Thursday, October 25, 2012

South Beats North In Texas Junior Cup Matches

There's a new cup competition in Texas, and this year, the inaugural one, the South beat the North in the Texas Junior Cup Matches.

The Texas Junior Cup will be an annual competition between teams of junior golfers, boys and girls ages 6-12, representing the Southern Texas PGA and Northern Texas PGA. The golfers for each side are selected from those participating in the respective PGA chapters' junior tours.

The inaugural Texas Junior Cup win went to the STPGA side by a score of 17.5 to 6.5. The format consisted of a 9-hole Scramble and Four-Ball Matches the first day, followed by 9-hole Singles Matches the final day. The event was contested at Northwood Club in Dallas.

Congrats to the kids from both sides who competed. And those kids were:

North Team
Haili Moore, Prosper
Alyssa Kurji, Plano
Gabbi Bentancourt, Lubbock
Bianca Cunningham, Garland
Hailey Jones, Dallas
Phoebe Yuan, Allen
Minas Manias, Frisco
Sam Jenkins, Garland
Wade Langley, Winnsboro
Dawson Ovard, Frisco
Jake Benanti, McKinney
Robert Lahrman, Dallas

South Team Jacqueline Nguyen, Houston
Morgan Miller, Cedar Park
Grace Ni, Houston
Tiffany Nguyen, Houston
Hailee Cooper, Montgomery
Leah Alberto, Kingwood
Shaheen Momin, Sugarland
Treed Huang, Katy
Zakary Jones, Spring
Jason Bryant, Baytown
Sam Bennett, Madisonville
Jake Wittschiebe, Fair Oaks Ranch

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tip: Load and Coil Behind Ball With Simple Drill

A few days ago we told you about Texas' top young golf instructors - five teachers in Texas named to Golf Digest's list of the best instructors in America under age 40.

We're very pleased to present the following video tip to Texas Golf readers, courtesy of one of those instructors:

The instructor is Joey Wuertemberger of the Jim McLean Golf Center in Fort Worth. In the above video, Joey demonstrates a pretty simple drill that golfers can do indoors, in the home or the office, during the winter or on inclement days, to help groove a better backswing position.

The backswing position in question is part of what Jim McLean calls the "2 Pivot Point Swing," and Joey shows how this drill will help you properly load and coil behind the golf ball.

And check out Joey's website, JW Instruction, for more info about him and his lessons.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Now Open: Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course in Laredo

(Images courtesy of Foresight Golf)

There's a new golf course in Texas. In Laredo, to be exact: The Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course. It celebrated its "soft opening" on Oct. 18.

This isn't just good news for Laredo, but for the golf course industry in general. There just aren't many courses getting built in the United States right now, and there haven't been for the past five years. The business is so slow that When Laredo put out a request for proposals to golf course architecture firms, the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Pete Dye, Robert Trent Jones Jr., Michael Hurdzan, D.A. Weibring, Hale Irwin, David McLay Kidd, Lanny Wadkins and Peter Jacobsen put in bids.

And Robert Trent Jones Jr. is the one who won; Foresight Golf is the company that is managing the property for the City of Laredo.

The Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course has only been open a few days as this is written, but everyone in Laredo already knows it simply as "the Max."

The golf course website includes the following among its descriptive prose:

"Breathtakingly overlooking the Rio Grande River just north of Laredo ... The golf course is strategically situated on 270 acres of atypical South Texas Mesquite land. The site has almost a mile of Rio Grande River frontage with the clubhouse and Holes 8, 9, 15 and 16 playing directly alongside and overlooking the river. It is a par 72 golf course that has an excellent balance of drama, playability, risk and reward that will make for exciting and enjoyable golf for all levels of player."

An article on cybergolf.com adds: "It also traverses deep arroyos and navigates through 30-foot-tall mesquite woodlands and open farmland."

One of the interesting things that RTJII did in his design of The Max was the creation of three loops over the back nine: "... the closing nine present(s) returning loops of three holes and six holes flanking the practice facility." So if you don't have time for 18 - or even nine - you can just play three holes or six holes, or play the back nine. A beginning golfer, or a child just starting out, can learn on the 3-hole loop.

That's a great, family-friendly, beginner-friendly touch. There are also five sets of tees, and wide fairways.

And it looks great in the photos, doesn't it? Next time you make a run for the border, take your sticks and include a stop at The Max.

And if you've played Laredo's Max A. Mandel Municipal, leave your course rating and comments below.

