Len Ziehm On Golf

Travel Destinations

  • Countdown is on for Par-3 national team tourney GAYLORD, MI. – The northern Michigan community of Gaylord has 17 golf courses, all of them quite good. It’s one of the best places you can go if you’re looking for a golf-getaway destination. I should know. I’ve probably visited the area 10 times over the last two decades. This year, though, there’s something new ...
  • CENTRAL IOWA: Amana Colonies course rekindles good memories Bet you never thought of Iowa as a golf destination, did you? Well, maybe you should. At least visits to two courses – Spirit Hollow in Burlington and Amana Colonies Golf Club in Middle Amana — during John Deere Classic week suggested that Iowa has plenty to offer golf-wise. The Amana Colonies layout is the older ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Lawsonia may be in Wisconsin, but its roots are in Chicago GREEN LAKE, Wis. — Shame on me. This golf writer of nearly 50 years didn’t know nearly enough about the work of William Langford until playing in last week’s Langford Shield outing at The Links of Lawsonia. The course got its name from the legendary newspaperman Victor Lawson. He was the publisher of ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Iowa’s Spirit Hollow is a true `hidden gem’ BURLINGTON, Iowa –I guess I’ll always be looking for golf’s so-called `hidden gems’ – great courses that are off the beaten path. Too often, though, I find that these courses are more hidden than they are gems. That’s not true when it comes to Spirit Hollow, though. This is a true hidden gem ...
  • Wisconsin’s golf boom really started at Blackwolf Run two decade ago KOHLER, Wis. – What’s been going on in golf in Wisconsin is astonishing. Another PGA Championship and a Ryder Cup coming to Whistling Straits. A U.S. Open on its way to Erin Hills. A Robert Trent Jones renovation of the famous Flower Hole at Sentry World. A new Mike Keiser resort, Sand Valley, ...
  • This is American golf’s `other Augusta’ AUGUSTA, MI. – When you put Augusta and golf together you think of April, azaleas and the Masters tournament, right? Well, that’d be understandable. Not all the great Augusta golf is played in Georgia, though. Check out Augusta, Michigan. Golf is pretty good there, too. This little town (population of only about 1,000) in southwest Michigan is ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Georgia’s Summer Grove course could be called Jemsek South NEWNAN, Ga. – It’s no secret that the Jemseks are the first family of golf in Chicago. In fact, it’s been that way for a long time. It all started when Joe Jemsek purchased St. Andrews, in West Chicago in the 1930s. He later bought Cog Hill, in Lemont, and expanded it from 36 ...
  • Women’s events will trigger busiest year for French Lick By Len Ziehm FRENCH LICK, Ind. – Golf’s newest Hall of Fame has been slow in developing since Dave Harner, director of golf at French Lick Resort, announced plans for the LPGA Legends Hall of Fame last September. The facility, to be located off the lobby of the West Baden Springs Hotel in ...
  • IT ZIEHMS TO ME: Economic downturn hasn’t hurt Kiawah KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – With so many golf facilities struggling these days, Roger Warren’s report on the popular Kiawah Resort is eye-catching to say the least. “We had the best year in the history of the resort last year,’’ said Warren who left the Chicago area for Kiawah in 2003 and has been the resort’s president ...
  • Wisconsin will be where the golf action is this season We Illinois golf fanatics had best disregard the state line boundaries. Our neighbor to the north, Wisconsin, isn’t far away – no matter where you live in Illinois – and that’s where the action is these days. It’d be a shame not to enjoy it to the fullest. For whatever reason, golf progress in Illinois ...
  • Golf on Florida’s Treasure Coast isn’t just for the touring pros PORT ST. LUCIE, FL. – Florida’s Treasure Coast embraces three counties – Martin, Palm Beach and St. Lucie. Add the surrounding areas and the golf options in this east coast area are numerous, diverse and competitively priced. That’s why so many tour players make this their offseason home. Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Ricky Fowler ...
  • ST. AUGUSTINE, FL.: Kemper alum Hahn is part of World Golf Village’s rebranding ST. AUGUSTINE, FL. – Jim Hahn spent nearly 30 years with Northbrook-based KemperSports, leading the management efforts of all the Chicago Park District golf courses as well as suburban layouts Waters Edge, in Worth, and Rob Roy, in Prospect Heights. He worked with Kemper facilities in other parts of the country as well. Now the former ...
  • VALDOSTA, Ga.: Bob Spence wants to take Kinderlou Forest to a new level VALDOSTA, Ga. – Bob Spence is about to hit the 60-year mark as a golf professional. Now his focus is on Kinderlou Forest, a stunning 18-holer just 16 miles from the Florida state line, but Chicago golfers should remember him well. Spence, who turned pro in 1954 – a few months after graduating from high ...
