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We've Moved!

Dave Donelson Tee To Green has an exciting new home at
Westchester Magazine.

We're still about all things golf, especially those pertinent to golfers in Westchester and the NY Metro, but now we're in a much bigger space!

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Newsworthy In Wales

Writers love feedback (with the exception of nasty book reviews), so I got a big kick out of this newspaper article from the Tenby Observer:
Tenby Golf Club has proved a big hit in America.
An American journalist, Dave Donelson, recently wrote an article for the Westchester Magazine titled ‘Where Dragons Play, the 2010 Ryder Cup shines a spotlight on Wales - the next great golf destination’.
After playing the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor Resort and Royal Porthcawl, the journalist says his favourite round was at Tenby.
“Today’s Tenby is a fascinating seaside course full of quirky challenges,” wrote Mr. Donelson, who also praised St. Brides Hotel, Saundersfoot, where he stayed.
The article was brought to the attention of Tenby Town Council by Clr. David Morgan, who said there had been American visitors at the golf club this week who had read about the course in the article!
I'll be blogging here about my trip to Wales in September as the Ryder Cup approaches.

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

Friday, July 9, 2010

Nanette Hill Marks First Professional Win

Pelham native Nannette Hill won for the first time on the Duramed Futures Tour at the City of Hammond Classic in Hammond, Indiana.

Hill took home a champion's check of $15,400, outlasting the rest of the field in gusting winds for a two-shot victory. She posted rounds of 70-68-71 for a 7-under total of 209 at Lost Marsh Golf Course, at the fifth annual event presented by Horseshoe Casino Hammond.

The final round on the wind-blown, 6,219-yard course had as much to do with attitude, tenacity and patience as it did with technique. Early in the morning, play was halted for nearly three hours as a vicious thunderstorm ripped through the region, dumping rain and producing heavy lightning. But while players were forced to sit out the storm, Hill was in the clubhouse debating with her peers about "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob" in the popular "Twilight" series. During the storm delay, she even took a poll of those in the room to settle the debate, asking for a show of hands.

The win vaulted her from 50th to 14th on the money list for the Duramed Futures Tour.

No one was prouder of the win than Ken Wang, owner of Pound Ridge Golf Course, who agreed to sponsor Hill this spring.
“Nannette is one of the most competitive golfers to come out of this area, and that she battled the elements to earn her first victory is a testament to that spirit,” says Pound Ridge Golf Club owner Ken Wang. “We congratulate her on this outstanding achievement and wish her continued success in all her endeavors.”
Hill wears the Pound Ridge Golf Club logo on her hat, shirt, golf bag and umbrella while competing on tour.

Hill has done well since joining the Duramed Futures Tour this year. She's made the cut in nine of eleven events so far.

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

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Westchester Native Adds Westchester Sponsor at US Women's Open

When Meaghan Francella tees it up today in the US Women's Open, she'll be sporting the logo of a new sponsor, Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway. The sponsorship is a natural for the Port Chester, NY, native, who grew up just a few miles away from the trotter track that has become one of the most popular gaming destinations in the Northeast.
"This is our first step into the pro athlete sponsorship world, and just in time for the U.S. Open,” said the casino’s Clare Galterio. “This is a great way for us to support a local athlete who has already had great success. Hopefully, it’s our foot in door in the sponsorship area for the casino."
Francella is a good young player to represent the casino given her winning record since turning pro in 2006. The 28-year-old captured the MasterCard Classis in 2007 when she defeated Annika Sorenstam in a sudden-death four-hole playoff for her first career win on the LPGA Tour. She also won the Lakeland Duramed Futures Classic in 2006. She started this year with a spectacular victory in the HSBC LPGA Brasil Cup, a non-LPGA Tour event.

The Empire City logo will be on the side of Francella's cap at Oakmont, where she competes in a field of 156 professionals and amateurs before an expected 125,000 spectators. Pittsburgh's Oakmont has been been the site of 15 USGA Championships. The event will be carried live on ESPN2 and NBC.

