GOLF CHRONICLES
 
 
Penn State. Ugh.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
By Joe Logan

For a couple of days there, I was following the latest chapter of Steve Williams Is A Dumbass, shaking my head over how golf had managed to embarrass itself once again. Or how he had managed to embarrass golf.

 

Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, the Penn State Scandal erupted.  It makes you realize just how tame golf’s blunders are by comparison.  And thankfully so.


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tim[11/17/2011 6:25:47 PM]
you forgot about Tiger

Trump National - Philadelphia 
Trump National - Philadelphia must be doing something right
Thursday, October 27, 2011
By Joe Logan

At a time when hardly a week passes that we don’t hear rumors about buzzards circling overhead of some club or course in the area, Trump National – Philadelphia must be doing something right.

 

Since high-flying tycoon Donald Trump took over the erstwhile Pine Hill GC on Christmas Eve 2009, Trump National – Philadelphia has added 200 members, for a total of 360 full golf members.   The goal is 380 members .  To hear GM Eric Quinn tell it, business is so good, they’re planning to add a giant pool that overlooks the Philadelphia skyline in the distance.  They also planning to bump the non-refundable initiation fee from $15,000 to $25,000.

 

In the current economic climate, that’s bold.

 

"The key is the Trump brand," GM Quinn told me Tuesday, after a round to show off some of the changes to the course and the clubhouse.  "That and the fact that Mr. Trump has sunk millions into the club since he took over."

 

Most of the changes to the course didn’t affect me, because they are new back tees on a half dozen holes that stretch the course by 500 yards, to 7,409 yards.  Back tees are in my rearview mirror.   (Naturally, the back tees are now called the "Trump" tees?) The one change to the course that did affect me and all golfers is at the par 3 5th, where a large tee-to-green waste bunker has been replaced by a lake.

 

Inside the 43,000-square-foot clubhouse, Trump has taken the interior from a dark, almost casual Adirondack style to a more formal, white-linen look that Quinn describes as "a statement of elegance."   The locker rooms have also been renovated.

 

Here is a background story on the sale of the club.

 

Given the dreadful state of the economy in general and golf in particular, the real story here is how Trump National – Philadelphia seems to be thriving while most other private clubs and daily fee courses are happy to be treading water.

 

Quinn attributes Trump National – Philadelphia’s newfound success to a couple of things.   First, he says there is no mistaking that the Trump name is a major drawing card.  Potential members like the swashbuckling upscale style the they believe the Trump name connotes.  Quinn hears it  from members they are luring from other clubs around South Jersey; he also hears it from business executives who move to the area and begin searching for a club to join.

 

Quinn also points to Trump’s ability to pour millions into improving the club while so many other clubs are dealing with defections and member revolts over costs. 

 

Finally, Quinn believes more and more people favor the concept of the non-equity club, where members aren’t constantly worried about being hit with assessments for course improvements, clubhouse improvements or various shortfalls.

 

"In our industry, people are saying, ‘I want to go some place that is going to be first class and at the end of the day, I know what I pay – no bill at the end of the year,’" said Quinn.

 

Given Donald Trump’s well-established ability to create a buzz about any project he undertakes, it’s impossible to know what is fact and what is hyperbole.  But I can tell you that the five-year member of Trump National – Philadelphia that we got paired with on the first tee approves of the changes under Trump.  Plus I bumped into another guy I know who has joined since Trump took over.  He also had nothing but good things to say.


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Dr. Karen Ammerman 
Indulge us a little family pride
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
By Joe Logan

You won’t hear it from my business partner, Craig Ammerman, but he is busting with pride because his little sister, Dr. Karen Ammerman, was nominated today to join the Executive Committee of the U.S. Golf Association.

 

Craig is proud for a couple of reasons: First, as a former member of the Executive Committee (2002-2007) himself, he knows the kind of hard work and accomplishment it took to receive the nomination.  Second, Craig is proud because he and Karen will become the first siblings in history to serve on the USGA’s top panel.

 

Here’s a short bio on Karen from the USGA announcement:

 

There are four newly nominated candidates for the Executive Committee for 2012: Karen S. Ammerman, M.D., of Webster, Mass.; William E. Fallon, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Mark P. Reinemann, of Pewaukee, Wis.; and Gary R. Stevenson, of Lafayette, Calif.


