have been missing in action for most of the past couple of weeks because I was
undergoing complete replacement surgery of my left hip, then in a rehab
facility and, for the past three days, at home beginning the long path of recovery.
am a pathetic sight.I hobble
around the house with the aid of a walker -- slowly, gingerly, cautiously.I have all manner of restrictions about
what I can and can’t do, where and how I can sit, and sleep, and how I can
manipulate my leg and hip.I can’t
drive for several weeks. I’m on
heavy-duty narcotic painkillers around the clock.They leave me a little foggy and I don’t
like them, but I’ll take the painkillers over the pain.I could be on them for another week, or
two, or three; the doctors say everybody is different. I have little
good news is, my surgeon assures me I should make a full recovery and be back
to my old life, including golf, in 8-12 weeks.
actually playing golf is out of the question for a while, I am in plenty good
shape to once again follow golf, watch golf, write about golf and return to
devoting most of my day to trying to make this website worthy of your time and
major surgery takes it’s toll, I’m still figuring out what I’m capable of right
now physically, and to be honestly, mentally.Many people take a month off from work
after the surgery I’ve had. But to
my delight, my strength and clarity of mind seem to improve a little each day.
I am able, I hope to write more of my own blogs and post more blogs and stories
from Ron Romanik, who has become a major contributor to MyPhillyGolf in
recent month, and from teaching pro Mark
Anderson, who has just joined the website.
was less than six weeks ago, on June 20, that x-rays, then an MRI, confirmed
that I needed a new hip.I immediately
began researching the operation and my options as if I was writing a magazine
story on the subject.I compiled a
research folder and I consulted frequently with three friends who’ve undergone hip
replacement.Two of those guys -- golf
writer Jeff Silverman and attorney Michael McGovern -- had undergone double-replacement
surgery.I thank both of them for
their insights and support in recent weeks, and I bow with respect that they
had both hips done at the same time.
what happened?Turns out, the
explanation for my reduced hip rotation and range of motion that David Ostrow
documented during my early sessions
at FitGolf.com in the spring were
more complicated than either of us imagined. After a couple of sessions in late May
and early June, the manipulation, stretching and exercises were followed by
pain and limping that only grew worse.Before long, Ostrow grew concerned."I think you might have something serious
going on in that left hip," he said.
the pain and limping got worse over the next couple of weeks, Ostrow recommended
I see an orthopedist, who would be able to tell very quickly from x-rays if
anything truly worrisome of going on in my hip.To my dismay, the x-rays did.
need a new hip," said the surgeon, almost matter-of-factly, as we viewed the
x-rays together in his office..
was significant deterioration of the bone in the femoral head of my hip, the
ball part of the ball-and-socket.My work with Ostrow
hadn’t caused the deterioration; it had simply brought it to the fore and
perhaps enflamed it.
surgeon was also blunt, if not grim, informing me that the damage was already done:
my hip wasn’t going to get any better, only worse and more painful.Hip replacement was pretty much the only
option.In the meantime, I
wondered, could I still play golf?
he said."But how much and for how
long?Let the pain be your guide."
initial plan was to delay the inevitable surgery until the end of golf season.
I continued to play golf, albeit less and less, into late June and the first
two weeks of July.The pain had
become a dull, constant toothache that was interrupted all too frequently by a stabbing
sensation so sharp it could drop me to my knees. I never knew when the stabbing pain would
hit me – a misstep, a wrong turn, walking to the mailbox, dragging the
trash can around to the front of the house, walking off a green.
I pressed on, gobbling more and more Aleve and learning to pull off a sort of
half-swing that kept almost all my weight on my back foot.No hip turn, no rotation, no
laughable, like a one-footed hop swing, but I actually began hitting my tee
shots straighter than ever, which didn’t escape my notice or that of my regular
you sure you need this operation?" they’d joke.
