BLACKBERRY OAKS LEADS THE OPENING DAY CHARGE TO 2024

  THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB now has it’s three simulators open. So book a bay today and come play the indoor version of the Schaumburg Golf Club or plenty of Top 100 courses from across the country. The pro shop is adding more inventory for the outdoor season ahead every day. So visit SchaumburgGolf.com or (847)-885-9000.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn/Instagram/FBook.

2023 Callaway Golf professional of the year Chad Johansen of Blackberry Oaks in Bristol IL.

GOLF SEASON 2024

SO IS IT HERE… with the early February heat wave, golf courses are opening.

Because for some golf courses-today will be opening day.

Blackberry Oaks in Bristol lead by 2023 Callaway Golf Staffer of the Year Chad Johansen, is open today.

But Blackberry Oaks is not alone in opening. Here is what I have on where you can play today.

Chalet Hills in Cary. Blackstone in Marengo. Buffalo Grove in Buffalo Grove.

Orchard Valley in Aurora.

But then there is the Jemsek Golf Courses. So at Cog Hill courses 1 & 3 are open. Pine Meadow in Mundelein is open. St. Andrews in West Chicago is open. Courses managed by Golf Visions are likely to open. Visit the websites of GV courses.

INSIDE it’s time to hit the WillowHillDome.com Northbrook. The Mistwood Golf Dome on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook, Mistwoodgolfdome.com Callaway Golf Day tomorrow from 2-8p. The Shack Golf Club in Glenview. Summer season is coming-get you game together and get ready to play.

THE GOLF SCENE IS BACK WITH WINTER SHOW II

  THE SHACK GOLF CLUB at 1717 Chestnut Avenue in Glenview has now completed renovations. 4 simulators is now 7, and the putting green count has gone from zero to 1. So sign up for a simulator bay today and visit Shackindoorgolfclub.com (847)-924-2905.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn-Instagram or FB.

Steve Kashul is the host of the award winning golf TV program-The Golf Scene.

THE GOLF SCENE is back with the Winter edition Show II.

So do you remember when there was no golf in Chicago during the winter months.

But that changed when Golfersongolf.com went year round, the first year round golf news source in Chicago.

But from there things continued to evolve with the launching of the Winter edition of The Golf Scene-with Steve Kashul.

Because of the success of that program, and the expansion of golf domes and simulator places around town. The Golf Scene has found plenty of content to bring yet another winter show to NBC Sports Chicago.

Schaumburg Golf Club has three simulators now open. 401 North Roselle Road, book a bay today at (847)-885-9000 or visit SchaumburgGolf.com.

So remaining show dates for this month for The Golf Scene II are: Tuesday Feb. 20 at 6:30 Pm. Thursday Feb. 22 at 10:30 Pm. Saturday Feb. 24 at Noon on NBC Sports Chicago+ Wednesday Feb. 28 at 7p on NBC Sports Chicago+ and Thursday Feb. 29 at 4:30 Pm. So see local listings for programming into March.

Segments include: The new Mokena Golf Facility. The simulators at Fox Run GC-in Elk Grove. Winter golf options in Schaumburg including Topgolf, and the PGA Tour Store. The expansion at The Shack Golf Club in Glenview. Game of Irons in Oakbrook.

But more on the Golf Scene is that, The Golf Scene won best Golf TV Show for 2023 at the national ING industry awards presented at the 2024 PGA Merchandise Show last month in Orlando.

THE GOG BLOG SPEAKS OUT-NEW COURSES & RED IS DEAD

  THE MISTWOOD GOLF DOME on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook is home to Callaway Day this Thursday from 2-8 Pm, register to try out the Callaway Smoke-Line. (R) Mistwood Director of Golf Andy Mickelson recently did a video of himself going through a fitting. So if you have ever wondered what it’s like and the questions you should be asking, see the video online or at Mistwoodgolfdome.com. PLUS RIGHT now Andy has a Callaway Golf Ball Special for you-Buy 3 Dozen personalized Callaway Chrome Golf balls, and the get the fourth dozen and personalization for free. The-in the Shell Bar is open, so is McWethy’s Sports Bar, Toptracer golf is ready to test you. Bring your clubs and your appetite. Mistwood Golf Dome-call the dome at (630)-739-7600 Book your bay today.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn and Instagram.

RORY SPEARS at Cabot Citrus Farms in Brooksville Florida. One of the new golf properties in America. Photo by John Billiter-Heritage Oaks-IPGA

THE SOCIAL MEDIA discussion last night, was on all the course closings, and nobody building new courses to replace them.