 

Ammerman, 56, is a board-certified staff physician at Reliant Medical Group in Worcester, Mass., where she specializes in obstetrics and gynecology. She holds a medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and conducted her residency at West Virginia University Hospital. Ammerman has served on a variety of hospital and corporate boards, including Fallon Clinic, Central Massachusetts Insurance Company and Massachusetts Assurance Company.
Since 2010, Ammerman has served on the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Committee. She has also been a member of the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts since 1993, serving on the organization’s Rules Committee since 2000. For the past 25 years, Ammerman has been a member at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, Mass., where she has been women’s club champion five times.

 

The USGA also announced that Dan Burton, former president of the Golf Association of Philadelphia, was nominated as a vice president of the Executive Committee.

 

A tip of the visor to Craig, Karen and Dan.


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The colors of fall 
My favorite month of golf
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
By Joe Logan

We are entering my favorite month of golf all year long.

 

For as long as I can remember, these few weeks, after the summer heat and humidity have finally subsided, but before the winter darkness and doldrums have set in, offer the most ideal golfing weather and optimum course conditions.

 

There is, I don’t know, a certain peacefulness about fall golf. I like the slightly late cool afternoons, when a sweater or light fleece pullover are plenty against the chill.  The summer days of baking in the sun, or sweating underneath, are over.  It’s just right, perfect.  And when the leaves start to turn, causing the golf course to explode with color, it couldn’t get any better.

 

It’s also a time of the year when the courses tend to be in near-perfect condition.  After a season of nurturing, rain and growth, fairways are thick and full and the greens are lush, fast and true.

 

Then there is the condition of my golf game.  I play some of my best golf in the fall.  By then, I’ve usually worked out whatever swing flaw tormented me for most of the spring and summer.  I’m just grateful to be out on the golf course, in the fresh air, doing the thing I most like to do.

 

Not surprisingly, my favorite time of the day to play golf has always been the late afternoon, as sunset looms.  There’s a calmness about the golf course.  Courses are rarely packed then.  Most people are already at home, gathering for dinner, or having family times, especially if it’s summer when it doesn’t get dark until 8:30 or later.  In the hour before sunset, what you find on the golf course are the hearty few – the guy sneaking in nine holes after work, a foursome of kids, a father and son (and daughter) enjoying peaceful time together.

 

Fall golf is the best.


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Joe Logan[10/13/2011 7:36:02 PM]
Tim - As you know, every fall I toy with the idea of turning pro...until I come to my senses.
Tim[10/13/2011 1:54:03 PM]
I agree with you except the part about when you play your best golf.
Steve[10/13/2011 11:05:22 AM]
Joe, I agree but this year September and October so far have not been as good as most prior years;however, I did pick some beautiful fall days to play at Philly CC, Weyhill at Saucon Valley and Paramount CC in Rockland County, NY.
tim[10/12/2011 5:14:57 PM]
thanks for including me
The Muni Golfer[10/12/2011 9:24:50 AM]
Joe, I couldnít agree with you more!

A golf buddy on the tee at Old Head 
A golf trip to Ireland
Sunday, September 25, 2011
By Joe Logan

We are entering my favorite month of golf all year long.

 

For as long as I can remember, these few weeks, after the summer heat and humidity have finally subsided, but before the winter darkness and doldrums have set in, offer the most ideal golfing weather and optimum course conditions.

 

There is, I don’t know, a certain peacefulness about fall golf. I like the slightly late cool afternoons, when a sweater or light fleece pullover are plenty against the chill.  The summer days of baking in the sun, or sweating underneath, are over.  It’s just right, perfect.  And when the leaves start to turn, causing the golf course to explode with color, it couldn’t get any better.

 

It’s also a time of the year when the courses tend to be in near-perfect condition.  After a season of nurturing, rain and growth, fairways are thick and full and the greens are lush, fast and true.

 

Then there is the condition of my golf game.  I play some of my best golf in the fall.  By then, I’ve usually worked out whatever swing flaw tormented me for most of the spring and summer.  I’m just grateful to be out on the golf course, in the fresh air, doing the thing I most like to do.

 

Not surprisingly, my favorite time of the day to play golf has always been the late afternoon, as sunset looms.  There’s a calmness about the golf course.  Courses are rarely packed then.  Most people are already at home, gathering for dinner, or having family times, especially if it’s summer when it doesn’t get dark until 8:30 or later.  In the hour before sunset, what you find on the golf course are the hearty few – the guy sneaking in nine holes after work, a foursome of kids, a father and son (and daughter) enjoying peaceful time together.

