Thursday, August 31, 2006

96-Year-Old Recalls Role in San Antonio Golf

Columnist Richard Oliver's weekly golf page in the San Antonio Express-News included a great read a few days ago. Richard spoke with 96-year-old Dorothy Lee Goldfarb about the role she and her husband played in raising the profile of the Texas Open and of San Antonio as a golf destination.

Only days before the 90th anniversary of Brackenridge Municipal, only weeks before the 76th playing of the Texas Open, she looks back with pride at the role she and her late husband, Sam, played in nurturing the sport's growth in San Antonio.

"I never even drove a ball," she said. "I was always the secretary. But I walked with him all over every golf course."

Over more than 30 years, it was a partnership that oversaw Texas state junior championships, helped salvage the Texas Open and witnessed the emergence of the city as a golf destination.

Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, along with ascendant junior players including Ben Crenshaw, Bruce Lietzke and Tom Kite, all checked in for pro and amateur tournaments, year after year, by dropping by Dorothy Lee's table a wedge shot away from the 18th green at Willow Springs, Pecan Valley or, most often, Brackenridge.

It's a good read. Check it out here.

Coming Event: Hill Country Amateur

The folks who dreamed up the Hill Country Amateur Classic had plans to make it one of the top amateur events in Texas, perhaps in the U.S., when they announced last year's first tournament. According to the Austin American-Statesman, "Several hundred golfers from Texas and around the country were coming to Austin for four days of golf, food and entertainment."

But then Hurricane Katrina hit, and "the Austin Convention Center, which ... had (been) booked for four nights of dining and entertainment, became the temporary home of hurricane evacuees. (Organizers) made do with a difficult situation, and the first Hill Country Amateur Classic was applauded as a success. "

Round 2 in the evolution of the Hill Country Amateur Classic takes place the last week in September, and this go-round might be the one that raises the tournament's profile to another level.

The tournament is open to both men and women, features four rounds of play in five divisions using Stableford system scoring, with lunch served daily and a special dinner planned.

The tournament runs Sept. 27-30 and play will take place on numerous Austin golf courses, including Avery Ranch, Barton Creek Crenshaw, Barton Creek Lakeside, Circle C, Falconhead, Flintrock Falls, Onion Creek and Twin Creeks.

The entry fee of $595 per person is steep (which also ensures a field of serious golfers), but you get a lot of golf for that money, plus it includes:

  • Greens fees, range balls, carts, and luncheons for 4 days
  • Welcome gift bag (shirt, hat, money clip, golf balls, local flavor samples, coupons for shopping)
  • Dinner and live entertainment Friday evening for two
  • Daily prizes (watches, golf clubs, golf balls, dinners, free rounds of golf, etc.) for closest to pin, long drive, putting

More information is available at the Hill Country Amateur Classic Web site, which also includes a registration form.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Texas Open Moving to October

The PGA Tour on Wednesday announced the makeup of its "Fall Series," the end-of-the-year tournaments that will follow the points-race-based FedEx Cup on the new PGA Tour schedule for 2007.

One of the seven tournaments in the Fall Series will be the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, which moves from its usual September date to Oct. 4-7 in 2007.

This is good for the Texas Open for several reasons. First, its September date always coincided with the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, so the attention of fans was never on the tournament. Plus, the 24 golfers playing in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup were guaranteed not to play in the Texas Open. Granted, most of them wouldn't play anyway, but in some years, for example, the conflicting dates kept multiple Texas Open winner Justin Leonard from attending.

Second, being pushed back a couple weeks into October should produce a better climate - as in, weather - for the Texas Open. The heat in September was often still in the upper 90s for the tournament. And climbing your way around The Resort Course at La Cantera is tough enough without upper-90 temperatures (a few caddies have been known to collapse on the course due to heat exhaustion).

Most important, however, for Texas Open tournament organizers is that they know this new October date and spot in the Fall Series - which is really just PGA Tour-speak for "series of tournaments nobody will care about" - is that the date is not permanent. Texas Open officials know they will move to a much better date in the future.