Well that’s not exactly right-because in 2024 the most new courses opening in the course of a year, will be higher this year. Than in the last 15 years or so.

Closing courses-well I haven’t heard of any, but I am sure there are some. Because every year a new housing developer gobbles up needed land for more houses. Unfortunately that includes golf courses.

WILMETTE IL. based Links Capital Partners-Principal Chris Charnas (who has brokered the sales of numerous courses) told me some years back (even before Covid), that most courses close because the owners can’t keep them going. Older owners of public courses sell when they are ready to retire, and they’re kids don’t want to take over the family golf business. NOT BECAUSE people aren’t playing golf.

The new simulators are open at The Shack Golf Club in Glenview 1717 Chestnut Ave. There was 4, now there are seven simulators and a putting green. (847)-924-2905 TheShackGolfClub.com

CHRIS KING of Kingfish-PR in the golf hotbed Myrtle Beach South Carolina will tell you the same thing. King told me that at one time Myrtle Beach had close to 120 golf courses. But now that number is in the mid-90’s. So that’s not because golfers aren’t trekking down to the Low Country of the Grand Strand.

In fact they are coming down in record numbers (over 3,200 golfers from every state in the union-are expected to play the 2024 Myrtle Beach World Amateur in August). The Myrtle Beach area and the surrounding county, is one of the fastest growing area’s in America. Golf is one of those reasons.

King explained that again developers bought up older public courses from owners, that didn’t have family in place to take over. Plus housing developers can offer a larger buyout, than from people who just want to buy a golf course.

the Dome is open at Willow Hill-but summer is coming with outdoor play not far away. WillowHillDome.com WillowHillGolfCourse.com (847)-480-7888.

COSTS are a reason some courses close. IF YOUR A GOLFER who is going to complain that your green fee went up a buck or two this year. Please save it. In the last week, two area Director of Golf professionals hit me with the reality of the amount of money it takes to keep a golf course in great playing shape.

THINK ABOUT THIS…Fairway mowers that were just over $40K about 4 years ago, now run in the Mid-$70’s. Plus the gas to run them is way up from four years ago. Try replacing your sand, fertilizer, and things that get sprayed over the course. Because many of those products have seen jumps of up to 40%. Some private clubs can write the check when the superintendent comes calling, some public muni’s can’t. So when the guy or gal at the counter of your favorite course says the rates have gone up $1 or $2 bucks this year. Consider it a deal and go play.

Schaumburg Golf Club has reopened from facility improvements, so all three simulators are running. So bring your game over 401 North Roselle Road in Schaumburg. You can play the Schaumburg Golf Club on the simulators, get a head start on the outdoor 2024 golf season today. Before-during or after golf, Chandlers Chophouse right upstairs is open. (847)-885-9000 or visit SchaumburgGolf.com.

HOWEVER THE GOOD NEWS IS-younger people with deep pockets who enjoy golf are finding land and building their own golf courses. Because they don’t want to sit on a waiting list for 3 or 4 years to get into a club they like. Better news is the quality of land that people are finding to build golf courses. They have water views, mountain views, elevation change. Add some that still have plenty of trees to give a course that old parkland style look.

IN THE CASE OF THE NEW CABOT CITRUS FARMS in Brooksville Florida, the first project in America by Ben Cowan-Dewar and the Cabot Group.

This property in my eyes will be nothing but a home run in the eyes of golfers. But to start with, I took along three Illinois PGA professionals to media preview day, to give me their opinion of this new property, from the professionals point of view. Yes I consider CCF new, even though it’s built on the site of the old Worldwoods golf courses.

(L-R) John Billiter head professional Heritage Oaks GC, Greg Baron Director of Golf Heritage Oaks GC, Jim Billiter Director of Golf The Ivanhoe Club.

GREG BARON-Director of Golf, Heritage Oaks GC. Northbrook.

“I’m reflecting on three decades of cherished golfing memories, from my inaugural round at Worldwoods in 1994, to witnessing a preview of the breathtaking transformation to Cabot Citrus Farms. The remarkable effort to reimagine and enhance the property is a testament to the visionary leadership of Ben Cowan-Dewar and his team of talented architects. Their dedication has elevated an already remarkable property into something truly exceptional.”

JOHN BILLITER-head golf professional, Heritage Oaks GC.-Northbrook. “The Layout of the Karoo was fun. The landscape was visually intimidating in some places, but in reality the fairways were generous and green to tee was very playable. Green complexes are severe and challenging, but in a good way. They keep you engaged and creates variety if your going to play the golf course a few times.”

John Billiter sticks one close on a back-nine hole of the Karoo course at CCF.