I did.Just to be on the safe side,
I had opted for a second opinion from a second surgeon.This guy agreed on the original
diagnosis, plus he advised that I needed to get the surgery sooner, not
later.Waiting until the end of the
golf season not advisable.He was
right and I knew it.By then, the
pain was almost paralyzing.I could
no longer play golf; I could barely function.
went under the knife early on the morning of July 31.I will spare you the gruesome details of
how they do a hip transplant, other than to note that it involves a sort of medical
pry bar to pop the ball out of the socket, then a power saw.I think you get the picture.In the place of bone, I now have a
titanium hip joint that promises to set off metal detectors in airports at home
and abroad. Afterward the surgery, they staple you up
and send you off to the recovery room with a morphine drip.
can’t tell you how much I miss golf.This break is different from winter, when you expect to put the clubs
way for a couple of months; for us golfers in the Northeast, that is part of
the natural rhythm of the game.But
not this, not in the middle of the season. Golfus-interruptus.
If all goes well, I should be back on the golf course sometime in October.
now, I can’t even putt on the carpet.What I can do is move from my desk chair, which I had brought down to
the dining room table, to the couch, careful to keep my hips elevated above my
down is hard; so is getting up.Then again, virtually every single ordinary routine of life is suddenly a
project that must be thought out and carefully executed to minimize bending,
pressure on the hip and getting myself into any bad angles.
I got home a few days ago, I was miserable, in the depths of despair about the
prospect of the next few weeks as a near-invalid.But each day, it has become a little
easier, a little better – emphasis on "little."
afternoon, I ventured outside my front door for the first time.I opted for crutches over the walker, if
only to preserve a shred of dignity.I made it up and down the sidewalk a couple of times, breathing in the
fresh air.The things you
take for granted.
am on the mend, physically and mentally.I can’t wait to take a pain-free step and a golf swing. I can’t wait to
get my life back.
Glad you are feeling better, slowly but surely, Joe. I didn稚 know you were undergoing this/underwent it until just now via your blog. Bless your heart. Don稚 hesitate to holler if I can help. I知 a short hop away.
[8/14/2012 5:59:09 AM]
You were hitting it down the middle befor surgery and I知 sure you will come back hitting it down the middle when your able to play again. Have a fast and safe recovery and hope to see you on the tee again soon!
The Muni Golfer
[8/12/2012 7:41:14 PM]
Joe, wishing you a very speedy recovery. Enjoy the golf on TV and find some good new golf books to read.
[8/12/2012 5:53:58 AM]
Glad to see you getting back into it, slowly, but surely. Meantime, enjoy watching the PGA Championship.
One Putt Dan
[8/12/2012 5:29:54 AM]
Time to get Tiger Woods golf on your IPad. Rehab time will fly by. Get well soon!
[8/11/2012 9:59:18 AM]
Did you get the Nicklaus hip? That should help your golf game.
[8/11/2012 9:04:50 AM]
Get well soon Joe. On the bright side, no chores around the house!
That’s the question I’ve gotten in a handful of
emails, ever since it became clear that this year’s venue for the Open, Pine Valley, was going to attract more
than the usual number of golfers trying to make it into the field of 72.
Most years, GAP conducts two or three qualifiers for the Open. This year,
because of the allure and mystic of Pine Valley, GAP increased it to four.
Just over 600 club pros and elite amateurs competed
to try to claim one of the 41 spots up for grabs in the four qualifiers (31
players were exempted into the field).According to GAP’s website,
club pros paid an entry fee of $185, amateurs paid $135, for an average of $160
per player, multiplied by 600 .Ballpark total: $96,000.
On Friday, I put the question to Mark Peterson, executive director of GAP: Is it the financial windfall it appears
to be?Where is the money going?
"There will be a little bit of overflow, but
not at the level people think doing the calculations in their heads," said
Fact is, said Peterson, on virtually all other years, GAP loses money on the Open.Even with this year’s bump from Pine Valley, if you cost-average over
the past five years, GAP still loses
money on the Open.
"Year in and year out, we lose money on this
event," said Peterson."We are going to break even this
year and potentially make a little profit, but not at the level you presume."
