THE SHACK INDOOR GOLF CLUB at 1717 Chestnut Avenue in Glenview is in the final stages of expanding it’s location to have a new putting green. But then there is the four new simulator bays. Owner Nick Larkin says the best is yet to come. So plan your next group event or drop in to hit balls and grab a bite to eat. TheShackGolfClub.com or call the Shack at (847)-904-2905. The Shack Golf Club where golf season just got longer.
The Gog Blog by Rory Spears, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn-Facebook or Instagram. At Tot Hill Farm inn Asheboro NC.
I’M HOME after 26 days on the road.
This trip seemed to be one of the longest I have endured, from heading down and back to the PGA Merchandise Show.
When the cold weather strikes and it does down south in the winter months, it can cause it’s share of issues.
So do Chiggers, kind of like No-See’ems but more like Fire Ants. They do chew up your feet, and they got mine. So there have been too many days of big sized band-aids, and now after taking other pills and lotions, it’s Chigger Cream. Best found in the pharmacy at Walmart, because Walgreens does not sell the product-trust me. You toss in a few car issues a broken suitcase, 14 degree photo shoots in Pinehurst and it adds up.
THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB SIMULATORS are now open once more. Facility improvements have been completed, so it’s golf time, chow time in Chandlers Chophouse next to the pro shop, that’s stocking up for the 2024 outdoor golf season. SchaumburgGolf.com or call (847)-885-9000 located at 401 N. Roselle Road.
THE REASON for the winter golf trip is to get a grip on what’s new, and what lies in the front of us in the fairway for the year ahead.
SO IN the next few weeks, I will have some additional stories on the topics discussed here. But here is some of what I learned.
The Mike Strantz designed Tot Hill Farm in Asheboro NC., should get added to all golfers bucket list. But even if you don’t get there in 2024-just get there at some point. It is really good golf-challenging, but good. My hunt for learning more about the late Strantz, took me to Bulls Bay, a private club near Charleston SC. Bulls Bay is pretty good, in fact it just keeps getting as the round goes forward. The club’s membership is full, and there is a six-year waiting list to get in. Because the list is so long, the club is not currently adding anyone to the waiting list. As for Strantz courses you can play, if your in South Carolina, North Carolina or Virginia, you have six great options. Play as many of them as you can.
The Mistwood Golf club fitting team-L-R Eric Russell, Scott Hogan and Matt Carter. See them in the Mistwood Golf Dome on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook. Mistwoodgolfdome.com or call (630)-739-7600
The Home of American Golf-or as some say The Cradle of American Golf, continues to get even better.
Tom Doak’s Course #10 is opening April 3rd, you do want to add this one to your hit list. But I predict Course #11 by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw on the site of the old Pit Golf course, will open by late 2025 or early 2026.
Pinehurst just keep finding ways to improve every year. Because at this point, nobody would blame the Dedman family or resort president Tom Pashley if they wanted to take a break from all the projects they have taken on in recent years. But they just keep pushing forward. IF only more golf properties would have the drive that Pinehurst does, to keep getting better.
I will have more on the projects Pinehurst is doing shortly, but whether it’s in the halls of the historic landmark the Carolina Hotel, or the main clubhouse. Pinehurst workers will keep working hard to make sure everything is just perfect by the time the U.S. Open arrives in June.
THE USGA and the WG-HOF are getting their buildings in order across the parking lot from the main Pinehurst clubhouse. Most of both buildings should be operational by June. Patrons at the open will have some interesting tours to take in the USGA museum and the World Golf Hall of Fame. The new USGA-Pinehurst museum will house present history, and what happens going forward. As the USGA New Jersey museum will be home to the past history, of USGA golf.
The Willow Hill Golf Dome 1350 Willow Road in Northbrook-Chicago’s largest dome is open 8a to 3p Monday through Friday for golf. See WillowHilldome.com for more information and the Dickman-Golf lessons and clinics.
NEW COURSES ARE COMING.
Because for years architects only had renovation projects to do. But now new courses are making a comeback, as land becomes available and people with deep pockets are building their own courses.
Plus those people are building clubs to fit their mission or vision in life, which includes giving back to golf.
I did visit Old Barnwell in South Carolina, but sadly there was not time to play OB or see The Tree Farm which is about 30 minutes away. What I did see is Nick Schreiber’s vision of a club (Old Barnwell) that expects members to do more than just show up, golf and enjoy beverages. Because Old Barnwell’s members will need to be active in the goals of the club set by Schreiber. They include junior golf, women’s golf and projects within the sport. Currently Old Barnwell is 18 holes, but it’s far from done. Here’s to Schreiber vision and I hope it and Old Barnwell keeps expanding.
THE NEW COURSES at Cabot Citrus Farms, Pinehurst and Streamsong are good ones. While Cabot has 38 open holes now, there will be 18 more before too long, stay tuned. But the Karoo course and the Par-3 golf course (Wedge) under the lights is really fun. There are other new projects in Florida that have just opened, or are under construction. This includes one course with two time Western Open Champion Nick Price on the design team. I’m looking forward to seeing more of them next year. The Chain at Streamsong currently has only 13 holes open, but there are more Chain holes coming soon, and they look pretty darn good. Coore and Crenshaw with another winner.
FROM THE PGA SHOW and I will have more stories on new products found at the show before long. But just to preview, Chicago based Golftini has expanded from just women’s wear, to some men’s wear. Owner Susan Hess has outdone herself again on the design side, with a push from her three-sons.
There is always a food angle-or energy beverage, from the show and that was present again this year. A new pretzel, and new good tasting sports energy drink that I did find and try. I have been a fan of the First-Tee energy bar sold at courses. But now the same folks have brought a First-Tee jerky to their product line. I did a taste-test and I would say-Yum. Get some where you can.
THE MAJOR PLAYERS in Equipment have released new lines, so if your in the market for new clubs-anything from drivers to putters. Now is the time to be ready for the year ahead-start hitting demo days and test clubs at your favorite golf facilities. It’s always a good time for a club fitting.
PUTTERS-the putter industry is really heating up. Because I can’t remember a time there was so many good options to choose from, if your in the market for a new putter.
Callaway’s new AI line, Titleist Cameron putters, Oak Brook IL. based Bettinardi putters, the new DF3 putters from LAB Golf, the Wingman series by Tour Edge. Plus gaining a following in the putter market is the Makefield putter line based in Philadelphia. Two of the last three winners of the PGA National Club professional championship, have used Makefield putters. So getting the right putter in your bag will now require some research and testing, so get to it and make more putts.
MYRTLE BEACH has been a good golf destination for a long time. But now it’s even getting better with recent renovations. Pawley’s Plantation is good, but Pine Lake Golf and Country Club is a winner. Straight forward golf from this 1927 course, that’s the home and birthplace of Sports illustrated Magazine. The clubhouse is a real classic, a must on anyone’s M-B hit list.
AS I REPORTED YESTERDAY-Innisbrook in Palm Harbor Florida continues to be a property that is in transformation. Projects including Packard’s Steakhouse and the Copperhead Clubhouse is part of the project-but I can’t wait for more news on the announcement of the par-3 course. Chris Walling takes over for retiring Mike Williams as the man in charge, he seems ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work.
SO WHILE there might not be as many professional tournaments or top amateur events in the Chicago area to see this summer, there are plenty of new things in the golf world to keep golfers busy-all through 2024. Now it’s time get ready for our season to begin, and then go play. Because no matter where that might be-there has never been a better time to travel to old or new golf destinations, or head down the street to your local club. RS.