The best I can do for an
update on the reported closing of Island Green CC is that I am still waiting for a an official conformation, denial or
explanation from one of the owners.
One of the owners did call
while I was out, but he offered no details and didn’t leave a contact
number.So far, I still haven’t
reached him, despite two more requests via Island
Green general manager Scott Burek.
which opened in 2001 on site of the old Budd
Co. railcar plant, was reported to be closing in a recent item in
the business section of the Inquirer.The newspaper said golf course would
close to make way for a new distribution facility for Teva Pharmaceuticals USA.Inquirer course review.
Soon after the item
that the closure was news to him and said he was still booking outings for next
year.Burek said the owners –
contractor John Parsons and four
other contractors – had assured him Island
Green had not been sold.
Still, others in the local
golf community also report having heard rumors in recent months that the course
was going to be sold, although those rumors remain sketchy and unconfirmed.
When I called Burek again a
day ago, he reiterated what he said he is being told by the owners: "We are not
said that he has been at Island Green
for three years, since Nov. 2007, and that each year he has heard rumors that
the course has been sold or is going to be sold.So far, he pointed out, none have turned
out to be true.
As for this time around, Burek is once
again shrugging off the rumors as he continues to book outings for next year.
"There are no conversations
(about selling or closing) that I am aware of," said Burek."But they (owners) don’t need to involve
me in that stuff, anyway.I don’t
know what is going on or even if it is for sale.All I know is what they tell me, which
is that we are not sold."
ask a real tough ? when is the driving range going to open
The Muni Golfer
[11/16/2010 7:05:34 AM]
Say it isnít so! Letís hope it remains just that...rumor!
[11/11/2010 6:26:54 AM]
I hope the rumors are untrue. Island Green is a nice course that is close by. Being in the city it seems that you have to drive forever to find good courses to play. Not to mention they have a nice clubhouse with an outstanding kitchen and bar. If it does close at least some well paying jobs would be created.
For anyone who clicks on the
icon on the home page in search of discounted tee times, you might have noticed
a change recently.
As of Nov. 1, MyPhillyGolf went from being an "area specific" search engine for
discounted tee times – i.e. discounts at participating Philadelphia-area
courses -- to a "national" booking
If you take golf trips or
simply take your clubs along when you travel, now you can book discounted tees
through MyPhillyGolf and Golfnow.com in such golf
destinations as Myrtle Beach, S.C.,
Pinehurst, N.C., Scottsdale, Ariz., Orlando, Fla., and Palm Springs, Calif.
linked up with Golfnow.,com,
which is owned by the Golf Channel,
a year ago, just as it was branching out into the Philadelphia market.The list of participating courses it
offers in the region has gradually begun to expand.Now, as we go "national," the destinations and choices have become mind-boggling.
I’m getting a ton of emails
about Island Green CC, or more
specifically, the item in
the Inquirer last Friday that
reported that the course is closing.
Here’s what I know:
A week ago, a story in the
business section of the Inquirer
Pharmaceuticals USA plans to build a new distribution facility in the Bustleton neighborhood, potentially employing 500 people.
The bad news for golfers is
that the item said the new distribution center will go on the 136 acre site
once occupied by the Budd Co.
railcar division, which since 2001 has been the site of a popular daily fee
course, Island Green CC.Inquirer review. Bausch
Collection photo gallery.
When I called Island Green CC general manager Scott Burek
to get details about the closure, he told me that it was news to him.He said he hadn’t talked to anybody from
the Inquirer, nor had he heard
anything from his bosses -- i.e. the owners -- that any sale was a done deal or
that that the course was closing.In fact, Burek
said, he was still booking outings for next season.
When I pressed Burek for
details or some kind of explanation of what is going on, he said he would have
one of the owners get back to me.That was three days ago.Since then, Burek and I have
been trading emails and phone messages about who will talk to me and when.
Truth is, I don’t know what
is going on.I don’t know if the Inquirer story is premature or flat out
wrong. Clearly, some kind of discussions or negotiations are going on behind
the scenes.I do know that in Burek’s last
email to me this afternoon, he said their position is that Island Green has not been sold.
swears that the Island Green owners
will fill me in as soon as possible.When I find out, I will pass it along.
