GOLF CHRONICLES
Joe Logan 
 
 
50 years ago today
Friday, November 22, 2013
By Joe Logan

I am one of those people who is old enough to remember where they were and what they were doing 50 years ago today, when President Kennedy was assassinated.   I was 12, in the 7th grade at Bridgers School in Tarboro, N.C.

 

We were in the middle of class when the principal appeared at our classroom door and somberly told us what had happened.  He only offered the barest details because that’s all he knew.  We sat there dumbfounded, silent, scared, the teacher included.  Nobody knew what to think.

 

Moments later the bell for recess rang and we all filed out the door, headed for the playground.  Instead of the usual organized activities, we stood around, talking in small groups, wondering what it all meant for us kids and for the country.  The only other time in my life I have felt remotely like that day was on Sept. 11, 2001.  The look on my daughter’s face when I picked her up from school was a reminder of the uncertainty and fear I felt on Nov. 22, 1963.

 

In those days, there was no CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Facebook, Twitter or internet, for that matter.  The news and every possible spin on it wasn’t in your face every moment of the day.  Times were simpler.  I don’t think I even knew the difference between a Democrat and a Republican, a liberal and a conservative.  I just knew that the president of the United States had been shot and killed and that the entire nation was grieving.

 

I hope we never have to go through anything like that again.


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At MyPhillyGolf, traffic is up
Thursday, November 14, 2013
By Joe Logan

When MyPhillyGolf first launched in July 2009, I used to nervously check the traffic stats every day, sometimes two or three times a day.  Were people finding us?  Were they coming back?  Were we growing?

 

It eventually became clear that we were developing a loyal, if smallish, audience.  We weren’t growing by leaps and bounds, but we were growing steadily and surely.  In 2011, I can remember wondering if we had a chance to reach the benchmark of 500,000 page views, then 750,000 page views.  Last year, in 2012, we hit a new all-time high for us, 1.2 million page views.

 

I went into 2013 with my fingers crossed that we’d reach 1.5 million page views, a respectable increase.  By mid-summer, it became clear we would surpass that, thanks to the bump in traffic around the U.S. Open at Merion.   In the past couple of months, when post-Open traffic didn’t plummet, I began to hold out hope that we’d reach 2 million page views by the end of 2013.

 

We didn’t have to wait that long.  Last night, when I took one of my occasional peeks at the traffic stats, MyPhillyGolf had logged 2,080,116 page views, 541,743 visits and 4.2 million hits – an all-time record for us, with six weeks left before 2013 is in the books.

 

For a regional, niche website, devoted to golf in and around Philadelphia, those are significant numbers.  I’m happy, proud and grateful to the regular readers and advertisers of MyPhillyGolf.

 

Thank you.


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The Muni Golfer[11/15/2013 8:31:19 AM]
People are starting to realize the quality of your site Joe. Congrats and keep up the great work.
steve8x[11/14/2013 7:23:35 PM]
Congratulations! Those are great numbers.

Meet Joe Bausch
Monday, October 28, 2013
By Joe Logan

If you have ever taken a photo tour of one of the 175 golf courses (and counting) in the Bausch Collection, you must have wondered how Joe Bausch manages to play a round of golf and shoot upwards of 140 photos of every hole, from every angle.

 

I’ve got your answer right here, in a video I shot Saturday, when Joe and I played Trump National – Philadelphia, along with Bill and Renee Vostinak, from Allentown, who are fellow course raters for Golfweek.  Bill, an orthopedic surgeon, and Renee, rode in one cart.  Joe and I rode in the other – well, I mostly rode while Joe shot photos from tee to tree.

 

There is a minute or so montage of Joe doing his thing, followed by a four-minute interview at the end.

 

 

 


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Sean O’Hair 
Encouraging early signs for Sean O’Hair
Monday, October 21, 2013
By Joe Logan

It’s good to see Sean O’Hair making some noise again.  In his first two tournaments in the new wraparound 2014 season, O’Hair has made two cuts, finishing T-26th ($35,500) at the Fry.com Open and T-15th ($87,150) this past week at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open.

