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Len Ziehm On Golf

Brunswick gets into golf with its new indoor putting green

Lake Forest-based Brunswick Corporation has had a rich history in producing sports equipment, starting with billiards tables back in 1845. Prominent in the bowling industry from 1890 until its exit last year, the company remains a leader in boating and fitness equipment as well as billiards and table tennis.

Brunswick’s latest venture is into golf, with an indoor putting green that was introduced to the Chicago market last week at The Glen Club in Glenview.

Indoor putting greens aren’t unusual, but the version that Brunswick is marketing as “The ONLY Green’’ has more features than its predecessors. It also has the backing of noted short game teaching guru Stan Utley, who has long worked with touring players Jay Haas and Sergio Garcia.

Utley says the green’s “surface and adjustability will flat out make you a better putter’’ and the company says that PGA Tour players Kevin Streelman, Matt Jones and Graham DeLaet have worked with it.

The green comes as a handcrafted piece of furniture that is available in six hardwood finishes. While there are six standard sizes, the smallest being two feet by eight feet, greens can customized to fit specific spatial needs. The largest custom-built version is now in Portland, Ore. – 12 feet by 24 feet. Prices range from $3,400 to $11,000.

Iowa resident Rockland Duffy developed the original version of the green in 1992. Utley purchased one from Duffy in 1998 and Tim Ummel of Scottsdale, Ariz., purchased the company in 2012 and hooked up exclusively with Brunwick for product development world-wide.

“I saw it. I played on it, and I had to have it,’’ said Chris Clawson, president of Life Fitness and Brunswick Billiards. “It’s not just a great way to improve your game. It’s also a great, fun way to unwind with your family and friends.’’

Green speeds can be adjusted from 12.5 on the stimp meter down to 10. Contours can be adjusted as well, making a variety of uphill, downhill and breaking putts part of the experience. A putting course is marked on the surface to facilitate competitive as training efforts and a putter rack and scorecards are also available.

IJGA drops Chicago Open

The Illinois Junior Golf Assn. started its season in the usual manner, drawing 105 players last week at Sanctuary in New Lenox. The IJGA will conduct over 100 more events and expect over 2,000 boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 18 to compete this season, but the campaign will have a different ending.

Two years ago the IJGA revived the Chicago Open as a season-ending October fundraiser after its youth competitions were over. The 54-hole event, which included a pro-am, was played at Cantigny, in Wheaton, as a way to help young pros prepare for the Web.com Tour qualifying school. The event, however, didn’t generate sufficient charitable donations and the IJGA board dropped it from the schedule.

The Chicago Open, once part of a more informal PGA Tour, has had a rocky history. Last year marked the 25th staging, the first of which was in 1914. Its winners include Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Ken Venturi and Luke Donald. Elgin’s Carlos Sainz Jr., now in his rookie season on the PGA Tour, and Michigan mini-tour player Andy Ruthkoski were the champions at Cantigny.

Detry, Hossler in Palmer Cup

Illinois’ Thomas Detry and Beau Hossler, who won last year’s Western Amateur at Chicago’s Beverly Country Club, were among the selections for the Palmer Cup, a team event pitting the best collegiate players from the U.S. and Europe. The 19th version of the competition will be played at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove from June 12-14.

Hossler heads the U.S. team that includes Lee McCoy of Georgia, Ollie Schniederjans and Ander Albertson of Georgia Tech, Kyle Jones of Baylor, Maverick McNealy of Stanford, Hunter Stewart of Vanderbilt, Robbie Shelton of Alabama, Jack Maguire of Florida State and Carr Vernon of California State-Monterey Bay.

Detry, from Belgium, will make his second Palmer Cup appearance for the European side. Europe won last year’s competition but the U.S. holes a 9-8-1 edge in the series.

Here and there

The American Junior Golf Assn. Preaseason Junior will be played at Cantigny Friday through Sunday. It’ll involve 84 of the top junior players in the nation.

Northwestern has signed its third men’s recruit, Luke Miller of Venetia, Pa. He was a qualifier for last year’s U.S. Amateur.

The 39th annual Pine Hollow Open is on tap for Saturday at Downers Grove and Bloomington Country Club will be the site of the Illinois PGA’s first stroke play event of the season on Monday.