How? They have a signed agreement with the PGA Tour commissioner that the Texas Open will get the first spring date that opens up on the tour calendar. My bet is the move to a coveted spring date will coincide with the move to the PGA Tour-owned Tournament Players Course being designed in San Antonio by Pete Dye. That course should be ready for play around 2010.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

NTPGA Professional Championship

Report from the Northern Texas PGA on its Professional Championship, which sends its top finishers to nationals in Oregon:

PROSPER, Texas – Lindy Miller, director of golf at Mira Vista Golf Club, won the playoff battle of past NTPGA Professional Championship winner to captured the championship and will lead nine (9) Section PGA Professionals to compete in The
40th PGA Professional National Championship on June 21-24, 2006 at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon. Miller, three-time winner of the event made par on the first playoff hole to defeat Perry Arthur, director of instruction at Stonebridge Ranch and four-time champion to claim the title. Both players were tied for fifth place after the first round and shot identical rounds of 69 (three under par) today to send the tournament to extra holes. Miller and Arthur both finished the event with 36-hole scores of 139 (five under par).

The round of the tournament was turned in today by Billy Harris, head golf professional at Dallas Country Club, which was highlighted by a second shot on the par five, 6th Hole that hit the flagstick before stopping within two feet. Harris proceed to make the eagle putt ,propelling him to a 32-34 – 66 (6 under par) final round.

Miller and Arthur will be joined in Sunriver, Oregon next June by; Robert McMillan from GolfTec – North Dallas, Robert Boisvert from Harbor Lakes Golf Club, Billy Harris and Paul Norris of Dallas Country Club, Tim Brown of Eldorado Country Club, Carl Worley, Jr . of Holly Lake Ranch Golf Club and Tom Strueber of Columbian Country Club.

This 36-hole NTPGA Section major championship is the third of the four individual stroke play championships that comprise the Cleveland Golf NTPGA Player of the Year Points Challenge, as well as a qualifier for points in the 2006 Texas Joe Black Cup team. The championship featured 110 players competing for a share of the $25,600.00 purse. Miller took home $3,100.00 for his first place finish. Titleist/FootJoy/Cobra, Buick, Club Car are the proud sponsors of the event being conducted on the 7,236 yard par 72 course layout at Gentle Creek Golf Club in Prosper.

The 2007 PGA Professional National Championship will feature a purse of approximately $500,000, with live television coverage of all four rounds. A 312-player field of the nation’s finest PGA Professionals will assemble at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon. Following 36 holes of play, the field will be trimmed to the low 70 scores and ties.
Complete tournament results are available here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

SPI Texas Senior Open Qualifying

The 2006 South Padre Island Texas Senior Open is scheduled Nov. 9-11 at South Padre Island Golf Club. This is one of the biggest senior tournaments in Texas, offering one of the largest purses outside the major- and mini-tour events. Last year's purse was $80,000, with winner Chuck Moran of Houston claiming the first prize of $14,000.

The SPI Texas Senior Open is open to professionals and amateurs who will be 50 years old or older as of Nov. 9 and who have a USGA Handicap Index of 9.0 or less.

Golfers who are not otherwise exempt from qualifying can attempt to play their way into the tournament through four qualifying tournaments:

  • Tangle Ridge Golf Course, Grand Prairie, Oct. 17
  • Plum Creek Golf Club, Kyle, Oct. 19
  • The Woodlands Country Club, East Course, Oct. 23
  • South Padre Island Golf Club ("last chance" qualifying), Nov. 6

The deadline for entry into the qualifying events and the championship is Oct. 11, 2006. All entrants into the qualifying tournaments will be an entry fee of $175, which includes green and cart fees and practice balls. Successful qualifiers will pay an additional $225 entry fee for the championship; all exempt players will pay a $400 entry fee.

Visit the Southern Texas PGA web site at for more info or entry details.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Houstonian Holds On to Win State Senior Amateur

Chris Larsen of Houston took a 7-shot lead into the final round of the Texas Golf Association State Senior Amateur, played at San Antonio Country Club. When the final round was over, Larsen had managed to hang on for a 1-stroke victory.

Here is the report from the TGA:

San Antonio -- Chris Larsen of Houston held off a hard charging Fred Clark of Kingwood to win his first TGA State title, claiming the 2006 State Senior Amateur Championship at historic San Antonio Country Club. Starting the day with a seven shot lead, Larsen had several players making a run at him. A five shot lead with six holes to play turned into a one shot lead going to the final hole, where Larsen made a tough two putt par to secure the win. Clark had the low round of the tournament in Sunday’s finale with a four under par 68 to finish in second by one shot.

Defending Champion Mike Rice of Houston, who won both the Senior and Super Senior titles a year ago, won the Super Senior (65+) division, and finished tied for sixth overall.

"This is a thrill," Larsen said after accepting the champion’s trophy. "To have just turned 55 last year and be playing in only my second Texas State Senior – and win – its just a thrill for me."

