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.

The Traveling Golfer

With host Tony Leodora will travel both near and far to bring viewers a look at some of the most spectacular golf destinations in the world!

27 May
2018

Ridderstrom claims Symetra Tour event

Written by Bob Oliver

Golf is a simple game. Just make shots, make putts and move ahead to the next hole.

Along the was though are more pitfalls and one can imagine. I mean, playing the ball as it lies. Hitting out of sand drenched bunkers, evading inviting water hazards on a hot afternoon when a dip would cool you off.

Okay, golf isn't simple. But the premise is. Score low. Best par. Make the best of each and every bit of luck you get. 

At the inaugural Valley Forge Invitational, a Symetra Tour event played on Pottstown's Raven's Claw Golf Club, the competition was intense. 

Before teeing off Louise Ridderstrom of Sweden knew she'd have to go low to have any chance at winning. She was three shots back, and conditions were there for scoring. If, and that's a big if, there was a way to do it.

Clearly, she did. Ridderstrom carded a sparkling 8-under-par 63 to finish at 16-under-par 197 for the 72 hole event, winning by four shots over Min-G. Kim and Laura Wearn. Her 63 was a course record at Raven's Claw.

The Symetra Tour features many of the aspiring LPGA Tour players, with a season long race to earn tour playing privileges. 

CHIP SHOTS: Numerous local charities shared in proceeds from the event...Raven's Claw is a challenging daily fee course in Pottstown. Ridderstrom earned $15,000 for her victory. 

 

25 May
2018

High Heat provides excellent performance

Written by Bob Oliver

If you’re an amateur golfer who blends a few perfect swings with a number of other problematic swings, you have to read a bit more of this testimonial.

Admittedly, I am not the world’s best golfer. Some at the club know me as “Bulldog” because I’m never out of a match. I don’t give up, even on the worst of days. And on the best of days, well, I can have some fun on the golf course.

Clearly I love the game. Heck I’ve played in 32 states, 12 foreign countries, and have amassed more than 900 different courses played. Only once into a single digit, for years I’ve been in the 12-14 handicap range. But along the way came less practice and more work, and a few pounds around the waist led to less swing speed and a loss of distance.

A couple years ago I came across the High Heat driver from Knuth Golf at an International Network of Golf conference in Utah, and loved it from my first swing. I stroked drive after drive down the range, loving the feel, the distance and accuracy. Still, I’ve been schooled to stay with the big guys, and didn’t want to ruin my game with a move to a new club despite knowing the technology was sound.

The club earned product of the year honors from the ING, and recently won a similar award at the PGA Merchandise Show.

Now, maybe from desperation of losing yardage as well as a bit of accuracy, I needed help. Oh, my driver was still decent, but my fairway woods? Embarrassing.

Running into Knuth Golf’s Stephen Trattner, he suggested the newly redesigned club I’d loved so much a couple years ago, the High Heat Three Wood. I am here to tell you, I am glad I did. While two years ago I was reluctant to change sticks, this time I hit this magical want numerous times and fell in love with the club.

There are reams of information on the www.knuthgolf.com website on the details of the club I hit at the ING Conference in Biloxi, MS., but suffice it to say I know totally understand what goes into the stew, only the result: magnificent.

Make no mistake about it, the High Heat is designed with innovation and technology. It promises more distance and accuracy on non-perfect hits, something I can attest to.

The technology behind the High Heat’s CG makes for a user friendly tool that not only delivers distance and accuracy but feels and looks the part. It’s perfect for the average golfer who doesn’t always make a stroke that delivers a club’s sweet spot.

Knuth Golf’s slogan is Helping Amateurs play better golf, and the High Heat line does just that.

“Each and every week when watching the Tour everyday players yearn to become more proficient with their drives and fairway woods,” explained Trattner. “Yet most continue to moan over mishits that end up in the rough or just don’t go an optimum distance. We can’t guarantee perfection, but we have developed a club that straightens mishits, sending more balls to the fairway.”

Balls ending up in the short grass are earlier to hit to the green, and that means lower scores. The unique High Heat design results in a consistently straighter shot, and that goes into a better scoring equation.

At www.golfbuckscounty.com we can’t guarantee your results will be like our results, but we can assuredly say that the High Heat driver and three wood clearly are a club we’d stand up against all for an average players performance and scoring.  

07 May
2018

ShopRite returns to Seaview

Written by Steve Gordon

As we emerge from winter and speed past Spring towards Memorial Day the calendar shows us that the 37th edition of the ShopRite LPGA Classic is less than a month away. While the grounds crew works feverishly to get the Donald Ross designed Bay Course at the Stockton Seaview Resort into tournament condition the players are working their way east having one major in their rear view mirror.

The largest Pro-Am in all of golf spread over two days and three golf courses kicks off the week on June 6th before the 54-hole event tees off on June 8th. Defending champion IK Kim has committed to play along with past winners in Anna Nordqvist, Stacy Lewis, Karrie Webb and Cristie Kerr.

With ACER as it’s longest tenured partner the tournament has over 400 corporate partners with ShopRite which has raised $32 million for the local area. Joining the field this year will be Marina Alex, from Wayne, NJ, as one of the few New Jersey born pros on tour.

