Relaxing on Sunday

Sunday was the hottest day of the year in the Atlanta area. After several sweaty hours outside, I retired to the basement to relax and watch PGA golf on TV (joined by the Tiger fan club). After I spooned down a pint of Cherry Garcia, I lost track of the golf for about an hour as the gang and I drifted into a cat nap.


Fly Fishing and Golf: Thanks to Scotland

Ann and I were hiking around Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park (a good 9 mile hike). As we crossed the feeder stream above Jenny Lake, I watched two fly fisherman casting in the beautiful rapids. I was struck by the similarity between a smooth fly cast and a smooth golf swing. Then I realized that they both originated in Scotland.

Records of fishing with a fly go back to Ancient Greece when it was common to catch fish on a hook dressed with red yarn. Modern fly fishing originated in Scotland and was greatly refined in southern England on the River Test and the other ‘chalk streams’ concentrated in Hampshire, Surrey, Dorset and Berkshire (see Southern England Chalk Formation for the geological specifics). The seminal work in the sport is The Compleat Angler written in the mid-1600’s by Izaak Walton, largely about those classic English waters. Source: Wikipedia

Golf is usually regarded as a Scottish invention, as the game was mentioned in two 15th-century laws prohibiting the playing of the game of "gowf". Some scholars, however, suggest that this refers to another game which is much akin to modern field hockey. They point out that a game of putting a small ball in a hole in the ground using golf clubs was played in 17th-century Netherlands. The term golf is believed to have originated from a Germanic word for "club". Many old wives tales state that golf was an acronym for Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden.

The first golf club established outside the United Kingdom was the Royal Calcutta in India in 1829. The modern game evolved in the second half of the 19th century in Scotland. The rules of the game and the design of equipment and courses greatly resembled those of today. 1873 saw the establishment of the first North American golf club, Royal Montreal Golf Club in Canada. The major changes in equipment since the 19th century have been better mowers, especially for the greens, better golf ball designs, using rubber and man-made materials since about 1900, and the introduction of the metal shaft beginning in the 1930s. Also in the 1930s the wooden golf tee was invented. In the 1970s the use of metal to replace wood heads began, and shafts made of graphite composite materials were introduced in the 1980s. Source: Wikipedia

How Scots gave golf to America

Source: Sport – Golf – How Scots gave golf to America.

It was the morning of February 22, 1888, and though all of America was celebrating George Washington’s birthday, Reid had other plans. He told his friends to meet him on the old cow pasture across from where he lived. On that historic day, three golf holes, about 100 yards long, were laid out over the bumpy terrain and cups were dug up from the ground with the head of a cleek. Golf had finally come to America.

Later in the year, at a dinner in Yonkers, the first permanent golf club in the United States was formed, with Reid at the helm. They called themselves the St Andrew’s club, but with an apostrophe inserted to avoid confusion with the place back home, not that there was ever likely to be any. Reid’s crew led a nomadic existence, moving from the cow pasture to the north east corner of Broadway, to an orchard on the Weston estate about a quarter of a mile from their old course. They pitched a tent under the shade of an apple tree and called it a clubhouse. Forever more, these men would be known as the Apple Tree Gang, with Reid, of humble Fife stock, to this day being remembered as the father of American golf.

via GolfBlogger

Golf course is an environmental renaissance

Source: Golf course is an environmental renaissance –

Renaissance PineIsle Resort and Golf Club on Lake Lanier Islands has been recognized by Audubon International for its environmental stewardship.

The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System encourages golf courses to emphasize conservation. Renaissance has been in the sanctuary program since 1996, but only recently received certification in environmental planning.

Grounds director Anthony Williams said he soon expects to fulfill the requirements for the other categories of certification: wildlife and habitat management; chemical use reduction and safety; water conservation; water quality management; and outreach and education.

Shawn Williams, staff ecologist for New York-based Audubon International, said the sanctuary program has 31 sites in Georgia, 10 of which are fully certified in all categories. Nationwide, there are 1,855 member properties, 461 fully certified.

"Our goal is to show that golf courses can coexist with the environment very easily," he said.

Golf courses enrolled in the program don’t necessarily gain a business advantage. But Anthony Williams thinks they provide a better experience for their customers.

"Where golf originated in Scotland, it was about enjoying the lay of the land and the creatures that lived there," he said. "I think we’re a return to the traditional."

Golfers at Renaissance may not notice some of the environmentally friendly methods. For example, they can’t tell that only eight pounds of insecticides were used on the 167-acre property last year.

But other distinctions will be obvious.

"We look different from the average golf course because we allow natural areas to return," Anthony Williams said. "You can see 50 varieties of birds here. We have a nesting colony of bank swallows, which is unusual for this area."

Renaissance has put up boxes to house bluebirds and other species. Landscaping plants, both on the golf course and around the adjacent hotel, have been chosen to attract birds and butterflies.

Turfgrass selection also is important, said Shawn Williams. "Choose turf species that are adapted to your region and are drought-tolerant," he said. "Have a system of irrigation heads so you can water only the spots that really need it, rather than the entire course."