Leonard Leads Texas Hall's Class of 2012

The Texas Golf Hall of Fame inducted its Class of 2012 on Monday in a ceremony at San Antonio Country Club. The seven inductees are:
  • Justin Leonard: University of Texas star, 12-time winner on the PGA Tour, British Open champion.
  • Robert Dedman Sr.: Inducted posthumously. Founder of Club Corporation of America, better known to golfers as ClubCorp.
  • Charlie Epps: Longtime Texas club pro, head pro at Redstone Golf Club; instructor to Angel Cabrera and Blaine McCallister.
  • David Price: Pro at Bent Tree Country Club, Golf Professional of the Year in 1995, member PGA of America Hall of Fame, prominent rules official.
  • John Grace: Texas Amateur champion, member of US Walker Cup team.
  • Mina Hardin: 5-time Texas State Women's Amateur champion, Texas Women's Open winner, US Senior Women's Amateur winner.
  • Sam Goldfarb Sr.: Inducted posthumoustly in Pioneer category. Chairman of San Antonio Golf Association in the 1940s and 1950s, chairman of Texas State Junior events at Brackenridge.
Also, the Hall added Champions Golf Club in Houston to the Texas Registry of Historic Golf Courses, which now includes Brackenridge Park in San Antonio, Dallas' Cedar Crest Golf Course and Brook Hollow Golf Club, and Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.

Leonard, of course, is the headliner. He'll forever be remembered for that long putt he made to cap Team USA's historic comeback at the 1999 Ryder Cup. He's also a 3-time winner of the Texas Open, and told the San Antonio Express-News that his connection to San Antonio, and the Hall's location in the Alamo City, made the honor even more special:

"I think it's a big reason I am here," he said. "I've had a lot of success in this city. It's been a special place to me and our family and our career. The fact that it's down here just adds to all that."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Justin Leonard Has One More Shot to Keep His Card

Texas' own Justin Leonard is struggling through the worst season of his PGA Tour career. Perhaps that's not suprising. He is over 40 now, a time in pro golfers' careers when many of them - even major championship winners like Leonard - start to see their tournament results sink a little lower, and to have more inconsistency, more poor performances.

Leonard, who has 12 career PGA Tour wins, hasn't won since 2008. His exemption status in 2012 is based on the multiple-winner exemption, but that expires at the end of the season. He currently sits 138th on the PGA Tour money list. Only the Top 125 retain fully exempt status for 2013, and there is just one tournament left in the season.

That's the Disney, which takes place Nov. 8-11. Leonard has played all the Fall Series tournaments, and picked up a little ground with a 30th-place finish at the Timberlake Shriners event. But he missed the cut at the Frys.com Open, and last week was 69th at the McGladrey Classic. Although he cashed there, he dropped on the money list.

Leonard's previous worst finish on the money list was 109th in 2006, which was (until this year) his only time outside the Top 100. Eight times in his career Leonard finished in the Top 15 of the money list.

So what happens if Leonard can't find some Disney magic and move into the Top 125? Don't worry - there are other exemptions Leonard can call on to remain a full-time PGA Tour player in 2013. For example, golfers who rank in the Top 50 on the career earnings list have a one-time exemption they can use at any time to retain their card. Leonard is 9th in career earnings.

Depending on where he finishes on the money list, Leonard will probably save that exemption, however. (There's also a second one for being in the Top 25 on the career money list.) So long as he's within shouting distance of No. 125, Leonard will get into enough tournaments through his partial status that, combined with a sponsor exemption here and there, he should still be able to play a full or very nearly full schedule in 2013.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Nearly 800-Yard Drive That Happened at the Texas Open

That headline sounds like something ol' Bogey is just making up. But I'm not! This is what I learned while surfing the web today: Once upon a time, a PGA Tour golfer hit a drive that measured nearly 800 yards in length. And it happened at the 1992 Texas Open.

I learned this from About.com's account of the incident, which includes this:

The golfer was Carl Cooper, who at the time was a 31-year-old journeyman. The tournament was the 1992 Texas Open, played that year at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio. ...

... On the par-4, 456-yard third hole, Cooper launched his drive ... On the fly, the ball hit a downward-running concrete cart path and took off.

The ball rolled past the fifth green. Then it passed the sixth tee. It eventually left the cart path and veered onto an unpaved maintenance road. And finally it came to a stop behind the No. 12 green.

According to the story, Cooper's caddie measured it at 787 yards from the third tee. Read the rest of the story here.

Texas' Top Young Golf Instructors

Who are Texas' top young teachers of golf? One way to look at that question is to consult the Golf Digest ranking of "America's Best Young Teachers," which appears in the November 2012 issue.

The magazine defines young as under-40, which is a pretty good definition since most of the really famous golfer instructors are approximately 120 years old.

Multiple instructors at Texas golf facilities made the list. Congrats to the following teachers:

  • Carlos Brown: Age 32, teaches at Waterview Golf Club in Rowlett.
  • Chris Como: Age 35, teaches at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano.
  • Cameron McCormick: Age 39, teaches at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas.
  • Chris O'Connell: Age 39, Plane Truth Golf, Plano.
  • Joey Wuertemberger: Age 33, teaches at Jim McLean Golf Center in Fort Worth.
Of course, if you want to learn from the best, you have to expect to pay. Among these five instructors, the lowest lesson rate is $120. You'll also notice all five teach in the DFW area.