“The Squeeze was interesting. I enjoyed the rolling terrain, perfect place to get a quick 9 in before dark.” I’m really impressed with the social area between the putting green and the Wedge. Very cool spot to hang out in-between rounds or to wrap up your day. Great view from the top of the hill over the courses and range.”

“The Wedge was great under the lights. I love the greens with the dramatic slopes and bowls, provides opportunity for an ace or a challenging up and down. Great spot for a friendly wager with your foursome either way. Presentation of the facility overall was off to a good start, with plenty of work to continue. The rental properties are in an amazing location, and I appreciated the attention to detail throughout the day.”

Ivanhoe Club Director of Golf Jim Billiter hits one down the middle on the Karoo Course at CCF.

JIM BILLITER-Director of Golf-The Ivanhoe Club.

“Cabot Citrus Farms spared no expense when it comes to staffing levels and training. All day it seemed like someone was around every corner waiting to assist you and help with anything you might need.”

“The golf course was great, it gave me a Sand Valley feel. It seemed playable for all skill levels and really gave you some interesting visuals off the tee. Some holes looked narrow off the tee box and then ended up having a massive fairway. So the bunkering and the hills did a great job messing with the minds of the golfer.”

“I think it will become one of the best guy’s or gals destinations in the country. The cabins are in the perfect spot, and the Squeeze course and Par 3 course are exactly what is needed to attract trips of 8-16 golfers, and will keep things going until after dark. So far the Cabot Group seems to have thought of everything. So it will be exciting to see how big Cabot Citrus Farms will get, and much more will get added to the property.”

CABOT CITRUS FARMS brings 4 new courses to golf in 2024, 1 to 2 more likely down the road. Pinehurst Resort opens the new Course #10 on April 3rd. The Streamsong Resort in Florida is opening “The Chain” is stages this year. The Coore and Crenshaw Course is really fun with currently 13 holes, and few more will open shortly.

2024 should be a fun year for golf, with several new locations to tee up the golf ball.

RED IS DEAD… Maybe Yellow is the new Sunday color. The new TW logo is really not getting much support. I hope Tiger feels better, but it’s now evident it’s time for the ceremonial golfer to retire. Unless he starts taking a cart on the over 50 circuit. But I think that since Sunday is payday-green might be the new color for final round play on the various tours. RS

THE GOG BLOG’S SUNDAY MORNING SHORT GAME-NEWS COLUMN

    THE MISTWOOD GOLF DOME on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook is open daily until 10 pm. So right now you can enjoy the new in the shell bar-where Oliva is ready to greet you. But do you need new clubs, almost all golfers could use upgrades in some part of their golf bag. Eric-Scott and Matt comprise the club fitting team. So come check out Mistwood Golf Dome-Chicago’s premier golf dome. Because now you can hit in the shell or in the simulators. McWethy’s Sports Bar is open and Toptracer golf is always an option. So book your bay online at Mistwoodgolfdome.com or call the dome at (630)-739-7600.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn/Instagram-FBook.

  THE SHACK IS BACK AND HAS EXPANDED. The Shack Golf Club Owner Nick Larkin has expanded the Shack Golf Club from 4 simulators, to 7 simulators and a putting green. So come try out the new simulators, and the simulator with theatre style seating for your entire group to enjoy. The golf season has got longer at The Shack located at 1717 Chestnut Ave. in Glenview. Call today and book a simulator at (847)-904-2905.

  WILLOW HILL GOLF 1350 Willow Road in Northbrook. The Dome is open for golf from 8a to 3p weekdays Monday to Friday. But before long the summer season will be here. So call Kari at (847)-480-7888 or visit WillowHillGolfCourse.com Outdoor golf is coming.

  THERE IS STILL TIME to visit the Schaumburg Golf Club at 401 North Roselle Road. The three simulators are open and so is Chandlers Chophouse and the clubs award winning pro shop, that’s quickly getting stocked up for the outdoor season ahead. The SGC simulators are one of the few in the area, that lets you play the golf course right outside the front door, indoors during the winter months. So if your ready for a fun day of golf-great food and beverage, and you need some golf balls or other products for that spring golf trip. Stop at Schaumburg Golf Club, SchaumburgGolf.com (847)-885-9000.

CALLAWAY GOLF HEADS INTO THE 2024 GOLF SEASON-SMOKING.

Because during the next couple of weeks-you have a great chance to see what’s new from Callaway Golf.

IT’S STARTS THIS WEEK in the Mistwood Golf Dome on Thursday afternoon Feb. 22, from 2-8 Pm. Callaway Golf fitting day-do register at Mistwoodgolfdome.com or call (630)-739-7600 No charge for the fitting.

