Dixie Swing

by Kurt Kragthorpe

Game Changers from Uinta Golf

March 2016 Issue

Official Monthly Digital Magazine

of the Utah Golf Association

by Uinta Golf's Store Managers

Looking Back at a Rewarding Year

From the History Books

by Dick Harmon

by Spencer Sorensen

Destination Golf - Cajun Golf

Brinton / Bailey / Hansen

by Mike Sorensen

By Mike Sorensen

TaylorMade M2 Driver, TaylorMade M2 Irons, Cobra F6 Driver, QED Style

Titleist 4UP Stand Bag, Nike Flyknit Chukka Golf Shoe

by Mike Stansfield

View the March 2016 Issue Below

Cover Feature • March 2016

Dixie Swing

By Dick Harmon

Once again, finding a spot in the Dixie Swing tournaments was tough with the St. George Amateur, Coral Canyon Amateur and Sand Hollow Amateurs all with full fields and waiting lists. The new SunRiver Ladies Amateur will grow, hopefully adding the competitive high school girls, but certainly had a strong and competitive field of mostly college players, for its premiere event, looking to dust of their swings.

Crawford Dominates at Sand Hollow

Cameron Crawford didn’t just win last month’s Sand Hollow Amateur, the last event in a series of Utah Golf Association PPR events that can be titled the Dixie Swing, he played two dominating rounds and birdied the last three holes on the final day en route to a convincing victory.

Crawford was the only player in the field to shoot under par both days of the 36-hole affair at the popular layout in Hurricane.  He carded rounds of 69-67 for an 8-under par 136, good for a four-shot win over second place JT Timmons.

“I knew if I could maintain par through those tough holes 12 through 15 on the back the final day, I’d have a chance to make birdies on 16, 17 and maybe 18” said Crawford, a 28-year old former Dixie State College golfer and 2010 U.S. Amateur qualifier who played at Chambers Bay that year, site of the 2015 U.S. Open.

As it turned out, conquering that stretch on the picturesque back nine is exactly what Crawford did in distancing himself from the field.  His 170-yard, 6-iron approach on No. 18 landed six feet from the pin located on the front of the green, making a very tough uphill finishing hole a great score.

“I chipped really well the first day and that kept me making pars,” said Crawford of the opening round where cold weather and a stiff wind sent scores soaring into the high 70s and 80s.

Timmons finished at 4-under par, alone in second place, followed by Cameron Howe at 2-under for third.  Darrin Overson and Preston Alder tied for fourth at 1-under par 143.

Patrick Murphy fired rounds of 70 and 72 for a 2-under par victory in the Senior Division.  Dana Nelson finished four shots back for second and Mike Jorgensen was third at 4-over par.

Murphy, a veteran golfer at Provo’s East Bay, spends the winter tuning up his swing muscles and timing in his basement where he has a 20-foot putting green and mirrors to help him focus on his swing plane.

“Winning never gets old,” said Murphy.  “This win means a great deal to me in that I was able to make some last-minute adjustments to find a game, take it to the course and perform. Most can’t always play their best every time they tee it up, so making adjustments is part of the game.”

Former Dixie State golfer Haley Dunn put on an impressive display of shot making and consistency in winning the First Division title by three shots over Riley Moyes and six strokes over third place Jason Celaya.

“She is the real deal,” said playing partner Bjorn Trejo.  “She hit her drives 260 right down the middle and hit hybrids to six feet.  It was impressive.”

Dunn, who earned All-America honors as a collegian, said her putting was sharp both rounds.  “I hit most fairways and I felt confident when the putter was in my hands.”

Dunn, who won the PacWest Conference title, said the Sand Hollow victory ranks second or third in her tourney experience.  “Like any win, it is special to me, but being the only girl in the field was the cherry on top.”

“I think players like this course, the layout and playing here,” said Director of Golf Adam Jasperson.  “We had tough conditions the first day and that’s why some of the scores were high.  But we had some great rounds posted overall.”

 

Come from Behind Win at St. George Am

Zach Pritchard, a sophomore at BYU from Georgia, came from behind to win the St. George Amateur by one shot over BYU’s highly celebrated freshman-to-be Rhett Rasmussen early this month at the St. George Golf Club.  Giving credit to his improved tee shots, Pritchard posted rounds of 69-66 – 135 to get the win. It was the first tournament of the 2016 season and while Pritchard’s victory is etched onto the record books, it was the opening round score of 61 by Charlie Duensing that stole the show.

Duensing’s remarkable 61 came on a par 73 track and included one bogey, and those two footnotes kept him from the equivalent of a 59. His second round of 76, along with the steady two-day play of Pritchard and Rasmussen, kept his name off the trophy.

Duensing, a native Utahn and Utah Junior Golf Association alum, played prep golf at Brighton and tees it up for the University of Minnesota.  The Utah amateur tournament circuit probably won’t see him again until the Utah State Amateur.

Jeff Powars posted back-to-back 70s to win the Senior Division by two shots over Kirk Siddens.

 

Horner on top at Coral Canyon Amateur

Mid-January winter weather hung around for the opening seven holes at the Coral Canyon Amateur, but it didn’t bother former Utah State Amateur champion Dan Horner. Horner remained even par through the front 9 then stuck a 170-yard 8-iron to two feet on 10th hole at Coral Canyon Golf Couse to start a back nine birdie run.

Horner finished with birdies on every other hole through the par-5 16th hole, then added one more for good measure when he birdied the par-3 17th hole to get to 5-under for the first round. Horner had to lay up on the par-5 18th hole when his tee shot found the left side hazard. After an approach shot to five feet, Horner’s birdie try just missed. His 5-under 67 led Cameron Crawford by two strokes, with Carl Jensen and Patrick Fishburn three back after day one.

Horner and Fishburn separated themselves from the rest of the field on final round Saturday with Horner managing to hold off BYU’s hard charging Fishburn to win the title by one stroke. Fishburn closed with a 67 to Horner’s 69. Third place went to BYU’s Spencer Dunaway, five shots behind Horner.