The reason, he said, is the cost of putting on
the Open, includingthe expense of spectator control
(1,500 are expected) recruiting and feeding lunch to 150 volunteers who will
work the event, plus coordinating emergency services with the township.
This year, GAP
used some of the revenue from the qualifiers to increase the purse from $35,000
to $50,000.(First place is
$10,000, second is $6,500, third is $4,500).
At most GAP
events, 100 spectators or less is the norm.For the Open, they have sold 1,506 tickets (proceeds to the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust).
"When you conduct an event at Pine Valley, there are logistical
things that don’t exits for a regional golf association," said Peterson."It is exponentially more
GAP does a wonderful job running their events. First class all the way. My understanding is that participation is at a high. kudos to all involved.
Not sure about the GAP Open, but it would be nice to see GAP lower the cost to enter their tournaments. If the role of GAP is to promote the game of golf, they would be well served to lower the cost of entry. $135 + cart/ caddie for a qualifier is steep. And if qualifed, the cost continues on for each day of the event. How many potential players do not participate due to the high cost?? $135 + + + is steep for a young player (or even an employed adult). Multiplied by how many events?? Lowering costs would truly be promoting the game and GAP should take a serious look at the hurdles they create to participation due to elevated cost of entry & playing.
GAP is a first class organization, but their costs just may be restricting access for a good number of players who desire to participate. It should be looked at for future years.
Hardly week passes that a
course in the area doesn’t send me an email about a golfer who made a
hole-in-one at their facility.But
this one, from Donna Horvath at Honeybrook GC,
stood out from most.
All three family members of
the Wren family, from Morgantown, have
aced a hole at Honeybrook.
Mom Mary Wren is the latest.Who’s next, the family dog?
Thanks to Donna for the following note on the Wrens:
One Family; Three Hole-in-ones
Honeybrook, PA –In order
to spend time together, many families share the same hobbies and interests. For
three members of the Wren family from Morgantown it’s more than just a hobby.
Thirteen-year-old RJ, his mother Mary and father Russ are all skilled golfers.
Once or twice a week they golf together to bond and improve their game. And
now, the Wren’s have achieved something never before done at their home course,
Honeybrook Golf Club. Each family member got a
In March of 2010, RJ Wren was the first member of his family to score an ace.
While out golfing with his father Russ and two friends, RJ drove his ball onto
hole 17’s green with a 5-wood and watched it roll right into the hole. He was
only ten years old.
A year later in May 2011, his father Russ followed it up with the whole family
there to witness. On a difficult par 3, with environmental hazards and
sand traps surrounding the green, Russ
hit his 6-iron the perfect distance and received the family’s second
The Wren’s weren’t satisfied yet. On June 15, 2012 it was Mary’s turn. On the
exact same hole her husband completed in a single shot, Mary finished the
family legacy with a 7-iron to receive her first hole-in-one ever (and the
While RJ’s parents have mostly picked up golf for fun, RJ hopes to someday play
college golf. He began golfing when he was 7 and has since won over 30
tournaments. He was two-time Philadelphia Jr. Player of the Year and was GAP
(Golf Association of Philadephia) Boys’ Jr.-Jr.
winner in 2011. This spring RJ qualified for the 2012 Kid’s World Championship
Tournament at Pinehurst, NC. While RJ continues to improve his game and lower
his 3-handicap, his contribution to the Wren’s three hole-in-ones won’t be the
last history he makes.
After that win at the AT&T
National, I’m officially giving up trying to figure out what to make of Tiger Woods and whether he is back or
not, or whether he will break Jack
Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.
I now peek at his career
through my fingers, like it was a scary movie – everything is fine until
suddenly somebody jumps out from behind a door and whacks you with an ax.
I’d much rather spend a time
trying to figure out what the heck suddenly came over Joe Daley winning the Ford
Senior Players Championship. Joe, from Plymouth-Whitemarsh,
has been a bridesmaid but never a bride for his entire pro career.The guy has banged around the various
tours for years, never complaining, just moving on to the next tournament,
wherever he could get in the field.A great guy who never quite got it done – and nobody could ever
understand why, most of all him.
