Golf Bucks County

By Bob Oliver

Middletown Country Club

Middletown is a compact 80 acres of challenging golf, with rolling hills and large specimen trees that have watched many golfers travel its fairways over time. It has retained its old time feel with tees and greens in close proximity, allowing golfers to walk the course if they choose.

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17 Jun
2020

"Dean" Bogan a Bensalem fixture

Written by Bob Oliver

 

 

There is not a bit of a doubt that over his tenure at Bensalem Township Country Club that Jim Bogan has seen it all.

Bogan caddied at the then-Cornwells Country Club in 1962, graduated to working in the pro shop, and after college joined Al Wilfong's professional staff. In 1971 he was named head professional. Suffice it to say he's the Dean of area golf professionals. 

Now known as Bensalem Township Country Club, the municipally owned club has undergone numerous upgrades and revisions over the years. Superintendent Jim Stauring has done a masterful job on the course, making it a challenge for all levels of player.

And through 2019 Bogan in his 50 plus years at the club thought he'd seen it all.  Then came the COVID-19 pandemic and the shuttering of the club for a couple of months.  These days, using the best of breed in COVID-19 policies and procedures, the club is welcoming players.

"We've been doing a land office business," said Bogan. "The phones are ringing off the hook as players had a pent up demand and were chomping at the bit to play once some of the restrictions were lessened.  We are complying with the restrictions - extended time between tee times, cleaning carts, ensuring players wear masks inside and social distancing - and we've worked hard to make it all work."

Originally designed by William and David Gordon in 1960, the layout is basically unchanged although great steps have been taken to improve playability by trimming trees, manicuring fairways and rolling greens. The course plays to a par of 70 and about 62200 yards and can be as challenging as a player likes. 

"We have a fair test of golf. The nice thing is we've been very busy after restrictions were removed. The players tell us the course is fun but always a challenge," said Bogan. "We've worked hard to give the players what they want both on the course and off."

Bogan has the course record of 64, a mark that has been tied but never broken. "This isn't an easy course!"

Over the years it has seen its share of great players.  PGA Tour Hall fo Fame player Johnny Miller played it numerous times.  Former Tour player Gary Hardin joined the professional staff for a while, and on the amateur side of things Keith Wilson earned numerous club championships. 

Bensalem Township Country Club has matured and is a fine test of golf.  Check it out!

 

 

14 Jun
2020

Chamblee keeps it real

Written by Bob Oliver

 

Everyone has an opinion.  Cable channels are full of those spouting views that create havoc, that evoke emotion.

Sports talk radio receives big ratings in cities across the nation. Maybe not as much as the news, but after straight news people like to "speak" with their radio on the way to work or around town. 

The Golf Channel has long been a place where all facets of golf can be listened to and viewed, from instruction to information to, well, opinions. And these days, information and opinion, can generate controversy. And today's poster child for opinion is Brandel Chamblee.

Chamblee, a journeyman PGA Tour player at best, has developed into someone whose opinions shake and bake the golf world.  Like Johnny Miller, who grazed the NBC telecasts before his retirement, Chamblee is never at a loss for words. 

Chamblee keeps it real.

Chamblee unfiltered fires opinions from the hip. He calls things as his mind sees them, seemingly without regard for the toes he steps on or the players he offends. Heck there was even a dustup with Eldrick Tiger Woods that made headlines for weeks. 

Players never like being called out, a natural feeling. Criticism is a part of the game of course, and there are always many sides to a story or situation. Emotions come out. Chamblee isn't afraid of spouting his opinion and that results in talk, more talk and controversy. Still, it's something he excels at. 

That said, appearances aren't everything. Away from the red light of the camera he's also never at a loss for words, a great interview and willing to provide thought provoking dialogue. 

He smiled at the question. "I merely try to be myself and give the viewer my take on things. I'm not saying I'm right or wrong, but it's my option shaped by years of being involved in this great game," said Chamblee earlier this year. "I don't get paid to keep my thoughts to myself, to keep them hidden away. I get paid to think and them get those thoughts onto the air. Yes, I have some opinions that might be considered controversial, but so be it."

Philadelphia holds a special place in Chamblee's golf mind. 

"No question Philadelphians are sports fanatics. It is a great town for golf, and I wish the Tour was here more often. There are some great courses, from Merion to Philadelphia Cricket Club and Pine Valley. There is a storied golf history here.

"The folks here are passionate about sports, they are fanatics. And I love the area."

On the tube Chamblee is never at a loss for his opinion. 

"Look, the viewer is obviously watching things. They can see. I can help interpret or give   an inside the ropes analysis. What was a player thinking at that moment. What variables were present. How the player approaches a situation. How he executed play, how he didn't."

He does not shy away from opinion, although sometimes, upon further review, he might wish he's stated something a little differently.

"But I've got to be me."

Chamblee is one of a kind.