Russell Hook edged first round leader Randy Hicken by one stroke for the Senior title. Hook shot 69-72-141 and Hicken shot 68-74-142 in the Utah Golf Association Player Performance Ranking and Senior Player Performance Ranking event.

 

SunRiver Ladies Amateur

From all accounts, the first annual SunRiver Ladies Amateur was a huge success. Sue Nyhus, UVU Women's Golf Coach, had this to say about the tournament: “The first SunRiver Ladies Am was a great success.  Neil Economy and the SunRiver staff did a great job.  Coach Rachel Harmon really got the ball rolling it’s a great new annual event.  I hope in years to come we can entice the college-bound high school girls to play so they can see a more realist view of college golf.  The High School girls could ask all their questions to the college players and how better to prepare.  The competition was very deep, perhaps the most competitive collection of female players we have ever gathered.  Finally, it is a great way for our Utah college teams to get a little warm up before the season begins in February.”

BYU Sophomore Kendra Dalton won the inaugural event at the SunRiver course.

"I felt that I played the par 5’s really well today. I had a look at eagle on most of them. My driving was very solid, which put me in good position on most holes. I was happy with my lag putting, I didn’t make a lot of putts, but my speed was great, especially on the longer ones. It was great to have this event to play in coming out of the winter months. It was nice to get back into competitive mode before we start our school schedule.

Carly Dehlin tied for 2nd and was the net champion. She had a few great holes that were key to her success.

"On number 4 I hit a great tee shot and left myself with 85 yards in. I hit a great shot and knew it was going to be tight, and then it kept tracking and went in. It was very exciting! It was the first time I’ve made it from the fairway for an eagle.

"On number 11 I hit a great 8 iron on the par-3 and had about a 6 footer and made that putt.

"I also birdied #8, making me put three 2s on the scorecard. That never hurts!"

She knew she had a good round going early in her round. "The eagle on #4 definitely was a good sign. I knew it was going to be a good round when I was able to stay composed and make it simple for myself. It was fun being under pressure to keep my round steady. I just took it one shot at a time. The pins were tough and I was putting the ball really well so I was confident throughout the whole round."

Carly credited her success with the work she's been putting in this winter.

"I have been working on a couple different swing thoughts with Ryan Holt up at Golf the Round. I’ve been working on using my lower body for power and working on my rotation of my hips and shoulders. Big muscles are key for me and keeping things simple."

 

Feature • March 2016

Game Changers from Uinta Golf

With the new season, new golf products are available to change your game. Whether it’s balls, shoes or clubs, the Uinta Golf store representatives have some advice to move you to red numbers on your scorecard.

Golf Shoes

By Brian Varner

Uinta Orem

If you can’t play well, at least you can look good while playing! Even better, why not aim for both? Golf threads have come a long way over the past few years and don’t be mistaken, the same engineering efforts going into clubs and balls are also being poured into the shoe game. The new line ups from Nike, Adidas and FootJoy are better than ever.

Looking for ultimate comfort as well as exceptional support? Many companies offer spikeless shoes, a technology which developed from shoes in the premium running market. Shoes such as the Adipower Boost 2 and Adipower Sport Boost 2 from Adidas, Nike’s FI Impact and Bermuda, and Footjoy’s Superlite and Freestyle shoes provide golfers with the comfort of a running shoe but the stability of a golf shoe. These shoes are so comfortable you might as well schedule an emergency 9 once you walk off the 18th.

Stability and traction comes from a full-spike shoe. Try the energy transferring Boost technology in the Adidas Tour 360 boost, the FootJoy Freestyle and DNA shoes (available in both lace up or BOA technology), or the Lunar Control 4 from Nike with their springy and responsive Lunarlon sole. Each of these shoes provide golfers with traction without sacrificing comfort or mobility.

Let’s not forget Rickie’s Puma Ignite Titan Tour and Nike’s Flyknit Chukka high tops. Whether you are looking for an ultra-comfortable shoe that transitions from the course to everyday life or ultimate stability allowing you to really get after it, stop by and get fit to a shoe that will help you look like a pro, and hopefully play like one too!

Don’t forget about socks as well! Stance Socks has made a big splash in the golf socks industry. Their Triniti Technology provides golfers with traction control, premium cushioning and support and moisture management to ensure your feet are comfortable every round. With lots of patterns and colors, you can have a pair to match every outfit in your wardrobe.

Callaway Apex CF Irons

It’s not often that you hear the words “distance” and “control” in the same sentence with regards to irons, but Callaway has found a way to provide golfers with both.  Callaway’s 2016 Apex CF is the longest forged iron ever made.  I can say this with confidence because of Callaway’s industry leading face cup technology.  Callaway has been putting the “face cup” in their fairway woods, hybrids and game improvement irons for the past few years, which has led to Callaway being the number one manufacturer in each of these respective categories.  This set will provide players with more forgiveness than a traditional forged iron without compromising feel or control.

The Apex CF’s multi-piece construction progressive offset center of gravity height and notch weighting provide the right balance of trajectory, playability and forgiveness for each iron.  Not to mention they offer KBS, Project X, True Temper and Nippon shafts at no upcharge in steel and UST Recoil, Project X and Mitsubishi Rayon at no upcharge in graphite.  The new 2016 Apex CF irons are a “can’t miss” club.

In addition to the Apex CF, Callaway is offering the Apex Pro for better players.  This iron has a sleeker, more classic look.  The long irons (3-5) have slightly more offset and a tungsten insert which lowers the center of gravity (CG) to provide more forgiveness and better launch.  The short irons (6-AW) have a higher CG for a more controlled, penetrating trajectory. The Apex Pro is a smaller, more compact club that provides better players the look and control that they desire. Come in and try these irons and you won’t be disappointed.

By Matt Johansen

Uinta Sandy

The M2 irons from TaylorMade have more sex appeal than any other iron in its category this year.  If you are looking for a modern and innovative game improvement club that’s easy on the eyes, the M2 has it all. Building off the accumulative success from their prior generations, M2 relaunches with the latest generation of speed pocket technology, which is the most sought-after concept in the golf industry. Complementing the speed pockets, the improvement improvement-hungry at TaylorMade have added an inverted cone to the face, which gives you added distance and forgiveness on miss hits. But my favorite part, which seems to be the hardest part to get right in a forgiving iron, is look and feel. The deep dark finish and chrome accents are quite appealing. They also achieved a satisfying sound by adding stabilizing bridges to the back of the head to firm up the composite insert. What you end up with is a confidence-inspiring iron worth taking to the club championship.