GLORY’S LAST SHOT-Play Pinehurst #2 in the Mistwood Golf Dome. Sign up now for Saturday night March 9th. So visit Mistwoodgolfdome.com for details.

Chad Johansen the Callaway staffer of the year for 2023. Johansen was named by the Illinois PGA-the Youth Development Award Winner for 2023.

NEED MORE OPTIONS- Monday Night Feb. 26-Callaway Staff  Professional of the Year-Chad Johansen (Mr. Blackberry Oaks & the Oaks Grille) has you covered for the Callaway Golf launch party starting at 4p to 9p at the CJGA indoor golf facility.

But register at CJGAindoorgolf.com. Because everyone that attends gets a free Callaway Golf Gift.

Chad Johansen is ready to roll for the 2024 golf season, right now it’s starting indoors.

So get to the CJGA indoor golf facility and sign up for lessons, or the indoor simulator leagues.

If you have kids-get them enrolled for the summer golf program, “where kids rule.” Blackberryoaks.com.

CALLAWAY GOLF FITTING EVENT 4-8 Pm, on Wens. Feb. 28th at the Schaumburg Golf at 401 North Roselle Road. But you must register. Schaumburggolf.com for registration details, or call the pro shop at (847)-885-9000 for information on how to get signed up.

COG HILL GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB is selling Callaway Chrome Soft golf balls at a reduced rate. Because if you buy three dozen balls-you get a fourth dozen for free. So hit the pro shop over at Cog Hill, and get stocked up for the 2024 golf season. This special runs from Feb. 15th to while supplies last, orders will get shipped after March 15th. CogHillGolf.com.

CALLAWAY GOLF has introduced a nee golf ball, Callaway Splatter 360. A long distance ball with a soft feel. But better news, it’s in everyone’s price range at $24.99 a dozen. Callawaygolf.com.

The Chicago Golf Show is back, this coming week at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

THE CHICAGO GOLF SHOW IS BACK this week.

Feb. 23-24-25. and yes the longest putt contest is back for another year.

There will be plenty of prizes to win, and well known personalities on the main stage.

Which include former Chicago Bears players, and former Illini and NBA stars. Deerfield native Vince India currently on the Korn Ferry Tour, will be on stage on Sunday the 25th. So learn more at ChicagoGolfShow.com.

PINE MEADOW GOLF CLUB in Mundelein is open, hours do vary depending on the weather. But in other PM-News the PGA Jr. League positions are almost sold out. So get all the details at Pinemeadowgc.com or call (847)-566-GOLF (4653). Dennis Johnsen Pine Meadow GM-has announced a Super Senior ladies event for late August (27-28), more details will coming next month. Johnsen who is retiring at years end, is the winner of the 2023 Illinois PGA Patriot Award. Johnsen has worked hard with military veterans and Project PGA-Hope.

LEN ZIEHM of the Daily Herald and Golfers on Golf Radio, has some new stories up at LenZiehmongolf.com including his recap of the 2024 PGA Merchandise Show.

The 41st World Amateur is coming up August 26-30th. But registration is now underway.

THE WORLD AMATEUR is back for 2024.

So the 41st annual World Amateur is back in Myrtle Beach South Carolina.

The 72-hole, net stroke play tournament is August 26th-through August 30th.

More than 3,200 players will participate in this years tournament. But if you register by March 21st, the fee is $629.00 a $100 dollar savings over the regular rate.

But there is more for the early-bird entree’s. With 50+ random prizes drawn, with a total value of over $10,000. Prizes do include TaylorMade Clubs and Amazon gift cards. So among the changes this year include tee times, instead of shotgun starts. Courses returning the tournament this year, include Pawley’s Plantation and the three courses at Legends. They are the Heathland, Moorland and Parkland.

The World Am is played on over 50 golf courses. Golfers must be 17 years of age or older with a verifiable USGA handicap. But there are plenty of chances to be a champion. The tournament is divided into nine divisions. There are six divisions for men, and three for women.

Once the four rounds of tournament play are over, flight winners advance to the World Championship playoff. Where an 18-hole shootout will crown the tournaments winner.

But some say the fun really starts after golf at the World’s Largest 19th hole. The 19th hole takes over 120,000 square feet of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. All players receive a gift bag that includes, a polo shirt, a pullover, golf towel, logo’d hat and a PGA Tour Superstore Gift Card. With a total value of $250.00 dollars.