  • NASHVILLE, Tenn.: Hosting LPGA tourneys has benefitted Hermitage OLD HICKORY, Tenn. – Hermitage, a 36-hole public facility on the outskirts of Nashville, Tenn., isn’t the only club to see a longstanding pro golf tournament leave its premises or disappear altogether. On the PGA Tour, En-Joie Country Club in Endicott, N.Y., hosted the B.C. Open for 34 years – the last in 2005. Warwick Hills, ...
  • GRAND TRAVERSE: Michigan mainstay takes season approach ACME, Mich. – It’s not easy operating a golf resort in Michigan. There’s just so much competition. This golf-rich state has more public courses — over 700 — than any other state. The best ones, though, are able to survive in the long term. Perhaps the best example is Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, ...
  • NORTHERN MICHIGAN: Leading resorts announce a bigger cooperative effort HARBOR SPRINGS, Mich. – For 26 years the resorts in Gaylord joined forces in a successful joint promotion under the title of the Gaylord Golf Mecca. Now there’s an even larger joint promotional effort in effect there. Leading resorts in the towns of Traverse City, Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Gaylord, Bellaire, Boyne City and Thompsonville ...
  • SOUTHWESTERN WISCONSIN: Name change is appropriate at Geneva National LAKE GENEVA, Wis. – What’s in a name? Plenty, if you’re familiar with Lake Geneva’s biggest golf facility. As Geneva National Golf Club its 54 holes were eye-catching from the outset. So was its stately clubhouse (below), but the golf was the thing. Each 18 is named after its designer – Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino ...
  • NORTHERN MICHIGAN: Guss takes charge at Treetops’ Academy GAYLORD, MI. — Treetops has grown into – arguably at least – Michigan’s most spectacular golf resort and one of its main features is its teaching program. Started in 1990 by Rick Smith and Henry Young, the school thrived as the Rick Smith Golf Academy and Smith became prominent far beyond his home state as ...
  • DOWNSTATE ILLINOIS: Rock River is steeped in history ROCK FALLS, IL. — I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for golf history. That explains why it seemed a good idea to stop by what had been Rock River Country Club en route to the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic in Silvis, about 40 miles further west. Officially known now as Rock River ...
  • SW MICHIGAN: Here’s three layouts that are worth a visit CENTREVILLE, Mich. — The Scott family’s five 18-hole courses aren’t far from either Island Hills or Yarrow Golf & Conference Resort. All are near the bigger cities of Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, but the facilities are all quite different – in a good way. Between them they make Southwest Michigan a convenient golf getaway ...
  • NORTHWEST INDIANA: Opening hole provides spectacular start at Lost Marsh HAMMOND, Ind. – The Lost Marsh golf course didn’t exist when I lived in Northwest Indiana from 1967-69 and was just getting serious about golf. What a shame! Back then, while working for the Hammond Times immediately after finishing college, the courses of choice were Wicker Park – it had a player-friendly course, the best ...
  • ERIN HILLS: Wisconsin layout will be popular destination prior to ’17 Open ERIN, Wis. – The hoopla was extraordinary when Erin Hills first welcomed golfers in 2006. The very upscale public course on the outskirts of Milwaukee was even awarded a U.S. Golf Assn. national championship (the 2008 U.S.Women’s Amateur Public Links) before its land was even seeded. By 2009 – following an ownership change from creator ...
  • TRAVERSE CITY, MICH.: Two resorts have withstood the tests of time TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Golf course openings are rare in these tough economic times. Three decades ago that wasn’t the case, but none back then were as celebrated as Jack Nicklaus’ The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort. Grand Traverse, then just five years old, took an extraordinary step when The Bear was ready for play. Virtually ...
  • CENTRAL MICHIGAN: New lodge triggers a rebirth for Forest Dunes ROSCOMMON, Mich. – There never was a doubt about the quality of the 18 holes at Forest Dunes. The course has consistently been ranked as the No. 2 public layout in golf-rich Michigan, behind Arcadia Bluffs. A Tom Weiskopf design that opened in 1999, Forest Dunes is –in the words of general manager Todd ...
  • COUNTRY CREEK: Kenny Perry’s home course is a breath of fresh air FRANKLIN, Ky. – Squeezing in a fast nine holes is a good way to break up a long driving trip. It doesn’t cut severely into the mileage covered and certainly is refreshing. On our last winter trip we indulged in that practice twice – and with goals in mind. We’d never played golf in Tennessee ...