By Aaron Hoskins

Uinta Riverdale

TaylorMade M2 Irons

Callaway is bringing back the Great Big Bertha name for 2016. That’s a tall order to fill. The original Great Big Bertha changed the way manufactures designed clubs forever. Make no mistake, this isn’t some nostalgic marketing ploy to get you to buy a new driver.

Callaway used data from thousands of live driver fittings with real golfers to design the new Great Big Bertha. The major distance limiting variables they set to address were: low ball speed, less than optimal launch and spin conditions and poor direction control. With a faster face and an adjustable Opti-Fit Hosel, multiple shaft/head weight options and Adjustable Perimeter Weighting Technology, the Great Big Bertha will give you the tools to hit longer straighter drives.

By Robert Gaskill

Uinta Salt Lake

Great Big Bertha

By John Taylor

Uinta St. George

Scotty Cameron Select Series

The talking point for me this year is the new Scotty Cameron Select series.  As most golfers know (whether avid or beginner),Scotty Cameron putters are among the most-coveted items one can have in the bag.  Scotty Cameron has commanded a lead in high-end putters for a number of years and we don’t see an end to this anytime soon.

The Select series features some of the more traditional putter designs that we have all become accustomed to, specifically the Newport and the Newport 2.  Bringing a multi-material design to the board this year not only creates better feel but also brings a modern look to the classic blade putter.  The traditional blades have added a stainless inlay, and the mallets and dual-balance models have an aluminum inlay.

The introduction of the inlay provides a hidden feature that will provide a huge impact on how this line will feel.  The design team at Scotty Cameron has added a high-tech, vibration dampening material. This layer of polymer joins the inlay to the body. This presents the dismissal of the all-metal putter heads that Cameron has been producing over the last decade.  Technology has officially been integrated into America,s favorite putter line.

This new line of putters has maintained a classic, clean look while integrating modern features and a hint of flare that we can all respect.  Overall, I believe this new line of Cameron putters is a home run.  The models being released are the Newport (now with an added sight line), Newport 2, Newport 2.5, Newport Notchback, Newport M1 Mallet, Newport M2 Mallet and a Counter Balance version of the Newport Notchback.

Feature • March 2016

Looking Back at a Rewarding Year

By Kurt Kragthorpe

The Utah Golf Association and Utah Section PGA honors the following players, administrators, volunteers and club professionals for their exceptional 2015 Utah golf season.

  • Judy Allem

    The description of the UGA's Gold Club Award concludes that the recipient has earned “the love and respect of fellow golfers.” That's certainly true for the 2015 winner, Judy Allem.

    The asterisk in this story is that Allem did not always love golf. She loved her parents, Lucian and Ada Nelson, but resented how their love of the game relegated her to a babysitting role, while they played golf.

    Skipping to the end of the story, Allem has lived long enough to become a lover of the game. Tennis once was her sport, but you would never know that now judging by the way she has immersed herself in golf. She's a United States Golf Association committee member, a former UGA president and a driving force of the merger of the UGA with the women's association. That's quite a legacy, in addition to her UGA presidency coinciding with the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, the first USGA event staged in Utah.

    Allem attributes her late-blooming love of golf to her husband, Mike. Her son, Josh Smith, is a PGA professional who further encouraged her involvement in the game. On the UGA and USGA levels, the likes of Joe Watts and Keith Hansen were major influences as Allem pursued expertise in the Rules of Golf and administration of the game with the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship committee.

  • Kelsey Chugg

    The history of women's golf in Utah features several dominant players of various eras. Kelsey Chugg is playing her way onto that list in a time when tournament fields are stronger and deeper than ever.

    That's why Chugg's three victories in four years of the Women's State Amateur are so impressive, and her latest victory is a major reason that she's the UGA's 2015 Women's Player of the Year.

    Chugg overwhelmed her opponents in match play in the State Am at Hidden Valley Country Club and also performed very well in the USGA Women's State Team, shooting 75-71-72 in Missouri to tie for second place individually and Utah finish 11th.

    Chugg's improvement has enabled her to compete successfully against college golfers and she's serving as an example to them as they move ahead with their lives and continue to pursue high-level amateur golf.

    As for herself, Chugg is excited to find out where she can take her game in 2016 and she's determined to keep getting better.

  • Rhett Rasmussen

    Without publicly revealing Rhett Rasmussen's email address, let's just say it speaks to his desire to keep improving as a golfer. And that's exactly what he's doing, with the latest evidence being his 2015 UGA Player of the Year award.

    A senior at Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Rasmussen will play for BYU as a highly regarded prospect who knows he must get even better to succeed in that competitive environment. “College golf is a different level,” he said. “It's definitely motivating.”

    Not that he needs any extra incentive. Rasmussen is driven to improve. Driving, naturally, was the biggest reason he performed so well on the golf course in 2015. “That was the difference,” he said. “I was just confident about it all year. I really felt good over the shot.”

    Rasmussen beat the Utah Section PGA pros in the Burton Lumber Salt Lake City Open at Wingpointe Course and claimed the UGA Tournament of Champions at Thanksgiving Point, while finishing as low amateur in the Southern Utah and Provo Opens and dominating the Player Performance Rankings. He's a rising star in a state that keeps producing golf talent, with three Utah high school graduates on the PGA Tour. Rasmussen may join them someday.

  • Craig Wilson

    Like any golf organization that stages age-group competition, the UGA features players who seemingly catch everyone by surprise when they turn 50 and enter the senior division. They're already big names in Utah golf and now they're the youngsters, relatively speaking, giving them an advantage.

    Craig Wilson is an unusual case, in that context. He's emerging in his 50s and the best seemingly is still to come in his golf game.

    That depth validates Wilson's unprecedented achievement of winning both the UGA Senior Match Play Championship and the UGA Senior Amateur in the same year. And he may be just getting started.