Larsen has opened up a seven shot lead going into the final round with a 36 hole total of five under par 139, but several players made a charge at the leader. Jerry Hudgins, last year’s runner-up, was three under after six holes and Larsen was one over par through the same stretch, meaning his lead was down to two. Hudgins, who was paired with Clark and Rice in the next to last group, made bogey on holes 13 and 16 to fall out of contention. Clark was the one who got hot on the back side with birdies at 15 and 16 while Larsen bogeyed the same two holes as Hudgins (13 & 16). Larsen steadied himself with routine pars on the final two holes, and Clark’s birdie attempt at the 18th slid just past the hole.

Hudgins ended up with a one under par 71 in the final round for a third place finish. Tom McGraw (69) of Montgomery and Larry Trowell (70) of The Colony tied for fourth, four shots behind. Rice breezed to the Super Senior title with a final round of even par 72. Jim Raines of San Antonio was second, 10 shots behind Rice, with Don Addington of Dallas finishing third another shot back.

Complete results are available on the TGA tournament page.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Catching Up

I've been preoccupied with work lately and, in addition to not being to get in any golf, I've also missed quite a few golf stories over the past few weeks. So here's a roundup post to catch up. Most of the links below go to newspaper articles. If you're asked for a user name/password, visit to get login info.

• The National High School Golf Coaches Association/PowerBilt Awards honored 43 golfers from around the country as All-Americans or Players of Achievement. The Boys All-America team include Austin Griffin of Cuero High School. And Rachel Dansby of Lubbock Christian High School was named to the Girls All-American team.

• Here's an article in the San Angelo paper about how some charitable organizations are turning away from golf tournaments to sporting clays shooting tournaments as fund-raisers.

• The bump-in-the-road known as Carl's Corner, Texas - essentially just a truck stop on I-35 south of Dallas - is getting a big investment from Willie Nelson. And Willie likes golf. No details about golf in this article, except a mention that in addition to some new hotels and an expansion of the truck stop, a golf course is also going to be added.

• The new Hyatt resort in Bastrop - the Lost Pines Resort & Spa - is the subject of this article in the Dallas Morning News' Travel section.

• Stone River Golf Club in Royse City - formerly known as AAKI Ranch - is getting a renovation that will include some new holes.

• Here's a quick roundup of courses in the Brazosport area that includes recommendations on where to play.

• The Austin newspaper writes about local pro Will Stephens, after whom the Stephens Cup - played this weekend at BlackHawk in Pflugerville - is named. The article includes this:

Before coming to Austin in 1977, Stephens worked in Dallas, Houston, California and New York. In the 1960s he worked alongside Gene Sarazan, and he later worked with Sam Snead. Not a bad pair to rub shoulders with if you're a young teaching pro.

In Austin, Stephens has been a teaching pro at Great Hills Country Club, Morris Williams and Blackhawk. His contributions to the game were recognized last year when he received the Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year Award from the Southern Texas PGA.

• Popular pro Fred Funk commits to play in the AT&T Championship, the Champions Tour stop in San Antonio.

• Here's an interesting article by Richard Oliver in the San Antonio paper about the "satisfying view" now held by officials of the PGA Tour Texas Open, who see big things ahead for the tournaments - including a coveted spring date.

And here's some news on Richard rather than from him: He'll shortly be leaving the golf beat at the San Antonio Express-News. I'm sure his replacement on that beat will do a fine job, but Richard will be missed. He's a great writer and has been good for golf in San Antonio.

• The Fort Worth paper has an article on a book called The Muldooney Revisions:

How can anyone take a book seriously when it quickly theorizes that Davy Crockett actually escaped from the Alamo -- in a woman's dress -- then lives in exile in New Orleans "playing the unlikely role of a strapping spinster restaurateur?"

The article quickly points out that the book is actually "a manifesto of sorts for a group that calls itself SortaGolf, an anti-USGA group whose motto is 'Gimme mulligan or gimme death.' " SortaGolf is based in Austin and you can learn more about it at

• And I'll be honest - I don't really understand what the point of this competition is. But since half the golfers are a 2-man team from Houston, I'm passing it along.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Donate Your Old Clubs

So you've just bought a shiny new set of souped up golf clubs. What do you do with your old set? If you're like most golfers, you let them gather dust (and rust) in the garage, or put an ad in the paper to sell them, or wait for the next garage sale.

Another option is to donate the clubs to a local junior golf program. Such programs usually have small budgets, ones that don't include much room for buying clubs for kids. And there are always kids in those programs, sometimes from lower-income families, who don't have their own clubs.