 

Just a few weeks ago, it wasn’t at all clear that O’Hair, who lives in West Chester with his wife and four kids, was even going to be on the PGA Tour for the 2014 season – not after a dismal ’13 that left him 170th in the FedEx Cup standings, a tumble that potentially could have cost him his PGA Tour card.  O’Hair was so low, so lost, he told the Global Golf Post that he wasn’t sure he wanted to continue playing the Tour.

 

To keep his card, O’Hair, the 2005 Rookie of the Year and a four-time winner on Tour, was forced to play in the four-tournament Web.com Tour playoff series that has replaced Q-School as the ticket onto golf’s big stage.

O’Hair began that quest by asking his father-in-law, Steve Lucas, to return as his caddie.  It was Lucas who was on the bag when O’Hair made it through Q-School in 2004.  He stayed on for O’Hai’s stellar rookie and beyond, before eventually returning home to run his small insurance agency.  Nobody knows O’Hair or his game better than Lucas, who is a member of the Executive Committee of the Golf Association of Philadelphia.

 

At the first tournament of the ’14 season, two weeks ago the Fry.com Open, AP golf writer Doug Ferguson caught up with O’Hair, writing:

 

He lost confidence in his swing. He suffered what he called an identity crisis on the golf course.

''I forgot myself as a player, how I swung and how I played,'' O'Hair said. ''And then taking that on the golf course, I almost forgot how to act and how to think. I really just got to a point where I just kind of was blank out there and lost my fight. Anything you could possibly do wrong, I did wrong this year. I just had to take a step back and had to first ask myself, 'Do I really want to do this anymore?'''

So far, the results are promising with Lucas by O’Hair’s side.   At the Fry.com, he shot 65 on Saturday.  Last week at the Shriners, O’Hair shot 66 on Thursday and 63 on Saturday.  Equally important, there were no blow-up rounds, which had become a problem for the past year.

 

At the Shriners, after his 63, O’Hair was asked about having Lucas back on his bag:

 

Yeah, he just makes me real comfortable out there.  Every round of golf I play away from the PGA Tour, I play with him.  He knows my game better than anybody out there.  It's just comfortable.  He talks to me when I'm playing bad, and he kind of gets me pumped up and ready to do.  When I'm playing really well, he keeps me calm.  That is what you need out here.  I think a good caddie is more of a psychologist than anything.  He has been a great help for me and I wouldn't‑‑ I definitely wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be back on Tour, without him.

 

 

 

 

 


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Is all fair in love and golf?
Monday, October 7, 2013
By Joe Logan

At a golf dinner a few nights ago, I sat next to a guy who runs a daily fee golf course at the Jersey Shore.   We touched on a couple of topics that I thought you might find interesting:

 

            -- When a course has recently aerated its green and/or fairways, what obligation does it have to give golfers a heads-up before a round.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        

            My dinner companion believes that it’s not necessary to post a warning, front and center, on the course’s website, or at the cash register in the pro shop.  But if somebody asks point-blank before plunking down their credit card if the course has recently been punched, he believes honestly is the best policy. 

 

In other words, no need to go out of your way, but don’t lie or mislead.   Same thing applies when a course has, say, lost a couple of greens is or undergoing a significant maintenance project that might affect the enjoyment of a round.

 

Personally, I agree with everything he said, but I think courses ought to go one step further.   On the phone, or in-person for walk-ups, tell them about aeration/maintenance projects, even if they don’t think to ask.  Just a friendly oh-by-the-way mention is plenty.  If a course has a monthly newsletter, let regular customers know that way, too.

 

To me, the logic is obvious and simple:  If a daily fee course fails to give golfers fair warning, they absolutely have it coming if those golfers march into the pro shop after the round and announce, "Don’t expect to see me back here anytime soon.  And I’m telling my friends why."

 

With private clubs, the same rules don’t quite apply.  For one thing, the pro shop is more likely to give members a heads-up in its regular emails.  Members of a club also tend to be more familiar with the rhythms of the annual course maintenance, plus they are less likely to go play elsewhere during an aeration.   

 

Bottom line: There is no such thing as too much information.