  • TRENT JONES TRAIL: Cambrian Ridge was a great place to start GREENVILLE, Ala. – Some things are just meant to be. That seemed to be the case when a chance to play on Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail finally materialized at the end of a 10-week road trip. This travel-writing journey was to finish up with rounds at Sandestin, on the Florida Panhandle, and Preserve, ...
  • PGA VILLAGE: Just the place for golf diehards PORT ST. LUCIE, FL. – It can be confusing. The PGA of America has its headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, FL., where PGA National and its five courses are located. The PGA doesn’t own that complex, but it does own PGA Village, an hour or so north of PGA National. PGA Village is much different than National, ...
  • PGA NATIONAL: New Fazio course goes down in my memory book PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL. – The Fazio is the newest course at PGA National Resort & Spa. Playing it was to be the highlight of a four-day stay there, and it was, but for more personal reasons. This site is designed primarily to be informative about the golf destinations we visit, and this report on PGA ...
  • NAPLES: Golf in this winter vacation mecca is…er, different NAPLES, FL. – Yes, Naples is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. And, yes, it has one of the best year-around climates. Temperatures were ideal for the entire month we stayed there. This winter hotspot in southwest Florida has plenty to entice you. Good restaurants are in ample supply (though ...
  • STREAMSONG: Finding this new resort added to the excitement STREAMSONG, FL. – The anticipation surrounding the opening of Streamsong Resort was too great. I had to see it pronto. Eventually I did. Eventually. As it turned out the adventure involved in finding the place was very much part of the excitement surrounding it. Streamsong wasn’t easy to find, but well worth it once we did. While ...
  • MYRTLE BEACH: You can’t get more golf options than this MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – It’s almost mind-boggling when you think about it. A three-month visitor to this long-time golf hotbed could play a different course every day and would still not have played all the layouts offered. Myrtle Beach, which aptly bills itself as the “Golf Capital of the World,’’ has over 100 courses packed ...
  • PINEHURST: Famed resort’s banner year will come in 2014 PINEHURST, N.C. – It may seem silly for a golf addict from Chicago to visit the famous Pinehurst Resort – if only for a few days around Christmas – and not hit a shot. That’s what I did at the start of a long winter trip that will include plenty of golf, I guarantee that. A ...
  • MISSOURI OZARKS: Old Kinderhook is the place to go CAMDENTON, Mo. – It’s easy to have warm feelings about Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks region. Mine go back to college days, and that was way too long ago. Not everything in the world is better now than it was back in those more carefree years, but Lake of the Ozarks fits the bill. ...
  • DOWN ROUTE 66: Good golf mixes well with all the nostalgia For years it had been on my bucket list of things to do. I wanted to make a driving trip down Route 66. Upon retirement from my full-time job as a sportswriter I made that trip happen. In June, 2010, the two of us took off on a drive of nearly 6,000 miles, which included ...
  • Michigan’s Mecca had plenty to celebrate at 25th anniversary GAYLORD, MI. – It has never ceased to amaze me how much better golf is in Michigan than it is in any other state. The season isn’t very long there, but the number of quality public courses is extraordinary. I should know. For over 25 years – starting about the time of the 1985 U.S. Open ...
  • My GolfVisions record: 16 courses played in four states CHESTERTON, Ind. – Tim Miles Sr. tells me I’ve made golf history. He says I’m the first member of GolfVisions’ Player Pass program to play all of the 16 courses offered in this most innovative program, and I’ll tell you it wasn’t easy. Miles, the GolfVisions president, started the Player Pass program two ...
  • Quad Cities should be considered as a golf destination spot MOLINE, IL. – For years now I’ve told my golf-media buddies from the Quad Cities that they reside in “the golf capitol of Illinois.’’ They think I’m kidding but, after four decades of covering the PGA Tour stop in that community, I’m not so sure. In fact, I can now say that the area encompassing Moline ...
  • Island Hills, Yarrow are good bets for golf trips to Michigan AUGUSTA, MI. – Michigan-based golf course architect Ray Hearn has made an impact in Chicago with his work at Flossmoor Country Club, one of the area’s top private facilities, as well as at Mistwood in Romeoville, one of the best public courses. If you want to test more of Hearn’s work you don’t have to go ...
  • Indiana’s Swan Lake lands U.S. finals, ING gathering GREENVILLE, S.C. – Swan Lake, the Indiana resort that has operated relatively low-key since its opening in 1969, is about to elevate its profile. Located in Plymouth, near the Notre Dame campus, Swan Lake hosted the National Junior College Championships last week and will host that event again in 2014. Of even more note, it’ll ...