Your old clubs can be cut down or re-fitted to size junior golfers, when necessary. Regardless, your old clubs will find a new home and help introduce new golfers to the game.

Round Rock resident Charles Besondy took it upon himself recently to collect used golf clubs on behalf of the City of Austin's junior program. He hit up his friends and wound up getting clubs from as far away as Oregon - $2,000 worth of used clubs - for Austin juniors.

“When I was 9 years old an aunt and uncle put a golf club into my hands and we snuck together onto a nearby course at dusk to show me what golf was all about. I’ve loved the game ever since, and wanted to do my part to give kids a positive first experience with the sport,” Besondy said.

“Imagine the impact if every town with a junior golf program was able to give five to ten more kids a positive golf experience every year because the clinics had enough equipment. That would be huge for the kids, and for golf."

Good work, Charles. More info about Charles' efforts can be found here.

If you're interested in donating your old clubs, contact your local city golf program, or a local chapter of the First Tee, to inquire. Also be on the lookout for donation drives, which are sometimes conducted by retailers such as Edwin Watts.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

TGA South Region Mid-Am

Yesterday we posted about the North Region Mid-Am, so today here's the recap of the South Region Mid-Am. From the Texas Golf Association:

Montgomery -- Randy Lance of Conroe shot an even par final round of 71 to coast to a seven shot victory in the 2006 TGA South Region Mid-Amateur Championship. Playing his home course – Woodforest Golf Club at Fish Creek – Lance was the only player to finish the 54 hole tournament under par with a three day total of three under 210. Jonathon Mathias of San Antonio finished second a distant seven shots back at 217. However, the runner-up finish secured Mathias his second consecutive South Region Player of the Year title. John Dowdall of Houston finished third at 218 following a difficult final round 75. All three players earned exemptions into the 2006 TGA State Mid-Amateur Championship at Champions Golf Club in September.

Starting the day with a three shot lead, Lance said he “played pretty conservative today (Sunday). I didn’t so much the first two rounds, but today I hit a lot of 1 irons to just put the ball at the 150 marker,” Lance said of his game plan. He also knows the firm and fast greens at Woodforest are a challenge. “The greens here are tough to read. There are places you just can’t put the ball and expect to two-putt. I think it helps significantly that I know the golf course so well.”

The players in the TGA South Region Mid-Am were treated to three days of excellent, albeit hot, weather and scoring conditions. What looked like a three man battle to start the final round turned into a one man show as Kip Guidry of Missouri City, who was in second place at the start of the day, struggled to a final round 77. That, coupled with Dowdall’s 75, gave Lance the chance to stick to his conservative
game plan, and also opened the door for Mathias, whose final round of one over par 72 allowed him to move from fifth to second. Guidry slipped to a fourth place tie with defending Champion Mike Booker of The Woodlands and Dean Hall of Montgomery.

See the complete results on the TGA Web site.

Monday, August 14, 2006

TGA North Region Mid-Am

Jeff Makohon of Heath is the winner of the 2006 TGA North Region Mid-Amateur Championship, completed Sunday at Buffalo Creek Golf Club in Rockwall. Here is the recap from the Texas Golf Association:

Rockwall -- Jeff Makohon of Heath, shot a four under par 67 in the final round to edge out his nearest competitor by two shots and claim victory in the 2006 TGA North Region Mid-Amateur Championship. Rob Couture of Dallas, fired a final round of two under par 69 to earn him sole possession of second place. Mike Cotter slid in for third place with a well played three under par 68, also earning him the third and final exemption into the final field at the 2006 State Mid Amateur in September.

Dru Fenimore of Dallas finished forth, six shots back at 211. However, the strong showing secured Fenimore the 2006 North Regional Player of the Year Status. With his North Regional Player of the Year, Fenimore earns an invite to the TGA Shoot-Out a long with the second and third place finishers in the North Regional Final point standings.