 

--  That same course operator was unsettled recently when a golfer, hot under the collar, came into the pro shop after his round and began to complain about the pace of play out on the course.  

 

The course operator apologized and even offered to give the guy a replay for a later date.  But that wasn’t enough for the angry golfer and he began making demands that the course operator found unreasonable.   That’s when the angry golfer began to threaten to go on the internet and trash his course on golf websites.

 

"Can he do that?" the course operator asked.

 

Yes, he can, rightly or wrongly -- at least he can on many websites. 

 

The internet has given us all the ability to weigh in an virtually every topic and every issue in the world, but it has also created something of a lawless, Wild, Wild West in certain corners of cyberspace.  Unfair, unsubstantiated, revenge reviews (and overly gushy ones) by readers have been around for a while on websites that review restaurants, hotels and travel destinations; now they are coming to the comparatively civilized world of golf websites.

 

In the case of MyPhillyGolf, I’ve been lucky. When somebody posts a comment or review, I get an automatic email alert.  I can give it a quick read and if I decide it is distasteful or profoundly unfair, I can nix it.  I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve had to do that since we launched in July 2009.

 

The problem is far worse on websites with millions of daily visitors, where reader reviews/comments are coming in by the hundreds, even thousands.  At dinner that night, a woman at the table knew of an angry traveler who exacted revenge on a hotel by going on a major travel website and accusing them of having bed bugs. 

 

 Lately, I’ve been reading that websites such as Yelp, the giant of the restaurant industry, are stepping up their policing of reader reviews/comments.  Good, they need to.  Personally, when evaluating reviews/comments, my rule of thumb is to toss out the highest highs and the lowest lows.  Go for the averages. 

 

 

             


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George W. Bush (Golf Channel photo) 
Golf as the great humanizer
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
By Joe Logan

I was not a big fan of George W. Bush as president.  I didn’t vote for him, either time.  If you gave me a week, I’d be hard-pressed to come up with a single decision or appointment he ever made that I agreed with.  It’s strong, visceral dislike I’ve had for the man, which I’m not proud of and at times have a hard time rationalizing.

 

And so, I must confess that I was surprised last night when I found myself not loathing the guy – almost warming to him -- as I watched the former president being interviewed on the season finale of In Play with Jimmy Roberts on Golf Channel. Maybe golf truly is the great humanizer.

 

Full In Play feature

Extended interview

 

President Bush was a golfer long before he entered the White House.  He told Jimmy Roberts, in a fairly rare post-presidency interview, that he was introduced to the game as a 12-year-old at Cape Arundel GC, in Kennebunkport, Maine, at his family’s summer home.

 

During the first two years of his presidency, Bush played occasional rounds.  He wasn’t very good and he wasn’t very serious about the game; he played more as a release from the pressures of the office.  He quit playing altogether during the Iraq war.

 

"I didn’t want some mother whose son had died (in Iraq) to see me out playing golf," said Bush.

 

In the four years since he left office, Bush has become a more frequent player – three or four rounds a week  – and a more committed player. 

 

"I used to go out and hit balls," he said.  "Now I’m trying to be a player.  I’m really trying to get good and learn the game.  I didn’t know the game." 

 

He can now break 80 on occasion.  He shot 77 at Augusta National during an event for the First Tee.

 

In response to all yahoos who attack Obama for playing too much golf, Bush defended the president.  "I know what it’s like to be in the bubble," he said.  "I know the pressures of the job.  I think it’s good for the president to be out playing golf."

 

Finally, something George W. Bush said that I agree with.


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Hogan in skin and ink 
The best tattoo you’ll see today
Friday, September 20, 2013
By Joe Logan

So, yesterday I was down at Twisted Dune in Egg Harbor Township to play a round with a dozen golf writers in town, mostly from Canada.

 

I was chatting with one 30ish fellow when I noticed the tattoo on his lower leg: Ben Hogan, in his famous Hy Peskin pose from the 1950 Open at Merion, with the inscription "For Grandad."

 

"Nice," I said, impressed by his commitment to the game.  "Mind if I take a picture?"

 

He said the tattoo was a tribute to his late granddad, who got him hooked on golf when he was in high school.


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