    Amid his success, Wilson said he did not have a great putting year. If that part of his game comes around, he could do some big things again in 2016.

    Winning those two major titles elevated Wilson in the Senior Player of the Year competition with other contenders including Patrick Murphy, who made the quarterfinals of the U.S. Senior Amateur, and Brett Sampson, the runner-up to Wilson in the Match Play and Senior Am events.

  • Annette Gaiotti

    To the envy of golfers who have never made a hole-in-one, Annette Gaiotti will remain known for having produced two aces in one round on a late-autumn day at Hidden Valley Country Club.

    That happened nearly 20 years ago. What she's doing lately on a consistent basis makes Gaiotti even more of a marvel in her early 60s.

    Gaiotti is the UGA Senior Women's Player for the third time in four seasons after becoming a four-time winner of the UGA Women's Senior Amateur. She took a seven-stroke victory in the 2015 event after competing favorably all year against younger players.

    Competing in fields with the likes of Kelsey Chugg and college golfers motivates Gaiotti and keeps her standards high as she strives for more distance off the tee and improvement in all areas of her game. Such persistence translates into success in the senior division, as Gaiotti was low senior in the UGA Winterchamps and the Tournament of Champions. She's also the reigning (and almost perennial) club champion of Hidden Valley and has competed in 23 USGA national events.

  • Scott Whittaker

    If Scott Whittaker's third-time selection as the Utah Section PGA's Professional of the Year is considered a lifetime achievement award, that's a compliment.

    Such a description does not diminish anything Whittaker accomplished in 2015 prior to his retirement, and there's no doubt he deserved a final tribute. And because the section membership voted for this award, he views it as the most meaningful of his career. His previous Professional of the Year awards came in 1988 and '96 during his Bountiful Ridge Golf Course tenure.

    Whittaker spent 13 years as the section's executive director, retiring Oct. 1. His influence will continue through the Utah Golf Alliance, and Whittaker is proud to have helped bring Utah's governing bodies of the game together to tackle important issues regarding the future of golf in the state. “I'm going to keep working, as best I can,” he said.

    In addition to his overall work on local and national levels with the PGA of America, the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open is a big part of Whittaker's legacy. The section's operation of the tournament has restored it to a premier event for players and sponsors, while he never lost sight of the overriding goal of benefiting Special Olympics Utah. With the impending departures of Whittaker and marketing director Scott Bringhurst, the awards presentation on the 18th green of Riverside Country Club in August had the feel of a closing ceremony. Yet as Whittaker promised, he's not through working on behalf of golf in Utah.

  • Chris Moody

    The current decade of golf competition among Utah Section PGA professionals should be labeled the Moody Dynasty.

    For the fifth time, beginning in 2010, Riverside Country Club assistant pro Chris Moody is the section's Player of the Year. Only a 2011 award for Dustin Volk, his close friend, has interrupted Moody's reign. In 2015, Moody topped Zach Johnson and Matt Baird in the points competition.

    He has extended a trend that began soon after the section's formation, with Kim Thompson winning nine awards between 1988 and 2001. Henry White won it five times in seven years in this century. Moody now has matched Thompson's four straight awards, from 1993-96.

    Moody manages to maintain a high-level game while doing everything that's involved with his job description at Riverside, and he's doing it against a younger generation of pros.

    Known for his ball-striking ability and steady demeanor, Moody is particularly relentless in the section's Match Play Championship, which he continues to dominate at Hill Air Force Base as a current three-time champion. Moody also won the BHI Golf Classic Open at Dinaland GC in Vernal and posted three second-place finishes while also participating in the PGA Professional National Championship.

  • Scott Brandt

    The current decade of golf competition among Utah Section PGA professionals should be labeled the Moody Dynasty.

    For the fifth time, beginning in 2010, Riverside Country Club assistant pro Chris Moody is the section's Player of the Year. Only a 2011 award for Dustin Volk, his close friend, has interrupted Moody's reign. In 2015, Moody topped Zach Johnson and Matt Baird in the points competition.

    He has extended a trend that began soon after the section's formation, with Kim Thompson winning nine awards between 1988 and 2001. Henry White won it five times in seven years in this century. Moody now has matched Thompson's four straight awards, from 1993-96.

    Moody manages to maintain a high-level game while doing everything that's involved with his job description at Riverside, and he's doing it against a younger generation of pros.

    Known for his ball-striking ability and steady demeanor, Moody is particularly relentless in the section's Match Play Championship, which he continues to dominate at Hill Air Force Base as a current three-time champion. Moody also won the BHI Golf Classic Open at Dinaland GC in Vernal and posted three second-place finishes while also participating in the PGA Professional National Championship.

  • Chris Newson

    Chris Newson did not win the Utah Section PGA's Horton Smith Award for education, as much as it was thrust upon him.

    That's one way of describing Newson's latest honor, as a former section Professional of the Year. When he agreed to fill a mid-term vacancy on the section board of directors, as appointed by then-president Colby Cowan, Newson was assigned to education and “took it a personal challenge,” he said.

    By all accounts, he carried out that responsibility in much the same way as his administration of the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Soldier Hollow Golf Course in Midway, where he's the head pro.

    Newson made sure section members were aware of their educational opportunities and deadlines, and he helped stage a teaching and coaching seminar at Impact Golf Center in Draper. The section brought in national presenters and college golf coaches who discussed recruiting of young golfers. Newson was impressed that even some members who had fulfilled their current education requirements attended the seminar for the sake of supporting the effort and learning more.

    The Horton Smith Award rewards pros in each section for developing and improving educational opportunities for PGA professionals, and Newson is known for getting the job done in whatever he's asked to do.

  • Zach Johnson

    In 2013, Zach Johnson collected one of the most popular victories in the history of the Utah Open.

    Hundreds of his friends and fellow golf professionals hovered around the 18th green at Oakridge Country Club and cheered as Johnson claimed the victory trophy that year.

    Now, Johnson was recently named the Utah Section PGA’s Assistant Professional of the Year for 2015.

    And although the 32-year-old assistant pro from Davis Park golf course would never admit it, the PGA Section’s selection is likely to be as widely popular as Johnson’s victory at the Utah Open.