During the final round Buffalo Creek GC played a full shot harder than it did in round two with the wind causing havoc for those teeing off latter in the day. Blistering hot temperatures continued as well in the final round making conditions grueling for all three days of competition.
See the complete results on the TXGA site.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

NTPGA Award Winners

It's awards time in the North Texas PGA section, and here are the golf professionals and other golfers who are honored this year:

Metro Chapter

  • Golf Professional of the Year - Gilbert Freeman, Lakewood CC
  • Assistant Golf Professional of the Year - Craig Brown, Lakewood CC
  • Teacher of the Year -Cameron McCormick, Brook Hollow GC
  • Junior Golf Leader -Harold Geyer, Northern Texas PGA
  • Merchandiser of the Year (Public) -Paul Earnest, Four Seasons Resort & Club
  • Merchandiser of the Year (Private) - James Williams Jr., Ridgewood CC
  • Bill Strausbaugh Award - Bob Elliott, Northwood Club

West Texas Chapter

  • Golf Professional of the Year - Price Courter, Hogan Park GC
  • Assistant Golf Professional of the Year - Jerrod Simmons, Big Spring CC
  • Teacher of the Year - Lance Patterson, Midland CC
  • S.A. Smith Junior Golf Leader -Greg Sikes, Hogan Park GC
  • Merchandiser of the Year (Private) - Jason Hase, San Angelo CC
  • Horton Smith Award - Brett Lossin, Odessa CC

East Texas Chapter

  • Golf Professional of the Year -Michael Harrison, Holly Tree CC
  • Teacher of the Year -John Sikes, Holly Tree CC
  • Junior Golf Leader - Roy Pace & Mike Williams, Alpine Target Golf Center
  • Merchandiser of the Year (Public) -Darrell Chase, Peach Tree GC
  • Merchandiser of the Year (Private)-Chris Hudson, Willow Brook CC
  • Bill Strausbaugh Award - Tom Campbell, Emerald Bay CC

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Little Linksters Championship

While the Southern Texas PGA's Junior Tour Championship was being played earlier this week on the Tradition Course at Cypresswood Golf Club in Spring (see post below), the STPGA's Little Linksters Tour Championship was also ongoing. This tour is for the younger kids, and let's give them some ink, too. Here are the division winners:

  • Boys 10-12: Dylan Siebenaler, Sugar Land
  • Girls 10-12: Tezira Abe, Angleton
  • Co-ed 7-9: Chandler Phillips, Huntsville

Perhaps Dylan or Chandler is the next Justin Leonard, or Tezira the next Angela Standford.

Here's the recap from the STPGA:

Dylan Siebenaler of Sugar Land carded an 18-hole score (nine holes today, nine holes yesterday) of 38-34--72 on the Creek Course at Cypresswood Golf Club in Spring to win the Boys 10-12 Division of the 2006 Southern Texas PGA Little Linksters Tour Championship.

“I always wanted to win this tournament and it feels great,” said Siebenaler. “My iron game was great today and I made a couple of key putts.”

Siebenaler made birdies on the fourth, fifth and ninth holes during the final nine en route to a 6-stroke win. Four juniors ended up in a second-place tie at 78 after regulation play. Cody Hebert of Katy won a scorecard playoff for second place, with Kaleb Robinson of Spring finishing third, Wes Artac of Kingwood fourth and Benjamin Arnett of Houston fifth.

The Girls 10-12 Division featured a sister act for the top two spots, with Tezira Abe of Angleton edging out her sister, Lakareber, by a four strokes.

“I didn’t start out very well today, but the last five holes, I was chipping and putting well,” said Tezira Abe, who finished at 44-46—90. Lakareber Abe finished at 48-46—94.

“I was leading (my sister) by four shots going into today, and I usually beat her,” said Tezira with a smile.

Houston’s Chandler Phillips, Conner Bjugstad of San Antonio and Travis Ola of Houston finished in a three-way tie for first place in the Co-Ed 7-9 Division of the tournament. Ola, who made the playoff with a 34-41—75 total, suffered a bogey on the second hole of the ensuing sudden-death playoff to drop out of the race.

Phillips, with a regulation score of 39-36—75, scored a bogey on the fourth hole of the playoff to win the championship. Bjugstad finished in second place at 37-38—75.

“I think this is the most wonderful thing that’s happened to me,” said Phillips of his win. “I was nervous both days, but I knew I had to play good to win.”

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

STPGA Junior Championship

The Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour Championship has wrapped up at the Tradition Course at Cypresswood Golf Club in Spring. And the winners are:

  • Boys 16-18: Brandon Reyna, Mission
  • Boys 14-15: Jacob Broussard, Beaumont
  • Boys 12-13: Gregory Rochna, Houston
  • Girls 16-18: Caitlyn Jeffery, San Antonio
  • Girls 12-14: Jessica Tamen, Edinburg

Here's the recap from the STPGA:

Mission’s Brandon Reyna set a goal for this year’s Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour Tour Championship, and he achieved it.

“I lost this tournament by one shot last year, and I was trying to redeem myself,” said Reyna, who carded a 36-hole total of 77-74—151 on the Tradition Course at Cypresswood Golf Club in Spring to win the Boys 16-18 Division of the 2006 tournament.