THE GOG BLOG SPEAKS OUT-RETURNS TOMORROW. RS

PINE LAKES OF MYRTLE BEACH-THE GRANDDADDY

  IT’S TIME TO HEAD INSIDE TO the Simulators at the Schaumburg Golf Club located at 401 North Roselle Road. The outdoor version of the Todd Quitno renovation of SGC is available indoors on the simulators. Chandlers Chophouse is back open and the pro shop is filling with the new products for the 2024 golf season. So book a simulator bay today by calling the pro shop at (847)-885-9000 or online at SchaumburgGolf.com.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect on LinkedIn/Instagram.

Welcome to Pine Lakes Country Club-The Granddaddy of Myrtle Beach SC.

THE GRANDDADDY is open for play.

Myrtle Beach South Carolina is one of the great golf destinations inn the world.

But while these days there are as many courses as there once was, there are still plenty of very good options.

ONE OF THEM is the historic Pine Lakes Country Club. But yes this country club is open to the public, and after a recent renovation, the club and the clubhouse might be just better than ever.

Because the professional staff is on a mission to increase the level of service to all who come and play. Kurtis Kuhn is the new GM-Head Golf Professional and Zach Medford is the new second assistant golf professional. Both have transferred over from Pawley’s Plantation that’s a few miles down the road.

Pine Lakes has a historic clubhouse that not only serves golfers, but was the birthplace of Sports Illustrated Magazine.

Pine Lakes is part of the Founders Group International (FGI), that manages close to 20 golf courses.

FGI has stepped up and hit repeated home runs on renovation to several of it’s properties.

So as a result FGI courses are in demand from both local golfers, and ones traveling in from other states on golf trips.

Many of the FGI courses will be part of the famed World’s Largest Golf Amateur Championship, that will hit the tee’s boxes in late August. But in the meantime-clubs like Pine Lakes, Grande Dunes, Pawley’s Plantation and TPC Myrtle Beach continue to fill up the tee sheet from those ready to hit the links in the Grande Strand of golf.

THE SHACK IS BACK now with 7 simulator bays (4-new ones) and a new putting green. The food and beverage always taste great while you are playing. So plenty of more space inside the expanded shack golf club. Yes golf season just got longer. Come play this week. 1717 Chestnut Ave. in Glenview (847)-904-2905.

PINE LAKES is coming up on it’s centennial season in 2027. Kuhn says the planning for 2027 will probably start this year before long.

The course architect Robert White, went on to be the first president of the PGA of America.

But an ever bigger historical note, is that Pine Lakes is the birth place of the famed Sports Illustrated Magazine. A copy of the first issue of SI, is under glass and hanging on the wall.

Where the luncheon was held that started it all. Yes you can go eat in that room, if you choose to do so.

the par-4 14th hole is handicap #2 and plays 437 yards from the back tees.

Pine Lakes isn’t the longest course at 6,675 from the back tees.

But it only plays to a par of 70, since the course only has two par-5’s.

The last par-5 the golfers see all day, is the par-5 tenth hole, that at 554 yards is the longest hole of the day.

So the strength of the course is found in it’s par-4’s, some of which are quite demanding. Handicap hole #1, is the third hole, it plays 463 yards from the back tees. But the front tees are still demanding for less skilled players at 370 yards.

The finishing stretch gives golfers six par-4’s in the final seven holes, with one par-3 the sixteenth hole at only 180 yards all the way back.

Chicago’s largest dome-The Willow Hill Dome at 1350 Willow Road in Northbrook. Golf hours are M-F 8a to 3p, before youth sports takes over. Sign up is starting for the summer golf leagues. WillowHillDome.com.

SO IF YOUR thinking about a wedding in the Myrtle Beach area.

Pine Lakes is one the top places for weddings and receptions.

Because the outdoor area behind the clubhouse is the perfect setting. The back porch of the clubhouse even has light options.

Which include hanging chandeliers, or glass cases with long white candles that shine through the night as well.

When you arrive on warmer days, the golf staff might be dressed in knickers. That reminds golfers that you have arrived at “The granddaddy.” Put this classic golf course on your Myrtle Beach hit list. The club is less than 1 mile from the Atlantic Ocean.

See PineLakes.com or call the club at (843)-315-7700. Really good golf, really great all-around historic atmosphere.

USGA AWARDS PINEHURST’S BOB FARREN GREEN SECTION HONOR

  THE WILLOW HILL GOLF DOME is the largest dome in the Chicago area, and located at 1350 Willow Road in Northbrook. Lessons are available through Bob and Kim Dickman. Sign up for summer leagues is getting ready to start. WillowHilldome.com.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter (X) at @GogBlogGuy or connect at-LinkedIn/Instagram.

Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Bob Farren has been named a recipient of the USGA’s Green section Award for excellence in sustainable golf course maintenance practices. Photo courtesy of Pinehurst Resort.

