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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Grand Start On The Grand Strand

My golf season started with a bang this year. I only hope the rest of the year lives up to it.

After not touching a club for three months, I played five rounds in three days in and around Calabash, North Carolina, a great destination just north of Myrtle Beach. My play wasn't pretty, but the company was excellent, the food was too, and the accommodations couldn't have been better. My thanks to Ralph Wimbish for serving as host and to his wife Grace for allowing him to. Grace is also to be commended for her smart interior decorating--the place is smashing yet comfortable.

I got rained out the first day, although I played enough golf to win the right to sleep in a room of my own thanks to one of the best shots I hit all weekend, a sweeping draw with a five iron dead into the wind on the 143-yard eighth hole at Crow Creek. As soon as I won the bet for the bed, I headed for the clubhouse to dry out and get ready for the next day's doubleheader.

We tackled two of the four (soon to be five) courses at Ocean Ridge Plantation, Panther's Run and Tiger's Eye, on Friday. Saturday was another thirty-six holes, these played at Meadowlands Golf Club in the morning and its sister club, Farmstead Golf Links, in the afternoon.

Farmstead features one of the more interesting holes in the region--a 767-yard (from the tips) par six. This unique finishing hole offers a wide landing area off the tee, but that's the last easy shot you'll have. The fairway steadily narrows with water on the left and woods on the right as you approach the green, which lies to the left of the fairway. The conservative player will play his third shot to the corner of the dog leg, leaving a mid iron to the green for a par. Bolder players can reach the green in three with a long carry over a massive bunker complex. The green is the final challenge. It's contoured in unexpected ways that make two-putts anything but assured. One final note: the hole actually starts in South Carolina before crossing the state line to finish in North Carolina.

On Sunday, we finished up where we started, on Crow Creek in Calabash. I won't comment on my scores, but suffice it to say I had the distinction of playing both the worst round and the best round of the group. Looks like it may be another seesaw year for my handicap.

For anyone planning a visit to the area, the place to start is the Myrtle Beach Golf Association. There are nearly a hundred courses on the Grand Strand, so a little expert advice should be welcome to anyone looking to maximize his enjoyment. Fortunately, I had Wimbish as a guide.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Westchester Golf Show Starts The Season

It’s time to dust off the clubs, get those core muscles in shape, and buy a few dozen bargain balls....the season is almost upon us. One great way to great ready for 2010 golf is at the Lower Hudson Golf Show at The Westchester County Center March 13th & 14th. Show Hours are 10 AM to 5 PM each day.

One of my favorite stops at the show is the stage, which becomes a driving range staffed by manufacturers like Mizuno, Titleist, Cobra, Nike, Cleveland and Srixon. You can demo the new sticks, talk to the reps about club technology, and light those fires again after a long winter.

Another place not to miss is The Metropolitan Golf Association's "Let’s Talk Golf Stage." Local PGA professionals will help you unravel the mysteries of the golf swing during hourly demonstrations and MGA rules expert Brian Mahoney will answer your questions about the rules of golf. You'll learn from experts like GlenArbor Head Pro Brian Crowell, Sprain Lake's Tom Avezzano, Maple Moor's Ralph Garafano, Max Galloway from Mohansic, and Tom Sutter from Dunwoodie.

The show has a special area for women again this year. It includes fitness information from Apogee Pilates & Wellness Centers, swing tips and lessons from The Executive Women’s Golf Association provided by LPGA Professionals Rose DiCiacco and Nicole Sikora. It’s all presented by MetLife.

Local PGA Professionals will teach the full swing, chipping, and putting at three separate practice areas. The Putting Doctor will be on hand both days to help you get that flat stick under control.

The Westchester County Golf Course pros will once again staff The Discount Pro Shop, where you'll find real bargains on clubs, balls, apparel, shoes and accessories. The money you save will more than cover the cost of admission, which is a bargain anyway. The $9.00 ticket is almost offset by the coupon you’ll receive for a free small bucket of balls at The Fairview Golf Center in Elmsford, a $7.00 value.

For another real bargain, visit the Westchester County Park Booth and pick up a certificate to take a buddy to play free at any County Golf Course. Some restrictions apply, but that's more than worth the ticket price. And don’t forget GolfTEC, where you can see your swing on video and talk to the experts about how to lower your score.

The Lower Hudson Golf Show also offers lots of door prizes like golf at Trump National and even a set of Nike VR Full Cavity irons while dozens of exhibitors--golf courses, resorts, golf accessories, apparel, and more--will offer special deals just for attendees.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the