“I just played solid today,” said Reyna. “I was two behind when the day started, but I caught up after two holes and I was two or three strokes ahead after nine. I knew I would be hard to catch.”

Michael Oates of Pflugerville took the runner-up spot, two strokes back at 153, while Justin Hill of McQueeny finished third at 157.

“This is my first out of town win, so I’m pretty happy,” said Jacob Broussard of Beaumont after winning the tournament’s Boys 14-15 Division. Broussard posted a two-day total of 72-75—147 for a 5-shot edge over Austin’s Tim Mitchell, in second place at 152.

“I wasn’t hitting the ball that well, but my short game saved me on a few holes,” said Broussard, who sealed his win with a birdie on the 17th hole.

Austin’s Pierce Chilton finished in third place at 153.

Houston’s Gregory Rochna was a five-stroke winner in the Boys 12-13 Division, shooting a 74-70—144 total for the title.

“I didn’t think I’d win, but I shot my best round ever (in the final round),” said Rochna. “Everything was working . . . it feels really good to win.”

Hayden Cortez of Vidor finished in second place in the Boys 12-13 group at 77-72—149, followed by Brandon Peterson of Austin in third place at 76-74—150.

“This is a great way to end my summer and start my junior year,” said Caitlyn Jeffery of San Antonio after her 1-shot win in the Girls 16-18 Division.

Jeffery, who said she “didn’t play that well today,” after an 82 left her with a total of 160, held off Edinburg’s Melinda Uriegas, the runner-up at 81-80—161, for the title. Four girls finished in a third-place tie.

Edinburg’s Jessica Tamen was a runaway winner in the Girls 12-14 Division, posting a 36-hole total 81-86—167 and finishing 11 shots ahead of Austin’s Christine Lin, who finished in second place at 94-84—178. Samantha Garcia of Edinburg took third place at 91-97—188.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Homeowners, Beware - Bogey Is Driving

Last week I posted about Hollow Brook Golf Club in Cortlandt, where homeowners' property is being enfilladed by golf balls veering off-track from the recently built golf course.

I've been known to a knock a few balls over fences myself. Earlier in my golfing life, I sliced almost every drive. Nowadays, I mostly hit my drives straight or a with a little draw, but when problems off the tee crop up they crop up in the form of wicked hooks.

In my younger days, my home course was Oso Beach Municipal in Corpus Christi, whose 17th is a straightaway par-4 with about a 170-yard carry over water off the tee. Situated about halfway down the hole, on the right, was an old home with plastic siding. It was in dangerous territory for any golfers who sliced.

And many golfers sliced, from the looks of the home: that siding was pockmarked with holes, and there were almost always balls sitting in its backyard. The city had a large net guarding the corner of a fenceline, but it obviously wasn't enough.

And the homeowner, not without justification, was no friend of golfers. If your ball found its way over or through his chain-link fence, he'd wait until you had approached to peer into his backyard before he'd slowly appear, slowly walk over to your ball, slowly pick it up and put it in his pocket, and slowly walk back inside. If my house was pockmarked from ball strikes, I might act that way, too. As far as I know, the situation hasn't improved in all the years since.

Several times I watched my errant tee shots plopped down in swimming pools behind the swanky homes linking Kings Crossing Country Club in Corpus, where the head pro let me play on Mondays when the course was closed for maintenance.

But my worst home-attack off the tee occured in Bandera at Flying L Ranch. There was a double-dogleg par-5, and sitting right at the corner of the first dogleg was a nice home with a short wooden fence. I remarked to my playing partner that it was much too close to the fairway and in a terrible spot - I bet it got hit pretty frequently.

It sure got hit this day. I stepped up and let 'er rip, and hooked a ball that ducked just over the fence, took a hard bounce, slammeded into a wheelbarrow - making a terrible racket - before pinballing to a stop on the back porch.

I reloaded. After impact, I looked up and the first thing I noticed was the homeowner had emerged out her back door to see what the noise was. The second thing I noticed was that my second drive was heading to exactly the same spot as the first! The ball ducked just over the fence, bounced hard (missed the wheelbarrow this time) and ricocheted around the patio - and around the homeowner.

Needless to say, that's one ball I made no attempt to retrieve.

But no matter how many times you've sliced or hooked a ball into somebody's backyard, at least you've never done what my buddy Manny did at Alice Municipal one day about 15 years ago. He didn't hit a house with a golf ball, but with his golf club.