    Johnson started at Davis Park as an apprentice in the PGA in 2009. Then when Dustin Volk moved over to Valley View, he became the assistant. Johnson still has longs for success on the courses, saying one of his goals would be to accomplish what his friend Volk has — qualifying for a PGA Championship.

  • Kory Woodland

    After more than 17 years of sharing his love and passion for golf with young, fledgling players in Northern Utah, the Utah Section of the PGA announced Kory Woodland as the recipient of the 2015 Youth Development Leader award.

    Woodland runs the successful junior program at The Barn and is head coach of Weber High School. His tireless dedication to junior instruction continues to attract large participation numbers through The Barn’s clinics and junior association programs.

    Youth instruction through Woodland and the The Barn includes clinics for ages 7-14, which begin each May. There is also a junior golf league, which is nine holes for beginners and intermediates, and the advanced prep league, 18 holes for 9th-12th graders.

    Woodland said the program also offers a free club-fitting evaluation, where each player can bring in their equipment and have it tested and assessed for their needs.

    Woodland said he enjoys giving back to the game and helping young players improve.

  • Rod Zundel

    Receiving the Utah Section PGA's Bill Howard as Golf Citizen of the Year is especially meaningful to Rod Zundel because he worked for Bill Howard.

    Beyond his own love for playing golf as a regular contestant in amateur events, it is clear that Zundel was influenced by Howard and Bill Marcroft during his tenure with KUTV. Long before he would become a fixture with KSL, Zundel learned the strategy and value of covering golf from those KUTV icons.

    So a mix of personal and professional interest is reflected in Zundel's work as host of the KSL 5 Golf Utah show. He's driven to promote the game and spotlight the personalities that make golf in this state so special.

    And he'll never forget playing golf with Howard late in his mentor's life. Howard had a unique ability, Zundel remembers, to drive the ball down the middle of the fairway. While wishing his shots would go farther, he never got frustrated about it.

  • Corey Badger

    As a teenager, Corey Badger discovered his knack for teaching golf by working with his Highland High School teammates. He's suddenly too old to be included on one of those lists that made him a national name in the profession, but he's still in a sweet spot in his career.

    Badger once thought he would have to move out of Utah to pursue full-time teaching, but he has settled into a very good position with the Golf Lab in Salt Lake City. Now that he's 40, he's no longer one of Golf Digest's “Top 20 Teachers Under 40,” as he was first recognized in 2009. Yet he's a two-time winner of the Utah Section PGA's Teacher of the Year Award, first honored in 2011.

    Badger is conscious of learning all of the science that goes into the golf swing, while not disregarding his roots. He's combining old-school and new-school approaches, making sure students understand what he's trying to teach them and not just throwing a lot of high-tech material at them.

Department • March 2016

Salt Lake City Native Stymies Bobby Jones

By Kurt Kragthorpe

 If it weren’t for Salt Lake City native George Von Elm, Bobby Jones’ legacy as golf’s most iconic amateur golfer would have likely been held in more grandeur, as hard as that might be to fathom. Ninety years ago this September, in 1926, Von Elm pulled off what now would seem the unlikeliest of upsets, beating Jones 2 and 1 at Baltusrol Golf Club to win the United States Amateur Championship.

 What made Von Elm’s win so particularly gripping is the fact that he beat Jones in a time when Jones appeared practically untouchable. After winning the U.S. Open in 1923, Jones went on to win his first U.S. Amateur title the following year at Merion Country Club, beating quite handily in the final 9 and 8 none other than Von Elm. The next year Jones went on to defend his title—eliminating Von Elm in the semifinals—winning the final match by another dominating margin of 8 and 7 over Watts Gunn at Oakmont Country Club. What’s more, Jones would go on to win the 1927 and ‘28 U.S. Amateur titles by incredible margins of 8 and 7 and 10 and 9, making for a total of four U.S. Amateur titles in five years.

 However, preventing Jones from winning a record third straight U.S. Amateur in 1926—which would eventually occur 70 years later in 1996 when a golfer by the name of Tiger Woods achieved the feat—and what would have been an incredible five straight career titles (when adding in his wins in 1927 and 1928) was Von Elm.

A West High and University of Utah alumnus who grew up playing golf at The Country Club (present day Forest Dale Golf Course), Von Elm first found success in golf by winning three Utah State Amateur titles in 1917, ’20 and ’21, with his first title coming at the age of 16. Soon after Von Elm won his third state amateur title in 1921, he relocated to Southern California where he made not only an immediate impact on the region’s golf scene—winning three Southern California Golf Association Amateur titles from 1922 to 1927—but moreover on the national stage with the pinnacle occurring at the 1926 U.S. Amateur.

Unlike U.S. Amateur Championships of the past, the 1926 edition was the first of its kind in many respects. It was the first time admission was charged, costing $1.20 for the semifinal and final matches—about $16 in today’s money. Rope was used for the first time because of large galleries, some of which were 15,000+ during the week and it was the first U.S. Amateur broadcasted on the radio with commentators on each hole. Moreover, for Baltusrol, it was a historical moment as it was the first national tournament held on the Lower Course—now multi-time host of the U.S. Open and this year’s PGA Championship for a second time—which had opened only four years earlier in 1922 and measured 6,750 yards.

Jones was the heavy favorite to win, having not only won the previous two U.S. Amateur titles, but also coming off a summer where he won his second U.S. Open along with his first Open Championship title, while Von Elm was thought to be Jones’ biggest challenger. However, only one of those predictions appeared to be true after the two days of qualifying stroke play as Jones created separation from the field, winning medalist honors by four strokes with a score of 143, while Von Elm earned the final match play spot with the highest qualifying score. Despite his less than stellar play, the tournament committee decided to give Von Elm the No. 2 seed of the 32 match play participants, so he would be on the opposite side of Jones in the bracket.

It didn’t get much easier for Von Elm as his first round match went 19 holes, but his game kept improving as the week went on, winning his 36-hole semifinal match with ease by a margin of 11 and 10. For Jones, not much changed with his steady play as his toughest match came in the quarterfinals (a 36-hole match) where he won by a 3-and-2 margin. So, just as the committee and many experts envisioned, a rematch of the 1924 U.S. Amateur final was set with Von Elm challenging to take down Jones.

