Archive for the ‘Golf’ Category

YSU Women Golfers Win YSU Invitational

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The Youngstown State women’s golf team rode a strong second day performance to finish first at the YSU Invitational which concluded on Tuesday at the Links at Firestone Farms.

Leading the way were freshmen Aislynn Merling (lower photo) and Allison Metzel. Merling finished first with a two-round total of 152. She opened the event with a 79 on Monday and came back to fire an impressive low-round of 73 on Tuesday. Metzel also had a strong second day. After an opening round 82 on Monday she came back to fire a 73 on Tuesday.

In the team competition, the Guins shot a 313 on the day to card a 641 and come back to win the tournament. The Penguins trailed Bethel by three strokes after the first round, but the Pilots carded a 322 and finished second with a 647. Robert Morris was third with a 666 (336-330).

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Finishing in eighth for YSU was Sarah Heimlich who had a two-round total of 164 (84-80) and freshman Sana Kahn was 14th with a 168 (83-85). Other finishers for the Penguins were Sarah Scheidemantel was 22nd with 177 (90-87), Jessica Parham who was 23rd with a 178 (93-85),  Jamie Berndt was 28th with a 195 (102-93) and Ali DeLuca was 29th with a 210.

The Penguins return to action on Sept. 17 at the Ball State Invitational.

** Both photos, courtesy of Ron Stevens.

A Few Spots Left For Southside Boxing Club Golf Scramble

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Bedford Trails will be the setting for a golf scramble on August 14th.  The scramble is Jack Loew‘s first ever Southside Boxing Club outing.  Loew said there are a few openings left and that the event is a very exclusive and limited opportunity for boxing fans, golfers, or people who just want to come out and have some fun on a Sunday.

The cost to enter a team in the event is $340.00.  The entry fee includes 18 holes of golf and a cart for four members of a scramble team.  The cost also includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, unlimited beverages, celebration dinner, a golfer goodie bag, and a team photo.  You can register for the outing as an individual for $85 and will be put on a team and still get all of the meals and perks offered.

If you are a non-golfer but want to be included for the post-golf dinner, $40 will get you through.

Space for the event is limited and the spots are being sold on a first come / first serve basis.

Hole sponsors can get a sign at the event for $100.

To register or if there are questions, contact Jack Loew @ 330-501-5713 or Lori Greenwalt at 330-727-8278.

Visit Southsideboxingclub.com for a downloadable application and further details on the outing.

Lowellville Golf Team To Compete In Ohio State Finals

Lowellville Golf by you.

For the first time since 1934, a Lowellville High School Sports team has advanced to the Ohio State finals to compete for a championship.  The Lowellville Golf Team, coached by Tom Pilkington, is only in its eighth season as an existing program.  Naturally, the first five years were a slow progression from worse to better.  The team failed to win a match in its first three years of competition.  Pilkington has turned the program around as the Rockets have recently won their third straight league title.

The actual team is comprised of Anthony Alfano, Mauro Amendola, Ray Carlson, Joey Smith, and Tyler Vitas.  The format for high school league play is to have five golfers play a round.  The top four scores are used as a team total and the team posting the lowest score will win.  The alternate player is Dean Donatelli.  An alternate is used if one of the five starters are unable to compete for whatever reason.

The finals will be played on Friday and Saturday, October 16-17 in Columbus on the private Scarlet Course. The Rockets home course is Bedford Trails in Lowellville.  Bedford Trails has pretty much revitalized interest in local golf over the past several years.

Good Luck to the Rocket Linksters this weekend! 

Jack Nicklaus Tells Tiger Woods To “Quit Babying The Leg”

Watching Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods play in a skins event on the Golf Channel was fun stuff to see.  All the proceeds went to charity and it seemed as though all eight golfers playing at Nicklaus’ course in Dublin had a pretty good time.

Since Jack Nicklaus is the prototype that Tiger Woods is busy trying to overshadow, isn’t it  ironic that Jack would tell Tiger to man up and “quit babying the leg“.  I was stunned when I heard this for a number of reasons. 

First of all, if you want to keep any of your records Jack, be silent and let him baby the leg for awhile.  No need to pour fuel into the car running close to empty during the race.  Poor timing.

Secondly, tell him in private.  Don’t show him up, even if your intentions were pure and good-hearted.

I would bet money that Tiger will make nothing of this out of the respect he has claimed repeatedly for Nicklaus.  Not only that, but he will keep his mouth shut until he breaks all of Jack’s records.