Alex, who recently moved to Florida proudly claims to still be a Jersey girl. “New Jersey is a unique state,” Alex said. “We support each other to represent our state as there are not a lot on tour from New Jersey. It’s a great place to be from,” she continued. With New Jersey not being a state to hone tournament level golf skills year round Alex said one quality of players from the state is that they are dedicated with a “stick to it” mentality.

Coming into the tournament Alex has been riding a hot putter with one top 5 and two top 10 finishes as the LPGA season has opened. Joining her for the $1.75 million purse will be nine of the last 11 major winners as well as fan favorites Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Michelle Wie and Christina Kim.

Tournament organizers also revealed that Natalie Gulbis has accepted one of three sponsor exemptions to continue her support of the event for the 14th year. The tournament annually attracts many of the top women players because the course is unique compared to many of the courses they play. Some have called it a good test to work up to the USGA Women’s Open which is four weeks down the Shoal Creek, Alabama.

Further information on the tournament can be found at www.shopritelpgaclassic.com. It’s a great event to get up close to see the pros or follow a favorite around during her round and it will be televised live by The Golf Channel.

GAP GOLF - Newtown's Glenn Smeraglio added another piece of hardware to his trophy case with a sudden death playoff win in the Francis B. Warner Cup.  Smeraglio, playing out of LuLu, tied Five Ponds Brian Rothaus and Running Deer's Joe Russo for top honors at 72. Russo unfortunately could not return for the playoff, leaving the two Bucks County players to battle before Smeraglio emerged victorious in play at Concord....Neshaminy's Brittany Benvenuto does not wish any LPGA player any harm, but she needs two players to withdraw before their starting time to get into the Kingsmill event. Benvenuto has played in three LPGA events this season, making one cut. 

15 Apr
2018

Cink talks freely about golf

Written by Bob Oliver
Every member of the PGA Tour has a story. There are stories of dedication, of heartbreaks and exceptionalism. The Tour displays the best players in the world on outstanding venues.
At a time when each and every event could have shots on a highlight reel, the game of golf is - depending on your point of view - is in great shape, superb shape and stagnating. 
Fact is the PGA Tour is doing just fine, but the game itself is suffering from barbs of all kinds. Rounds played are stagnating, clubs are closing and all is not rosy.
A few years back Hall of Fame member Lee Trevino mentioned three reasons for players not flocking to and sticking with the game could be boiled down to golf being too expensive, taking too long to play and being every so difficult. "It's a great game, and it's doing great, and iit will continue to be just fine," said the Merry Mex.
If you follow the game you are bombarded with the superstars. That makes sense. We like to argue about who is the best player, the flashiest player and the up and coming stars. Yet it's hard not to recognize that some of the players not in the spotlight are still the backbone of the tour.
Stewart Cink is one of those backbone players who have game, are fugolfn to follow and interesting. The 2009 British Open Champion was never a World Number 1 but has compiled a stellar career. 
"I've failed miserably at golf," said Cink the day after The Masters at Reynolds Plantation on his way to Hilton Head and the Heritage, a PGA Tour even he had one twice. "I learn something every day. Fact is, this is a game where I've played in about 550 PGA Tour events and only posted six wins. Some might think that's failing most of the time, but with the competition on Tour it's not too bad!"
One can't argue with Cink's accomplishment, like competing on five Ryder Cup teams and four President's Cup teams, winning a major and winning a world golf championship event as well as four other Tour events. 
"I'm proud of my accomplishments, it's a tough game and we have so many great players," said the 44-year-old who is still making cuts on tour. "It's a great game, we have a strong product, we are attempting to grow the game and overall it's a great place to be."
At a time when many players are averaging 300 yards per drive, Cink is hanging close at 295. He hears rumbles about dialing the golf ball back in an effort to negate the need for longer and longer holes, Cink has no problem with outlandish drives. "I don't think we have to reign in the golf ball, the rules are there and the manufacturers follow them. We don't have to, after the fact, start dialing things back. Players are getting into the game at an earlier age, with high value instruction and competition.
"If you look at the stats, we aren't hitting much farther than 2000, but more players are hitting it far. Scoring isn't all that different. Bottom line, why rush to fix something which isn't broken?" 
Cink's advice makes sense.
He agrees there could be fine-tuning to the rules and even has a "tweak" he'd like to see in PGA Tour rules. "Totally agree with us not being allowed to use range finders in events. With one provision. In an effort to speed up the game and eliminate long delays when there is a wayward shot and player and caddie have to spend minutes figuring out distances to lay up spots. Maybe allow a range finder to be used in that situation, say, twice a round. Rather than walk all over, boom, shoot the range finder to a spot, hit it there, and move forward."
Interesting, but never gonna happen. Still, little tweaks can sometimes make a great difference. And there's nothing wrong with speeding up the game. 
Talking with Cink and getting insight into the game from a knowledgeable guy give great insight into golf. No, not a superstar with canned answers, but a real interesting discussion of the game from one of the core players who has flown below the radar screen.