THE UNITED STATES GOLF ASSOCIATION (USGA) will honor Pinehurst Resort’s Director of Grounds Bob Farren, with an award during it’s annual meetings next month.

Farren a national leader in golf course management, has been with the Pinehurst Resort for over 40 years. But Farren’s career long tenure in the industry runs nearly 45 years.

“When I first joined Pinehurst, the resort had six golf courses,” said Farren. “But number four was on the drawing board, and getting ready for renovation, under architect Rees Jones. Shortly there-after Jones ended up design the new Course #7 for us.”

When Farren was first settling in at Pinehurst, all he had to do was keep the courses in good shape and ready for play. But over the years, that roll expanded. Because as Farren also be came Director of Grounds, he had to look-in on the all construction work that was going on around the resort. Some of which included renovation work to the resorts hotels, including national landmarks like The Carolina Hotel and then The Holly Inn.

THE SCHAUMBURG GOLF CLUB at 401 North Roselle Road, has worked through facility improvements in the clubhouse, and reopened the three simulators. Chandlers Chophouse is open, and the pro shop is restocking for the summer season ahead. But better news is you can play the Schaumburg Golf Club indoors on the simulators. So get a lesson or club fitting done at the SGC, and book a bay at (847)-885-9000 and visit SchaumburgGolf.com.

BUT NOW with the opening (Apr. 3) of the new Tom Doak designed Course #10. Farren will have 10 18 hole courses, and the Nine-Hole Cradle Course to oversee.

So there is more than a new courses open at Pinehurst this year.

Because if you haven’t heard the 2024 U.S. Open arrives in June.

As a result, there are still restoration projects going on around the resort.

Recently workers were all over the Carolina Hotel, finishing up room renovations and the Decor along the walls of the hotel.

So when Farren is not out looking at the golf courses, he has plenty to do visiting the work projects. Both in the hotel’s and now the main clubhouse.

The Mistwood fitting team. L-R Eric Russell, Scott Hogan and Matt Carter. The Mistwood Golf dome is on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook, see Mistwoodgolfdome.com or call (630)-739-7600.

But in recent years, Farren has reduced the amount of irrigated turf by over 40 acres.

Those area’s have been replaced by native sand grasses.

But Farren has also served as a principal founding partner of the Greenskeeper Apprenticeship Program. So that the USGA and the Sandhills Community College can provide education and mentorship for golf course maintenance workers.

During Farren’s tenure at Pinehurst, the resort has become a testing ground for new maintenance practices and equipment. Pinehurst has served as an on-courses learning location for superintendents, agronomists and others.

CLICK HERE TO HEAR the full interview with Pinehurst Director of Grounds Bob Farren.

Farren says one of his teams best accomplishments was hosting back-to-back U.S. Opens on Pinehurst No.2 in 2014. Which will happen again in 2029. Farren will be honored with other national USGA award winners on March 2nd, at the UGSA national meeting in Nashville Tennessee.

But for more information on award winners including Bob Farren or the USGA national meetings, please visit USGA.org or Pinehurst.com.

TITLEIST SCOTTY CAMERON ADD’S OPTIONS FOR 2024

  DO YOU NEED NEW GOLF SHOES, if so stop and pick up a pair before you head down the stairs to golf in the three Schaumburg Golf Club simulators. Because the Schaumburg Golf Club at 401 North Roselle Road has three simulators that do include the chance to play the outdoor version of the Schaumburg Golf Club, which should open in April. Chandlers chophouse is open. So book a bay SchaumburgGolf.com or you can call (847)-885-9000. It’s not too late to schedule a lesson or a club fitting.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect-Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram

Titleist putter representative and designer Austie Rollinson.

TITLEIST SCOTTY CAMERON PUTTERS

Have made a quick start to the year, with the release of the Cameron Phantom models.           Scotty Cameron decided to make some changes, and has re-released this popular line of putters.

The Phantom Putters that are available in two styles have already made their way to the 2024 PGA Tour. But it won’t be long until they can be in your golf bag as well. However the rollout of this line of putters will continue into the month of May.

  (L) Scotty Cameron 2024 Phantom Putters-(R) Oliva welcomes everyone to enjoy the new Bar in the Shell at the Mistwood Golf Dome-Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook, (630)-739-7600.

Titleist Senior Director of Research and Development Austie Rollinson speaks with Golfers on Golf, about what’s happening with Titleist putters and Scotty Cameron.

CLICK HERE TO HEAR the full interview with Titleist Senior Director of Research and Development Austie Rollinson.

the Willow Hill Dome-Chicago’s largest dome over 150 yards, is open 8a to 3p Monday to Friday for indoor golf. Sign up is starting for the summer golf leagues at Willow Hill 1350 Willow Road in Northbrook. Willowhilldome.com or WillowhillGolf.com.