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

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Owners Bring Brynwood To Life

What a difference good management makes. The new owners at Brynwood Golf and Country Club in Armonk, NY, have taken a ragged, under-developed golf course (formerly the Canyon Club) and turned it into a fine example of the coming thing in club operation. As lead partner Jeff Mendel says, "Brynwood is not your father's country club."

Brynwood Golf & Country Club
Indeed it's not. The new owners originally wanted to name the club "Bushwood" in honor of the iconic setting for Caddyshack, but their lawyers pointed out that might cause some legal problems. To compensate, Mendell plans to play the movie on a continuous loop on a wall-mounted flat screen in the newly-renovated pro shop. That should give you some idea of just what kind of club this is going to be. A new fitness center, rock and hip-hop instead of elevator music on the sound system, and a gigantic fire pit for after-dark gatherings are just a few of the new features added by the new owners. The idea is to offer members a casual, relaxed, family-centric club experience. It's meant to be affordable, too, with non-equity memberships as low as $7500 per year and, for now at least, no initiation fee.

There's tennis, a pool, and other amenities, but the core of the experience is golf, of course. The new owners have made great progress in that regard already, having brought in Troon Golf to manage the facility and conducted initial interviews with several leading golf architects with an eye toward a major upgrade. Right now, the golf course is a 6,348 yard par 70 track with several excellent holes, a few adequate ones, and a couple that should probably be dynamited. Mendell and his partners are seriously committed to turning it into a course that can compete with the best in the metro market, however, and have started the process by whipping the course into near-perfect shape. The day I played, greens were running at a 12 on the Stimp and there wasn't a blade of grass out of place from tee to green.

There's a lot of potential in the property, which is notable for its elevation changes and spectacular views. The second hole, for example, is a 363-yard dog leg right that would be a forgettable par four if it weren't for the perfectly-framed view of the green set next to a lake that greets you as you make the turn down the fairway after your tee shot. It's worth stopping to enjoy before you proceed to hit your approach.

For the most part, there's little "back and forth" routing and fairways are inviting without being overly generous. The green complexes are actually pretty good, with well-planned bunkering protecting mostly elevated putting surfaces with plenty of contours and interesting pin position possibilities. When they are at speed, it's essential that you place your approach shot below the hole for any chance at making a putt. Mendell expects the redesign to lengthen the course to 6,800 yards. There's a good possiblity that more water will be brought into play on several holes and one of the five par-threes will probably become a short par four.

Brynwood's current layout has some challenging holes. The number one handicap hole is the fifth, a 441-yard dog leg right. You hit from an elevated tee down to a fairway that slopes to the left, but a good drive leaves a mid- to long-iron back up to an elevated green. The eighth hole is a 216-yard uphill par three. Plenty of players hit three-woods or even drivers to get up the hill to the rolling green that's guarded by two deep bunkers.

Brynwood has excellent potential. With new ownership dedicated to achieving it fully, Westchester is about to become home to yet another fine place to play the great game.

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

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Labritz Wins Spot In Major Field

Rob Labritz won a spot in the PGA Championship with a never-quit approach to the PGA Professional National Championship in French Lick, Indiana, this week. After a rocky first round of 75, he finished 72, 72, 70, to tie for 15th and secure his slot in the season's last major, the PGA Championship to be played at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. His last nine holes made the difference. After an opening 37 on the Pete Dye Course at French Lick, he carded four birdies on the back to surge into the top twenty.

Labritz, the Director of Golf at Bedford's GlenArbor Golf Club, is one of 20 club pros who will compete against the PGA Tour's top players at Whistling Straits August 9-15. Joining him from my neighborhood will be Danny Balin from Burning Tree in Greenwich, CT. Other players of note from the Met Section who made their mark in the tournament include Greg Bisconti from St. Andrews in Hastings (T-34) and Frank Bensel from Century (T-66). Keith Dicciani and Craig Thomas (both Metropolis), John Guyton (Trump National Briarcliff), and Charles Meola (Mohansic) all competed as well.

Notable among Labritz's tournament wins is the 2008 NY State Open and the 2006 NY State PGA Championship.

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