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Len Ziehm On Golf

HERE AND THERE: Myrtle Beach’s Fall Classic takes on an expanded new look

TPC Myrtle Beach will be just one of the top courses awaiting players in the Short Par 4 Fall Classic.


The Myrtle Beach Fall Classic had been a four-year success in the South Carolina golf mecca, but the fifth staging – which starts on Sunday and runs through Thursday, Nov. 15 – has turned into an event that’s both bigger and better.

Landing Short Par 4 — a golf-inspired subscription service that ships hand curated, top quality branded golf apparel, footwear and accessories directly to golfers – as a title sponsor was a big reason. Short Par 4 is in the first of a three-year agreement for the event, now known as the Short Par 4 Fall Classic.

The immediate result was a record entry of 432 players from 38 states for the 72-hole two-person team event. Organizers hadn’t initially planned on that many players and increased the field size by 70 players while the entries were piling in.

“It’s quickly emerged as one of our most popular events,’’ said Scott Tomasello, tournament director for Golf Tourism Solutions, the company that runs the event. “Players love the two-person team format, which strikes a perfect balance by creating a competitive tournament and a relaxing atmosphere.’’

The course lineup was a plus as well. Five of the 16 courses to be used in the event have been ranked among America’s Top 100. They include such long-time favorites as the Dye and Fazio layouts at Barefoot Resort, Glen Dornoch, TPC Myrtle Beach, True Blue, Heritage Club and Thistle.

It’s hard to imagine a course with better waterfront views than Florida’s Sailfish Point.


WELL WORTH A LOOK: As most of you know I’m not one who gets carried away by course rankings provided by the golf industry publications. However, Sailfish Point (ranked fourth among residential courses in South Florida and 53rd nation-wide by Golfweek) seems to me underrated.

A Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, Sailfish Point opened in 1981 and the Golden Bear supervised a renovation in 2007 so the design is obviously of high quality.

More to the point, Sailfish has views that are hard to match on virtually every hole. That’s understandable given its location. The private club is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the St. Lucie Inlet. It’s hard to imagine any Florida course having the water views that Sailfish Point has. It’s also important to note that the water is primarily for the enjoyment of viewers, not to swallow up errantly-hit golf balls.

Sailfish Point, officially in Stuart, is part of a 532-acre gated oceanfront community on Hutchinson Island. It has plenty of other amenities, most notably a full service marina, but its golf course is something special.

The newly-named Mistwood Golf Dome now offers state-of-the-art Toptracer Technology.


MISTWOOD EXPANDS AGAIN: Though the Mistwood Golf Club course just closed for the season in the Chicago suburb of Romeoville, owner Jim McWethy continued to expand his golf interests.

McWethy announced major changes in what had been known as McQ’s Golf Dome in nearby Bolingbrook. McWethy renamed the facility the Mistwood Golf Dome, the dining area is now McWethy’s Sports Bar and – most notably – the facility is now equipped with TopGolf’s Toptracer Range Technology.

Toptracer is a state-of-the-art technology that tracks the flight of a golf ball, displays its path in video and analyzes every shot hit. Mistwood is the first U.S. indoor facility to install it. Users can enjoy virtual golf on the world’s best courses, interactive games and its stat-tracing options.

TopGolf, meanwhile, is planning to open a new facility in Schaumburg.

A NEW WAY TO GET AROUND: Medinah Country Club is now using a food truck purchased from the Texas Rangers to transport meals to all parts of the property. (Photo by Rory Spears)


BITS AND PIECES: The Innisbrook Resort, in Palm Harbour, FL., will re-open its South course on Nov. 30 with new greens matching those previously installed at Innisbrook’s Copperhead and North courses. Copperhead hosts the PGA Tour’s annual Valspar Championship in March.

Chambers Bay, the public venue in Washington state which hosted the 2015 U.S. Open, closed last month for renovation work on its greens. The course is scheduled to re-open in March with Poa annua putting surfaces. It has already been awarded the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship in 2021.

Miami, Fla., is on the brink of losing its only municipal course. Voters have supported the creation of Miami Freedom Park on the site of the present International Links Melreese Country Club. Miami Freedom Park, a commercial development backed by soccer great David Beckham, includes a 25,000-seat soccer stadium that’s to be home to a Major Soccer League team and a hotel.

Cog Hill, the 72-hole complex in Lemont, IL., will field a team for the third straight year in the PGA Junior League’s national championships. The finals, expanded from eight to 12 teams, will be played Nov. 16-17 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Junior League had a record 51,000 boys and girls participating on nearly 4,000 teams this year.

Chicago Golf Club member Tony Anderson has been named to the U.S. Golf Association’s Executive Committee and Medinah teaching professional Terry Russell is now the District 6 director for the PGA of America. He’ll represent the Illinois Wisconsin and Indiana sections of the PGA at the national board level.

Mike Scully, who had been Medinah’s director of golf during the 2012 Ryder Cup matches played there, has taken a general manager’s post at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Ga. Scully left Medinah to become director of golf operations at Desert Mountain in Arizona before taking the Reynolds Lake Oconee position.

Chambers Bay’s course is closed now, but it’ll re-open in March with all new greens.

Category: Features