Managers are asked to be similarly judicious in applying pesticides. Anthony Williams said they’re supposed to walk the course frequently, monitoring for fungal disease or grub infestations.

"If you find something, you just need to spray that location instead of blanketing the course."

Water protection is also critical. Grass is allowed to grow higher around water holes, and no chemicals are sprayed within 50 feet of streams. Golf courses in the program are also required to test their water and soil for pollution.

And trees should be part of the equation. "Out-of-play areas can be naturalized to benefit wildlife," Shawn Williams said. "Deer, hawks, mice and squirrels can thrive if you have forested areas. Edge species such as rabbits do well, too."

Landowners Choose Preservation Over Development

In the booming real estate market around Atlanta, land owners who take the money and run are the norm. But the Callahans have decided to preserve their beautiful farm land by building a golf course with no residential development.

The Callahans are willing to sacrifice instant wealth because they love their land. Apparently a golf course provides a vehicle for realizing some income from the land without destroying the beauty of the land. This is great news at a time when we see pastures and barns turned into housing developments and shopping centers at a rapid pace on the outskirts of Atlanta.

Source: Callahan golf course will preserve land |

Betty Callahan and son Matt are forgoing millions to preserve their land and build a prime golf course there.

Callahan owns 450 acres north of Canton that could attract several million dollars from developers eager to build in rapidly growing Cherokee County. But she wants to hold on to the land, which her family has owned for more than 150 years, picturesque property that includes pastures, lakes and valleys.

At an estimated market value of $20,000 to $30,000 per acre for residential development and $150,000 per acre for road frontage property, the Callahans could take the money and move to another paradise. But the Callahans say all the money in the world isn’t worth giving up their heritage.

"Anyone in the business world can’t believe we’re not selling to developers," said Matt Callahan, 45. "The whole point is to preserve the land. I grew up riding horses through these woods. There are deer, wild turkey, geese. It’s beautiful. It’s pure, pristine land. I could never sell it."

Located on Ga. 140, the property boasts a vista that prompts even the fastest drivers to slow just a bit to glance at the rolling green hills and huge expanse of sky. Instead of selling the land to developers, the family will do what few large landowners have done in Cherokee County — keep the land in the family and build a 250-acre golf course.

The Callahans will remain in their homes, which now overlook pasture and grazing cattle.

Most of the Callahan estate was purchased in the late 1800s for 50 cents an acre, in an area known as Carpenter Flats. The Carpenters and Callahans were dairy farmers and millers, and grew cotton, corn and other produce. After World War II, the cultivated fields became pastures for beef cattle.

Golf course wetlands clean water and may control neighborhood flood problems

Link: Wetlands clean water and may control neighborhood flood problems.

Constructed wetlands in planned communities can aid in surface water cleanup and flood prevention, according to Purdue University scientists who completed a five-year study on the management system. The research, begun in 1998 on three constructed ponds, or wetland cells, on a newly renovated golf course on the university campus, showed that 11 of 17 measurable chemicals in surface water were reduced after running through the system, said Ron Turco, soil microbiologist and senior author of the report. Study results are published in the February issue of the journal Ecological Engineering.

"Golf courses are a perfect place for constructed wetlands used as part of a water management system because wetlands can filter chemicals out of surface water, and they can also store excess water during storms," Turco said.

In addition, constructed wetlands act as a holding area that can provide recycled water for irrigation, a system the scientists used on the golf course, he said.

"Constructed wetlands on golf courses and in planned communities are a very good water management system," Turco said. "When you build houses, roads and driveways, lots of hard surface is added, leaving no place for water to go. Building dikes and levees just moves the water problem somewhere else, causing flooding elsewhere."

Because golf courses are mostly open surfaces, as opposed to all the hard surfaces in subdivisions and shopping malls, water can soak into the soil and flow into a constructed wetland, he said. As surface water flows from adjacent roads and parking lots onto a golf course and into the constructed wetlands, nutrients, suspended solids, organic metals, trace elements, pesticides and pathogens are removed or even eradicated.

"Wetlands actually add a positive aspect to the water balance of a given region because they are basically infiltration sites," Turco said.

The most vital function of constructed wetlands is preventing flooding and environmental contamination, he said.

"Use of constructed wetlands can be significant in water management and water quality just by their use on the approximately 16,000 U.S. golf courses the National Golf Foundation lists," Turco said. "In addition, many new home developments are planned around golf courses, and these developments need ways of containing, cleaning and directing water runoff, especially during storms."

The wetlands also are of aesthetic value on golf courses and residential areas, and they create homes for wildlife and flora, he said. Using the recycled water for irrigation ensures that the wetlands remain wet and the recycled surface water is less expensive than pumping ground water.

via Science Blog

Amazing Bobby Jones

From the new biography The Grand Slam: Bobby Jones, America and the Story of Golf by Mark Frost.

After Jones graduated from Georgia Tech, he decided he’d concentrate on what he felt was most important: family. Other golfers near his skill level were turning professional — teaching, playing exhibitions and participating in the professional tournaments of the time. That wasn’t what he wanted. He’d set his priorities, and they didn’t involve his sport. He did love golf, however. So he aimed to balance the two; he decided he’d play in fewer tournaments. Over the next 10 years until he retired, he played in only 40 tourneys. Of the 40, 21 were major championships — and he won 13 of them.