Why Playing Golf Annoys The Hell Out Of Me

Admittedly, I suck at golf.  I am one of those guys who for the past ten years played about once a week and could never get better.  I always had a few shots that would give me the false sense that I was getting better, making me want to go back for more the next week.  By the time the next week was over, I might have gotten lucky enough to par a hole, and couldn’t wait to come back the next week. 

What I was overlooking in this pattern was that if I did par or birdie a hole and still shot 54 for nine holes, how bad was I botching the other eight holes?  54 for nine holes is not a good score, but it was a decent round for me.  It really gets bad when you are in a foursome and Dan scores 38, Glenn scores 42, and Buddy shoots 44.  You are automatically the weak link, the person everyone is supposed to beat.

I don’t understand why I’m so bad.  Both of my parents have had a  hole-in-one, so it is in my blood somewhat.  My mother still plays three days a week and shoots low-to-mid 40′s.

I have not played golf this year thanks in part to a hip surgery which has limited my physical abilities in the bending department.  Over these first two months people have been playing golf, I have made several observations about why playing golf annoys the hell out of me.

  1. Everyone else scores lower than I do in my circle of friends.  If I were to resume playing golf next Spring, I would have to find a couple of 92 year-old men to beat every time out.  This might boost my confidence.
  2. You have to play at least three times a week to get better at it.  I can’t see myself obeying that demanding of a schedule from week-to-week unless the Golf Fairy blessed me with an abundance of natural talent overnight, which is highly unlikely.
  3. I am left-handed at most everything, but I swing the clubs right-handed.  The only other thing I do right-handed is write, and my writing is sloppier than my 7 year-old Nephew Dante’s.  Maybe Mrs. Drummond shouldn’t have slapped me with that ruler for trying to write left-handed in second grade.
  4. It gets expensive when you suck.  You don’t lose many balls when you don’t hit them good.  I would say 80% of my long tee drive attempts hooked right and were gone.  The expenses add up just to play.  $30.00 out of my pocket could be spent in more constructive ways.  Not to mention, almost every group I have ever played with does a sidegame with at least skins and greenies.  Usually at least $10 to add to the total.
  5. One really bad shot causes so many more.  Once I took a rip at a ball and topped it watching it bounce 20 feet in the air off of the ground and stopping about 30 feet from where I hit it, I was doomed.  It subconsciously lives everytime you hit the next shot. 
  6. But I putt good.  So I am resigned to the fact that I should probably stick to putt-putt.  That only costs $7 to play and everyone has a chance to win. 
  7. Clubs do not matter.  Most of my buddies who golf go spend $300 a year on a new driver.  I fell into this trap a couple of years ago and spent $240 for a new Calloway driver.  I could have swung a rake and hit the ball better and further than most of my drives with the awesome new club.
  8. Aim for trees.  If you suck like me, outsmart yourself.  Instead of trying to avoid the big elm tree 100 yards in front of the green, aim for it.  You wont hit it because you are aiming for it.  If you do hit it, than you are improving and better start playing more.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not downgrading the sport of golf.  Most guys that have the time and the money to play often usually improve over time.  It is a great sport, I just suck at it.

Youngstown Area Golf Course Review – Bedford Trails

As another year of playing golf has started, I have compiled a list of courses to play and a couple to avoid in the greater Youngstown area.  I will be doing features on these courses periodically.  Having grown up in Lowellville, I first played at the infamous 9-hole course called Lee Run.  Lee Run was later purchased by the Grischow family and turned into an 18-hole course now known as Bedford Trails.  The Grischow family has continually reinvested to make Bedford Trails an enjoyable course for all skill levels.

The front nine layout is pretty much the same as when the course was known as Lee Run.  The back will give the best golfers problems because it plays very thin.  Hole 13 demands two long straight shots to have a chance at par.  If you cant hit a straight ball, you will struggle on this hole.  I feel it is the hardest hole on the course and have only seen a couple of birdies on it.  The greens at Bedford Trails have gotten much better over the past couple of years. 

The best element for a golfer playing at Bedford Trails is the way they are treated from the time they get there until the time they leave.  The hospitality in the clubhouse is unbelievable, I have never heard anyone say they were ever treated in a rude manner.  The food in the clubhouse is outstanding as well.  They also have a small warm-up range (pictured above).  The cost of playing at Bedford Trails is reasonable.