After a terrible tee shot, he wound up like a discus thrower and heaved his driver down the fairway. I can still see - and hear - it whirlybirding its way forward ... then hooking ... then disappearing over a fence and crashing into the back of a house.

The most amazing thing, however, was that Manny climbed the fence and got it back.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Second TLT Win of the Year for Brigman

The Tight Lies Tour was in Texarkana this past weekend for the Rising Star Open, and Jaxon Brigman walked away with his second tour victory of the year.

Brigman, of Abilene, shot a final-round 72 for a 9-under-par total at Texarkana Golf Ranch, good for a 1-stroke victory over Dallas' Scott Abbott. Brigman won $14,000 for his efforts and is the leader on the Tight Lies Tour money list.

Third-round leader Adam Meyer of Fort Worth shot a final-round 74 and dropped into a third-place tie with Brett Callas of Houston at 7-under.

Full Results

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Father-Son Teams Claims State Stableford Handicap Championship

The latest Texas Golf Association championship wrapped up on Saturday in Austin. Here's the recap of the TGA Stableford Handicap Championship:

The father-son duo of David Allen of Austin and D.J. Allen of Denton held on to win the 2006 TGA Stableford Handicap Championship with a 54 hole total of -6 points in the modified Stableford scoring system tournament that was played at the Flintrock Falls Course of The Hills Country Club in Austin. Finishing in second place was the team of Mike Allred and Pete Zack at -9 points, three points off the pace. The team of Ty Taylor of Houston and Lane Lauritsen of Round Rock were just behind Allred and Zack at -9.75 points.

The tournament used a scoring system where points are awarded for the score a player makes at each hole - one point for bogey, two for par, three for birdie, and four for eagle. Each team has a pre-assigned quota of points to earn which is 72 (par for the Flintrock Falls course) less 90-percent of the sum of each player’s course handicap. Of the 34 teams in the field, none equaled their quota, thus the “minus” scores. The quota is adjusted each day by 50-percent of the team’s excess or deficit.

Former champions Ron and Winn Keeney easily won the Kite Flight with a strong final round of +8.25 to finish at -6.75 for the tournament. The Crenshaw Flight was won by Todd Dever and Ken Johnson who finished the three rounds at -19.25.

The full results can be found on the tournament homepage at the TGA Web site. Also handy is an explanation with examples that help make that complicated scoring system make more sense.

Texas Ex Wins Second Major

Congratulations to Sherri Steinhauer on winning the Women's British Open on Sunday.

Steinhauer is a Wisconsin native, but she attended the University of Texas. With the Longhorns golf team, Steinhauer won five tournaments and was named to the All-America team in 1985. She was MVP of the UT women's golf team in 1983 and '85.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Recap: Texas Junior Golf Championships

The Texas Junior Golf Championships, played under the auspices of the Texas Golf Association's Texas Legends Junior Tour, wrapped up on Wednesday at Barton Creek Resort in Austin. Below are the wrapups from the TGA. To view complete results, click here.

Boys 15-18: Moon Claims Second Major Championship
Alex Moon of Dallas felt no pressure going into the back nine of the final round of the Texas Junior Golf Championships at Barton Creek. Moon, who started the day five strokes ahead of his nearest competitor, expanded his lead to as much as twelve strokes through his rock solid play on the front nine. While playing even par golf on the front side, Moon’s fellow competitors Will Griffin and Jordan Russell struggled mightily right out of the gate, failing to put any pressure on the leader. Moon’s margin of victory was only decreased by a couple of late double bogeys well after the title was assured. This is Moon’s second Texas Legends Tour Major Championship title of the season. Alex also won the EDS Byron Nelson Junior Championship in dominating fashion in May at Lakewood Country Club.

Girls 15-18: Vines Does It Again
Austin's Kelsey Vines defended her Texas Junior Golf Championship in dominating fashion on Wednesday, coasting to a five stroke victory in the Girls 15-18 Division. Vines did not allow the Palmer Lakside layout at Barton Creek to give her any problems as she made few mistakes en route to a 75 and a three round total of 217. Vines birdied the first hole and played the first six holes at even par, not allowing her nearest competitors any chance to challenge her lead, although that wasn’t in her mind. “I just go out there and worry about my own game, I can’t worry about what they are doing, it’s out of my control,” said Vines about her mindset coming into the final round. Ashley Watkins shot a second consecutive 76 to finish as the runner up. Kelsey Kirkpatrick shot 74 to finish third.