Even yesterday, as he
marched up the 72nd fairway with a stroke lead the victory his to
blow, I squirmed in my chair, fingers crossed that something wouldn’t go
It has happened before, you
know.Remember a few years ago when
Joe got that horrible break at PGA Tour Q-School?He was about to finally earn his card,
when a short putt hit the back of the cup and popped out.Jaws dropped.No card.Never seen anything like it, before or
since.At the time, I remember
thinking, "That could only happen to Joe
Now the guy’s won a major on
the Champions Tour.You won’t find a more deserving guy.
a little video a nice column on Daley by
Larry Dorman of the PGA Tour.
Did he really get pretty
much every sports fan in the world psyched up over the possibility of watching
him work his magic of old at the U.S. Open, only to fizzle on the weekend
without so much as a whimper.I
mean, watching him shoot 75-73 on Saturday and Sunday to become a non-factor,
was embarrassing to watch.Imagine
what it must have been like for him.
In the old days, after
failing to mount any kind of final-round change in the major, Tiger would have
been seething, furious at himself.But yesterday, in his post-round interview, it was as if the fight had
gone out of him.Tiger shrugged off
mediocrity and defeat like he didn’t have a care in the world.
I hate to think this is the
new Tiger.I hate to think he can
live with himself as a guy who slides down the leaderboard on Sunday.I hate to think Tiger no longer has what
COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho -- Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had heard of
the golf course with the floating green – not the island green, like the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, but the floatinggreen.But I had no idea it was in Northern
Idaho, of all places, and I didn’t know it was at an upscale resort on a giant
d’Alene Resort and Hotel.
Now I know, and now I have
played (bogeyed) the famous "floating green" at Coeur
d’Alene Resort Golf Course, where a boat actually ferries you from tee to
green, which on the recent day I was there was playing 175 yards (185 into the
To make the trip even more
worthwhile, they threw in a round at the aforementioned Coeur
d’Alene GC, plus a third round at another
course about 90 minutes north, The Idaho Club Lake & Golf Retreat, a swanky affair with pricey mountaintop homes overlooking a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course.When we weren’t on the golf course, we
were treated to a couple of sumptuous dinners – the kind where the chef
comes out and explains each course – and a deep-tissue massage at the
There were seven of us
writer types on the trip, mostly from the Western U.S. (San Diego, L.A.,
Portland) and western Canada (Calgary), because all three properties we visited
pull most of their business from the West and Canada.One writer in the group was from
Michigan.I was the token East
Coaster.Northern Idaho is hardly a
destination for gamblers or golfers from Philadelphia but they extended the
invitation and, hey, I’d never been to Idaho.
Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel
Back home in the heavily
populated East, we might be inclined to describe the Coeur d’Alene
Casino Resort Hotel as being out in
the middle of nowhere.Technically,
it is out in the middle of nowhere,
just off the cloverleaf near U.S. Route 95, which is not to be confused with
Here, they think of their casino/hotel
as being a beacon of entertainment, gambling and quality golf free from the congestion
and traffic gnarls of, say, Center City Philadelphia. All I know is that your to get here, you
fly into Spokane, WA., then hop a shuttle bus for the 40-minute ride to Worley,
in the Idaho panhandle.
Naturally, I wondered why they
call it Coeur d’Alene Casino Hotel if
it’s in Worley, 27 miles from the town of Coeur
d’Alene?That’s because just
about everything is called Coeur d’Alene,
after the Indian tribe of the same name.The land, the casino hotel and golf
course are owned and operated lock, stock and barrel by the tribe. Not so for the town of Coeur d’Alene nor
the similarly-named resort hotel.
My fellow writers and I were
in new part of the hotel, where suites are equipped with two big-screen TVs and
floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook a sort of botanical garden and preserve.They told me that if I look out the
windows long enough, I might eventually spot a moose or two.I never did, although a moose did wander
by one of our foursomes on the golf course.