Working with right hand man Jim Wagner, Hanse seems to get better with each new project.Meanwhile, on the business side, Hanse has kept his firm small; at a
time when most big-name architects are laying off staff or shuttering their
business altogether, Hanse is busy.
Along with Tom
Doak and the design team of Ben
Crenshaw and Bill Coore, Hanse is the object of respect
bordering on hero worship on the website GolfClubAtlas.com,
frequented by architecture enthusiasts. GCA Hanse
The reason is that Hanse is seen as not only enormously talented but as a purist and
minimalist when it comes to design.Indeed, he is all three.He also
happens to be one of the nicest guys in golf.
Hanse seems to raise the bar with
each new course.Three weeks ago, I
and several other course raters for Golfweek
were invited to play Boston Golf Club,
a Hanse and Wagner project that opened in 2005.
I expected it to be good; it is after all
ranked 36th on Golfweek’s
list of Best
Modern Courses.But I had no
idea.I was blown away.I’d put Boston Golf Club in my list of Top
10 courses I’ve ever played.
"This is what Gil can do when he gets a good piece of land," said another rater.
True, and with each new success, Hanse is going to get better and better
property and projects.
Don’t get me wrong, I have
the utmost respect for Lee Westwood.He has a beautiful, fluid golf
swing.He got to the top of golf a
few years ago, fell to nothing, then climbed out of the career abyss against
all odds.Who knows, maybe his best
golf is still ahead of him.
But for the life of me, I
cannot understand how a golfer who has ever won a single major championship
– hello, it’s the ultimate measure
of champions – can rise to the position of No. 1 in the world, unseating Tiger Woods, who,
tawdry scandal or not, has won 14 majors and more money than anybody in the
history of the game.
This, of course, is not Westwood’s fault.He is not in charge of the rankings and
he is suitably humble.
But something ain’t right.Is
the World Golf Ranking golf’s
equivalent of college football’s BCS?
I read somewhere that if rankings were done only on this yearís stats, Tiger would not be in the Top 50 in the world.
[10/31/2010 5:56:15 PM]
If the OWGR were to switch to a one year system as many have suggested,then Kaymer has more points won in 2010 than Westwood.Take a look at this:
Jack Connelly, GAPís Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
Congratulations to Huntingdon Valley CC head pro Jack Connelly and author James W. Finegan, two of the bright
lights and true characters on the local golf scene, both of whom have been honored by
Association of Philadelphia.
80,best known for his 1997 tome A Centennial Tribute to Golf in Philadelphia,
has been given GAP’s Distinguished Service Award.
Both men took a bow before a
packed room Wednesday night at GAP’s
Annual Meeting at Meadowlands CC.
I first met Jim Finegan in the fall of 1996, not
long after I began covering golf for the Philadelphia
Inquirer, when we played in the same golf outing and ended up seated next
to each other that night at the dinner. I had heard of Jim,
who had retired after a career in advertising, but I didn’t know much about
him, other than he had turned his attention to writing about golf and golf
As I learned that night, Jim is one of the most amazing
conversationalists you’ll ever meet.He is full of tales and he enjoys nothing more than regaling an audience
of one or a full banquet hall, with story after story, in his inimitable style.
It was that same night that Jim told me about a book he had spent
the previous five years researching and writing -- the aforementioned history
of the first 100 years of golf in Philadelphia.Five years?I get bored working on a story that takes more than a week.I wondered how anybody could spend
five years working on a book?
When A Centennial Tribute to Golf in Philadelphia was published the next
year, it was a 500-page beast that I could barely lift.The more I read and the deeper I dug
into the book, the more I became amazed that Finegan was able to produce it in only five years.
Ever since then, A Centennial Tribute has remained
perhaps the single most invaluable resource I’ve had writing about golf in
Philadelphia.It is never far from
my reach and only rarely does it fail to include a chapter or a passage telling
me exactly what I need to know.On
those few occasions when it doesn’t, I pick up the phone and call Jim, whereupon he proceeds to recall in
detail precisely what I’m looking for.