 

Fall golf is the best.


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The Muni Golfer[9/30/2011 11:08:10 AM]
Joe, hope youíre having a great time. Have a pint for me!

Phil Mickelson 
My World Golf Hall of Fame vote and me
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
By Joe Logan

Should Phil Mickelson make it into the World Golf Hall of Fame?  I don’t mean ever?  Of course, he should.  I mean now, while he’s still got several good years left in his career.

 

That’s the question put to me and everyone else who votes each year on who gets elected to the WGHOF. I take my vote very seriously, and I’ll tell you how I voted, but first a little background on the process.

 

Who gets on the ballot? The qualifications are:

 

- Minimum of 40 years old

- PGA Tour member for 10 years

- 10 Tour wins or 2 Majors or Players Championships

 

What does it take to get elected?

 

- A candidate must be voted for on 65 percent of the returned ballots

- If no candidate receives 65 percent, the candidate with the most votes is elected, provided he or she receives 50 percent of the votes cast

- Any candidate who receives votes in less than 5 percent of the returned ballots for two consecutive years is dropped from the ballot.  Otherwise, a candidate remains on the ballot indefinitely.  After 10 years on the ballot, candidates are considered for the Veterans Category.

 

(Current members of the WGHOLF)

 

Who votes?

 

- Senior executives of golf organizations ( PGA Tour, U.S. Golf Association and PGA of America), various industry executives and advisors, previous inductees to the WGHOF, select TV industry representatives involved in golf coverage, select writers picked in concert by the WGHOF and the Golf Writers Association of America.

- Voters can choose up to 30 percent of the candidates on the ballot, which in 2012 means 4 candidates.  You can vote for fewer, or even none, if you think no one on the ballot deserves to make it to the WGHOF.

 

The 2012 Candidates

 

There are 14 candidates this year, three of them on the ballot for the first time.  They are: Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Loren Roberts.

 

The others are (along with vote totals last year, if they were on the ballot):

 

- Miller Barber (9%)

- Fred Couples (32%)

- Don January (12%)

- Tony Lema (14%)

- Davis Love III (27%)

- Harold (Jug) McSpaden (7%)

- Mark O’Meara (29%)

- Macdonald Smith (23%)

- Dave Stockton (12%)

- Ken Venturi (20%)

- Fuzzy Zoeller (18%)

 

Kenny Perry and Jay Haas were both dropped from this year’s ballot after receiving 2%.

 

(Note: There is also an International Ballot. Candidates are: Peter Allis, Darren Clarke, Max Faulkner, Retief Goosen, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Sandy Lyle, Graham Marsh, Colin Montgomerie, Norman Von Nida, Ian Woosnam)

 

How I voted and why:

 

This year I voted for one candidate: Mickelson.   I’ve talked to colleagues who vote who wouldn’t think of voting for a candidate who is still an active player.  They argue that almost by definition, selection to the hall of fame in a given sport should come only after a player’s career has ended.  Indeed, in baseball, players are not eligible until they’ve been retired for five years.  Obviously, not so in golf.

 

My thinking is that Mickelson has already posted the necessary numbers – 39 PGA Tour wins, including three Masters, a PGA Championship and a Players Championship, and been a member of virtually every Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team since he turned pro – to earn him first-ballot election into the WGHOF.  Why suggest otherwise just to make a point.

 

My thinking on some of the other candidates:

 

Furyk: One major (U.S. Open), 16 PGA Tour wins and multiple Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams make him a stronger candidate for the future, but he is not there yet.  Another major title, or a Players Championship, along with hitting the 20-win mark for his career would probably put Furyk in the WGHOF.

 

Couples: One major (Masters) and a Players Championship, 15 PGA Tour wins, six Champions Tour wins.  As popular as he is, Couples has long been saddled with the reputation of being an underachiever.  Blame his bad back, if you want.  If he can win a couple of majors on the Champions Tour, Couples will eventually enter the WGHOF.

 

Love: One major (PGA) and two Players Championships, 20 PGA Tour wins.  Another very popular, highly-regarded player who didn’t quite win as many majors as people expected.  Now past his prime, Love must make his case with his Ryder Cup record and maybe a couple of Champions Tour majors, when that time comes.


