Aug 29, 2014 | 08:49 AM

Ladies' Days

It’s easy to forget that the USGA doesn’t conduct only the U.S. Opens and Amateurs, but a total of 13 national championships, allowing a cross-section of golfers—across both genders and all ages—to compete. One example is the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, which is being contested for the 52nd time from September 13-18 at Hollywood Golf Club in Deal, N.J. (above), a half mile from the Atlantic Ocean. The event is open to female amateurs 50 years and older with a handicap not to exceed 18.4. From 554 entries, 132 qualified for two rounds of stroke play, from which 64 will move onto match play. That means the winner will have played eight rounds in six days. The event has a notable list of past champions including Carolyn Cudone (five times), Alice Dye (twice), Marlene Streit (three), Carol Semple Thompson (four), and Ellen Port, who won the last two. In preparation for the event, the course—originally laid out by Walter Travis in 1915—was recently renovated by Tom Doak’s Renaissance Golf Design, with special attention to the bunkers: More than 45 were added, bringing the total up over 150 (but down from Travis’ original 200-plus). What resulted was a beautiful, exciting course that will play at par 73 and 6,100 yards and, with the shifting ocean winds, present a great challenge to the competitors. The eventual winner might not be as well known as Michelle Wie or Martin Kaymer, but she still will be a national champion—and a great example of what the USGA is really all about. 

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Aug 28, 2014 | 11:30 AM

Booking Ahead

The St Andrews Links Trust started taking advanced reservations yesterday to play The Old Course in 2015, but you only have until September 15th to file your application online. For the first time these advanced tee times will be allocated through a lottery system instead of on a first come, first serve basis. Before you apply though, there are a few things to consider. During the high season (April 14th through October 19th, when a round costs approximately $282) it’s better to request earlier dates than later. There are numerous weeks when no advanced tee times are available, including June 20th through July 20th because of the British Open; all of September due to various competitions (there will be a daily ballot for public play when possible); and the first week in October thanks to the Dunhill Cup. Applying for a high season advanced tee time also comes with a two-course minimum: you have to book a tee time at another St Andrews Links Trust course (a round on the adjacent New or Jubilee course costs approximately $124). If you miss the September 15th deadline or don’t get lucky in the lottery, you can still get advanced tee times through select tour operators, including PerryGolf.

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Aug 27, 2014 | 02:46 PM

Developing News

There’s a lot going on at PGA Tour HQ in Ponte Vedra Beach. It looks like the Tour may be planning to build a boutique, five-star hotel on five parcels of land on the southern end of the property from the right of the 8th green and 17th tee to left of the 14th fairway of the Players Stadium course, totaling about 185 acres. At least that’s what a rep for the Tour revealed in a meeting with residents who wanted to know what the Tour planed to do with the land after the Tour asked for zoning waivers on undisclosed development plans, according to a report in St. Augustine Record. A new, upscale hotel, along with retail and office space, would be a welcome addition to the only hotel option available right now, the Marriott Sawgrass. Another good bit of news is that the Dye Valley Course is reopening in September after a seven-month restoration—the first since its opening in 1987. In addition to a new irrigation and drainage system, the Pete Dye/Bobby Weed design underwent reconstruction of all the green, tee, and greenside bunker complexes, as well as the replacement of fairway turf and the recapturing the original square footage of each green. The course will open for play following the season-ending Tour Championship Sept. 18-21.

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Aug 26, 2014 | 01:33 PM

Conspicuous Concession

As we approach what promises to be a hotly contested Ryder Cup, a new book reminds us of  a simpler time when the  matches were just we Yanks versus the Brits and the U.S. dominated the contest. Neil Sagebiel’s  Draw in the Dunes is the story of the 1969 Ryder Cup which ended with Jack Nicklaus’s famous—and at the time controversial—concession of a short putt to Tony Jacklin on the last hole of their singles matching, resulting in the first 16-16 tie in Ryder Cup history. More than just a chronicle, however, it’s an exploration of the personalities involved—from Peter Alliss, Brian Barnes, and Bernard Gallacher on the British side to the Lee Trevino, Ray Floyd, Dave Hill, and captain Sam Snead on the U.S.—and the issues and conflicts both between and within the two teams. 

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