While Jim regards A Centennial
Tribute as his most important book, it is hardly his only one.He wrote a history of Pine ValleyGC, where he is a longtime member, he wrote separate
books on golf in Scotland and Ireland, where he has spent much time.And then there is his most recent
effort, a coffee table behemoth called Where
Golf is Great: The Finest Courses of Scotland and Ireland.
If there is anything more
fun than listening to Jim’s stories
over lunch, it is playinga round
of golf with him.He moves
slower these days, thanks to chronic pain in his legs, but when he steps up to
the ball it is not hard to appreciate that you are watching a four-time club
champion at Philadelphia CC.
a quick, whippy swing, and he complains constantly that he can’t hit the ball
out of his shadow any more, but he hits it dead straight again and again.On the green, Jim’s "circle of friendship" is as large as his circle of friends
in life, which is to say he will rake in a 4- or 5-footer rather than have to
bend over to pick it up out of the cup.
is a treasure.
As for Jack Connelly, all you need to know is that the man has survived 37
years at one country club – 35 as head pro.
For anybody who knows
anything about the life of a club pro – they are subject to being fired
on a whim -- it speaks volumes about Jack’s
work ethic, his smarts, above all, his masterful skills as a politician.What makes Jack’s longevity at Huntingdon
Valley all the more impressive is that the man is, at heart, a full-fledged
smart-aleck and wisenheimer.
Two stories, both of which
he told Wednesday night:
In 1975, when Jack had been at Huntingdon Valley two years as an assistant, the club informed him
that they were going make a change at the head pro job.Would he be interested in applying?
Jack thought about it and
said, "No, I don’t think I would."After two years, he told the club, he had either proved himself or he
hadn’t.They gave him the job.
Not long into his tenure as
head pro, Jack looked out on the
golf course and spotted a fivesome making its way up the fairway.Among Huntingdon Valley’s most rigid, unbreakable rules, championed by the
club’s Golf Chairman, O. Gordon Brewer,was "No Fivesomes,"
Immediately, Jack hopped in a golf cart and went off
in pursuit of the offending fivesome.When he pulled up to the group, who should among the fivesome but Golf
Chairman O. Gordon Brewer himself.
Undeterred, Jack pulled out a pad and pencil, and
said to Brewer and the others, "Can
you gentlemen give me your names so I can report them to my Golf Chairman."
For the rest of that day and
the next, Jack sat in his office
waiting to be fired.He never was.To this day, Brewer, who was sitting front and center Wednesday night, remains
one of his best friends.
Over the years, Jack got involved in the politics and
administration of golf.He started
small, after he was unhappy with the way the Philadelphia
PGA Section was running its
tournaments and he began to complain.To shut him, the Section put
him on the tournament committee.By 1983, Jack was the
president of the Section.
That led to his interest in
national office with the PGA of America, the 28,000-strong association of club pros.Jack climbed
through those ranks as well, culminating with a two-year term as president, beginning
At the end of this year, Jack will retire as head pro at Huntingdon Valley, transitioning into a
new role at the club described as "ambassador.""Basically, I’ll be running the outings," he says, laughing,
like he’ll be stealing money.
be blunt.If you don’t want an
honest answer, don’t ask him the question. But he is also a friendly, funny
guy, a fact I had forgotten until Wednesday night, when he gave an acceptance
speech that ran the gamut from tears to giggles.
and Jack Connelly are both special
people.Congrats to both of them.
I got one of those calls
yesterday that nobody wants to get – a friend had died.
wasn’t just my friend, he was a friend to about a gazillion people and a friend
to golf.A versatile long time
sports and golf writer for the Chicago
Tribune, he retired a couple of years ago.(Tribune obituary). Reid was not only
passionate about the game, he was quite the stick himself, sporting a
How unfair that Reid, a non-smoker, was taken by lung
I got to know Reid from the tournament circuit.He’d show up at the odd major, or any
tournament anywhere near Chicago.Reid wasn’t assigned to cover the Masters, but every year he and a Chicago
pal would come down for a couple of days to attend the annual awards banquet
for the Golf Writers Association of
America and hang around Augusta
National for a couple of days.During those trips, he’d dive on a couch in the house I shared with
three other writers for the week.
I don’t think I ever saw Reid frown.He was one of those guys who was always smiling when he
walked into a room. By the time he
left, everybody else was smiling, too.