Boys 12-14: Redfern Chips In on Final Hole For Victory
Brenden Redfern of Austin saved his best for last in the final round of the Texas Junior Golf Championship at Barton Creek Lakeside on Tuesday. Redfern dramatically chipped in for birdie on the final hole of the tournament, leaving a stunned runner up Anthony Paolucci shaking his head. Redfern short sided himself on the 18th hole, missing the green to the left. With a tucked, difficult hole location staring him in the face, Redfern calmly hit a chip with perfect speed the dropped center hole. Meanwhile, before Redfern’s chip, Paolucci had stuffed his approach to about 10 feet giving himself a birdie putt for an apparent outright win. After Redfern’s heroics forced Paolucci to make his putt, Anthony’s aggressive putt rolled well past the hole and he followed by missing the comebacker, making Redfern’s final margin of victory two strokes. Jordan Spieth and Andrew Presley tied for third place, while Tyler Dunlap (who shot a 70 with four straight birdies) and Kramer Hickok tied for fifth.

Girls 12-14: Collins Hangs On For Win
Emily Collins of Colleyville began the day two strokes back of first round leader Christina Stringham but quickly found herself tied for the lead early in the final round Thursday. Collins then turned her game on playing the next eleven holes at two under par, vaulting herself to a four stroke lead at the turn. Collins held on for dear life coming back into the clubhouse, seeing her lead dwindle after a double bogey on #6 and bogies on #4, #5, #7, #8 and #9 (the division teed off on number 10). Stringham simply could not take advantage of Collins cold streak and bogeyed #8 and #9. Collins buried a knee knocking two foot putt on the final hole for the win. “My hands were shaking and my knees were shaking, I’m surprised I made it,” said an ecstatic Collins after her round.

Ownership of Tight Lies Tour Changing

A North Carolina company called Greens Worldwide Incorporated is in the process of acquiring ownership of Texas Sports Group, Inc., the owner and operator of the Texas-based Tight Lies Tour.

The Tight Lies Tour has been in operation since 1994, operating out of DFW and with a longstanding sponsorship affiliation with Adams Golf. These days, about half its events are played in Texas with the rest played in Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

The Tight Lies Tour was once won of the most lucrative regional mini-tours in the country. And while its tournament purses have remained steady, other mini-tours have passed it by in terms of money and prestige. But plenty of recognizable names are graduates of the Tight Lies Tour, Cameron Beckman, J.L. Lewis and Ryan Palmer among them.

The news release announcing the sale stated that the Tight Lies Tour would continue operations (with some of the same people in charge), and would expand with East and West Divisions.

Greens Worldwide Incorporated is the parent company of the U.S. Pro Golf Tour, which has been on an expansion binge lately. The Tight Lies Tour will now be one of five "official" regional tours feeding into the U.S. Pro Golf Tour.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Buyer Beware ... or Take Responsibility

Whichever is appropriate. When it comes to homes on golf courses, that's my outlook. If you are buying a home that sits on a golf course, do your homework and discover if there are problems with golf balls flying over your fence and, possibly, into your house. If there is any reason to suspect this is so, don't buy the house. Or if you do, don't whine about it or try to sue anybody later.

Likewise, if a golf course developer puts a course into an existing neighborhood, then take responsibility. Don't run the fairways too close to homes, and if proximity can't be avoided, then install safety netting to prevent errant shots from conking homeowners or their homes.

This recent article brings up another situation where homeowners and golf course owners are fighting over safety issues:

The backyards of a row of homes along Adams Rush Road in Cortlandt have become danger zones, thanks to a neighboring golf course.

One resident was plunked in the back by an errant shot while she was tending to a bird feeder. Maria Colombo was almost hit in the head while mowing the lawn and her young daughter narrowly avoided being struck while playing in her sandbox.

John and Karen Oswald won't park their cars in the driveway in the back, and Maureen Chadwick has had two glass picnic tables shattered.

"Every time we hear a golf swing we cringe," Karen Oswald said. "It really is dangerous."

"We're at our wit's end. We don't know what to do. Nobody wants to help us," Chadwick asserted. "We're not asking for anything crazy. We're just asking to protect our children. I don't want to have a dead kid."

Since the Hollow Brook Golf Club on Oregon Road opened full time in the spring of 2005, residents maintain they have been under attack.

They have collected buckets and crates of golf balls that have flied through scattered trees and over a six-foot high fence and landed in their swimming pools, trampolines and decks.

The situation has gotten so bad that children are only permitted to play in the front yard.

Sounds like the homeowners have a right to be angry in this case.