So what’s next for Titleist putters and the Scotty Cameron Brand. Rollinson goes into that in the interview above somewhat.

But for now those who are looking for a new putter have plenty of options in the Titleist-Cameron line.

So to learn more and how to get fitted for your next putter, please visit Titleist.com or Scottycameron.com.

The Cameron website has the full list of putters and accessories attached to Scotty Cameron putters.

So the new Titleist-Cameron line of Phantom Putters are in play on the PGA Tour, of Titleist staff players. Look for them at your local PGA Tour stop.

GOLFTINI WOMEN’S APPAREL ADD’S MENSWEAR TO IT’S COLLECTION

  ERIC-SCOTT AND MATT comprise the Mistwood Golf Dome club fitting team (L). Oliva (R) is taking orders in the shell-bar in the in dome. So come see what else is new at the Mistwood Golf Dome on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook. So visit Mistwoodgolfdome.com or call the dome today, and book a bay. Where you can play Toptracer Golf (630)-739-7600.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect-Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram.

Susan Hess stands in her Golftini booth at the recent PGA Merchandise show in Orlando. Yes Golftini for men has arrived.

GOLFTINI WEAR FOR WOMEN

Because that’s what it was for many years. But then-change has happened.

So for Golftini Wear founder-owner and lead designer for Golftini Wear Susan Hess, there became a time she needed to grow her line of apparel.

Hess has her own rendition of the old TV show called, “My Three Sons”. So when the three boys kept saying, MOM when are you adding Golftini for Men, she finally gave in to her sons ideas, of what’s next for Golftini.

Susan Hess in Golftini White with a Golftini Pink Sweater.

“Golftini For Men.”

SO YES-Golftini for men has arrived, not in a big blast. But it’s here, so guys can you wear pink.

Not a ton of pink, but at least a little pink anyway. That’s for starters, and that’s coming in May of 2024. So the wait is almost over.

The Pink color, is a way to show support for Breast-cancer awareness. Hess originally was thinking 2025 for the men’s line, but moved things up in order to get men in the fight against cancer, and raise more money sooner.

Hess, armed with idea’s from trips to warmer climates like Arizona and Down-Under in Australia, got to work on the what the look for men should be in the Golftini line. As usual, Hess hit the new pitch right out of the park.

IT IS TIME to start getting your game ready for the 2024 outdoor season. So it’s time to get over to the Schaumburg Golf Club 401. N. Roselle Road and hit the simulators. Facility improvements have wrapped up, so Chandlers chophouse, the SGC pro shop and the three simulators are now all open. Book your time at (847)-885-9000 and visit Schaumburggolf.com.

But that shouldn’t be any surprise, because it’s what Hess has been doing for almost 20 years, when she first got into the business.

Frustrated at what the options were for her, when she headed out to the golf course.

Hess simply took matters into her own hands. Women golfers have been happy and styling ever since.

Since her first PGA Merchandise Show, Hess and Golftini have continued to grow.

So has the Golftini booth at the show, it’s not just 10×10 anymore. It takes the full Golftini to handle all that needs to be done during show week.

  Chicago’s largest dome over 150 yards long-The Willow Hill Dome at 1350 Willow Road in Northbrook, is open for golf from Monday-Friday from 8a to 3p. Golf lessons for individuals and groups by Bob and Kim Dickman. So to learn more-WillowHillDome.com

BUT IF YOU LIKE MORE than just golf, Golftini is still for you. Because if you are part of the new Pickle Ball Craze-you can now order a Martini Pickle Ball-Golftini logoed Pickle Ball Paddle.

  THE TINI GLASS returned for the 2024 PGA Show-So did the new lines of Golftini.

CLICK HERE TO HEAR the full interview with Susan Hess-Owner, founder and lead designer of Golftini Wear-based in Chicago.

When you visit the Golftiniwear.com website, you will find out how munch the product line has grown in recent years. Skorts and tops, now have slacks, dresses, vests, pants, polo’s, hats, caps, Golftini golf balls with logo. Belts, pullovers, quarter zips and poncho’s.

Now there are Golftini wear items built for boy’s and men. So guys are you up for the challenge of wearing pink. plenty of pink or just a little pink. Regardless the challenge is down, guys get your Valentine some Golftini. Gals get your Valentine Guy a little Golftini too.

Golftiniwear.com or call (908)-654-0252 or (800)-930-4377 and shop@golftiniwear.com.