Link: Today in Investor’s Business Daily stock analysis and business news.

When the golf gods smile…

I finally played 18 holes of good golf at Woodmont. I didn’t hit any really bad shots, and every time I hit a mediocre shot I followed it with a good shot. Here’s the hole by hole story.

Hole 1, 505 yard par 5: Hit a 250 yard drive in the middle of the fairway. Hit a weak 3 wood about 30 yards short of the green. Hit a weak wedge on the front on the green. Left the 40 foot putt about 10 feet short and knocked in the second putt for par. Even.
Hole 2, 165 yard par 3: Hit a 7 iron to the middle of the green. Left the 20 foot putt about 3 feet below the hole, sank second putt for par. Even.
Hole 3, 390 yard par 4: Hit a 3 wood into a stiff breeze. Hit a 6 iron from 170 yard to about 8 feet. Holes the putt for birdie. One under.
Hole 4, 430 yard par 4. Hit a big drive with helping breeze down the middle. Hit 9 iron from 140 yard to right fringe. Two putted for par. One under.
Hole 5, 390 yard par 4. Hit a good drive into the wind to right side of fairway. Hit 7 iron from 160 yards to 8 feet below hole. Holed putt for birdie. Two under.
Hole 6, 120 yard par 3. Hit a pitching wedge into right center of green. Two putted for par. Two under.
Hole 7, 370 yard par 4. Hit a 3 wood down the center. Hit a 9 iron from 140 yards to right side of green. Hit 40 foot putt 8 feet past, sank sliding downhill put for par. Two under.
Hole 8, 450 yard par 4. Hit big drive into wind into right rough. Hit 7 iron from 170 yards in grassy lie to 20 feet short of green. Chip with lob wedge stops 10 inches short of hole. Gimme for par. Two under.
Hole 9, 520 yard par 5. Hit weak drive in middle. Hit 5 wood in fairway 100 yards short of green. Hit weak sand wedge to front of green. Hit 45 foot putt 6 feet past hole, missed right breaking downhill put for bogey. One under par 35 on front nine.

Hole 10, 500 yard par 5. Hit 3 wood down right side of fairway. Hit 5 wood to 50 yards from green on right side of fairway. Hit lob wedge that lands 6 feet short and stops 12 inches past hole. Gimme birdie. One under.
Hole 11, 100 yard par 3. Hit sand wedge short between green and pond. Chipped with sand wedge to 5 feet. Sank 5 footer for par. One under.
Hole 12, 370 yard par 4. Hit 3 wood down left side that kicks to middle of fairway. Hit 8 iron from 150 yards left of green. Pitched with log wedge to short-side pin to within 4 feet. Sank downhill right breaker for par. One under.
Hole 13, 150 yard par 3. Hit 8 iron to right fringe. Two putted for par. One under.
Hole 14, 390 yard par 4. Hit driver down right side, kicks right into hazard. 1 stroke penalty. Dropped in rough, hit 7 iron from 160 yards to 10 feet beyond pin. Two putted for bogey. Even.
Hole 15, 180 yard par 3. Hit 7 iron to left front fringe, rolls onto green. Two putted for par. Even.
Hole 16, 550 yard par 5. Hit driver in right rough. Hit 6 iron around trees to center of fairway. Hit pitching wedge from 110 yards to 10 feet below hole. Left birdie putt short by 4 inches. Even.
Hole 17, 360 yard par 4. Hit 3 wood down right side. Hit pitching wedge from 120 yards to 20 feet below hole (getting dark). Two putted for par. Even.
Hole 18, 500 yard par 5. Hit big drive down center. Hit 3 wood from 230 yards to just short of green. Almost dark. Hit lob wedge to 15 feet short of pin. Two putted for par. Even par 36 on back. One under par 71 for 18 holes.

The three putt on hole nine and the drive into the hazard on hole 14 were the only real mistakes.

Newnan Golfer Fires 55 – on 18 Holes

Link to AJC

GOLF: Newnan man can drive, and putt, to 55
Glenn Sheeley – Staff
Saturday, May 15, 2004

For Newnan resident Steve Gilley, 55 is no longer the speed limit. It’s the best number he has ever shot on a golf course. Playing in his hometown of Martinsville, Va., at Lynwood Country Club last Monday, the 32-year-old mini-tour player shot a 16-under-par 55 that included a back nine of 25 — an eagle followed by eight birdies. Although not done in official competition and on a course measuring just more than 6,000 yards, the numbers are still staggering.

The magic didn’t last, though. Two days after the 55, Gilley could manage only an even-par 72 in local qualifying for the U.S. Open in Wallace, N.C., and failed to advance. “It’s kind of frustrating,” he said. “I go from making everything to where I can’t make a 5-footer.”

I played the Lynnwood course numerous times in my junior days. It was a very short, municipal-style course. Now the course rating is 67.8, and slope is 110. (I’d like to spend about a week playing it now to post some good scores!)