  • French Lick’s fourth course, Sultan’s Run, is a keeper JASPER, Ind. – If ever there was a comeback story in the golf business, it’s the one that has unfolded at French Lick Resort — and it continues to get better. This little town in the resort’s namesake in southern Indiana, near Louisville, was the home to one of the most popular retreats in the ...
  • Eagle Ridge comes back strong from storm damage GALENA, IL. – I’ve always had a warm spot in my heart for the Eagle Ridge Resort. Not only has it been a favorite get-away retreat for about 40 years, it’s also a place where I’ve been on hand for some special events. In 1984 I played in the grand opening outing for Eagle Ridge’s South ...
  • FarmLinks finds it’s time for a change SYLACAUGA, AL. — The FarmLinks course in this little town about 45 miles from Birmingham already has a big reputation. Golf Digest, Golfweek and the National Golf Foundation have recognized it for one good thing or another. Soon, though, things will be changing. Honours Golf, which managed the facility for 10 years, will be leaving and ...
  • Alabama’s an underrated state for golfers GULF SHORES, AL. — There is, I believe, a misconception about golf in Alabama. Sure, the creation of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail 20 years ago was a big boost for golf in the state. In fact, it was a marketing breakthrough for the entire golf industry. The Trail has 11 courses covering 468 holes, ...
  • Searching for golf bargains on Florida’s Gulf coast SARASOTA, FL. — The main goal was to get to know a new area on our first two-month winter odyssey and — of course — that meant getting to know the golf options on Florida’s Gulf coast. We did a good job of both. Between our arrival in Sarasota on Dec. 30 and our departure on ...
  • MY OAKHURST VISIT: America’s first course provides a mystery WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Any devoted golf aficionado should want to visit Oakhurst Links, long billed as the first golf club in the United States. A book — “Oakhurst: The Birth and Rebirth of America’s First Golf Course’’ (by Paula DiPerna and Vikki Keller, Walker and Company, 2002) — was even written about this ...
  • Pete Dye Golf Trail gives a boost to Indiana golf CARMEL, Ind. — No disrespect to Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Robert Trent Jones, Jack Nicklaus or any of the other high-quality golf course architects putting their talents on display these days, but — for my money — one stands ahead of the others. Pete Dye is definitely the most innovative and probably the most prolific ...
  • Introducing wire-grass at Pinehurst No. 2 PINEHURST, N.C. — My frequent golf travels have led me to introduce you to a term you’re certain to hear more about in the next few months and years. It’s called wire-grass, the key ingredient in the recent renovation of North Carolina’s Pinehurst No. 2 — one of the world’s most famous courses, as well ...
  • A swing through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. — Michigan, as any avid golfer knows, is loaded with great courses. While the golf season isn’t as long as it is in some other warmer weather places, there’s an abundance of daylight in Michigan when its season is in full swing. The problem with Michigan is its abundance of riches. Most any ...
  • Florida’s Innisbrook has a Chicago flavor TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — There’s still a good two months left in the Chicago golf season but, unfortunately, it won’t be too long until the weather changes. Snow and cold weather always arrive eventually, and then it’ll be time to head to warmer climates. For golf in the winter months that means Florida, California or Arizona. ...
  • Grand Geneva is a Midwest gem Not that there’s anything wrong with golf courses in the Chicago area, but golf getaways can be fun, too. And, you don’t have to go very far to find great getaway destinations. Our neighboring states of Wisconsin and Indiana have plenty of possibilities. In my book no state in the country has come as far golf-wise ...
  • Harbor Shores – A Feel Good Story BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — Anything Jack Nicklaus is sure to be good in golf, and The Golf Club at Harbor Shores is no exception. It’ll gain immense exposure in this summer of 2012 as the site of the Senior PGA Championship. It’ll also host that event in 2014. Considering the course didn’t open until July 1, ...
  • Branson Has A Lot More Than Golf BRANSON, Mo. — The golf is quite good in this lively little town in the southwest corner of Missouri. In just the last few years Branson, with about 6,000 full-time residents, has emerged as a golf destination. There are 13 courses in the general area, and they can accommodate all types of players. Eight of ...
  • Golf’s Hall Of Fame Deserves A Profile Boost ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The World Golf Hall of Fame doesn’t get the media attention that baseball’s Hall in Cooperstown, N.Y., or football’s counterpart in Canton, Ohio, receive — and that’s a shame. It’s well worth a visit and some who were there in its first years will be quite impressed with what they’d see ...