama this week but I talked to him on the phone last night and he said he really wished he could be here,” Brehm said. “It is really cool that we both were amateur champions. I guess its kind of historic.”

Both Brehm and Meier, of Rochester Hills, struggled with putting through the first seven holes of the championship round. Brehm had back-to-back birdies on the par-5 8th hole and par-4 9th and kept pulling steadily ahead after making the turn. Her birdie putt on 15 clinched the match.

“It was great because I didn’t have to play that par 3 on 16 again,” said Brehm. “I really struggled with that hole this morning and it gave me some problems earlier this week. But I felt like I played a lot better overall this afternoon.”

Both semifinal matches went to 18 holes with Brehm defeating Lindsey Lammers (Milan/University of Detroit) and Meier defeating her sister Amy Meier (Ohio State University).

“It was just a battle this morning,” said Brehm. “I didn’t feel like either one of us was playing our best golf and it came down to the last hole.”

Meier said it was fun to play two familiar foes in one day; her sister and her teammate.

“It was just a lot of fun and Natalie is such a sweet girl,” said Meier. “It was a great tournament and it's exciting just to make it to the final. And my coach was on my bag yesterday so feel like I got a little taste of what it's going to be like playing for the Spartans.”

There were may Spartan supporters in the gallery which Meier and Brehm both appreciated.

“It was great to hear ‘Go green! Go white!’,” said Brehm. “So many people from the club and the community came out to watch us and support us. It really means a lot and the atmosphere at the tournament was just wonderful.”

SPECIAL VISIT: Female players around the state should take advantage of Michigan's own Morgan Pressel returning home to host a clinic 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3, at Carl's Golfland in Bloomfield Hills. Pressel, from Grosse Pointe, is fresh off an eighth-place finish at the Ricoh Women's British Open.