I’m not a much of gambler so
the casino downstairs was wasted on me.I walked it several times on the
way to a restaurant and the gift shop, however, and I couldn’t help but notice
it had one of the best ventilation systems I’ve come across in any casino
anywhere.The cigarette smoke
wasn’t that bad.
Circling Raven GC
A two-minute walk from my
hotel room was Coeur d’Alene Casino Hotel’s golf course, Circling Raven.I played it Monday afternoon, half-pooped
from the long flight, and again Tuesday morning, when I was much fresher.
Designed in 2003 by GeneBates, design partner of Fred Couples,Circling Raven is spread out
over a vast expanse of 620 acres.It’s a terrific resort course, with generous, forgiving fairways, big
easy-going greens and vistas of the Idaho countryside and mountains beyond.There’s very little water to worry
about and no beastly forced carries, assuming you play from the proper tees; in
two rounds I lost only one ball, when I plunked a tee shot into an
environmentally protected area.
I’d never been to Idaho
before, but I imaged it would be full of rugged terrain, ski resorts, and craggy
rock formations set against rich blue skies.What I did not envision was a ritzy
high-rise resort and spa on a 25-mile long lake with a marina like you see at
the Jersey Shore.Nor did I expect
to find a $200-plus-a-round golf course that hugs the coastline of the lake,
which is so deep the U.S. Navy supposedly uses it for submarine training and
As pricey as it is, Coeur
d’Alene Resort and Hotel attracts precisely
the kind of affluent clientele you’d expect.The golf course turned out to be not
only much better than I expected, it was as immaculately groomed and conditioned as
any course I can recall playing in years.It’s one of those courses where you are required to take a cart and a
forecaddie. (The forecaddies wear
those white Augusta National-like jump suits and dash around from ball to ball,
with a laser gun.By the time you
get to your ball, your forecaddie has all the pertinent info: yardage, pin placement
and recommendations about where to miss and where not to.
I must also say that in 50
years of playing golf, it was the first time I encountered custom-built carts,
with tilted steering wheels, carpeted floors, tee dispensers, built-in trash
cans and a hood that opened to reveal an ice chest and a place to store sandwiches
It’s a cool hole, obviously,
if slightly gimmicky.If you ask
me, even without the 14th, it’s a memorable round of golf.
The Idaho Club Lake and Golf Retreat
On our last full day, they
piled us back into the shuttle bus for the 90-minute ride northto the town of Sandpoint for a taste of
Idaho that fulfilled every expectation I had.If Coeur d’Alene
Casino and Hotel is a getaway for
casino day trippers, weekenders and "buddy" golf trips, and Coeur d’Alene
Resort and Hotel is a vacation spot
for couples and families with a few more bucks to blow, The Idaho
Club Lake & Golf Retreat is the
private playground for the moneyed class – at least that was the original
It was clear from the moment
the guard waved our bus through the gate, The
Idaho Club was built to be a second club and getaway for people accustomed
to living on Easy Street.Photo gallery.
It’s got a first-class,
rough-hewn Jack Nicklaus Signature
Course that wends its way through the trees and streams, overlooked by
multi-million dollar dotting the hillsides.In the promotional brochure, The Idaho Club notes that the New York Times described Sandpoint as
"Old West Atmosphere in a Sporting Paradise" and Rand McNally named it the "most beautiful small town in America."
All has not gone well for The Idaho Club.Not long after they threw open the
doors, the economy tanked, the housing market bottomed out and the golf boom fizzled.Lawsuits flew, lenders foreclosed, then,
if that wasn’t enough, the magnificent log cabin clubhouse burned to the ground.
Still, The Idaho Club limps on, with a steely resolve and sunny outlook,
if only about 75 members.The people who own it and run it couldn’t be nicer.They are convinced that times will get
better and that The Idaho Club will
live out its potential.I wish them