With the hullabaloo surrounding the final, Von Elm saved some of his best golf for last, outplaying Jones despite being outdriven most of the match. The West High grad took a 1-up lead after the morning 18, which he quickly relinquished as Jones won the first hole of the afternoon. However, the fifth hole at Baltusrol was good to Von Elm as he birdied it for the second time that day to re-take the lead and never looked back. That lead was extended to 2-up after the 10th hole when Jones failed to get up-and-down from the greenside bunker, and then to 3-up after the 13th hole when Jones hit his drive into a ditch. Von Elm would lose the 14th hole, but then three consecutive halves sealed the match for a 2-and-1 victory.

The most obvious storyline was of a colossal upset as a New York Times headline read “One of the Greatest Upsets in History Registered When Coast Golfer Wins Amateur Title.” But others recognized that Von Elm was very deserving of the win, including Jones, who wrote in his 1927 book “Down the Fairway” with O.B. Keeler: “George was too much for me. I played as well as I could, and played very good golf. I was a single stroke over par for the 35 holes the match lasted; and I had the breaks on a couple of stymies. George did not have luck. He simply outplayed me.”

So he did; and 90 years later that fact remains the same.

 

Feature • March 2016

Steve Brinton / Mike Bailey / Keith Hansen

By Mike Sorensen

Running Smoothly

Over the years, Steve Brinton has pretty much done it all when it comes to the game of golf.

He was a top junior golfer and played on state champion teams at Highland High School before going on to play collegiately for Utah State. He excelled as an amateur golfer, winning various golf titles and finishing as the runner-up  in the 1998 Utah State Amateur at the age of 47.

Brinton has also been a top administrator, serving as a committeeman on the United States Golf Association for 25 years up until last year and serving on the Utah Golf Association Board of Directors for the past five years.

Now Brinton has taken over as the president of the UGA, a term he began in November and will continue to serve the rest of this year and perhaps beyond.

The 65-year-old insurance executive says he isn’t planning to come in and overhaul the UGA or make any drastic changes. He believes the UGA is running smoothly under the direction of UGA executive director Bill Walker with outgoing president Jim Harland doing an outstanding job over the past two years and he calls the current board is “great.”

“I don’t have any kind of an agenda other than to continue what we’re doing,” he said. “I don’t need to come in and make any great changes or disturb any of the great things we’re already doing. So it’s really making what we have, better and not changing much.”

That’s not to say Brinton is totally satisfied with the status quo. The UGA membership numbers have fallen off in recent years and he’d like to make the UGA as meaningful for the average golfer as the tournament golfer to which it has been more geared in the past. He also wants to improve the communication from the UGA to its members, making it more consistent and more modern with the use of social media.

“Probably my biggest issue this year will be improving our online presence and media presence, so we are helping our members be more informed as far as what’s going on and using the electronic media more efficiently,” he said. ”It’s about communicating with our members, so we become  a resource for the community.”

Brinton would also like to do more to recognize the history of golf in Utah.

“We’ll also be developing more of our history,” he said. “We’ll use (former UGA executive director) Joe Watts and his years of experience so we can build that inside our media as well and the history of what we have going on in Utah, which is a proud history. Those are the things that I think I can be helpful with.”

Another big issue for Brinton will be expanding the “Youth on Course” program, which was begun in northern California a decade ago and has expanded to other parts of the country since. The program offers subsidized rounds for youth ($5 or under), a caddie academy, paid internships and college scholarships. It’s a tool to get young golfers involved with the game.

“'Youth on Course' is becoming a big deal as we try to drive and reinvigorate golf,’’ Brinton said.

Brinton also wants to work more closely with local governments in their management of local municipal golf courses.

“We’re trying to become a little more helpful with our involvement with the cities and counties,” he said. “The city specifically is having some issues with Glendale and Rose Park. We’re trying to be involved and helpful with those decision processes in the city.”

Brinton said the recent addition of Mike Bailey to the UGA Board should be a great help because of his experience in government relations and working with the Utah Legislature over the years.

“Mike is going to head up our government affairs committees and will work with (Salt Lake City mayor) Jackie Biskupski and (Salt Lake County mayor) Ben McAdams,”  he said.

While he still works in his successful insurance business, Brinton is starting to let his son, Taylor, take over much of the business and plans to give everything he can to the UGA while he serves as the president in 2016.

 “This year I’m committed to being president of the UGA and will try to go to as many tournaments as I can and try to shore up all the different programs we’re doing with the UGA,” he said.

 

Up to the Task

For Mike Bailey, his plate suddenly got pretty full late last year.  The local attorney, who has been very  involved in the Utah golf scene for a couple of decades, had just joined the Utah Golf Association Board of Directors in November when he was named to the United States Golf Association’s 15-person executive committee in December, the first Utahn ever appointed to that prestigious committee.

So in addition to his busy job at Parsons, Behle and Latimer law firm, Bailey will have to make time for his new duties with the UGA and USGA. However, Bailey says he is up to the task and sees advantages to serving both at the same time.

“I think there’s a great synergy between my duties with the UGA and the USGA,” Bailey said. “There’s a lot of overlap to it, so I think it will actually be a benefit to both organizations that I serve on both boards contemporaneously. It will allow me to give a state and regional golf association perspective when I’m at the USGA and it will allow me to give the UGA a little window into how the USGA thinks. So I think it will benefit both organizations.”

Bailey grew up in Salt Lake, attending East High School, where he played on the golf team. He also played on the golf team at Santa Clara, where he had fun playing top golf courses, even if his team wasn’t very good.

After graduating from law school at BYU, Bailey got to know Mark Passey and Keith Hansen while playing in USGA qualifiers and in 2002 he joined the USGA as a regional affairs committeeman. Since then he has also been involved with the Web.com Utah Championship and has served as a rules official for various golf tournaments.

In his new appointment with the USGA, Bailey will be working on the Rules of Golf Committee with former UGA executive director Thomas Pagel. On the UGA Board, one of Bailey’s duties will be working with local governments on golf-related issues.