GOG BLOG SPEAKS OUT-WINTER TRIP CONCLUDES-WHAT I LEARNED

  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

PINEHURST!

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.

INNISBROOK MAKES IMPROVEMENTS AS VALSPAR APPROACHES

   ARNIE USED TO LOVE HITTING THE PUTTING GREEN-You should too at The Shack Indoor Golf Club in Glenview. Four new simulators are getting ready to open soon. So book your hitting bay and enjoy golf fun at The Shack. Call (847)-904-2905.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf, follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy or connect-LinkedIn/Facebook/Instagram.

Christopher Walling is the VP-Operations and Managing Director of Innisbrook.

THE 2024 VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP is coming soon. But Innisbrook will be ready.

So with other Florida golf properties adding courses, opening new courses and creating new buzz, Innisbrook Resort is not being left behind. They are getting ready for Valspar week on the PGA Tour by creating a buzz of their own.

Because the resort that anchors the end of the PGA Tour’s “Florida Swing”, is swinging away at getting bigger and better. There is no back-seat setting in at Tarpon Springs.

Christopher Walling is the new Vice President of Operations & Managing Director of Innisbrook Resort. Walling knows he has “big shoes” to fill replacing retiring Executive Director Mike Williams, but is ready for the challenge.

THE TIME IS NOW to hit the simulators at the Schaumburg Golf Club at 401 North Roselle Road in Schaumburg. Just minutes from Woodfield Mall. The clubhouse improvements are done and the golf is back. Chandlers Chophouse is open as well. So book a bay at Schaumburggolf.com or call (847)-855-9000. The clubhouse is stocking up for the season ahead, so be ready to fill-up your golf bag and the season ahead. But you can play the SGC now live, or other Top 100 Courses.

But Walling is just rolling up his sleeves as the projects begin.

Because before the PGA Tour arrives in March, plenty of resort guests will come to stay and play at the resort.

Starting on the food and beverage side the resort’s longtime famed Packard’s Steakhouse, still sits at a temporary location on the resort property.

But moving forward at good speed is the renovation of Packard’s. Originally after closing early last summer, the hope was for Packard’s to reopen in it’s old location next to the Copperhead pro shop.

But that has not happened yet, with the opening date planned for early next month. But Packard’s is expected to host special events during Valspar week.

  PACKARD’S STEAKHOUSE named after the great course designer Larry Packard. Packard who created all four of the golf courses at Innisbrook, is under full renovation at the resort. But will reopen shortly. Yes-of course Packard’s red tartan American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) jacket will have a place in the new restaurant.

  THE WORK CONTINUES in the newly rebuilt and expanded Copperhead Pro Shop (L) expected to reopen in early March. (R) The resorts famed Stirling Ballroom has been refinished with new carpeting, painting, chandeliers and more. It is now open for hosting large meetings and other special events.

Toll Brothers construction teams are clearing land that was formerly nine holes of the resorts North Course.

The north end of the resort is seeing some changes as well.

Currently Innisbrook is only a 63-hole golf property, after being 72-holes for many years.

Toll Brothers is clearing 9-holes of the North Course, and that land will be used for a new housing development.

But for golfers that are looking for what’s new on the golf side of things. Innisbrook is still moving forward on having a par-3 golf course. When that happens-the golf hole count will return to 72, OR maybe even a few more. So stay tuned for announcements regarding the building of the resorts newest course, and who will design the course.

  (L) NORTH SHORE GOLFERS from 8a to 3p Monday to Friday the Willow Hill Golf Dome plays home to the biggest indoor golf range in the Chicago area, at over 150 yards long. So visit WillowHillDome.com for more information, on hours, golf lessons and more special events. (R) Welcome to the Valspar Championship coming up next month at Innisbrook. See a strong field of PGA Tour professionals try and tame the Copperhead Golf Course, and conquer the closing holes known as “The Snake-Pit.”

Hospitality tent set up is well underway on Copperhead for the Valspar Championship.

But while all the current upgrades are going on Innisbrook, other changes from recent years are taking hold.

Those changes have been being enjoyed by resort guests, home owners and other visitors to the property.

Because over the last several years, room improvements have taken place across the entire resort. Rooms have been updated and modernized to current standards and expectations of all who stay on property. Golf membership plans have been added and upgraded.

CLICK HERE to hear the full interview with Innisbrook’s new VP of Operations and Managing Director Chris Walling-on everything Innisbrook.

SO IF YOUR LOOKING for a fun place to spring break, will relaxing and enjoying some golf. Visit InnisbrookgolfResort.com or call (888)-794-8627. Innisbrook Resort is part of the Salamander Group Collection, of destination properties and luxury hotels.