I grade Bedford Trails a must play course, not only for the challenge, but for the overall experience.  You will not meet nicer people willing to accomodate your every last need.

2009 PGA Masters Preview

The PGA is expecting record numbers to come to Augusta for the 2009 Masters Tournament.  This years Masters will run from April 8-12 with many other PGA promotions on April 6-7.  The quest for the green jacket is probably my favorite golf event of the year because I absolutely love Augusta National.  This course seperates the men from the boys and proves that you have to have a set and try to make shots the other golfers will not to succeed.  The course will play shorter, a whopping 10 yards, than last year.

Trevor Immelman, the 2008 Masters Champion will try to defend his championship against a loaded field which includes a pressured Phil Mickelson, and favorite Tiger Woods.  Tiger is the person people will watch television for.  Woods remains the man to beat in any event he plays in.  He is the golfer who will take chances and do things everyone else is afraid of.  Don’t get me wrong, others will take chances, Mickelson does frequently, but the reward usually yields positive results for Tiger.

Golfers MUST take chances on this course and not be intimidated.  The mistake I have seen in the past is the course in a players head before the tournament starts.  As a result, they overthink everything and collapse.  Making putts on these greens is essential.  These are probably the fastest greens in the world and there are so many breaks.  The greats playing in this tournament have an advantage over first-year guys who will have to spend a couple of days learning how to putt again.  To compete, a player must birdie all four par-5 holes, and maybe even sneak a daily eagle in there.  The par 5s at Augusta are not that difficult, it is the par3s and 4s that most win or lose the tournament on.  If a player blows a couple of par3s a day, don’t look for him to make the cut.

The tournament doesn’t really start until the back nine on Sunday.  Holes 11, 12, and 13, aka Amen’s Corner, are usually the holes to succeed on to have a chance to win.  If a player can par 11 and 12 and birdie 13, they have as good a chance as anyone to win.  Rae’s Creek that runs in front of the green on 13 has swallowed many leaderboard balls in the past.

This years field is filled with an array of familiar names and international greats, past champions and future winners.  It would be easy for me to pop out and say Tiger will beat Phil on Sunday to win.  To qualify for play at Augusta, a golfer had to win a PGA Tournament Event.  This field is loaded with multiple winners.  If you want a couple of longshots to keep an eye on, I like Hunter Mahan and Ben Curtis.  Neither has done well at this tournament in the past, but both have improved greatly over the past couple of years.  I also will be watching for Camilo Villegas, Padraig Harrington, and Stewart Cink to do well.

Ultimately, I feel as though Tiger Woods will have a dramatic Sunday.  I figure him to be down about three strokes going into the final round and blow up to win the tournament by 3 strokes.  Let me know what you think.  Who will win?  Who is the dark horse of this years tournament?

Why Is Tiger Woods Still Ranked #1 ?

I will start by saying Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer in the world.  I have spent many warm Sunday evenings watching this guy walk down the final few fairways with the lead in any given tournament.  I sit with my mouth open and wonder how he does it, in a game of consistency and precision, be that consistent and precise.  Whether it is knocking down the long putt, wedging one in from the trap, or just killing the ball on a clutch tee shot.  No one is better, no one was better, he is rewriting the record books.

What confuses me though is how Tiger can remain the number one ranked golfer through such a long period of inactivity.  Has the PGA opinionized their rankings to try to keep ratings?  Love him or hate him, Phil Mickelson has played in almost every tournament Tiger has missed and even won a couple.  He has finished in the money and has had a decent start to this season.  I am no Mickelson mark, although I have watched him choke up leads in the past, but wonder how he hasn’t overtaken the name Tiger Woods atop the rankings.   Because if you think about it, Tiger’s name holds the spot, for now.  Tiger, the golfer hasn’t done anything to distance himself from the field lately.

I’m sure Woods will play well at Augusta in a couple of weeks, he will probably even be favored to win.  Not many bookmakers will have him as the underdog, ever.  Jack Nicklaus still plays once in the while, maybe the PGA can make him number two in the rankings.  He accomplished plenty in the past.

My point is simply that inactivity creates demise.  I am not sure what criteria makes one the best, but I am sure that not competeing is not weighed in.  Maybe golf is going to use a BCS formula, quality points + endorsements divided by green jackets.

I am a  Tiger Woods fan and hope that he earns that spot over the next couple of months.  Until then, his name is the best golfer in the world.