“One of the issues is, elected officials whatever level they’re at, need to understand the benefits of the game of golf,” he says. “Golf is a remarkable game where young and old play together, men and women play together, players with disabilities and without disabilities. I think it’s such a great opportunity for people from all walks of life to play the game together and I think we need to educate elected officials on the benefits of the game of golf.”

Bailey’s term with the USGA is one year, but it could be renewed annually “at the pleasure of the nominating committee of the USGA” he said. His term of service on the UGA Board could last as long as nine years.

 

A Great Deal of Joy

It’s been quite a few months for Logan’s Keith Hansen, an icon in Utah golf circles for his work as a volunteer and rules official. Last October Hansen was inducted into the Utah Golf Hall of Fame and in February he received the most prestigious award for volunteers by the United States Golf Association, the Joe Dey Award.

And to think it all began because of a desire to play some of the best golf courses in the country.

It started when Hansen was in his late 30s just after being asked to serve on the Utah Golf Association’s Board of Directors by his former Utah State fraternity brother, Mark Passey, then the UGA’s executive director. Passey asked Hansen to attend a rules seminar with him at the USGA’s office in Far Hills, N.J. Hansen admits he wasn’t overly excited about going until Passey mentioned that afterwards they would be playing four top golf courses in the area, including Pine Valley and Baltusrol.

“I said, ‘I’ll do that,’” Hansen recalls.

As long as he was going, Hansen decided he better do some diligent studying of golf rules and decisions so he wouldn’t embarrass himself. Even though he’d never worked a day of rules in his life, Hansen scored a 92 on his first rules exam.

That’s when he started taking it seriously and Hansen asked longtime USGA rules official and Utah native George Marks for help. He would accompany Marks in his duties as a rules official, riding around in a golf cart and learning the tricks of the trade.

From there, Hansen started working for the USGA as a committee person and working USGA events all over the country. Now, after 30 years, Hansen figures he’s worked between 80 and 100 USGA events, including about 10 U.S. Opens and close to 200 local USGA qualifiers, not to mention hundreds of local professional and amateur events.

“It all started with wanting to play four different golf courses,” Hansen says with a chuckle.

When he was informed he would be receiving the Joe Dey Award last fall, Hansen said, “I was flabbergasted, let’s put it that way.  Of course I was honored to receive something like that for something I love to do, but it was highly unexpected.”

Hansen’s award was announced in December and he received the award at a ceremony in early February at the USGA annual meeting.

“I’m usually the type that likes to do things in the background and let other people take the honors,” he said. “But it was a nice experience for me and my family.”

So, of the hundreds of golf tournaments he’s worked as a rules official, which one stands out the most to Hansen?

“I can tell you what my favorite event is—the Utah State Amateur,” he says. “I’ve done U.S Opens and everything and met a lot of players, but that’s still my favorite event to do.”

Hansen said he’ll be at Alpine Country Club this July for another State Am and others in the future, along with more USGA events. At age 69, he knows he won’t be officiating rules forever.

“The point when I don’t feel I’m at the top of my game, I’ll leave,” he says. “If I feel like I can contribute, I’ll continue to help.”

One way Hansen is continuing to help is by teaching the rules of golf to others. During the winter months, he teaches a rules seminar on Thursdays in northern Utah and goes down to St. George to teach on weekends

“It’s allowed me to mentor new people and I’ve really gotten a great deal of joy out of that,” he says.

 

Destination Golf • March 2016

Cajun Golf

By Mike Sorensen

Most Utahns probably don’t get down to Louisiana very often, unless perhaps it’s to experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans or to visit Uncle Albert and Aunt Ethel. But there is another great reason besides partying on Bourbon Street or visiting relatives down on the bayou of Louisiana; you’ll find an emerging golf destination in the city of Lake Charles.  If you’ve never heard of Lake Charles, don’t feel bad. I hadn’t either until going there last fall to experience the excellent golf courses in the area.

The fifth-largest city in Louisiana, with a population of 75,000, and a metro area of 225,000, Lake Charles is located some 25 miles north of the gulf coast in the southwest corner of Louisiana. It’s about a two-hour drive from Houston to the west and a three-hour drive from New Orleans to the east.

Lake Charles has been primarily known for being a major center of the petrochemical refining industry, or perhaps you might know it as the home of McNeese State University.   But now Lake Charles is forging a name for itself because of tourism. Thanks in large part to the largest casino market in Louisiana, with golf proving to be a good companion to the gaming industry.

With two major hotels and several top golf courses, including the new Country Club at the Golden Nugget, which was named as the No. 10 best new golf course in North America in 2015, Lake Charles is becoming an off-the-beaten-track spot for golfers to spend time doing what they like best while enjoying top accommodations and a little fun on the side.

The first hotel-casino, built a decade ago, was the 26-story L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort with 1,000 rooms, eight retail stores, eight restaurants and a large swimming pool complex including a lazy river to float in, not to mention an indoor spa.

The Golden Nugget, which opened in late 2014, has 740 rooms and pretty much everything L’Auberge features, including 10 restaurants, a similar number of stores, a large swimming pool complex with swim-up bars, as well as a private beach and a marina. It’s proved to be so successful that a new tower began construction earlier this year and will add another 300 rooms later in 2016.

The two hotels, which are a couple of good Bubba Watson tee shots apart from each other, share a cooperative working relationship with a boardwalk along the water connecting the two buildings as well as a trolley that runs between the two.  Both hotels are full nearly every weekend during the year and near 100 percent capacity from Memorial Day to Labor Day, so it’s no wonder the Golden Nugget adding more rooms.

The Contraband Bayou Golf Course at L’Auberge, perhaps the coolest name for a golf course ever, is a Tom Fazio-designed 7,077-yard par-71 layout, which was listed as one of the Best Casino courses by Golfweek Magazine for four years running.

It got off to a rocky start in 2005, opening just before hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the region, destroying hundreds of trees and flooding the course. Soon the recession hit, but eventually the course hit its stride and became the outstanding layout it is today.