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Joe Logan[9/15/2011 6:22:42 AM]
Acer - Check out the story I just posted under Latest Headlines. I wasnít a voter when the original qualifications were drawn up. Iíve heard occasional grumbling from a voter here and there about the early-age threshold but not any real effort to raise it.
Acer3x[9/15/2011 6:05:29 AM]
Joe, Is there a movement among the eligible voters to change the eligibility requirements to a higher age? MLB,NFL,NHL&NBA all do not allow active players to be in their HOF. Why does golf?
Joe Logan[9/14/2011 8:03:22 PM]
So far as I can tell, there is no provision for abstaining. If you try to abstain by not returning the ballot, you will be dropped as a voter. If you return the ballot without checking his name, it is recorded that you didnít vote for him.
Acer3x[9/14/2011 7:21:00 PM]
I would abstain until such time as the WGHOF changes the eligibility age to 50. Itís ridiculous to have active players in the HOF.

Seven Days in Utopia isnít that bad.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
By Joe Logan

The reviews for the new golf movie, Seven Days in Utopia, are so rancid, so brutal that naturally, I had to see it.

 

For one thing, I am a sucker for a golf movie, any golf movie.  I can’t help myself.   In the case of Seven Days in Utopia I also had to see for myself if it could really be the worst golf movie ever made, as one headline suggested.  Of course, with competition like the cinematic turds Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius and The Legend of Bagger Vance, I found that hard to believe.  Could it possibly be hokier, with less convincing golf scenes, than Tin Cup?  More inane than Happy Gilmore? 

 

We’re talking about a genre of films, after all, where the crowning achievement is a goofball comedy turned cult-classic, Caddyshack.

 

Now that I think about it, the only golf movie I can recall that didn’t have me ducking out of the theater embarrassed for the entire game was The Greatest Game Ever Played, which didn’t suck, and before that, Follow Sun: The Ben Hogan Story, but that’s a reach going back 60 years.

 

Given the laughable history golf movies, and given the cruel and usual reviews, my expectations for Seven Days in Utopia could not have been any lower.

 

Based on David L. Cook’s novel of the same name, the book and the move have overt Christian undertones. The story is about a down-and-out young pro golfer (Lucas Black), who has just choked in a big tournament, humiliating himself in the process.  Running from his failure, he somehow finds his way to the tiny Texas of Utopia (pop. 373).  There, he falls under the spell of a wizened and compassionate old rancher (Robert Duvall) who, it turns out, was once a pretty fair pro golfer himself.  From there, it’s all about what really matters in life, which is where the movie takes a turn for the spiritual. (Oddly, even Christianity Today gave it a thumbs-down.)

 

The only thing that gave me the slightest cause for hope that Seven Days in Utopia might not stink was the disparity of reactions on Rotten Tomatoes between professional film critics and ordinary film-goers.  Professional critics, who can be a snooty, finicky crowd, killed Seven Days in Utopia: 13 percent approval; regular folks, however, give it a 73 percent approval.  Huge difference.

 

My personal approval rating: 50 percent.

 

I mean, it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t as awful as I expected.  If you made it through Bagger Vance, you’ll make it through Seven Days in Utopia.

 

And I will say this: Unless they used trick photography, or superimposed his head on a real pro’s body,  Lucas Black has the best golf swing you’ve seen in a golf movie in a long time.

 

So, then, why is Seven Days in Utopia getting pounded by the critics?  Because is indeed corny, corny, corny – and preachy.   It is one of several movies and books in recent years that tries to spread the Christian message in more subtle fashion.

 

Oh, and the dialog is often stiff and stilted.  A sampling:

 

Duvall: "The first step to finding a good golf game is finding some conviction."

 

Duvall:  "All golf shots start with a blank canvas.  We create the shots in our mind so we can reproduce tem with our bodies."

 

Duvall: "S-F-T: See it, feel it, trust it."

 

Still, as I left after Seven Days in Utopia, I’d gotten my golf fix on a rainy afternoon.  And considering that I was prepared to nod off or walk out, I was somehow vaguely pleasantly surprised.


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Terry L Edgar[12/3/2011 7:13:06 AM]
I saw the movie without any previews (I do that at times) and I really felt the message of the film "life is more than the materialistic details". If thatís corny, corny, corny, well perhaps you should write an inspirational article that relates the dynamics of life to a sport and critique the corniness. Truthfully, I really needed to see that movie today, not because of golf but because of life. However i completely agree it would be great to have a golf movie just about golf worth watching.


 
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