The course features eight lakes, 57 bunkers and a lot of wetlands, marshes and natural vegetation lining the fairways with water coming into play on 14 holes. When the course was re-done in 2010, the greens were seeded with Champion Ultradwarf Bermuda grass, making for some nice putting surfaces.

With all that water, you’re bound to see alligators lurking and we saw a few.   Some signs simply read, “Beware of Alligators” while others are more specific.

“Alligators are a natural part of our ecosystem and are present in all waters of the course. Do not approach or feed any that you may see,” read another sign. Just keep your eyes open and don’t worry about those stray balls that end up in the drink.

The Country Club at Golden Nugget, which is a public course despite the name, was designed by Todd Eckenrode and opened in late 2014. More than a million cubic yards of dirt were used to fill much of the course, which was a swampland before becoming a golf course.

The Golden Nugget has a wide-open feel to it and features plenty of sand, including 15-plus acres of waste bunkers. However, many of the waste bunkers are for aesthetic purposes only, often around tee boxes where only the worst golfers will find trouble.

Despite being just over a year old, the fairways are in great shape, and the greens, although a little hard as is the case with most new courses, are smooth and as nice as any in the area. The best holes are the finishing holes, most of which present a nice view of the elevated Calcasieu River Bridge to the west.

While the two resort courses are probably the two best in town, Lake Charles features several other delightful golf courses, including Gray Plantation, the National Golf Club of Louisiana and Mallard Cove.

Gray Plantation, located south of downtown in a master-planned community, has in the past been ranked among Golf Digest’s Top 100 public courses and is currently rated as the No. 7 best course in Louisiana by Golf Digest.  The course features a lot of tall pines and a fair amount of water, including five of the last six holes. The par-5 No. 7 hole is the most memorable—one of those love-it or hate-it holes with carries over water required on approaches, no matter if you go left for the green in two or to the right, where you’ll need an additional shot over water to get to the green surrounded by bunkers.

The National Golf Club located in Westlake, northwest of Lake Charles, opened in 2009 and is known for its large, challenging Mini-Verde greens. The par-72, 6,946-yard layout features more than a dozen lakes, some 80 bunkers and five sets of tees on every hole.

Mallard Cove, a public course near the airport on the south side of city, stretches to 7,015 yards from the tips, but plays at a comfortable 6,039 yards from the white tees. The 18th hole is one of the most unusual you’ll ever see, a 90-degree dogleg to the right with a couple of options off the tee. You can go the safe way to the left or hit for a large island in the middle of a lake. The latter makes it feasible to go for the green in two, but there is more water around the green to worry about. One guy in our group made eagle, while another got a double bogey.

Because of its location, Lake Charles is a place you can play golf pretty much all year long with the average temperature high never going below 60 degrees and the most pleasant temperatures coming in April, May, October and November. Green fees at all the courses are reasonable, topping out at around $100 with prices dropping to half that in the winter.

Lake Charles also isn’t that hard to get to, as it has a new $28 million regional airport with short flights from Dallas and Houston; and you might be surprised by how reasonable the cost is for flights from Salt Lake City.

 

Department • March 2016

Product Review

by Mike Stansfield

  • TaylorMade M2 Driver

    TaylorMade M2 Driver

    The M2 Driver provides exceptional distance and forgiveness at the same time. Built with multi-material construction, it features an ultra-light, ultra-thin and high-strength Carbon Composite Crown that unlocks exceptional distance and forgiveness for more golfers.

  • TaylorMade M2 Irons

    TaylorMade M2 Irons

    When designing the M2 irons, TaylorMade focused on ways to achieve maximum distance without sacrificing the peak trajectory. The advanced materials and technologies that went into M2 irons enable the ball to not only go far, but also high as well according to the company.  Removing three grams of mass from the hosel, they distributed it to the head to lower CG. That change in conjunction with the Speed Pocket and Inverted Cone Technology created a thinner sole that increased launch angle and ball speed.

  • Nike Flyknit Chukka Golf Shoe

    Nike Flyknit Chukka Golf Shoe

    A revolutionary manufacturing method, Flyknit enables designers to micro-engineer every stitch of the Chukka to create a featherweight, formfitting one-piece upper The upper is enhanced by Nike Flywire technology for support and is skinned with a thin TPU layer for water resistance against light rain and morning dew. A golf-specific Nike Free-inspired sole creates superior traction in the toe and heel.

  • Titleist 4UP Stand Bag

    Titleist 4UP Stand Bag

    The new Titleist 4UP StaDry stand bag provides the ultimate in lightweight waterproof performance. Available in golf shops this month, the 4UP StaDry stand bag combines a high-tech lightweight construction with advanced waterproof technology for exceptional versatility and durability. At just 3.5 pounds, it is the lightest Titleist stand bag they have made. The “4UP” designation refers to the bag’s high performance advantages Lightweight, Durable, Waterproof and Titleist.

  • Cobra F6 Driver

    Cobra F6 Driver

    Cobra calls the F6 Driver its most forgiving adjustable driver. The dual position ‘front-to-back’ CG weight system allows you to maximize distance through dialing in your ideal launch and spin conditions to optimize ball flight and maximize distance. A front CG position delivers a penetrating ball flight with more roll, while a back CG position offers a higher, more towering ball flight with greater forgiveness.

  • QED Style

    Sugarhouse Polo by QED Style

    Fascinated with denim style and its clash with golf, QED Style is introducing the Sugarhouse polo in its Spring 2016 apparel line.  Already a top seller and recently featured in Golf Digest, the Sugarhouse polo is a denim print shirt with trim detailing similar to what you’d find on your favorite pair of jeans.  The fabric looks and drapes like denim but still stretches and breathes like your favorite golf shirt.  Available in four different options: black wash, dark wash, light wash and white wash.

     

    QED Style

    QED Style is a men’s apparel company based out of Salt Lake City, Utah.  All QED apparel is designed to perform and look great in any environment.  While maintaining the utmost respect for the game, QED Style will continue to push the envelope in golf style. You can safely assume all QED items will be unique, creatively detailed and made of the finest quality.

    Website and online store: www.qedstyle.com Warehouse and storefront: QED Style 925 South West Temple,Salt Lake City

    QED Style

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